In recent years, the impact assessment literature has established the need to develop appropriate methods for use within the political paradigm of SIA. However, practitioners must remain mindful of the need to retain an essential core of technical SIA research, and find ways of integrating this with the participatory and political components of the process. Research methods to integrate SIA with planning are equally necessary. A controversial mining proposal in Australia's Northern Territory, contested by mining, conservation and Aboriginal interests, provided the opportunity to test a new SIA method to combine the use of participatory/political and technical procedures and to integrate these two theoretical paradigms with a planning approach based on the potential for bargaining and negotiation. The method is detailed and assessed to provide a practical framework within which SIA practitioners can successfully achieve these ends.

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