Council push to host EPA headquarters

Relocate the Environment Protection Authority’s scientific headquarters to the Latrobe Valley, provide the EPA with better resources and strengthen its enforcement capabilities.

These are some of the key suggestions Latrobe City Council has put forward to the State Government Inquiry, investigating the authority’s future role and direction.

Latrobe City mayor Dale Harriman said it made sense for the Valley to be home to the EPA’s scientific headquarters due to its industrial zones and mining industry.

“There are a lot of industrial areas down here that need a hands-on view of the EPA and (it will give EPA employees) better understanding of what’s happening when they can walk out and see it in the area,” Councillor Harriman said.

“If they live in the area, work in the area, they know what a normal day looks like and they know (what) is abnormal.

“(At the moment) when they come down when an event is on like the mine fire, they don’t know how to rate it or how bad it is compared to normal.

“It gives them that bit of perspective by being in the area.”

Latrobe City’s submission also stressed the need for EPA employees to have strong scientific backgrounds, who better understood the role of local government and engaged with the community.

Submissions were due by 31 October to the Inquiry’s Ministerial Advisory Committee, made up of Penny Armytage, Jane Brockington and Janice van Reyk.

The MAC will provide recommendations about the EPA’s most appropriate role in public health and environmental issues to Climate Change and Water Minister Lisa Neville by March.