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Delivering the Government’s vision for EPA

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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.

Q and A on the government response to the EPA Inquiry + Expand all Collapse all

  • Why was there an inquiry into EPA?

    The Victorian Government committed to a review of EPA as part its election commitments. The Inquiry was undertaken to examine what our growing state needs from its EPA in the face of current and future environment protection and environmental health challenges. 

    Much has changed since EPA was created in 1971: technology, industry, the role of government, and the environment. The Victorian community has grown and changed, too, as have expectations of its environmental regulator. It was therefore timely that, after 45 years of service, EPA be reviewed to ensure it’s equipped to meet future challenges posed by a changing environment, shifting economy and growing population.
  • What is the purpose of the government response?

    The response outlines the government’s level of support for each of the Inquiry’s recommendations.

  • What will the reforms achieve?

    The Inquiry found Victoria needs a stronger and more prevention-focused EPA in the face of new and emerging challenges from waste and pollution.

    The reforms seek to protect the community’s health, the environment and Victoria’s liveability now and in the future.

  • Why does EPA Victoria need a board?

    A contemporary governance structure will provide EPA the foundation it needs to meet current and future environmental regulation challenges in line with government and community expectations. 

    The establishment of a board requires legislative change, but to get things moving the government has put in place an interim board to provide strategic oversight of the development of a new organisational strategy and the initial reforms.

  • What will the Interim Board do?

    The terms of reference for the Interim Board identify the following:

    • developing EPA’s organisational strategy and delivering reform
    • delivering better environmental and human health outcomes for Victorians
    • building trust of community and industry in EPA and government
    • targeting proportionate, risk-based and cost-effective regulatory approaches
    • ensuring regulatory systems remain fit for purpose as circumstances change
    • increasing role clarity, with all opportunities taken to simplify and streamline processes.
  • What is the role of the Chief Environmental Scientist?

    The Chief Environmental Scientist will strengthen EPA’s authoritative, scientific voice, working to ensure the community is provided robust, evidence-based advice and information.

    As EPA’s science lead, the Chief Environmental Scientist will be a champion for innovation, capability and service delivery, improving the quality of EPA’s science.

    The Chief Environmental Scientist will set EPA’s science strategy and standards of excellence, and contribute to significant and complex regulatory decisions.

  • Who will the Chief Environmental Scientist work with?

    The Chief Environmental Scientist will provide advice to EPA’s executive team and other senior decision-makers across government, including the Minister for Environment, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer and Emergency Management Victoria leadership.

    The Chief Environmental Scientist will deepen EPA’s key relationships with universities, research organisations and government partners, ensuring EPA remains at the forefront of emerging science.

  • What is the role of the Chief Environmental Scientist in an emergency? Working with Victoria’s well-established emergency management sector, the Chief Environmental Scientist will play a key role in responding to emerging and critical issues, providing Victorians with the information they need to make an informed decision about their environment in an emergency.

Page last updated on 5 Sep 2017