Advisory note
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Following a decision by the Minister for Planning that an EES is required, the proponent must supply preliminary information and documents about the project that will be used to develop the scope of the assessment and commence the EES process.


The first stage in the EES process under the Environment Effects Act 1978 is ‘scoping’. Our Impact Assessment Unit (IAU) establishes a technical reference group (TRG) and develops draft scoping requirements for the EES.

Scoping requirements are based on:

  • the Minister for Planning’s decision
  • the minister’s reasons for the EES
  • preliminary information provided by the proponent.

Information required to develop scoping requirements

The information that you must prepare and submit to support development of draft scoping requirements are outlined below.

1. Draft EES study program

The draft EES study program outlines proposed EES investigations – scope, method and dependencies between studies and is a key input to the IAU’s preparation of the draft scoping requirements.

The study program needs to respond to the minister’s reasons for decision and procedures issued under the Environment Effects Act for the EES.

It should also take account of:

  • any technical studies that have been undertaken to date
  • any preliminary stakeholder feedback on key issues and uncertainties
  • other preliminary information:
    • project description
    • preliminary hazard/risk and assessment
    • preliminary list of issues/risks.

The study program should outline all the proposed studies and investigations (for example, traffic and transport, cultural heritage, social impacts) proposed to enable an adequate assessment of the project’s environmental effects and mitigation and management measures.

Structuring the study program

You can determine the format and structure of the document. One approach to structuring the study program is to summarise the proposed scope and methods of investigations, covering the key points outlined below for each study:

  • purpose of the study
  • statement of key environmental risks to be investigated and key uncertainties or data gaps
  • relevant legislation and policy
  • the project components subject to assessment
  • timing of the investigation
  • type of investigation (e.g. desktop review, field investigations, modelling)
  • description of key tasks, outlining proposed methods and outputs required to estimate likely impacts and inform recommended mitigation and monitoring. This should include proposed sources of information or databases, types of data to be collected, calculations required, survey standards that will be applied and if any agencies have already been consulted on the proposed study method.
  • deliverables and their anticipated timing.

The study program should also outline the proposed approach for development of the EES documents (i.e. technical appendices and main report). The technical appendices and main report components or chapters may be submitted progressively as investigations are undertaken and completed, or in tranches.

Proposed review schedule

A proposed TRG meeting and EES document review schedule should be provided for the TRG to review. This schedule will enable TRG resource planning around expected submission dates. This schedule should provide for introduction of the project to the TRG, presentations on technical studies and key EES elements and reviews of versions 1 and 2 of EES documents.

The study program should also provide an overall schedule of studies, data collection and draft EES report development, review and finalisation, as well as EES submission for authorisation and exhibition.

2. Project description

The project description:

  • confirms the objectives and maximum extent of the proposed development
  • describes the project components
  • identifies any ‘off-site’ works that are ancillary to the core project components
  • explains the interdependence of project components
  • describes stages and timing of proposed development

Preferred format/approach: relevant aspects of the referral should be utilised and/or expanded on.

Relationship to other documentation: informs EES study program and can be included in it.

3. Preliminary hazard and risk assessment

The preliminary hazard and risk assessment provides information on the initial understanding of potential hazards/risks identified. It identifies key risks and any uncertainties at an early stage.

It should include consideration of:

  • project definition and components/activities that present potential sources of harm (what could happen, where, how, when)
  • environmental setting, including values and their sensitivities
  • interactions between the project components/activities and the existing environment
  • key uncertainties with respect to environmental context or potential sources of harm.

Relationship to other documentation: Informs identification of the issues to be investigated and can be included in the EES study program.

4. Preliminary list of issues and risks to be investigated

The preliminary list of issues and risks should have regard to:

  • the Minister’s reasons for decision and procedures issued under the Environment Effects Act for the EES
  • key issues for approval requirements under other legislation.

Preferred format/approach: a one page summary.

Relationship to other documentation: informs EES study program and can be included in it.

Information required before the first TRG meeting

1. Draft EES consultation plan

Sets out the framework and measures to:

  • inform the public about the project and program of EES studies
  • obtain input from and engage with stakeholders during the preparation of the EES, particularly for the purpose of identifying issues of concern, assessing potential effects, and evaluating measures that might provide reasonable responses to stakeholder concerns - including potential refinements to the proposal
  • respond to stakeholder input.

Preferred format/approach:

  • differentiate between broad communication and consultation, versus targeted consultation to inform and engage stakeholders and the community on EES studies
  • refer to the advisory note on preparation of an EES consultation plan
  • the consultation plan may be modified throughout the EES process as consultation needs evolve and technical studies inform better assessment of risks.

Relationship to other documentation: prepare in conjunction with draft EES study program for a coordinated approach to identification of issues that require investigation.

2. Preliminary list of stakeholder issues

Preliminary list of stakeholder issues identifying the interests or concerns of stakeholder groups that relate to possible effects and issues arising from the proposed development.

Preferred format/approach: list or stakeholder analysis table

Relationship to other documentation: can be included in the draft EES consultation plan.

3. Schedule of studies and EES development

Before the first TRG meeting can occur, the proponent needs to provide a proposed schedule for all activities in the study program, including:

  • development of technical studies
  • draft EES development, review and finalisation
  • EES submission for authorisation
  • EES exhibition.

Page last updated: 15/06/23


Advisory note
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