Environment Protection Authority (Victoria)
Environment Protection Authority logo
An air monitoring station adjacent to Alphington railway station
|Formed||1 July 1971|
|Headquarters||200 Victoria Street, Carlton, 3053|
|Annual budget||approx $100m pa|
|Parent agency||Victorian State Government|
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA)
The EPA’s role is one of both prevention and response relevant to reducing the harmful effects caused to the environment by pollution. During emergency events EPA provides expert advice to emergency services. The EPA is called on regularly to respond to pollution incidents, such as industrial spills, and natural disasters, such as bush fires or floods. During bushfire season, the EPA provides advice and forecasting on the impacts of bushfire smoke.
The EPA also monitors compliance with the Environment Protection Act. In line with current international regulatory practice, the EPA adopts a ‘risk based’ regulatory approach. This means that it allocates resources where the greatest difference can be made regarding potential harm to the environment and the likelihood of non-compliance.
EPA aspires to create a healthy environment that supports a liveable and prosperous Victoria. By effectively regulating pollution in Victoria, EPA is striving to deliver clean air, healthy waterways, safe land, and minimal disturbances from noise and odour for Victorians.
The EPA is currently under review by the state government. The Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) for the independent Inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority delivered its report to the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water on 31 March 2016. The Government's response is expected mid 2016.
On Monday 16 May 2016 the Government released the MAC report which makes 48 recommendations to set the EPA up for the next generation. http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/first-step-towards-a-modern-epa/
On 17 January 2017 the Victorian State Government released its response to the Independent Inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
The government response commits to a once-in-a-generation transformation of the EPA to equip it for the future. A modernised environment protection framework with increased resourcing will ensure that the EPA can continue to protect the health of Victorians, our environment and our world-recognised liveability as Victoria's population continues to grow.
The government response supports in full 40 of the 48 recommendations, with seven supported in principle, and one supported in part.
Legislative changes to modernise EPA's governance and overhaul the Environment Protection Act 1970 will be introduced in 2017 and 2018. These will strengthen the EPA's independence and scientific expertise, and deliver certainty, and consistent and efficient regulation for industry. In particular, there will be a landmark shift of approach to preventing harm to the health of Victorians and our environment.
The Victorian State Government 2017/18 Budget released on 2 May 2017 has committed over $162million to kick-start a five year reform program that will provide Victorians with a bigger, better equipped, and more effective EPA to address Victoria's environment protection challenges now and into the future. An initial $45m over 18 months was announced in January 2017 includes:
$4.8 million to expand the environmental public health capability in the EPA to better identify, manage and communicate environmental health risks in Victoria $6.5 million to better hold polluters to account $4.8 million to pilot a program of local government environment protection officers to respond more effectively to local issues affecting liveability and amenity $2.1 million to appoint a Chief Environmental Scientist and boost EPA's intelligence-gathering on new and emerging risks $3.3 million for improved digital information management to support better regulation $1.5 million to strengthen EPA's strategic role in land use planning.
An interim advisory board has been appointed to support the EPA through this significant reform process and provide strategic advice to support its leadership. This will be led by current EPA Chairman, Cheryl Batagol, with interim board members: Dr John Stocker, Professor Rebekah Brown, Ross Pilling, Monique Conheady, Debra Russell, Robert Hogarth and Professor Arie Frieberg.
The Independent Inquiry into the EPA was conducted over 10 months by a Ministerial Advisory Committee and the final report was publicly released on 16 May 2016. The inquiry was the first comprehensive review of the EPA since it commenced operations in 1971. You can find out more about the inquiry, and view the final report here.
Lily D'Ambrosio MP is the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. She was appointed to the role on 23 May 2016 and is the minister responsible for the EPA.
EPA employs close to 600 staff (expected to grow to about 750 over the next year up from about 340 in 2014), based at seven locations across Victoria. Staff include scientists, engineers, lawyer, administrators, community engagement staff, Environment Protection Officers as well as specialist investigators and prosecutors. Offices are located across Victoria at Carlton (head office), Macleod, Dandenong, Traralgon, Wangaratta, Bendigo, and Geelong. EPA will soon open an additional office in Exhibition Street, Melbourne.
On 23 March 2017 EPA announced the appointment of Dr Andrea Hinwood as the state's first Chief Environmental Scientist. http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/about-us/news-centre/news-and-updates/news/2017/march/23/victorias-inaugural-chief-environmental-scientist-announced
Established under the Environment Protection Act 1970, EPA is the world's second oldest environmental regulatory agency. It was established to address environmental problems across the state in a systematic and integrated way, bringing together a range of legislation and powers to be administered by a central authority.
- "Between a rock and a hard place. The story of the development of the EPA", EPA Victoria, 1996, p.13.