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Terms of reference

If a project is declared a coordinated project requiring an environmental impact statement (EIS), the project proponent must prepare an EIS that provides:

  • a detailed description of the proposed project
  • all relevant environmental, social and economic impacts of the project and
  • an assessment of the management, monitoring, and other measures proposed to avoid, minimise and/or mitigate any adverse impacts of the project.

To enable a proponent to do this, the Coordinator-General prepares terms of reference (TOR) that set out the matters the project proponent must address when preparing the EIS.

For examples of finalised TORs for coordinated projects, refer to projects on the current projects page.


Prior to the Coordinator-General finalising the TOR for a project, state government advisory agencies are invited to comment on whether the draft TOR adequately covers all matters the project proponent must address when preparing the EIS.

In some instances, the Coordinator-General may also seek comments from the public.

Public notices

Public notices inviting comments on the draft TOR are published in local, regional and state newspapers - national papers, too, if the project is a 'controlled action'.

Consultation period

Although the length of the  consultation period is not legislatively prescribed, it typically runs for at least 20 business days, following the publication of the public notices.


The Coordinator-General is authorised to collect personal information under section 29 and Schedule 2 of the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (SDPWO Act).

The department will provide the project proponent with a copy of your comments, excluding your personal details. Your personal information may be disclosed to government agencies that are involved in the proposed project; and is also subject to disclosure under the Right to Information Act 2009.

Your personal information will be collected for the purpose of:

  • considering your comments
  • finalising the TOR
  • completing the EIS process
  • the performance of functions under the SDPWO Act and other legislation relevant to the proposed project.

Your personal information will not otherwise be disclosed, unless disclosure is authorised or required by law, or is permitted under the Information Privacy Act 2009.

Meetings with advisory agencies

During the consultation period, the Coordinator-General may arrange meetings between the project proponent and advisory agencies to:

  • explain the EIS process, including the agencies' roles
  • enable the proponent to outline the key elements of the project, its potential impacts and possible  mitigation strategies
  • solicit feedback from agencies on matters of interest or concern that should be addressed in the EIS.

Finalising the TOR

The Coordinator-General is required to finalise the TOR as soon as practicable after the consultation closes or, if the draft TOR were not publicly notified, as soon as practicable after advising the project proponent that an EIS is required.


There are fees associated with the finalisation of the TOR.

Revising the TOR

Terms of reference may be revised if:

  • there are significant changes to the project concept or design
  • significant new issues emerge during the preparation of the EIS.

Depending on the nature and extent of these changes, another round of comment by the advisory agencies may be required on the amendments required to the TOR.

Guideline for preparing EIS

In addition to the TOR, the project proponent is required to comply with a guideline for preparing an environmental impact statement, February 2024 ( 419.5 KB).

Last updated: 13 Feb 2024