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Environment law and policy tracker

Highlights include new bills in Victoria, a new WA greenhouse policy, and a $263,500 land clearing penalty. Jobs include posts with Alinta, consultancy EY, EPA Victoria and Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

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Upcoming events:

  • A negative emissions bio-based circular economy
    An August 28 evening seminar in Perth by Professor Chun Zhu Li, founding director of the Fuels and Energy Technology Institute at Curtin University.

  • Pollution Incident Response Management Plans seminar
    An August 29 seminar in Sydney, hosted by the Australian Sustainable Business Group.
  • Wastewater systems design and management
    A September 5 seminar in Sydney, hosted by the Australian Sustainable Business Group.
  • Carbon offsets: overviews and trends
    A September 5 webinar, hosted by South Pole Australia.
  • WA threatened species forum 2019
    A September 5 and 6 forum in Geraldton, hosted by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council.
  • New environmental laws, obligations and funding
    A September 6 seminar covering national developments, hosted by the Australian Environment Business Network.
  • International clean-up conference
    A September 8 to 12 conference in Adelaide, on all aspects of site contamination and remediation, including the latest on PFAS.
  • Environment professionals management workshop
    A September 12 and 13 conference in Sydney, hosted by the Australian Sustainable Business Group.
  • Australian hydrogen forum
    A September 18 to 20 conference in Sydney.
  • Healthy hospitals forum 2019: Integrating quality, OHS and environmental sustainability
    A September 23 and 24 conference in Melbourne.
  • Investor Group on Climate Change summit
    An October 14 and 15 summit in Sydney.
  • Energy efficiency expo
    An October 23 and 24 event in Melbourne, hosted by the Energy Efficiency Council.
  • Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand annual conference
    A November 4 to 6 conference in Adelaide.

National:

  • The Clean Energy Regulator has released its 2019-23 corporate plan.

  • The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will provide $15 million to Evie Networks to roll out 42 ultra-fast battery charging sites on major highways, with 23 to be operational in the first year.
  • ARENA is also providing $950,000 to BOC for a pilot hydrogen production plant at its Bulwer Island gas facility.
  • Gomeroi woman Veronica 'Dolly' Talbott, represented by the NSW Environmental Defenders' Office, has launched a Federal Court challenge against Environment Minister Sussan Ley's decision not to grant protection to areas of Aboriginal cultural heritage within the footprint of the approved Shenhua Watermark open-cut coal mine on the Liverpool Plains.
  • Lacour Energy has lodged an EPBC referral for its 180MW Banana Range wind farm, 120 kilometres south-west of Gladstone.
  • The federal government has launched a new energy advice service for small business.
  • GreenPower program rules have been updated to increase generator fees and make minor changes.
  • New resource: The Department of Health has released new information on the July start of the new chemicals assessment and approvals scheme.
  • New resource: The federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has released a report on coal in India.
  • Have your say!: The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Energy is inviting submissions by September 16 to its inquiry into nuclear energy in Australia.
  • The Australia NZ Biochar Initiative has released a draft industry standard on biochar for soils, with the aim of presenting it to Standards Australia as the basis for a national standard. Comment closes November 30.
  • Grant opportunity: The Communities Environment Program, which provides each electorate with up to $150,000 for small, community-led environment projects, will accept applications until October 10.

Queensland:

  • Queensland's environment department has secured a Planning and Environment Court order to enforce the clean-up of a tyre stockpile that is a catastrophic fire risk (see background here).

  • A court has fined Queensland Alumina Ltd $130,000 for four breaches of its environmental authority, after two discharges of caustic sodium hydroxide (see background here).
  • Grant opportunity: Applications for recycling infrastructure grants of between $50,000 and $5 million will be accepted until September 22, under round two of the Resource Recovery Industry Development Program.
  • In conjunction with Veolia, The University of the Sunshine Coast today commissioned a thermal energy storage battery that is powered by a rooftop solar system and will cool water for use in air conditioning, slashing energy use at its largest campus by 40%.
  • Have your say!: Comment closes October 25 on a draft Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander commercial fishing development policy.

NSW:

  • An exploration licence held by a Whitehaven Coal subsidiary and joint venture partners has been suspended over unlawful clearing (see background here).

  • A farmer who illegally cleared vegetation including threatened species and koala feed trees has been fined $263,500 and must pay $47,500. The farmer pleaded guilty to the charge, but is appealing the terms of a remediation order.
  • The EPA has released two draft updated contaminated sites guidance documents, one on reporting and the other on hazardous ground gases (see background here).
  • Two subsidiaries of Castillo Copper and the NSW Resources Regulator have negotiated an enforceable undertaking after it was ordered to suspend activities last December because of poor environmental practices. The two subsidiaries must spend at least $91,000 carrying out the terms of the undertaking.
  • Young Mining has agreed to pay its rehabilitation security deposit of $342,000 to the Resources Regulator in a move that will allow it to continue its South West Slopes Thuddungra operations.
  • The state government has released its NSW koala strategy annual report.
  • The City of Sydney is trialling a food waste kerbside collection service for 330 houses and 53 apartment blocks, with the waste to be sent for processing to the EarthPower plant in Camellia.
  • Blue Mountains City Council is inviting tenders for remediation of its decommissioned Blackheath landfill.
  • Have your say!: Submissions are due by September 15 to an inquiry by the Legislative Assembly Environment and Planning Committee's into the sustainability of energy supply and resources in NSW.
  • Grant opportunity: Applications must be submitted by September 2 for a share of $1.16 million in climate resilience grants available to the state's local governments (see background here).

Victoria:

  • Statutory development: Second-reading debate has started in the Legislative Assembly on the Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Amendment Bill, which establishes a 2030 target of ensuring 50% of the electricity generated in Victoria is from renewables.

  • Statutory development: Second-reading debate has started in the Legislative Assembly on the Dangerous Goods Amendment (Penalty Reform) Bill, which establishes a $6.4 million maximum penalty for reckless conduct endangering life (see background here).
  • A parliamentary committee inquiry into waste and recycling has released its interim report.
  • The state government has announced changes to its troubled Solar Homes scheme, which had been widely criticised by home owners and solar PV companies (see background here).
  • The EPA has revoked an order that banned Coolaroo-based recycling facility Phoenix Environmental Group Pty Ltd from accepting combustible material, after an inspection concluded the site now complied with safety requirements.
  • The EPA has extended to September 4 the public comment period on an application by Recovered Energy Australia for works approval for a waste gasification plant that would process up to 200,000 tonnes of material annually.
  • Ten more councils will have an EPA-appointed Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) working with them, under an expansion of a pilot project that has already placed OPLEs with 11 councils.
  • Have your say!: Parks Victoria is inviting
    comments by September 29 on its plans to develop a land management strategy for the parks estate.
  • Have your say!: Comment closes September 30 on the draft Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations and a regulatory impact statement.

Tasmania:

  • The state government has signed the fourth iteration of the Derwent Estuary Program Partnership Agreement, which involves six councils, Nyrstar Hobart, Norske Skog Boyer, TasWater, TasPorts and Hydro Tasmania.

    The partnership's most recent Derwent report card shows that 120 tonnes of zinc is still entering the estuary each year through groundwater seepage from the Nyrstar site, down only marginally on 2013 levels.

  • Have your say!: Comments are due by October 7 on a draft waste plan that proposes the introduction of a waste levy (see background here).
  • Have your say!: Submissions are due by September 21 to a review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

South Australia:

  • Have your say!: The state government has invited comment by October 31 on its healthy Coorong action plan.

  • The Department of Energy and Mining has invited tenders to supply and deploy about 3,500 electricity smart meters in communities within the state's Remote Area Energy Supply zone.
  • The Department of Environment and Water has invited tenders to join a list of suppliers of waste management services for post-disaster clean-ups.

Western Australia:

  • The state government has unveiled a new policy on greenhouse gas conditions for major projects and set an aspirational 2050 target for the state of net zero emissions (see background here).

  • Energy Minister Bill Johnston yesterday praised Sandfire Resources in state Parliament for winning the Golden Gecko environmental excellence award for its DeGrussa mine solar project.
  • Grant opportunity: Applications close September 23 for grants of up to $250,000 under a $1.17 million funding round for waste and recycling infrastructure.
  • The state government is inviting applications by September 20 to join the state's independent Contaminated Sites Committee. Five committee positions will become vacant by the end of the year.
  • Abattoir operator Shark Lane Food Group has been fined $5,000 by a Magistrates' Court and ordered to pay $12,500 in costs for burying oil drums and rubbish at its premises near Esperance.
  • Have your say - last chance! Comment closes September 2 on an EPA background paper on greenhouse gas guidance (see background here).

Northern Territory:

  • Grant opportunity - last chance!: Applications close September 2 for a share in the Territory government's FY20 environment grants round, which will disburse about $930,000.

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

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