Department seeks community input on improving environmental impact assessments

The community has a chance to improve the way state significant projects are assessed during workshops to gather feedback on new draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) guidelines.

The draft guidelines are on exhibition until Friday,1 September 2017, and representatives from the Department of Planning and Environment will be holding community information sessions across NSW during the exhibition period.

Executive Director, David Kitto, said the new guidelines are an important initiative to drive better practice in NSW.

“While state significant projects such as large infrastructure, industry, mining and urban renewal developments are essential for NSW, they require a comprehensive triple-bottom line assessment with extensive community input,” Mr Kitto said.

“Last year we exhibited a discussion paper on improving the assessment process and received strong support for the improvements from industry and the community.

“After extensive consultation we developed draft guidelines and we’re undertaking workshops to hear what the community has to say about them.

 “This is an important opportunity for the community to make sure we get the new guidelines right.”

Mr Kitto said key improvements include getting the community involved much earlier in the assessment process, focussing on the most important issues and improving the quality of all assessment documents.

“While assessment documents, such as environmental impact statements, need to be technically rigorous they also need to be easy to understand and clearly address issues raised by the community. This means everyone should be able to understand them, not just technical experts,” he said.

All public feedback gathered during the exhibition and roadshows will be considered and will assist the Department in finalising the EIA guidelines.

On exhibition are: 

  • Guides for proponents covering all stages of the assessment process
  • A guide to help the community understand and participate in the assessment process
  • A guide on the Department’s approach to setting conditions for projects

To view the draft guidelines currently on public exhibition and make a submission, visit the Department’s websitehttps://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/EIAreview.

To attend the public information sessions, people should call 1300 305 695 or visit the Department’s website athttps://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/EIAreview.

Once registered, relevant information for the community information session will be provided via email.

Department of Planning and Environment media contact (02) 9274 – 6128