The Victorian Government welcomes the new Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE), Michelle Walker, who is now working with the City of Wyndham.

The member for the Western Metropolitan Region, Cesar Melhem MLC, joined local councillor’s Peter Maynard and Heather Marcus, Michelle Walker and representatives from the Environment Protection Agency to launch OPLE in Wyndham.

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has introduced 11 locally-based OPLEs under a $4.8 million pilot program funded by the Victorian Government.

OPLE Walker will respond to smaller-scale and lower risk waste and pollution complaints, such as small to medium scale illegal dumping, litter, noise, dust and odour complaints arising from business and industry.

Her duties will also include information and education activities to support prevention of pollution, and proactive inspections of premises to support compliance.

The 13 councils involved in the OPLE program were chosen from among 34 that lodged expressions of interest .

Along with Wyndham, they include the municipalities of Central Goldfields, Buloke and Loddon, Port Phillip, Casey, Greater Dandenong, Surf Coast, Mildura, Greater Shepparton, Wodonga, Brimbank and Hobsons Bay.

Quotes attributable to Cesar Melhem MLC, Member for Western Metropolitan

“Local Government and EPA play a vital role in responding to pollution and waste issues that compromise environmental and public health, and adversely impact liveability and amenity.”

 “We urge the community to make the most of EPA’s expanded frontline capacity in the local area, by reporting any pollution via the 24-hour EPA pollution hotline 1300 372 842.”

 “The program is a practical measure that will bring practical results. The officers are based where they can make use of local knowledge, work directly with council officers, and bring EPA’s powers to bear quickly on local pollution problems.”