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Christmas Island Strategic Assessment

The Australian Government is delivering a number of initiatives to support economic activity and build a sustainable economy on Christmas Island, including supporting tourism and releasing Crown land for development.

To protect Christmas Island's unique environment and support economic development, the Australian Government is also completing a whole-of-island Strategic Assessment under national environment law.

The Terms of Reference for the Strategic Assessment Report were agreed on 4 April 2019. Strategic assessments are landscape-scale assessments and, unlike project-by-project assessments which look at individual proposals, they can consider a much broader set of actions. General information on the Christmas Island Strategic Assessment and the strategic assessment process can be found on the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment's website.

What will the Strategic Assessment do?

Christmas Island is a natural wonder and home to rare plants and animals, some of which are not found anywhere else in the world. The significance and ecological value of Christmas Island has been recognised internationally and is provided a high level of protection under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The Christmas Island Strategic Assessment will consider future land uses and development opportunities in an open and transparent manner, and provide greater certainty to stakeholders. At the same time, it will protect Christmas Island's environment, including its unique rainforest, birds and crabs.

The Strategic Assessment will not approve developments in the Christmas Island National Park, which will continue to require individual approvals under national environment law and meet the requirements of the Christmas Island National Park Management Plan. In addition, the Strategic Assessment will not affect existing approvals made under the EPBC Act.

What will the Strategic Assessment produce?

The Strategic Assessment will produce two documents:

  • A Plan for future land uses and development opportunities on Christmas Island. The Plan will also set out strategies to manage the potential impacts of development activity on the natural environment.
  • An environmental assessment Report on the impacts on nationally protected matters from proposed development activities, and the effectiveness of proposed conservation measures.

Potential development activities include residential, industrial and commercial development, eco-tourism, mining and agriculture.

What will the Strategic Assessment achieve?

The Strategic Assessment is an important initiative. While protecting the local environment, it will provide certainty to developers, help to promote economic activity and diversity, and ensure clarity about environmental approval arrangements for up to the next 50 years.

Once the Strategic Assessment is approved, it will remove the need for individual assessments under the EPBC Act where proposed projects align with the Plan.

How can I have my say?

The Australian Government, through the department, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, will work closely with all stakeholders during the Strategic Assessment, including the local community, potential investors and businesses. The draft Terms of Reference were open for public comment from 15 February 2019 to 29 March 2019.

The department will publish a summary of public views. Names of those who made submissions will not be included in this summary. The department will not publish submissions except where respondents indicated in their form that the submission could be published. Information on how the department collects and uses personal information is also below.

The department will provide updates to the community on the progress of the Strategic Assessment. Enquiries about the Strategic Assessment can be sent to: indianoceanterritories@infrastructure.gov.au

Community Reference Group

The Christmas Island Strategic Assessment Reference Group is a consultative forum comprising Christmas Island community members, which was created in August 2019 to help inform the development of the Christmas Island Strategic Assessment Plan.

The CRG was appointed to provide input to ensure the Strategic Assessment plan is consistent with community aspirations. It is chaired by the Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Mrs Natasha Griggs. CRG members Vanessa Bennett, Patrick Chan, James Keogh, David Lee, Gregory McIntosh, Lisa Preston, Gordon Thomson, Philip Tubb and Joy Wickenden.

  • July 2020: CI Strategic Assessment Community Reference Group Communique #1 PDF: 136 KB ReadSpeaker

Australian Privacy Principle 5 Notice

Your submission, including any personal information supplied, is being collected by the department for the purpose of public consultation on the draft Terms of Reference for the Christmas Island Strategic Assessment. This is being done in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act) and as authorised under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The department will use this information to review the draft Terms of Reference and, where appropriate, incorporate feedback into the draft Terms of Reference.

Your personal information will be stored securely by the department. It may be used by the department to make further contact with you about the consultation process. Your personal information will not be disclosed to any other third parties, except in the circumstances outlined below.

All submissions, in part or in full, including confidential submissions and the name of the author, will be provided to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment, the Commonwealth Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, and to the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment. Submissions may be published on the department's website, as well as on the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment's website, and/or in the Government's response only if specifically requested by the author of the submission. Confidential submissions (including author name) will not be published. Private addresses and contact details will not be published or disclosed to any third parties unless required by law.

Submissions will only be treated as confidential if they are expressly stated to be confidential. Automatically generated confidentiality statements or disclaimers appended to an email do not suffice for this purpose. If you wish you make a confidential submission, you should indicate this by ensuring your submission is marked confidential.

Confidential submissions will be stored securely and may be disclosed in the following circumstances:

  • in response to a request by a Commonwealth Minister;
  • where required by a House or a Committee of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia;
  • where it is necessary in the public interest to other Commonwealth entities; or
  • where required by law (including, but not limited to, Freedom of Information processes).

Submissions containing sensitive information, personal information or information which may reasonably be used to identify a  group of people may not be published, even if not marked as confidential.

The department's privacy policy contains information regarding complaint handling processes and how to access and/or seek correction of personal information held by the department. The Privacy Officer can be contacted on (02) 6274 6495.


Factsheet and FAQs

DOCX: 2395 KB PDF: 1037 KB ReadSpeaker
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Section 146 Agreement
PDF: 1265 KB ReadSpeaker

Terms of Reference

DOCX: 37 KB PDF: 43 KB ReadSpeaker
DOCX: 33 KB PDF: 175 KB ReadSpeaker
DOCX: 35 KB PDF: 45 KB ReadSpeaker

Map of the Strategic Assessment area
PDF: 235 KB ReadSpeaker

Report on Public Consultations
PDF: 6564 KB ReadSpeaker

Christmas Island Heritage Management Plans

Christmas Island Heritage Management Plans PDF: 674 KB ReadSpeaker

Malay Kampong Heritage Management Plan PDF: 443 KB ReadSpeaker

Poon Saan Group Heritage Management Plan PDF: 159 KB ReadSpeaker

Settlement Heritage Management Plan PDF: 240 KB ReadSpeaker

Administrator’s House Precinct Heritage Management Plan PDF: 222 KB ReadSpeaker

Christmas Island Natural Areas Heritage Management Plan PDF: 139 KB ReadSpeaker

Industrial and Administrative Group Heritage Management Plan PDF: 231 KB ReadSpeaker

Industrial Heritage Sites Heritage Management Plan PDF: 287 KB ReadSpeaker