Environmental Impact Assessment in Australia

Environmental Impact Assessment in Australia

(EIS), and the assessment report (Thomas 2005, 153) in fulfilling its set objectives, Elliot and Thomas (2009) observed that EIA inevitably gets involved in society’s politics essentially turning it to be a political process (xii), which Thomas (2005) described to include not only ‘politics of parties and election’ but also ‘politics of personal and organizational survival’ (152). This as anyone could imagine would say that EIA is practically a struggle of all stakeholders to influence and get their particular interest into decision-makers in any way they find it necessary as far as their capacity could lead them and as desperately as their interest would require them. Moreover, Taylor and Quigley (2002) emphasized EIA as a developing approach (2) – a dynamic process that should respond to the changing developmental needs of society and humanity as shown by EIA’s historical evolution.Society started out without having any notion yet of this so-called EIA. But as society progressed – increasing mobility of people using carriages and assembly of a large group of people – concern with pollution as a social problem increased which inevitably led to the legislation of laws regulating the problem. Specifically in Australia, the ‘protection of water quality in the Tank Stream, Sydney’s only water supply for the first 40 years’ was its first pollution-related regulation – ‘felling of trees within 50 feet (15 meters) of the stream… throwing filth into the stream, cleaning fish, washing, erecting pigsties near it’ were all prohibited (King 1975, 35, cited in Elliot and Thomas 2009, 6). Then as more frontiers were cleared, concern for the preservation of the bush, nature, plants, and animals appeared. In Australia, ‘defenders of the bush’ and ‘nature lovers’ (Dingle 1984, cited in Elliot and Thomas 2009, 6) were recorded sometime during the Victorian ages with the First National Park proclaimed in 1879 under the Royal National Park.

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