Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan): It was a pleasure to attend the announcement of a new officer for the protection of the local environment — it is called OPLE — in the electorate of Western Metropolitan Region last week. The Environment Protection Authority Victoria has introduced 11 locally based OPLEs around Victoria with an associated $4.8 million in funding. This is a pilot initiative which if proven a success will hopefully be rolled out over the whole state.

The recent appointment of Michelle Walker as the OPLE for the City of Wyndham is an important measure to ensure that we are looking after our sensitive ecosystems. Michelle will be tasked with responding to smaller scale waste risks, pollution complaints, illegal dumping and other similar activities. She will also be in charge of educating local business on appropriate environmental practices and compliance procedure.

The City of Wyndham contains some of the fastest growing suburbs in Melbourne. These growth corridors are experiencing rapid construction of homes and roads as well as private and public services. It is excellent to see those practical measures being put in place to coordinate local government efforts to track pollution. I am also delighted to see that the Brimbank and Hobsons Bay councils, two more municipalities within my electorate, will be taking part in the pilot program. While the federal government and the state opposition have proven they are not concerned about the environment, this Labor government has placed it at the very forefront of our agenda. I commend the Premier, Daniel Andrews, on his government’s focus on strong environment-related initiatives.

21 February 2018