Providing opportunities for public participation is an integral part of environmental impact assessment and developing sound environmental protection policies in Western Australia. The EPA publishes all documents open for public comment on its consultation hub at https://consultation.epa.wa.gov.au.
As part of the assessment process, it is important for the EPA to be informed of people’s views on proposals that will change the way land is used. Amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1986 in late November 2010 mean that you can now comment on referred proposals at the beginning of the process. Your input will help the EPA decide whether or not to assess the proposal, and if so, what level of assessment should apply.
You may have useful information that is not known to others, especially if you live or work in the area of proposed development. By telling the EPA your opinion, contributing knowledge and making suggestions, you will help us to make better recommendations to the Minister for Environment. The Minister can then use this information to decide whether the project will go ahead and under what conditions.
You also have the opportunity to comment on draft policies and guidelines. For most types of policy and guidance documents the EPA introduces a period for public consultation in which any organisation or member of the public can submit feedback on the draft. Most documents will include a diagram so you can see the stage at which public comment is being considered and what happens afterwards.
Don’t think that you are only one voice and you won’t make a difference. Just one well-reasoned submission that raises a valid concern or offers a constructive suggestion can be very helpful and important.
See here for tips on how to make an effective submission.