Environmental Assessment

On 2 April 2015, the Planning and Development (Bilateral  Agreement) Amendment Act 2014 came into effect.

Further information  about the amendments is available in the Planning and Development (Bilateral  Agreement) Amendment Act 2014 Factsheet (HTML version) or download the Planning and Development (Bilateral Agreement) Amendment Act 2014 Factsheet.

There are a number of environmental assessment options available depending on the circumstances of a proposed development. These are outlined in the flowchart and information below.

Environmental Assessment Flowchart

Environmental Assessment Flowchart

Step 1 - Proposed development is in the impact track under s123 of the Planning and Development Act 2007.

Proponent has three options for assessment.

  • Option 1 - Environmental Impact Statement - Proponent prepares an Environmental Impact Statement which details the anticipated environmental effects of a development on the environment. This is the primary option.
  • Option 2 - Environmental Impact Statement Exemption - A proponent may make an application to the Minister to exempt a development from the requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement if satisfied that the expected environmental impact of the development proposal has already been sufficiently addressed by another study.
  • Option 3 - Environmental Significance Opinion - A proponent may apply for an Environmental Significance Opinion if the proponent wants an application for development approval assessed in the merit track on the ground that the proposal is not likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact.

Following options 1 or 2 a Proponent can lodge an Impact Track Development Application.

Following option 3 a Proponent may lodge a Merit Track Development Application. Note - some works may be exempt from development approval. Proponents should check the Planning and Development Act 2007 and the Territory Plan.

What is an environmental impact statement

An environmental impact statement (EIS) details the anticipated environmental effects of a development on the environment. The aim of the EIS process is to prevent, reduce or offset significant negative environmental impacts of a development. An EIS is prepared by the person, company or organisation undertaking the development (the proponent) and presented to the planning and land authority for assessment. Some of the things an EIS might have to consider include effects of the development on wildlife and potential pollution or contamination issues. A scoping document identifies matters that are to be addressed by the EIS. Find out more about environmental impact statements.

What is an exemption from an EIS (s211 exemption)?

Section 211 of the Planning and Development Act 2007 allows an applicant to seek exemption from the requirement to complete an EIS. The Minister has discretion under this section of the Act to grant an exemption based on the information in previous studies.

If an exemption is granted then the EIS process is regarded as complete and the applicant can lodge a DA for assessment in the impact track. The application form 1M includes the request for exemption. Find out more about exemption from requiring an EIS (s211 exemption).

What is an environmental significance opinion?

When a proponent considers a proposal is unlikely to have a significant adverse environmental impact, they can apply for an ESO.

The ESO application is referred to a relevant agency, which will provide an ESO, if appropriate. If the agency agrees there is no significant environmental impact, the development application can be made in the merit track. Find out more about environmental significance opinion.

The Planning and Development (Bilateral Agreement) Amendment Act 2014, which took effect on 2 April 2015, introduces conditional environmental significance opinions.
In making an environmental significance opinion (ESO), an agency can now make a conditional environmental significance opinion. The ESO advice must be incorporated into subsequent development approval decisions in the merit track.

Additional Information

Contact us

Impact and Estates team

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