DISTRICT residents have two months in which to make their views known on the Ipswich stink problem.
Their opportunity comes as the State government looks at finally making major changes to the Queensland environment laws.
Residents have being urged to have their say on the proposed amendments which are designed to better protect communities while allowing industry and business across Queensland to operate.
Ongoing odour nuisance issues in the Swanbank industrial area initiated, in part, a review of the Environmental Protection Act 1994, which was undertaken by retired Judge Richard Jones and Barrister Susan Hedge.
The review found that while the Act generally has the tools to prevent environmental harm from occurring and enabled compliance to be enforced, there were areas identified where the powers could be enhanced, including relating to nuisance concerns.
Judge Jones and Ms Hedge made 18 recommendations, all of which were supported or supported in-principle by the Palaszczuk Government.
In-line with the recommendations made, the government is proposing reforms to make it easier to proactively manage environmental risks while removing barriers that may delay a regulatory response in the event of environmental harm, particularly where residential and industrial areas are co-located.
This includes by placing greater emphasis on human health, wellbeing, and safety within the legislation, as well as clarifying what constitutes an environmental nuisance and serious environmental harm.
Additionally, the reforms introduce a new offence for anyone that fails to meet their general environmental duty, which requires people and industry carrying out activities that cause, or are likely to cause, harm (including nuisance) to others or to the environment to proactively manage the risks.
Environment Minister, Leanne Linard, said while the the government’s review of the Environmental Protection Act was while due to the significant odour nuisance issues in the Swanbank industrial area and surrounds, the changes being proposed would have broad and positive impacts for all Queensland communities.
“We are committed to delivering on all the review’s recommendations, but it is important Queenslanders have their say on the proposed changes to make sure our environmental laws are as strong as possible.
“In recent years, environmental impacts from a number of industries have presented increasingly complex regulatory challenges.
“These issues are often linked to new housing on land in close proximity to existing industrial activities.
“A strengthened Environmental Protection Act benefits everyone.”
To lodge your view go to: EPAct.Policy@des.qld.gov.au
Swanbank Industrial Area has over 30 operator sites.
These range from composters to landfill to landscaping supplies and more.
You can report odours by phoning Odourbusters on 1300 130 372.
ONLINE @ odourreporting.des.qld.gov.au