The Environmental Protection Authority has today launched its new website and updated guidelines and procedures for environmental impact assessment.
EPA Chairman Dr Tom Hatton said the website would increase the transparency of EPA recommendations, with the site’s features better able to serve the community through improved search functionality and the ability to follow a proposal from referral through to Ministerial Statement.
Dr Hatton said the EPA was also pleased to launch the independent board’s new framework for guidelines and procedures.
“The EPA has updated and clarified our guidelines and procedures in line with recommendations made in an independent legal and governance review released in May,” Dr Hatton said.
Dr Hatton said the new framework organised the EPA’s suite of documents in a clear, logical and hierarchical manner. Opportunities for public participation throughout the EPA’s processes remained the same.
“The improvements we have made will allow easy navigation of our guidelines and procedures, underpinning our commitment to increase the soundness, transparency and robustness of our advice,” Dr Hatton said.
“Importantly, none of these changes will lesson environmental protection.”
Dr Hatton said in developing the new framework, the EPA consulted with members of the board’s Stakeholder Reference Group, which is made up of representatives from community conservation groups, peak industry bodies and government departments.
“I would sincerely like to thank the members of the SRG for their contribution and valuable feedback,” he said.
Dr Hatton said the improvements included updating the administrative procedures to more closely align with the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and provide more flexibility in how proposals are assessed.
The EPA’s environmental factors and objectives have also been updated to reflect the principles of the EP Act.
Dr Hatton said the changes were effective immediately for new proposals. The Office of the EPA will consult with proponents with current proposals over transition arrangements.
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