New South Wales are conducting a Parliamentary Inquiry into the effectiveness and performance of that states Environmental Protection Authority.
The move comes after a string of controversial decisions by the EPA and criticism that it was “more focused on protecting polluting industries than looking after the community and human health”. I’d agree with that assessment and would say it also applies to the EPA here in Western Australia too.
The Environmental Protection Act of 1986, in outlining the functions of the Environmental Protection Authority states as one of it’s key functions, this:
“to coordinate all such activities, whether governmental or otherwise, as are necessary to protect, restore or improve the environment in the State”
In WA they are at best terribly ineffective at their job.
Back in 2006, the transportation of ‘lead carbonate’ for export by Magellan Metals lead to large-scale poisonings in Esperance. Kids had high levels of lead in their bloodstream. Birds literally fell from the sky.
Why did the EPA initially fail to set strict conditions on lead exports through Esperance, when both they and Magellan Metals have “always known it was a dangerous good, poisonous and toxic“?
The EPA also approved the James Price Point project, a decision later found to be ‘unlawful‘ by the Supreme Court.
There is something clearly wrong here.
Last year the EPA refused to investigate the Liberal Party’s shark cull policy, despite receiving a record number of public submissions about the policy. They also approved the Forest Management Plan 2014-2023, allowing for massive increases in the amount of native Karri forest clear-felled over the next 10 years.
Their report didn’t even offer any regulations to which they believed the plan should be subjected in order to protect ‘biological diversity and ecological integrity’. Mean while native forests are actively being felled in the South West.
Fine-particle pollution from coal-fired power plants near the township of Collie have increased by a massive 40000% in the last year alone.
Now they are allowing Buru Energy to ‘frack’ for unconventional gas in the Kimberley without subjecting the proposal to a vigorous environmental impact assessment.
Ahh, excuse me people at the EPA but why not?
I’ve just personally looked over the documents which outline the purpose and conditions upon which we as tax payers fund the EPA, and I am 100% sure it IS your job to ensure such an assessment takes place. The EPA have become a laughing stock.
I call for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the effectiveness of the EPA in WA. The study should give a particular focus on the appointment process.
EPA Chairman Paul Vogel has presided over the organisation through too many environmental catastrophes and controversial approvals. But there is absolutely zero incentive for the Liberal Party’s Environment Minister to do anything about it, because they too back these controversial projects.
It is my opinion the EPA should be an independent agency in their own right, whose membership is decided upon in a transparent, technocratic way that is disconnected from parliamentary politics.