The Minister for the Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts, Michelle O’Byrne, today announced she had provided the first ministerial statement of expectation to the Board of the Environment Protection Authority.
Ms O’Byrne said the statement listed promotion of environmentally sustainable practices and leadership on climate change issues as key expectations.
Under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act, the Minister is required to provide a statement of expectation to the EPA every two years.
"The statement of expectation specifies my objectives in relation to the EPA Board," Ms O’Byrne said.
"This includes the EPA’s relationship with the State Government and the Environment Division, as well as governance matters and priorities for the EPA Board."
"So while it covers the objectives of my role as Minister on any matter relating to the functions of the Board, it is important to note that it cannot prevent the Board from independently performing its statutory functions," Ms O’Byrne said.
Under the statement of expectation, the Minister expects the EPA will:
· Develop a strategic plan.
· Engage effectively with stakeholders.
· Consult widely on strategic and emerging environmental management issues.
· Promote environmentally sustainable practices.
· Develop leadership on climate change issues.
· Investigate options for reducing smoke impacts from planned burning.
· Contribute to the development and implementation of major environmental policies and strategies.
The statement of expectation covers the period from today (1 October, 2008) until 31 March, 2010.
The EPA Board is required, under the Act, to respond by providing a statement of intent to the Minister within three months.
Ms O’Byrne said the EPA came into effect on 1 July 2008 and has been established as an independent statutory body, responsible for performing its functions and exercising its statutory powers at arms length from government.
"The EPA 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.
"Both the statement of expectation and statement of intent (when prepared) will be made publicly available by the EPA via its website: www.epa.tas.gov.au," Ms O’Byrne said.