Industry News, Latest News, New South Wales, News

New chair for NSW environmental watchdog

Former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) senior executive Rayne de Gruchy AM PSM  has taken over as Chair of the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) commencing her role yesterday.

Environment Minister Matt Kean described de Gruchy is a highly experienced regulator and will play a key role  in ensuring that the EPA is a world-class regulator that holds dodgy individuals and organisations to account.

“Now more than ever it is important that we have a tough, independent environmental cop on the beat –ensuring our environment and communities are protected from potentially harmful and hazardous activities,” Kean said.

“The people of NSW expect our environment to be protected, so our children and their children can enjoy  our natural environmental assets for generations to come. De Gruchy has come from the ACCC where she led the charge protecting consumers and fearlessly prosecuting people that broke the law – I expect her to take the same approach as Chair of the EPA.”

Meanwhile, De Gruchy said she was excited to be taking on the role.

“I’m looking forward to contributing to the important work of the EPA and working with businesses, government and the community to reduce pollution and waste, protect human health, and prevent degradation of the spectacular natural environment in NSW,” she said.

Kean thanked acting Chair Carolyn Walsh for her leadership and guidance over the past 14 months.

“Carolyn has been steadfast in her commitment to drive improved environmental outcomes and hold rogue  operators to account, and I thank her for her exceptional stewardship and support of the EPA team throughout the challenges of the summer bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic,” Kean added.

NSW sector has decent operators

The executive director of the Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WRCA) Tony Khoury told Inside Waste that he also extends a very warm welcome to de Gruchy in her new role.

However he noted that the vast majority of the NSW WARR sector is made up of decent, well-run business operators.

“Our Members have often stated the view that NSW needs a strong and fair environmental regulator and a well-thought out 20 year waste strategy. This will provide industry with the confidence to invest in sustainable waste management solutions.

“Minister Kean refers to ‘dodgy individuals and organisations’ in the waste sector. However, if the EPA is to be a true ‘world-class regulator’ and we are to achieve our resource recovery goals, then the EPA and the NSW Government needs to have an action plan for disrupting unlawful business models, without there being unintended impacts for legitimate operators.

“We look forward to working with the new Chair and the staff of the EPA to progress these issues,” he said.