The Environment Protection Authority is set to keep a closer eye than ever on the region’s pollution levels with an officer based at Greater Shepparton City Council.
The officer will address areas where overlap of responsibility between the EPA and the council exists and a faster response action is launched.
While not employed by the council, officer Heath Robison will be based in the council’s chambers on Welsford St.
The position became available after Greater Shepparton was selected in the Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment pilot program, placing EPA employees at local councils, facing environmental issues at the coalface.
The officers will respond to pollution reports, provide information and education opportunities, support pollution prevention activities and do premises inspections, the EPA said.
EPA acting chief executive Tim Eaton hoped having a dedicated resource would mean faster identification and resolution of local pollution problems would be possible.
Council’s sustainable development director Johann Rajaratnam said the support of the EPA on local issues would ‘‘be valuable in that reports can be dealt with more quickly with someone based at council’’.
Council chief executive Peter Harriott hoped an improved understanding of the work of the EPA and a closer relationship with the authority could be developed.
He said the council was interested to take part in the pilot program and hoped to secure it for the future.
Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio had said the program was about delivering practical support to councils to help deliver a healthier environment for Victorians.