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Environment law and policy tracker

Highlights include a new EPBC study and several court decisions. Jobs include advisor to WA's Environment Minister, senior climate posts in Victoria, head of environment policy in Tasmania, and jobs with AdBri and Melbourne City Council.

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Upcoming events:

  • The state-of-energy-research conference
    A July 3 and 4 conference in Canberra, hosted by the Energy Research Institutes Council for Australia.

  • Panel discussion: The federal election and climate change
    A July 8 evening panel discussion in Brisbane, convened by Jackie Trad.
  • A just transition: Integrating social dimensions into climate change
    A July 17 breakfast seminar in Melbourne.
  • Carbon farming conference and expo
    An August 5 to 8 event in Albury, hosted by Carbon Farmers of Australia.
  • Hydrogen forum - A pathway to environmental and regional prosperity
    An August 8 conference in the Latrobe Valley.
  • Waste-to-energy conference
    An August 26 to 28 conference in Canberra, hosted by the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association.
  • Australian hydrogen forum
    A September 18 to 20 conference in Sydney.

National:

  • Environment Minister Sussan Ley has released the Craik report on agriculture and the EPBC Act, 10 months after the report was submitted to the government.

  • The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has published a speech on climate risk given by Geoff Summerhayes in Singapore earlier this month.
  • The Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Ironstone Capital have created a specialist joint venture, Warada Capital, to invest in early-stage greenfield renewable and energy efficiency projects. The CEFC will commit up to $100 million.
  • The Clean Energy Regulator has provided details on options for transitioning to new Safeguard Mechanism baselines (see background here).
  • AGL has made an EPBC referral for a $400 million, 250MW gas-fired power plant at Tomago (NSW), timed to start operations in the same year that its Liddell power station closes.
  • The next Emissions Reduction Fund auction will be held on July 24 and 25.
  • New resource: Researchers from UNSW, Macquarie University, the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage have released a guide for assessing the impact of climate change in estuaries.
  • 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).

Queensland:

  • Have your say!: The state government is consulting on new levy arrangements to support the expanded role of the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment, which now includes mining, as well as gas. Submissions close on July 15.

  • The state government is considering potential amendments to legislation in response to a court ruling that it can't mandate the use of electricians to install panels on solar farms (see background here).

NSW:

  • Sydney City Council has unanimously passed a motion declaring a climate emergency, and calling for the reintroduction of a national carbon price.

  • Planning & Environment has released the "preferred project report" describing a proposed clean-up strategy for a site in Sydney's Hunters Hill that was used to extract radium from uranium in the early 1900s.
  • Penrith Local Court has convicted Glass Recovery Services Pty Ltd on three pollution offences and fined it $55,000, related to incorrect storage and failure to comply with licence conditions.
  • The former general manager of a NSW abattoir has been fined $12,000 after his company submitted quarterly licence reports and an annual return that were false or misleading (see background here).
  • The NSW Land and Environment Court has imposed a $43,550 penalty on an earthmoving company, after its actions caused water pollution at Eden, on the NSW south coast (see background here).
  • A court has convicted the operator of Far Western Stone Quarries for failing to comply with a notice requiring remediation works and failing to submit a mandatory annual environmental management plan. Company director Antony Martin was placed on a conditional release order for failing to submit a mine operation plan and not paying a rehabilitation security deposit.
  • Have your say!: The EPA is seeking comments by July 29 on a revised guideline on preparing Pollution Incident Response Management Plans.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Award opportunity – last chance!: Nominations are due by July 10 for the annual Green Globe awards that will recognise sustainability leaders across 12 categories.

ACT:

  • The ACT government has announced winners of the FY20 environment grants, with 12 projects sharing $218,000.

  • The ACT government has scheduled a workshop for 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).
  • Have your say – last chance!: 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 gazetted new Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Amendment (Planning and Environment Division) Rules 2019.

  • The state government has introduced into Parliament a bill to overhaul the state's biodiversity law, known as the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (see background here).
  • In a first for Victoria's public transport system, Metro Trains is trialling the use of 190 sleepers comprised of 85% recycled plastic waste at the suburban train station of Richmond, with regional trials set to follow in July.
  • Australian Paper must satisfy more stringent controls on feedstock for its proposed large-scale waste to energy plant, following the settlement of a legal challenge (see background here).
  • The EPA has released a new guide on farm waste management.
  • Councils in the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance are carrying out a feasibility study for a "dense and coordinated" electric vehicle charging network.
  • The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is establishing a scientific reference panel to support scientific decision-making by the department.
  • The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council has released its report on the state's central west, proposing an increase in protected areas.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Tasmania:

  • Statutory development: A new regulation to limit smoke emissions from home fireplaces, wood stoves and backyard burning took effect today.

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

South Australia:

  • The Department for Energy and Mining has released the 2018 Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act compliance report.

  • A waste company has been fined $21,000 for illegally storing up to two tonnes of asbestos and asbestos-contaminated material at its premises in the northern Adelaide suburb of Wingfield (see background here).
  • 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:

  • The state government has awarded a total of $2.29 million to 28 waste projects (see background here).

  • The state government has formally declared feral cats as pests, which entitles biosecurity groups to receive funding for feral cat management programs.
  • The EPA has recommended approval for Hasting Technology Metals' Yangibana rare earths project, 270 kilometres north-east from Carnarvon.
  • Have your say!: Comment closes September 2 on an EPA background paper on greenhouse gas guidance (see background here).
  • 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 EPA has completed its environmental impact assessment of Core Lithium Limited's Grants lithium project and recommended that it be approved with conditions.

  • The Territory's $5 million rooftop solar in schools program has started to roll out, with tenders awarded for installations at five schools.
  • New resource: Beyond Zero Emissions has released a new report on economic development for the Territory based on renewable energy.

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

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