Strategic assessment of Fire Management Policy for lands under the care and control of the South Australian Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation

On 15 January 2010, the Minister for the Environment and the South Australian Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, entered into an agreement to conduct a strategic assessment of the fire management policies and procedures for lands under the care and control of the South Australian Minister in accordance with section 146 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The fire management policies and procedures direct how the planning and delivery of fire management activities are to be undertaken and delivered.

Why was a strategic assessment undertaken?

Lands managed by the South Australian Government have significant environmental, social and economic values including matters of national environmental significance protected under the EPBC Act. The strategic assessment ensures that these values and matters are protected from the risk of unacceptable impacts from the implementation of bushfire management practices.

The strategic assessment will also provide long term legal certainty and a streamlined process for assessing environmental impacts for the South Australian Government in managing bushfire risks.

What was assessed?

To protect matters of national environmental significance, the South Australian Government Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources’ (DEWNR) Fire Management Environmental Assessment and Management Procedure (the Policy) was assessed.

The Policy describes the procedures the South Australian Government will use to address impacts on matters of national environmental significance from implementation of the bushfire mitigation programme.

The Policy also outlines the commitments DEWNR is making in relation to protecting matters of national environmental significance, and the additional actions DEWNR will undertake to improve these measures into the future.

The Policy relates to fuel reduction and does not affect, or restrict in any way, emergency fire responses in South Australia.

Strategic assessment agreement

A variation to the strategic assessment agreement, which allowed for the assessment of the Policy, was signed by the South Australian Minister and the delegate of the Minister on 27 March 2012.

The strategic assessment agreement, final Terms of Reference, and schedule of changes to the agreement can be accessed below.

Download

Strategic assessment agreement, terms of reference and endorsement criteria (PDF - 442.18 KB)

Schedule of changes

Schedule of changes to the agreement (PDF - 23.53 KB)

Schedule of changes to the agreement (DOCX - 30.99 KB)

Public consultation process

The draft Policy and draft strategic assessment Report were open for public comment from 28 February to 28 March 2014. These documents can be accessed on the South Australian Government Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources’ Fire  & the Environment Strategic Assessments web page.

Final Policy and Report

The Policy and Report have been finalised to address the public comments received during the public comment period. The final Policy and Report can be found on the South Australian Government Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources’ Fire  & the Environment Strategic Assessments web page

The South Australian Government’s approach means that the environment will be protected from significant impacts in all but the most exceptional circumstances where the risk to life and property is critical.

Endorsement

On 10 December 2014, the Minister endorsed the Policy as meeting the objectives of the EPBC Act.

Notification of decision to endorse the fire management policy for lands under the care and control of the South Australian Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation (PDF - 294.05 KB)
Notification of decision to endorse the fire management policy for lands under the care and control of the South Australian Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation (DOC - 106.5 KB)

Approval

On 3 March 2015, the Minister approved actions associated with bushfire management on public lands in South Australia as described in the endorsed Policy.

Approval - South Australian Fire Management Policy Strategic Assessment (PDF - 432.21 KB)
Approval - South Australian Fire Management Policy Strategic Assessment (DOC - 86 KB)

Further information on strategic assessments

Bushfire management and national environment law