The Western Swamp Tortoise is the most endangered tortoise or turtle species on Earth. It is listed under the Western Australian Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, 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 Environmental Protection (Western Swamp Tortoise Habitat) Policy 2011 (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 also prepared by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in 2006 to facilitate environmental impact assessment and complement the objectives of the EPP.
It is a legislative requirement that the EPP be reviewed, unless otherwise directed by the Minister for Environment. On 3 November 2022, the Minister for Environment directed the EPA to defer completion of the review until the science informing the review of the Western Swamp Tortoise (Pseudemydura umbrina) Recovery Plan is made available. The EPA has been directed to report to the Minister by 30 June 2025. The direction notice was published in the Western Australian Government Gazette on 18 November 2022.