The proposed flying operations of the F-35A aircraft were assessed under the requirements of Commonwealth legislation, specifically the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). An EPBC Act referral for this project was lodged on 25 November 2010 by Defence. On 23 December 2010, a delegate of the Minister for the Environment (Minister) determined that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was required to be submitted by Defence, as the proposed flying operations have the potential to have a significant impact on the environment. Draft EIS Guidelines were prepared by a delegate of the Minister and provided to Defence for review in January 2011. In accordance with the EPBC Act and EPBC Regulations, the draft EIS Guidelines were released to the public with an invitation for the public to comment.
Following receipt of all comments the EIS Guidelines were finalised and provided to Defence in May 2011. The EIS Guidelines are available here.
In April 2014, the Department of Defence submitted the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the
Department of the Environment, in accordance with the EPBC Act. The Department of the Environment provided direction to publish the Draft EIS in June 2014. The Draft EIS was placed on public exhibition, via the project website or as a hard copy at select locations around Australia, for a period of nine weeks (21 July to 19 September 2014).
The Draft EIS documents are available for download in PDF format from the below links. Please note that due to the size of the Draft EIS, some attachments may take time to download.
During the public exhibition of the Draft EIS, Defence, Coffey and technical specialists conducted panel sessions with stakeholder groups and the public to discuss the content of the Draft EIS. The sessions included a brief presentation on the results of the Draft EIS studies followed by a facilitated question-and-answer session where the panel of Defence and technical specialists addressed questions from the public.
Following the public exhibition period, a supplementary report was prepared to address the submissions and comments received during the exhibition period.
The Supplementary Report to the Draft EIS is available here.
The Supplementary Report and the Draft EIS together constitute the Environmental Impact Statement that was submitted to the Department of the Environment for approval.
On 17 July 2015, the Department of the Environment published the approval decision for the flying operations of the F-35A, following consideration of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The Approval Decision includes a range of conditions. The approval decision and conditions are available here.
Periodic updates on progress towards meeting the conditions of approval will be provided on this webpage.