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Environment Protection Authority Victoria
Environment Protection Authority Victoria logo.jpg
EPA air monitor Alphington.jpg
An air monitoring station adjacent to Alphington railway station
Agency overview
Formed 1 July 1971
Jurisdiction Victoria, Australia
Headquarters 200 Victoria Street, Carlton, 3053
Employees 600 (approx)
Annual budget $100m per annum (approx)
Agency executive
  • Chief Executive Officer, Dr Cathy Wilkinson
Parent agency Victorian Government
Website www.epa.vic.gov.au
Agency ID PROV VA 1058

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA)

EPA’s role is to reduce harmful impacts on the environment and human health caused by pollution and waste.

During emergency events, EPA provides expert advice to emergency services. EPA responds to pollution incidents such as industrial spills and natural disasters such as bush fires or floods. During bushfire season, EPA provides advice and forecasting on the impacts of bushfire smoke.

EPA also monitors compliance with the Environment Protection Act 1970. In line with current international regulatory practice, the EPA adopts a ‘risk based’ regulatory approach. This means it allocates resources where the greatest difference can be made regarding potential harm to the environment and the likelihood of non-compliance.

EPA aspires to create a healthy environment that supports a liveable and prosperous Victoria. By effectively regulating pollution in Victoria, EPA is striving to deliver clean air, healthy waterways, safe land, and minimal disturbances from noise and odour for Victorians.

In May 2015, the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water appointed a Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) to undertake an independent Inquiry into the EPA. The MAC delivered its report to the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water on 31 March 2016. The government released its response to the inquiry on 17 January 2017.

The government response commits to a once-in-a-generation transformation of EPA to equip it for the future. A modernised environment protection framework with increased resourcing will ensure that EPA can continue to protect the health of Victorians, our environment and our world-recognised liveability as Victoria's population continues to grow.

The government response supports in full 40 of the 48 recommendations, with seven supported in principle, and one supported in part.

Legislative changes to modernise EPA's governance and overhaul the Environment Protection Act 1970 will be introduced in 2017 and 2018. These will strengthen the EPA's independence and scientific expertise, and deliver certainty, and consistent and efficient regulation for industry. In particular, there will be a landmark shift of approach to preventing harm to the health of Victorians and our environment.

The Victorian State Government 2017/18 Budget released on 2 May 2017 has committed over $162 million to kick-start a five-year reform program that will provide Victorians with a bigger, better equipped, and more effective EPA to address Victoria's environment protection challenges now and into the future. An initial $45m over 18 months was announced in January 2017 includes:

  • $4.8 million to expand the environmental public health capability in the EPA to better identify, manage and communicate environmental health risks in Victoria
  • $6.5 million to better hold polluters to account
  • $4.8 million to pilot a program of local government environment protection officers to respond more effectively to local issues affecting liveability and amenity
  • $2.1 million to appoint a Chief Environmental Scientist and boost EPA's intelligence-gathering on new and emerging risks
  • $3.3 million for improved digital information management to support better regulation
  • $1.5 million to strengthen EPA's strategic role in land-use planning.

An interim advisory board was appointed to support the EPA through this significant reform process and provide strategic advice to support its leadership. This is led by Chairperson Cheryl Batagol, with interim board members: Dr John Stocker, Professor Rebekah Brown, Ross Pilling, Monique Conheady, Debra Russell, Robert Hogarth and Professor Arie Frieberg.

Lily D'Ambrosio MP is the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. She was appointed to the role on 23 May 2016 and is the minister responsible for the EPA.

EPA employs close to 600 staff (expected to grow to about 750 over the next year up from about 340 in 2014), based at seven locations across Victoria. Staff include scientists, engineers, lawyers, administrators, community engagement staff, Environment Protection Officers as well as specialist investigators and prosecutors. Offices are located across Victoria at Carlton (head office), Macleod, Dandenong, Traralgon, Wangaratta, Bendigo, Geelong and in Exhibition Street, Melbourne.

On 23 March 2017 EPA announced the appointment of Dr Andrea Hinwood as the state's first Chief Environmental Scientist. http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/about-us/news-centre/news-and-updates/news/2017/march/23/victorias-inaugural-chief-environmental-scientist-announced

History[edit]

Established under the Environment Protection Act 1970, EPA is the world's third oldest environmental regulatory agency.[1] It was established to address environmental problems across the state in a systematic and integrated way, bringing together a range of legislation and powers to be administered by a central authority.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Between a rock and a hard place. The story of the development of the EPA", EPA Victoria, 1996, p.13.

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