Greens NSW MP and Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has reacted to the Auditor General’s critical report into the EPA, which highlights weaknesses in regulatory frameworks and practices in compliance and enforcement activities.
Dr Faruqi said:
“This report further erodes community confidence in our environmental regulator. It exposes yet more issues in a long line of gaps and weaknesses about this dangerous failure of the environmental regulator to protect communities and our environment.
“Quite frankly, the buck stops with the NSW Government who have known both structural and regulatory problems with the EPA and have chosen not to clean up this mess. They have no political will to deal with the realities of water pollution and illegal waste dumping, which is causing harm to both the environment and peoples’ health.
“This Government and the Environment Minister need to step up and show some courage for once. We need strong measures to strengthen transparency, independence and scientific integrity as well as improving regulation, compliance and enforcement in the EPA. This Government is risking our future by refusing to strengthen the EPA.
“This isn’t the first time these issues have been raised, a number of inquiries over the last few years have urged the Government to take action on strengthening the EPA, but to no avail.
“Communities across NSW have been raising concerns about the governance, effectiveness and transparency of the EPA, but this Government has refused to act.
“Recommendations by the Auditor General should be adopted, but if this Government is serious about protecting our drinking water catchments, there should be a ban on any new coal mine.
“Incident after incident of illegal dumping, water contamination, and land and air pollution has not moved this Government to act. NSW needs a strong and independent regulator in which the community can put their faith to protect our precious environment and safeguard human health,” she concluded.