Stockpile discovery prompts review call
The Victorian Government is considering tougher laws after the discovery of several large chemical stockpiles.
Victoria’s Environment Protection Agency (EPA) says the “illegal” chemical stockpiles were uncovered in seven warehouses across Melbourne's north. They were revealed as part of the EPA’s investigation into last year's West Footscray warehouse fire.
Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy says stronger penalties may be required.
Currently, the penalties under the Dangerous Goods Act (up to $1 million for a corporation) are lower than the penalties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
“I think it's probably time for us to look at whether that difference is a little bit out of whack,” Ms Hennessy told the ABC.
“The model around dangerous goods has required a lot of self-disclosure in the past and I think that we are going to have cause at the conclusion of this investigation to have a look at whether or not that's fit for purpose.”
“I think we're entering a time where people have a much stronger expectation about good management when it comes to not just public health and environmental health but for those that might be unregistered and unregulated in these industries, they expect an active cop on the beat.”
Other experts say the regulations covering the storage of chemicals are adequate, but the EPA needs more resources to effectively enforce them.