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EPA Water Sector Consultation Group Update

The EPA Consultation group focuses on key risks of harm and opportunities for improved outcomes in priority areas which are updated annually

Following the implementation of major changes to the environmental regulatory landscape in Victoria and with the promulgation of the Environment Protection Act 2017 and the Environment Protection Regulations 2021, the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) ‘refreshed’ the Water Sector Consultation Group in late 2022, with the aims of:

  • Working closely with the sector to ‘protect human health and the environment, in line with the principle of shared responsibility in the Environment Protection framework’.
  • Supporting the water sector to comply with obligations in the Environment Protection framework
  • Encouraging higher performance across the sector in preventing and minimising risks of harm from waste and pollution
  • Providing a platform for consultation on EPA’s strategies, policies and practices

The group focuses on key risks of harm and opportunities for improved outcomes in priority areas which are updated annually and currently comprise:

  • Challenges for the water sector in managing risks to the environment and human health emerging from climate change
  • Planning for and managing growth areas including conflicts between land uses and ongoing encroachment
  • Impacts to waterways of discharges of waste from water treatments plants
  • Taking reasonably practicable steps to manage risks of harm to health from contaminants including emerging contaminants.

The group is chaired by a senior EPA representative (currently Jacquie Stepanoff

Director Policy and Regulation at EPA) and comprises of delegates from water corporations (nominated by respective CEOs/Managing Directors), AWA, VicWater, DEECA, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, and representing the collective of Catchment Management Authorities, their peak body Vic Catchments.

The group provides an opportunity for AWA’s membership to propose agenda items for upcoming quarterly meetings, and for AWA’s representative to share key updates with its membership.

EPA Consultation Group's journey is a testament to the power of collaboration, adaptation, and shared responsibility in the realm of environmental protection. It demonstrates that when diverse voices and expertise come together, the result is a more resilient and sustainable future for Victoria's environment and its people.