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Environment law and policy tracker

Highlights include a new WA EPA greenhouse gas policy, Safeguard Mechanism changes, and a Queensland water bill. Job listings include sustainability strategy group manager with Origin Energy.

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Upcoming events:

  • Climate risk: The need for action
    A March 13 two-hour seminar hosted by Norton Rose Fulbright, Point Advisory and the Future Business Council.

  • Brominated flame retardants in the environment
    A March 14 lunchtime lecture by RMIT environmental science lecturer, Bradley Clarke.
  • Transform: Leading a sustainable built environment
    A March 19 to 20 conference in Sydney, hosted by the Green Building Council.
  • Wind industry forum 2019
    A March 21 forum, hosted by the Clean Energy Council.
  • Inaugural hydrogen energy summit
    A March 26 to 27 conference in Melbourne, hosted by Informa.
  • National acid-sulfate soils guidance – identification and assessment
    A March 28 and 29 short course at the Gold Coast campus of Southern Cross University.
  • Environment management short course
    An April 3 and 4 short course in Melbourne, hosted by the Australian Environment Business Network.
  • 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.

National:

  • Australia's accounting standards agency has released world-first advice on the materiality of climate risk in financial statements (see background here).

  • Statutory change: The federal government has introduced major changes to 'Safeguard Mechanism' rules that will allow companies to automatically emit more greenhouse gas if their production expands (see background here).
  • Have your say!: The federal government plans to tighten rules for earning carbon credits from vegetation-based Emissions Reduction Fund projects, with comment closing March 14 (see background here).
  • CDP has released its latest annual report on the sustainability performance and disclosure practices of large companies in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Scientists and energy market experts have signed a joint statement warning that the government is not on track to meet its 2030 emissions targets.
  • Have your say!: The environment department has released a draft EPBC Act recovery plan for the swift parrot and for several macadamia species.
  • The Greens have proposed a federal bill that would adopt EU single-use plastic bans and give legislative force to voluntary waste targets (see background here).
  • The Australian Energy Regulator has released a draft Generator notice of closure exemption guideline, with comments due by April 5.
  • The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation has released the latest status of Australian fish stocks reports.
  • The ACCC is seeking comment by March 22 on how best to allow consumers to access their energy data.
  • Have your say!: Comment is invited by March 20 on Equinor's proposed environmental plan by for drilling in the Great Australian Bight.
  • Have your say!: Comment closes March 28 on Australia's proposed national hydrogen strategy.
  • Have your say!: Comment closes March 21 on the Australian Energy Market Commission's draft determination on proposed changes to the 'RERT' grid safety-net scheme (see background here).
  • 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.

Queensland:

  • Statutory change: Proponents will have to buy water quality offsets if their developments increase sediment or nutrient levels in Great Barrier Reef catchments, under a new Queensland bill (see background here).

  • The state government has finalised terms of reference for the Environmental Impact Statement for the Gladstone coal-to-ammonia project (see background here).
  • Have your say!: Comment closes April 5 on the state's draft waste strategy (see background here).
  • Have your say!: The state government has launched a review of its environmental offsets policy (see background here).

NSW:

  • The EPA has published the final version of a high-level state circular economy statement and a supporting discussion paper.

  • NSW Labor has pledged to introduce a new climate law and legislated renewables targets (see background here).
  • Planning & Environment has placed on exhibition the remediation project for the former Clyde refinery site.
  • Plains SF No1 Pty Ltd, the proponent of the Hay solar farm, has applied to modify development approval for the project so it can also install a battery energy storage system.
  • 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).
  • Have your say!: Comment closes March 23 on the EIS for geotechnical works for the Shoalhaven hydro expansion project.

Victoria:

  • Draft consolidated environmental regulations to support Victoria's new environment law will be released for comment in July, according to EPA chief executive Dr Cathy Wilkinson (see background here).

  • The Victorian government has changed state planning rules to ensure planning permits will now be required for the power lines that connect new renewable energy projects to the grid (see background here).
  • The EPA has released an updated guide on assessing and controlling risk.
  • The EPA has ordered Bendigo-based recycler Hopley to suspend its acceptance of combustible recyclables.
  • Have your say!: The state government is seeking comment by March 18 on regional bushfire management strategies.
  • The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council has made public submissions to its inquiry into the state's central west.
  • 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.
  • Grant opportunity: The state government is offering community climate change adaptation grants of between $25,000 and $75,000, with applications closing March 31.

South Australia:

  • The EPA will soon start testing for hazardous soil vapour near a former factory in the Adelaide suburb of Albert Park.

  • The state government has provided $60,000 to the University of Adelaide to investigate whether smoke from stubble-burning in the grains industry has any effect on wine grapes.
  • 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:

  • Large emitters will be expected to offset all their direct greenhouse gas emissions, under new Western Australian EPA requirements (see background here).

  • The state's waste levy will not rise in FY20, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has announced. However, rates for subsequent years will be reviewed, in line with a commitment in the state's waste strategy (see background here).
  • Award opportunity Applications close April 29 for the state government's Golden Gecko environmental awards for resource companies.
  • Grant opportunity: Grants of up to $300,000 are available to non-profit groups for individual projects that help manage the Western Australian coastline.

Jobs and appointments:

Federal, NSW, NT, Queensland, SA, Victoria, WA, Tracker, Carbon law, policy/NGER

Compliance news by jurisdiction

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