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WA EPA Faces Independent Review

The WA Environment Minister today today announced that independent legal and governance auditors will be appointed to “thoroughly” examine the policies and procedures of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) (17 December).

Albert Jacob said he had opted for the review following the Chief Justice’s ruling in relation to the Roe Highway Stage 8 project, passed yesterday, which found that he conditional approval for the scheme was “invalid”.

The WA Supreme Court concluded that the EPA took no account of its own published policies at the time it made its decision and provided its report to Minister Jacob, which it was legally obliged to do. As such, Minister Jacob made his decision for conditional approval on “invalid” advice, making his decision invalid.

In a statement today, Minister Jacob said: “I want a thorough third party review to be undertaken, not just of the EPA’s policies, but also the Environmental Protection Act, to ensure the environmental assessment reporting process is as rigorous as possible.

“It is crucial that the community and proponents are able to have faith in the operations of what is the State’s primary environmental regulator, and a third party health check is important in the wake of the Chief Justice’s decision.”

The Minister said he expected the review to be undertaken in a timely manner and would seek to have it finalised within the first quarter of 2016.

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