The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) presents to the Minister for Environment its Strategic Advice on environmental and water assessments relating to mining and mining related activities in the Fortescue Marsh Area (the Advice), published as Report 1484. The EPA is providing the Advice to the Minister in accordance with section 16(e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
The EPA recognises the importance of mining activities in the Fortescue Marsh management area. There are extensive mineral deposits and mining activity in the area surrounding the Fortescue Marsh, and there are several new proposals identified for further development.
To ensure that the Advice represents agreed guidance, the EPA has extensively involved the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority, the Department of Water, the Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Department of State Development, during its development. The Advice provides consistent guidance for agencies and proponents to help streamline project assessment and approval processes to deliver positive environmental outcomes for the Fortescue Marsh. In addition, coordinated direction in the Fortescue Marsh management area will provide:
- more effective and efficient management;
- a better collective understanding of the Marsh and knowledge gaps; and
- a better understanding of cumulative impacts on the Marsh.
It is recognised that cultural, industry, tourism, recreational and pastoral values are important in the Fortescue Marsh management area. However, these values are beyond the scope of the Advice and will be addressed through other processes.
The content of the advice is not statutory in nature, but provides guidance and information to assist the Minister and other decision-making authorities so that decisions are complementary and coordinated.
The advice will be subject to periodic review by the Environmental Protection Authority.