Impact Assessment Special Interest Section

Impact Assessment Special Interest Section

The Impact Assessment Special Interest Section (SIS-IA) was set up to achieve good environmental outcomes by:

  • Promoting ethical and competent practice of impact assessment by environmental practitioners through developing tools, competencies and a certification process
  • Developing and promoting, within the wider community, practices to support and extend impact assessment through institutional and decision-making frameworks, processes, standards, competencies and tools.

Membership of the SIS-IA is open to members of the:

  • Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand
  • New Zealand Association for Impact Assessment
  • Australian and New Zealand members of the International Association for Impact Assessment.

There is no additional membership fee to join. If you would like to become a member please contact the Chair at ia@eianz.org. EIANZ members can join by logging into the EIANZ website, going to My Memberships, clicking on Update Details and then ticking the Impact Assessment SIS box under the Special Interest Section heading.


Management committee

The work program for the SIS-IA is developed and overseen by a management committee which meets around 5-6 times each year by teleconference. A number of other members of the SIS-IA are contributing to implementing the program through working groups.

The membership of the management committee is:

  • Lachlan Wilkinson (Chair): Principal, Assessments & Approvals, JBS&G Australia, Vic
  • Jack Krohn (Deputy Chair): Senior Impact Assessor, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Vic
  • Mandy Elliot (Secretary): Principal Consultant, EnviroME Pty Ltd, Vic
  • David Hogg: Former Director, David Hogg Pty Ltd, Environmental Consultant, ACT
  • Jeff Richardson: Principal Consultant, EcOz Environmental Consultants, NT
  • Garry Middle: Director, VisionEnvironment; Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Curtin University, WA
  • Jamie McMahon, Associate Director - Environmental Scientist, AECOM, NSW
  • Anthony Sutton: Director, Assessment and Compliance, Office of the EPA, WA
  • Jess Gerry: Strategy Analyst (Natural Environment), Auckland Council, NZ

Current activities

Annual impact assessment practitioners’ symposium

The SIS-IA organises an annual two-day symposium for impact assessment practitioners. The 2018 event was held in Melbourne and presentations are available here.The event was not held in 2019 due to EIANZ hosting the International Association for Impact Assessment conference in Brisbane. Details on the 2020 event will be available soon on our Events page.

Social Impact Assessment (SIA)

The SIA Community of Practice has the following aims:

  • Develop a community of SIA practitioners
  • Build and share SIA knowledge and lessons learnt
  • Facilitate the improved integration of SIA practice within impact assessment.

Go to the SIA page for more information.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

The SEA Community of Practice seeks to:

  • share knowledge and experience of strategic approaches/SEA in the Australian/ New Zealand context
  • build a basic understanding of strategic approaches and SEA as terms and concepts with good practice examples
  • identify potential champions for strategic approaches in government and the private sector
  • highlight where there may be upcoming opportunities for a more strategic approach in planning, impact assessment and/or decision-making
  • establish a ‘community of practice’ for strategic approaches to impact assessment.

Go to the SEA page for more information.

Organised reasoning

This was the topic of a highly successful series of workshops organised by the SIS-IA, in partnership with EIANZ Divisions/Branches, during 2019. The workshops, delivered by Dr Glenn Brown from Canada, provided participants with an improved understanding of how to develop stronger arguments in impact assessment documents supported by sound reasoning. The workshops also provided tools for presenting written material more clearly and effectively.

The feedback from the workshops was extremely positive with over 200 attendees across 11 cities in Australia and New Zealand. More workshops are planned for 2020.

Go to our Organised Reasoning page for more information.

Uncertainty in impact assessment

Impact assessment involves making predictions about expected impacts in the face of a number of uncertainties. The Uncertainty Working Group is examining how these are currently identified and considered in impact assessment processes and will be developing good practice guidance on managing uncertainty in impact assessment.

Contact ia(at)eianz.org if you want to join the group or would like more information.


In addition to the above ongoing work, the SIS-IA has had a number of significant achievements. These are summarised below.

International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) Conference, Brisbane 2019

The SIS-IA successfully submitted a bid to the IAIA to hold their 2019 conference in Brisbane. The conference was held from 29 April to 2 May 2019 with the theme: The future of impact assessment – evolution or revolution? The theme challenged delegates to consider whether it will be sufficient for impact assessment to continue to evolve, as it has for the last 50 years since its inception, or whether a revolution in thinking and approaches is needed, if it is to address the environmental and sustainability challenges of the future.

The conference attracted around 900 delegates from 77 countries. Conference presentations and papers are available on the conference website.

Certification of Impact Assessment Specialists

The SIS-IA worked with the Certified Environmental Practitioner (CEnvP) program to develop certification criteria for Impact Assessment Specialists. In addition to extensive relevant experience and suitable qualifications, a CEnvP Impact Assessment Specialist must demonstrate an excellent understanding of impact assessment methods, high level analytical capabilities and strong interpersonal skills in working with proponents, regulators and stakeholders.

Find out more about certification →

Memorandums of Understanding developed with other associations

The SIS-IA negotiated memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the New Zealand Association for Impact Assessment and the International Association for Impact Assessment. These MoUs ensure EIANZ works with these associations to:

  • Promote and enhance the quality of impact assessment
  • Promote academic exchange and professional training
  • Encourage participation in each others’ conferences and activities
  • Exchange the latest information in environmental assessment.

MoU with IAIA →

MoU with NZAIA →

Impact assessment workshops

The SIS-IA has run workshops at EIANZ conferences on topics such as scoping of impact assessments, public participation and development of early career professionals. Further workshops are planned.

Good practice guidance

The SIS-IA has developed resources to support effective implementation of impact assessment. The documents have been prepared by experienced practitioners within the SIS-IA to provide guidance on good practice. While they have been written to apply generally in Australia and New Zealand, impact assessment practitioners should also consider the specific requirements of the jurisdiction within which they operate.

These impact assessment resources are available here →