DELWP proposes EPA Act and land-use planning integration

The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is proposing updates to the state’s land-use planning system to bring it in line with the EPA’s new environmental protection framework.

According to a DELWP statement, the proposed updates will ensure the Environment Protection Act 2017 (as amended to commence on 1 July 2020) and its subordinate instruments function at commencement, and that effective interaction between the environment protection framework and planning system is maintained.

“This includes amendments that will integrate updated requirements for the management of potentially contaminated land within the planning system,” the statement reads.

Proposed updates include changes to Victoria Planning Provision clauses that refer to instruments under the Environment Protection Act. They also include updates to Ministerial Direction No. 1 – Potentially Contaminated Land, and Planning Practice Note 30: Potentially Contaminated Land.

Specifically, DELWP is proposing a requirement that applications provide adequate information on the potential for contamination to have adverse effects on future land use and an assessment confirming the environmental conditions of a site are suitable for proposed use and development.

Ministerial direction is also being amended to incorporate reference to new instruments under the Environment Protection Act. This includes a new preliminary risk screen assessment, and an environmental audit that can be scoped.

“This amendment supports the policy reforms outlined in recommendation 14.2 of the EPA Inquiry,” the statement reads.

Additional changes include new subordinate instruments such as an Environment Reference Standard, and updating references to EPA publications including Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines.

“These updates have been developed in collaboration with the EPA and deliver on commitments in the government response to the Independent Inquiry into the EPA. They follow on from extensive public consultation held to inform the development of Victoria’s new environment protection laws,” the statement reads.

DELWP is inviting feedback on the proposed updates through the Engage Victoria website until 5 May.

After receiving submissions from the public, DELWP will consider the feedback and finalise updated planning provisions in June 2020.

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EPA and DELWP review EP Act submissions

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.

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VWMA partners with EPA for waste and recycling training

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) is partnering with Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) to develop a training package that seeks to equip operators with information and tools to better manage fire risks.

The training course will be delivered by VWMA as part of its industry training program to be modelled on the Management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials – guideline.

The training will equip operators with information and tools to understand the fire hazards associated with their activities and take steps to reduce risk. It will include the management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials in a manner that protects the environment and human health from the risk of fire.

EPA sees the partnership with VWMA as an important way of ensuring ongoing implementation of the management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials – guideline and will be seeking to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach.

VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith highlighted that last year’s VWMA State Conference saw a commitment from the association to work with insurance sector and legal firms, consultants and government to tackle rising insurance costs and the risk of fire at sites.

“This announcement today lays the foundation for us to move forward. Members can expect further information about additional services we will be rolling out at our state conference on 30/31 July,” Mr Smith said.

“Figures from DELWP reveal more than 100 recycling facility fires have happened in the last 10 years, with the largest costing Victorian Government over $110 million. We want to reduce instances of fires and work with insurance companies to show that the sector is making inroads to lift standards.

“Participating in this training will demonstrate a waste and resource recovery operator’s willingness and commitment to identify and manage risk.  It will also support business lower their risk profiles, which will increasingly be expected if the sector wants to remain insurable.”

EPA CEO Cathy Wilkinson said that through extensive engagement with industry and local government, EPA has developed practical guidelines on how to comply with the Victorian Government’s Waste Management Policy (Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials).

The VWMA and EPA recognise the need to promote better practice through a shared commitment to drive industry leadership in the preventative management of combustible recyclable and waste materials. The VWMA aims to support its members and the waste and resource recovery sector to reduce the frequency, scale and severity of fires at waste and resource recovery facilities.

In a statement, the VWMA noted that the Victorian waste and resource recovery sector provides over 23,000 direct and indirect jobs across over 1200 businesses and is an essential community service supporting all the waste management needs of every Victorian business and household.

Currently, the sector is responding to changes in the regulatory environment around fire risk and management following new government policy introduced after several major fires.

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VWMA 2018 State Conference wrap-up

This year’s Victorian Waste Management Association State Conference addressed all the key issues impacting the state’s waste and resource recovery sector, including changes to the EP Act and the government’s stockpiling taskforce.

This year’s Victorian Waste Management Association State Conference addressed all the key issues impacting the state’s waste and resource recovery sector, including changes to the EP Act and the government’s stockpiling taskforce.

Read moreVWMA 2018 State Conference wrap-up

VWMA and EPA VIC host Industry Breakfast

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) and Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria is hosting an Industry Breakfast.

The breakfast is open to all VWMA members and non-members and will include speakers from the RSM group and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Director of Economics, Governance and Waste Ian Campbell-Fraser. EPA Victoria Chief Executive Officer Nial Finegan will also be presenting.

Topics that will be covered during the breakfast include risk appetite, a government update on the $13M National Sword package, recycling taskforce and e-waste, and how the EPA can help guide those in the industry.

It will provide an opportunity to meet others in the waste sector, engage with government, and discuss some of the important issues affecting the sector.

A hot plated breakfast is included, along with networking opportunities and presentations.

The VWMA & EPA INDUSTRY BREAKFAST takes place on Thursday 26 April, from 7:30am to 9am at the RACV Club Bayside Room 5 and 501 Bourke St, Melbourne.

To register, visit the website here.

EPA/The Department of Land, Water and Planning will be hosting an event at the same venue and location following the breakfast:

EPA Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials Guidelines Workshop:

The Department of Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is leading the development of the permanent legislative instrument to manage combustible wastes in Victoria. Concurrently, EPA Victoria are conducting a review of the Management and Storage of Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials – Guideline, Publication 1667.1. EPA and DELWP are consulting with industry, government and community April-June 2018.

EPA Victoria would like to hear from those involved storing, transporting or processing combustible recyclable and waste materials such as at a resource recovery, materials recycling or reprocessing facility.

You can participate in the EPA Workshop on 26 April to discuss the management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials. You will need to register separately for EPA’s via eventbrite: https://combustiblerecycling.eventbrite.com.au

 

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