Introduction

08 Aug 2016 - 18:15 | Version 1 |

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process for ensuring that decisionmakers are informed of the environmental impacts of activities. EIA also seeks to enable the public to participate in the decision-making process and improve the quality of those decisions. In the ACT, there are currently two EIA processes that may apply, one under the Planning and Development Act 2007 (ACT) ('Planning Act'), the other under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) ('EPBC Act').

Under the EPBC Act the Commonwealth Minister can enter agreements with the states and territories to transfer Commonwealth responsibility for assessment and/or approval to state and territory governments. To date, agreements have been reached to transfer the responsibility for environmental assessment to the states and territories. At the time of writing, new bilateral agreements covering environmental approvals were in draft form for some jurisdictions (including the ACT). However, no approval agreements have yet been entered into and responsibility for environmental approval still rests with the Commonwealth Minister.

The EPBC Act and bilateral agreements are discussed in the second half of this chapter.

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