Environmental compliance news for business

Environment law and policy tracker

Highlights include legislative developments in Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Job listings include manager of strategy and guidance servicing the WA EPA, and chief executive of Solar Victoria.

Tracker is a free, open-access service, and we encourage you to forward it to other carbon and sustainability professionals, who can register to receive Tracker here.

Subscribers to our premium paid service receive detailed daily news and analysis and full access to all Tracker links. Non-subscribers can trial the premium service here.


Featured vacancy – WA EPA manager of strategy and guidance

The WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is hiring a manager of strategy and guidance for its EPA Services Division, to develop and maintain the EPA's policy suite and deliver the agency's strategic plan.

Essential skills include highly-demonstrated experience critically reviewing scientific studies, the ability to successfully manage conflict, and the ability to communicate with a diverse range of stakeholders.

Applications close on March 31.

Upcoming events:

  • Inaugural hydrogen energy summit
    A March 26 to 27 conference in Melbourne, hosted by Informa.

  • Welcome to the plastiocene: Why do we care about microplastics?
    A March 27 evening seminar, hosted by the Australasian Land and Groundwater Association.
  • National acid-sulfate soils guidance – identification and assessment
    A March 28 and 29 short course at the Gold Coast campus of Southern Cross University.
  • Twenty years of the EPBC Act – looking back, looking forward
    A March 29 conference in Canberra, hosted by the National Environmental Law Association and the ANU College of Law.
  • Introduction to infrastructure sustainability
    A March 29 two-hour webinar, hosted by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia.
  • National sustainability conference
    An April 1 and 2 conference in Brisbane.
  • Waste training for waste facility staff
    An April 3 workshop in Sydney, targeted at the construction and demolition waste recyclers, hosted by the Australian Sustainable Business Group.
  • Environment management short course
    An April 3 and 4 short course in Melbourne, hosted by the Australian Environment Business Network.
  • Waste crisis: Recycling, infrastructure and Queensland levy impacts
    An April 12 workshop in Sydney, targeted at the construction and demolition waste recyclers, hosted by the Australian Sustainable Business Group.
  • EUAA national conference 2019
    The May 1 and 2 national conference of the Energy Users Association of Australia, held in Melbourne.
  • Ozwater 19
    A May 7 to 9 conference and expo in Melbourne, hosted by the Australian Water Association.
  • Carbon Market Institute 2019 summit
    A May 8 and 9 conference in Melbourne, hosted by the Carbon Market Institute.
  • Large-scale solar forum 2019
    A May 16 conference in Brisbane, hosted by the Clean Energy Council.
  • Why investors are worried about climate change
    A May 22 evening seminar, presented by the Sydney Environment Institute, with speakers including Minters' Sarah Barker and the IGCC's Emma Herd.


  • The Department of Environment and Energy has released the executive summary of a report on food waste generation, with the full report to be published in coming weeks.

  • The Clean Energy Regulator has increased emission limits for four coal mines, and has allowed two mines to take a more flexible approach to compliance (see background here).
  • Statutory development: The Industrial Chemicals Bill and related legislation to establish a new chemicals assessment scheme received Assent on March 12.
  • Transcript is now available from a March 18 public hearing convened by the Senate 'fair dinkum power' inquiry into renewable energy, with presentations made by the Clean Energy Council, the AEMC, the AEMC, and the Australia Institute.
  • The Clean Energy Regulator has scheduled a new ERF auction, and says demand for carbon credits is booming among state agencies and companies that are offsetting voluntarily (see background here).
  • Data released by the Clean Energy Regulator shows large emitters had to buy far fewer carbon credits to stay below their FY18 Safeguard Mechanism limits (see background here).
  • The Clean Energy Regulator has issued its inaugural credits for boosting carbon levels in soil (see background here).
  • The Department of Environment and Energy has released a statement on partnering for a sustainable environment.
  • A federal government advisory body has proposed a new rule for earning carbon credits by reducing methane from animal effluent, which would consolidate three existing methods (see background here).
  • Have your say!: Comments are due by April 5 on a consultation paper on draft retailer reliability obligation rules released by the Energy Security Board.
  • Have your say!: Comments are due by May 1 on a draft update to the national PFAS management plan (see background here).
  • Eleven projects have been awarded a total of $19 million in the first round of water quality grants through the Reef Trust Partnership.
  • The Gene Technology Regulator is inviting comment on a proposed trial of genetically-modified drought-resistant chickpeas.
  • New resource: CDP has issued a new report on supply chain palm oil risks.
  • New resource: The Global CCS Institute has issued a new paper on bioenergy and carbon capture and storage.
  • Banks, insurers and super funds will face closer scrutiny over their handling of climate-related financial risk, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has warned (see background here).
  • Labor members of a Senate inquiry into mine rehabilitation have suggested that EPBC approvals for mines should include conditions on rehabilitation and "care and maintenance" requirements (see background here).
  • The administrator of Australia's used tyre stewardship scheme has warned it will suspend businesses that export tyres to unsafe and unsuitable destinations, after an audit identified serious problems (see background here).
  • Last chance!: Comment closes March 28 on Australia's proposed national hydrogen strategy.
  • Have your say!: Submissions are due by April 8 to a Senate committee inquiry into a bill introduced by Senator Stirling Griff that would ban cotton exports to ensure water security.
  • Applications must be made by April 1 for exemptions from liability for RET-related charges, which are available to emissions-intensive, trade-exposed businesses.


  • Grant opportunity: The state government is offering biofuels grants of up to $1 million for projects that convert industrial, agricultural and household waste into biofuels, electricity, or alternatives to plastic (see background here).

  • Have your say!: Comment closes April 5 on the state's draft waste strategy (see background here).
  • Have your say!: Submissions are due by April 15 to a review of Queensland's environmental offsets policy (see background here).


  • The administrator of the Energy Savings Scheme has issued the latest scheme update.

  • Court ruling: A spill of fuel onto the Sydney Harbour shoreline has resulted in penalties totalling $100,000 for Viva Energy, on top of $680,000 for the clean-up, and an order to pay $131,628 in EPA costs (see background here).
  • Court ruling: Whitehaven Coal has been fined $38,500 after blast fume drifted over a property adjacent to one of its mines (see background here).
  • Grant opportunity: The state government is inviting applications for a share in first-round funding under its new $16 million manufacturing efficiency funding program (see background here).
  • Last chance!: Comment closes March 23 on the EIS for geotechnical works for the Shoalhaven hydro expansion project.


  • Grant opportunity: Grants of up to $35,000 are available for community environmental projects, with a total of $200,000 on offer. Applications close on April 10.


  • Statutory development The state government has introduced the Water and Catchment Legislation Amendment Bill (see also the explanatory statement and second-reading speech) .

  • Tribunal ruling: The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has handed down a "red dot" decision on access requirements in areas of extreme fire risk.
  • Have your say!: The state government is seeking comment by April 23 on protecting Melbourne's strategic agricultural land.
  • The state government has launched a new Victoria Unearthed database, which allows the public to identify potential contamination at a nominated property.
  • Court ruling: A Magistrates Court has fined a company only $1,000 for its second waste offence, without recording a conviction, and has imposed good behaviour bonds on its directors.
  • The state government has invited tenders to provide energy retrofit advice to householders in Ballarat and the shires of Golden Plains, Hepburn, Moorabool and Pyrenees.
  • Last chance!: The Essential Services Commission is seeking feedback by March 29 on proposed changes to guidelines for its energy efficiency scheme.
  • Grant opportunity: The state government has invited applications from non-profit groups for grants of up to $50,000 for projects that help protect and preserve the environmental health of Port Phillip Bay. Applications close April 10.


  • Have your say!: Submissions are due by April 26 to the state government's review of its moratorium on genetically-modified organisms, which is due to expire in November. The Liberal state government supports renewal of the moratorium.

South Australia:

  • Adelaide Brighton has revealed it paid a $136,000 penalty to the South Australian Department for Environment and Water for taking water in excess of its allocation (see background here).

  • Have your say!: The state government is seeking views on the revised list of declared pest animals, with comments due by April 18.

Western Australia:

  • The EPA has suspended its recently-issued carbon guidance, on the same day that new data shows the state's largest emitters increased their emissions by 10% in one year (see background here).

  • Western Australia will have a container deposit scheme from 2020, after the state's Legislative Council passed establishing legislation on Wednesday (see background here).
  • Liberal MLC Dr Steve Thomas, the state's shadow environment minister, has strongly criticised the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation for its approach to setting contamination limits for clean fill.
  • Award opportunity Applications close April 29 for the state government's Golden Gecko environmental awards for resource companies.

Northern Territory:

Jobs and appointments:

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