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Victoria escalates dangerous goods crackdown

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Campaign focuses on reporting and penalising ‘dodgy operators’

Victoria escalates dangerous goods crackdown
The Victorian government is targeting dangerous goods noncompliance


"Transport drivers and more than 25,000 workplaces associated with the storage and handling of dangerous goods will be targeted" in a campaign to increase awareness of obligations under the Dangerous Goods Act, the Victorian state government warns.

That involves ensuring workers – or the public – report unsafe practices, with Victorians "being asked to keep a look out for dodgy operators storing or handling dangerous goods in a way that might put the community at risk".

The campaign urges contacting WorkSafe if people suspect dangerous goods – such as drums or containers of flammable liquids – are being stored, handled or disposed of in a way that might be unsafe.

Victoria had been affected by recent high-profile waste stockpiling cases and industrial fires emanating from illegally stored waste.

Legislation was introduced creating tough new penalties for the illegal storage and handling of dangerous goods, which could see individuals face up to 10 years in jail and body corporates fined more than $6.4 million for the most serious offences.

"Those who manufacture, store, transport, transfer, sell or use dangerous goods have a duty to keep their workers, the community and the environment safe." Minister for Workplace Safety Jill Hennessy says.

"We know that the unsafe storing, handling or disposal of dangerous chemicals poses a real threat to local communities.

"If something doesn’t look, sound or smell or right where you work or where you live, play it safe and report it."

WorkSafe is responsible for enforcing the Dangerous Goods Act and has been tasked with removing millions of litres of illegally stored chemical waste from 13 warehouses in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

About 7.1 million litres of waste chemicals having been removed so far, the state government notes.

A six-week campaign features print, digital, radio, social media and outdoor advertising targeting high-risk locations.

WorkSafe’s advisory service can be contacted on 1800 136 089.

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