Potential cumulative impacts of the activities and developments proposed for Exmouth Gulf

In August 2020 the Minister for Environment made a request to the EPA to provide strategic advice under Section 16(e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 on the potential cumulative impacts of the proposed activities and developments on the environmental, social and cultural values of Exmouth Gulf.

The EPA is now conducting a cumulative impact study into the current and proposed pressures on the Exmouth Gulf. The EPA will consider the values (environmental, social and cultural) as identified under the EP Act.

The EPA has partnered with the Western Australian Marine Science Institute (WAMSI) to help deliver its strategic advice.

The study involves engagement with stakeholders and the local community and will take into account a number of new and existing potentially significant proposals in and around the Exmouth Gulf. It is scheduled for completion by the end of June 2021.

Read the January 2021 Fact Sheet here


The EPA received 316 submissions during the three-week public consult period in October 2020.

Overall, the EPA was impressed with the large amount of detail and information provided in the submissions – many of which were from the local Exmouth community. Read the Summary of Submissions report here. Visit the Submissions Library here.

What were the key values raised in the submissions?

Many submissions highlighted the biodiversity of Exmouth Gulf and its connectivity with the Ningaloo Reef system, along with recognising the marine fauna species and habitats as key values of the area. There were also a large number of submissions that indicated how highly valued the marine and land-based recreational activities are for the Exmouth Gulf. The value of Exmouth Gulf to the local economy, including tourism, industry, scientific research and commercial fishing was also raised.

What were the key pressures identified in the submissions?

Many submissions listed concerns about the impact to the seabed, coral reefs and mangroves from dredging or trawling activities, as well as the destruction or degradation of marine fauna habitat from pressures including vessel strikes and depletion of fish stocks. Economic pressures were also raised, including unmanaged and unsustainable tourism growth, oil and gas proposals, mineral extraction, marine infrastructure proposals and unregulated shipping through Exmouth Gulf. The EPA also received submissions from individuals who opposed industrialisation of Exmouth Gulf due to the presence of existing industry in the wider Pilbara and Gascoyne areas.


Exmouth Gulf Community Meeting March 22 


Purpose of the meeting

The EPA will facilitate a meeting for interested stakeholders and community members to inform its strategic advice on Exmouth Gulf. 

Registration to attend this meeting has closed and successful attendees will be notified.  Attendance will be subject to COVID-19 restrictions at the time.

The meeting will provide the EPA with an opportunity to listen to people’s information.  As such, this is not an occasion for public debate, and is designed to facilitate a frank and safe environment for all stakeholders to share their information with the EPA.

Email exmouthgulf@epa.wa.gov.au for further information.



How does the termination of the Subsea 7 proposal impact the EPA’s strategic advice? 

The termination of the Subsea 7 proposal has no impact on the EPA’s strategic advice process.

Will the EPA’s strategic advice provide an assessment or advice on the Gascoyne Gateway proposal? 

No. The strategic advice, under section 16e of the Environmental Protection Act 1986, is intended to provide the Western Australian Government with an improved understanding of the context against which the impacts of new proposals can be assessed.

Has the EPA ever provided government with advice under s.16(e) before?

Yes, most recently in 2017. In June 2016, the then Minister for Environment requested the EPA provide advice on the size of a land use planning buffer relating to health and amenity impacts of dust, now and into the future, in respect of potential urban development in the Mandogalup area. The request stemmed from the previous Government’s consideration of establishing legislation to control new sensitive land uses in the vicinity of the Kwinana industrial area.

March 15, 2020