In November 2011, the NSW Government passed legislation to strengthen and reinvigorate the Environment Protection Authority. In February 2012, an independent Board was appointed to oversee the work of the EPA, modernising the authority and making it more accountable to the community of NSW. I was appointed Chair and CEO of the EPA in April 2012. One of the principal requirements of the reforms to the EPA is to increase its transparency through clear reporting and thus improve the community's access to information.
New South Wales State of the Environment is prepared every three years by the EPA in accordance with the requirements of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991. This is the first SoE report to be prepared by the EPA since the recent reforms and, being the eighth NSW SoE report, provides valuable time-series data.
NSW State of the Environment 2012 details the condition of the environment and describes the major environmental issues across the state and how they affect human and environmental health. It provides an overview of the NSW environment using the most recent scientific information available. The report reviews the status and condition of the NSW environment, the pressures that affect the environment and responses to those pressures. SoE 2012 is a valuable addition to the body of knowledge we are building on the environment in NSW.
Preparation of the SoE report relies on extensive contributions both from within the EPA and from many other NSW Government departments and agencies. The presentation of the data and information provided was appraised and validated by contributing organisations by way of a Verification Review. My sincere thanks to all of those concerned in providing information and advice during its compilation. I would especially like to offer my appreciation to a number of independent experts who have made invaluable contributions to this report by providing a range of perspectives and helpful advice.
SoE 2012 reflects the continuing trend of improvement and refinement shown over the eight iterations of the report. It assembles a wide breadth of information from a large array of sources into a format that is both accessible to the wider community yet able to withstand scientific rigour.
For SoE 2012, the indicators have been simplified to provide a more efficient and objective evaluation of trends. The 86 indicators now relate to over 20 major environmental issues in NSW and enable readers to examine their status in a more concise form than in any previous report.
I trust that this report will be a valuable resource for the general community as well as guiding policy-makers in determining future priorities and objectives that will lead to the best possible outcomes for the environment.
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Environment Protection Authority