Lawyers and community groups call on VIC Govt to revoke EP Act delay

Lawyers and community groups are urging the Victorian Government to immediately revoke its delay of the state’s Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018, due to come into effect in July this year, but placed on hold until July 2021.

Read moreLawyers and community groups call on VIC Govt to revoke EP Act delay

NSW EPA records 34 per cent increase in illegal dumping

Members of the public are being asked to report illegal dumping in their communities, after the NSW EPA recorded a 34 per cent increase in illegal dumping last month compared to April 2019.

Environment Minister Matt Kean said illegally dumped waste can harm human health, pollute the environment and cost millions of dollars in taxpayer clean up money each year.

“Most people do the right thing and book in a waste pick up service with their council or sell items in good condition through online forums, but some don’t,” he said.

“Leaving waste on the kerbside without contacting your council could be illegal dumping and cost thousands of dollars in fines.”

Reports to the RIDonline database, which is used by NSW councils and government agencies to record and manage illegal dumping, show incidents of dumped household waste were up 42 per cent, with green waste and mulch up by 30 per cent.

The EPA, which is now a part of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, has advised residents to book waste collections with their local council and to store unwanted good safely until they can be disposed of.

“COVID-19 is also putting stress on charity stores and volunteers. If your local op shop or charity bin is closed, don’t leave your donations outside. Look for an alternative nearby, or revisit when the store is open,” an EPA statement reads.

“Goods left outside op shops and charity bins often become waste, costing charities to clean up and dispose of.”

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Majority of SA surface coating operators are complying

95 per cent of surface coating operators in South Australia are complying with all licence conditions.

Following results from a sector compliance report, surface coating operators across the state have been found to be placing the environment first.

Surface coating, which includes metal finishing, hot-dip galvanising and spray painting or powder coating, are covered under Schedule 1 of the Environment Protection Act 1993 (EP Act).

The primary risk to the environment from surface coating is the lack of appropriate bunding of chemicals and liquid waste, potentially resulting in soil and ground or stormwater contamination. Other environmental concerns from the activity are noise and air quality impacts. 

Naomi Grey, EPA Manager for South East and Campaigns said it was pleasing to see the greater majority of operators doing the right thing.

“The compliance of almost all of the surface coating sector shows that the industry is taking its responsibilities to protect the environment seriously,” Ms Grey said. 

A total of 40 South Australian surface coating operators were inspected by the EPA in late 2019. 

The sector compliance report revealed that 80 per cent of surface coaters undertake at least one or more activities of environmental significance. 

Out of 520 licence conditions, only 28 breaches were found due to lack of improper storage of liquid waste, with 50 per cent of those due to a lack of appropriate bunding.

“We will continue to monitor and work with operators who were found to have breached the regulations to ensure that they can operate effectively within the EP Act regulations, noting that these are difficult times for the industry during COVID-19 restrictions,” Ms Grey said. 

The sector compliance report has set out future actions for the EPA.

“All licensees are expected to undertake correct action to ensure they comply with licence conditions,” the report stated.

“The EPA will continue to monitor these actions and licensees, and take further regulatory action for any ongoing noncompliance and inspect all mobile surface coating businesses,

“Conditions on many surface coating licences will be updated to assist to achieve greater consistency in regulation of the surface coating industry.”

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Final weeks for public feedback on the future of waste in NSW

Over 10,000 people have already provided a submission on the NSW Government’s plan to tackle the use of plastics, reduce waste and pollution and increase recycling across the state.

There are currently two papers open for consultation until Friday, May 8.

The issues paper Cleaning Up Our Act: The Future for Waste and Resource Recovery in NSW was released for public consultation last month, to help shape the development of the NSW 20-Year Waste Strategy.

The NSW Plastics Plan discussion paper outlines actions to reduce single-use plastics in NSW and help the shift towards a circular economy. 

For more information on the policy proposals click here.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said in a statement that the plan is crucial considering in 2018-19, 60 per cent of all littered items were made from plastic and by 2050 there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish. 

The second paper open for public submissions is the Cleaning Up Our Act: The Future for Waste and Resource Recovery in NSW issues paper.

The Cleaning Up Our Act plan outlines options to reduce waste and increase recycling, guides the opportunities and strategic direction for future waste and recycling infrastructure, and for growing sustainable end markets for recycled materials. 

A NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment spokesperson said there has been a fantastic response to the consultations on the 20 Year Waste Strategy and Plastics Plan.

“We have received thousands of submissions and encourage more people to have their say, with consultation running until 8 May,” the Department spokesperson said.

The Department spokesperson said to adapt during COVID-19, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has moved planned face to face engagement, to hold online forums and a webinar. 

“The online forums allowed participants to take an in-depth look at the issues and opportunities presented by the 20 Year Waste Strategy and Plastics Plan papers, with a strong level of engagement from industry, councils, peak bodies and government agencies,” they said.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will analyse all submissions following the closure of the consultation period next month.

“Submissions will be analysed and taken into consideration when developing the 20 Year Waste Draft Strategy and there will be an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft strategy in late 2020,” the Department spokesperson said.

“The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is looking forward to analysing the submissions and developing an innovative and impactful 20 Year Waste Draft Strategy in late 2020.”

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