Clarification on the Environmental Protection Authority article

14 October 2013

The Commissioner today clarified a report in today’s West by Daniel Emerson claiming that advice from the Public Sector Commissioner endorsed the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) strategy to manage conflicts of interest associated with the Browse decision process.

'The statement in the newspaper that the Commission 'cleared EPA’s error' or 'endorsed' the EPA’s strategy is incorrect,' the Commissioner said.

'The advice provided by the Public Sector Commission was not incorrect,' the Commissioner clarified.

The Commissioner confirmed that the EPA Chairman came to him for advice, but stated that the verbal advice provided indicated that the strategy was inconsistent with the EPA Code of Conduct, that the Code could be amended, but that it was a matter on which legal advice should be sought. The Commissioner further indicated that he is aware that the Chairman did seek legal advice from the State Solicitor’s Office, and that advice was received in February 2012.

The Commissioner clarified that such matters are best judged by board chairs who are familiar with board processes and the legislation governing their decisions.

'Where there is relevant legislation governing board decision making, the Commission always recommends that legal advice be sought,' the Commissioner said.

Contact: Office of the Commissioner

Phone: (08) 6552 8550

Page last updated 15 October 2013