Water and environmental compliance

As a responsive and credible regulator, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation strives to consistently apply and enforce the laws we are responsible for administering.
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We promote and monitor compliance with legislative requirements to protect public health, the environment and water resources in Western Australia.

Promoting compliance

We are committed to providing information and support to our stakeholders to encourage compliance by promoting understanding, removing barriers, and overcoming factors that may encourage unlawful conduct. Guidance materials to assist stakeholders in being compliant can be found on our website.

Monitoring compliance

Monitoring compliance with the legislation we administer is one of our fundamental roles. We use a variety of methods to collect information relating to compliance, including:

Our compliance activities prioritise events or activities that represent the greatest level of risk to public health, the environment and water resources in Western Australia. We analyse compliance information to identify breaches, rectify identified non-compliances and take appropriate enforcement action against those who breach legislation. Further information can be found in our Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

The department’s annual Compliance program details our compliance monitoring priorities for each financial year. 

Information about the compliance monitoring activities we have completed can be found in our Regulatory performance reports

Further information about compliance monitoring programs in specific areas is described below.

Industry compliance

We regulate industrial emissions and discharges to the environment through the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and its subsidiary legislation. Industrial premises with the potential to cause emissions and discharges to air, water or land may be prescribed premises. Prescribed premises are managed through works approvals, environmental licences and registrations under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986. All licences and works approvals are publicly available on our website.

The department undertakes proactive compliance of activities regulated under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 to ensure they do not pose unacceptable risks to water, the environment and public health. Compliance inspections of prescribed premises also focus on determining whether emissions and discharges are managed appropriately by the current licence and assessing compliance with the instrument and relevant associated legislation.

Premises are selected for inspection based on risk. We also conduct targeted inspection programs of premises which focus on a specific industry or geographical area in response to intelligence received.  The outcomes of these targeted inspection programs assist in advising regulation, enforcement and risk mitigation strategies.

Ministerial Statement compliance

We monitor significant proposals approved by the Minister for Environment to determine compliance with the implementation conditions specified in their Ministerial Statement. An annual Ministerial Statement compliance program is undertaken which incorporates a variety of proactive and reactive methods to monitor compliance, including audits of proposals, reviews of compliance assessment reports, site inspections and stakeholder engagement.

The results from compliance monitoring activities (including audits) identify areas to improve proponents’ compliance and help in improving future compliance programs and the environmental impact assessment process. When noncompliance with an implementation condition or proponent commitment in a Ministerial Statement is identified, the proponent is issued with a notice of noncompliance detailing actions required to rectify the issue and regain compliance, and where necessary inform enforcement action. The Minister for Environment is informed of each noncompliance.

We have a range of guidance materials to assist proponents in implementation of their Ministerial Statement.

Preparing a Compliance Assessment Report

Some Ministerial Statements contain an implementation condition requiring the proponent to prepare and submit a Compliance Assessment Report (CAR). CARs are declarations made by a proponent regarding their compliance with their implementation conditions and/or procedures. Assess the guidance on preparing a CAR.

Preparing a Compliance Assessment Plan

Some Ministerial Statements contain an implementation condition requiring the proponent to develop a Compliance Assessment Plan (CAP). CAPs require our approval.

CAPs are used by us and proponents to ensure documentation which supports or verifies the compliance status of implementation conditions and/or procedures are recorded and retained. Assess the guidance on developing a CAP.

Preparing an audit table

Audit tables break a Statement down into audit elements and provide a framework for tracking implementation of the requirements of the Statement. Audit tables must be included in Compliance Assessment Reports (CARs) to clearly identify the compliance status of implementation conditions and procedures of the relevant Statement.

Assess the guidance on the development of an audit table.

Native vegetation clearing compliance

Clearing of native vegetation is an offence unless done under a valid clearing permit or the clearing is for an exempt purpose (schedule 6, Environmental Protection Act 1986 or in the Environmental Protection (Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004). Read more information about clearing permits.

We monitor and assess compliance of granted clearing permits and their conditions. This includes site inspections, review of annual reports, desktop assessment and the use of satellite imagery.

We detect unlawful clearing using satellite imagery and through reports from property owners and concerned citizens. We investigate serious breaches of illegal clearing through historical imagery, site inspection, desktop assessment and assess the significance of the vegetation removed.

Vegetation Conservation Notices (VCNs) are issued where unlawful clearing has occurred and action is required to make good the impact to the property. Compliance with the conditions of VCNs is monitored annually to ensure that no further unlawful clearing is undertaken and action is progressing to make good the unlawful clearing. Read more information about valid VCNs issued by the department.

Waste levy compliance

A waste levy applies to waste generated in the Perth metropolitan area which is disposed to landfill. The waste levy helps divert the amount of waste to landfill, encouraging investment in alternative waste treatment options and other State Government initiatives to support increased recycling. Read more about the waste levy in Western Australia.

We undertake an annual program assessing compliance at landfill premises subject to the waste levy. This includes site inspections and audits of waste levy return forms, as well as inspections of industries associated with landfills such as waste transfer facilities and waste processing facilities to identify potential waste levy evasion practices. Our work includes assessing compliance with the approved manner for estimating the volume or weight of waste received at and disposed of to landfills and record keeping requirements under r17(2) of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Regulations 2008. Find out more about waste levy calculation and record keeping requirements in Western Australia.

Light industry compliance

Read more about the Light industry program.