Consultation about the possible establishment of an independent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Queensland has closed.
The consultation sought to understand the views and needs of the community and stakeholders about the future of environmental regulation in Queensland.
An EPA is an organisation responsible for environmental protection and regulation.
In Australia and around the world, there are different models for environmental regulators. One of the key elements of any model is to what level they are designed to ensure objectivity and integrity in decision-making – their level of independence.
The role of Queensland’s environmental regulator is currently undertaken by the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science (DES).
In this role, DES manages and monitors environmental risk through a range of assessment, compliance, investigation and enforcement activities. To ensure compliance with legislation, the department monitors compliance, rewards good performers, conducts educational programs and responds to breaches with enforcement action.
Contemporary, best-practice regulation is constantly evolving and it is critical for both current and future generations that the State’s environmental regulator is positioned to deliver long-term, sustainable outcomes that meet community and industry expectations.
There are different levels of interest, knowledge, opinions and ideas among Queenslanders and our State’s environmental experts.
Consultation activities were designed for these different groups and occurred in two key streams, community and targeted stakeholder consultation.
In addition to consultation activities, a series of other activities also occurred to support the investigation into a possible EPA for Queensland.
The broader investigation included an assessment of the current state of environmental regulation in Queensland, benchmarking across other jurisdictions, research, development of assessment criteria for comparison of possible EPA models, financial modelling and a governance review.
Between July and October 2022, analysis of consultation feedback and broader investigation activities will occur, to inform advice back to the Queensland Government for consideration.
Community consultation was open for eight weeks from Saturday 11 December 2021 until Sunday 6 February 2022.
Queenslanders had their say about the future of environmental regulation in Queensland by completing a short survey. A community summary publication was also available to help interested people understand more about environmental regulation and the role of independence.
Feedback from the consultation helped shape elements of the targeted, expert stakeholder consultation discussion paper.
Targeted stakeholder consultation activities occurred with key Queensland industry, environmental and community stakeholders between November 2021 and July 2022.
In late 2021, a series of stakeholder information sessions were held to provide an overview about the consultation process and gauge sentiment and views.
Consultation was open for almost nine weeks, between 24 May and 22 July 2022.
During this stage of the consultation, targeted, expert stakeholders were invited to make a detailed submission in response to a discussion paper which included 26 questions.
Targeted, expert stakeholders included:
- Queensland’s peak industry, environmental and community groups and associations across sectors including:
- Agriculture and food
- Conservation and environment
- Industry and commerce
- Local, state and federal government agencies
- Waste and resource recovery
- staff of the current environmental regulator, the Department of Environment and Science
- Environmental Authority (EA) holders.
Peak industry groups were asked to make a submission on behalf of their organisation and members.
For more information email the Independent EPA Program team firstname.lastname@example.org.