Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage
DPLH agrees with the findings of this audit and can advise that progress is already being made to address the concerns raised. DPLH also agrees with the proposed timeframes.
DPLH is responsible for the management of all unallocated Crown land and unmanaged reserves, this equates to over 35% of the State’s land area. DPLH is responsible for management of all contaminated sites which occur on this land. While this is important, due to limited resources it has to be balanced against other land management responsibilities such as fire management, dangerous trees, dumped rubbish and pest and weed infestations. These hazard management actions often take priority due to the immediate risk they pose.
Presently, a functional review of how DPLH delivers its land management obligations is underway. A key component of this review will be whether the resourcing, funding and systems support for this function is adequate. We look forward to working with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation on this matter.
Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
DWER accepts the finding that communication between the agencies could be improved. DWER acknowledges it had not followed up with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) to determine why annual reports on progress with implementation of DPLH’s section 12 programme for reporting sites were not being received. DWER is committed to working with DPLH to improve communication between the agencies regarding DPLH’s section 12 programme and progress on DPLH’s sites funded from the Contaminated Sites Management Account (CSMA), including regular meetings.
DWER notes the finding that its oversight does not encourage timely completion of investigation or remediation projects. For the nine incomplete projects, DWER will agree schedules and milestones for the remaining approved works with the relevant agencies and continue to monitor progress through quarterly acquittals. For future investigation and/or remediation projects funded from the CSMA, a project schedule, including milestones, will be agreed before funds are transferred to the relevant agency. Quarterly reporting requirements will include progress against the agreed schedule.