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On 17 January 2017, the Victorian Government released its formal response to a nine-month-long Independent Inquiry into the EPA’s future role. It fully endorsed 40 of the Inquiry’s 48 recommendations, supported a further seven in principle and supported one in part.
This response reflects the Government’s vision for a stronger EPA and will see us shift our regulatory focus onto prevention and strengthen our scientific base to become the protector of public health and the environment Victorians expect us to be.
The recommendations and funding of $162.5 million over the next five years will also ensure that we are equipped to meet the challenges that come with a constantly changing economy, population and climate.
Delivering on the Government’s vision for EPA
The Victorian Government committed to a major public inquiry into EPA in 2014 – the first comprehensive review of this organisation since we commenced operations in 1971. Led by an independent committee, the Inquiry’s final conclusions were released in 2016. The Independent Inquiry into EPA report identified 48 areas for potential improvement, providing the greatest opportunity in our 46-year history for positive and fundamental reform.
EPA’s Organisational Strategy
EPA is implementing the Victorian Government’s vision of a more agile and modern environmental regulator that can meet both the environmental and human health challenges of the future and the expectations of the community.
To help us get there, EPA has launched a new five year organisational strategy, Our Environment, Our Health (publication 1661).
Our environment, Our health outlines five goals that will guide our work now and into the future:
- Prevent harm
- Equip community and business
- Be an influential authority
- Respond to harm
- Organisational excellence
Our strategy also identifies three core values – excellence, partnership and accountability. We are committed to applying these values consistently in our interactions so that we deliver one experience of EPA.
Our environment, Our health was informed by the eight community consultation sessions which were held throughout Victoria during April and May 2017. To find out where we visited, who attended and what we heard, read here.
Delivering on the first year of the reform
EPA has already delivered on a number of the government’s recommendations:
- December 2016 – Established EPA’s Environmental Public Health Unit to provide Victorians with improved environmental public health information relating to pollution and waste impacts.
- March 2017 – Appointed Victoria’s inaugural Chief Environmental Scientist, Dr Andrea Hinwood.
In addition, in January 2017 the Victorian Government appointed an Interim Advisory Board to guide EPA’s delivery of the Government’s vision for EPA. Chaired by Cheryl Batagol, our Interim Advisory Board Members are Dr John Stocker, Professor Rebekah Brown, Ross Pilling, Monique Conheady, Debra Russell, Robert Hogarth and Professor Arie Freiberg.
In May 2017, the Environment Protection Bill 2017 was read for the second time in the Victorian Parliament. Once passed, this legislation will strengthen our governance and status as a science-based regulator.
Find out more and get involved
While we realise the government’s vision, EPA will provide regular updates on our websites, and advertised opportunities to get involved at Engage Vic. Be sure to register your interest on the Engage Vic website if you would like to provide input into the reforms.