Greens blast Government over EPA-controlled review of EPA

A review of the policies and procedures of the Environmental Protection Authority announced last month to supposedly give the community faith in the EPA’s operations will be overseen and controlled by the EPA with no opportunity for public scrutiny or submissions, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says. 

“Having asked the Environment Minister for the terms of reference and other details of the EPA review which he announced in December, I have been dismayed to learn that instead of being conducted with transparency and independence, the audit will be initiated by the EPA and the EPA will advise the minister on who will conduct the audit,” Ms MacLaren said. 

“Furthermore, the resulting report will be provided to the EPA first who will finalise it before providing it to the Minister, and no submissions will be sought from the public. 

“The Minister also advised that the review will not consider any individual environmental assessments by the EPA and all existing environmental approvals will remain valid unless determined otherwise by the courts. 

“In other words, it appears the Government has no intention of checking, in light of Chief Justice Wayne Martin’s decision on Roe 8,  whether the EPA has made other invalid recommendations, and the Government will leave it to community members to fundraise for expensive legal challenges if they have concerns that other decisions by the EPA have been made improperly.

“This makes a mockery of the Minister’s claim in his announcement of the review on 17 December that he wants it to be a ‘thorough third party review to ensure the environmental assessment process is as rigorous as possible’ and that a ‘third party healthcheck’ is important in the wake of the Chief Justice’s decision.

“In preparing a review of the EPA along these lines, the Barnett Government has done nothing to increase community faith in the EPA.

“Instead it is likely to simply confirm a widely-held view in the community that the EPA has been corrupted by this Government.”