The Western Swamp Tortoise is the most endangered tortoise or turtle species on Earth. It is listed under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the United Nations Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) as a critically endangered species.
The EPP declares beneficial uses that are to be protected and aims to ensure management activities within the policy area do not adversely impact on the habitat or these beneficial uses. The EPP outlines a programme of protection for landowners, local government and the State government to implement. A 'Guidance Statement for the Protection of the Western Swamp Tortoise Habitat' was prepared by the EPA in 2006 to facilitate environmental impact assessment and complement the objectives of the EPP.
The original Environmental Protection (Western Swamp Tortoise Habitat) Policy 2002 was revised and a draft released for public comment in March and April 2010.
The Minister has supported the EPA’s recommendations to continue the protection of the western swamp tortoise habitat through the release of the 2011 policy.
On the 12 June 2018, the Minister for Environment directed the EPA to defer the review of the EPP until 31 May 2020. This will allow for the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions to review its Western Swamp Tortoise (Pseudemydura umbrina) Recovery Plan resulting in updated science being available to the EPA on the western swamp tortoise habitat.