28 June 2019

Splitting the roles of the EPA chair and CEO will improve the organisation’s governance

The Nature Conservation Council welcomes the decision of Environment Minister Matt Kean to improve governance of the Environment Protection Authority by splitting the roles of chairperson and CEO.

“In our view, it was an error to appoint the same person as CEO and Chairman of the EPA in 2012,” Nature conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said.

“It was contrary to the principles of good governance, created a clear conflict of interest, and undermined public confidence in the organisation.

“We are glad Environment Minister Matt Kean has decided to rectify this mistake by appointing different people to these roles, which was a recommendation of the Upper House Inquiry into the EPA in 2015.”

Ms Smolski said the EPA had a lot of work to do to restore public confidence in the organisation.

“The EPA’s willingness and capacity to enforce environmental regulations has come under scrutiny in areas ranging from pollution and waste to forestry,” Ms Smolski said.

“The conservation movement has felt the EPA has at times identified more closely with the industries it regulates than the communities whose interests it is supposed to protect.

“Ultimately it is the government’s job to make the EPA work effectively by staffing and funding the organisation adequately and sending a clear signal that it will not tolerate illegal pollution and logging.

“We applaud Environment Minister Matt Kean’s stated desire to make the EPA a strong regulator with teeth and will watch with interest developments in this area.” [2]


[1] The performance of the NSW Environment Protection Authority, Feb 2015, General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5

[2] NSW EPA's role as 'strong cop' to be boosted by end of 'two-hat' chief, SMH, 28-6-2019



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