Message from the CEO
Welcome to a special end-of-year edition of EPA Connect as we take the opportunity to wish you a safe and happy holiday and hope you find some breathing space and opportunity to reconnect with family and friends, in person, after an extraordinary year.
EPA CEO Tracy Mackey
November was an exciting month for us. The highly anticipated Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Bill 2021– a significant legislative framework for managing single use plastics and growing our circular economy – was passed by Parliament after being introduced by the NSW Government. It brings the much-awaited phasing out of problematic or unnecessary plastics including soft plastic bags and single-use plastic straws and disposable plastic plates and cutlery.
And a second, very significant bill was introduced in the last sitting week of the year in November, the Environment Protection Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. This will be debated when Parliament returns in 2022 and is intended to give the EPA stronger powers to crack down on individuals or companies who commit crimes, or benefit from them, and hold them to account. The changes also ensure our laws keep pace with emerging environmental and human health issues, and changing criminal behaviours, industry practices and business models.
We are looking forward to leading and acting on both these important pieces of legislation. We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders in 2022 as and when changes are implemented.
Getting to know our stakeholders better and developing our relationships with you has been a key focus for us this year. We are meeting regularly with the community and industry through our community consultative committees, advisory groups and through our Roadshows.
While we couldn’t get together face-to-face, we were delighted in November to meet with many of you through our virtual forums with community and members of peak bodies that represent stakeholders we regulate as part of our EPA Roadshow. We discussed assessing emerging risks and being prepared for the future, and how we can work better together to improve our environment for future generations. Key environmental matters discussed at the community forums were air quality, forestry, odours and waste. We will continue our listening journey with you next year and our team is looking forward to connecting with more of you face to face in 2022.
This is my final newsletter as I finish at the EPA in early January to take on a role with the Commonwealth Government. Our head of Legal and Corporate Jacqueleine Moore will be the Acting CEO during the recruitment process for a new CEO. It has been interesting, challenging and a pleasure to lead the EPA through a transformation in the past two years, including changing the way we engage with licensees, the community and peak bodies, and I am immensely proud of the work we have done in that time and our dedicated staff.
On behalf of the EPA I want to thank you for your support in helping us carry out our work for the environment and people of NSW. Together we have accomplished a great deal and I will be watching closely as the EPA continues towards its goal of being a world class regulator.
At the end of a challenging year, I wish you all a very happy, safe and sustainable festive season..