Environmental compliance news for business
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Environment law and policy tracker

Highlights include new bills, grant offers, and consultations on regulations and policies. Jobs include a senior climate post in Queensland, and vacancies with South Pole, CPB Group, and state agencies.

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Upcoming events:

  • Safeguard mechanism
    A series of two-hour briefings in major cities (June 19 to 27), hosted by the Clean Energy Regulator.

  • Human health risk assessment
    A June 24 and 25 workshop in Melbourne, and a June 27 and 28 workshop in Perth, hosted by CRC CARE.
  • Healthy waterways: Environmental contamination and management of aquatic resources
    A June 24 symposium in Sydney, with speakers including Joe Pera and Dr Lisa Golding.
  • The state-of-energy-research conference
    A July 3 and 4 conference in Canberra, hosted by the Energy Research Institutes Council for Australia.
  • Carbon farming conference and expo
    An August 5 to 8 event in Albury, hosted by Carbon Farmers of Australia.

National:

  • The next Emissions Reduction Fund auction will be held on July 24 and 25.

  • CSIRO has created a new company, Clean Mining Ltd, to market a new cyanide-free gold recovery technology, with negotiations already under way for two Australian processing plants.
  • The national E3 energy rating program has advised that work is proceeding on a Regulatory Impact Statement examining the merits of requiring that appliances such as air-conditioners and swimming pool pumps be "demand response capable", so they can automatically be cycled-off in extreme peak periods.
  • The Department of Environment and Energy has released the final report from the Reef 2050 Traditional Owner Aspirations Project.
  • EPBC documents prepared by a Queensland family farming business, dealing with the proposed clearing of foraging habitat for a threatened bat, are now available. The farming business proposes to clear 232 hectares of vegetation for high-value agriculture, and offset it by protecting 358 hectares elsewhere on the property, according to the EPBC preliminary documentation.
  • Engie Renewables Australia has submitted an EPBC referral for its 200MW Warhook solar farm, near Miles, in Queensland.
  • ElectraNet has made an EPBC referral for a new interconnector running between Robertson in South Australia and the NSW regional city of Wagga, that would also have an added connection to Red Cliffs in north-western Victoria.
  • BHP has made an EPBC referral for an additional tailings storage facility cell at its Olympic Dam mine and processing facility.
  • The ACCC has written to the Clean Energy Council regarding an industry proposal for a "new energy tech consumer code", seeking details on how the code would be administered.
  • Have your say!: Submissions close August 7 on the impact statement and draft variation to the Ambient Air Quality National Environment Protection Measure (see background here).
  • The Australian Energy Market Operator has released its statement of opportunities for the south-west grid in Western Australia.
  • The company responsible for one of Australia's worst oil spills has failed to convince the Federal Court that a seaweed farmer leading a class action should not be allowed to say his crops had been affected by oil (see background here).
  • Australia is less than 400MW away from having the large-scale clean energy capacity required to satisfy the 2020 Renewable Energy Target, according to new data from the Clean Energy Regulator (see background here).
  • The Clean Energy Regulator has proposed updates to postcode zones for small rooftop PV systems, which will affect how many small-scale technology certificates (STCs) they earn.
  • New resource: CSIRO has released a new Australian National Outlook that explores future development scenarios for Australia out to 2060.

Queensland:

  • The state government has awarded a matched-funding grant of $800,000 to Australian Tyre Processing Pty Ltd, which will allow the business to increase its processing capacity from 1,000 tonnes a year to more than 12,000 tonnes, and allow it to process large mining truck tyres.

    The grant was awarded through the state government's $100 million Resource Recovery Industry Development Program.

  • Douglas Shire Council this week voted to seek carbon neutral certification through a partnership with Qantas and GreenCollar (see background here).
  • Grant opportunity – last chance!: The state government is inviting applications by July 2 for a share in $1.5 million in grants for projects to protect threatened species, with individual grants of up to $100,000 available.

NSW:

  • The Office of Environment and Heritage has signed a three-year memorandum of understanding with the UK's Better Building Partnership to adapt the NABERS building ratings scheme to the UK office building market, with scope for long-term licensing.

  • The Office of Environment and Heritage has released the 2018 NSW annual air quality statement.
  • Part of the road base for the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade project will incorporate recycled glass sand, due in part to a $107,636 EPA grant.
  • The City of Sydney is trialling the use of "geopolymer concrete" (made from fly ash and blast furnace slag) in a 30-metre section of roadway in Alexandria. Geopolymer generates 300 kilograms of CO2 per tonne of cement produced, compared to 900 kilograms from traditional cement production.
  • Have your say!: The Office of Environment and Heritage is inviting comment by July 19 on a proposed update of the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009.
  • Grant opportunity: The Clean Coastal Catchments project is seeking expressions of interest from north coast macadamia growers interested in grants to improve land management practices and reduce run-off.
  • The EPA has issued a new guide to managing run-off from service station forecourts.
  • Have your say – last chance!: Submissions are due by July 5 on the proposed Dams Safety Regulation 2019.
  • Grant opportunity: Applications will open on July 1 for a share of $1.16 million in climate resilience grants available to the state’s local governments (see background here).
  • Grant opportunity – last chance!: The EPA is offering business recycling grants as a part of its six-year $5.46 million Circulate program, for projects recovering materials that would be otherwise sent to landfill. Applications close on June 28, with a total of $2.5 million available.
  • Award opportunity – last chance!: Nominations are due by July 1 for the annual Green Globe awards that will recognise sustainability leaders across 12 categories.
  • Grant opportunity – last chance!: The EPA is inviting applications by June 27 for a share in $2.6 million in grants for projects to improve organic waste collection. Grants of up to $1.3 million are available to councils for residential collection projects, with up to $500,000 on offer to companies and councils for projects targeting businesses.

ACT:

  • The ACT government has scheduled workshops for June 25 and July 11 as part of its consultation on single-use plastics. Comments on the paper are due by the end of July (see background here).

  • Grant opportunity – last chance!: Applications close June 26 for the third round of the state's Community Zero Emissions Grants, with a total of $163,000 available for community-led projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Have your say!: The government is inviting comments by July 3 on a draft environment code of practice for automotive industries.
  • Have your say!: The government is inviting comments by July 10 on the management of invasive animals, including proposed changes to the Pest Animals Declaration and Exempt Animals Declaration.

Victoria:

  • The state government has introduced into Parliament a bill to overhaul the state's biodiversity law, known as the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.

  • The state government has introduced into Parliament a bill to legislate a ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags and to make minor technical amendments to the Environment Protection Act.
  • The state parliamentary inquiry into waste has scheduled more hearings, with Cleanaway and the Municipal Association of Victoria among those scheduled to give evidence.
  • The state government has gazetted the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019, after making adjustments to a draft version.

    A bill to amend the parent Act is currently before Parliament, but the regulations had to be amended in the interim as they were due to expire on June 30.

  • The state government will amend the Dangerous Goods Act to introduce a maximum 10-year jail term and penalties of up to $6.4 million as part of efforts to stamp out rogue waste operators (see background here).
  • A legal dispute with crucial ramifications for Melbourne's capacity to dispose of waste has ended with a ruling in favour of Cleanaway's plans to expand Victoria's largest landfill (see background here).
  • The Metropolitan Fire Brigade is considering charging occupiers and/or owners of sites to recover the costs it incurs fighting fires that involve hazardous chemicals (see background here).
  • The EPA is seeking expressions of interest by July 10 for councils interested in participating in an expanded version of its Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment scheme, which places EPA authorised officers with councils.
  • The Department of Environment Land, Water & Planning has invited tenders to deliver its "energy savvy upgrades program" to homes in Geelong and the Shire of Golden Plains.
  • Have your say last chance!: The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is seeking comments by June 30 on the Forests (Licences and Permits) Regulations 2009, which are due to sunset on December 8.
  • Have your say!: Comment closes July 22 on the Combet report, which recommends that Victoria aim for up to a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (see background here).
  • Have your say – last chance!: The government is inviting comments by June 30 on five Regional Forest Agreements.
  • New resource: The Australia Institute has released a report on gas and coal plant breakdowns in Victoria.

Tasmania:

  • The state government has announced several new recipients of grants to install electric vehicle charging stations.

  • Have your say!: Submissions are due by September 21 to a review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

South Australia:

  • State budget papers for the state's environmental and energy agencies are now available.

  • The state government has been criticised by a leading waste industry organisation for its unexpected Budget announcement that the waste levy will rise by $40 (see background here).
  • The state's Essential Services Commission is considering an application by Nexif to vary its electricity generation for the Lincoln Gap wind farm to include a battery with a total export capacity of 10MW.
  • Grant opportunity: Applications close August 2 for round one grants under the Greener Neighbourhoods program, with a total of $1 million available to Adelaide councils to increase tree canopy and green cover.

Western Australia:

  • Western Australia's Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has authorised a policy investigation that could make redundant the carbon offset requirements favoured by the state's EPA (see background here).

  • Companies and government bodies could use waste-derived materials with full legal certainty that they don't need to obtain a waste licence or pay a levy, under changes floated by the state's environment department (see background here).
  • Horizon Power has reviewed rooftop solar capacity limits, and has issued new technical requirements that will allow more systems to be installed in a number of regional towns.
  • Have your say!: Comment closes September 2 on an EPA background paper on greenhouse gas guidance (see background here).
  • The state's Appeals Convenor has upheld a decision to refuse a permit to clear 9.5 hectares of native vegetation that known to support populations of conservation-significant animals and a threatened ecological community, recommending that an appeal against the decision be refused.
  • Have your say!: The Department of Water and Environment Regulation is inviting comments by August 16 on the proposed Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
  • Have your say!: The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is seeking comments by July 24 on proposed changes to waste regulations that would require the use of weighbridges at levy-liable landfills.
  • Have your say!: Comments are due by July 12 on a new discussion paper on single-use plastics (see background here).

Northern Territory:

  • The Territory governmenthas finalised a code of practice for the onshore gas industry.

  • The Territory government has approved civil and construction works that will allow Glencore's McArthur River Mining to re-commission Tailings Storage Facility Cell 1 at the mine, which hasn't been used since 2007.

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