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 undertake this strategic assessment?
Lands managed by the South Australian Government have significant environmental, social and economic values including matters of national environmental significance protected under national environmental law. A strategic assessment will ensure that these values and matters are protected from the risk of unacceptable impacts from the implementation of fire management practices.
What is being assessed?
To protect matters of national environmental significance the strategic assessment will assess the South Australian Government Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources’ (DEWNR) Fire Management Environmental Assessment and Management Procedure (the Policy).
The Policy contains all aspects of DEWNR fire management policies including planning and procedures relating to environmental assessment and management relevant to protecting nationally protected matters under the EPBC Act. The strategic assessment of the Policy will also allow DEWNR to make amendments to other parts of their fire management policies, planning, and procedures not relevant to protecting matters of national environmental significance, without having to seek approval under the EPBC Act.
The Policy also outlines the commitments DEWNR is making in relation to protecting matters of national environmental significance under the EPBC Act, and the additional actions DEWNR will undertake to improve these measures into the future.
The strategic assessment does not include or apply to any policies, procedures or activities for the suppression of bushfires. These are under the control of the South Australian Country Fire Service and not DEWNR.
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. This variation removed the requirement to strategically assess eight fire management policy and procedure documents along with a large number of supporting documents, limiting consideration to the protection of nationally protected matters.
The strategic assessment agreement, final Terms of Reference, and schedule of changes to the agreement can be accessed below.
Schedule of changes
The draft Policy and draft strategic assessment report are open for public comment from 28 February 2014 to 28 March 2014. This provides the opportunity for the public to make submissions regarding the impacts on matters of national environmental significance.
The draft Policy and draft strategic assessment report can be accessed on the South Australian Government Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources’ web page at:
If you wish to comment on draft Policy and draft strategic assessment report, please send your comments to:
Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
Fire Management Branch
GPO Box 1047
Adelaide SA 5001
Fax: (08) 8124 4913
Telephone enquiries: (08) 8124 4833
Printed copies of the draft Policy and draft strategic assessment report can be obtained from the South Australian Government Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources by contacting:
Telephone: (08) 8124 4833
It is possible that the final Policy, which presents commitments and undertakings for protection of matters of national environmental significance, may change substantively from the draft Policy. Such changes will, in part, respond to public comments, and any additional changes requested by the Minister (or delegate) to better protect matters of national environmental significance.
What are the next steps?
Following the public consultation period, the draft Policy will be revised and either the draft strategic assessment report will be updated or a supplementary report to the draft strategic assessment report will be prepared. The report will summarise the public comments received and how they are addressed in the final Policy. When finalised, these documents will be submitted to the Minister (or delegate) for consideration and for endorsement of the Policy.
Once the Policy has been endorsed, the Minister (or delegate) may approve actions, or class of actions, to be taken in accordance with the endorsed Policy. This approval is a legal step that allows fire management activities, taken in accordance with the endorsed Policy, to proceed without the need for further approval from the Minister.