Environmental compliance news for business
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Environment law and policy tracker

Highlights include election promises, court rulings, a new waste grant round, the report of a heritage law inquiry, and draft weighbridge regulations. Jobs include waste director with Macquarie Group, and NSW director of sustainable water diversion limits.

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Upcoming events:

  • Victoria's new environment protection laws and their impacts
    A seminar in Wangaratta hosted by EPA Victoria.

  • 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.
  • Addressing the plastic recycling crisis
    A May 9 conference in Melbourne, hosted by the Australian Industrial Ecology Network.
  • Waste 2019
    A May 14 to 16 conference in Coffs Harbour.
  • Climate leader's forum
    A May 15 evening seminar in Sydney, hosted by South Pole, with speakers including Julien Gastaldi (Natural Carbon) and Belinda Whelan (Climate-KIC).
  • NSW EPA organics collections grants webinar
    A May 15 webinar for councils and businesses on applying for organic waste collection grants.
  • 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.
  • Climate change and business risk
    A May 22 to 23 short course in Melbourne, hosted by the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and ClimateWorks Australia.
  • International conference on sustainable development in the minerals industry
    A May 27 to 29 conference in Sydney, hosted by AusIMM.
  • National clean technologies conference and exhibition
    A May 29 to 31 event on the Sunshine Coast.
  • Australian energy week
    A June 11 to 14 conference and exhibition in Melbourne.
  • Mined land rehabilitation
    A June 19 to 21 conference in Newcastle, hosted by CRCCARE.

Election update:

  • Labor today pledged a $75 million renewables training package, including $45 million in incentives for apprentices in the sector. The remaining $30 million will better equip TAFEs to provide training for those working in the industry.

  • A Labor government would move quickly to remove a "ridiculous" restriction that limits carbon forestry plantations to low-rainfall areas, according to shadow agriculture and forestry minister Joel Fitzgibbon (see background here).
  • Labor would direct up to $1 billion in finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to schools for the rollout of solar PV and batteries.
  • Labor has confirmed it would classify South Australia's Spencer Gulf region as a Renewable Energy Zone.
  • A re-elected Morrison government would invest up to $3.7 million to improve the health of the Torrens River and help the South Australian government establish the new Glenthorne National Park.
  • A returned Coalition government would also direct up to $3 million from its $100 million Environment Restoration Fund to protect Western Australia's Black Cockatoo.
  • The Greens might accept the use of international carbon permits in some circumstances, according to Senator Richard Di Natale (see background here).
  • Health professionals have issued an open letter to all political candidates, warning that climate change poses an "unprecedented threat" to human health.
  • The Agriculture Industries Energy Taskforce has released its federal election energy policy recommendations.
  • The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association has released its five-point election manifesto.

National:

  • The Australian Energy Market Commission today issued its final determination on changes to the RERT regime, which is the NEM's last-resort mechanism for reducing electricity demand.

  • The Clean Energy Regulator has revoked two Emissions Reduction Fund energy efficiency projects, including one developed by a major health services provider, under s30 of the Carbon Farming Initiative Rule (see background here).
  • The Wet Tropics Management Authority, which reports to both the federal and Queensland governments, has warned of an accelerating decline in rainforest animals because of climate change, with some key species at risk of extinction.
  • Wind Prospect has submitted an EPBC referral for its 400MW Willatook wind farm in south-west Victoria.
  • Oil and gas company Equinor Australia has submitted an exploration drilling for exploration drilling in the Great Australian Bight.
  • Tribunal ruling: The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has imposed extra conditions on a planned Lord Howe Island baiting program for rats.
  • New resource: The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering has released a new report on new and emerging technologies in the transport sector.
  • The volume of water used for irrigation rose 7% to 9.7 million ML in FY18, and the total area of crops and pastures irrigated increased by 2% to 2.3 million hectares, according to new ABS on agricultural water use.
  • Applications to earn carbon credits from new projects must be lodged by June 11 if they are to be used as the basis for bids into the next ERF auction (see background here).
  • Have your say!: Submissions are due by June 1 to a review of the Emissions Reduction Fund land and sea transport method (see background here).
  • Have your say!: Comments are due by May 31 on a draft update to the national PFAS management plan (see background here).

Queensland:

  • The state government has declared the $1 billion CopperString 1,100km transmission project to be a coordinated project requiring an EIS. The project would link Mount Isa and Cloncurry to the grid, potentially creating 400MW of new demand for the proposed North Queensland clean energy hub.

  • Statutory development: The government has gazetted a regulation that allows it to bring low-emissions generation assets into its new CleanCo power company (see background here).
  • The Department of Environment and Science has invited tenders to help it analyse material flows in the state, as part of efforts to transition to a low-carbon, low-waste economy (see background here).
  • A parliamentary inquiry has issued its report on a bill that would impose strict water quality controls on new industrial developments, resource projects, utilities and agricultural businesses in Great Barrier Reef catchments (see background here).
  • Have your say – last chance!: Comments on the state government's draft code for managing regulated regrowth vegetation are due by May 6.
  • Statutory development: The remaining provisions of the Mineral, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 came into force on April 19, establishing the state's new land access regime.

NSW:

  • New grant opportunity: 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 grants up to $500,000 on offer to companies and councils for projects targeting businesses.

  • Court ruling: The Land and Environment Court has ordered a council to pay BHP and state government legal courts after unsuccessfully challenging a coal mine rehabilitation plan (see background here).
  • The state government has announced that former EPA acting chief executive Anissa Levy will assume the new role of Coordinator-General for Environment, Energy and Science (see background here).
  • Court ruling: The Land and Environment Court has fined farmer Anthony Boyle $348,750 for illegally clearing about 500 hectares of land and ordered him to pay the prosecutor's costs of $40,000.
  • The Resources Regulator has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Namoi Valley Bricks Pty Ltd for unauthorised mining between May 2007 and August 2017.
  • The state government has released the latest annual report of its program for the commercial harvesting of kangaroos.

ACT:

  • Have your say!: Comments are due by the end of July on a new discussion paper on single-use plastics (see background here).

  • Have your say: The ACT is inviting comment by May 24 on a new strategy for native woodlands.

Victoria:

  • A parliamentary inquiry into waste and recycling will hold its first hearing tomorrow (see background here).

  • Court dispute: A class action law firm that is seeking compensation for damage caused by the 2017 fire at SKM Services Pty Ltd's Coolaroo recycling plant has negotiated a settlement with the facility owner following court-ordered mediation. (see background here).
  • The state government has allocated $30 million to maintain fire prevention and security measures at a huge waste stockpile in Lara, and has taken control of the site (see background here).
  • Thirteen water corporations have signed a renewable energy deal with Total Eren, in the fourth power purchase agreement for its 256MW Kiamal solar farm (see background here).
  • EPA Victoria has released a background paper on its development of environmental quality indicators and objectives for the State Environment Protection Policy on Waters.
  • Have your say!:Statements of planning policy will be prepared for three areas – the Surf Coast, Bass Coast and the Bellarine Peninsula – under the state government's distinctive areas and landscapes program.
  • Have your say!: Comment closes May 17 on a draft timber harvesting statement of regulatory intent.
  • Have your say!: Comment closes May 30 on a draft action plan for the Ramsar-listed Barmah national park and forest.
  • Grant opportunity: Applications close May 31 for round two research, development and demonstration grants, which provide up to $200,000 for projects that can increase sales of recycled products.

South Australia:

  • Parliament's Environment, Resources and Development Committee has released the report of its inquiry into heritage reform.

  • SA Water has commenced trialling molten silicon energy storage technology (see background here).
  • The Department for Environment and Water has released a new, single management plan for 12 parks that form part of the Country of the Far West Coast Aboriginal People.

Western Australia:

  • 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.

  • The state government has gazetted the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Regulations 2019.
  • A cement works plagued by long-running odour complaints will trial an odour-neutralising spray (see background here).
  • State-owned electricity network business Western Power will install 238,000 smart meters over the next three years, the state government has announced.
  • The EPA has recommended approval of Fortescue's proposed 120 kilometre Eliwana railway line project in the Pilbara, which would link its proposed Eliwana mine to its Solomon mine. The proposal would clear up to 3,690 hectares of native vegetation, including critical habitat for significant species, and the EPA recommends a contribution to an offsets fund.
  • Through a partnership between LandCorp, Power Ledger and the Australian Government's Smart Cities and Suburbs initiative, a new residential development in Fremantle feature blockchain-ready homes, a microgrid supply network for water and power, and a shared on-site storage battery.
  • The federal government has granted EPBC approval for Cameco's proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine (see background here).
  • Have your say!: Comments are due by July 12 on a new discussion paper on single-use plastics (see background here).
  • Have your say!: Comments are due by May 27 on draft approved methods for the mandatory reporting of waste and recycling data (see background here).
  • Have your say!: Comments are due by May 27 on the state government's review of salinity management.

Jobs and appointments:

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