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Frequently asked questions:

Proposed changes to cost recovery model
for clearing permit applications


1. Why are clearing fees being consulted on / changed?

There have been no increases to clearing permits applications fees since 2004, when the clearing provisions in the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and related regulations came into effect.

The real costs associated with managing and assessing applications have increased since that time.

The Government considers WA taxpayers bearing almost the full cost of providing regulatory services unsustainable. Increased cost recovery from those deriving a benefit from regulatory services is considered fair and equitable.

Consultation is being run from 10 August 2018 to 1 November 2018 to ensure stakeholders are aware there may be changes to fees, understand the impact of any fee increases and to avoid unintended consequences of increasing fees

2. Who will be consulted?

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is consulting with the public, peak stakeholder groups and organisations that have a direct interest on the proposal to introduce an improved cost recovery model for native vegetation clearing permits.

Information for submissions and queries on the consultation and cost recovery model for clearing permit applications is on the website at https://dwer.wa.gov.au/consultation/costrecovery

The Department will update it’s website as the cost recovery consultation progresses, including details on the public workshops being held in, Geraldton, Broome and Bunbury and Perth. To register to participant in any of these four workshops, please follow the links below

Business Centre LocationsDate


Tuesday, 11th September 2018

Thursday, 13th September 2018


Event Cancelled – due to low registration numbers.

If you require further information, please call 6364 7260


Tuesday, 16 October 2018


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Margaret River

Thursday, 25 October 2018


Friday, 26th October 2018


3. What will the new clearing permit application fees be?

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will commence public consultation on the proposed cost recovery model in August 2018. The public consultation will inform the government’s decision making on final application fees.

For details on the proposed cost recovery model, please refer to the discussion paper.

4. How was the proposed cost recovery model developed?

An independent business consultant was engaged to develop the proposed cost recovery model, in accordance with Costing and pricing government services: guidelines for use by agencies in the Western Australian public sector (June 2015).

The independent business consultant determined that the cost of service to administer the clearing provisions under Part V, Division 2 of the Environmental Protection Act in 2016/17 was estimated at $5.8 million. Under the current fee structure, fees generated approximately $63,000 leaving the Department under recovered by approximately 99 per cent in 2016/17.

5. Why is the change in the cost recovery model proposed?

The Department has key performance indicators (KPIs) which are used to track performance in delivering regulatory services. Feedback from our stakeholders has told us that protracted clearing permit assessment times create uncertainty for business. To meet the expectations of our customers, it is necessary to consider options for cost recovery to improve our performance against KPIs.

Based on the number of application received in 2016/17, should the proposed fee structure be implemented, the annual revenue received is estimated at approximately 25% of cost recovery This additional revenue will be re-invested in:

  • employing staff for the assessment of clearing permit applications and related compliance areas; and
  • improving systems and streamlining business processes.

6. When will change in cost recovery (fees) commence?

Consultation will close at 5:00pm WST on 1 November 2018. Based on submissions received the Department will provide advice to government on cost recovery options. Pending a decision by government and gazettal of the relevant regulation into law, it is anticipated that fee changes could be introduced in early 2019.

7. What types of permits applications will the proposed cost recovery model include?

The proposed improved cost model for native vegetation clearing permits which is being consulted on relates primarily to fees for new clearing permit applications, as these form the majority of applications received by DWER. Other fee increases will also be considered, such as for applications to amend, surrender and transfer clearing permits. Any increases to these fees will be proportionate to the increases to application fees determined through the consultation process.

8. Who pays the new fees?

Any person or business that applies to clear native vegetation under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 pays an application fee.

9. If proposed cost recovery model changes, will the Department of Mines and Industry Regulation and Safety charge the same fee amounts?

Yes. Any changes to clearing permit application fees will apply to all fees collected under the clearing provisions in the Environmental Protection Act 1986, including those under delegation.

10. How will this impact exemption to clearing permits?

The cost recovery discussion paper does not propose any changes to the two types of exemptions, namely (1) Schedule 6 of the Environmental Protection Act; and (2) Environmental Protection (Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004 (Regulations).

11. How will the proposed revenue be used and how will it impact the Department’s performance?

It is proposed that additional revenue will be directed at employing staff for assessment and compliance of clearing and improvements to business systems.

The additional staff will resource the increasing demand for environmental assessments and approvals and will also allow for an increased focus on delivering systems improvements and regulatory reform to streamline approvals processes. Additional compliance resources will allow the Department to carry out more targeted and proactive inspection and audit activities on the decisions made.

Quarterly performance reporting on the timeliness of decision-making is available on the Department’s website at www.der.wa.gov.au/about-us/regulatory-performance.

12. When would new systems and guidelines be in place?

The Department is currently implementing phase one of a systems improvement plan to incorporate applications for prescribed premises licences, works approvals, registrations and clearing permits on to a new system ‘environment online’ based on the ‘water online’ system.

New guidelines and factsheets will be made available on the Department’s website www.der.wa.gov.au/our-work/licences-and-works-approvals/publications.

The Department’s new Regulatory Capability Division is developing the Department’s regulatory reform agenda. Public consultation is undertaken for proposed new or significant amendments to guidelines. All consultation documents are available on the Department’s website www.der.wa.gov.au/our-work/consultation and will be consulted through stakeholder reference groups and key stakeholders.

·         An improved cost recovery model is proposed to commence on 1 January 2019, following consultation.