Environmental Impact Statements

What is an EIS?

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required for any development application (DA) in the impact track under section 123 of the Planning and Development Act 2007 (unless an EIS Exemption is granted).

An EIS details the anticipated environmental impacts of a development on the environment as well as proposing avoidance, mitigation and offset measures. An EIS is prepared by a proponent to enable decision makers to understand the environmental consequences of a proposed development.

The EIS must include sufficient information to ensure that all environmental, social and economic impacts associated with the proposal have been identified and assessed, and any adverse impacts are avoided, minimised, mitigated or as a last resort, offset.

When is an EIS required?

An EIS is required if any of the following are applicable:

What is the EIS process?

The EIS process is detailed in the flowchart below.

There are three major stages where a proponent submits information to the planning and land authority (the Authority):

Once the Minister receives the revised EIS and a copy of the EIS assessment report, the Minster may:

Once the EIS process is deemed complete the proponent can lodge a development application in the impact track. A completed EIS is valid for 5 years from the completion date. An EIS Assessment Report is valid for 18 months.

EIS Process outline

Flowchart of steps the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process

Click the image to enlarge

What is an EIS Inquiry Panel?

An inquiry panel for an EIS may be established when the Minister decides that an EIS needs to be considered in further detail.

Establishment of a Panel

The Minister must decide whether to establish a panel to consider any or all aspects of an EIS no later than 15 working days after the EIS is given to them.

If a panel is to be established, the Minister must prepare terms of reference for the inquiry and give the proponent notice of the inquiry. The terms of reference must be notified on the ACT legislation Register.

The Minister must appoint members to the panel and nominate a person to be the presiding member of the panel.

Panel’s Role

The inquiry panel is independent and must not be directed by the Minister in its findings or recommendations.

The inquiry panel must report in writing on the result of the inquiry no later than 60 working days after the panel is established. However, the period for reporting may be extended by the Minister on application by the panel.

What is a Bilateral EIS?

The Bilateral EIS process can apply to proposals that require both an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the ACT’s Planning and Development Act 2007 and approval under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The Commonwealth Government has accredited the ACT’s EIS process through a bilateral agreement as meeting the environmental assessment requirements of the EPBC Act.

If the bilateral agreement applies to a proposal, the subsequent scoping document and EIS assessment report will be prepared by the ACT with input from the Commonwealth Government. The final EIS assessment report prepared by the Authority and endorsed by the ACT Minister is provided to the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy for use in their approval process under the EPBC Act. Read more about the bilateral agreement.

Once the EIS process is complete, an impact track development application for the proposal can be submitted to the Authority for assessment. The development application process will take into account the findings and recommendations of the completed EIS and any conditions of approval related to the Commonwealth Government decision.

Bilateral EIS Process outline

Flowchart of steps the  the Bilateral EIS process

Click the image to enlarge

What information is required to lodge an EIS application?

An EIS scoping document application must provide sufficient information about the proposal and any associated works to understand the potential impacts of the proposal. A detailed guide on requirements for lodgement is provided in the EIS guidance document for proponents.

The required documentation includes a completed Application for Environmental Impact Assessment Processes (Form 1M) with the following attached:

Current EIS scoping documents

The planning and land authority has issued the following active scoping documents. The proponent has 18 months from the issuing of a scoping document to lodge their draft EIS application.

Notifiable Instrument number for publication of scoping document Scoping document name Scoping document expiry
NI2020-685 Planning and Development (William Hovell Drive Duplication – Molonglo Valley/Belconnen) Scoping Document 2020

William Hovell Drive Duplication
19 April 2022
NI2020-32 Planning and Development (Canberra Brickworks Project - Blocks 1, 7 and 20 Section 102 Yarralumla) Scoping Document 2020

Canberra Brickworks Redevelopment
16 July 2021
NI2020-22

Planning and Development (Deep Creek Corridor Regional Water Quality Pond - Blocks 12 and 46 Molonglo Valley) Scoping Document 2020

Deep Creek Corridor Regional Water Quality Pond

14 July 2021
NI2019-632 Planning and Development (Jerrabomberra 132kV Transmission Line - Numerous Blocks, Jerrabomberra and Symonston) Scoping Document 2019

Jerrabomberra 132KV Transmission Line
27 March 2021
NI2019-592

Planning and Development (Queanbeyan Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade – Blocks 27 & 2087 Jerrabomberra) Scoping Document 2019

Queanbeyan Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade - Jerrabomberra

9 March 2021
NI2019-162

Planning and Development (Emergency Services Facility-Hume) Scoping Document 2019

Emergency Services Facility - Block 45 Section 3 Hume

27 September 2020

Current draft EIS applications

Members of the public have the opportunity to view draft EISs and provide a written representation within the public notification period.

Notifiable Instrument number for publication of scoping document Application number Link to draft EIS application documentation Draft EIS public notification period end date
NI2019-181 EIS201900001 Integrated Resource Recovery Facility – Fyshwick 17 September 2020
NI2018-333 EIS201800022 Trunk Sewer Augmentation - Belconnen 22 July 2019
NI2019-179 EIS201900010 Resource Recovery Facility - Hume 19 November 2020

Completed EIS

The EIS assessment report details the Authority’s assessment of the application. The EIS assessment report is a notifiable instrument that expires 18 months after the day it is notified. The EIS expires five years after the day it is completed.

Notifiable Instrument number for EIS Assessment Report Project title EIS process completed
NI2020-383Materials recovery facility - Fyshwick Minister agreed to take no action on 2 July 2020
NI2019-649 Mugga Quarry Overburden Expansion Project Minister agreed to take no action on 25 September 2019
NI2018-603 ACT Second Electricity Supply Project Minister agreed to take no action on 17 October 2018
NI2017-628 Liquid Waste Facility and Depot – Hume Minister agreed to take no action on 9 November 2017
Note: as this EIS included the establishment of an inquiry panel, the EIS assessment report was not released.

Planning and Development (Foy Group Waste Plastic to Fuel Environmental Impact Statement Inquiry Panel) Terms of Reference
Waste Plastics to Fuel Conversion Facility - Hume The findings of the Inquiry Panel were released on 4 May 2017.

The Minister for Planning and Land Management published a Media Release on the inquiry panel report.
NI2015-592 Capital Metro Light Rail Stage 1 Minister agreed to take no action on 7 October 2015
NI2014-211 Lawson South 132kV Power Line Relocation Minister agreed to take no action on 14 May 2014
NI2014-204 Cravens Creek Water Quality Control Pond Minister agreed to take no action on 7 April 2014
NI2014-153 Mugga Landfill Expansion Stage 5 Minister agreed to take no action on 16 December 2013