In 2003, the first Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability was appointed after the Victorian Parliament passed the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Act.
The Commissioner's role is to review the overall condition of Victoria’s natural environment. The Commissioner doesn't investigate specific incidents and situations. These are managed and reviewed by either the Environment Protection Authority, Victoria or the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
According to the Act, the Commissioner's role is to:
- report on the condition of Victoria’s natural environment
- encourage decision making that facilitated ecologically sustainable development
- enhance knowledge and understanding of issues relating to ecologically sustainable development and the environment
- encourage Victorian and local governments to adopt sound environmental practices and procedures
The Commissioner does this by:
- Preparing the five-yearly State of the Environment Report
- Undertaking annual Strategic Audits of the environmental management systems of Victorian Government agencies and public authorities
- Working and consulting with all sectors of the Victorian community
Commissioner's Reference Group
The Commissioner's Reference Group provides advice and support to the Commissioner. The reference group is comprised of non-government members, identified and invited by the Commissioner, with a range of interests and expertise, including youth affairs, environmental consultants, academics, industry, primary industries and older Victorians' concerns.