EDO NSW welcomes EPA Chair/CEO Split

EDO NSW welcomes EPA Chair/CEO split

EDO NSW today welcomed the news that NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean intends to split the roles of Chair and CEO of the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

28 June 2019: “The EPA has a vital role to play in the protection of the NSW environment,” said Mr David Morris, EDO NSW CEO – Solicitor. “The combined role of Chair and CEO was created under the current government in 2012. We hope that this decision to split the roles will see greater independence and oversight to the operation of the EPA and help them to deliver on their important regulatory responsibilities.

“The EPA’s legislative object established the concept of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) as a key concept in improving the quality of the NSW environment. The Act defined ESD for the first time in NSW legislation and the definition has since been adopted in over 50 NSW statutes on pollution, planning, environmental protection and local government.

“We look forward to the opportunity to work constructively with the new Chair and CEO to build on this important legacy and operationalise ESD in day to day decision-making and setting strategic priorities for the EPA,” concluded Mr Morris.

EDO NSW hopes that this change will also provide greater opportunity to implement our previous recommendations for strengthening the EPA including:

  • strengthening the EPA’s role in strategic planning and decision-making, and meeting statutory obligations to protect the environment;

  • placing duties on regulators and polluters to minimise and prevent pollution;

  • strengthening pollution licencing, transparency of information (including community engagement in decision-making), and broadening the use of existing tools to minimise pollution and drive continual improvement; and

  • enhancing the EPA’s role as an independent regulator.