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Environment law and policy tracker

This issue's highlights: Bills pass in two jurisdictions, plus federal regulatory developments on clean energy and illegal logging. Job vacancies with Western Australia's environment department, South32 and Bechtel.

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Upcoming events:

** Feature event: CRCCARE will hold a five-day 'risk to remediation' training program on site contamination and remediation in Newcastle from March 4 to 8.

Trainers include CRC CARE chief executive Ravi Naidu, Ramboll principal hydrogeologist Scott Warner and UK soil expert Dr Paul Nathanail.

  • 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.
  • NSW smart energy summit
    A December 4 conference in Sydney, featuring former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Pollution incident and emergency planning workshop
    A December 4 workshop in Sydney, hosted by the Australian Sustainable Business Group.
  • How tropical cyclones influence, and are influenced by, climate
    A December 5 seminar in Melbourne, delivered by Greg Holland of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research.
  • Evidence-based climate action planning
    A December 10 webinar hosted by Ironbark Sustainability.

National:

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

  • The Senate committee inquiry into mine rehabilitation will now report in early 2019, instead of its scheduled reporting date of yesterday.
  • The Department of Environment and Energy has released draft regulatory changes that introduce a new audit requirement for emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries seeking amendments to their RET exemptions. Comment closes on December 14.
  • Standards Australia has released AS/NZS 5141:2018, which specifies minimum requirements for design, selection, installation, commissioning and maintenance of residential heating and cooling systems.
  • Resources Minister Matt Canavan has gazetted amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment Regulations, dealing with levies.
  • The federal government has gazetted amendments to Illegal Logging Regulations that amend guidance for importers bringing in timber from Malaysia and Indonesia, and provide new guidance for imports from Korea.
  • NOPSEMA, regulator of the offshore oil and gas industry, has released an environmental alert on detecting leaks and oil pollution at facilities that aren't normally staffed.
  • The Clean Energy Regulator has released new data on the number of ERF projects in Australia and the volume of credits they have created.
  • The Regulator has also released new data on installations of small scale renewable energy systems.
  • Regulations registered yesterday update the list of agencies to which the Clean Energy Regulator can disclose information (see background here).
  • The federal government has conceded it should re-assess a controversial proposal to clear land on Cape York's Kingvale station and has agreed to a Federal Court order to do so (see background here).
  • 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 has had its reporting deadline extended until May 29 next year.
  • 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).
  • Oil and gas industry association APPEA has invited nominations for its safety and environmental excellence awards by March 19.

Queensland:

  • The state government has issued a regulation that overhauls licensing arrangements for waste facilities (see background here).

  • The Queensland Audit Office has released financial audit results of state government energy entities.
  • 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 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).

NSW:

  • The EPA is inviting applications by January 28 to become accredited contaminated site auditors.

  • The stage government has released terms of reference for a review of private native forestry, with comments due by January 31.
  • Planning & Environment has placed on exhibition an application by BRO Pty Ltd to more than double the processing capacity of its Chester Hills materials recycling facility, from 100,000 tonnes annually to 250,000 tonnes.
  • Planning & Environment has also placed on exhibition a plan by Regain Services to triple the capacity of its spent potlinings processing facility at the Tomago smelter so it can handle 60,000 tonnes of a year (see background here).
  • The Biodiversity Conservation Trust has released its first annual report.
  • The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils is inviting tenders to scope, manage and deliver a regional energy efficiency and sustainability program on behalf of member councils.
  • The Southern Sydney Region of Councils (SSROC) is seeking ACCC authorisation to invite bids on behalf of its seven member councils for processing and disposal of kerbside-collected hard waste.
  • The ACCC has approved an application by Campbelltown, Camden, Liverpool, Wingercarribee and Wollondilly councils to jointly invite tenders for processing, marketing and disposal of kerbside collected materials.
  • Parliament has passed a bill to strengthen controls on asbestos waste (see background here).

ACT:

  • The ACT has issued new guidelines on separation distances, which aim to minimise the risks of odour, dust and other industrial air emissions affecting nearby homes and other sensitive land uses (see background here).

  • RMIT and UNSW are seeking ACT volunteers for an urban heat island study.

Victoria:

  • 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:

  • Applications close February 7 for grants to install energy storage technology, delivered through the state government's $50 million Grid-Scale Storage Fund (see background here).

  • Council Solutions, on behalf of the Cities of Adelaide, Charles Sturt, Marion and Port Adelaide Enfield, has secured ACCC authorisations to invite tenders for waste processing services, and ancillary services.
  • 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.

Western Australia:

  • The state government will lift its moratorium on unconventional oil and gas projects and direct a portion of the royalties to a new Clean Energy Future Fund (see background here).

  • On the advice of the Appeals Convenor, the Environment Minister has rejected appeals against BHP's expansion plans for its Pilbara operations. The objections were focused on Port Hedland dust concerns.
  • Transcript of evidence given by AEMO, the Australian Energy Regulator and Energy Networks Australia to a November 21 hearing of a parliamentary inquiry into microgrids is now available.
  • Comment closes January 18 on a review of the state's criteria for classifying fill as uncontaminated (see background here).

Northern Territory:

  • The EPA will have new powers to review any aspect of the Territory's "system of environmental management", under legislation passed on Tuesday by the Legislative Assembly (see background here).

  • 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 March 31 on a directions paper on reforms to the Water Act.
  • Comment closes tomorrow on the Northern Territory government's climate change discussion paper (see background here).

Jobs and appointments:

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

Compliance news by jurisdiction

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