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Environment law and policy tracker

Thursday, 07 February 2019 3:42pm

Highlights include two Senate inquiry reports, a draft AEMC determination, two Queensland regulations, and proposed changes to the ACT energy efficiency scheme. Job listings include EPA Victoria director of policy and regulation.

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Upcoming events:

  • 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.
  • Frontiers in environmental law colloquium A February 14 conference in Brisbane, hosted by QUT Faculty of Law.
  • Extractive industry guideline information A February 14 Victorian government information sessions on the new guideline, to be held in Ballarat.
  • Australia: The renewable energy superstar A February 14 evening seminar in Canberra, hosted by the ANU.
  • 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.
  • Circular economy seminar A February 25 seminar in Melbourne, hosted by the Yarra Riverkeeper Association, with speakers including Andrew Sellic, head of environment at Australia Post.
  • Energy and climate policy: Shadow climate minister Mark Butler A February 25 address in Melbourne, hosted by CEDA.
  • Fire-fighting foams – controversy, concerns, carbon chains and controls A February 25 seminar in Perth, hosted by the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • The Australian Energy Market Commission has released a draft determination on proposed changes to the 'RERT' grid safety-net scheme (see background here).
  • Federal, state and territory energy ministers have for the first time set a long-term goal of ensuring that new buildings are 'zero-energy and zero-carbon ready' (see background here).
  • Coalition and Labor senators have rejected a bill that would have provided landlords with a tax offset if they upgrade homes rented to people on low-incomes, in a new Senate committee report (see background here).
  • Labor and the Coalition have backed the approach taken by Australia's agvet chemicals regulator towards reviewing the safety of Glyphosate, a widely-used herbicide (see background here).
  • A South Australian Royal Commission has accused the Murray-Darling Basin Authority of unlawfully ignoring climate change and recommended more water buybacks for the environment (see background here).
  • An energy efficiency upgrade at Australia's largest aluminium smelter is the latest project approved by the Clean Energy Regulator to earn carbon credits (see background here).
  • The Energy Security Board expects to release the full set of rules for the Retailer Reliability Obligation on March 8, for a four-week consultation period.
  • The federal government aims to have a new energy efficiency advice service for small business up and running by late March, new tender documents reveal (see background here).
  • The federal government has released terms of reference for its independent panel that is investigating the death of hundreds of thousands of fish in the lower Darling River over the last two months. Labor is separately seeking expert advice from the Australian Academy of Science.
  • Submissions are due by February 15 to the Senate committee inquiry into 'fair dinkum power'. The committee will report on June 30.
  • The Clean Energy Regulator has called for applications to receive 2019 exemptions from liability for RET-related charges. Applications must be made by April 1.
  • The Department of Health is inviting comment on a proposed multi-state trial of genetically-modified wheat.
  • Comment closes February 20 on draft agvet regulations.
  • Applications for certification to the Energy Efficiency Council's certification scheme are due by February 13.



  • The NSW EPA has left unchanged the licences for Eraring, Mount Piper and Vales Point coal-fired power stations, prompting criticism from environmental campaigners (see background here).
  • Planning & Environment has released the environmental impact statement for a proposal by Viva Energy to remediate the former Clyde oil refinery.
  • The EPA has gazetted a protocol for calculating money to be recouped from polluters, as part of court-imposed penalties (see background here).
  • Comment closes February 21 on a draft revised bilateral agreement with the NSW government on environmental assessments (see background here).
  • The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has released its final report on cost-sharing arrangements between rural water users and the state government.
  • The EPA, in conjunction with the police and Roads & Maritime Services, has concluded a month-long operation to disrupt the illegal transport of waste.
  • The deadline for submissions to the state government's review of private native forestry rules has been extended to February 15.
  • 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 installation of ceiling and sub-floor insulation in Canberra homes would be subsidised through the ACT Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme, under new proposals (see background here).


  • The state government will this month receive advice on interim emissions targets from a panel led by former federal climate change minister Greg Combet, and must make the advice public within 10 sitting days (see background here).
  • EPA Victoria has started the process of seizing a property once used to stockpile tyres, after a company ignored a court order to pay it $4.5 million (see background here).
  • Comment closes February 19 on RES Australia's application for a generation licence for its 220MW Lal Lal wind farm.
  • The annual report of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability is now available.
  • Award opportunity: Nominations are now open for the 2019 ResourceSmart schools awards.
  • 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).
  • Grant opportunity: The state government is offering community climate change adaptation grants of between $25,000 and $75,000, with applications closing March 31.


  • A new biodiversity bill would establish a general biosecurity duty of care for businesses and individuals dealing with biological material that might pose a biosecurity risk, which would apply to companies in the state or exporting to it (see background here).

South Australia:

Western Australia:

  • The state government has released a draft management plan for wheatbelt region parks and reserves.
  • The EPA has invited public comment on whether it should assess a proposal by Wasterock Pty Ltd and Hazelland Pty Ltd to remediate a former landfill in Hazelmere.

Northern Territory:

  • Former renewables minister Dale Wakefield now has a much broader portfolio of energy policy, encompassing renewables, climate change, gas policy and the transition to a lower carbon economy.
  • Comments are due by February 22 on the EPA's draft guidance on stakeholder engagement (see background here).
  • Comments are due by March 31 on a directions paper on reforms to the Water Act.

Jobs and appointments:

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