WALGA undertakes both policy and projects covering a range of environmental issues, creates awareness about specific environmental issues and provides resources to support Local Government Officers and Elected Members.

EnviroNews

To subscribe to WALGA's monthly Environmental and Climate Change newsletter, EnviroNews, please click here.

Launch of the WALGA Environment Platform

The WALGA  Environment Platform has been launched as an online hub for the Local Government Sector to network, share information and build capacity in Environment and Sustainability issues. The Platform provides networking groups for Elected Members, Officers and Environmental Planning Tool (EPT) users.

Current Issues

Comments sought on proposed changes to the Environmental Protection Act 1986

The State Government is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
 
An Exposure draft Bill and discussion paper has been released to outline the changes as well as a number of other potential changes to the EP Act that may be included in the final Bill.
 
The changes to the EP Act are intended to promote sustainable development and environmental protection, improve regulatory effectiveness and efficiency, and provide for cost recovery. The Discussion Paper indicates that the proposed amendments will modernise and streamline processes for environmental impact assessments, clearing permits, works approvals and licences, improve regulatory effectiveness, update the EP Act to reflect and accommodate technological developments, facilitate the implementation of bilateral assessment and approval agreements under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and address errors and inconsistencies.
 
WALGA’s InfoPage outlining the key changes relevant to the Local Government Sector can be viewed here .
 
WALGA will be coordinating a submission on behalf of the Local Government sector. A draft will be provided in early December for sector input by Monday , 6 January.
 
Local Governments are also encouraged to provide submissions directly to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) by Tuesday , 28 January 2020.
 
DWER is holding a consultation session on the proposed amendments at its Joondalup office at 11:30 on Monday, 9 December. Local Governments are encouraged to attend. Click here to register.
 
For further information please contact Nicole Matthews, WALGA Policy Manager, Environment on 9213 2039.

WALGA’s Climate Change Issues Paper draft submission

WALGA is calling for sector feedback on its draft submission to the State Government’s Climate Change Issues Paper and is seeking sector feedback by COB Wednesday, 30 October.
 
Following feedback, the draft submission will be finalised for consideration by WALGA State Council at its December meeting.
 
The submission is in accordance with the WALGA Climate Change Policy Statement and draws on WALGA’s previous climate change related submissions.  
 
WALGA is seeking sector feedback on the draft submission by Wednesday, 30 October at 5pm. Please provide your comments to environment@walga.asn.au.
 
The Issues Paper is available on the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) website and is open for comment until Friday, 29 November.  WALGA also encourages Local Governments to submit their own submissions directly to the Department.
 
For more information please contact Environment Policy Manager, Nicole Matthews on 9213 2039

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy

Submission to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation on it's  draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy

Tuart Woodlands and Forests of the Swan Coastal Plain Listed as Critically Endangered by the Australian Government

The ‘Tuart ( Eucalyptus gomphocephala) woodlands and forests of the Swan Coastal Plain’ have been listed as Critically Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, effective as of 4 July 2019. Listing means that any activity likely to have a significant impact on the ecological community needs to be referred to the Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy for assessment and approval. 

The Approved Conservation Advice provides information on how to identify areas of Tuart woodlands and forests that are protected under national environmental law, and the priority research and conservation actions. The conservation advice is available on the Department of the Environment and Energy’s website.

WALGA has put together an InfoPage, which identifies the 20 Local Governments currently known to contain the Tuart woodlands and forests, summarises the key diagnostic characteristics for vegetation to be considered as part of the ecological community, and highlights the priority conservation actions. 

For further information, contact Biodiversity and Sustainability Project Officer,  Melanie Davies on 9213 2065.

Native vegetation clearing permit application fees increased

The State Government has announced increases in fees for clearing permit applications made under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act (1986), effective 1 July 2019. The new fees, although less than had been originally proposed for clearing up to five ha, still represent a significant increase and impost on the Local Government sector.
 
WALGA provided a submission to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation on the Discussion Paper on Cost Recovery.
WALGA has put together an InfoPage to inform Local Government on the new fee structure.
 
For more information, contact Environment Policy Manager, Nicole Matthews on 9213 2039.

Sustainability Comparative Analysis Report

WALGA and the City of Perth have collaborated to put together a summary report looking at a number of the leading global sustainability frameworks available to Local Government in driving their sustainability programs.   

In approaching sustainability, Local Governments need to align their work against clear and robust frameworks. There are several sustainability frameworks that allow for this, with added benefits of benchmarking and mainstreaming sustainability across organisations.

The report reviews and analyses five frameworks that have been adopted within the sector to assess their suitability for driving sustainability organisation-wide within Local Government.

What is clear when looking at frameworks, is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for any Local Government across the board. In considering the adoption of a framework it is vital that an organisation assess their own unique and context specific requirements so that any approach can be deeply embedded and become a part of the organisations identity.

For more information, please contact Environment Policy Officer, Jade Mains on 9213 2027.

Better Urban Forest Planning Guide

The loss of urban green space and native vegetation is a very important issue for Local Government, particularly in urban areas where there is clearing of land for infill and greenfield development. Reduced canopy cover impacts on public amenity, human health and biodiversity and as trees are often replaced with hard surfaces, this generally leads to increases in average temperatures creating urban heat islands. This often results in increased energy and water use for homes and businesses.

The changing climate is also playing a role, with increasing average air temperatures, declining rainfall and more extreme heat events. This will not only exacerbate the impacts on the health and wellbeing of the community but will affect tree retention and management for Local Governments.

To assist Local Government, WALGA along with the Western Australian Planning Commission and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage released the Better Urban Forest Planning Guide in November 2018. The Guide will assist Councils, developers and government agencies in their planning and policies around urban greening, tree retention and replacement. It includes information on planning, market based and regulatory ‘tools’, case studies that highlight ‘best-practice’ actions and how to access CSIRO’s Urban Monitor data, which is also available on WALGA’s Environmental Planning Tool.

For more information, please contact Environment Policy Officer, Jade Mains on 9213 2027.