28 August 2019
Mornington Peninsula will receive a helping hand to tackle local pollution problems thanks to a pilot project between Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and the shire council.
The pilot sees EPA-authorised officers, known as Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE), embedded within councils to respond to issues of noise, dust, odour and waste management arising from small to medium size businesses. The officers also equip communities and industry with the knowledge and skills to help prevent, identify and resolve environmental issues.
The pilot, which began in 2017 with 11 OPLEs across 13 council areas, will be expanded to include a further eight OPLES across 10 councils, including Mornington Peninsula, thanks to $3.4 million from the Victorian Government.
Recruiting is currently underway for the new OPLEs, who will hit the ground running early next year after completing their training.
EPA CEO Dr Cathy Wilkinson welcomed Mornington Peninsula to the pilot program.
“The pilot has already resulted in reduced response times to reports, and improved industry compliance and we’re excited about building on this further in the second phase of the pilot,” she said.
“As well as responding to issues such as dust, noise and odour, which have the potential to greatly affect liveability, the OPLEs will also be a valuable part of EPA’s increased focus on preventing and identifying illegal stockpiling and disposal of waste.
“We’re committed to being closely connected with the communities we serve and empowering and encouraging them to assist us to prevent harm from pollution and waste.”
Mornington Peninsula Shire Councillor Mayor David Gill said the Shire was “thrilled to be working with the EPA on this exciting pilot project”.
“This project will assist in reducing problems including those arising from noise, dust, odour and waste management in small to medium businesses and will benefit many people on the peninsula, as well as protect our natural environment,” he said.
“One of the community outcomes identified in our Council Plan 2017-2021 is the protection and enhancement of the unique natural and built characteristics of the Mornington Peninsula, and environmental care partnerships help us achieve that outcome.
“Resolving community issues is always a priority for Council.”
The pilot is currently funded until June 2020.