The EPA, OEPA, DER and the OAC – what is the difference?
How do they relate to the Minister for Environment?
There is often some confusion in the community about the role of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), the Office of the EPA (OEPA), the Department of Environment Regulation (DER) and the Office of the Appeals Convenor (OAC) and how they relate to the Minister for Environment.
The Environmental Protection Authority is made up of a five-member board appointed by the Governor. Neither the Authority nor its Chairman, Dr Tom Hatton, is subject to the direction of the Minister.
The EPA has statutory obligations under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 to conduct environmental impact assessments, initiate measures to protect the environment from environmental harm and pollution and to provide advice to the Minister on environmental matters generally.
The Minister provides the EPA with services and facilities to help it perform its functions. As from 27 November 2009, these support services have been provided by the independent Office of the EPA.
The Office of the Environmental Protection Authority supports the EPA in conducting environmental impact assessments and developing policies to protect the environment. The OEPA also monitors compliance with Ministerial conditions related to approvals.
The OEPA is accountable to the Minister for Environment, as well as to the EPA.
To be successful in its work, the OEPA must also collaborate with a range of clients and stakeholders, including Government agencies, industry peak bodies, environmental non-Government organisations, proponents, and members of the community.
Mr Kim Taylor is the Office of the EPA's General Manager and the department's organisational structure can be downloaded here.
The DER was formed on 1 July 2013 and has broad responsibility for environmental regulation under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986. This includes clearing of native vegetation, contaminated sites, preventing and responding to pollution, industry licensing and works approvals.
The Appeals Convenor investigates and provides advice to the Minister for Environment in respect to appeals made under the Environmental Protection Act 1986. This includes appeals on a large range of environmental decisions, including environmental impact assessment, permits for clearing native vegetation and conditions applying to certain industrial and commercial premises.