About the EPA

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) was originally established in 1971.

The Authority comprises five members appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Minister for Environment.

The EPA is independent, in that it is not subject to direction by the Minister, and its advice to Government is public. EPA members are not public servants.

Its operations are governed by the Environmental Protection Act 1986 which stipulates that the objective of the EPA is to: 'use its best endeavours – a) to protect the environment; and b) to prevent, control and abate pollution and environmental harm.'

The Act defines the environment as 'living things, their physical, biological and social surroundings, and interactions between all of these'.

Functions of the EPA

The functions of the EPA are broad and include:

  • conducting environmental impact assessments
  • preparing statutory policies for environmental protection
  • preparing and publishing guidelines for managing environmental impacts, and
  • providing strategic advice to the Minister for Environment.

More detail about the EPA, it's vision, mission and commitment can be found in the Strategic Plan 2013-2016, below.

The EPA meets to consider proposals and deal with other business each month. EPA members also travel within Western Australia to examine proposals in the field and to meet with proponents on-site. These site visits have been welcomed by proponents as an opportunity to meet with the EPA to discuss issues in a less formal setting.

Relevant staff from the OEPA and other Government experts accompany the EPA. Whenever possible, EPA members take the opportunity to meet with key local stakeholders including local government, interest and conservation groups.

Site visits are valuable in a number of ways:

  • They give EPA members a clearer understanding of the environmental context of a proposal.
  • They provide an opportunity for the EPA to meet proponents and key stakeholders, exchange views, address environmental issues associated with their proposal, and network in an informal atmosphere.
  • They make it easier to communicate and interact with proponents and other stakeholders through subsequent telephone interaction and formal EPA meetings.
  • They result in a more informed EPA leading to better environmental advice being provided to the Minister for Environment.
  • They enhance the identity of the EPA as an Authority that provides independent advice.

The EPA established a Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) to provide input into the Review of the EIA Process. At the end of the review the EPA agreed that the SRG should continue to meet as it was an effective means of consultation with key stakeholders and peak industry bodies. The SRG currently meets quarterly to provide input to the EPA on matters of policy, process and performance, including the implementation of the Review.

Strategic Plan 2016-2019

The primary purpose of the EPA is to protect the environment for present and future generations through the provision of sound, robust and transparent advice to the Minister for Environment. We do this by assessing proposals and schemes that are referred to us, and providing public advice on those that may have a significant impact on the environment. We also provide public advice on broader environmental issues through our advice reports to the Minister and our annual reports.

While the Minister for Environment is the primary recipient of our advice, the beneficiary is the Western Australian society as a whole.

The EPA’s role is becoming increasingly complex given the scale and nature of developments that it considers. The EPA does not have decision making powers to protect the environment. We can only achieve our goal through the advice that we provide.

Therefore, to achieve our purpose, the EPA must maintain the confidence of the Minister, Government, proponents and the community in the way it operates and the quality of the advice it provides. We have developed this strategic plan with this fundamental requirement at its core.

Status: Final
Release Date: 1 July 2016
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Summary: The EPA has five members: a full-time Chairman, a part-time Deputy Chairman and three part-time members.
Status: Final
Release Date: 3 January 2014
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The EPA undertakes a range of consultative processes relating to proposals being assessed.

All opportunities for public comment and submissions are published on the EPA's consultation hub at https://consultation.epa.wa.gov.au. You can subscribe to be notified when new items are published by signing up to the mailing list or through RSS feeds (see the description of RSS in the footer of this webpage). 

Status: Final
Release Date: 9 September 2013
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Stakeholder Reference Group - Terms of Reference
Summary: The Stakeholder Reference Group's work is primarily forward looking, providing advice on the policies, strategies and processes that frame the EPA's work. The Stakeholder Reference Group's considerations may extend to legislation, regulation and policy review and reform. The stakeholder reference group has an informal liaison role rather than a formal advisory or decision-making role.
Status: Final
Release Date: 31 March 2012
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