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Environment law and policy tracker

This issue's highlights: Bills advance in Queensland, NSW and Tasmania; Grants on offer in SA; New RET and ERF market data. Job vacancies with federal, Victorian, ACT and Queensland agencies.

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Upcoming events:

  • 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.

  • Ecological society annual conference
    A November 25 to 29 conference in Brisbane.
  • 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.
  • How to read and use an Environmental Product Declaration
    A November 29 webinar hosted by the Australasian EPD Program.
  • Building sustainable cities with effective transport
    A November 30 afternoon seminar in Canberra, hosted by the ANU climate change and energy change institutes.
  • Climate change in the Pacific: Hopes for the forthcoming climate negotiations
    A December 3 address in Canberra, delivered by Tuvalu Prime Minister, Rt Hon Enele Sosene Sopoaga.
  • Pollution incident and emergency planning workshop
    A December 4 workshop in Sydney, hosted by the Australian Sustainable Business Group.

National:

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

  • Labor leader Bill Shorten today announced the party's energy policies, including an extra $10 billion for the CEFC and new energy grants for manufacturers (see background here).
  • The Clean Energy Regulator has released updated data on the large-scale Renewable Energy Target scheme.
  • Changes to income tax rules gazetted last Friday will make it easier for carbon sink forestry projects to claim tree establishment costs as a deduction (see background here).
  • The ACCC has issued a discussion paper on the monitoring of the electricity supply in the NEM.
  • Submissions are due by December 21 on the draft report of the review of the GEMS energy standards and labelling scheme (see background here).
  • A Senate committee inquiry into faunal extinction held a hearing in Melbourne today, with appearances by organisations including the Wilderness Society and Environmental Justice Australia.
  • The amount and value of carbon abatement delivered through Emissions Reduction Fund contracts fell significantly in FY18, according to new data (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 Australian Energy Market Commission 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.

Queensland:

  • Applications are due by tomorrow 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).

  • Queensland's new waste levy will now start on July 1 next year, not on March 4 as originally scheduled, the state government has announced (see background here).
  • Parliament has passed a bill establishing a new financial assurance scheme for resource projects, and the state government has signalled it will establish a new post of Rehabilitation Commissioner (see background here).
  • Resource companies would have to make extra payments before surrendering environmental licences for mines that are closing, under new state government proposals (see background here).
  • Submissions are due by January 7 on a new 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 2018 Premier's award for excellence in the public service has gone to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy for a trial of solar PV in public housing.
  • 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.

NSW:

  • A bill to strengthen controls on asbestos waste is now before the NSW Legislative Assembly, after the Legislative Council passed it with one amendment (see background here).

  • All loads brought to construction and demolition recycling facilities must now be inspected twice, to satisfy new NSW EPA standards (see background here).
  • The Office of Environment and Heritage has issued new guidelines on enforceable undertakings.
  • The EPA has released an updated list of the state's contaminated sites.
  • The Biodiversity Conservation Trust is running two tenders to purchase biodiversity credits needed to meet developer offset obligations in the Western Sydney and Sydney-Hunter and South East area.
  • Comments are due by November 25 on a draft policy statement and discussion paper on the circular economy (see background here).

ACT:

Victoria:

  • Viva Energy has been ordered to pay over $31,000 in fines and costs in Geelong Magistrate's Court, after it admitted to releasing excessive amounts of potentially hazardous fluoride to the atmosphere from its Corio refinery.

  • 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).

Tasmania:

South Australia:

  • The state government has invited applications from companies for grants to install energy storage technology as part of its $50 million Grid-Scale Storage Fund (see background here).

  • The state government should develop a biodiversity action plan and ensure agencies consider climate risks in planning and investment decisions, according to the EPA's latest state-of-the-environment report (see background here).
  • Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway has welcomed a decision by Canadian energy storage company Eguana Technologies to manufacture its Evolve home energy storage systems in Adelaide, saying it would create up to 200 jobs over the next three years.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Western Australia:

  • Winners of this year's annual Waste Authority awards include the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council and City of Melville for their three-bin Food Organics and Garden Organics trial.

  • The EPA has recommended approval for BHP Group's proposed expanded nickel mining operations north of Leinster, which would produce an extra 9.6 million tonnes of nickel ore annually.
  • The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has released updated information on soil carbon and carbon sequestration.
  • Comment closes January 18 on a review of the state's criteria for classifying fill as uncontaminated (see background here).
  • 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 Territory government has released a new information sheet on PFAS in fish and bush foods.

  • 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.
  • Comment closes December 3 on the Territory's draft environment protection bill (see background here).
  • Comments are due by 31 March next year 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).

Jobs and appointments:

Federal, ACT, NSW, NT, Queensland, SA, Tasmania, Victoria, WA, Tracker

Compliance news by jurisdiction

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