The Western Swamp Tortoise is the most endangered tortoise or turtle species on Earth. It is listed under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the United Nations Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) as a critically endangered species.
The EPP declares beneficial uses that are to be protected and aims to ensure management activities within the policy area do not adversely impact on the habitat or these beneficial uses. The EPP outlines a programme of protection for landowners, local government and the State government to implement. A 'Guidance Statement for the Protection of the Western Swamp Tortoise Habitat' was prepared by the EPA in 2006 to facilitate environmental impact assessment and complement the objectives of the EPP.
The original Environmental Protection (Western Swamp Tortoise Habitat) Policy 2002 was revised and a draft released for public comment in March and April 2010.
The Minister has supported the EPA’s recommendations to continue the protection of the western swamp tortoise habitat through the release of the 2011 policy.
On the 12 February 2020 the Minister for Environment directed the Environmental Protection Authority to defer the completion of the review of the Environmental Protection (Western Swamp Tortoise Habitat) Policy 2011 until the science informing the review of the Western Swamp Tortoise (Pseudemydura umbrina) Recovery Plan is made available. The review is to be completed by 30 November 2022. The direction notice was published in the Western Australian Government Gazette on 10 March 2020.