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.

Key Policy Areas and Projects

Current Issues

Recommendation to declare the feral cat as a pest in Western Australia

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has completed a technical assessment and recommended that the feral cat is declared as a pest under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007.  The technical assessment and recommendation follows the Australian Government listing predation by cats as a key threatening process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), and an agreement in July 2015 from Environment Ministers from across Australia to enable effective and humane control of feral cats in each of their jurisdictions.

Should the recommendation be accepted by the Minister, DPIRD will not enforce landholders to undertake management activities.  Rather, declaration will enhance landscape scale management activities through better coordination of government and community programs. 

DPIRD is also developing a draft policy aimed at mitigating the risk of harm to domestic pet cats.  WALGA will keep the sector updated on opportunities to comment on the draft policy. Please refer to WALGA's InfoPage for more information, or contact Melanie Davies, Biodiversity and Sustainability Project Officer, on 9213 2065. 

Environmental measures in the 2018-19 State and Federal Budget

The Australian Government released the federal budget for 2018-19 on Tuesday, 8 May, followed by the Government of Western Australia’s release of the state budget on Thursday, 10 May.  Natural resource management (NRM) and action on climate change were not a focus of either budgets this year, with limited new announcements to support Western Australian Local Governments. 

The State budget allocated $31 million for the Natural Resource Management Program, $9.3 million for the Pilbara Environmental Offsets fund, and $900,000 for the Swan-Canning Community Rivercare Program.  The State budget also focuses on cost recovery for water and environmental regulation, with increased fees for licences and permits.  The Federal budget allocated $1 billion for the National Landcare Program (Phase 2).  Please refer to the WALGA InfoPage for more information, or contact Melanie Davies, Biodiversity and Sustainability Project Officer on 9213 2065.

Revision of the WALGA Climate Change Policy Statement

The   Climate Change Policy Statement Discussion Paper was open for sector comment from November 2017 to January 2018. WALGA received a total of 26 responses to the Climate Change Policy Statement Discussion Paper. Roughly half were individual responses (some officers, some Councillors) and the other half were responses endorsed by the Local Government. Responses were overwhelmingly supportive of producing a strong policy statement, that reflects the scientific consensus, international developments (e.g. the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals) and most importantly, the fact that Local Governments are already experiencing climate change, and taking mitigation and adaptation action.
Following on from WALGA’s release of the  Climate Change Policy Statement Discussion Paper, WALGA produced a  draft revised WALGA Climate Change Policy. Local Governments were encouraged to provide input, with comments closing on Tuesday, 24 April. WALGA received input from 30 Local Governments and is now reviewing all comments received. The draft Policy Statement will be submitted to State Council for its approval or comment. If endorsed by State Council, it will provide the basis for WALGA’s climate change advocacy plan, which will be developed in consultation with the sector and further detail how WALGA will promote and prosecute Local Governments’ key climate change priorities over the next few years.

Australia's Strategy for Nature 2018 - 2030:  WALGA interim submission

In November 2017, Australian, State and Territory Environment Ministers agreed to revise “Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy: 2010- 2030” based on the findings of a review into the first five years of the strategy’s implementation. The public comment period for the revised “Australia’s Strategy for Nature 2018-2030: Australia’s biodiversity conservation strategy and action inventory”closed on Friday, 16 March

WALGA coordinated a submission on behalf of the Local Government sector.  The submission recommends significant revision of the strategy to provide a strong national framework for biodiversity conservation, identify outcomes and set measurable targets, and commit adequate funding for implementation and monitoring of results.  WALGA's submission can be viewed here.

For further information, please contact Melanie Davies, Biodiversity and Sustainability Project Officer, or call 9213 2065.


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