The EPA is taking to the skies to stamp out illegal dumping of waste under a new $6 million strategy to protect Victorian communities and crackdown on illegal dumping.
Premier John Brumby and Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings today joined EPA officers on a helicopter to view dumping sites on the northern outskirts of Melbourne.
More than 80,000 tonnes of illegally dumped waste is collected from roadsides and suburbs each year with thousands more tonnes believed to be dumped in large scale illegal landfill sites.
Mr Brumby said the strikeforce would strengthen the enforcement capabilities of the EPA and would mean more officers working in the sky and on the ground to identify, investigate and hold to account those who illegally dispose of waste.
“Illegal waste dumping is a scourge that is not tolerated by our community. It is environmental vandalism that costs the community millions of dollars each year to clean up and our government wants to see it stamped out,” Mr Brumby said.
“Illegally dumping waste not only threatens our communities and the environment but financially undermines legitimate licensed waste operators.
“The new strikeforce will weed out rogue operators found to be financially profiting from illegally dumping waste. It will operate across the state and will be responsible for taking enforcement action against those dumping waste and ensuring they are held responsible for the clean up.”
The Victorian Government has provided $6 million over four years for the EPA Victoria strikeforce that will respond to reports of illegal dumping from the community, work with local council and gather intelligence to measure and track illegal dumping.
Mr Brumby said the EPA’s strikeforce strategy would translate received information into intelligence to strategically target large scale and systematic illegal dumping.
“This strategy will deliver a better outcome for the environment and save money for local councils, which spend more than $13 million on cleaning up illegal dumping each year,” he said.
Mr Jennings said the strikeforce would be responsible for taking enforcement action against those dumping waste and ensure they are held responsible for the clean-up.
“Illegal dump sites are currently reported to the EPA on an ad hoc basis and the strikeforce program will provide a coordinated, strategic approach to stamping out the illegal practice,” Mr Jennings said.
“This strategy will see an increase in the number of notices issued by the EPA and increased levels of sites cleaned up by those responsible. Ultimately, this strategy will see a change in behaviour by the community, generators, transporters and receivers of waste.”
Penalties for illegally dumping waste range from $1,000 to more than $250,000, under the Environment Protection Act ( 1970 ).