In November 2011, the NSW Government passed legislation to strengthen and reinvigorate the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). One of the principal requirements of the reforms to the EPA was to increase its transparency through clear reporting and thus improve the community's access to information.
The New South Wales State of the Environment (SoE) Report is prepared every three years by the EPA in accordance with the requirements of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991 (POEA Act). This is the ninth SoE report in NSW and continues to build on the valuable time-series data of previous reports.
The NSW State of the Environment 2015 (SoE 2015) provides an overview of the NSW environment using the best information available. As required under section 10 of the POEA Act, the report assesses the status and condition of major environmental resources and examines environmental trends. The report also describes the pressures that affect the environment and the responses to those pressures.
SoE 2015 reflects the continuing trend of improvement and refinement of reporting shown over the previous eight iterations of the report. It assembles a wide range of information from a large array of sources into a format that is accessible to the wider community, yet still provides scientific rigour.
For SoE 2015 20 themes are presented in two parts: Environmental Drivers and Environmental Resources. The report provides ratings of the status and trend for 65 indicators across the 20 themes.
Preparation of SoE 2015 has relied on extensive contributions from many other NSW Government departments and agencies and from within the EPA. The data and information provided was appraised and validated by the contributing organisations through an extensive process of review. My sincere thanks to all of those concerned in providing information and advice during its compilation. I would especially like to express my appreciation to the independent experts listed in the Acknowledgements who provided a range of perspectives, additions and helpful advice.
I trust that this report will be a valuable resource for the general community as well as guiding policymakers in determining future priorities and objectives that will lead to the best possible outcomes for the environment.
Barry Buffier AM
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Environment Protection Authority