Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your browser


Bulletin | April 2013

The NELA Bulletin is the monthly bulletin of the National Environmental Law Association (NELA) and is published on the first Thursday of each month. Contributions to future issues of the NELA Bulletin are welcome and should be emailed to the editor by 5pm AEDST on the last Thursday of each month.

Join us
Follow us

This Month

NELA news and events
01. From The President
02. NELA National Conference: Delivering a Low Carbon Future
03. NELA in the news
04. NELA’s Lindsey Pheloung-Beck wins Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year
05. NELA’s 2012 National Environmental Law Essay Prize
06. NELA submissions

Law and policy developments
In the courts

08. In the legislature
09. Policy developments

News and events from NELA’s partners
10. Legalwise Seminars
11. Resource Management Law Association (RMLA) (NZ)

Other events
12.(WA) International Association of Hydrogeologists Annual Congress 2013
13. (NSW, NT, QLD) Australian Wild Law Alliance (AWLA) – upcoming events
14.(UK) Wildlife, Wilderness and Wild Law weekend
15. (NZ) 11th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium
16. (UK) 25th Anniversary UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) Conference
17. (UK) Garner Lecture 2013: The Common Laws of the Environment: At home and abroad
18. (Fiji) 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas

19. Opportunities for Comment
20. Roles
21. Other

NELA news and events

From the President

Thanks for all the enthusiastic feedback on our joint international newsletter with the UKELA, American Bar Association and the Canadian Bar Association. We have had lots of offers for the next edition already.

The NELA Executive enjoyed a rare face to face meeting on 6 March in Melbourne and did some great work on upgrading membership services and setting strategic priorities for the next three years.

We decided to make the National Environmental Law Review an electronic publication from now on, so you’ll no longer receive a printed hard copy in the mail. The decision brings NELA into the 21st century, making the journal easier to read and saving NELA over $20,000 a year in printing bills and postage. Editor Hanna Jaireth looks forward to hearing your feedback on the next edition in April 2013.

We’re also upgrading the NELA website with newsfeeds, updates on current developments and NELA’s policy work and clearer links to our partner organizations. Members will be able share information and opinions among themselves and update their personal records. Annaleen Harris, NELA’s webmaster, will be working with the team at PAMS (NELA’s secretariat) to deliver these exciting new features over the coming months.


NELA national conference: delivering a low carbon future


Anyone who attended the biennial NELA 2013 national conference earlier this month already knows it was a great success. An outstanding program kept participants highly engaged including Attorney General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC, who stayed on after giving the opening address to hear keynote speaker Professor Michael Gerrard by video link from New York, joining him afterwards to take questions from the floor. President Anote Tong of Kiribati gave an unforgettable speech to the conference dinner about what he and his people are doing in the face of inundation from sea level rise.

We’ve had a lot of enthusiastic feedback and clearly it’s re-energized our members and impressed our friends.

NELA’s Queensland division has grabbed the chance to host the next one. If you’d like to join the organizing committee please please send us an email.

Information about conference papers, presentations and audio files is available on the
conference website.


NELA in the news

The NELA conference received some great media coverage. An opinion piece by Andrew Herrington in the Climate Spectator provides commentary on the debate session chaired by Jon Faine on the government’s role in climate policy and C+E Daily and Environmental Manager had extensive coverage of the opening address and the session that debated the role of state governments in delivering clean energy under a carbon price, which was chaired by John Thwaites.

The Grattan Institute has full video coverage of Energy Program Director Tony Wood’s speech on why climate change policy cannot be made by evangelists or by commercial vested interests but by policy makers committed to a long-term, low-emissions future.


NELA’s Lindsey Pheloung-Beck wins Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year

Congratulations to NELA national executive member Lindsey Pheloung-Beck who was awarded the 2013 Mahla Pearlman Australian Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year. The award was presented at the 2nd Annual Mahla Pearlman Oration at the NSW State Library on 14 March 2013.
The Australian Environment and Planning Law Group of the Law Council's Legal Practice Section presents the award to a young practising barrister or solicitor who has made a significant contribution to environmental law and who has undertaken extra work which gives back to the legal community as well as to the community at large.

Lindsey is an associate lawyer in the Environment, Planning and Regulatory team at Squire Sanders in Perth. She received the award for her significant contribution to environmental law as a volunteer at the Environmental Defenders Office in WA, her involvement with NELA WA since 2004 (including as president for the past 2 years) and as a guest lecturer at Murdoch University on Environmental, Sustainability and Climate Change Law.

Lindsey completed a Bachelor of Laws with first class honours and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at Murdoch University in 2006. She joined Minter Ellison Perth (which joined international firm Squire Sanders in 2011) in 2007.

Lindsey practices in environmental law, planning, government and land access law.  She advises corporate and statutory bodies on environmental compliance and reporting requirements at State and Federal levels, environmental litigation and strategic planning. Lindsey also provides advice on land access matters, assisting clients to obtain necessary land tenure and advising on compulsory land acquisition matters.

Lindsey has also worked at the WA Department of Environment and Conservation in the Strategic Policy Branch in 2011 and at the Office of the Appeal Convenor (which reviews appeals and provides recommendations to the Minister for Environment) in 2012.


NELA’s 2012 National Environmental Law Essay Prize

Ms Meg Good, PhD candidate in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tasmania, has been announced the winner of the NELA Environmental Law Essay Competition 2012 and was awarded her prize of free NELA membership for one year and $1000 at the recent NELA conference.

An edited version of Ms Good’s essay “The River as a Legal Person: Evaluating the Benefits of Nature Rights Approaches to Environmental Protection in the Context of Water Management in Australia” will be published in the National Environmental Law Review.

Ms Anna Davies, also at the University of Tasmania, was highly commended for her competition entry on policy and regulatory responses to the alleged adverse health effects of wind farms in Australia. Ms Laura Ansell, University of NSW, also submitted an outstanding entry on the need for climate change adaptation policies to include a planned retreat from the shoreline. These entries will also be published in the NELR.

For photos of the awards ceremony and information on the 2013 NELA Essay Prize visit the website.


NELA submissions

NELA has been invited to prepare a submission for the Senate inquiry into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013.

Submissions are due by 15 April 2013. If you would like to contribute to this submission, please contact us immediately. Final submissions will be posted on the NELA website.

back to top


Law and policy developments

In the courts


Coca-Cola Amatil (Aust) Pty Ltd v Northern Territory of Australia [2013] FCA 154 – Coca-Cola Amatil, Schweppes, and Lion argued provisions of the Northern Territory government’s container deposit scheme, established under Territory legislation, are invalid because they conflict with Commonwealth law promoting the freedom of movement of goods and service providers in a national market in Australia.

The Court found that the disputed provisions of the scheme do conflict with Commonwealth law and so are invalid. The Court held that the scheme was restricting the sale of the beverages, not the containers that carried them, and ordered that from 4 January 2013 beverages in regulated containers which are produced in, or imported into, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria or Western Australia may lawfully be sold in the Northern Territory without being in the scheme’s approved container.


New South Wales

Lester v NSW Minister for Planning and Ashton Coal Operations Pty Ltd [2013] NSWCA 45 - Land and Environment Court refused Mr Lester's appeal against Minister's approval of a modification of a coal mining operation approval under former Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. On appeal, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, finding that the category of documents specified to be publicly available for modifications under Part 3A does not specifically include the environmental assessment (EA), in other words, the EA was not part of the request for modification and therefore not required to be made publicly available.

The Court found that if a document is not able to be viewed on the website when accessed, it is not made "publicly available" – however, even if there was a requirement for the EA and appendices to be publicly available in relation to modification applications, failure to comply with this requirement would not amount to invalidity.


In the legislature


Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013 – amends Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to establish a new matter of national environmental significance for coal seam gas and large coal mining developments likely to have a significant impact on a water resource; creates relevant offences and penalties.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Great Barrier Reef) Bill 2013 –  implements key recommendations of the World Heritage Committee to ensure the Great Barrier Reef is not added to the “world heritage in danger” list.


New South Wales

Transforming NSW Energy Sector (Towards 100 percent Renewables) Bill 2013 (notice only) – notice given of intention to introduce Bill requiring NSW Government to take steps towards reducing the State’s coal-fired power stations with renewable energy, among other things.

Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment (Pink-eared Ducks) Bill 2013 – this Bill will amend the the Game and Feral Animal Control Further Amendment Act 2012 (which will allow certain species of native bird to be killed by licensed game hunters on private land under a native game bird management licence) to remove pink-eared ducks from the list of native birds allowed to be killed under such a licence.



Water and Sewerage Corporation Act 2012 – provides for the establishment of the Tasmanian Water and Sewerage Corporation and for the transfer to that Corporation of the assets and liabilities of the four corporations established under the Water and Sewerage Corporations Act 2008. All provisions, except section 44 and Schedule 2, commenced 1 March 2013; section 44 and Schedule 2 commence 1 July 2013.


Policy developments


Productivity Commission report: Barriers to Effective Climate Change Adaptation

The Productivity Commission released its report of this inquiry on 14 March 2013. It concludes that some policy and regulatory barriers to adaptation responses to climate change exist, and suggests some potential for government action both to help communities deal with current climate variability and extreme weather events as well as building capacity to respond to future climate impacts. Further information about the inquiry, including the final report, can be found here.


New South Wales

State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007

The NSW government has released draft amendments to this policy, which would have the effect of prohibiting future coal seam gas development on or under land in and within 2km of a residential zone or future identified residential growth areas; and on or under certain land which is being used for critical industry.

The draft amendment is currently out on exhibition; for more information, see the Opportunities for comment section of this Bulletin.

back to top


News and events from NELA’s partners

Legalwise Seminars
All Legalwise seminars are CPD accredited and NELA members receive a 10% discount. The following upcoming seminar may be of interest to NELA members:

(QLD) Water Approvals in the Resources Sector – 13 June 2013

For more information about this seminar, click here.


Resource Management Law Association (RMLA) (NZ)

Freshwater Reform 2013 and Beyond

The New Zealand Ministry for the Environment is calling for feedback on its discussion paper “Freshwater reform 2013 and beyond”.

Further information is available here.

Submissions are due by 5pm New Zealand time on 8 April 2013.


Resource Management Law Association Conference 2013: Black and White Gold – Does it all Glitter?

When: 26-28 September 2013
Where: New Plymouth International Quality Hotel and Conference Centre

RMLA’s annual conference will continue the quest to reconcile economic opportunity and environmental protection using two industries of central relevance to the Taranaki Region, petroleum and dairy, as case studies.

RMLA is currently calling for contributions to their conference in the form of 250-300 word abstracts. Click here for more information about the conference and the contribution process.

back to top


Other events

((WA) International Association of Hydrogeologists Annual Congress 2013
The management of groundwater resources and associated environmental consequences are increasingly important national and international issues that raise questions about groundwater governance.  This Congress will include an invaluable opportunity to discuss groundwater governance.

When: 15–20 September 2013
Where: Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Western Australia

Abstracts were due 29 March 2013, with selected authors to be notified 13 May. For more information about the groundwater governance session(s), please email Alex Gardner before 15 April 2013; or for more information about the conference generally, click here


(NSW, NT, QLD) Australian Wild Law Alliance (AWLA) – upcoming events
The Australian Wild Law Alliance will hold a series of Wild Law seminars and workshops in Sydney in May 2013 and further events in Darwin and Brisbane. Wild Law is a legal theory and social movement which proposes that we rethink our legal, political, economic, and governance systems so that they support, rather than undermine, the integrity and health of the Earth.

For more information about each event, or to RSVP, please click here.


(UK) Wildlife, Wilderness and Wild Law weekend

When: 24–27 May 2013
Where: Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in Scotland

There are still some places available for this weekend. Click here for more detail about the weekend including costs and accommodation and to book your place.



(NZ) 11th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium


 The 11th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium will be held on 24–28 June 2013 at the Academy of Performing Arts, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Visit the Colloquium website to view the Colloquium programme, register an interest in attending the Colloquium or to file an abstract online.

This event is proudly supported by NELA.


(UK) 25th Anniversary UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) Conference
The Next 25 Years: The future for environmental law

This upcoming UKELA conference includes a number of international speakers including Professor Jonas Ebbesson (Chair of the Aarhus Compliance Committee), Sibylle Grohs (Compliance Promotion, Governance and Legal Issues, DG Environment, European Commission) and Jeffrey Gracer (Principal, Sive Paget & Riesel; Chair of the New York Bar Environmental Law Committee).

When: 12–14 July 2013
Where: Cambridge University, UK

There will be discussions involving practitioners and breakout sessions including biodiversity; sustainable development; climate change mitigation in China; marine management and costs in environmental cases.

For more information or to register, please click here. NELA members may be eligible for a discount on the full residential package; to learn more about this discount, please contact us.


(UK) Garner Lecture 2013: The Common Laws of the Environment: At home and abroad
Lord Carnwath JSC, who is the President of UKELA and the Planning and Environment Bar Association, is giving this year’s Garner lecture.

When: 6pm, 19 November 2013
Where: To be confirmed

The lecture is being held as a partnership with the Journal of Environmental Law and videolinks will be available. Please note the date in your diary. Bookings will open in September.


(Fiji) 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas
Natural Solutions: Building Resilience for a Changing Pacific

Registrations are now open for this conference.

When: 2 – 6 December 2013
Where: University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji

For more information or to register, please click here.

back to top



Opportunities for Comment


Auditor General's reports on Tasmanian Forestry Grants Programs
The Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport has begun an inquiry into the Auditor General's reports on Tasmanian Forests Grants Programs.

Submissions will be accepted until 9 April 2013

For more information about the inquiry or to make a submission, click here.


New South Wales

Draft State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) Amendment (Coal Seam Gas Exclusion Zones) 2013.

A draft amendment to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007 is currently out on exhibition. The amendment would prohibit coal seam gas development on certain land, although local councils could choose to be exempt from this prohibition.

Submissions will be accepted until 12 April 2013.

For more information or to make a submission, click here.


Draft NSW Energy from Waste Policy Statement

The NSW Environment Protection Authority invites submissions on its draft Energy from Waste Policy Statement. The policy takes a two-tiered approach to the safe and sustainable recovery of energy from parts of the waste stream, with the first tier involving the use and combustion of certain waste and the second the use of residual waste from recycling operations in purpose-built energy recovery facilities rather than landfill.

Submissions will be accepted until 3 May 2013.

For more information or to make a submission, click here.


South Australia

Revision of Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2003

Consultation on the South Australian Environment Protection Authority’s revised draft Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2003 has commenced.

Submissions are being accepted until 5 April 2013.

For more information or to make a submission, click here.


Lake Bonney SE – report of the consultation and community’s aspirational values

The EPA is continuing its community consultation regarding Lake Bonney SE, a large coastal freshwater lake located approximately 40km west of Mt Gambier. Since the 1950s, the lake has been compromised by various polluting activities such as discharges from a wastewater treatment plant, a pulp mill and paper manufacturing industry, as well as dairying and irrigated horticulture within the catchment area. Water quality remains poor in the lake, although it is reportedly improving.

Submissions are being accepted until 30 April 2013.

For a copy of the report, or to make a submission, click here.



Principal Lawyer and CEO—Environmental Defenders Office (NT) Inc

The Northern Territory Environmental Defenders Office is seeking a Principal Lawyer and CEO. For more information, including selection criteria and salary, click here.

Applications close at 5pm CST on 12 April 2013.


Volunteer contributors—NELA Bulletin

NELA seeks volunteers to contribute to the law and policy developments section of the NELA Bulletin for all States and Territories except NSW, and for the Commonwealth. Estimated time commitment is around 1-2 hours a month.

Please contact Ellen Geraghty by email or mobile 0407 459 490 for more information.



2013 Stormwater NSW Conference – abstracts sought

Abstracts are currently sought for presentations addressing policy, strategy, regulation, planning and reporting, among other things, in relation to stormwater for the 2013 Stormwater NSW Conference. The conference will be held at the Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains in Leura from 17-19 September, 2013.

Abstracts may be submitted until 19 April 2013.

For more information or to submit an abstract, click here.


Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year and Young Environmentalist of the Year

Nominations are now open for the Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year and Young Environmentalist of the Year awards as well as a number of other awards for the 2013 United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Awards.

Nominations for the Prime Minister’s awards close on 22 April 2013; nominations for all other awards close on 1 May 2013. For more information or to make a nomination, click here.



The IUCN has extended its deadline for membership applications to 26 April 2013.

IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

For more information, click here.


Peter Cullen Trust Science to Policy Leadership Program 2013

Applications are now open for the Peter Cullen Trust’s 2013 Science to Policy Leadership Program.

Closing dates for applications are 5pm, 30 April 2013 for Trust-funded applicants and 5pm, 1 July 2013 for employer-funded applicants.

For more information or to apply for this program, click here.


IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016: expressions of interest sought

The IUCN seeks expressions of interest from State and Government Agency Members to host the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016.

The deadline for expressions of interest has been extended to 15 May 2013 with full bidding documents due 12 September 2013.

For more information, please click here.

back to top