Executive Summary and Recommendations
The referred clauses of the Environmental Protection Amendment Bill 1997 (“Bill”) establish a body called Waste Management (WA) under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (“Act”). The body consists of the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of the Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”). The chief function of Waste Management (WA) is to carry on the existing waste management operations at three sites within the State (“existing sites”). However the Bill also provides that Waste Management (WA) may carry on any other waste management operation that is approved by the Minister.
The Committee has two main concerns about the Bill. The first is that the Bill requires the CEO of the DEP, the State’s environmental regulator, to become the operator of an environmentally hazardous operation, giving the CEO potentially conflicting responsibilities. The second is that the performance of the CEO’s functions is to be monitored by the Environmental Protection Authority (“EPA”), which could confuse the ongoing relationship between the two agencies.
On the basis that there is merit in seeking to limit the potential conflicts of responsibility and function raised by the Bill, the Committee considered a number of options for amendment of the Bill. The Committee concluded that, given the scale of the proposal:
•the Bill’s proposal for management of the existing sites should be adopted as the most expedient option available; but
Should the Government intend to establish wider waste management infrastructure, it may be necessary to properly constitute an independent management agency.
•the Minister’s power to add other waste management operations to the portfolio of Waste Management (WA) should be deleted.
Recommendation 1: that proposed new section 110M(1)(d) of the Bill be deleted and consequential changes made. The Committee’s proposed amendments are set out in the Attachment to this Report. (See paragraph 5.2.1)
Recommendation 2: that proposed new section 110M(5) be amended so as to ensure that the proposed new Part VIIB, but not other Parts of the Act, should govern Waste Management (WA)’s operations. The Committee’s proposed amendments are set out in the Attachment to this Report. (See paragraph 5.3.1)
Recommendation 3: that proposed new section 110O(4) be amended to make the EPA responsible for monitoring Waste Management (WA)’s compliance with directions of the Minister under proposed new section 110N. The Committee’s proposed amendments are set out in the Attachment to this Report. (See paragraph 5.3.2)
Recommendation 4: that if any decision-making authority has responsibility for monitoring any conditions or procedures under Part IV applying to the existing sites, the Bill be amended to allow this responsibility to be exercised. (See paragraph 5.3.3)