Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has launched a new five-year strategy that sets it up as a world-class regulator of pollution and waste.
Significant government investment has given EPA the greatest opportunity in its 46-year history for reform that wil shape future positive environmental and social outcomes for Victorians.
EPA Chief Executive Officer Nial Finegan said with a changing economy, new technology and the arrival of climate change, Victoria faces many different challenges today than when EPA was established in 1971.
“This strategy gives the EPA a new purpose - to protect the environment and people by preventing and reducing harm from pollution and waste,” Mr Finegan said.
“While every Victorian has a role in protecting the environment, we want them to know this is a more proactive EPA that holds polluters to account and is backed by strong science.”
The strategy, titled Our environment, Our health, sets out the five goals EPA will focus on to create a healthy environment that supports a liveable and prosperous Victoria now and always.
The five goals are; prevent harm, equip community and business, be an influential authority, respond to harm, and organisational excellence.
The new strategy has come out of an independent inquiry that conducted extensive community consultation to identify current needs, and the issues that will impact on our environment and Victorians in the years ahead, including population growth, advances in technology and the changing economy.
Putting the State Government’s response to the inquiry into action, the strategy is a shift in the Authority’s regulatory focus onto prevention and the strengthening of its scientific base to become the protector of public health and the environment Victorians expect it to be.
“Already, we’re taking action to ensure we become the environmental regulator that Victorians expect us to be with the appointment of our Chief Environmental Scientist, the establishment of a new Environmental Public Health Unit and the development of a pilot program with councils to address local pollution and waste issues,” Mr Finegan said.
In 2017-18, EPA will focus on several complex pollution and waste issues. These include:
- Implementation of specific leachate management conditions in landfill licences to reduce off-site and amenity impacts that pose risks to the community and the environment;
Addressing illegal dumping of hazardous materials, including asbestos, through EPA’s Illegal Dumping Strikeforce Program;
Improving industry practices to reduce and prevent the contamination of land, groundwater and stormwater through strategic compliance and engagement programs;
Prevention of land and groundwater contamination from underground petroleum storage tanks through targeted compliance and education activities;
Improving EPA’s knowledge and capability to manage emerging contaminants of concern such as PFAS (per-and polyfluorinated alkyl substances)
Further developing our knowledge and approach to assessing the impact of air pollutants on the environment and public health;
Developing a management strategy for the environmental and human health impacts of lead contamination at current and former shooting ranges.
“Clean air, water and land are essential to the health and lifestyle of every Victorian and our environment. We’ve made a promise to Victorians to become a stronger, modern and better resourced EPA and we’re committed to delivering,” said Mr Finegan.
To see EPA’s new organisational strategy, Our environment, Our health, visit http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/about-us/our-strategy or see the video at: https://youtu.be/B9zOPcoBlho