Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has welcomed the Victorian Government’s commitment of $45.5 million over the next 18 months to better protect Victorians and their environment from the harmful effects of pollution and waste.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, confirmed the Government’s support for all 48 recommendations (40 fully, seven in principle, one in part) made by the Independent EPA Inquiry, completed in March 2016.
EPA CEO, Nial Finegan, said the agency remains committed to delivering on the Government’s vision of a stronger environmental regulator, better equipped to meet new and emerging environmental challenges.
“The Government response embraces the vision for a stronger EPA capable of meeting future environmental challenges posed by a changing climate, evolving economy and growing population,” he said. “EPA welcomes this announcement and will continue to implement change that will position it to address the challenges of the future in line with community, industry and government expectations.”
The funding will kick start an extensive reform program and includes $6.5 million to boost EPA’s prosecution strategy and fund more investigators, environment protection officers and legal staff to hold polluters to account; $3.3 million to deliver improvements in how EPA uses technology to communicate, including the development of a new digital strategy and $2.4 million to develop a database of legacy contamination risks; $4.8 million to pilot new ways to respond to local noise, dust and odour issues through a network of local government environment protection officers; $4.8 million to provide an expanded, specialist environmental public health team within EPA.
$1.5 million to strengthen EPA’s role in strategic land use planning.