Wednesday 24 February 2021
Labor’s environment regulator still not in the ‘modern era’
The EPA has conceded it would require millions of dollars additional in taxpayers’ funds before it would be able to become a regulator in the “modern era”.
In PAEC evidence today, the EPA confirmed that it posted a budget deficit of $35.7 million for the 19/20 financial year, despite receiving more than $200 million in funding from the Andrews Labor Government.
The EPA also confirmed it received an additional $11 million in landfill levy charges from Victorian taxpayers as a result of Victoria’s waste management crisis. Yet, despite all this additional revenue, the EPA is still delivering budget deficits and Victoria still has a waste crisis.
Under repeated questioning, the new CEO of the EPA could not even answer when the EPA would enter the “modern era”. In extraordinary evidence, the CEO said that EPA had “planned a budget deficit to bring it into the modern era”.
An independent review undertaken by Ernst and Young last year made scathing findings of the EPA’s failure to protect the Victorian community from hazardous waste.
Since then, in a major embarrassment, the EPA was forced to admit it had unlawfully approved plans to dump millions of tonnes of toxic PFAS soil on the doorsteps of residents and schools in Bacchus Marsh and Bulla. Soon after, the EPA’s CEO resigned on New Year’s Eve, throwing the regulator into chaos.
It’s clear that neither Daniel Andrews or Labor are up to the job in keeping communities safe from toxic industrial waste and protecting our environment.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Bridget Vallence:
“Evidence from today’s Parliamentary hearing confirms that Labor’s environmental regulator is failing to keep Victorians and the environment safe.
“It’s embarrassing that not only do we have an antiquated environmental regulator, but that neither Labor’s top bureaucrat or the EPA CEO could answer when the EPA will enter the “modern era”.
“Labor’s bureaucrats today confirmed they plan to run up tens of millions of dollars of budget deficits to bring the EPA into the “modern era”.
“Hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars has been spent on trying to reform the EPA and its antiquated processes. Yet, Victorians, especially those living in the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne are being subjected to regular toxic industrial waste fires.
“It’s clear Daniel Andrews and Labor have completely botched protecting Victoria’s environment and are wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money in the process.”