The Federation Press

Environmental Impact Assessment in Australia

Theory and practice


The fifth edition of Environmental Impact Assessment in Australia: Theory and Practice has been revised in the context of evolving EIA practice around Australia and introduces a number of case studies throughout the text to complement the theory. The case studies demonstrate key points within the text and should not be viewed as the only way of doing EIA (or a component of EIA).

Thomas’s experience in the historical context and evolution of environmental impact assessment and the research in this area of EIA provided in previous editions largely remains, although updated where relevant. The fifth edition focus is on introducing more context to the evolving theory and practice regarding impact assessment, specifically strategic environmental assessment, sustainability assessment, the role of EIA in developing countries and the issues surrounding post EIA monitoring.

Elliott’s experience working in EIA for the State Government of Victoria over the past eight years has provided insight into how EIA is undertaken in practice. Reflected throughout this edition is this practical application - how good assessments can lead to better decisions as well as how politics plays an integral role in EIA.

Additionally the Commonwealth, State and Territories EIA procedures, have been revised, as many of these jurisdictions have had their procedures reformed, including amendments to their EIA legislation, or to existing EIA Guidelines/administrative procedures. Notwithstanding these changes, the way in which EIA is undertaken still remains. That is, screening, scoping, EIS production, public review and Assessment.


One of the book’s strengths is its comprehensive overview and comparison of Australian environmental impact assessment regimes. Further, much of the theory and development of practice of environmental impact assessment used in the book is drawn from international and interstate jurisdictions. The most interesting and substantial updates to the book relate to the long-awaited adoption of strategic environmental assessment into many Australian jurisdictions and the possibilities for the practice and theory of environmental impact assessment to be used in novel ways, particularly in the international realm... legal practitioners and students will find this edition more relevant and more useful than earlier versions. - Law Institute Journal of Victoria, August 2009

Reviews of previous editions:
Except for a necessary update to ever-evolving administrative arrangements, this book remains a key text on the topic in Australia. It has the hallmarks of a guide, a handbook, a textbook and a manual. The price makes it accessible to a broad readership from undergraduate students to commencing practitioners in consulting firms, industry or government. ... In a material and mechanical way the authors achieve what they set out to do – illustrate the practice and provide a resource for anyone seeking detail on EIA. - Geographical Review, Vol 45 No 1, March 2007

This text can be considered well researched, informative and well-written. The strong point of this book lies in the delicate balance between theory and practice. Ultimately, EIA ought to be well received and useful to a broad audience. - Eingana, Vol 28 No 2, August 2005

Environmental Impact Assessment in Australia: Theory and Practice is a valuable reference book. It is comprehensive and logical in its handling of the subject matter, and is a very useful handbook for both new and experienced practitioners. The book should have wide appeal to environmental professionals wanting guidance in undertaking EIA in Australia as well as legal practitioners and professionsals engaged in environmentally-related discliplines. - Australian Journal of Environmental Management, Vol 12/2, June 2005

Table of Contents


The Background to EIA
EIA: Context and Content
The Many Faces of Impact Assessment
The Public Face of EIA
EIA Worldwide
EIA Procedures in Australia
Contents of the EIS
Determining Impacts for the EIS
Stepping Through EIA
The Future of EIA


Of interest...