The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) does not define what it means by the word significant, however its meaning is crucial to determining whether or not Commonwealth assessment and approval is required.
Under the Significant Impact Guidelines, factors to consider in determining significance include:
- all on-site and off-site impacts;
- all direct and indirect impacts;
- the frequency and duration of the action;
- the total impact that can be attributed to the action over the entire geographic area affected and over time;
- the sensitivity of the receiving environment;
- the degree of confidence with which the impacts of the action are known and understood.
The current Guidelines provide the information necessary to determine whether an activity (action) may have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental importance and thereby trigger Commonwealth responsibility. Significant impacts can include indirect and cumulative impacts.
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