MBS Environmental staff Talia Warda and Karen Ganza attended the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) training session for guidance on preparing management plans under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and associated templates Environmental Assessment Guidelines for Preparation of management plans under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EAG17). These new templates will be in effect as of 1 January 2016.
In summary, the EPA has developed templates to allow for more focused and precise “Condition Environmental Management Plans” with measurable outcomes rather than the large (700+) page Management Plans they are currently receiving. The objectives of the new templates are to:
- Ensure Management Plans are relevant to and effective in meeting the EPA’s environmental objectives.
- Consistent in form and language.
- Readily assessed for compliance.
The EPA aims to only deal with significant impacts to the environment that aren’t already being dealt with by other government agencies.
There are two Management Plan templates available with the preferred template being “outcome” based, the other being “management” based. The Management Plan template to be used will be determined by the wording of the conditions within the project’s Ministerial Statements and amount of baseline information available.
- Outcome based conditions – these conditions identify a measurable environmental outcome.
- Management based conditions – these conditions identify an environmental objective that must be met.
Both Management Plans will require:
- Thresholds developed with the EPA to which Ministerial Statement holders will be accountable if breached.
- Triggers levels (to be set conservatively) which once breached Ministerial Statement holders will be accountable for introducing management actions.
- Reporting (eg annual reporting, revision of monitoring, success of triggers and threholds).
Both Management Plan templates can be access on the EPA website (external link).