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Frequently asked questions:

Improved cost recovery for clearing permit applications from 1 July 2019

 

1. What will I be charged ?

The new clearing application fees will be as in Table 1. The purpose permit component fee is in addition to the purpose permit application fee.

Area/purpose permit application area (hectares)Intensive land-use zoneExtensive land-use zonePurpose permit component fee
Not more than 1 ha $400.00 $400.00 $2000.00
More than 1 ha but not more than 5 ha $600.00 $600.00
More than 5 ha but not more than 10 ha $1500.00 $750.00
More than 10 ha but not more than 50 ha <$2000.00/td> $1000.00
More than 50 ha but not more than 100 ha $3000.00 $1500.00
More than 100 ha but not more than 500 ha $4000.00 $2000.00
More than 500 ha but not more than 1000 ha $5000.00 $2500.00
More than 1000 ha $10,000.00 $5000.00

The application fees will be based on the type of clearing permit, area applied to be cleared and its location (extensive or intensive land-use zone), identified in Map 1 below.

Map 1 - Extensive or intensive land use zone

2. Why do purpose permits have an additional 'purpose component fee'?

Purpose permits allow the clearing of different areas from time to time for a purpose specified in the application. Local governments, government agencies, mining companies and utilities (roads, railways, gas, water, power) are examples of organisations that require this type of permit.

The purpose permit component fee recognises that purpose permit applications can be more complex to assess and administer over the duration of the permit.

3. Why are fees based on intensive land use zone and extensive land use zone?

The intensive land use zone is managed for intensive agricultural activities in South Western Australia. This zone defines the easternmost extent of land cleared for agricultural purposes.

Historical clearing in this zone has resulted in a more complex set of environmental issues including salinity, threatened species and communities and land degradation. This means that assessment of clearing applications generally require a greater level of assessment compared to permits in the extensive land use zone.

4. What if an application area is within both the intensive and extensive landuse zones?

The application fee for intensive land use zone would apply if the native vegetation under application is located within both zones.

5. When will the increase in fees commence?

The improved cost recovery model will commence on 1 July 2019.

6. Who pays the new fees?

Any person or business that applies to clear native vegetation under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 pays an application fee.

7. Can I pay in instalments?

Fees for new clearing permit applications are due at time of application. Clearing applications cannot be accepted if the required fee is not paid at the time of application and the application will be returned to the applicant.

There is no option to pay in instalments.

8. What if my application is refused, withdrawn or no clearing occurs? Will I be eligible for a refund?

Once the Department Water and Environmental Regulation has commenced assessment and costs have occurred, the full fee will not be refunded. It is not proposed to refund application payments once the clearing permit application has been accepted.

9. If I pay for an offset, do I still need to pay for the assessment?

The two costs are for different purposes.

The application fee is to improve recovery of the cost of administering and assessing clearing permit applications. In instances where clearing will result in significant residual environmental impacts, the clearing permit will contain a condition for an offset to counterbalance those impacts. The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation follows the WA Offsets Policy and Guidelines in establishing offset requirements. The WA Offsets Policy and Guidelines are available on the department’s website at offsets.

10. Are there any changes to clearing permit amendment fees?

There will be no changes to amendment fees and consultation will be undertaken prior to any further changes to these fees.

11. Why has there been an increase in fees?

There have been no increases to fees for clearing permits since the clearing provisions in the Environmental Protection Act and related regulations commenced in 2004.

The new fee structure has been designed to achieve greater recovery of the cost of administering and assessing clearing permit applications.

Additional revenue will be directed to employ staff to carry out assessment and compliance of clearing permits, as well as investing in systems. This will improve the timeliness of decision-making on environmental approvals and ensure the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is appropriately resourced to respond to the increasing demand for environmental assessments and approvals.

12. Was anyone consulted on the changes to the fees?

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has consulted with relevant stakeholders and the community.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation received 100 submissions to its Discussion Paper on Cost Recovery for the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation - Supporting the Delivery of Improved Environmental and Water Regulation following a 14-week submission period (from 10 August 2018)

Several regional information and workshop sessions were also held to inform stakeholders, with a total of 257 people attending.

The submissions received and a consultation summary outlining the key issues raised and the department’s response can be found here.

13. How will the proposed revenue be used and how will it impact the department’s performance?

It is proposed that additional revenue will be reinvested in the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to improve timeliness and quality of assessments, including increasing staff numbers, developing or updating guidance documents and improving systems.

The additional staff will resource the increasing demand for environmental assessments and approvals and will also allow for an increased focus on delivering systems improvements and regulatory reform to streamline approvals processes. Additional compliance resources will allow the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to carry out more targeted and proactive inspection and audit activities on the decisions made.

Quarterly performance reporting on the timeliness of decision-making is available on the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s website.

14. What improvements will be made to systems and guidelines?

The Minister for Environment has endorsed the development of a general government policy for native vegetation, investigations into improved vegetation mapping, strategic regional conservation planning and continued reform of regulatory processes.

There will be further public consultation on any proposed new or significant amendments to guidelines. All consultation documents are available on the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s website www.der.wa.gov.au/our-work/consultation or https://www.dwer.wa.gov.au/consultation.

New guidelines and factsheets will be made available on the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation's website.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is also currently implementing phase one of a systems improvement plan to incorporate applications for prescribed premises licences, works approvals, registrations and clearing permits on to a new system 'environment online'.

·         An improved cost recovery model is proposed to commence on 1 January 2019, following consultation.