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Western Australia is undergoing significant environmental regulatory reform.

The Guidance statement: Regulatory Principles is designed to clarify how DER will carry out its regulatory functions under the Environmental Protection Act 1986. The guidance statement is supported by a series of detailed documents and process improvements for more efficient, effective, transparent, consistent and accountable environmental regulation in WA.

DER has a hierachy of instruments (see Key Documents) governing environmental regulation and which apply to a range of DER’s regulatory functions.

Draft Guidance Statement: Separation Distances

The Department of Environment Regulation (DER) published the draft Guidance Statement: Separation Distances (GS) for a public consultation period which closed in November 2015. Since then, DER has been reviewing consultation submissions, and working to finalise the draft GS. At the same time, DER has been applying its risk-based regulatory framework to pilot assessments. DER has also been briefing stakeholders in relation to its Regulatory Framework.

DER’s briefings and review of consultation submissions highlighted a high degree of confusion regarding the concept of separation distances. Stakeholders were unclear as to:

  • how the draft GS would interact, if at all, with the Environmental Protection Authority’s guidance on separation distances;
  • how the draft GS would interact with, if at all, planning provisions and its use in planning approvals; and
  • whether the draft GS requires minimum distances or buffers to be maintained.

Following discussions of these issues with stakeholders, the draft GS is now withdrawn from DER’s suite of Regulatory Framework documents to avoid stakeholder confusion or misunderstanding as to its purpose or use.  The consideration of distances from sensitive receptors will still be used by DER to inform assessments and decision making.  Distances will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The Framework

Guidelines and Supporting Documentation

    • Licence template, Conditions Library, Application form
      - Licences and works approvals set conditions for prescribed premises to ensure that potential impacts and risks to the environment are minimised. New documentation will ensure transparent and consistent decisions and condition setting for all works approvals and licences under Part V, Division 3 of the EP Act.

    • Guideline: Environmental Noise (in finalisation stage)

Risk Assessment Examples

DER's risk assessment process has been developed to ensure a systematic approach in assessing risk and applying regulatory controls which are proportionate to the risk.

The below licences and works approvals are examples of DER's application of risk-based assessment:

In finalisation

DeliverableStatusDate*
Licence template, Conditions Library, Application form Closed Consultation closed
13 November 2015
Revised draft Environmental Standard: Composting (amended after first round of consultation)
Closed Consultation closed
16 June 2016
Draft Guidance Statement: Regulation of Mine Dewatering  Closed Consultation closed
5 February 2016
Guideline: Environmental Noise Closed Consultation closed
16 June 2016

Upcoming consultation

DeliverableStatusDate*
Environmental Standard: Rural Landfills (in development with WA Local Government Association) Upcoming Release date for public consultation
April 2017
Guideline: Emissions to Air Upcoming Release date for public consultation
April 2017
Guideline: Odour Upcoming Release date for public consultation
April 2017
Guideline: Emissions to Land Upcoming Release date for public consultation
April 2017
Guideline: Emissions to Water Upcoming Release date for public consultation
April 2017
Environmental Standard: Metropolitan Landfills Upcoming Release date for public consultation
June 2017
Environmental Standard: Waste Water Treatment Plants Upcoming Release date for public consultation
April 2017
Environmental Standard: Tailings Storage Facilities Upcoming Release date for public consultation
June 2017

*Delivery schedule updated December 2016.