The Environment Protection Authority has come in for sustained criticism from a parliamentary inquiry over its ability to regulate and combat illegal dumping.
And a “fit and proper” person test should be introduced to uphold compliance standards and prevent criminal infiltration of the waste and recycling industry, the inquiry has recommended.
The NSW Parliament’s Planning and Environment Committee inquiry into recycling, waste management, and using waste products as fuel, delivered its report on Wednesday.
It found the EPA did not have enough resources or effective tactics to police illegal dumping, a situation which needed to be rectified immediately.
The Government should boost funds for the EPA for illegal dumping enforcement, while the EPA should immediately start using tracking devices, surveillance and drones to prevent dumping.
The inquiry called for an independent review of the EPA’s performance, with consideration given to restructuring the EPA to make it more effective.
Its report includes comment from the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association that there was a “widely held perception” in the industry that the EPA was failing legitimate operators by not “strongly regulating and enforcing compliance from the ‘illegitimate’ rogue operators”.
The proposal for a “fit and proper” test was raised by NSW Police, and the EPA said it could consider this. It would be similar to that required for an environment protection `licence.
The inquiry also said the practice of trucking “recycling” to Queensland for disposal was “unjustifiable” and brought repugnant results both environmentally and economically.