Newly appointed Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) CEO Lee Miezis said waste crime was one of his priorities for the north east of Victoria on his first visit to the region in his new post.
“In recent weeks we have seen examples of waste being illegally dumped with the potential to do great environmental harm. I believe the community has no tolerance for such actions and rightly expect EPA to take action wherever it is detected,” said Mr Miezis who was visiting the EPA Wangaratta office.
His comments came following a court hearing in Wodonga, on 4 May, 2021 where a local builder and his company, Cavalier Homes Albury Wodonga, were ordered to pay $25,000 to the court fund after they were found guilty of dumping industrial waste on a private property in Barnawatha at a clean up cost of $370,000.
Further court action for another case involving Wodonga man Craig Cartwright, who failed to act on an EPA Clean Up Notice regarding illegal dumping of waste in the area, saw him ordered to pay $5,000 to court funds and placed on a good behaviour bond..
“Cases like this show that we will pursue people and go to the courts if they do the wrong thing,” said Mr Miezis.
Mr Miezis said the Authority’s regional presence will be strengthened as new regulatory powers and systems improve EPA’s ability to detect and prevent pollution and also prosecute offenders where pollution occurred or even had the potential to occur.
“From 1 July, the new Environment Protection Act will come into force giving EPA far greater powers but also making it everyone’s responsibility to prevent pollution before it occurs. This is a major step forward for all Victorians,” said Mr Miezis.
“EPA has invested in a new EPA Waste Crimes Prevention Directorate to coordinate our efforts against waste crime across the state, and the community can expect to see more strong regulatory action.
“Victoria’s environment will be better protected in the future.”
Mr Miezis said he was proud to be appointed to the CEO position and looked forward to leading the organisation, especially as it entered its next phase.
“As we look toward the introduction of new legislation on 1 July, this is an incredible opportunity for us to better protect Victorians and the environment,” Mr Miezis said.