Getting It Done: Lifting Safety Standards At Recycling Sites

Resource recovery facilities across Victoria are being audited to protect the community following the release of Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce’s interim report, commissioned by the Andrews Labor Government.

The taskforce was set up in the aftermath of the SKM Recycling plant fire in Coolaroo, targeting key recycling sites that require extra management measures to ensure community safety.

To date, the taskforce has conducted 88 inspections of 73 sites and issued 37 statutory notices.

The interim report found that while no site was as high a fire risk as Coolaroo, the sector needs to be better prepared and equipped to manage the risk of fire.

The Labor Government will consider each recommendation made by the taskforce, with inspections to continue until June 2018.

To assist the taskforce, the Labor Government has strengthened the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) by establishing an interim Waste Management Policy to improve safety standards at waste and resource recovery facilities.

This is in addition to investing $162.5 million to reform the EPA and passing the Environment Protection Bill 2017 in October this year – the first of two Bills to overhaul the independent regulator.

To help industry comply with the policy, the taskforce has developed guidelines that provide detailed information for resource recovery facility operators on how best to prevent and reduce the impact of fires.

A summary of the taskforce’s interim report can be found at epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/programs/victorian-government-resource-recovery-audit-taskforce.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“This is about improving safety measures and helping to prevent a fire from happening in the first place.” 

“The taskforce is auditing recycling facilities across the state to identify and prioritise sites that require action to better protect the community.”    

The Government will carefully consider all of the recommendations in the report and respond in due course.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino

“The Taskforce has set out a range of recommendations to reduce the risk of damaging fires and lift standards to better protect locals and the safety of our first responders.”  

Quote attributable to Member for Broadmeadows Frank McGuire

“Community safety is always our priority – we’re making sure waste and resource recovery facilities are complying to tougher standards to ensure everyone is safe.”