In August 2020 the then 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.
Partnering with the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI), the EPA considered the values as identified under the EP Act. The EPA report was informed by extensive consultation and engagement from stakeholders and the Exmouth community, including the Nganhurra Thanardi Garrbu Aboriginal Corporation, the prescribed body corporate for Exmouth Gulf Traditional Owners.
For the purpose of this strategic advice, the EPA characterised the spatial extent of Exmouth Gulf as the entire portion of State coastal waters located between the North West Cape peninsula, the Muiron Islands, and mainland WA, and the adjacent land from Cape Vlamingh to Urala Station.
The EPA submitted recommendations and advice to the Minister for the Environment around the following three themes:
- Protecting the environmental, social and cultural values of Exmouth Gulf and its surrounds
- EPA expectations for assessing future compatibility of activities and developments in Exmouth Gulf and its surrounds
- Integrating management of the land and sea environment of Exmouth Gulf
The EPA recommended:
- A very high level of protection for the eastern and southern portion of Exmouth Gulf and adjacent hinterland areas;
- Any future activities and development must be compatible with the protection of the key values;
- An integrated management approach is required to ensure the conservation and enhancement of the key values of Exmouth Gulf.
The EPA delivered its advice to the Minister for Environment in August 2021.
On 3 December 2021 the Premier and the then Minister for Environment Amber-Jade Sanderson announced plans to take action on the recommendations in the EPA’s strategic advice.
This included the establishment of a new marine park to provide a high level of protection for the eastern and southern portions of the Gulf, and Class A reserves for the protection of local areas of significance such as Qualing Pool, Camerons Cave and the islands of the Gulf, and the establishment of a coordinating body.
In May 2022, the Minister for Environment Reece Whitby announced the establishment of Exmouth Gulf Taskforce to assist the State Government's broader consideration of strategic issues relating to Exmouth Gulf and its surrounds.
|Exmouth Gulf – Section 16e Strategic Advice||19mb|
|Appendix C – WAMSI Report||13mb|
|Appendix E – Summary of Submissions||617kb|
|Appendix F – Exmouth Community Meeting Summary||198kb|
|Exmouth Gulf proposals to be subject of cumulative impact study||August 28, 2020|
|Public invited to have say on pressures and values of Exmouth Gulf||October 19, 2020|
|Registrations open for Exmouth Gulf community meeting||January 20, 2021|
|EPA recognises unique values of Exmouth Gulf||August 20, 2021|
|McGowan Government throws support behind EPA recommendations to protect Exmouth Gulf||December 3, 2021|
|Protection of Exmouth Gulf a win for environment||December 3, 2021|
|Significant progress for environmental protection of Exmouth Gulf||May 16, 2022|