IECA Australiasia is running a full day workshop on the NSW POEO Act, 1997 on 12th June 2015.  If you are interested see their website for full details.

Under the NSW POEO Act, 1997:
Do you have the right to remain silent if questioned by an EPA officer?
Do you understand your potential liability for environmental incidents?
Do you know how best to respond to a potential environmental incident on your site?
Do you understand how your words and actions are interpreted by EPA officers?
Do you know you could be charged with a criminal offence if you say or do the wrong thing?
How would you handle complaints, protestors or the media on your site?

The NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act, 1997 (the POEO Act) places a host of environmental responsibilities onto any person or company conducting construction works in NSW.

Very few supervisory, engineering or environmental staff involved in construction understand their roles and responsibilities under this legislation. IECA ( has engaged Peter Briggs from Herbert Smith Freehills ( to run his engaging, informative and eye-opening half-day workshop in Sydney.

This is an opportunity for you to hear from one of NSW’s foremost environmental lawyers, who has seen the good, the bad and the downright ugly when it comes to the application of the POEO Act in NSW.

Peter’s workshop includes a real-life roleplay using workshop attendees to explore how the words and actions of construction staff could help or hinder an EPA investigation. He uses real life examples from his experience in the NSW Land and Environment Court and from his dealings with regulators to help attendees understand how best to act and respond to potential incidents.

Topics covered during the workshop include:

  • The roles and responsibilities of the EPA, and the power bestowed on their officers by the legislation.
  • Example prosecutions and the environmental, social and economic costs for an organisation.
  • Common mistakes made by construction personnel when dealing with environmental incidents.
  • How to manage a potential incident – what to say, do and write, and what NOT to say, do and write.
  • How to establish legal privilege and avoid self-incrimination during an EPA investigation.
  • The role of local government in administering the POEO Act.

This workshop is an absolute must-attend for anyone involved in overseeing construction projects in NSW. This workshop will be relevant to contractors, government agencies, consultants and engineers – anyone engaged in construction in NSW, no matter how big or small the project.

Attendees should include:

  • Supervisors
  • Foremen
  • HSE managers and staff
  • Environmental managers and coordinators
  • Project and site engineers
  • Planning and assessment staff
  • Managers and directors.

Friday 12th June, 9.00am to 12.30pm with lunch included from 12.30 to 1.00pm. Venue is the Herbert Smith Freeehills, ANZ Tower 161 Castlereagh Street, Sydney.

About the presenter:

Peter Briggs is a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills ( He has almost 25 years’ experience advising on complex environmental issues and is an expert on the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations (POEO) Act, 1997. He has seen first-hand how numerous environmental incidents have played out in court and in the media. He has extensive experience dealing with the regulators and understands their expectations in relation to construction projects.