The Independent Inquiry into Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) was undertaken over ten months from June 2015 to March 2016 by a Ministerial Advisory Committee chaired by Penny Armytage. The inquiry made 48 recommendations to government about how the EPA can be equipped to meet the environment and human health challenges of today and the future. This document sets out the Andrews Labor Government’s response to each of the inquiry’s recommendations.
Through the inquiry, government has heard clear views from experts, community, industry and stakeholders about the importance of a strong, modern and mature EPA within a growing and transitioning Victoria. Government has heard that an EPA that delivers efficient, proportionate and consistent regulation is vital for business and to ensure Victoria is an attractive place for investment. Government has heard that the Victorian community wants an EPA that effectively and proactively protects their health and their environment from harm.
The reforms set out in this response will deliver:
• a proactive and strategic EPA focussed on preventing harm to human health and the environment
• an EPA that provides business with clarity, certainty and support to comply, and holds polluters to account
• modern, fit-for-purpose legislation
• greater responsiveness to local and regional issues that matter to communities
• strengthened governance for the EPA, providing independence and accountability
• a trusted and authoritative source of science and technical knowledge and advice.
The reforms will transform Victoria’s approach to environment protection over a number of years. Implementation will include consultation with business, community and stakeholders, and be guided by core principles:
• reform will deliver better environment and human health outcomes for Victorians
• reform will build trust of community and industry in the EPA and government
• regulatory approaches will be targeted, proportionate, risk-based and cost-effective
• regulation will be monitored and evaluated to ensure systems remain fit for purpose as circumstances change
• role clarity will be increased and all opportunities taken to simplify and streamline processes.
The EPA has played a vitally important role for Victoria since it came into operation in 1971, and these reforms will ensure that it continues to do so.