Vic EPA flags policy changes, prosecutions to transporters


Authority points to modernised monitoring and inquiry powers

Vic EPA flags policy changes, prosecutions to transporters
Waste transporters have been put on notice

 

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria is reminding waste transporters to be aware of their obligations under the Environment Protection Act.

In 2018/19 EPA prosecuted six companies and individuals for waste transportation matters resulting in $240,000 in fines plus significant costs.

EPA figures also show almost a third of all infringement notices issued in 2018/19 were around incorrect disposal of waste.

These infringements involved receivers, transporters and depositors in the waste industry.

EPA regulatory operations executive director Paul Stacchino says transporters should make a new financial year resolution to brush up on their knowledge.

"From July 1, there were a number of policy changes which will affect waste transporters – including EPA’s new electronic waste tracking system and the e-waste landfill ban," Stacchino says.

"The new system will enable EPA to monitor and analyse the movement of waste more quickly and accurately.

"This will help to prevent potential harm to Victorians and the environment by intervening earlier.

"In the first few days the new system has already helped us to identify operators using lapsed registrations and licences, which is a great result.

"The best thing waste transporters can do is be informed, question things that don’t seem right, ask for licence details, ask for receipts, and make sure permits are relevant and up to date."

Stacchino says EPA had produced industry guidance for waste transports to assist them to comply with the Environment Protection Act, but ultimately it was up to businesses to be informed.

"We urge waste transporters to comply with relevant legislation and requirements not just because it’s the law but because it’s the right thing to do for the community and the environment," he says.

"Transport permits and licenced sites are created above all to protect the public and environmental health now and for future generations.

"And as the past year of prosecutions and infringements show, EPA will not hesitate to take action against operators which do the wrong thing.

"A quick call to EPA to check anything you’re unsure of could save you thousands of dollars."


Read about EPA's compliance work in NSW and SA, here


From July 1, 2020, EPA will be operating under a new Environment Protection Act with stronger powers to take action before pollution occurs.

The new Act will:

  • modernise EPA’s inspection and inquiry powers and the introduction of strong regulatory duties across the whole waste chain from generators to transporters to receivers of waste
  • increase significantly maximum fines and penalties, including potential jail time for repeat illegal waste dumping offences
  • introduce stronger fit and proper person requirements and prohibited person provisions means undesirable operators can be prevented from holding a permission and/or be excluded from undertaking specified activities.

Stacchino says the new laws, and the introduction Australia’s first legally enforceable general environmental duty, would help EPA to crack down on operators who undercut their competitors by operating outside the law.

"Community reports are vital to EPA’s ability to regulate industry – if businesses are concerned about a dodgy operator they should report it to EPA’s 24-hour pollution hotline 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842)," he said.

EPA’s Industry guidance for waste transporters is available here.

 

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook