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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Citation address


Page content

48 Integration The environmental assessment process is triggered by the approval mechanisms of other pieces of legislation and serves the purpose of providing advice and recommendations to the entities responsible for granting an approval. Accordingly, integration is central to the operation of this process. An assessment of a development proposal will include examining how a proposal sits within the policy context, for example, whether a proposal is in keeping with the objectives of T2030 or Growing the Territory. The process therefore provides a mechanism to examine, on a site by site basis, how the various layers of policy and legislation apply to a specific development. When reviewing the Environmental Assessment Act and Administrative Procedures the EPA stated that greater public transparency was required to support the integration of this process with the approval process, allowing the community to understand and be assured that environmental issues identified through the assessment process are accounted for by the approval process, subsequent conditions of approval as well as regulation of conditions. Public Participation The Environmental Assessment Act and Administrative Procedures allow for public consultation, but this is limited to reviewing environmental assessment documents when an assessment is being undertaken. The decision on whether a proposal requires environmental assessment is not open to public scrutiny. Findings Recent environmental incidents in the Darwin Harbour region have served to highlight a number of the weaknesses in the framework provided by the existing Environmental Assessment Act. These include the failure of development approvals to incorporate appropriate operating conditions based the findings of an environmental assessment, and the ongoing problems created by the lack of integration between the Environmental Assessment Act and development approvals issued under other regulatory frameworks such as the Planning Act. The Act is not informed by the principles of ESD. It is not referenced as an objective of the Act and the operations of the Act are not constructed around supporting the implementation of the principles. The integration of the outcomes of an environmental assessment for a development and the subsequent approval and regulatory regime is not consistent between the different approval regimes; and not always publicly transparent. The Act has the ability to integrate the various policies, plans and legislation that apply to a development, but this is on a site by site basis it is not conducive to studying or understanding the cumulative impact associated with the various development pressures on the harbour.