News from the SIS-IA Committee - May 2017

Published 22 May 2017 by Lachlan Wilkinson FEIANZ CEnvP, Chair SIS IA

The SIS Management Committee met on 11 May with the main topic of discussion being a session proposal for the EIANZ Conference in Wellington. The Committee is keen to promote strategic environmental assessment and other approaches that go beyond project level impact assessment. We will provide further information once session proposals are accepted.

The committee also agreed to set up working groups to progress two important areas of work:

  • Strategic environmental assessment – the aim of this working group will be to advance the strategic environmental assessment agenda between now and the International Association for Impact Assessment conference in Brisbane in 2019 and to identify how EIANZ can promote the greater and more effective use of this approach.
  • Social impact assessment – this working group will seek to establish a network of social impact assessment practitioners in Australia and New Zealand, under the auspices of the SIS-IA and to develop guidance on best practice social impact assessment.

If you are interested in being involved with either of those groups, please contact ia@eianz.org

The Committee also noted that the working group on dealing with uncertainty in impact assessment had its first meeting and agreed that work was needed at three levels:

  • Translating academic understanding into practical language
  • High level policy – how uncertainty should be addressed
  • How to guidelines for practitioners

The group is commencing by reviewing the way uncertainty is currently addressed in legislation, guidelines and terms of reference for assessment documents in Australian jurisdictions and New Zealand.

Work on guidelines for selecting an environmental consultant for impact assessment work is progressing and a draft guideline should be available for review by SIS members in the next few months.

The committee is also continuing to investigate how to encourage greater interaction between impact assessment researchers and practitioners. If you would like to contribute to this discussion, contact ia@eianz.org.