In 2008, the Australian and ACT governments agreed to a strategic assessment of a proposed development project in the Molonglo Valley, ACT. Strategic assessments let us consider impacts to protected matters on a broad scale. Actions covered by a strategic assessment do not need individual approval.
Strategic assessments are a collaboration between the Australian Government and an assessment partner. This collaboration allows for a big-picture approach to safeguarding protected matters from the impacts of development over a long time.
The Molonglo Valley Plan (ACT) strategic assessment on this page is finalised. This means the Commonwealth Environment minister agreed to areas where development is allowed. The partner must now implement the environmental commitments and conditions and is restricted to agreed developments in the plan.
The Australian Government has given the partner approval until 2041 to complete the action and annual reporting requirements.
A preliminary environmental investigation in the Molonglo and North Weston area identified several protected matters. These include:
- pink-tailed worm-lizard, listed as vulnerable
- white box-yellow box-Blakely's red gum grassy woodland and derived native grassland, listed as critically endangered
- natural temperate grassland of the Southern Eastern Highlands, listed as endangered.
The Australian and the ACT governments agreed to undertake a strategic assessment of the proposed Molonglo and North Weston structure plan.
The structure plan is part of the ACT statutory Territory Plan, which manages development in the ACT. It sets out the guidelines and principles for:
- urban planning and development
- associated infrastructure in Molonglo and North Weston.
The proposed plan, to be implemented over the next 20 to 30 years, also looks at a broad range of environmental, social and economic planning issues. Many of these are unlikely to affect protected matters and may need adjusting during the life of the plan.
However, implementing the structure plan may affect protected matters in the Molonglo Valley.
The ACT Government’s Molonglo Valley Plan for the Protection of Matters of National Environmental Significance (the NES Plan) identifies protected matters that the structure plan is likely to affect. It also sets out protection and conservation strategies to avoid unacceptable impacts.
The Commonwealth minister agreed to a strategic assessment of the NES Plan instead of the structure plan.
This helps ensure any development in the Molonglo Valley avoids unacceptable impacts on protected matters. The ACT Government completed the strategic assessment according to section 146 of the EPBC Act.
To meet the ACT Government’s land release schedule, certain suburbs were removed from the strategic assessment process. These were:
- North Weston
These suburbs were assessed and approved under separate EPBC Act Part 9 referrals (EPBC referrals 2009/4752, 2009/5041 and 2009/5050).
Find out more about the Molonglo Valley strategic assessment.
Figure 1. The Molonglo and North Weston Area (source: Molonglo Valley Strategic Assessment website).
The strategic assessment agreement was signed on 16 September 2008.
This agreement describes the process to follow for assessment and the requirements under national environmental law.
The strategic assessment was initially designed to assess the proposed Molonglo and North Weston structure plan. The agreement was later varied on 16 March 2010 to assess the NES Plan instead.
Strategic Assessment Agreement (PDF 516 KB)
Strategic Assessment Agreement (RTF 735 KB)
Terms of reference
The terms of reference for a strategic assessment detail how the strategic assessment partner is to assess the impacts of their proposed development activities.
The finalised terms of reference are attached to the strategic assessment agreement.
Public consultation is a statutory requirement for strategic assessments. The ACT Government released the draft NES Plan and draft strategic assessment report for public comment from 17 March to 23 April 2010.
View the draft Molonglo Valley strategic assessment report (PDF).
After the public consultation process, the NES Plan was updated and completed in September 2011.
View the finalised Molonglo Valley NES Plan (PDF).
The Molonglo and North Weston strategic assessment supplementary report was completed in July 2011. This summarised the public consultation process.
Read the Molonglo and North Weston supplementary report (PDF).
On 7 October 2011, the Commonwealth minister endorsed the NES Plan.
Endorsement notice of the Molonglo Valley Plan (PDF 622 KB)
Endorsement notice of the Molonglo Valley Plan (DOC 282 KB)
On 20 December 2011, the Commonwealth minister approved actions associated with urban development in East Molonglo as described in the endorsed NES Plan. This allows development and other related activities to go ahead without approval from the minister.
Signed approval instrument (PDF 1.6 MB)
Signed approval instrument (DOC 284 KB)
The strategic assessment partner must make reporting documents available to the public, including the:
- annual report
- expert panel review report
- independent audit.
They must also submit these documents to us.
Find these reports on the ACT Government Planning website.
Get in touch
Contact our Referrals Gateway team:
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 1800 423 135 between 9 am and 5 pm Canberra time.