Cool fact…
Unlike many other Australian parks and reserves, there is no permanent management presence at HIMI. Management staff and researchers must sail for around two weeks through the rough Southern Ocean to reach Heard Island before attempting to begin their work.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Young southern elephant seals
Young southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina). Photo by B. Wienecke

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a formal process for evaluating the likely environmental effects of a proposed activity, project or program.

The EIA process requires the proponent to consider the most environmentally appropriate approach to achieving their intentions from the early planning stages. It also provides an opportunity for dialogue between the proponent and the assessing authority, with the aim of achieving a suitable outcome for the environment and for the proponent.

EIA Process for Heard Island and McDonald Islands

Prior to the commencement of any activity in the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI), the person or persons wishing to carry out the activity must prepare and submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which is a report on the impact (if any) that the activity is likely to have on the HIMI environment.

The EIA report must include alternatives to the proposal and details of mitigation measures that may be applied to reduce actual or potential environmental impacts. A Preliminary Assessment form must be completed and returned to the Environmental Policy and Protection Section of the Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania 7050. Application forms should be submitted no less than six to eight weeks prior to departure of the ship to the subantarctic.

The EIA will be taken into account when deciding whether to issue a permit under the Environment Protection and Management Ordinance 1987 (the EPMO) to authorise the activity. The EIA will also be used to determine relevant permit conditions.

Permits or authorisations issued under the EPMO or the under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 will include a condition requiring compliance with the prescriptions of the HIMI Marine Reserve Management Plan.

For queries relating to the HIMI EIA process, please send an email to eia@aad.gov.au.

Note: Activities that could have a significant environmental impact on the Reserve may trigger the assessment and approval provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) may be considered to be ‘controlled actions’. Controlled actions must be referred to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage for the Minister’s decision on whether or not the action is a controlled action.

For more information on the assessment and approvals provisions of the EPBC Act, go to the EPBC Act pages of the Department of the Environment website.

This page was last modified on 28 February 2005.