Land use planning and development are important for meeting the changing needs of the growing population.
An environmental impact assessment is a tool used to predict the environmental, social and economic effects of a proposed development at an early stage in project planning and design. The assessment aims to find ways to reduce negative impacts, and shape projects to suit the local environment.
In Victoria, assessments of the environmental impact of proposed development projects are conducted through the Environmental Effects Statement process under the Environment Effects Act 1978.
In this audit, we examined if the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is managing the Environment Effects Statement process effectively.
We make eight recommendations for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
Victorian Auditor-General's Office, State of Victoria 2017
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In this audit, we assessed whether DELWP, and councils in their roles as planning and responsible authorities, are managing and implementing the planning system to support the objectives of the Act and the desired outcomes of state planning policies.
We also examined:
• progress since our 2008 audit in improving oversight of the system and its performance
• the impact of reforms since 2008 in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the land use planning system
• barriers to the delivery and implementation of better-practice planning schemes
• the approach to measuring the planning system’s performance.
We looked specifically at how well DELWP advised the minister through its assessments and how well it managed the planning system. We also examined the activities and assessments of three councils - the City of Yarra, the City of Whittlesea and Moorabool Shire Council. These provide examples respectively of an inner city, an outer metropolitan and a peri-urban or ‘interface’ council (one of the nine municipalities that form a ring around metropolitan Melbourne).
The Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO’s) coverage of environmental matters reflects the responsibilities of the Australian Government and the AuditorGeneral’s mandate for conducting performance audits. The approach adopted by the ANAO to auditing environment programs and activities is similar in manner to other programs and activities subject to audit coverage.