From the Director General
The agency was established on 1 July 2017 following the Machinery of Government announcement, amalgamating the former Department of Environment Regulation, Office of the Environmental Protection Authority and Department of Water to provide a coordinated approach to water and environmental regulation and become the ‘one-stop shop’ for our regulatory approvals service.
We have accomplished a huge amount in the last year, and I am extremely proud of the way our staff have adapted to the changes to form a cohesive, capable and united agency that builds on the best aspects of our predecessor agencies.
I am also very appreciative of the generosity of our industry and community stakeholders who have met with us to discuss their priorities and where we can work together better and differently.
In our first five-year strategic plan, we agreed our mission is to work to ensure the state’s water resources and environment are healthy and able to support a liveable and prosperous Western Australia, now and in the future.
Our broad responsibilities have seen us operate from the Great Southern to the Kimberley to deliver government priorities, election commitments and our regulatory responsibilities.
We have advanced planning for sustainable groundwater management for the next decade and beyond from the Gnangara groundwater system – an essential source of drinking water for Perth which also supports our public open space, gardens, amenity and liveability. In partnership with the Water Corporation, we launched an expansion of the Waterwise Council Recognition Scheme, which will allow us to highlight the great work councils are doing to use water efficiently and plan for the whole water cycle to create sustainable and liveable communities.
The department has also worked to support the government’s commitment to reducing waste and improving recycling, introducing a number of strategic waste reforms. We have worked with the Waste Authority in its review of the government’s waste strategy and also implemented Western Australia’s lightweight plastic bag ban. We have made good progress on delivering the government’s election commitment to introduce a Container Deposit Scheme, which will reduce litter, increase recycling, protect the environment and create jobs.
Through the Regional Estuaries Initiative, we have worked to improve the health of six of the most at-risk South West estuaries.
We have also assisted with significant and iconic urban development projects such as planning for METRONET, and supported the Waste Authority, Environmental Protection Authority, Keep Australia Beautiful Council and Cockburn Sound Management Council in their key roles.
We have applied cutting edge technologies such as using Light Detecting and Ranging (LiDAR) and Remote Air Pollution Infrared Detectors (RAPID) to investigate air pollution and drones to observe the Wilson Inlet. We have also moved to protect Aboriginal rock art at the Burrup Peninsula.
We are transforming how we do business in the digital age through initiatives such as our online one‑stop shop – which brings together all environment and water assessment, approval applications and enquiries under a single contact point. We have also implemented the Index of Biodiversity Survey Assessments, developed in partnership with the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute.
The next financial year promises to be another exciting and challenging 12 months for the department as we bed down our new organisational structure and move our head office to Joondalup.
We will continue to drive our digital transformation initiatives, resulting in better services and greater responsiveness and timeliness for industry and other stakeholders.
I thank our partners across state and local government, industry, academia and the community who have continued to work with us to find innovative solutions to the state’s environmental and water challenges.
Finally, I congratulate and thank the department’s executive and staff for their public service, dedication, talent and commitment over the year, and their contribution to the wellbeing of all Western Australians.
9 October 2018