Letter from the CEO
It is with great pride – and just a little bit of trepidation – that I write this letter for the EPA’s 2021–22 Annual Report.
The pride stems from working with the purpose-driven staff of the NSW Environment Protection Authority, who have such a strong track record of protecting the community and environment over the 30 years the EPA has existed. The trepidation comes from knowing I’ve joined the organisation at a very challenging time, especially given the recent spate of natural disasters. But despite the pressures these climatic events have placed on our resources, the EPA has continued to demonstrate its capability as a strong and independent steward of the environment.
In the past year we have developed a draft Climate Change Policy and Climate Change Action Plan. These lay out the framework we’re putting in place to support the community and economy to reduce emissions while we enhance our resilience to the impacts of climate change. Although the policy and action plan were released for public consultation in September 2022, after the period of this report, a huge amount of effort went into developing them throughout 2021–22.
We have five strategic priorities for 2021–24: ecologically sustainable development, waste, water quality, legacy and emerging contaminants, and climate change. Our immediate focus is on the most significant and hazardous risks to the community and environment. These include the threats posed by illegal stockpiling of end-of-life tyres and end-of-life plastics, hazardous and liquid waste, radioactive sources, pesticides and chemicals. In the past year the EPA has built a solid foundation for dealing with these hazards and we’ll now build further on that, to protect the community and the environment.
I’d like to acknowledge the enormous contribution of those who recently came before me as CEO – Tracy Mackey, Jacqueleine Moore and Carmen Dwyer – and express my gratitude for their leadership. I look forward to continuing to work with the highly capable EPA team to restore and protect our land, air and water, and to help NSW achieve both sustainability and prosperity in the years ahead.
Letter of submission
The Hon. James Griffin BA MP
Minister for Environment and Heritage
52 Martin Place
Sydney NSW 2000
I am pleased to submit the Annual Report 2021–22 for the NSW Environment Protection Authority.
This report was prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Annual Reports (Statutory Bodies) Act 1984 and Annual Reports (Statutory Bodies)
This annual report must be presented in both Houses of Parliament within one month of receipt.
Chief Executive Officer
Rayne de Gruchy AM PSM
Chair of the Board
31 October 2022
Letter from the Chair
The year 2021–22 was both eventful and significant for the EPA. There were changes in our overarching legislation, executive leadership, and the environment we regulate.
The Board welcomes our new CEO, Tony Chappel, and we look forward to Tony leading the EPA into the future. The Board would also like to acknowledge and thank Jacqueleine Moore for her very capable management of the organisation throughout the five-month recruitment process. I would like to express the Board’s gratitude and thanks to former CEO Tracy Mackey for her leadership during a time of major challenges such as the 2019–20 bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2022 came into effect, making changes to seven Acts and two Regulations. These changes resulted in expanded powers for our protection of the environment and the prosecution of polluters (see page 48). There were also changes made to the governing structure of the EPA.
Another milestone was the launching of the EPA’s Strategic Plan 2021–24. This was jointly developed by the Board and the whole organisation and focuses the EPA’s work on targeted priorities over the coming years.
Complementing the Strategic Plan is the EPA’s Regulatory Strategy 2021–24, which was launched in July 2021. This was followed with the Regulatory Policy, which sits under the Regulatory Strategy. The Policy guides the EPA’s decisions in response to non-compliance and environmental or human health issues. It describes the tools we use and actions we may take under each of the eight elements of our regulatory approach. The Board wholeheartedly endorses both the Regulatory Strategy and the Regulatory Policy.
In March 2022, to help mark the EPA’s 30-year anniversary, I was in Sydney’s Centennial Park for a special planting of a commemorative ‘EPA tree’. I couldn’t help pondering on what it symbolised, the protection of our environment and the continual growth of our organisation. This was a proud moment for the EPA, and an honour for me as Chair.
Looking ahead, the Board is keen for both the Board and the EPA to increase and improve our two-way communications with community and industry stakeholders. In this way, the Board’s visits to regulated sites are very valuable as we’re able to speak directly with the people who work in industry and see their operations firsthand. This then informs how we communicate and guide EPA regulation.
I would like to acknowledge Professor Richard Bush, who left the EPA Board in May this year to pursue interests overseas. Richard made a valuable contribution to the Board. Recruitment is underway with a focus on diversity of skills and experience to ensure the EPA’s Board is well able to steer the EPA into the future.
On behalf of the Board, I thank the passionate and talented EPA executive and staff for their work securing the best environmental outcomes for the NSW community. The work is challenging but forever rewarding.
Rayne de Gruchy AM PSM
Chair of the Board