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Strategic Assessment Archived Information

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In July 2011, the Western Australian Ministers for Planning and Environment and the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment agreed to undertake a Strategic Assessment  of the Perth and Peel regions (Strategic Assessment) under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The Strategic Assessment is being led by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC). In this role DPC works closely with the Commonwealth Department of Environment (DoE) and various State Government bodies including the Departments of Planning (DoP),  Parks and Wildlife (Parks and Wildlife), Water (DoW), Environmental Regulation (DER), and Mines and Petroleum (DMP), and the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC)  and the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority (OEPA).

The Strategic Assessment will address the impact on matters of national environmental significance (MNES) of the future development of the Perth and Peel regions required to support a population of 3.5 million people, including urban, industrial, rural-residential and infrastructure development and basic raw materials extraction.

The Strategic Assessment has been progressed in consideration of 'Directions 2031 and beyond – metropolitan planning beyond the horizon' and has been undertaken in collaboration with the preparation of the draft Perth and Peel @3.5million suite of documents, including the four draft sub-regional planning frameworks for the South Metropolitan and Peel, North-West, North East, and Central sub-regions. This collaborative approach has provided the opportunity to avoid, mitigate and offset the environmental impact of future development at a strategic scale and consequently achieve improved long term environmental outcomes in comparison to continued project by project assessment.

In addition to addressing Commonwealth requirements for a Strategic Assessment under Part 10 of the EPBC Act, the Strategic Assessment will also respond to the section 16(e) strategic advice prepared by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) (EP Act). The strategic advice provides guidance to the WA Minister for Environment for future decision-making on State environmental matters under the EP Act within the Perth and Peel regions.

The purpose of the Strategic Assessment is to:

  • significantly reduce the need for project by project assessment under the EPBC Act  in the Perth and Peel regions and streamline related processes under the EP Act;

  • deliver an effective long term and strategic response to key environmental issues in the Perth and Peel regions, for example, Carnaby's Cockatoo and water quality in the Peel-Harvey estuary;

  • provide greater certainty to industry as to which areas can be developed and what the obligations will be in terms of avoidance, mitigation and offsets; and

  • provide greater certainty in terms of long term land supply to meet the needs of a city of 3.5 million.

The Strategic Assessment is being undertaken in the context of the significant growth that is projected for the Perth and Peel regions over the coming decades. Recent projections have estimated that by 2026, the State's population will grow to 3,274,000 with the Perth and Peel regions projected to have a population of approximately 2,637,000. It is intended that the Strategic Assessment will look even further beyond this, and examine the environmental impacts of the Perth and Peel regions growing to 3.5 million and how these impacts can be avoided, mitigated or managed.

Key documents

The Strategic Assessment will be comprised of:

  • a plan to address MNES and State environmental factors (Strategic Conservation Plan), including a series of Action Plans; and

  • assessment reports of the impacts on MNES and State environmental factors associated with implementing the Strategic Conservation Plan (MNES and State Impact Assessment Reports).

Based on current timeframes, drafts of the above Strategic Assessment documents will be released for a 3 month public comment period by early 2016.

The WAPC's draft 'Perth and Peel @3.5million' suite of documents, including the four draft sub-regional planning frameworks were released for public comment on 1 May 2015, which closed on 31 July 2015. Final sub-regional planning documents will be prepared in collaboration with the Strategic Assessment process.

On 7 August 2015 the EPA released its interim s.16(e) strategic advice to the Minister for Environment (interim advice) which outlines the:

  • strategic environmental implications of the proposed future development for a city of 3.5 million people as outlined in the draft sub-regional planning frameworks developed by the WAPC; and

  • policy and guidance that can be used to optimise subsequent approval processes to ensure environmental outcomes are delivered in the most efficient and timely manner.

The EPA's interim advice delivers recommendations focusing on air and water quality, and improving the health of the Swan and Canning rivers and Peel-Harvey Estuary, as well as measures to protect biodiversity, the marine environment, human health, heritage and amenity.

The EPA will deliver its final strategic advice in 2016.

Process Update

Terms of reference

The draft terms of reference for the Strategic Assessment of the Perth-Peel region were released for public comment on Friday 26 August and closed on Friday 7 October 2011. The State revised the terms of reference in light of public comments received and the Commonwealth Minister for Environment approved the final terms of reference in May 2012.

View a copy of the Strategic Assessment Agreement including the final terms of reference (PDF 496KB).

Following public comment on the draft terms of reference the State and Commonwealth Government agreed to extend the northern boundary of the Strategic Assessment to include the Gnangara, Pinjar and Yanchep pine plantations to ensure that matters of State and national environmental significance in this region are assessed as part of the Strategic Assessment.

View a map of the amended boundary (PDF 300KB).


Stakeholder Reference Group 

The Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) has been established to allow regular engagement with key stakeholder groups prior to the public release of key policy and assessment documents.

The inaugural meeting of the SRG was held on 29 November 2012, and was chaired by Mr Jim Limerick. 

The Terms of Reference for the Stakeholder Reference Group (PDF 543KB) detail the purpose, function and membership of the SRG.

The following organisations, covering a broad spectrum of stakeholders interests, are represented at the meetings:

  • Urban Development Institute of Australia (WA)

  • Planning Institute of Australia (WA)

  • WWF - Australia

  • Housing Industry Association

  • Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Australia

  • Property Council of Australia (WA)

  • Peel-Harvey Catchment Council

  • Environmental Consultants Association (WA)

  • Conservation Council of Western Australia

  • Local government representatives.

The meetings are also attended by government representatives from:

  • the Department of the Premier and Cabinet

  • the Department of Parks and Wildlife

  • the Department of Environment Regulation

  • the Department of Planning

  • the Department of Mines and Petroleum

  • the Department of Water 

  • the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority.

A representative from the Commonwealth Department of the Environment attends as an observer. 


Copies of the Chair's reports of past meetings are now available:


Presentations given at the 2 September 2015 Stakeholder Reference Group meeting:

Presentations given at the 23 July 2015 Stakeholder Reference Group meeting:

 Presentations given at the 30 April 2015 Stakeholder Reference Group meeting:

Presentations given at the 5 February 2015 Stakeholder Reference Group meeting:

The last meeting was held on 26 November 2015.

Public comment

There will also be a three month public comment period on drafts of the following key policy and assessment documents:

  • the Strategic Conservation Plan
  • the Impact Assessment Report

Based on current timelines, the objective is to release these documents for public comment in 2015.

Further Information

What is the EPBC Act?

The EPBC Act provides a legal framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally significant flora, fauna, ecological communities, wetlands and heritage places defined in the EPBC Act as matters of national environmental significance.

In Western Australia, if a proposed development or activity is likely to have a significant impact on MNES, approval may be required from the Commonwealth Environment Minister before that activity can go ahead.

MNES in the Perth and Peel regions to which the EPBC Act applies include:

  • national heritage places
  • wetlands of international importance (or 'Ramsar' wetlands)
  • nationally threatened species and ecological communities
  • migratory species.

What is a Strategic Assessment?

Strategic assessments under the EPBC Act encourage a bigger picture approach to assess how biodiversity, environmental and heritage values that are MNES can be protected, while allowing sustainable development. This is achieved through addressing a number of individual actions or a class of actions, by several proponents, on a regional scale that would otherwise be assessed on a project-by-project basis.

As well as helping to protect Australia's unique biodiversity, this type of assessment also benefits the community, developers, industry and government by cutting red tape and providing long-term certainty.

Information and resources

General information on the strategic assessment process and the legislative requirements under the EPBC Act can be found on the DoE website.

If you would like to receive additional information, including notification about opportunities for public comment please contact us by email at In your email, please include your name, organisation name (if applicable) and mailing address.

General enquiries can also be directed to this email.

The following documents are available to download:

Related links:

September 2015