Environmental compliance news for business

Environment law and policy tracker

Highlights include new federal regulations and a new Queensland grants scheme. Jobs include positions with Evolution Mining, Saracen Mineral Holdings, engineering services companies Cardno and AECOM, and environmental markets broker TFS Green.

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Upcoming events:

  • Am I eligible for exemption certificates under the RET?
    A December 14 afternoon webinar, hosted by the Clean Energy Regulator.

  • Solving Australia's extinction and pollution crisis
    A December 16 conference in Adelaide, featuring Obama Administration environmental justice senior advisor Lisa Garcia and Labor Environment Action Network co-convenor Felicity Wade.
  • Explaining the 2019 UN climate change conference
    A December 19 evening seminar in Canberra, hosted by the ANU Climate Change Institute.
  • Frontiers in environmental law colloquium
    A February 4 conference in Brisbane, hosted by QUT Faculty of Law.
  • Responsible business strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals
    A February 5 workshop in Sydney, hosted by Asha Kayla.
  • The draft National framework for remediation and management of contaminated sites in Australia
    A series of free seminars hosted by CRCCARE - Brisbane (Feb 12), Sydney (Feb 13), Darwin (Feb 15), Adelaide (Feb 19), Perth (Feb 21), Canberra (Feb 25), Melb (Feb 26) and Hobart (Feb 28).
  • Preparing for power station closure
    A February 13 seminar in Lake Macquarie, hosted by the Hunter Environment Centre.
  • Local government strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals
    A February 19 workshop in Sydney, hosted by Asha Kayla.
  • Risk to remediation
    A March 4 to 8 training program on site contamination and remediation in Newcastle, hosted by CRC CARE.
  • Sports environment alliance summit 2019
    A March 5 event in Melbourne.
  • National acid-sulfate soils guidance – identification and assessment
    A March 28 and 29 short course at the Gold Coast campus of Southern Cross University.


  • The federal government has extended the date on which the EPBC Regulations and an associated Order automatically expire from 2019 to 2024, on the grounds that it will align with next year's review of the EPBC Act.

  • The eighth Emissions Reduction Fund auction closed on Tuesday, and results will be announced by Monday (see background here).
  • Standards Australia has issued the report of a stakeholder forum that examined what standards are needed for the hydrogen economy.
  • The federal government has invited registrations of interest to participate in its energy project underwriting scheme (see background here).
  • A meeting of federal, state and territory environment ministers has signalled plans to tighten air quality standards and issue new PFAS guidance (see background here).
  • The federal government has granted Orica approval to export more than 2,000 tonnes of hazardous waste for destruction (see background here).
  • The federal government has gazetted Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Amendment (Methyl Bromide, Fire Protection and Other Measures) Regulations 2018 that adjust penalty regimes, make technical changes and allow for ban exemption permits.
  • The Office of the Auditor-General will on Monday release its report on the administration of the RET scheme.
  • The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has made a $100 million equity investment in the Australian Renewables Income Fund (see background here).
  • The federal government has released a new strategy promoting Australia as a destination for lithium-ion battery manufacturing (see background here).
  • The federal government has gazetted the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Regulations 2018, which make minor changes to the previous version.
  • The federal government has gazetted the Water Amendment (Water Resource Plan Accreditation) Regulations 2018.
  • It has also gazetted the Water Amendment (Murray-Darling Basin Agreement—Basin Salinity Management) Regulations 2018.
  • The federal government has gazetted the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment (Solar Water Heater Eligibility) Regulations 2018.
  • The House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources has launched launched a new inquiry into the impact on farmers of vegetation and land management policies, regulations and restrictions. Submissions close on January 25.
  • The federal government has received an application under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act from the Whadjuk traditional custodians stating that the proposed new runway at Perth airport would injure or desecrate a significant Aboriginal area.
  • The federal government has released a new national waste policy that doesn't contain any targets (see background here and and here).
  • The Department of Environment and Energy is seeking information for inclusion in Australia's sixth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which will update the 2014 version.
  • The federal government has made public the submissions made to its review of the National Pollutant Inventory (see background here).
  • The Australian Energy Regulator has released its inaugural wholesale electricity market performance report (see background here).
  • The federal government has deferred the automatic expiry of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations by one year to April 2020.
  • Comment closes tomorrow on draft regulatory changes that introduce a new audit requirement for emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries seeking amendments to their RET exemptions.
  • Submissions are due by December 21 on the draft report of the review of the GEMS energy standards and labelling scheme (see background here).
  • Applications close December 19 for Australian Heritage Grants of between $25,000 and $400,000.
  • Comment closes January 16 on a proposal to make past owners of offshore oil and gas infrastructure cover decommissioning costs if the current owner can't or won't pay for end-of-life dismantling (see background here).


  • The Department of Environment and Science yesterday invited tenders to assess whether the state's water resource and quality models properly account for climate change (see background here).

  • The state government has issued new guidance on vegetation management and the Emissions Reduction Fund.
  • Gold Coast City Council has lodged an EPBC referral for a long-term recycled water release program.
  • Grant opportunity: Applications close February 12 for innovation grants of up to $1 million to support natural resource improvements, including reduced nutrient and sediment loads into the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Comment closes February 1 on discussion paper proposals that would require resource companies to make extra payments before surrendering environmental licences for mines that are closing (see background here).
  • Submissions are due by January 7 on a bill that would allow the state government to order businesses to notify the public of health risks arising from their pollution (see background here).


  • The state government has provided development consent for AGL's proposed $200 million upgrade of the coal-fired 2,640MW Bayswater power station.

  • The EPA has signalled it will work with Infrastructure NSW to complete a 20-year waste strategy by the end of 2019.
  • The EPA is inviting applications by January 28 to become accredited contaminated site auditors.
  • The Office of Environment and Heritage has released a summary of public responses to its draft code of practice for flying-fox camp management.
  • Comments are due by January 31 to the review of private native forestry.


  • Comment closes March 1 on draft planning guidelines for solar farms, which include a suggested best practice approach for developing a solar energy facility (see background here).

South Australia:

Western Australia:

  • A landfill company that had to contend with its works approval application being placed on hold and a sudden adverse rezoning has been granted permission to proceed by a state tribunal (see background here).

  • Comment closes January 18 on a review of the state's criteria for classifying fill as uncontaminated (see background here).

Northern Territory:

  • The EPA has released draft guidance on stakeholder engagement (see background here).

  • The Territory government has named the schools that will receive grants to install solar systems under its $5 million Rooftop Solar in Schools program.
  • Comments are due by March 31 on a directions paper on reforms to the Water Act.

Jobs and appointments:

Court cases, fines, Federal, ACT, NSW, NT, Queensland, SA, Victoria, WA, Tracker

Compliance news by jurisdiction

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