How is an investigation conducted?

Once an appeal has been received, the Appeals Convenor, decides the most appropriate method of investigation in accordance with the requirements of the Act having regard to the nature and complexity of the issue under appeal.

This will ordinarily include meeting with the parties to the appeal including the appellant(s), proponent and the Department. These discussions are informal in nature, and are intended to provide an opportunity to clarify the issues in contention. Due to the informal nature of the process, appellants do not require legal representation. Occasionally the Appeals Convenor may convene a combined meeting between the parties where the Appeals Convenor is of the opinion that this will assist in resolving the issues in dispute. 

The Appeals Convenor, acting on behalf of the Minister, is required to seek the advice from the original decision maker, for example the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation or the Environmental Protection Authority.

The Appeals Convenor is required to act according to equity, good conscience and the substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms. The Appeals Convenor is specifically not bound by any rules of evidence and may conduct inquiries in whatever manner is considered appropriate.

Appeals under the Act are ‘merits’ appeals. This means that the Minister can consider all relevant facts before making a decision. While process issues can be raised in an appeal, the focus of investigations will be on the substantive environmental matters raised in respect to the proposal or scheme.

What are some of the considerations in the appeals?
What happens when an investigation is complete
How long does the appeal process take?
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