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EPA inquiry begins June

19 May 2015

A major public inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will commence on 1 June 2015. This inquiry will look closely at the EPA to establish how the government can develop the Authority to ensure it can protect public health, while protecting our precious Victorian environment for future generations.

An independent three-person ministerial advisory committee (MAC) has been established to conduct the inquiry. The MAC will be supported by its own secretariat.

The three members of the MAC will be:

  • Ms Penny Armytage (Chair)
  • Ms Jane Brockington
  • Ms Janice van Reyk

The MAC will operate from 1 June and provide a written report to the Minister by 31 March 2016. The Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water will publicly release the report and a response to its findings and recommendations on behalf of the Victorian Government in mid-2016.

Community, business and industry engagement will be a key part of the inquiry. In the meantime, if required, you can call the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning general enquiries line on 136 186, or send an e-mail to customer.service@delwp.vic.gov.au

The terms of reference for the inquiry set out its scope and nature. These are outlined below:

The inquiry will be conducted by the MAC, which will inquire into, report on and present any recommendations and/or options that it considers appropriate in relation to the matters specified below. These are to be considered in the following order of priority:

  1. the EPA's appropriate role in relation to public health issues, including at least:  community concerns such as exposure to asbestos, chemicals and other pollutants; the prevention and management of site contamination, air quality, and water quality in rivers and other waterways;
  2. the Victorian community's and industry's expectations of the EPA as its environmental regulator;
  3. the EPA's appropriate role in protecting the environment;
  4. the ability of the EPA to ensure that the principle of environmental justice is adhered to, the environment is protected for the benefit of the community, and members of the community can be meaningfully involved in, and access fair treatment through, environmental regulation;
  5. the ability of the EPA's current governance structures and funding arrangements to enable it to effectively and efficiently discharge its powers, perform its duties and implement its required functions;
  6. the scope and adequacy of the EPA's statutory powers, and the effectiveness and efficiency of the suite of tools available to and utilised by the EPA, in enabling  protection of the Victorian community and the environment, particularly in light of recent, new and emerging risks and issues; and
  7. any other matter reasonably incidental to these above matters.

In conducting this inquiry, the MAC will consider the best way to combine environment protection with economic viability and growing sustainable jobs in Victoria, including through improving regulatory efficiency and minimising regulatory burden. The MAC will also seek the views of the community, industry and workers in related industries, local government and Victorian government agencies, as well as those of other relevant stakeholders.

Contact numbers

DELWP General enquiries: 136 186

VicEmergency Hotline: 1800 226 226

Local Government Switchboard: 03 9208 3333

National Relay Service

Deaf, hearing or speech impaired?
Please contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or www.relayservice.com.au