Melbourne urban development: policy statement for EPBC Act referrals

11 Oct 2012

Actions considered under this policy include urban, commercial and light industrial developments and infrastructure directly servicing such development (roads, pipelines and other utilities).

This policy statement describes the approach of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (the department) in administering the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) for certain projects that are outside of Melbourne’s Growth Areas and for which the framework described in the Melbourne Strategic Assessment can be applied.

The policy describes criteria to determine whether a proposed action may be considered under the strategic assessment framework. Eligible projects may use this framework for offset into the Western Grasslands Reserves where impacts cannot be avoided or otherwise mitigated.

This approach is expected to simplify the assessment of eligible projects and deliver administrative efficiency for developers and regulators.


The EPBC Act is the Australian Government’s central environmental legislation and provides a legal framework to protect listed flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places — defined in the EPBC Act as matters of national environmental significance. More information about the EPBC Act is available at www. environment.gov.au.

The Victorian Government’s program for Melbourne’s Growth Areas has been assessed under the EPBC Act and is described in the report Delivering Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Communities: Program Report (Victorian Government, December 2009). The program was endorsed under the EPBC Act on 2 February 2010. This means that developments in the new Growth Areas can be considered for approval provided they are undertaken in accordance with the report’s commitments and undertakings for protection of matters of national environmental significance. Further information on the program and strategic assessment is at www.dse.vic.gov.au.

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