Media Releases 2011

Council acknowledges Auditor General’s report on managing contaminated land

07 December 2011

Yarra Council is already acting to improve its processes in light of the Victorian Auditor General’s report on managing contaminated sites, tabled in State Parliament today.

Mayor Alison Clarke said Yarra was among three Councils, together with the Department of Planning and Community Development and the Environment Protection Authority, to be examined as part of the audit.

“The Auditor General’s report recognises that contamination in Victoria has generally been caused by the management practices of earlier generations when environmental regulations were less onerous on polluting activities,” Cr Clarke said.

“It concludes that State and Local Governments need to do more to manage contaminated sites, and to demonstrate they are reducing potential risks to human health and the environment to acceptable levels,” she said.

Cr Clarke said Yarra already had a comprehensive management system for Council owned or managed land and that the Auditor General’s report acknowledged this.

She said in relation to privately owned land which is, or may be, contaminated, Council officers had already identified a need to improve Council’s processes to better support monitoring of permit conditions relating to environmental audits. Improvements have recently been made to Council’s property and rating system.

Cr Clarke said the Auditor-General’s report correctly identified the need for review of the State’s regulatory framework in relation to contaminated land.

“The report found that the current regulatory framework that has evolved over time is overly complex and that this has led to confusion about roles and responsibilities,” Cr Clarke said.

“Going forward it will be critical for councils to be consulted in relation to any review of the framework and how it will be managed,” she said.

“The significant resource implications (both financial and expertise) should also be acknowledged and supported by the State Government.”

The Auditor General's report is available on the Victorian Auditor-General's Office website.


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