Environmental Impact Assessment
One of the EPA’s key roles is to provide Government with advice on the environmental acceptability of development proposals and statutory planning schemes. Development proposals include proposals for mining, industry as well as infrastructure such as ports, railways and pipelines. Planning schemes include both statutory planning schemes and their amendments.
Each year, several hundred new development proposals and planning schemes are referred to the EPA. The EPA considers these referrals and decides whether or not they require formal environmental impact assessment (EIA), and if so at what level.
The EPA’s formal EIA process is undertaken in a structured and transparent manner with opportunities for the public to comment. The proponent is required to produce documentation describing the proposal, the potential environmental impacts and how these impacts would be managed. The proponent also needs to address matters of concern to government agencies and the public.
The EPA then considers the proponent’s documentation, the public input, and advice from relevant experts and agencies to determine whether the proposal can be managed to meet the EPA’s environmental objectives. The EPA also considers whether conditions should be placed on a proponent to ensure appropriate environmental management.
At the completion of the assessment, the EPA prepares a report and recommendations for the Minister for Environment. This report is also made publically available and is open for a public appeal period.
The Minister for Environment then considers the EPA’s report and any public appeals before determining, in consultation with other Ministers, whether the proposal should be allowed to proceed, and if so, under what conditions.