The formation of an Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in Tasmania is one step closer with the announcement today of the first EPA Board.
The EPA comes into effect in Tasmania on 1 July and will act as a strong and independent regulator for the State.
The Minister for Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts Michelle O'Byrne said the formation of the EPA Board is a boost for the community’s confidence in the transparency of environmental management and decision making.
"The EPA will be governed by a skills-based Board with an independent chairperson and I am pleased to announce John Ramsay has been appointed Chairperson of the EPA," Ms O’Byrne said.
Mr Ramsay brings a wealth of knowledge to the new role and has had extensive experience in public administration and environmental management.
Mr Ramsay is director of his own consulting company providing services in health, human services, environment, planning and natural resources. He has also been Secretary of three government agencies and has extensive experience as chair of State and National councils, committees and advisory groups relevant to environmental management issues.
The new EPA Board Deputy Chairperson is Dr Christine Mucha, who is CEO of Hobart Water. Dr Mucha has widespread experience across industry.
The two other board members are Wayne Petrass, a consultant in environmental engineering and natural resource management and Ian Abernathy, who brings experience in local government strategy, development and planning.
All the members of the EPA Board have been appointed on skills merit and bring a vast amount of knowledge and understanding across a range of fields including industry, natural resource management and local government.
Director of Environmental Management, Warren Jones, will be the Director, EPA.
Both the Board and the EPA Director will exercise power at arm’s length from State Government and have independent statutory powers. The Board is responsible for a number of higher level decisions, including the assessment of development proposals, while the Director exercises those powers that are needed for day to day regulatory management.
The EPA’s roles and functions span environmental management and pollution control and are established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994.
"Tasmania’s natural environment is important socially and economically for current and future generations, and the EPA will appropriately assess developments and regulate industry," Ms O’Byrne said.
"Sustainable development needs to be supported by a progressive, rigorous and objective system of environmental assessment and regulation that will be provided by the EPA. The EPA is also a vital part of the State’s resource management and planning system."
The EPA in Tasmania will be supported by staff in the Environment Division of the Department of Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts.
"The Government has provided an additional million over four years to ensure that the EPA has adequate resources and support," Ms O’Byrne said.