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An assessment of the environmental effects of the SRL works is the final EES step. Referred to as the ‘Minister’s assessment’, this step determines whether the likely environmental effects of SRL works are acceptable.
The Minister’s assessment will consider:
- the EES and any supplementary statement
- public submissions, the proponent’s response to submissions, and supporting information from the proponent or submitters
- the inquiry report
- the objectives and principles of ecologically sustainable development, as well as prevailing legislation, policy, strategies and guidelines.
The Minister’s assessment may provide:
- findings on the potential magnitude, likelihood and significance of adverse and beneficial environmental effects of the SRL works
- conclusions regarding any modifications to an SRL project or any environmental management measures that are needed to address likely adverse effects or environmental risks
- evaluation of the overall acceptability of the environmental effects of the SRL works, within the context of applicable legislation, policy, strategies and guidelines.
The Minister’s assessment may advise on:
- opportunities for incorporating necessary measures in conditions of statutory approvals or in binding agreements
- recommended environmental performance requirements
- recommended approaches to environmental monitoring and management, including further public involvement
- the acceptability of the SRL works’ effects.
The Minister’s assessment is normally provided to decision-makers and the proponent within 25 business days of receiving the report of an inquiry.
As soon as practicable after the assessment is provided to decision-makers and the proponent, the Minister’s assessment and the inquiry report will be published on the Planning website.
6.1 Supplementary statements
The Minister may ask the proponent to provide additional information, if this is needed to complete an assessment. Where the required information will involve extensive investigations, the Minister may formally call for a supplementary statement to be prepared.
The proponent may be directed to prepare a supplementary statement at any point between the exhibition of the EES and the making of an assessment. The Minister can specify the procedures to be applied to a supplementary statement and any requirements regarding the scope of the statement.
The Minister will exercise discretion in determining whether the public is invited to provide comments on a supplementary statement.
6.2 Environmental management framework
An EES will normally outline an environmental management framework for managing and monitoring the SRL works’ environmental performance.
The Minister’s assessment will provide advice about the appropriateness of this framework, the project’s performance measures along with requirements for auditing and reporting against the framework. Statutory approvals can then incorporate provisions for managing, monitoring and reporting environmental performance.
The Minister’s assessment may suggest the establishment of a committee comprising representatives of relevant departments, statutory authorities and possibly stakeholders to provide a forum for communication about the implementation of an assessed project.
6.3 Statutory decisions
Statutory decision-makers are required to consider the Minister’s assessment, but the Minister’s recommendations are not binding on the decision-maker.
To assist in the transparency of the EES process, decision-makers should advise the Minister of the outcome of their decision. Where the decision-maker proposes not to adopt part of the assessment, the decision-maker should consult with the Minister.
6.4 Project variations
Variations to an SRL project during its delivery will likely occur from time to time. The nature and scale of variations to an SRL project, and hence appropriate responses, may vary considerably.
Where a proposed variation could give rise to significant ‘new’ effects on the environment (i.e. effects not consistent with those assessed through the EES), the SRLA will consult with the Minister on whether further assessment is required.
Page last updated: 14/06/23