Western Australia’s environmental assets will be better protected with extra resources allocated to improve native vegetation regulation.
The resources will be funded by new clearing fees – to be introduced on July 1, 2019 – to help the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) keep pace with the State’s rapid economic growth and associated demand for environmental approvals, including clearing applications.
The clearing fees have not changed since the regulations were established in 2004 and currently represent an under recovery rate of approximately 99 per cent for DWER. The new fees will improve the rate of cost recovery and be returned to DWER in order to improve processes and the turnaround time of clearing applications.
The new fees are estimated to increase clearing revenue to $600,000 for 2019-20 (or six per cent recovery) and will fund additional staff and be invested in implementing a new Environment Online business system.
The adjusted fees follow extensive consultation throughout the State with a number of DWER-run workshops across Perth and regional centres late in 2018.
The department received 100 written submissions with comments relating to fee structures, the level of cost recovery, potential impacts to businesses, individuals and industry and the need for better transparency through publication of clearing data.
Source: WA Government