Just how 'strategic' are Strategic Environmental Assessments? An assessment of the strategic nature of Australian Strategic Assessments under the EPBC Act (1999)

Ross, Mitchell, and Banhalmi-Zakar, Zsuzsa (2019) Just how 'strategic' are Strategic Environmental Assessments? An assessment of the strategic nature of Australian Strategic Assessments under the EPBC Act (1999). In: Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment. From: IAIA19: 39th Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 29 April - 2 May 2019, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is part of the family of impact assessment tools that seeks to influence decisions at the strategic level of policies, plans and programmes, rather than at the project-level. In recent years, SEA has become an increasingly collaborative and sustainability led process. While much research has focused on the effectiveness and efficiency of SEA in practice, the strategic nature of SEA has received less attention;even though it has been recognized that SEA is not fulfilling expectations as a strategic tool. This study assessedthe strategic nature of 12 SEAsinAustralia, carried out under Australia’s key environmental regulation, the EPBC Act of 1999. The study found that the Australian system is not always truly strategic. Incorporation of sustainability aspects and adaptiveness were strengths of the Australian system in most instances, while components such as cumulative impact assessmentand assessment of alternatives were often absent or insufficiently addressed. To make SEAs more strategic would require enhancing existing legislation and endorsement criteria with more explicit guidance on developing strategically focused SEA. The strategic criteria developed as part of this study is not specific to Australia and could be used by other SEA systems to identify, monitor and improve the strategic nature of SEAs on a global scale.

Item ID: 58112
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
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Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2020 00:55
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 70%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160507 Environment Policy @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961308 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas at Regional or Larger Scales @ 70%
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