Australia is committed to best practice environmental stewardship in Antarctica and the Davis Aerodrome Project will be subject to transparent, consultative and rigorous environmental assessments.

The project will have unavoidable environmental impacts and the Australian Antarctic Division is committed to understanding and thoroughly addressing the environmental impacts and to delivering the project to the highest environmental standards possible, and in line with legislated requirements.

The project is subject to one of the highest levels of environmental scrutiny, both nationally and internationally.

It is required to undergo environmental assessments under the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980 (ATEP Act) and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The project is also subject to the Antarctic Marine Living Resource Conservation Act (1981) (AMLRC Act).

  • Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980
    Implements the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty which provides for comprehensive protection of the Antarctic Environment and dependent and associated ecosystems.
  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
    Provides a legal framework for activities that have significant impact on the environment, and any which are to be carried out by a Commonwealth agency.
  • Antarctic Marine Living Resource Conservation Act (1981)
    Implements the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources which provides for the conservation of all living organisms that are found in the marine environment within the Convention area.

Terms of Reference

The Minister for the Environment, acting through the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Environment Approvals Division (EAD), is the environmental regulator for the project. The EAD has provided AAD with Terms of Reference which identify matters to be addressed in the preparation of the draft CEE.

The Terms of Reference take into account, amongst other things, feedback received by the Regulator on the EPBC Act Referral, and are intended to ensure that matters important to the regulator’s decision making are addressed by the proponent. The Terms of Reference will inform the ongoing detailed work the AAD is undertaking to thoroughly understand the environmental aspects and impacts of the project and the measures that are proposed to mitigate identified impacts, and put in place compensatory measures where residual impacts are likely to be significant’, as appropriate and in line with the legislated requirements.

Opportunities for public comment

As part of the assessment process, environmental assessments will be made publicly available with opportunities for public comment.

  • The Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation (CEE) will be released for public comment in Australia and internationally, and also presented to the Antarctic Treaty nations.
  • The first opportunity for public comment was through the EPBC Act Referral process from January 29 until February 26 2020.

Environmental assessment timeline

Davis Aerodrome Project Environmental Assessment and Approvals Process - Flow Chart

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