Regulatory Strategy 2022-2027 - Progress report 2023

The Regulatory Strategy 2022-2027 was published in February 2022. Progress has been made on many of the action items and targets across the six focus areas during the first year of the Regulatory Strategy. Implementation highlights include:

Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022

The Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 was introduced to the State Parliament on 12 October 2022. The Bill includes amendments to support industry and streamline processes; protect the environment and allow the community to have a say; and support a strong regulator with the tools to do its job safely and effectively.

Targeted stakeholders were consulted during the development of the exposure draft and written feedback was considered. Following consultation on the exposure draft of the Bill, several amendments were modified or deferred for further consideration. Proposed amendments were subject to full public consultation through the Committee process.

The 2021/2022 Annual Strategic Compliance Priorities

As Queensland’s environmental regulator, we aim to be a strong and customer-focused regulator that is efficient, modern, responsive, transparent, and collaborative in our efforts to protect environmental values while supporting Queensland’s economy.

In 2021–2022, the three annual strategic compliance priorities (ASCP) were: waste management and waste levy compliance, coal seam gas (CSG) and the Great Barrier Reef. During 2021– 22, our ASCP on ground effort resulted in 596 compliance activities of waste management facilities, CSG operators and agricultural producers.

Effecting behavioural change to achieve voluntary compliance is recognised as an effective and desirable method of protecting Queensland’s environment and communities. Our communications and engagements with operators resulted in 47 operators obtaining new environmental authorities (EAs) to lawfully operate. We also utilised a range of compliance tools to hold unlawful and poor performing operators to account, including 72 penalty infringement notices, 154 statutory notices and 8 successful prosecutions with fines imposed of approximately $215,000 and costs of over $48,000 awarded.

Public register portal enhancements

Through the online public register portal, people can search, view and download a range of data and documents related to the regulation of environmentally relevant activities. The public register portal improves the transparency and accessibility of information to the public, and aligns with the Queensland Government’s strategy for open data.

Since the release of the portal in 2021, we have continued to make significant enhancements to the useability of the portal and the range of records available online. These enhancements included the addition of more data and document types such as progressive rehabilitation and closure plans, annual returns and estimated rehabilitation costs, as well as optimisations to search and performance. The portal averages over 20,000 searches per month and new data assets will be added to the portal incrementally through 2023.

Review detailed progress for action items and targets

Information about the delivery status of each action and target within the focus areas can be found by clicking on the relevant focus area.

Other performance reporting and monitoring

In addition to tracking the delivery of the focus area actions and targets, we also committed to monitoring our regulatory performance against a suite of measures including:

  • obtaining feedback from customers in relation to the quality of information being provided by ESR and its performance
  • evaluating ESR’s regulatory performance against the Queensland Government’s regulator model practices
  • tracking ESR’s support for ecologically sustainable development that prevents and minimises impacts on the environment while supporting jobs and a strong economy by considering the number of EA applications and amendments that are supported.

Performance against these measures is captured in other published reporting materials including the department’s Regulator Performance Framework report and the department’s Annual Report.