The Andrews Labor Government has established an interim Waste Management Policy (WMP) to improve safety standards at Victorian waste and resource recovery facilities.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio today announced the policy will start immediately and remain in place for 12 months while work to deliver a permanent solution for the management of large scale waste stockpiles continues.
The policy applies to operators of sites that store combustible recyclable and waste material.
It gives the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) additional powers to support Victoria’s fire services and issue remedial notices to facilities not properly managing potential fire risks. It also requires facilities to store materials in a manner that reduces risk to human health.
The move follows the Labor Government’s appointment of a joint taskforce comprised of the EPA, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Country Fire Authority and Emergency Management Victoria to audit and assess the fire risk of sites, and ensure local communities are protected.
The interim WMP will provide vital support to the taskforce while it carries out its works and complements the existing powers of councils and fire agencies.
The Labor Government is strengthening the EPA to meet Victoria’s needs now and in the future. The Environment Protection Bill 2017, which is currently before Parliament, clarifies the EPA’s role as a protector of human health and the environment.
The Labor Government will propose further reforms to overhaul the Environment Protection Act next year. The cornerstone of the new legislation will be a general preventative duty to minimise risk of harm to human health and the environment.
For more information, visit epa.vic.gov.au.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“We’re lifting standards and guarding against the risk of damaging fires at waste and resource recovery facilities.”
“This policy will help the recycling taskforce establish more effective controls at sites that need better protection.”
Quote attributable to Member for Broadmeadows Frank McGuire
“Such reforms toughen controls, make management more accountable and as a result should increase community confidence in Victoria’s waste recovery system.”