Bizarre decision by EPA on wave park contradicts its own advice

Greens Member for North Metropolitan Region Hon Alison Xamon MLC has said she is stunned by the Environmental Protection Authority’s decision not to reject a wave park proposed for a conservation area on the banks of the Swan River.

Ms Xamon said given the proposed development is located almost entirely within Bush Forever Site 331 on land that has been earmarked for 20 years for rehabilitation to protect and enhance the adjacent estuary, she would expect a firm ‘no’ from the EPA to any large development on this site.

She said the EPA’s decision to neither reject nor even assess it contradicts the EPA’s ‘Interim Strategic Advice on Perth and Peel @3.5 Million’ in 2015 - a report in which the EPA repeatedly called on the Government to implement the “forward-thinking” Bush Forever program and protect all of Perth's Bush Forever sites.

“Even the Green Growth Plan developed by the Barnett Government in 2015-16, despite many other failings, recognised this site should be reserved for conservation purposes,” Ms Xamon said.

“What is the point of the EPA if it doesn’t give consistent advice?

“It is not acceptable for the EPA to leave environmental decision making to other agencies as those departments have even weaker environmental legislation and depleted resources.”

Ms Xamon said, for example, this proposal is located almost entirely within the Swan Canning River Development Control Area.

Therefore, in theory, it would be assessed under the Swan Canning Rivers Management Act, by the Swan River Trust, which is now part of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

“Yet the DBCA has advised that because the wave park proposal ‘is within a Lot that is not wholly within the Swan Canning Development Control Area’, the development will not be assessed under the SCRM Act and the DBCA’s role will only be to ‘give advice’ to planning agencies,” Ms Xamon said.

“The Greens support moves to appeal the EPA’s failure to apply major conservation policies, and we further urge the Government to properly fund the EPA so it gives proper attention to obvious environmental concerns."