Environmental compliance news for business

Environment law and policy tracker

Thursday, 21 February 2019 4:00pm

Highlights include federal, Queensland and NT legislative developments, a new EPBC threat abatement plan, and a NSW grant scheme. Job listings include head of waste in Queensland and sustainability manager with APCO.

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Upcoming events:

  • National remediation framework roadshow A series of information sessions in capital cities, hosted by CRCCARE and running until February 28.
  • 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.
  • Energy – where to invest in 2019 Seminars in Sydney (March 5) and Melbourne (March 7) featuring Simon Currie and Simon Corbell from Energy Estate.
  • Climate change and the economy: RBA deputy-governor Dr Guy Debelle A March 12 evening seminar in Sydney, hosted by the Centre for Policy Development.
  • 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.


  • Businesses newly-certified as carbon neutral include Bank Australia and law firm Gilbert + Tobin, while Frasers Property in conjunction with tenant DHL has had a Sydney warehouse certified as a carbon neutral building.
  • Environment Minister Melissa Price today gazetted a threat abatement plan for Phytophthora (dieback), a rapidly-spreading plant disease caused by a root-rot fungus.
  • The Department of Environment and Energy has released new data on waste exports.
  • The Clean Energy Regulator has released new market data on the small-scale renewable energy scheme.
  • Australia will have a new industrial chemical assessment scheme and there will be a ban on animal-tested cosmetics from mid-2020, following the passage of legislation that was introduced to Parliament back in 2017 (see background here).
  • The COAG Energy Council has released two new consultation papers on ACCC energy pricing recommendations.
  • COAG Energy Council has also released a consultation paper on metrics to track progress against the strategic energy plan.
  • The Australian Academy of Science has released a report on its investigation into the mass fish kills in the Menindee region.
  • An alliance of farmers, plantation foresters and conservationists has briefed federal politicians on proposed new measures to boost investment in landscape restoration (see background here).
  • The ACCC has granted the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) authorisation to invite tenders for the processing of hard waste, valid until March 2033.
  • The ACCC has postponed by a week its decision on Bingo's proposed acquisition of fellow waste company Dial-a-Dump, and will now announce its findings on February 28.
  • 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).
  • New submissions to the Senate committee inquiry into 'fair dinkum power' are now available. The committee will report on June 30.
  • Applications must be made by April 1 for exemptions from liability for RET-related charges, which are available to emissions-intensive, trade-exposed businesses.


  • Disposing of waste to landfill in Queensland will cost more from July 1, serving as a deterrent to the dumping of waste from NSW, following passage of the government's waste levy bill (see background here).
  • Comment closes April 5 on the state's draft waste strategy (see background here).
  • The state government has launched a review of its environmental offsets policy (see background here).


  • Grant opportunity: The state government is inviting applications from this Friday for a share in first-round funding under its new $16 million manufacturing efficiency funding program (see background here).
  • NSW Labor has committed to running reverse auctions for 6GW of new renewable energy and establishing a NSW version of Queensland's CleanCo (see background here).
  • Planning & Environment has placed on exhibition the environmental impact statement for UPC's proposed $768 million, 720MW solar farm near Armidale (see background here).
  • Surveying company Monteath and Powys Pty Ltd has been fined $3,000 for providing a false and misleading information in a construction certificate for a Rawson Homes development that led to the destruction of koala habitat.
  • The Nature Conservancy Australia, in a joint venture with Tiverton Agriculture, has purchased the Juanbung and Boyong cattle stations in western NSW, along with their water rights, for $55 million. The deal is the most valuable private conservation-focussed purchase in Australia's history.
  • Last chance! Comment closes today on a draft revised bilateral agreement with the NSW government on environmental assessments (see background here).
  • Last chance! Comments are due by February 28 on the Greater Hunter regional water strategy, which looks at water security and drought risks.


  • Comment closes March 1 on proposals to subsidise the installation of ceiling and sub-floor insulation in homes through the ACT Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (see background here).


  • More than 20 councils in two states have been affected by an EPA Victoria order to suspend operations issued to recycler SKM (see background here).
  • Tribunal ruling: A tribunal has granted a permit for a $150 million, 140MW Esco Pacific solar farm, and has accepted Esco's arguments that a community fund should not be a consent condition (see background here).
  • Court ruling: A Magistrates Court has ordered Coliban Water to provide $100,000 for a waterways study by a Traditional Owners group, after it pleaded guilty to causing an environmental hazard (see background here).
  • EPA Victoria has granted approval for a trial project that will use brown coal to produce hydrogen, with the ultimate goal of exporting large volumes of the gas to Japan (see background here).
  • Moorabool Wind Farm Pty Ltd has applied to the Essential Services Commission for a generation licence and a related company has applied for a licence to sell electricity.
  • 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.


  • Last chance! Comment closes tomorrow on a new 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 and exporting to it (see background here).

South Australia:

  • Last chance! Comment closes tomorrow on a discussion paper that floats the possibility of new legislation to limit single-use plastics.
  • SA Water says a $304 million contract for 154MW of solar and 34MWh of energy storage will pay for itself in six years (see background here).
  • Green Industries has awarded a total of $2.5 million for nine recycling infrastructure projects.
  • SA Water has also invited tenders for a greenhouse gas inventory management system.
  • Comment closes March 1 on draft development assessment regulations.
  • Grant opportunity: Applications close February 28 for circular economy market development grants of up to $100,000.

Western Australia:

  • The state government has unveiled proposals for new land and marine parks that would increase Western Australia' conservation estate by 20%.
  • Environment Minister Stephen Dawson on February 19 told Parliament there were 59 cases of unlawful clearing of roadside vegetation over 2016 to 2018, but none resulted in penalties. "More appropriate enforcement tools" will be applied in future, he said.
  • The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will shortly release a draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy, Minister Dawson has told Parliament.

Northern Territory:

Jobs and appointments:

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