22/10/2018 - 13:39

EPA given $3.3m boost

22/10/2018 - 13:39

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The Environmental Protection Authority will receive a $3.3 million funding boost to deal with a recent spike in proposals in Western Australia, with the government also announcing plans for a scheme to allow the outsourcing of some assessments.

EPA given $3.3m boost
Stephen Dawson says the funding boost marks a 25 per cent increase to the EPA’s budget. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The Environmental Protection Authority will receive a $3.3 million funding boost to deal with a recent spike in proposals in Western Australia, with the government also announcing plans for a scheme to allow the outsourcing of some assessments.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said an additional $3.3 million would be made available to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to help tackle the steep increase in state-significant proposals requiring assessment by the EPA.

The money will be used on additional resources for the environmental watchdog’s services division, which supports the independent EPA board, and is responsible for carrying out environmental assessments for significant proposals.

The number of EPA assessments has increased from an average of 138 assessments a year across the FY13-14 to FY16-17 period, to 224 assessments in the most recent financial year.

The government said the department was also developing an environmental accreditation scheme to enable environmental consultants to conduct assessments in an effort to future-proof the EPA from busy periods.

Mr Dawson said the funding boost was a 25 per cent increase to the EPA’s budget over the next two years.

“To ensure the state continues to grow, it is important the department is resourced appropriately to support the EPA to carry out its important job of assessing the environmental soundness of proposals and protect WA’s unique environmental values,” he said.

“In the past year, the number of significant proposals requiring assessment by the EPA has markedly increased and shows no signs of slowing down.

“As well as an increase in the volume of proposals, there has also been an increase in the complexity and variety of the projects coming to the EPA, which reflects the current diversity and innovation in the WA economy.”

Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA chief executive Paul Everingham welcomed the announcement.

“Various sectors of the WA economy, including the resources sector, are starting to experience some growth – this has increased the workload for the EPA,” Mr Everingham said.

“Delays on resources projects jeopardise job creation and investment in WA, and means less royalties flow back into the state’s economy.”

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