About the EPA


The EPA was established under the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991.


The EPA built a reputation as an effective and innovative environmental regulator.


The EPA was incorporated into a new Department of Environment and Conservation.


Following a major pollution incident at Kooragang Island in Newcastle, the EPA was re-established as an independent authority with a clearly defined mandate and identity, and enhanced powers.

2021 onwards 

Today the EPA is the state’s primary environmental regulator, leading the protection of our community and the environment.

Driving world class regulation

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) aims to be a world class regulator, shaping positive environmental outcomes to ensure healthy environments and communities in NSW. We are an independent statutory authority, sitting in the portfolio of the Minister for Energy and Environment as part of the Planning, Industry and Environment Cluster.

The EPA works in partnership with business, government and the community to protect human health, reduce pollution and waste, and prevent degradation of the environment.

The EPA is responsible for regulating the environment, using a suite of legislation and tools which establishes a strong basis for environmental regulation that is outcomes-focused, proactive and contains appropriate compliance mechanisms and actions. As a statutory authority with an independent, expertise-based governing Board, the EPA is able to operate effectively to achieve the environmental and human health outcomes we are responsible for.

As a modern world class regulator, the EPA is focused on achieving real-world outcomes for the environment and the community of NSW. This means carefully balancing the priorities of the government, community and business in our regulatory approach and decision-making.

Building on our strengths

Our core business is focused on protecting, restoring and enhancing the quality of the environment in NSW, reducing risks to human health and preventing degradation of the environment. We will continue to plan for, prepare for and respond to emergencies where human health and the environment are at risk.

Listening and learning from different voices

We aim to ensure Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives are sought and incorporated into the EPA’s work and important environmental issues, by building relationships with communities and working to maintain these relationships for the long term.

We listen to and learn from our communities by taking a place-based approach that considers the specific circumstances of a place, and engaging with local communities to understand complex local factors and share decision-making.

EPA inspector in hi vis vest on grassed road verge

EPA Operations Officer responding to odour reports, Coffs Harbour. Photo: EPA



Our Vision

Best living on the planet


Our Purpose

Healthy environments, economies and communities

Our Principle

We strive to be a world class regulator


 Learning mindset

We continuously develop to build and maintain trusted expertise in all relevant disciplines and operations

 Outcomes focused

We articulate and are relentlessly accountable for clear outcomes that focus on the effective delivery of public value

 Responsive and adaptive

We proactively listen to, identify and respond to risks with contemporary tools, technology and data to reduce harm

 Purpose and people-centred

We are fundamentally purpose driven and enable a people-centred culture to create a safe and great place to work

 Service oriented

We work collaboratively with community, government, stakeholders and our people to influence and enable outcomes


Working with stakeholders

Protecting the environment is everyone’s responsibility. And by working together, we can be more effective. That’s why the EPA works with a variety of stakeholders to reduce impacts on the environment. We are committed to:

  • listening to our stakeholders
  • creating opportunities for stakeholders to be involved in protecting the environment
  • building relationships with our stakeholders through trust and mutual learning.

We regularly survey representatives of industry, government, environment groups and the general public. In a survey conducted in 2020, our stakeholders said that:

  • the EPA is valued and respected by all groups
  • industry stakeholders appreciate their personal relationships with our staff but want greater consistency in regulatory outcomes
  • the general community wants greater clarity about the EPA’s role.


Local government and local land managers

We partner with local government and local Aboriginal Land Councils to protect the environment and human health, engage with local communities and solve problems.



Clarifying roles and responsibilities

We partner with other regulators to identify and solve environmental problems, lead regulatory practice and reduce regulatory overlap.


Delivering evidence-based advice

We partner with government, research organisations, universities and peak bodies to identify current and future problems and develop the best environmental solutions using the best available science.


Strengthening collective leadership

We work with industry on modern best practice solutions to issues. We work with the regulated community to help deliver better outcomes.


Fostering collaboration

We work with and empower communities to understand the environmental issues affecting them and what they need from us or others to protect and restore the environment.


Technological enablement

We work with interest groups and NGOs to understand and gain important insights about the environmental issues they are concerned about and how these will inform our work.


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