Changes in Victorian Government legislation increase need for advanced environmental monitoring technology
9 February 2017
Changes to the funding and powers of EPA Victoria (Environment Protection Authority Victoria) announced by the State Government of Victoria in January 2017 have implications for industry, government and Victorian residents. The legislative changes taking place over a two-year period, will shift the focus of EPA Victoria to prevention strategies and increase its ability to identify and address potential and actual sources of environmental damage. Whilst this is likely to cause an increase in the need for some organisations to self-monitor, by investing in advanced environmental monitoring technologies, strategically-minded businesses will be able to better protect their profit margins while also protecting the environment we all share.
A general duty of environmental protection
The changes are in response to a major review of Victoria’s approach to environmental regulation. A key recommendation involves the introduction of a general duty of environmental protection. According to Josh Gordon and Royce Miller of The Age, this means that, “‘reasonably practicable’ steps must be taken [by industries] to prevent harm from pollution and waste. And any entity operating under an EPA licence responsible for breaches could face criminal or civil remedies.”
The intention is to ensure that industries are doing all they can to prevent pollution that could impact the wellbeing of the environment and of people living near, or working within, key industries.
Using monitoring technology to protect industry alongside the environment
Nicholas Dal Sasso, (former) Managing Director, Acoem Environment welcomes the increased focus on the wellbeing of people in Victoria:
“Some businesses across industry, and particularly those working with Acoem Australasia, have already focused their attention on protecting the wellbeing of staff and residents by increasing monitoring capabilities. This change in legislation demonstrates a government commitment to further this focus and draw on the advances in environmental protection that have arisen through new technologies, research and industry.”
For the past 40 years, Acoem Australasia has been supporting businesses in their efforts to minimise environmental harm. It has done this by working with industry to design, manufacture and implement environmental monitoring systems that produce high quality, reliable data to internationally accredited standards. The resultant data can then be used by industry and government to ensure regulations are being met. And should circumstances so demand, Acoem Australasia is one of the few environmental monitoring companies in Australia with the accredited systems and processes needed to provide data reliable enough for use in legal proceedings.
Financial and non-financial environmental risk mitagation
As the proverb goes, “prevention is better than cure.” Prevention of environmental damage is easier and more cost-effective for businesses to achieve than managing negative after effects. The new legislation aims to make it easier for EPA Victoria to identify sources of damage.
In light of this, and other changes yet to come, it is clear that strategically-minded businesses will investigate the financial, non-financial and risk mitigation benefits environmental self-monitoring can deliver.
Only by employing the internationally accredited processes, services and technologies of reputable environmental champions like Acoem Australasia can forward thinking companies not only minimise costs through effective prevention, but also ensure the availability of high quality, accurate data records demonstrating a history of environmental compliance should the need arise.