Appendix A Australian guidelines on EIA

Wilson's storm petrel (Oceanites oceanicus) flying over Ardery Island, Windmill Islands on the Budd Coast. John A. van Franeker.

Process for handling Initial and Comprehensive Environmental Evaluations for which the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is the proponent

The AT(EP) Act and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations include a number of requirements for the handling of Comprehensive Environmental Evaluations (CEEs) and to a lesser extent the Initial Environmental Evaluations (IEEs), which are consistent with the Madrid Protocol. In addition to these international and legislative requirements, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) has a number of internal requirements for processing environmental evaluations. The process summarised below enables all these requirements to be met. Approximate timings for each stage of the process are indicated.

IEEs

  1. As early as possible in the planning process for any activity, an officer to be nominated to undertake a preliminary assessment as required by the AT(EP) Act.
  2. If it is determined (on the basis of the preliminary assessment) that the activity is likely to have a minor or transitory impact on the environment, the proponent prepares a draft IEE (or arranges preparation of evaluation by a third party) in accordance with these Guidelines.
  3. Draft evaluation provided to the Territories, Environment and Treaties Section Environment Policy Officer who registers evaluation and distributes to AAD EIA sub-committee (approx. one week).
  4. EIA sub-committee reviews draft evaluation and liaises with proponent to clarify any queries and/or to obtain any required modifications (approx. three weeks) .
  5. Evaluation provided to the Director (AAD) by the Territories, Environment and Treaties Section for information and comment (approx. one week).
  6. Territories, Environment and Treaties Section to make document publicly available and circulate it to interested parties including relevant sections of the AAD, any national program potentially affected by the activity, relevant non-government and government organisations and the Environment Assessment and Compliance Division (EACD) of the Department of the Environment for comment. Territories, Environment and Treaties Section  to liaise with EACD to ensure that any obligations under the EPBC Act 1999 are taken into account. Territories, Environment and Treaties Section to ensure that a copy of the document is sent to the Executive Secretary of COMNAP (minimum one month).
  7. Proponent incorporates and addresses any comments received in preparing final evaluation (approx. two weeks).
  8. AAD EIA sub-committee reviews final evaluation (approx. two weeks).
  9. On the basis of a recommendation of the AAD's EIA sub-committee, the Director (AAD) to make a determination on the proposal under the AT(EP) Act(at least one week).
  10. If it is determined that the activity is likely to have no more than a minor or transitory impact, Territories, Environment and Treaties Section arranges for the proponent of the activity to be provided with written authorisation to carry on the activity (at least one week)
  11. Territories, Environment and Treaties Section arranges publication of a notice in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette summarising the determination made and stating that copies of the final evaluation are publicly available. The Territories, Environment and Treaties Section Environment Policy Officer also advises the proponent, Station Leader and the Station Support Section of the decision and distributes copies of the final evaluation to AAD Branch Heads and to any organisations which provided comment on the draft evaluation (at least two weeks).
  12. Territories, Environment and Treaties Section forwards copy of final document and notice of decision to Executive Secretary of COMNAP.

CEEs

  1. Same as IEE.
  2. If it is determined (on the basis of the preliminary assessment) that the activity is likely to have more than a minor or transitory impact on the environment, the proponent prepares a draft CEE (or arranges preparation of evaluation by a third party) in accordance with these guidelines.
  3. Same as IEE.
  4. Same as IEE (although more time may be required).
  5. Same as IEE plus: Minister briefed (at least two weeks).
  6. Same as IEE plus:
    • Territories, Environment and Treaties Section to advertise public availability of the draft CEE through a notice in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (at least 28 days shall be allowed for receipt of comments).
    • Draft CEE provided to all signatories to the Madrid Protocol, who shall also make it publicly available, for comment (90 days shall be allowed for receipt of comments).
    • Simultaneously forwarded to the Committee for Environmental Protection, once established, for consideration as appropriate (at least 120 days before the next Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM)).
    • Submitted to next ATCM for possible consideration on advice of the Committee (not more than 15 months from date of circulation to signatories to the Madrid Protocol).
    • Same as IEE (although more time will be required to adequately address the comments received).
    • Same as IEE.
    • Same as IEE except: Minister decision (at least two weeks).
    • If the Minister determines that the activity can be conducted, Territories, Environment and Treaties Section to arrange publication in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette of a notice authorising the proponent to carry on the activity (at least two weeks).
    • Same as IEE plus: final CEE and notice of decision circulated to all signatories to the Madrid Protocol (at least 60 days before commencement of the activity), who shall also make them publicly available.
    • Same as IEE.

Note: If at any stage during the preparation or consideration of an evaluation a decision is taken to not proceed with an activity, the proponent should immediately notify all stakeholders associated with the particular activity. The proponent should also ensure that work schedules and berth allocations are amended as necessary.

This page was last modified on 16 September 2011.