Discussion Paper on cost recovery for the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation

Following extensive community consultation, the Minister for Water confirmed that user-pays fees to recoup the $15 million annual cost to taxpayers for the state to administer water licensing would not be extended to agriculture and other sectors.

See Water Minister Dave Kelly’s media statement.   

However, clearing fees will be introduced on July 1, 2019 to help the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation keep pace with the state's rapid economic growth and associated demand for environmental approvals, including clearing applications.

See Environment Minister Stephen Dawson’s media statement.

Community consultation

Over a 14-week period from 10 August 2018 to 15 November 2018, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation sought feedback from stakeholders on the implementation of a cost recovery approach for:

  • the assessment of applications made under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914
  •  the assessment of applications to clear native vegetation under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

Feedback was received from 257 attendees at information sessions and workshops at various locations across the state in Bunbury, Perth, Broome, Carnarvon, Margaret River, Manjimup and Northam. A briefing was provided in Geraldton, due to low registration numbers for that workshop.


We received 176 written submissions. As the two consultation processes occurred simultaneously, more than half of the submissions raised issues across both the water and clearing portfolios. Some respondents requested confidentiality and those submissions have been excluded from the list of published submissions.

Submissions on the cost recovery discussion paper

Consultation summary report –Discussion paper on cost recovery for water licence and permit assessments (April 2019)

Consultation summary report – Discussion paper on cost recovery for clearing permit applications (April 2019)