The Victorian EPA and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are encouraged by the level of interest in Victoria’s new environmental regulations and standards, after receiving more than 300 public submissions.
EPA Chief Executive Cathy Wilkinson said feedback has been positive, with suggestions from industry, business and community members on how to improve the regulations.
“It’s fantastic that so many individuals and organisations have taken the time to have their say,” Dr Wilkinson said.
“Their comments will ensure the regulations and standards are sound and robust.”
Taking effect 1 July 2020, the Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 represents the most significant change to Victoria’s environmental regulatory regime since the introduction of the Environment Protection Act 1970.
Significant changes include a general environmental duty, which requires all Victorian undertaking an activity with potential environmental and human health risk to identify and implement reasonably practical means to eliminate or minimise risk.
Additional changes include higher penalties for illegal dumping, a public register, improved information sharing with other agencies and third party community rights.
DELWP Executive Director Mark Rodrigues said consultation engaged EPA Industry Reference and Community Groups and local and state government stakeholders.
“We’ve had a great response to the consultation process and this feedback will be invaluable in helping us shape this important legislation to better protect our environment,” Mr Rodrigues said.
According to an EPA statement, the EPA and DELWP are now reviewing all submissions, and have committed to responding through the Victorian Government’s Response to Public Comment Report in 2020.
“Feedback that goes beyond the scope of public comment on proposed regulations and standards will be considered in light of EPA’s broader transformation program,” the statement reads.
The Response to Public Comment Report will be released on the Engage Victoria website in early 2020.