OPLE to shine in Gippsland

Published on 28 August 2019

This media release has been shared on behalf of the EPA.

A new gem will enrich the Gippsland environment thanks to a pilot project between Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA), Latrobe City and Baw Baw Shire Councils.

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 8 OPLEs across 10 councils 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.

The pilot is currently funded until June 2020.

For more information please visit www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/programs/ople-pilot

Quotes attributable to EPA CEO Dr Cathy Wilkinson

“We’re excited to be expanding the program into Gippsland and seeing the improvements from the first phase, including reduced response times to reports and improved industry compliance, replicated and built on in this second phase”.

“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.”

Quotes attributable to Baw Baw Shire Mayor Cr Mikaela Power

“We’re so pleased to welcome this collaborative and innovative program to Baw Baw and Latrobe to provide better environmental outcomes for our growing community.”

“This dedicated resource will not only support local businesses in the prevention of pollution, but also proactively manage, report and respond to noise, waste and pollution issues.”

Quotes attributable Latrobe City Mayor Cr Graeme Middlemiss

“Council would work closely with the OPLE in helping enforce the law, educating the community and raising awareness of environmental issues.

“The OPLE expansion is welcome news to Latrobe City Council as it enables faster and better quality environmental compliance across Latrobe City and Baw Baw region”.

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