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

Sector comments sought on WALGA's draft submission to the Environmental Protection Act 1986

WALGA is calling for sector feedback on its draft submission to the State Government on proposals to modernise the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (the EP Act) by COB Monday, 6 January 2020.

Local Governments have significant interactions with the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act), in relation to their land use planning responsibilities and in their role as land owners and managers.

The draft submission provides comment on proposed amendments to the EP Act as well as additional matters that WALGA considers should be should also be included in the Bill or be considered to improve the effectiveness of the EP Act.  In particular Local Governments may wish to consider proposals related to changes to licences, the clearing permit process and schemes.

The submission should be read together with the exposure draft bill and discussion paper which is available on the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) website.

WALGA is seeking sector feedback on the draft submission by Monday, 6 January at 5pm. Please provide your comments to environment@walga.asn.au. WALGA’s InfoPage outlining the key changes relevant to the Local Government Sector can be viewed here.

Following feedback, the draft submission will be finalised for consideration by WALGA State Council.

WALGA also encourages Local Governments to submit their own submissions directly to the Department by Tuesday, 28 January 2020.

For further information please contact Environment Policy Manager,  Nicole Matthews on 9213 2039.

Comments Sought on the Future of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

The second 10 year statutory independent review of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) has commenced.

Over the next 12 months, the review will look at how the EPBC Act has been operating, and any changes needed for Australia to support ecologically sustainable development into the future. 

A discussion paper has been released to start the conversation about how the EPBC Act has operated and whether it is fit for the future. The paper outlines the Act, what is does and where it came from. Potential areas of focus for the review are explored, and options for reform floated. 

Public submissions in response to the discussion paper are open until Friday, 14 February 2020 and can be made via the website here

Local Governments are encouraged to consider the discussion paper and provide comments directly and to WALGA to inform its submission on behalf of the sector.

For more information, please contact the WALGA Environment Team.

National Drought Response Resilience Plan - Open for Comment

The Future Drought Fund (FDF) is a key aspect of the Australian Government’s drought policy, which seeks to provide a permanent and secure revenue source to build drought resilience. From Wednesday,  1 July 2020, $100 million will be made available each year to support Australian farmers and communities. Funds can be used to prepare for, and become resilient to, the effects of inevitable future drought.

The Drought Resilience Funding Plan is a high level framework that seeks to ensure consistency in considering funding for drought resilience projects. Investment themes include investing in research and innovation, research adoption and extension, adopting new and existing technology, improved environmental management, and local and regional infrastructure and community initiatives.
 
This presents an opportunity for each Local Government to make a submission on the elements it considers important to building the resilience of its community, that need to be built into the final Drought Resilience Funding Plan.

Consideration should be given to both local and regionally focused community and infrastructure themes.  

The Drought Response Resilience Plan is currently out for consultation until Friday,  13 December and Local Governments are encouraged to make a submission here.

WALGA will be making a submission on behalf of the Sector, Local Governments are encouraged to provide submissions to the WALGA Environment Team by Friday, 6 December.

View the  InfoPage for more details.

For more information, please contact Executive Manager, Environment and Waste,  Mark Batty on 9213 2078.

Comments sought on the Native Vegetation in Western Australia Issues Paper

Western Australia’s native vegetation is internationally renowned for its unique biodiversity and is culturally and spiritually significant to aboriginal people. It is also at risk as a result of past and present pressures, including land clearing and climate change. Local Government has a significant stake in native vegetation management, in terms of their statutory land use planning responsibilities and in their role as land owners and managers.
 
The State Government is has released an  Issues Paper to guide stakeholder input across four initiatives aimed at improving consistency and transparency in how native vegetation is managed across all government processes: a State native vegetation policy; investing in better information, mapping and monitoring; improving regulatory processes; and exploring a bioregional approach to managing native vegetation. 
 
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is holding a consultation session specifically for Local Governments on Friday 6 December in Perth - register here.

Regional Local Governments or those unable to attend the above session may wish to attend one of the public consultation workshops – register here.

The Issues Paper is open for consultation until Monday,  10 February 2020. Local Governments are encouraged to consider the Issues Paper and provide comments directly to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and to WALGA by Monday,  13 January 2020 to inform its submission on behalf of the sector. WALGA will be preparing a submission on behalf of the sector
 
Further details can be found in the  InfoPage.

For further information please contact Environment Policy Advisor,  Garry Middle on 9213 2049.

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 Policy Manager, Environment, 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.