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Parliamentary Questions

Question On Notice No. 2069 asked in the Legislative Council on 4 April 2019 by Hon Diane Evers

Question Directed to the: Minister for Environment
Minister responding: Hon S.N. Dawson
Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Question

The Shire of Manjimup has stated in its annual firebreak and Fuel Hazard Reductions Notice 2018-2019, that subject to the required clearing permit being obtained, a property owner may extend the Building Protection Zone (BPZ) to a maximum of 40 metres, and I ask:
(a) what criteria does the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) use to assess the amount of clearing allowable for fire mitigation in:
(i) 2017-18; and
(ii) 2018 to 30 March 2019;
(b) how many applications for clearing for any purpose did DWER recieve in the Shire area in:
(i) 2014-15;
(ii) 2015-16; and
(iii) 2016-17; and
(c) has DWER ever declined applications to clear within 40 metres and, if yes, for what reason?

Answered on 16 May 2019

(a) (i) – (ii) The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (Department) assesses all clearing permit applications in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act). In assessing an application for a clearing permit under Part V of the EP Act, the Department must have regard to the ten clearing principles listed in Schedule 5 of the EP Act. The Department must also have regard to any planning instrument, or other matter, that is considered relevant.

Exemptions from requiring a clearing permit for clearing that is done as a requirement of a written law, or authorised under certain statutory processes, are contained in Schedule 6 of the EP Act.  Clause 1 of Schedule 6 of the EP Act also provides an exemption from the requirement for a clearing permit for clearing that is done in order to give effect to a requirement to clear under a written law. A notice issued by a local government under section 33 of the Bush Fires Act 1954, such as the Shire of Manjimup Fuel Hazard Reductions Notice is an example of a notice fitting within the definition of Clause 1 of Schedule 6.

(b) (i) 21

     (ii) 26

     (iii) 31

(c) Since the commencement in 2004 of the clearing provisions contained in Part V of the EP Act, eight clearing permit applications for clearing associated with the establishment of a Building Protection Zone have been refused in Western Australia, as shown in Table 1 below. The assessment of all eight clearing permit applications identified environmental values which would be impacted by the proposed clearing and took into account advice received from the relevant local government authority. Two further applications for clearing associated with the establishment of a Building Protection Zone were declined under Section 51E(3) of the EP Act due to inadequacies with the applications themselves.

Table 1:

Clearing Permit System (CPS) number

Date Application Determined

Determination

168/1

27/07/2005

Refused

454/1

24/02/2006

Refused

1961/1

23/05/2008

Refused

2875/1

06/08/2009

Refused

2872/1

06/08/2009

Refused

3408/1

11/02/2010

Refused

4512/1

31/01/2013

Refused

7933/1

24/01/2019

Refused

7055/1

01/06/2016

Declined

7113/1

19/08/2016

Declined