ENVIRONMENT Protection Authority Victoria’s (EPA’s) new Regional Manager says the community and local businesses will play a greater part in protecting Gippsland’s environment from next year.
Jessica Bandiera says new legislation taking effect in July 2020 will give EPA more power to protect the environment and the community, but also gives Victorians a new legal responsibility to do their bit.
“Having grown up and studied in Gippsland, I know there are ongoing challenges in environmental management here, but the region also has some of the state’s greatest environmental assets,” Ms Bandiera said.
Equipped with a degree in ecology and on her way to a Masters in Business Administration, Jessica has extensive experience with EPA and the Department of
Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) in Gippsland, the Port of Melbourne, a large agriculture and mining company, and a Queensland based catchment management authority.
“Along with EPA’s role as the regulator of activities involving pollution and waste, my focus in the lead up to July 2020 is to ensure local businesses and the community are well engaged in environment protection and their obligations under the new Act,” Ms Bandiera said.
“Victoria’s new environment law takes a new approach, focusing on preventing waste and pollution impacts rather than managing impacts after they have occurred,” she said.
“The Act will also introduce a General Environmental Duty – the requirement for businesses and individuals to take all reasonable steps to prevent harm to the environment and public health.”
EPA’s compliance and enforcement powers will be strengthened, with increased penalties, and the law will require more environmental information to be publicly available.
“This is a great opportunity to achieve more for protecting the environment and public health, through the actions of EPA, business and the community,” Ms Bandiera said.
As EPA’s Regional Manager for Gippsland, Jessica Bandiera will lead a team of 18 operations staff and three science staff, conducting nearly 190 site inspections and responding to 200 pollution reports each year.
Common pollution reports in Gippsland include odour, waste management on farms, and water pollution.
You can learn more about the new EPA legislation at www.epa.vic.gov.au/newlaws
Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24/7 hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).