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Environment law and policy tracker

Highlights include a revised draft EPBC bilateral agreement, court cases, draft assessment regulations, and a single-use plastics discussion paper. Job listings include head of finance and investment with Climate Friendly.

This issue of Tracker covers state and territory developments. Next week Tracker will return to its normal format of national, state and territory coverage in each issue.

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 it here.

Subscribers to the Footprint premium paid service gain the extra benefits of detailed daily news, analysis and industry insights. If you are not already a subscriber to Footprint's premium service you can trial it here.

Featured vacancy – Department Head, Finance and Investment at Climate Friendly

Climate Friendly is a profit-for-purpose business, single-mindedly focused on growth to maximize our impact on climate change. We are currently one of the largest developers of carbon projects in Australia, with approximately 100 carbon farming projects under management.

This position will lead our finance and investment department and be heavily involved in developing company strategic directions, assessing investment opportunities and managing financial reporting and accounts. Applications should be sent to accounts@climatefriendly.com.

To promote a vacancy in 'featured vacancies' contact murray@footprintnews.com.au.

Upcoming events:

  • Safeguard 2.0 – a carbon price under Labor
    A 45-minute webinar on January 30, hosted by Reputex.

  • Frontiers in environmental law colloquium
    A February 4 conference in Brisbane, hosted by QUT Faculty of Law.
  • Extractive industry guideline information
    Victorian government information sessions on the new guideline, scheduled for February 6 (Melbourne) and 14 (Ballarat).
  • Responsible business strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals
    A February 5 workshop in Sydney, hosted by Asha Kayla.
  • National remediation framework roadshow
    A series of information sessions in capital cities, hosted by CRCCARE and running from February 12 to 28.
  • Preparing for power station closure
    A February 13 seminar in Lake Macquarie, hosted by the Hunter Environment Centre.
  • Local government strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals
    A February 19 workshop in Sydney, hosted by Asha Kayla.
  • Environmental professionals management workshop
    A February 20 and 21 workshop in Sydney, hosted by the Australian Sustainable Business Group.
  • Stand-alone power, large-scale solar and pumped hydro
    Three February 25-26 joint conferences in Sydney, hosted by Informa.
  • Wastewater systems design and management workshop
    A February 28 workshop in Sydney, hosted by the Australian Sustainable Business Group.
  • Capturing the value of demand response
    A February 28 workshop in Melbourne, hosted by the Energy Efficiency Council.
  • AEBN national conference – environment, climate and energy
    A March 1 conference in Melbourne, hosted by the Australian Environment Business Network.
  • Risk to remediation
    A March 4 to 8 training program on site contamination and remediation in Newcastle, hosted by CRC CARE.
  • Sports environment alliance summit 2019
    A March 5 event in Melbourne.

Queensland:

  • Applications close February 12 for innovation grants of up to $1 million to support natural resource improvements, including reduced nutrient and sediment loads into the Great Barrier Reef.

  • 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).
  • Comment closes February 1 on a discussion paper on reform of the Biodiscovery Act

NSW:

  • The federal and NSW governments have released a draft revised bilateral agreement on environmental assessments (see background here).

  • The office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer has released the interim findings of an inquiry into the impacts of coal mining in the Sydney water catchment.
  • The EPA has issued waste levy guidelines that incorporate minor changes to the previous version.
  • The state government has gazetted a marine waters sustainable aquaculture strategy.
  • The EPA is investigating AGL after company tests of coal ash from its Bayswater and Liddell power stations showed elevated levels of metals that exceed the regulator's limits. AGL has suspended sales of the ash, which is used for purposes including land-based application, and is conducting a health assessment.
  • State Waste Services Pty Ltd has applied for approval to expand its existing clinical waste management facility from 650 tonnes a year to a maximum of 3,000 tonnes.
  • The EPA is inviting applications by January 28 to become accredited contaminated site auditors.
  • The NSW Environmental Trust has released its annual report, as is the annual report of the Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Program.
  • The state government has released a pumped hydro roadmap and handbook.
  • The EPA has issued a clean-up notice to Caltex Petroleum Pty Ltd over contamination off-site from a Woy Woy service station that poses a significant risk of harm.
  • A man who fraudulently invoiced a company for $225,000 for the disposal of waste has been jailed for 18 months and faces sentencing on another charge in April (see background here).
  • The EPA is seeking expressions of interest to provide expert advice to community groups on developing litter prevention projects and applying for litter grants.
  • Comments are due by tomorrow on the conservation plan for western Sydney's Cumberland Plain.
  • Comments are due by January 31 to the review of private native forestry.
  • Comments are due by February 15 on the state's draft floodplain harvesting monitoring and auditing strategy.
  • Comments are due by February 28 on the Greater Hunter regional water strategy, which looks at water security and drought risks.
  • The state government has released the Kaldas report on governance in the NSW planning system.
  • The Department of Planning and Environment has granted development consent for the $119 million, 140MW solar farm project in Mulwala, near Albury.
  • Waste company Biocoal Group Pty Ltd, which has received five penalty notices since 2016, has this month been issued with a prevention notice over stockpiling (see background here).

Victoria:

  • The EPA has released new publications on financial assurances for landfills and prescribed industrial waste.

  • Feasibility work for the proposed CarbonNet large-scale geosequestration project will soon take a significant step forward, with the drilling of an appraisal well (see background here).
  • The EPA has granted works approval to Resource Resolution for an anaerobic digester near Girgarre that will process up to 30,000 tonnes of food waste and produce 1.7 million cubic metres of biogas for electricity generation.
  • The state government has awarded a total of $1.1 million to community renewable energy projects, including $0.5 million for the Hepburn Wind community solar farm.
  • The state government has awarded grants totalling $4.8 million for 20 recycling projects as part of the third round of the Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund.
  • The annual reports of the EPA and Sustainability Victoria are now available.
  • The EPA has issued guidance for managing contamination on shooting ranges and on fire retardants and health.
  • The County Court has fined Mendo Kitanovski $3,500 for failing to comply with two Clean-Up Notices to remove large amounts of industrial waste stored on his property.
  • 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).
  • About 2,000 "incorporated documents" from 83 planning schemes are now searchable online.
  • The state government is offering community climate change adaptation grants of between $25,000 and $75,000.
  • Applications close March 1 for the Victorian Environment Assessment Council's annual scholarship for students taking honours, masters or PhD research related to Victorian public land. The Bill Borthwick scholarships provide up to $2,500.

Tasmania:

  • The EPA has loaded the locations of licensed facilities and contaminated sites onto an interactive map with links to conditions applying to each site.

South Australia:

  • A new discussion paper floats the possibility of new legislation to limit the use of single-use plastics.

  • Administrative changes to schedule 1 of the Environment Protection Act take effect on July 1. The schedule specifies which activities require a licence.
  • The state government has released draft development assessment regulations, with comment due by March 1.
  • Dredging of Port Adelaide's Outer Harbour will proceed, after the EPA this week announced it would issue a licence for the activity (see background here).
  • The operator of an unlicensed waste depot has been fined only $1,800 for abusing two EPA officers, as well as $18,000 for storing asbestos waste without a licence (see background here).
  • Electrolux expects to have 2.25MW of rooftop solar commissioned at its Dudley Park cooker plant by March, with a 200kVA battery in place by June, and is seeking approval to export up to 2500 kilowatts.
  • The EPA has declared a groundwater extraction prohibition area in parts of Glenelg East, Glenelg South, Glenelg and Glengowrie, due to contamination.
  • Applications close February 7 for grants to install energy storage technology, available through the state government's $50 million Grid-Scale Storage Fund (see background here).

Western Australia:

  • A state ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags is now in force.

  • Lacour Energy's Kondinin wind and solar farm (46 turbines, 50MW of solar and battery storage) is not a controlled action under the EPBC Act, the federal environment department has determined.

Northern Territory:

  • The EPA has released guidance on adaptive management, describing strategies to systematically and incrementally improve management practices.

  • Territory government-owned electricity retailer Jacana Energy has signed power purchase agreements to buy the output from two new solar farms in Batchelor and Manton Dam (see background here).
  • Comments are due by March 31 on a directions paper on reforms to the Water Act.

Jobs and appointments:

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

Compliance news by jurisdiction

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