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

State Government Climate Change Issues Paper Released for Comment

The State Government has released a  Climate Change Issues Paper for public comment. Responses to the paper will inform the development of WA’s State Climate Change Policy, due for release in 2020.

The paper acknowleges the challenges that climate change poses to the State and that the South West region is being impact by climate change more than almost any other place on the planet, including:
  • higher average temperatures
  • increase in the annual number of days in Perth over 35 degrees, and
  • declining rainfall, resulting in a 60 per cent reduction of inflow to metropolitan dams since the 1970s.
The Paper is available on the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) website, and is open for public comment until Friday, 29 November.  

WALGA will be consulting with the sector and seeking Local Government input to its submission, drawing on the WALGA Climate Change Policy Statement. Local Governments are also encouraged to make submissions directly. 

WALGA will be hosting a sector consultation session on Wednesday, 23 October, with registration details to follow shortly.

WALGA climate change submissions

Submission to the Environmental Protection Authority on assessment of greenhouse gas emissions for significant proposals in Western Australia

Submission to the Climate Change Authority on updating its advice to the Federal Government on policies to meet Australia's Paris Agreement Commitments
 

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 or call 9213 2065.

DWER Draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is currently undertaking consultation on the draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
 
The draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy details the Department’s approach to ensuring compliance with the legislation it administers, and responding to breaches of the law to deter and punish offenders and rehabilitate damage caused to the environment.
The draft Policy covers a number of Department operational areas including native vegetation, contaminated sites, licensing of prescribed premises, water discharges and emissions, WARR Levy compliance and water licensing.

WALGA's infopage on this is available here.

WALGA is developing a sector wide Submission on the draft Policy. To contribute to the Submission, please email by 5:00pm Wednesday, 31 July. The Association encourages Local Government to provide comments directly to the Department by 5:00pm Friday, 20 September.
 
For more information, email the Environment Team.

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 has put together an Infopage to inform Local Government on the new fee structure.
 
For more information, contact Environment Policy Manager, Nicole Matthews or call 9213 2039.

Wetland Algal Bloom Management: Sharing Treatment Outcomes

WALGA is seeking Expressions of Interest to be involved in a Wetland Algal Bloom Management initiative. The aim of the initiative is to assist Local Governments in identifying and adopting effective wetland algal treatments, to optimise use of scarce resources and increase our collective understanding of options for wetland management.

Many Local Governments are experiencing issues with algal blooms in natural and constructed wetlands. Treatments being applied to wetlands include, but are not limited to:

  • enzymes and algacides
  • phoslock and bentonite clay
  • ultrasonic treatments
  • dye
  • floating wetlands, and
  • manual removal.

WALGA will facilitate two meetings per year for Local Government to discuss treatment case studies and attend wetland site visits.

Local Governments are also invited to submit information on treatments trialled using the short project form, which will be uploaded on the New Water Ways Interactive Map to assist with sharing information on treatment outcomes.

Additionally, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) have expressed interest in undertaking ongoing monitoring of wetland parameters to provide quantitative data on applied treatments, if there are sufficient project sites to ensure a rigorous scientific study.

The key to managing wetland water quality is to prevent the causes of high nutrient levels at the catchment scale. However, it is recognised that short-term intervention at the local scale to address symptoms is part of an integrated approach being adopted by Local Government.

Please express your interest in this initiative, or submit the completed project form, by contacting Biodiversity and Sustainability Project Officer,  Melanie Davies on 9213 2065.

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,  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 or 9213 2027.