The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) has welcomed the formation of the EPA Waste Crime Directorate, which will include 70 new officers to stop illegal dumping across Victoria.
Announced 18 September by Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, the Directorate will hire forensic accountants to tackle illegal activity, surveillance officers, intelligence analysts and more environmental protection officers to reinforce the Victorian EPA’s zero tolerance approach to waste crime.
The new officers will target activities like illegal waste dumping, the unsafe storage and transport of waste and landfill levy fraud.
The VWMA welcomes these new compliance officers as it believes that illegal and substandard activity on behalf of a small number of individuals is undermining the reputation of the industry, and investor confidence in the sector.
The Waste Crime Prevention Inspectorate will work with WorkSafe Victoria, Victoria Police, emergency services agencies, local government and other regulators to improve and streamline intelligence sharing and crack down waste crime in Victoria.
Major illegal dumping incidents which occurred recently include:
— The tyre stockpile at Stawell in Victoria, which included close to 10,000 tonnes of tyres and cost the taxpayer $10 million to clean up.
— The illegal stockpile of construction and demolition waste at Lara, which include 320,000 cubic metres of rubbish and is estimated to cost the taxpayer $100 million to clean up.
— More than two million litres of chemical waste stored at a warehouse in Campbellfield, with the clean-up cost in the tens of millions.
“Superfunds, institutional investors and families need to be confident that when they invest in high quality waste and recycling companies, their operations will not be undermined by rogue operators illegally dumping waste,” Alex Serpo, VWMA Executive Officer said.
“Many VWMA members are family businesses that work diligently every day to meet the highest safety and environmental standards, and we commend this initiative from the Minister to stop illegal dumping.”
Along with ensuring high standards across the industry, the VWMA is working with state government to ensure the effective rollout of the Recycling Victorian initiatives, designed to create more job and less waste.