Setting our strategic direction

Our strategic direction establishes how we work: how we interact with stakeholders, how we deliver government policy, and how we align our operations with our values. In setting our strategic direction we have kept in mind the characteristics of a world class regulator: being responsive and adaptive – willing to try new approaches; being outcomes-focused – concentrating on what matters most; and basing our decisions on data.

Integrating world class technology into all areas of the EPA

Characteristics of a world class regulator: being outcomes-focused, service-oriented, responsive and adaptive, purpose and people-centred, and having a learning mindset.

Digital technologies are fundamentally and rapidly changing how people, businesses and governments work together.

Our Digital Transformation Strategy 2021–24 promotes the adoption of intelligent, efficient and effective digital tools so our regulation can be more efficient and effective. It sets out both a strategy and a delivery plan. We are already introducing intelligent digital tools – systems, software and technology – into our everyday work and the strategy will guide how we’ll continue to do this.

The strategy has four focus areas that show how our digital transformation will contribute to the EPA attaining the characteristics of a world class regulator.

The strategy sets out the digital capabilities we want and the outcomes we want those capabilities to deliver for the environment, the people of NSW and our staff.

The Digital Transformation Strategy is a living strategy that will continue to be informed by ongoing engagement with our stakeholders


The projects delivered under the strategy will also respond to changes in our priorities, needs, capability and resources.

view of the Hexham bridge

Hexham bridge, Kooragang, NSW

Empowering data-driven decisions

To regulate effectively, the EPA needs to respond quickly to changing conditions and emerging issues. To identify such changes, we need evidence gained from data and analytics.

The EPA’s Data and Analytics Strategy 2021–24 builds on our existing data and analytics successes. The strategy sets our data priorities and initiatives so we can be an evidence-based and intelligence-led world class regulator. It guides how we consume, organise, govern, analyse and deploy internal and external data.

The three-year strategy covers changes to culture, capability, quality, governance and technology. The main premises on which the strategy is built are:

  • Gathering data-based evidence is essential for an outcomes-focused approach.
  • Continually developing our data and analytical capability makes us more purpose-and people-centred as it improves our understanding of who we are and what we do.
  • Investing in the data skills and capabilities of our workforce is part of a learning mindset.
  • In a service-oriented approach, we partner with business, government, environmental groups and the community to collect the best available evidence and use it to enable better environmental outcomes.

Delivering the Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041

In 2020 the EPA collaborated with the DPIE on developing the Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041: Stage 1 2021–2027 (the Strategy) and the NSW Plastics Action Plan. The EPA works to reduce the harmful impact of waste and drive behaviours that create a circular economy; the Strategy and Plastics Action Plan have the same aims. These documents will provide the basis for our future waste management policies and programs.

The Strategy:

  • updates our Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014–2021
  • builds on the success of our Waste Less, Recycle More programs
  • aligns with the NSW Circular Economy Policy Statement 2019 and the Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030
  • sets the NSW Government’s response to the commitments and targets of the National Waste Policy Action Plan 2019.

Under the Strategy and Plastics Action Plan, the EPA will:

tackle plastic waste

influence strategic infrastructure planning and investment

reduce carbon emissions, by enabling more sustainable material use

protect the community from polluting waste.

Our delivery of the Strategy and Plastics Action Plan is driven by our fundamental purpose of ‘healthy environments, economies and communities’ and takes us further towards being a world class regulator.

Leading by example: going carbon neutral

This year the EPA embarked on a journey to become carbon neutral by 2030. This was a statement to the community and industry that we are serious about our role in protecting the environment and human health. We are asking others – including those we regulate – to embrace carbon neutrality: we must therefore set an example. We and our community will take this journey together.

This commitment is strongly aligned with our organisation’s purpose and with the passion and values of its staff. We’ve set ourselves a clear and ambitious target and we acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead.

We’ve started work to determine our current carbon footprint, taking into account emissions associated with facilities, business travel (including our car fleet), procurement, waste and water. This current footprint will be a baseline against which to measure progress.

Our commitment to go carbon neutral embodies many of the characteristics of being a world class regulator:

  • We’re adopting a learning mindset by understanding what drives our carbon consumption, what steps we can take and where we can learn from others.
  • We’ll need to be adaptive and responsive as we move to being carbon neutral while continuing to deliver on our regulatory obligations.
  • Being purpose and people-centred has been a key driver of this commitment.
  • We’ve made the commitment with a clear goal: to protect the environment for future generations by limiting our carbon footprint.
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