ATS3546 - Environmental assessment and decision making - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

Human Geography


Dr Alfonso Martinez Arranz

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


This unit deals with the processes for assessing the potential environmental consequences of a range of human activities with a focus on development proposals and land use changes. 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), exploring relevant legislative frameworks and understandings of best practice. It will also examine other assessment tools such as social impact assessment, strategic environmental assessments, cost-benefit analysis, and product life cycle assessment.


Students successfully completing this unit should:

  1. Understand the different types of environmental assessments and the decision-making contexts in which they are applied.
  2. Understand the roles of scientific information, socio-political, economic, legal and participatory processes in different types of environmental assessments.
  3. Understand the range of tools and methods, and their strengths and weaknesses, in conducting environmental assessments.
  4. Be familiar with Commonwealth and state procedures for environmental impact assessment for projects and plans in Australia.
  5. Understand the different stages of environmental impact assessment and identify best principles and practices for preparing environmental impact statements.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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

Environmental science

Geographical science

Human geography


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units, Or

six credit points of second-year Arts units and ENV2022


ENV3011, ATS2546, AZA2546, AZA3546