EPA plans new assessment approach

Government and industry have endorsed the Environmental Protection Authority's proposal to adopt a new 'risk based' approach for project assessment, unveiled in a report today.


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The Griffin Group
Can you please advise (i)the date on which this policy will be implemented; and (ii) will it apply to projects now in the environmental approval process? Thank you Noel Ashcroft

What future for the environment? When the Chamber of Minerals and Energy starts singing the praises of EPA reform it is a worrying sign. It may be that the EPA can do things better but most carers for country would say not at any cost. The Chamber of Minerals has never shown any great willingness to put the environment first. If the system is watered down there will be no stopping the more extreme side of the mining industry.

I don't see that there is much philosophic change from the current system. There has long been a philosophy of risk based approach to EIA. No EIA process would ever be finalised if there wasn't. Chronic lack of expertise is usually the reason why environmental issues in a project are not prioritised effectively, and this goes for both the regulators and the project development team. There has long been parallel assessment processes and EIA has actually been more reliable in terms of timeframes than many other processes. I dislike how proponents, consultants and it appears, the minister, calls it the environmental approvals process - it is the environmental assessment process. I have been a consultant botanist for many years, and I am thrilled to see that there is going to be some coordination of data management between industry and government. This has been the biggest barrier to effective assessment of ecological systems in the EIA process - we just dont know what is out there and what we are losing, because there is no central repository for all the historical data that has been collected.

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