Judy Edwards

Judy Edwards

Former Minister for the Environment; Science

    Independent assessment of wetlands policy

    12/01/2005 10:11 AM

    Environment Minister Judy Edwards today announced the Government would undertake an independent assessment of its wetlands policy for the Swan Coastal Plain.

    “I have received advice from the Environmental Protection Authority on the environmental value of protecting prize wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain,” Dr Edwards said.

    “But the policy also needs to be considered in light of the broader social and economic issues that may have been raised.

    “This will be done by an independent three-member panel with expertise in wetlands, planning and property values. The panel will also allow a thorough investigation of the various concerns over perceived unintended impacts on property owners.”

    The Minister said the Regulatory Impact Assessment was the first of its kind in Western Australia and would be closely monitored for wider use on all new environmental regulation.

    “Regulatory Impact Assessments are a common tool used by other governments to assess the impact of regulations on the commercial and social livelihoods of communities,” she said.

    “In this instance, it would help determine the economic and social cost of having to identify significant conservation category wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain.

    “This type of wetland is already protected under the environmental harm provisions of the Environmental Protection Act but we need to ensure we have a policy that conserves wetlands, while still allowing everyday land use practices to continue.”

    The taskforce will be chaired by former Planning Commission chairman Simon Holthouse and supported by Anne Arnold from the Real Estate Institute of Australia and Associate Professor Jennifer Davis, who is a member of the Conservation Commission.

    The panel’s term of reference include examining:
    • unintended impacts of the revised draft policy;
    • social, economic and environmental benefits and costs;
    • whether the community has had adequate input into the policy; and
    • how the policy’s effectiveness should be measured.
    The Regulatory Impact Assessment Panel will report to the Minister by May 31.

    The Revised Draft Environmental Protection (Swan Coastal Plain Wetlands) Policy and Regulations is available at http://www.epa.wa.gov.au

    Minister's office: 9220 5050