Illegal waste dumpers face up to ten years under new laws in Victoria after a spate of dangerous stockpiles caught fire in the state.
A new 'reckless conduct' offence will be introduced with a ten year maximum penalty and increasing fines for breaches, Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy announced on Friday.
"We're making sure people and businesses who engage in rogue operations like the illegal stockpiling of dangerous goods face penalties that reflect the seriousness of their actions," Ms Hennessy said.
Current fines where an individual should have reasonable known their actions would endanger health, safety property or the environment will increase from $161,000 to $290,000.
Fines for body corporates who are found to endanger health and safety will more than double from $806,000 to $3.6 million.
The move has been welcomed by United Firefighters Union boss Peter Marshall who called for the changes.
"Professional career firefighters already have one of the most dangerous jobs in our community. Illegal dumpers create toxic time bombs that make an already dangerous job unacceptably more dangerous," Mr Marshall said.
The move comes after two fires at warehouses full of illegally stored toxic chemicals at West Footscray and Campbellfield.
A parliamentary inquiry is underway into recycling and waste management in the state following the blazes and is due to hand down a final report in August.
The inquiry had previously been told waste stockpiles were possibly linked to organised crime, and "shonky" operators were putting the community at risk.
Australian Associated Press