Territory Stories

Ecologically sustainable development in the Darwin Harbour Region : review of governance frameworks



Ecologically sustainable development in the Darwin Harbour Region : review of governance frameworks

Other title

Environment Protection Agency.


Environment Protection Agency (Northern Territory); Northern Territory. Department Of Lands, Planning And Environment


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT





Table of contents

Executive summary -- Introduction -- 1. Background -- 1.1 Terms of reference -- 1.2 Scope and structure of the review -- 1.3 Ecologically sustainable development and governance -- 1.4 Ecologically sustainable development, principles and criteria -- 1.5 The Darwin Harbour Region -- 2. Ecologically sustainable development in legislation, policies and plans -- 2.1 Strategic development and management -- 2.2 Land use -- 2.3 Minerals, extractive materials and petroleum -- 2.4 Ports -- 2.5 Pollution, waste and public health -- 2.6 Water -- 2.7 Fisheries and marine areas -- 2.8 Biodiversity, heritage and natural resource management -- 2.9 Environmental assessment -- 3. Discussion and findings -- 4. Advice.




Darwin Harbour -- Environmental aspects; Environmental management -- Northern Territory -- Darwin Harbour

Publisher name

Environment Protection Agency

Place of publication



vii, 59 p. : col. ills. ; 30 cm.

File type




Copyright owner

Environment Protection Agency



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Page content

47 2.9 Environmental Assessment Environmental Assessment Environmental assessment processes are a critical means of providing for the assessment of wide range of activities with the potential to significantly impact upon the environment of the Darwin Harbour region. Environmental assessment is an important part of the overarching governance framework in the Territory to ensure environmental protection. Processes for the environmental assessment activities within the Darwin Harbour Region are established at a federal level under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and at the Territory level under the Environmental Assessment Act. The Environmental Assessment Act has recently been reviewed by the EPA and final advice and recommendations were provided to the Territory Government in April 2010. Legislation The Environmental Assessment Act and the Administrative Procedures provide the framework for environmental assessment undertaken within the Northern Territory. The current framework focuses on the environmental assessment of specific developments, on a site by site basis. While the Minister for the Environment has a call in power, the process is triggered when a development seeks a form of approval from another piece of legislation (for example, the Planning Act). The Act and Administrative Procedures have relevance for Darwin Harbour as they are used to assess major developments occurring in the region. In assessing development proposals, the environmental assessment process draws from major policy initiatives as well as plans and strategies and applicable legislation. ESD The Environmental Assessment Act and Administrative Procedures date back from the early 1980s and do not site the concept or principles of ecologically sustainable development in the objectives of the Act. The principles of ESD do not guide how the environmental assessment process is to be undertaken or the outcomes being sought from the process.