Symposium - Strategic approaches to support impact assessment


The forth gathering of impact assessment (IA) practitioners was held in Melbourne on February 15 and 16 this year. 

Worldwide IA is the pre-eminent tool for assessing the sustainable development potential of new proposals. This is both IA’s main strength and weakness. The weakness is that IA is mostly reactive rather than strategic.  The emergence of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) went some way to addressing this weakness, but it’s up take and use in Australia and New Zealand has been, at best, patchy. This symposium explored the broader issues of strategic thinking in IA.

Strategic thinking in IA goes beyond SEA, and can include:

  • Identification of strategic data and its collection;
  • Strategic use and timing of project IA;
  • Strategic policy making in support of project IA or arising from project IA;
  • Strategic thinking in the formulation of an approval for a project IA (for example creative condition setting); and
  • Strategic engagement with the community and stakeholders.

There may be many other ways to think strategical within an IA, and avenues to apply strategic thinking and goals as part of IA.

The key question for this symposium was, “how can we deliver positive strategic outcomes as part of IA?”

Below is a summary of the program, and you can download the relevant presentation by clicking on the appropriate link. 

Program - abstracts and PowerPoints

Session 1: Introduction, Strategic Approaches IA and Strategic Case studies

Click on the respective  'Abstract' link to view the abstract and click on the respective 'PowerPoint' link to view and download a pdf file of the presentation.

  1. Introduction, context setting and progress on strategic approaches in IA - Carolyn Cameron, Cameron Strategies - Abstract and PowerPoint;

  2. Overview of the status of IA in Australian jurisdictions – Garry Middle, VisionEnvironment - Written summary;

  3. Application of Sustainability and Strategic Environmental Assessment Principles in the Management of Ports – Simona Duke and Julie Keane, North Queensland Bulk Port  - Abstract and PowerPoint;

  4. A strategic approach to supporting wind farm development in Victoria
    Jack Krohn, Senior Impact Assessor, Impact Assessment Unit, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning - Abstract and PowerPoint;

  5. Models for Coordinating Approvals and Procurement Processes – A Strategic Choice; David Hyett, Industry Director-Environment, AECOM - Abstract and PowerPoint;

  6. Strategic assessment of Perth-Peel@3.5 million – lessons learnt to-date - Garry Middle, VisionEnvironment - Abstract and PowerPoint;

Session 2: Strategic participation and different strategic approaches to IA

  1. Social Impact Assessment – a different way of approaching environmental approvals. Rachel Maas, Principal Social Scientist, Just Add Lime; Lara Mottee, PhD candidate Macquarie, University/University of Groningen - Abstract and Powerpoint;
  2. Landscape IA: The Great Victoria Desert Trust Fund. Garry Middle, VisionEnvironment - Abstract and Powerpoint;

  3. Exploring stakeholder expectations from IA literature. Megan Jones, PhD Candidate - Environmental Impact Assessment, School of Science, Edith Cowan University - Abstract and Powerpoint;

  4. Holistic Impact Assessment – A View from the West. Angus Morrison-Saunders, Edith Cowan University - Abstract and Powerpoint.

Session 3: Strategic methodologies within IA

  1. Value of ESHIA Hindcast Assessments to Strategic Impact Assessment. Russell D. Tait Tait & Associates Pty Ltd, Beaumaris, Victoria - Abstract and Powerpoint;

  2. Lessons learned about strategic environmental condition setting in Victoria. Kathryn Friday, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning - Abstract and Powerpoint;

  3. Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as a tool for Intensive Agriculture Strategies. Anne Dansey, Senior Project Manager, Department of Economic Development Jobs, Transport and Resource - Abstract and Powerpoint.