The Government has supported the recommendation that an overhaul of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (EP Act) is necessary to deliver a modernised and fit for purpose legislative framework for environment protection in Victoria. Rather than establish a separate Act to set out the EPA’s objective, functions and governance structure, as suggested by the Inquiry, the Government has elected to legislate the recommended establishment provisions within the EP Act itself.
The amendments will include a legislated objective that seeks to provide clarity in regard to the overarching purpose of the EPA.
As such, the EP Act will be updated in two stages:
- a bill to legislate establishment and governance provisions, which will be introduced to Parliament as soon as practicable in 2017 (Governance amendments); and
- a bill to give effect to the overhaul of the EP Act which is planned to be introduced to Parliament in 2018 (Overhaul Bill).
To ensure effective governance, the Government has committed to establish a multi member board to oversee the EPA. To support the board, the Inquiry proposed that it be legislated that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the EPA possess science or engineering qualifications or experience. The Government elected not to adopt this recommendation for two primary reasons. First, it would potentially limit the pool of experienced executives and second, because the CEO would be supported by experts such as the Chief Environmental Scientist.