Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
The Greens are pleased the State Government has acknowledged the need to establish an Independent Environment Protection Authority. It’s past time.
The devil, however, will be in the detail when it comes to their model of an independent EPA.
The EPA is Tasmania's most critical environmental regulator. Its role and capacity to protect the state’s environment, however, has been increasingly stymied by the Liberal Government.
Under the Liberals, the EPA has not been regulating to protect this island’s environment. It has allowed environmental pollution and degradation to go unpunished, and stood silently by on many serious environmental issues.
Communities around Tasmania have been calling for an independent EPA for years, as have the Greens. It is an essential step to preserve our marine and land’s natural values – which are under increasing pressure. That’s why we tabled legislation in Parliament to create an independent EPA.
If the Liberal’s model for making the EPA independent actually does that job, we won’t need to debate our Bill. We will be investigating the full detail of the Liberal’s plan before we pass judgement.
So-called “structural separation” of the EPA from DPIPWE is certainly worthwhile, but must be accompanied by removal of all other elements of government interference. It is critical this includes removal of the Minister’s current ability to issue a ‘Statement of Expectations’. We need to see evidence the EPA will not be subject to the direction or control of the Minister.
Tasmania deserves a truly independent EPA, and we hope this announcement will finally deliver this vital reform.