Victoria’s first Chief Environmental Scientist appointed

Victoria’s first Chief Environmental Scientist appointed

The Victorian Government is strengthening the powers of Victoria’s environmental watchdog, welcoming the appointment of Victoria’s inaugural Chief Environmental Scientist.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio announced $45.5 million of initial funding in January 2017 till 2019 for the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).

EPA Victoria has appointed Dr Andrea Hinwood, Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University and a sessional member of the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia, to the role of Chief Environmental Scientist to support the Government in protecting the community and environment from pollution and waste.

As Victoria’s first Chief Environmental Scientist, Dr Hinwood will strengthen EPA Victoria’s efforts in providing comprehensive advice to the community about the environment.

Other measures announced as part of the $45.5 million funding boost included:

  • $6.5 million to hold polluters to account by funding more investigators, environmental protection officers and legal staff
  • $4.8 million to pilot a new network of local government environment protection officers to address local noise, odour and dust issues that impact liveability
  • $4.8 million to build an expanded, specialist environmental public health team
  • $2.4 million to develop a database of legacy contamination risks
  • A major overhaul of Victoria’s 46-year-old legislative framework for environment protection, strengthening the independence of the environmental regulator
  • Better access to essential information and data for Victorian businesses and communities, including more online support services.

Dr Hinwood’s appointment marks the completion of three early commitments made by the Victorian Government in 2016 when announcing the findings of the Independent Inquiry into EPA Victoria.

The Victorian Government is delivering improved environmental public health information with the establishment of the EPA’s Environmental Public Health Unit, following the transfer of staff from the Department of Health and Human Services in December 2016.