LEONGATHA’S farming community is preparing for the roll out of new environment laws.
The Environment Protection Authority said the attendance of farmers and small business operators at an information session in Leongatha last week was encouraging.
EPA Gippsland Regional Manager Jessica Bandiera said the key messages were around the new legislation which applies a general environmental duty of care to everyone undertaking commercial industrial activities.
“The main message we are aiming to get out to the community is if you’re already currently aware of the risks of your activity to the environment and have appropriate controls in place to manage waste or the potential impacts on your neighbours, then the laws will support good practices,” Ms Bandiera said.
“However, if you’re a smaller business and you haven’t spent much time thinking about the risks associated with your business, the EPA is able to assist you to put the appropriate controls in place.”
She said silage wrap, dairy effluent and wastewater management were key issues for farmers.
The new Act emphasises the need to prevent pollution occurring but still provides for significant deterrents including fines up to $1.6 million for breaches.
Reckless and deliberate actions that cause pollution could lead to fines of up to $3.2 million and possible jail for individuals.
Ms Bandiera said the Act applied to every person in Victoria.
She encouraged people to attend another information session at Wonthaggi in the Bass Coast Shire Council meeting room 2 on Wednesday, October 16.
Further information is also available at environment.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/334450/Factsheet_Environment-Protection-Amendment-Act-2018.pdf.
Pollute the environment and risk $3.2m in fines