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Approvals under NT, WA & Commonwealth legislation

The environmental approvals pathways at both state/Territory and Australian Government levels varies depending on the nature and scale of the project. Ultimately, projects that pose a real risk of significant impact to the environment will need a formal environmental assessment. For national legislation (i.e. the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (referred to as the ‘EPBC Act’)), this involves investigations for potential impacts to ‘Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES). These MNES are defined in the EPBC Act and include threatened and migratory species.


Under the Northern Territory’s Environment Assessment Act (referred to as the ‘EA Act’), an assessment of potential environmental impacts is undertaken for the whole environment, unlike the EPBC Act which only ultimately considers potential impacts to MNES. There is scope for the NT Government to undertake assessments on behalf of the Australian Government, where and when relevant.


In Western Australia, The Environment Protection Act 1986, and associated administrative procedures, governs the EIA process. Similar to the NT (and other states), there is a bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and WA Governments where certain WA EPA assessment processes are accredited. 


Further information regarding the environmental assessment processes at the Northern Territory, Western Australian and Australian Government levels can be found at:


Key steps to effective environment assessments

The key steps that we believe comprise an effective assessment of potential environmental impacts include:


  1. The identification of risks as early as possible in a project’s life
  2. Adequate stakeholder consultation, including with relevant government agencies
  3. Thorough formal environmental assessment including management planning to achieve the ‘avoid, minimise, engineer and offset’ hierarchy.

Importantly, this leads to a less complicated process through the regulatory processes (i.e. less green tape) and generally saves the proponent money and stress.


What can Connect Environmental do for you?

Mihkel Proos, our Principal Environmental Consultant, has an in-depth and working knowledge in the NT’s EA Act and Parts 7 to 10 of the Commonwealth’s EPBC Act. He understands the processes involved with defining ‘significance’ of impacts and has strong relationships with key personnel in relevant government agencies to enhance consultation. Combined with his extensive experience in on-ground ecological assessments and preparation of relevant documentation, he is well-versed in efficiently navigating approvals pathways. 


Mihkel can manage the preparation of:


  • Environmental / Ecological Risk Assessments
  • General environmental assessments 
  • Notices of Intent
  • Referrals under the EPBC Act
  • Relevant parts of Environmental Impact Statements
  • Offsets calculations and assessments
  • Offsets management plans
  • Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) Requests for Information.

He is also experienced with Environmental Management Planning, Biodiversity Assessments, and Rehabilitation Management and Monitoring.

How can we help?

Mihkel worked in the Environment Assessment and Compliance Division of the Australian Government Department of the Environment in Canberra for four years. He has also worked as an Ecologist in various roles across northern Australia and as an Environmental Consultant managing clients, projects and producing high quality reports. 


This experience has given him a solid understanding of approvals processes at both state/Territory and national levels. He is, therefore, adept at the provision of advice on the best approach for environmental impact assessment suited to your projects.