What role should the EPA play in the future?
Earlier this week members of The Switch Report attended the Inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in Coburg to discuss the future role of the EPA.
The discussion invited community members to voice their concerns about the environment in the next 20 years and the key challenges that will need to be addressed.
Some of the environmental concerns voiced by members of the community included:
With Australia’s population continuing to grow and Melbourne’s population expected to reach 7 million by 2030, attendees explored ideas for managing the growth in the context of the impact it will have on the environment. One thought was to more effectively distribute the population across Victoria, rather than having the majority of the pressure on metropolitan Melbourne.
As population spikes, pressure on transportation mounts. Attendees expressed the need to have a more effective, overarching solution to transport including a need for more accessible and efficient public transport and roads.
The need for stricter guidelines and processes for recycling, at household and industry levels, were expressed by members of the public. A shift towards creating less waste which ends up in landfill, as well as having more of a focus on recycling waste, was posed as a major environmental challenge for the future.
Air and water quality, contaminated sites, asbestos and other pollution-related issues was among a top concern for local residents.
The principle that people should have equal access to environmental goods, such as green spaces and clean water, and exploring how environmental risk is distributed was also discussed at the inquiry.
The inquiry also asked attendees what they thought the future role of the EPA should be. Some agreed that the EPA should play more of a role as an educator and informer, to have a more active role in sharing information about environmental issues with the public and working towards creating behavioural change. Others suggested the EPA should play a more prominent role as an enforcer to ensure the environment is protected through more stringent rules and laws.
Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville said the review will examine whether the EPA has the right power, right tools and proper resourcing to ensure it is agile and efficient and can tackle the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow.
“Undertaking a public inquiry will ensure we are setting the EPA up for success – to be able to respond to the justifiable public health concerns arising from contaminates sites, water quality, air pollution and community concerns such as exposure to asbestos,” she said.
Ms Neville said the inquiry was also an opportunity to explore what the future role of the EPA should be. Should it serve an environmental protector or regulator, or both?
TELL US BELOW: What role do you think the EPA should play in the future?
The EPA Inquiry will hold a series of public consultations across Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
- September 23 – Ringwood
- September 28 – Richmond
- September 29 – Bairnsdale
- September 30 – Traralgon
- October 7 – Horsham
- October 8 – Ballarat
- October 12 – Bendigo
- October 13 – Frankston
- October 19 – Geelong
- October 21 – Sunshine
- October 22 – Dandenong
- October 27 – Mildura
View full event details at the EPA Inquiry website.
The EPA Inquiry wants to hear from you and they are encouraging all members of the public to share feedback via a submission. Lodge a submission online at www.epa-inquiry.vic.gov.au