Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton First semester 2012 (Day)
Sunway Second semester 2012 (Day)
South Africa Second semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Ruth Lane


Previously coded GES3250


This unit deals with the processes by which the potential environmental consequences of development proposals are evaluated. These can be highly contentious because of the conflicting interests, types of knowledge and values of different stakeholders. The unit will examine the nature of the widely-adopted procedure of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and formulation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). It will explore legislative frameworks for decision-making and consider other decision-making tools such as cost-benefit analysis and environmental audits.


By the final lecture, students should be able to:

  1. Define the issues (complexity) associated with making environmental decisions.
  2. Understand the social, political and institutional context underpinning environmental decision-making in Australia.
  3. Understand the roles of scientific information, socio-political, economic, legal and participatory processes in environmental decision-making.
  4. Appreciate the range of tools and methods used to assist in environmental decision-making.
  5. Understand and discuss the variety of methods used to evaluate the environment and the strengths and weakness of the different approaches.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the history, function and operation of environmental impact assessment at state, national and international scales.
  7. Show familiarity with Commonwealth and state procedures for environmental impact assessment for projects and plans.
  8. Gain an appreciation of the contribution of political influences, political discourse and stakeholder participation in decision-making processes.


Participation: 5%
Research essay (2500 words): 35%
Group oral presentation (15 minutes): 20%
Examination (2 hours): 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Ruth Lane

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Sustainability, environment and society
Geography and environmental science (ARTS)
Geographical science
Climate change and society
Land and water management
Urban, regional and international development


First year Geography sequence