Victoria’s Buy Recycled tool prompts buyers to consider options

Sustainability Victoria has launched its new online directory, Buy Recycled, which features local Victorian products containing recycled content.

The tool is designed to provide government buyers with easy access to suppliers and recycled material options when considering products for purchasing and infrastructure projects.

Products listed in the directory include:

  • fencing
  • furniture
  • pavement
  • piping and irrigation
  • playgrounds
  • road base

According to Sustainability Victoria, it’s increasingly important for government to consider the environmental impact of purchasing and infrastructure activities. Buy Recycled aims to provide buyers with options to achieve positive environmental outcomes and support organisational sustainability goals.

The Victorian Government’s Social Procurement Framework requires government buyers to consider opportunities to deliver social and sustainable outcomes in every procurement activity. Where appropriate, this includes sustainable material choices and buying products made from recycled content.

This directory is designed to state and local governments to consider environmental sustainability principles when making decisions about purchasing goods for public construction and infrastructure.

 

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Victoria gets on with the weeding despite COVID

A small army of Victorians will clean up litter, remove weeds and help make local rivers and creeks more beautiful as part of the Victorian Government’s plan to keep Victorians working through the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 110 people will take on roles cleaning and protecting Melbourne’s suburban waterways through the Government’s $500 million Working for Victoria fund.

Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville said that the fund will create employment for people who have lost their jobs due to the impacts of coronavirus, while delivering valuable community services. The program has placed almost 7,000 workers since its launch in April.

More than 90 employees will remove rubbish, undertake invasive weed management and improve vegetation along the Yarra, Maribyrnong and Werribee rivers, as well as throughout the Dandenong and Bayside region.

The improvement works will be delivered in collaboration with the Yarra River Keeper Association, along with community groups and local councils along urban waterways.

A recent series of litter clean-up ‘blitz’ events along the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers saw almost 40 tonnes of rubbish cleaned out, improving the health of the waterways and making them more enjoyable for Victorians getting out for essential exercise during coronavirus restrictions.

In addition, more than 20 new employees will work in administration roles for Melbourne Water, supporting the waterway health blitz and other important projects in the greater Melbourne catchment area.

The initiative builds on the $48 million for shovel ready water projects announced recently under the Government’s $2.7 billion Building Works program. These projects will modernise irrigation, secure water supplies through recycling and stormwater use and assist with bushfire recovery.

People looking for work and businesses searching for staff can register with Working for Victoria at vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria.

Victoria reviews dangerous goods laws

A comprehensive review of the Victoria’s dangerous goods laws is being undertaken to help stamp out unsafe chemical stockpiling.

The Victorian government has appointed Andrew Palmer, QC, to conduct the review of the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 and associated regulations.

According to a government statement the review is the latest step in its ongoing response to chemical stockpiling after two large chemical fires in West Footscray in August 2018 and Campbellfield in April 2019.

Immediately following the 2018 fire, WorkSafe led a blitz on industrial premises to ensure dangerous chemicals were being stored correctly.

Government agency investigations led to the discovery of waste chemicals stockpiled at 13 sites in Melbourne’s north last year.

A WorkSafe-led taskforce has so far removed more than 13 million litres of the stockpiled waste chemicals, clearing four sites in Epping, three in Craigieburn and three in Campbellfield. The final three sites in Campbellfield are currently being cleared.

The minister for workplace safety Jill Hennessy said that the government knows that the unsafe storing, handling or disposal of dangerous chemicals poses a real threat to local communities.

“This review will make sure dangerous goods laws remain effective and keep Victorian’s safe. Mr Palmer brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this important review which will safeguard all Victorians,” she said.

Tough penalties

The Labor Government last year introduced tough new penalties of up to 10 years in jail and fines of more than $6.4 million for rogue operators who recklessly manufacture, store, transport, transfer, sell or use dangerous goods in a way that places another person in danger of death.

Meanwhile, WorkSafe has charged Bradbury Industrial Services with 35 breaches of the Dangerous Goods Act in relation to five of the sites in Campbellfield and Craigieburn.

Review timely

Hennessy added that a review of the Act was important to ensure our laws are up to the task of protecting the community from the unacceptable risk that stockpiling of dangerous goods poses and to deal with those who do it.

A final report and recommendations are expected to be delivered to the Government next year, with opportunities for public comment and stakeholder engagement later this year.

WorkSafe has also charged Graham Leslie White, 58, of Harkness with 55 offences over the alleged illegal stockpiling of dangerous goods at four warehouses he occupied in Epping and one in Campbellfield and investigations are continuing.