Victoria, Australia is pushing for an overhaul of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would cost about $45 million to make it more proactive in prosecuting companies for environmental violations.
The Andrews government in Morwell, Victoria would have to adopt 40 of 48 recommendations that a 10-month review of the EPA has made in order to fit the new model.The review found the EPA to be too lethargic in its responses to reported violations, and it also assessed that the EPA lacked necessary resources to enforce conditions imposed upon developers effectively.
The overhaul involves funding more lawyers, investigators, and environmental protection officers with $6.5 million.It calls for $4.8 million to set up a network of government environmental protection officers locally and an additional $4.8 million to further develop the environmental public health team.There are also $2.4 million earmarked for a public database cataloging all sites that represent a legacy contamination risk.
The funding would take effect within the next 18 months, as would the two legislative reform packages intended to modernize the Environmental Protection Act of 1970.Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio explained that the reforms proposed would "ensure the EPA maintains its status as a world-leading environmental regulator."
In addition to the seven recommendations supported but not fully enacted were two primary recommendations.One aims to strengthen third-party litigants' rights to raise legal challenges against violations of environmental laws.The other recommends the EPA be afforded a more effective role in the compliance and enforcement of environmental conditions regarding mining licenses.