Independent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consultation

Targeted stakeholder consultation under way

Consultation is under way about the possible establishment of an independent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Queensland.

The consultation seeks 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.

Stakeholder consultation

There are different levels of interest, knowledge, opinions and ideas among Queenslanders and our State’s environmental experts.

Consultation activities have been designed for these different groups.

Targeted consultation activities are occurring with key Queensland industry, environmental and community stakeholders between November 2021 and July 2022.

Research and modelling have occurred, investigating best-practice approaches both nationally and internationally, for comparison to how environmental regulation currently occurs in Queensland.

The possible models, our current state analysis and other key discussion themes are the basis of targeted, expert stakeholder consultation which started on Tuesday 24 May.

Consultation closes on Friday 22 July.

During this stage of the consultation, targeted, expert stakeholders are invited to make a detailed submission in response to a discussion paper (PDF, 2.3MB) and a series of questions.

Targeted, expert stakeholders include:

  • Queensland’s peak industry, environmental and community groups and associations across sectors including:
    1. Agriculture and food
    2. Conservation and environment
    3. Industry and commerce
    4. Local, state and federal government agencies
    5. Resources
    6. Waste and resource recovery
  • Staff of the current environmental regulator, the Department of Environment and Science, and
  • More than 8000 Environmental Authority (EA) holders.

Peak industry groups are asked to make a submission on behalf of their organisation and members.

Peak bodies, DES staff and EA holders will receive a private link to the survey, which will take them to the department’s engagement platform, In the Loop. Respondents will need to set up an In the Loop account to make their submission in response to the discussion paper (PDF, 2.3MB) .

Community consultation

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.

The combined outcomes from the investigation, financial modelling and all consultation activities will inform advice back to the Queensland Government for consideration.

For more information about any of the consultation activities email the Independent EPA Program team epaprogram@des.qld.gov.au