Supporting communities for healthier environment

Bushland Knob Reserve, Stratford looking North West.

Expressions of interest are now open for councils to take part in a pilot program for Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment.

The Officers will be employed by EPA and will work closely with local councils to respond to smaller-scale and lower risk waste and pollution complaints such as small to medium scale illegal dumping, litter, noise, dust and odour arising from smaller business and industry, an official press release said.

Duties will also include responding to complaints, information and education activities to support the prevention of pollution, and proactive inspections of premises to support compliance.

The new roles will deliver quicker responses to lower level pollution issues for local communities.

The Victorian Budget 2017/18 provided $162.5 million over five years to implement the Government’s response to the Independent Inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) – the first comprehensive examination of the authority since 1971.

The reforms will deliver a stronger, modern environmental regulator that is fit for purpose and capable of delivering the services Victorians need.

The reforms will create over 100 new roles within EPA, and in a boost for regional jobs, around 40 of the new positions to be located across EPA’s regional offices.

The pilot program will commence in September for 15 months and will employ 10 officers across a minimum of 10 councils.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said, “This is about providing practical support to councils to help deliver a healthier and more liveable environment for their communities. Our reforms mean more officers on the ground, more investigations, more prosecutions and more expert advice for Victorians.” (TIW)