Strategic Advice

Section 16(e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 provides that a function of the Environmental Protection Authority is to advise the Minister for Environment on environmental matters generally, and on any matter which the Minister may refer to it for advice.

The EPA has published many reports outlining its strategic advice on a wide range of issues.

Date published: November 3, 2022

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:

  1. Protecting the environmental, social and cultural values of Exmouth Gulf and its surrounds
  2. EPA expectations for assessing future compatibility of activities and developments in Exmouth Gulf and its surrounds
  3. 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.

View the EPA report

EPA report Size
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


Media Statements  
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



Date published: August 2, 2017

In June 2016, the Minister for Environment requested the Environmental Protection Authority (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.

This report presents the EPA’s advice pursuant to section 16(e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986. Further information related to this advice is set out in a separate supplementary report which outlines the technical material the EPA considered in forming this advice.

This advice principally focuses on the technical aspects of the generation of dust in the Mandogalup area and its potential for health and amenity impacts.

The key findings in the EPA’s advice include:

  • The eastern area of Mandogalup is located sufficiently far away from the RDA, and outside the predominant wind field that generates dust from the RDA, that there is negligible health risk and low likelihood of unreasonable amenity impacts in this area; and
  • Air quality in the north and north-east Mandogalup area does not appear to meet recently revised national air quality goals for particulates. This is likely due to a combination of dust from Alcoa’s RDA, and sand and limestone quarrying in the area.

Date published: August 7, 2015

The Perth and Peel regions are expected to accommodate an additional 1.5 million people by 2050, bringing the area’s total population to more than 3.5 million.

Whether that population growth is reached sooner – or later – it is incumbent on the present generation to lay the foundations for that growth to occur without further compromising our environment, both for its intrinsic value and because of the value it has to the health and wellbeing of the community.

The Western Australian Planning Commission’s (WAPC) Perth and Peel @ 3.5 Million report and four draft planning frameworks for the Central, North-West, North-East and South Metropolitan Peel sub-regions, which were released in April 2015, outline a vision for future land uses and a more liveable, prosperous, connected, sustainable and collaborative community. These frameworks will be finalised, after the consultation period, as Subregional Structure Plans.

Concurrently, the Western Australian Government is engaged with the Commonwealth Government on a Strategic Assessment of the Perth and Peel regions. That assessment will consider the environmental implications of Perth and Peel’s future development on Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES).

The State is also assessing the environmental impact of future development on a suite of State environmental values, additional to the MNES.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) will be providing strategic advice to the Minister for Environment on the draft planning frameworks and the broader implications for the environment that arise from a substantial increase in the population of the regions, noting the cumulative impacts to date.

This advice – the EPA’s interim strategic advice – is intended to influence the finalisation of the Sub-regional Structure Plans and the overarching Strategic Conservation Plan which will address both the Commonwealth and State environmental impact assessments.


Date published: August 27, 2014

The Pilbara biogeographic region of Western Australia has a wealth of biodiversity and other environmental values, evidenced by its diverse range of terrestrial, aquatic and marine landscapes, numerous flora and fauna species and communities, nationally listed wetlands, and ecological features found only in the Pilbara.

The region is also one of Australia’s development hotspots, of substantial economic importance to both Western Australia and Australia. The region produced more than 27 per cent of Australia’s and 80 per cent of the State’s revenue from minerals and petroleum in 2012. Mining and infrastructure development has been rapid over the past decade, and the pace of development is forecast to continue.

Given the biodiversity values, economic importance, and rate of development in the region, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) believes it is timely to develop and implement strategies to ensure the important values of the region are protected. This advice identifies a range of opportunities to do this.

The key recommendation of this advice is that a whole-of-Government strategic plan for biodiversity conservation in the Pilbara be developed. The EPA believes that, through implementing this and other recommendations in this report, there is a pathway to sustainable development of the Pilbara and for the unique biodiversity and other environmental values of the region to be protected for the long-term.

Other recommendations in this advice relate to the importance of rehabilitation, knowledge sharing, and strategic implementation of offset funds to ensure landscape scale restoration and biodiversity protection.

Without intervention, the EPA is concerned that the increasing cumulative impacts of development and land use in the region will significantly impact on biodiversity and environmental values. We believe the strategies recommended in this advice are practical, timely, and will provide positive outcomes for the Pilbara region as a whole.


Date published: July 1, 2013

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) presents to the Minister for Environment its Strategic Advice on environmental and water assessments relating to mining and mining related activities in the Fortescue Marsh Area (the Advice), published as Report 1484. The EPA is providing the Advice to the Minister in accordance with section 16(e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

The EPA recognises the importance of mining activities in the Fortescue Marsh management area. There are extensive mineral deposits and mining activity in the area surrounding the Fortescue Marsh, and there are several new proposals identified for further development.

To ensure that the Advice represents agreed guidance, the EPA has extensively involved the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority, the Department of Water, the Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Department of State Development, during its development. The Advice provides consistent guidance for agencies and proponents to help streamline project assessment and approval processes to deliver positive environmental outcomes for the Fortescue Marsh. In addition, coordinated direction in the Fortescue Marsh management area will provide:

  • more effective and efficient management;
  • a better collective understanding of the Marsh and knowledge gaps; and
  • a better understanding of cumulative impacts on the Marsh.

It is recognised that cultural, industry, tourism, recreational and pastoral values are important in the Fortescue Marsh management area. However, these values are beyond the scope of the Advice and will be addressed through other processes.

The content of the advice is not statutory in nature, but provides guidance and information to assist the Minister and other decision-making authorities so that decisions are complementary and coordinated.

The advice will be subject to periodic review by the Environmental Protection Authority.


Date published: April 4, 2013

Advice of the Environmental Protection Authority to the Minister for Environment under Section 16(e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (Report 1468)

On 16 November 2011, the Minister for Environment wrote to the Chair of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the Chairman of the Waste Authority, requesting that the two Authorities investigate the environmental and health performance of waste to energy technologies internationally.

This request sought information on:

  • legislation for the establishment and operation of waste to energy facilities, focussed on emissions, in jurisdictions where these facilities currently exist;
  • current emissions from established and operating best practice facilities; and
  • current and historical level of compliance of these facilities.

The Minister requested that the information gathered be from full-scale, commercial plants that process municipal solid waste (MSW) and from a variety of technology types.

To assist with this investigation, WSP Environment and Energy Ltd were engaged to undertake a technical review of waste to energy plants around the world. These technical reports are attached. The reports provide detailed information to address the issues identified by the Minister for Environment. This advice from the EPA and Waste Authority draws on the technical advice to make recommendations that are relevant to the Western Australian situation.

Date published: May 17, 2010

This report, published as Report 1359, provides the Environmental Protection Authority's (EPA) advice to the Minister for Environment under section 16(e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 on the significant environmental values of the Dawesville to Binningup area. It applies the state of current knowledge and scientific data about these values to identify areas of conservation significance and areas that may have potential for development and land use compatible with the environmental values of the area.

Date published: June 2, 2009

This document, EPA Report 1329, was developed as a result of advice requested in November 2004 by the Minister for the Environment from the EPA under Section 16(e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

In 1975, the EPA recommended "that Lake Cronin and an adequate area around the lake should be made a Class 'A' reserve for the Conservation of Flora and Fauna, to be vested in the WA Wild Life Authority" (recommendation 11.10, EPA 1975).

Due to competing interests, only a small area consisting of 1,015 ha around the lake was gazetted as a formal Nature Reserve in 1980. Henry-Hall (1990) reviewed the values of the area and recommended that the values could best be protected by the establishment of a large reserve consisting of approximately 113,250 ha.


Date published: December 19, 2008

Review of potential sites for a proposed multi-user liquefied natural gas processing precinct in the Kimberley region. Advice of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to the Minister for Planning (as the Minister for Environment's delegate) under Section 16(e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

The purpose of this report, published as EPA Report 1306, is to provide the EPA's early environmental advice in relation to the Western Australian Government's site evaluation process for a multi-user liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing precinct to process gas resources from the Browse Basin. This advice has been requested by Government and is provided in accordance with Section 16(e) of the EP Act.

Proponent: Minister for State Development

Date published: March 25, 2008

This report, published as Bulletin 1282, provides the Environmental Protection Authority's advice to the Minister for the Environment under section 16(e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 on the project by the Western Australian Planning Commission to develop a structure plan for the Preston Industrial Park. The project covers 2,950 hectares and is approximately 4km east of Bunbury.