- Amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1986 passed by WA Parliament
- Paves the way for increased environmental protection while stimulating the economy and creating jobs
The most significant reform of Western Australia's environmental legislation in more than 30 years has been given the green light, with the Upper House passing a raft of amendments to modernise the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
As Western Australia's primary environmental protection legislation, the Environmental Protection Act 1986 provides the legal framework for the environmental impact assessment by the Environmental Protection Authority. The Act also regulates emissions, discharges and the clearing of native vegetation.
Reforms in the Amendment Act include streamlining the environmental impact assessment process, improving the pathway for regulation of native vegetation clearing, improving the efficiency of regulating emissions and discharges, modernising and improving investigation and enforcement powers, and increasing penalties for certain environmental offences.
Amendments have been made to ensure native vegetation clearing provisions are efficient, targeted, flexible and transparent while ensuring the protection of areas with important environmental values.
The Bill will facilitate an approvals bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth that will remove duplication for proposals assessed by the Environmental Protection Authority, including major resources projects. This will reduce timeframes and costs whilst maintaining the highest environmental standards.
The amendments in the Bill were drawn from reviews and recommendations by expert advisory groups to deliver a modern Act to simplify and reduce unnecessary regulatory obligations on industry, while maintaining strong environmental protection and standards.
By improving regulatory processes, the amendments will support investment, employment and business creation, and ensure Western Australia's environmental values remain protected.
The public consultation process generated 101 submissions and found broad support for the amendments.
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"These amendments represent the most significant improvements to Western Australia's Environmental Protection Act since it was introduced in 1986.
"It helps ensure protection for our precious environment through efficient environmental legislation working to support a sustainable economy. This is particularly important as part of the State's recovery response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"These improvements simplify and reduce unnecessary regulation, while maintaining strong environmental protection and standards. This will result in reduced costs to industry and government, encourage business development and create jobs, while protecting Western Australia's precious environment."
Minister's office - 6552 5800