Unit 7: Risky Business

This week we looked at tools and methodologies for scoping potential decision options. This has particular relevance, in the wake of a decision made by Northern Territory EPA’s to not demand an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of a major port development.


Port Melville is a partially constructed deep-sea port in a location protected as an area of international significance for marine life. Environmental groups are extremely concerned that by not completing an EIA that risks to the environment and human health have not been considered and that impact mitigation options are not  being contemplated (Environment Center NT, 2015). Assuming the EPA did their due diligence, they may have used an alternate analytical process other than an EIA to scope out potential impact mitigation options.

Most notably, they could have completed a risk assessment. Risk assessments are a formal framework of analysing the nature of potential hazards, the potential severity of these hazards and the likelihood of these hazards occurring (IGRC, 2005).  However due to the strategic management by the developer, I don’t believe all the potential risks and mitigation options will be included in the scope of analysis.The of construction of this port started well before the notice of intent to be considered under legislation that requires reporting of potential environmental impacts. Components of the port were constructed in 2013, when the notice of intent was lodged in 2014. Unfortunately, there is no strong legislation that would force them to disassemble already constructed components of a development. As such the scope of potential development solutions to mitigate impacts has been narrowed significantly. As we discussed in week one, shaping the scope of an issue can strongly skew the results. Hopefully this ends well, however I’m not so sure it will 😦


Environment Center NT (2015). Letter to the Minister RE: EPBC rference number 2015/7510 Ezion Offshore Logistics Hub (Tiwi) Pty Ltd/Transport. http://ecnt.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Referral-EIS-Tiwi-Islands-Marine-Supply-Base.pdf (Accessed 21/10/2015)

IRGC (2005). Risk Governance: Towards and integrative approach. White paper no.1. Geneva.

NT EPA (2015) Statement of Reasons: Ezion Offshore Logistics Hub (Tiwi) Port Melville. http://www.ntepa.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/359582/Port-Melville-Statement_of_Reasons.pdf (Accessed 21/10/2015)

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