Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Processes and International System Development - Australian Perspective
5 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014
Date Written: April 20, 2014
SEA practice in Australia is still ad-hoc and voluntary in nature. It is underutilized despite the presence of specific legislation for SEA. The use of the SEA in state and territory level is very uneven. SEA system is highly dependent on ministerial discretion. It has limitations on the scope of environmental matters that may be considered in SEA. Additionally, SEA practice throughout Australia is scattered, inconsistent and often absent. It lacks institutional, enforcement and political support. Weak guidelines through the EPBC act echoes the still undefined concept of SEA in Australia. In contrast the successful implementation in the fisheries sector through providing appropriate incentives to the proponents and through legal bindings reflects the fact that, success of SEA depends on the willingness and input of the relevant stakeholders. To overcome the present situation the measures suggested by the researchers and practitioners are - SEA in Australia will only be enhanced if the legislated purpose is more explicitly focused on environmental protection, if it is applied earlier to a reasonable range of alternative sites, and if the Australian Government continues to play an active role in relation to MNES (matters of national environmental significance).
Keywords: Australia, Gap in Theory and Practice, Integration in Decision Making, SEA, Strategic Environmental Assessment
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