In February 2017 the South Australian Minister for Planning declared Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers’ proposal a major development under s.46 of the Development Act 1993 (SA). Section 46 ensures that matters affecting the environment, the community or the economy to a significant extent are fully examined and taken into account in the assessment of the proposal.
The Development Assessment Commission (DAC), which is responsible for setting the level of assessment required, has determined an Environmental Impact Assessment is required. The Guidelines for the EIS devised by the DAC have now been released by the Minister.
KIPT is required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the proposed development in accordance with these Guidelines. The EIS covers both the construction and ongoing operation of the proposed development.
Now that the Guidelines have been released the DAC’s role in the process is complete. From this point, the Minister for Planning will continue with the assessment process. The EIS and the government’s assessment report will be used by the Governor in the decision-making process, pursuant to S.48 of the Development Act 1993, to decide whether the proposal can be approved, and the conditions that would apply to that approval.
The Australian Government has declared the proposal a controlled action under s.75 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and as such the proposal must also be assessed and a decision is required under that Act.
The Kangaroo Island Council has no role in assessing or approving the project, however, its views will be taken into account by the Minister.
The Minister will release the EIS for public comment and regulatory agencies will also be given the opportunity to provide their comments and feedback. The EIS will be on public exhibition for a six week period (30 business days), and the South Australian government will facilitate a public meeting in an area close to the site in order to consult with the community on the EIS and the proposed development. KIPT will then prepare a Response Document, supplementary to the EIS, that addresses the submissions from the public and regulatory agencies. It may include amendments to the EIS, or changes to the original proposal in response to concerns. The Response Document will also be released for public information.
Final assessment and decision
The Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), with assistance from other relevant government agencies, will assess the proposal, the EIS and the Response Document. The outcome will be detailed in the Assessment Report, which will be provided to the SA Minster for Planning and the Australian Government, and be publicly released. The proposal may be refined further in response to the Assessment Report. The Governor of South Australia will make a decision on the Project (on the advice of the Minister and Cabinet) taking into account the Assessment Report and other documentation. This decision will be notified in the South Australian Government Gazette, the DPTI website and appropriate local media. The Governor’s decision cannot be appealed.