19 April 2016
Chair of the Independent Inquiry into the EPA, Penny Armytage today kicked off an extensive public consultation program across the State, releasing a public Discussion Paper, schedule of public consultations, and an interactive website calling on all Victorians to have their say on the future of the EPA.
Ms Armytage and Ministerial Advisory Committee members Jane Brockington and Janice van Reyk will host the series of public consultation meetings in 10 regional and 7 metropolitan areas across Victoria between now and 31 October 2015.
In coming days they will also meet with around 100 representatives across industry, environment groups and local government in a schedule of roundtable discussions.
The Discussion Paper will form the basis for the consultations and highlights a series of issues for exploration as the Inquiry progresses. Key themes include land use planning, public health, emergency management, climate change and better regulatory approaches. The Inquiry will also explore matters related to how the EPA can effectively consult with the community.
"This is a once-in-a-generation chance for the public to have significant influence on the way the EPA operates into the future," said Ms Armytage.
Over the past two months the Ministerial Advisory Committee has met with more than 50 senior government representatives across a range sectors to understand the changing requirements of the EPA, and explore matters relating to the Terms of Reference of the Inquiry.
"We are now seeking feedback directly from the Victorian community to better understand individual, rural and business needs to meet Victoria's future challenges," she said.
The interactive website www.epa-inquiry.vic.gov.au for the Inquiry went live today with discussion threads, registration for public consultation meetings and ways to make online and written submissions.
Public consultation meetings will be held in Wodonga, Shepparton, Werribee, Warrnambool, Coburg, Bairnsdale, Traralgon, Richmond, Horsham, Ballarat, Bendigo, Frankston, Geelong, Sunshine, Dandenong, Ringwood and Mildura.
The Inquiry will report to the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water by 31 March 2016.
Ms Armytage said Victoria's population was projected to increase from 5.9 million today to 10 million by 2051, which was a significant challenge facing the EPA in addition to the changing environment, technology developments, and the community's expectations of government.
"It is critical the EPA has the right operating arrangements and legislation to best support Victorians into the future," Ms Armytage said.
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