Some essential roads and traffic management works undertaken by NSW Roads and Maritime Service (NSW RMS) do not require further consideration under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act 1999), if undertaken in accordance with the Program Report - Strategic Assessment of environmental assessment and decision making by NSW Roads and Maritime Services, May 2015 (the Program).
On 7 September 2015, the Minister for the Environment endorsed the Program and subsequently approved a class of actions relating to rudimentary, small-scale road and traffic management works. These activities do require environmental assessment under Part 5 of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act 1979).
A strategic assessment was undertaken to assess the impacts of the relevant road and traffic management works on listed threatened species and ecological communities, and listed migratory species, if undertaken in accordance with NSW RMS procedures and guidelines for environmental assessment and decision-making. Typical examples of works include: new overtaking lanes for existing roads; short sections of new road; bridge replacement projects; and a range of routine maintenance and safety works.
This approval will improve the efficiency of environmental assessment and approval processes by removing duplication in decision making, whilst maintaining high environmental standards.
Endorsement and approval
On 7 September 2015, the Program was endorsed under Part 10 of the EPBC Act.
On 24 September 2015, an approval was granted for a class of actions under the endorsed Program to proceed without the need for further approval from the Australian Government Environment Minister.
The strategic assessment documentation is available on the NSW Roads and Maritime Services website.
On 29 November 2019, the Strategic assessment of some NSW road and traffic management works was transferred from Roads and Maritime Services to Transport for NSW.
What does the commencement of the Program mean for referrals under the EPBC Act which are currently in place?
Where NSW RMS activities have existing EPBC Act approvals these will continue to apply and any conditions attached must be implemented, monitored and reported to the Department of the Environment as required in the conditions of approval.
The draft Program Report and draft Strategic Assessment Report were released by NSW RMS for public comment from 18 December 2014 to 13 February 2015. Following the completion of public consultation the strategic assessment documentation was finalised and submitted in June 2015, taking into account any comments from the public and advice from the Australian Government Department of the Environment.
Strategic assessment agreement
On 14 August 2014 the Australian Government entered into an agreement with NSW RMS to undertake a strategic assessment of road and traffic management works assessed under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW). The strategic assessment agreement describes the process to be followed for the strategic assessment, and relevant requirements under the national environmental law. Terms of Reference for the content of the strategic assessment are attached to the Agreement.
In accordance with the Agreement NSW RMS prepared a Program report outlining the environmental assessment and decision making process for the protection and management of specified protected matters (listed threatened species and ecological communities and migratory species) under the EPBC Act. An accompanying strategic assessment report, which assessed the impacts on specified protected matters, was also prepared.
For general enquiries about strategic assessments, or the EPBC Act, please contact the Department's Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772.
Further information on the strategic assessment can also be found on the New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services website.