The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) continues to provide services and remains open for business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Day-to-day, our services remain largely the same as they were before COVID-19.
Social distancing measures mean face-to-face meetings have been minimised for most business needs, however, our staff and online systems remain available.
The department is committed to ensuring appropriate protection of the environment and management of the State’s water, while supporting and enabling Western Australia’s economic and social recovery from the pandemic.
The department has been contacting and meeting many of you during the past few weeks to discuss your own requirements and your expectations of the department’s services over the coming months. We will continue our regular dialogue.
For our regulated stakeholders, we have heard your concerns – such as timeliness of our decisions, your ability to carry out field work required for approvals, and potential compliance related issues. We are responding to these.
We are working with all stakeholders to navigate advice, assessments and approvals, and compliance issues in the best and most efficient manner, without compromising environmental protection or water resource management outcomes.
We continue to provide water and environmental regulation policy and technical advice, and quality water and environmental data continues to be updated and available through our online portals.
You may remember when we opened the One Stop Shop, our aim was to streamline services and improve delivery. This commitment remains and we are accelerating this work.
We encourage you to keep using our online systems. Meetings with staff can be conducted through teleconference or video conferencing. Please keep contacting our staff as you normally would through their existing email or phone. If our staff are unavailable when you call, please leave a message and they will get back to you.
Where practical, the department also plans to conduct workshops and consultation via online videoconferencing or teleconference.
We have been working hard in the past few weeks to ensure our regional and field officers can continue to operate under social distancing measures including travel restrictions. This allows us to limit impact on important natural resource management, compliance and enforcement activities, and emergency response functions.
For some stakeholders, COVID-19 means that some of our major projects and priorities that you may have been involved with will be delayed. The launch of the Container Deposit Scheme Containers for Change is one example of an initiative that has been deferred due to the risks of COVID-19.
We will be in touch with stakeholders of any affected projects with updates as they happen.
We look forward to working with you during the next period and we will keep you informed as we move forward.
Acting Director General