Posted on February 14, 2023 by Stuart Simington
Climate Change Policy and Action Plan finalised by the NSW EPA
On 20 January 2022, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (‘EPA‘) released its final Climate Change Policy and Action Plan.
The policy and plan follow the landmark case of Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action Incorporated v Environment Protection Authority  NSWLEC 92, in which the Chief Judge of the NSW Land and Environment Court ordered the EPA to develop environmental quality objectives, guidelines and policies to ensure the protection of the environment in NSW from climate change in accordance with section 9(1)(a) of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991.
We wrote a blog post last year which provided a high-level overview of the Climate Change Policy and Action Plan when a draft was released for public consultation. That blog post can be viewed here.
Since then, the EPA has received numerous submissions from individuals and organisations. The organisations included community groups, consulting firms, government entities, research organisations, universities, and businesses. According to the Consultation Summary Report (which can be viewed here), most of these were reportedly supportive or neutral about the Climate Change Policy and Action Plan.
The submitters reportedly suggested amendments to both the Climate Change Policy and Action Plan. Some of the suggested amendments to the Climate Policy included:
- outlining the EPA’s statutory objectives and duty in more detail and how they relate to climate change;
- stating that the EPA has an obligation to embed climate change in all decision-making, including an obligation to consider what is reasonable and feasible in its decision-making processes; and
- outlining that all stakeholders should be consulted with, including government agencies.
The EPA did not report on what amendments submitters suggested for the Action Plan.
The final versions of the Climate Change Policy and Action Plan do not differ in any substantive way from the consultation drafts we blogged about last year.
Going forward, the EPA has committed to strengthening its consultation about the next iterations of its Climate Change Policy and Action Plan, including by establishing sector-specific advisory groups (Consultation Summary Report, p 7).
The EPA has created a web page about the Climate Change Policy and Action Plan with further information, including a frequently asked questions document and fact sheets. That web page change been viewed here.
The Climate Change Policy can be viewed here. The Climate Change Action Plan 2023–26 can be viewed here.
If you have any questions about this blog post, please contact Stuart Simington on (02) 8235 9704.