Environmental compliance news for business

Environment law and policy tracker

Law and Policy Tracker is our weekly summary of key developments in environmental and carbon regulation. Feel free to forward it to other carbon and sustainability professionals.

If you are not a subscriber to our premium service, which provides daily news and analysis, you can sign up for Tracker only here.

Upcoming events:

  • The cascading impact of disasters in a warming world
    A November 19 one-hour seminar at ANU in Canberra by Dr Robert Glasser.

  • National energy efficiency conference
    A November 19-20 conference in Sydney, hosted by the Energy Efficiency Council.
  • Low-carbon living: From research to reality
    A November 19-20 conference in Adelaide, hosted by the CRC for Low-Carbon Living.
  • Contaminated land seminar
    A November 22 seminar in Sydney, covering topics including PFAS and asbestos, hosted by the Australian Sustainable Business Group.
  • Establishing remediation objectives, performing cost-benefit and sustainability analysis for remedial options
    A November 23 (Sydney) and November 27 (Melbourne) seminar hosted by CRC CARE.
  • Victorian energy upgrades forum
    A November 27 seminar in Melbourne, hosted by the Essential Services Commission.
  • Sustainability and climate risk reporting: Finance sector developments
    A November 26 evening address in Melbourne by Dr Paul Fisher, former executive director of the Bank of England.
  • A guide to installing commercial and industrial solar
    A November 27 one-hour webinar hosted by Todae Solar and Envizi.
  • Climate Alliance national conference
    A November 27 (Melbourne) and November 29 (Sydney) conference, featuring Theo Comino, AGL's manager of greenhouse and sustainability, and Judith Cox, chief executive of the Australian Shareholders Association.
  • Banksia sustainability awards
    A November 29 presentation night in Melbourne for Australia's major sustainability awards.
  • ANU energy update
    A November 29 seminar in Canberra, hosted by the Energy Change Institute, featuring shadow climate minister Mark Butler and the IEA's Ian Cronshaw.
  • Solar Oration: Can we make a 100% renewable electricity system
    A November 29 evening seminar by the inaugural chief executive of ARENA Ivor Frischknecht.
  • Pollution incident and emergency planning workshop
    A December 4 workshop in Sydney, hosted by the Australian Sustainable Business Group.


  • Registration to participate in the eighth ERF auction, to be held on December 10 and 11, is now open and will close at midnight on November 30.

  • Appliance advertisements should show efficiency ratings, and in the longer-term whole buildings and their appliances could be rated or made subject to standards, suggests a new government report on the GEMS scheme (see background here).
  • The Clean Energy Regulator has made changes to its client portal for ERF projects, adding new questions for regeneration projects and providing calculators to estimate how many credits projects will earn.
  • Snowy Hydro has lodged its EPBC referral for the main Snowy 2.0 works.
  • The Clean Energy Regulator has cancelled six ERF contracts worth $24 million that were supposed to deliver a total of two million carbon credits (see background here).
  • A major carbon offsets company has lost a Federal Court battle with the Clean Energy Regulator, in a case that tested which projects need Native Title-holder consent before credits can be issued (see background here).
  • Energy Minister Angus Taylor has gazetted changes to the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Determination for electric motors.
  • The GEMS Regulator has gazetted changes to fees under the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) scheme.
  • The ACCC has issued a draft determination indicating it will approve a five-year extension for two agvet chemical collection schemes operated by Agstewardship Australia Ltd (see background here).
  • The federal environment department has invited expressions of interest to commercialise Curiosity, a feral cat bait.
  • 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 Australian Energy Market Commission, the rule-maker for gas and electricity markets, has invited comment by December 21 on a South Australian government request to introduce a mechanism for wholesale demand response in the National Electricity Market.
  • Oil and gas industry association APPEA has invited nominations for its safety and environmental excellence awards by March 19.


  • A new bill would allow the state government to order businesses to notify the public of health risks arising from their pollution (see background here).

  • The environment department has failed to systematically identify and protect threatened species, according to a report released today by the state's Auditor-General (see background here).
  • Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has launched debate on a bill to ensure the mining industry pays for rehabilitation works by presenting 39 pages of amendments to it (see background here).
  • The state government has invited applications by November 23 for a share in $5 million in grants to be made available to carbon farming projects in a pilot phase of the $500 million Land Restoration Fund (see background here).
  • The state government has invited tenders to carry out gully erosion control works on Springvale Station, which it purchased in 2016 to protect natural and cultural values.
  • Comment closes November 24 on the proposed 106MW Lakeland wind farm.
  • A parliamentary committee has issued its report on the Fisheries (Sustainable Fisheries Strategy) Amendment Bill, recommending that it be passed with an amendment.


  • The head of the EPA has resigned, following confusion and concern caused by a decision to ban some organic wastes from reuse on farms and mine sites (see background here).

  • Fines will double for asbestos dumping or attempting to recycle asbestos-contaminated waste under a NSW bill (see background here).
  • Assent has been received for the Water NSW Amendment (Warragamba Dam) Bill, which allows temporary inundation of national park land resulting from the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall for downstream flood mitigation purposes.
  • The state government has revealed plans to upgrade existing interconnectors with Queensland and Victoria by 2022, as part of a new transmission infrastructure strategy (see background here).
  • The state government has released an online presentation by Planning & Environment's Amy Kean on its $55 million Emerging Energy Program, which next year will invite applications for grants for new large-scale energy and storage projects.
  • The state government has issued an exemption order under Clause 28 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2014 for tanks connected to back-up generators, or used to store heating or waste oil.
  • The Office of Environment and Heritage has issued a guide to using the Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold Tool that determine whether a project will exceed the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme threshold.
  • Comment closes November 20 on a draft EPA strategy on asbestos waste (see background here).
  • Comments are due by November 25 on a draft policy statement and discussion paper on the circular economy (see background here).
  • The state government has gazetted a coastal zone management plan for Smiths Lake estuary.



  • The Parliamentary research service has issued an explainer on the circular economy.

  • Pacific Hydro's proposed 240MW Prairie solar farm in northern Victoria is not a controlled action under the EPBC Act, the federal government has decided.
  • The EPA has issued a revised guideline on managing and storing combustible recyclables and waste (see background here).
  • 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).


  • The 25MW Port Latta wind farm is not a controlled action under the EPBC Act, the federal government has decided.

South Australia:

  • Comment closes December 3 on a discussion paper for new state planning and design code that will replace 72 development plans.

  • Comment closes December 31 on guidelines for managing roadside clearing that will ease restrictions on clearing.
  • The EPA has invited comment on an application by Flinders Ports Pty Ltd for a licence to carry out dredging in the Outer Harbour, which it says will be done in a manner that minimises seagrass loss.
  • Comment closes November 30 on RES Australia's application for development consent for its Pallamana 176MW solar farm and 66MW/140MWh battery storage facility near Murray Bridge.
  • Comment closes November 30 on LMS Energy's application for development consent for a 2.3MW solar farm to be sited on a capped landfill near McLaren Vale.
  • The EPA has issued its latest annual report.
  • The Essential Services Commission has completed its review of its Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme code, opting to to leave it unchanged.
  • The Essential Services Commission has received an application from Yongala Solar Farm Pty Ltd for a generation licence to operate a 2.66MW solar PV plant at Yongala.

Western Australia:

  • In a move with ramifications for developers and landfill owners, the environment department has launched a review of its criteria for classifying fill as uncontaminated (see background here).

  • The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has issued the FY18 yearly report for its Mining Rehabilitation Fund.
  • Rio Tinto has made a referral to the EPA to expand its Hamersley Iron Pty Limited (the proponent) propose to expand the Greater Paraburdoo Iron Ore Hub in the Pilbara.
  • The Appeals Convenor has dismissed an appeal against the work approval conditions for a proposed mercury treatment plant in Kwinana.
  • Tenders must be submitted by December 5 to operate as the scheme coordinator for the state's container deposit scheme, which is expected to start in early 2020.

Northern Territory:

  • The Supreme Court will December 6 and 7 hear a case brought by the Environment Centre NT alleging a 20,432 hectare clearing permit issued to Maryfield station was invalid because it failed to consider principles of ecologically sustainable development and climate change impacts.

  • The Territory government will only allow limited court challenges to environmental approval decisions, back-flipping on proposals in its draft environment protection bill (see background here).
  • The Territory government has belatedly released an independent review of its container deposit scheme.
  • Comments are due by March 31 on a directions paper on reforms to the Water Act.
  • Comment closes November 30 on the Northern Territory government's climate change discussion paper (see background here).
  • A new $8.3 million 5MW Alice Springs Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) will be fully integrated into the Alice Springs power system by the end of November.
  • The EPA has recommended conditional approval for Defence Housing Australia's Lee Point development.

Jobs and appointments:

Federal, ACT, NSW, NT, Queensland, SA, Tasmania, Victoria, WA, Renewables, low emissions

Compliance news by jurisdiction

AustMap Tasmania Victoria South Australia New South Wales Australian Capital Territory Queensland the Northern Territitory Western Australia Federal