Wes Ford was appointed as the new Director of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in May 2015, joining the new EPA Board members who were appointed in late 2014. He was also appointed General Manager of the EPA Division of DPIPWE at the same time.
He brings to these positions his knowledge and experience gained over 30 years working in Tasmania’s State Service, and his particular expertise regulating and managing commercial and recreational fisheries, aquaculture and water resources. In his new role, he is keen to support the Government, community and industry to create wealth and generate employment in regional areas, and to work closely with industry to achieve growth and development within the State – in a sustainable way.
Since commencing with the EPA over two months ago, Mr Ford said that he’d gained an appreciation of the depth and breadth of work within the EPA and the diversity of businesses being assessed and regulated. He said that although he’d only begun to understand the full gamut of issues being dealt with, he felt inspired by the challenge of taking up the EPA helm.
“I’ve had a period of intensive senior staff meetings, receiving briefings on issues as they arise whilst also seeking background briefings on a number of current issues across the EPA Division. I expect this to continue in coming months as I deepen my understanding of various areas of work, including many complex environmental and regulatory issues,” said Mr Ford.
“I participated in my first EPA Board meeting in early July and was impressed by the assessment process undertaken by the Board with the support of the Assessment Section, and I’ve met separately with Warren Jones, Chair of the EPA Board, to discuss a number of matters relevant to the Board.
“I’ve had several meetings with the Minister to discuss a range of matters including the Air EPP, waste, and Macquarie Point, and I briefed him on the national Meeting of Environment Ministers which I attended with him in Melbourne in mid-July.
“I’ve responded to quite a number of media inquiries and undertaken several interviews on radio and TV from the get go, with the aim of demonstrating my willingness to engage with the community and to reinforce the core values of the EPA, including openness and transparency.
“I’m passionate about adopting a leadership style that is built on these core EPA values, delivering consistency, accountability and transparency in the application of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act (EMPCA).
“My aim is to take a consultative approach with the community about the level of acceptable environmental harm, and to work in collaboration with industry and government, to agree upon and deliver the desired environmental outcomes under EMPCA and the broader Tasmanian Resource Management and Planning System.
“I have met with a few industry clients so far, and over the coming months I will be seeking opportunities to meet with more. I’m particularly keen to engage with the major companies, those with significant regulated activities, and to visit and see their operations first hand,” he said.
"Since joining the Division as General Manager, I’ve felt very welcomed and well supported by staff, and I intend to return this loyalty and support with an 'open door' policy for all staff during my term,” said Mr Ford.
Born and raised in Tasmania, Mr Ford holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tasmania and Graduate Certificates in Fisheries Management and Public Sector Management. He commenced his State Government career in 1984 in fisheries research, management and regulation. He has held senior positions since 1993, firstly as Fisheries Manager for Rock Lobster, then Director of Marine Resources in 2002, followed by General Manager of the Primary Industry Division in 2004, General Manager of Water and Marine Resources in 2009, and Acting Deputy Secretary in 2014.
In his personal life, he is a keen bushwalker, kayaker and traveler. He has shared his love of the outdoors with his family, his wife and two children, and together they have enjoyed a long association with Scouts Tasmania.