Monday, May 20, 2024

New CBD base for WA EPA

The WA Government has secured a new presence for the independent Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in Perth’s CBD.

The move is one of 39 recommendations made by the Vogel-McFerren review of Western Australia’s approvals regime and will support a raft of reforms, aimed at unlocking billions of dollars of investment in major job-creating projects while protecting WA’s unique environment.

WA Environment Minister, Reece Whitby (pictured) said EPA staff and board members will be able to hold in-person meetings with stakeholders, proponents, and other Government agencies at the new CBD hub on St Georges Terrace, which will complement the EPA’s existing office space at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s head office in Joondalup.

“The Cook Government is streamlining environmental approvals so we can continue to deliver a world-class environmental protection system and certainty for job-creating projects,” said Minister Whitby.

“We have listened to stakeholders who asked for the EPA to have a presence in Perth’s CBD.

“This new office will bring key decision-makers together with stakeholders, proponents and Government agencies so they can meet in a convenient, central location.”

The Cook Government has already delivered on several recommendations made by the Vogel-McFerren review, including:

  • creating the role of Coordinator General within the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation;
  • exempting regional and local planning schemes from needing to be automatically referred to the EPA, and
  • establishing a mentoring program within DWER to support new assessment personnel.

Minister Whitby said the reforms are supported by an $18 million investment in resourcing, including hiring additional personnel to clear assessment backlogs.

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