No, live firing activities are only conducted on gazetted Defence training areas. Depending on scenarios being practiced during TS19, a combination of pyrotechnic effects may be employed, this may include smoke, battle noise simulators and use of blank ammunition.
The use of non-Defence land for TS19 will not result in any unexploded ordnance (UXO) or any residual hazard to landholders, the community or environment. The potential for noise, dust and other environmental disturbance to neighbours and the wider community will be considered through the environmental impact assessment process that will be documented by the Environmental Report for the exercise.
Regardless of whether Australia or the United States is the lead planning partner, the assessment of environmental effects associated with the exercise is always undertaken in accordance with Australian legislation.
Defence, as a Commonwealth agency, is subject to the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Defence will assess the potential impacts of TS19 in accordance with requirements set out in publications produced by the Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE) in order to meet its obligations under the EPBC Act. In meeting the information standards necessary to conduct an assessment of TS19, Defence may engage the services of specialist environment and heritage consultants to ensure up to date information is used.
Defence will document the environmental assessment through the preparation of an Environmental Report that will be prepared following a process of consultation, research, field survey and desktop analysis. The purpose of the ER is to describe the environmental values of the area affected by the exercise, consider the potential for a notable environmental impact and identify measures necessary to avoid and mitigate impacts where practicable.
The environmental report and any supporting studies will be published on the TS19 website for public access.
The design process for major exercises such as TS19 starts from the position that the exercise must not result in a significant impact to the environment under the EPBC Act, and that all necessary approvals and permits required for the conduct of the exercise will be obtained. The consultation program and associated environmental investigations and assessment that will be documented through the Environmental Report seek to identify aspects of the environment that need to be managed to avoid a significant impact, and as a result, avoid the need to formally refer the exercise.
The dynamic nature of exercise planning and limited time frames also limit the ability for a formal referral process to adequately address environmental concerns that may be raised. The engagement program and environmental assessment of TS19 seeks to ensure that stakeholder comments are considered early and also as the design for the exercise matures. Through the combination of regular engagement with regulators and all levels of government, and a robust Environmental Risk Assessment process the need to formally refer the exercise can be avoided.
The common elements of the environmental management framework for all TS exercises include a diversity of control measures such as:
A program of consultation will be undertaken that includes engagement with communities, landholders, traditional owners and other key stakeholders, in addition to engagement with local, state and Commonwealth agencies.
Defence is investigating the use of a range of social media platforms to complement the traditional key elements of the consultation program, which include:
The consultation program will comprise a minimum of five major updates to the information available on the website: