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Bulletin | July 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 AEST on the last Thursday of each month.


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This Month


NELA news and events
01. From the President
02. Delivering a Low Carbon Future: special edition of the Environment and Planning Law Journal
03. NELA 2013 Environmental Law Essay Competition
04. Save the date! 2013 NELA WA Annual State Conference
05. NELA Twitter feed

Law and policy developments
06.
In the courts

07. In the legislature
08. Policy developments

News and events from NELA’s partners
09. (Aus) Building the Capacity of Australia's Professionals to Respond to Climate Change
10. (NZ) Resource Management Law Association Conference 2013
11. Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) Annual Conference 2013

Other events
12. (UK) 25th Anniversary UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) Conference
13. (NSW) Environment and Planning Law Association NSW together with Sustainable
      Business Australia - Special Information Forum

14. (Aus – various locations) Legalwise Seminars
15. (SA) Environmental Defenders Office Planning Seminar – advance notice
16. (Aus – various locations) Australian Wild Law Alliance (AWLA) – upcoming events
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

Opportunities
19. Opportunities for comment
20. Roles
21. Other

NELA news and events

From the President

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Environment and climate change law in Australia has rarely been so dynamic. The new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants to promptly drop the fixed carbon price under the carbon tax and replace it with a market based floating price. The move would cost the government millions of dollars in revenue but offer a stark contrast with the Coalition’s Direct Action policy at the election. In international developments last month China commenced its first carbon trading scheme with a cap on emissions, and the US announced regulations to cut carbon emissions from power plants and support for renewable energy.

Environment and climate change law in Australia has rarely been so dynamic. The new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants to promptly drop the fixed carbon price under the carbon tax and replace it with a market based floating price. The move would cost the government millions of dollars in revenue but offer a stark contrast with the Coalition’s Direct Action policy at the election. In international developments last month China commenced its first carbon trading scheme with a cap on emissions, and the US announced regulations to cut carbon emissions from power plants and support for renewable energy.

In the past few months Queensland, NSW and Victoria amended their native vegetation clearing controls significantly easing restrictions on clearing, all in the name of reducing red tape. In contrast, the Clean Energy Regulator has now approved eight methodologies for carbon sequestration from revegetation, reforestation, and avoided deforestation, with three more proposals being assessed.

While few projects have actually produced carbon credits using these methodologies as yet, the building blocks are in place for investors to profit from avoiding clearing and reforesting land.

The waste management industry is facing new challenges with carbon tax liabilities and carbon credit opportunities - most carbon credits issued so far have been from avoided emissions from capturing methane in landfill.

And I haven’t even mentioned environmental impact assessment, mining, wind farms, climate change adaptation or oceans policy.

There’s never been a better time to be a member of the National Environmental Law Association.

Amanda Cornwall

 

Delivering a Low Carbon Future: special edition of the Environment and Planning Law Journal

NELA is pleased to present a special edition of the Environment and Planning Law Journal with selected papers from the NELA national conference held in Melbourne on 7-8 March 2013.

The special edition brings together an outstanding group of authors who present international perspectives on climate change and energy law from New Zealand, China, the UK and USA, countries that are particularly pertinent to the Australian situation. It also provides a state court perspective on our federal system of environment protection and sustainability laws.

NELA jointly edited the journal with the Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law at Melbourne Law School, a conference partner and sponsor.

Conference delegates will receive the special edition for free during July. If you didn’t attend the conference you can subscribe to the journal or purchase individual articles here.

 

NELA 2013 Environmental Law Essay Competition

The NELA 2013 Environmental Law Essay Competition is now open!

This year's theme is "If it's worth protecting then it's worth protecting well", and the prize is $1000 in cash, a 12 month NELA membership, and publication of your paper in the National Environmental
Law Review
.

Entry is open to any undergraduate or postgraduate student enrolled at an Australian tertiary institution and the deadline for entries is 5pm, 8 November 2013.

Please spread word about the competition. A copy of the flyer is available in PDF here.

The competition guidelines are available here.

 

Save the date! 2013 NELA WA Annual State Conference

The 2013 NELA WA Annual State Conference will be held on 11 October 2013 at the Parmelia Hilton Perth. The conference theme is water law. More details will be provided as they become available.

 

NELA Twitter feed

NELA’s Twitter feed is now really up and running! Follow us for law and policy updates, events, news, job opportunities, resources and more throughout the month.

 

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Law and policy developments

In the courts

New South Wales

Wollondilly Shire Council v Foxman Environmental Development Services Pty Ltd (No 5); Foxman Environmental Development Services Pty Ltd v Wollondilly Shire Council [2013] NSWLEC 68

A waste disposal and storage company which unlawfully deposited waste material in part contaminated with asbestos and lead as fill on land on which its director was undertaking residential development has been ordered to remove the waste material. The company was also ordered to carry out remedial work on the land including revegetation, rehabilitation, and erosion control.

Wollondilly Shire Council argued that the waste on the land was causing pollution to both the land and local waterways, and that the development consent relating to the land did not authorise the landfill activities. The Court declared that the land could not be used as a waste facility without the required development consent or permission from the EPA, and that the development consent on the land did not permit the landfill operation.

 

Arnold v Minister Administering the Water Management Act 2000 (No 6) [2013] NSWLEC 73

In this judicial review, 113 farmers challenged the lawfulness of the Water Sharing Plan for Lower Murray Groundwater Source (the Plan), made under s 50 of the Water Management Act 2000, and the consequential Water Management (General) Amendment (Lower Murray) Regulation 2006. The effect of the Plan is to substantially reduce the former water extraction entitlements of farmer licence holders. 

The Plan was challenged on the basis of science, socio-economic issues and form. In reaching its decision, the Court considered:

  • whether the Minister failed to consider a sound and reliable hydrogeological numeric model to calculate sustainable use and recharge, 
  • whether the Plan's adoption of a specified extraction limit was irrational or manifestly unreasonable because the hydrogeological model on which it was based was fundamentally flawed, 
  • whether the Minister was under a duty to have regard to socio-economic impacts,
  • whether that duty had been breached by not assessing socio-economic impacts in a formal study or at the farm-by-farm level, and
  • whether the Plan was bad in form.

The admissibility of expert evidence in judicial review proceedings was also considered.

The Court held that the Minister had had regard to mandatory matters including water management principles, sustainable yield and recharge and had due regard to socio-economic impacts and water sharing principles, that the form of the Plan was not defective and that expert evidence was admissible only in relation to the irrationality or manifest unreasonableness ground.

 

Victoria

Cherry Tree Wind Farm Pty Ltd v Mitchell Shire Council (Red dot) [2013] VCAT 521

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is in the process of dealing with a proposal for a 16 turbine wind energy facility in the Cherry Tree Ranges, north of Melbourne. The proposal has been very contentious and to date has occupied 19 hearing days.

Current planning controls for wind farms in Victoria require the proponent to obtain the consent of the owner of any ‘existing dwelling’ within two kilometres of the project site, at the time the permit application was lodged. The Tribunal was required to make a preliminary ruling whether for the purposes of this requirement any such ‘existing dwelling’ existed for this application, which it found in the negative. Another key issue was the objection raised that the likely sound pressure emissions from the wind farm would cause human health problems in the surrounding locality.

The Tribunal has issued an interim decision, to enable it to consider further submissions and public report information on this ‘health’ issue.  The matter is due to return for a Directions hearing before the Tribunal in September 2013. 

This interim decision is significant for environmental practitioners given the public debate about the human health implications of wind farms, and in terms of the operation of the ‘two kilometre rule’ in the Victorian wind farm regulatory regime.

 

In the legislature

Commonwealth

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Act 2013

This Act amends the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) 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 and creates relevant offences and penalties. Assented to on 21 June 2013.

 

Coral Sea Commonwealth Maritime Reserve Network Management Plan 2014-24 – parliamentary disallowance motion fails

On 4 June the Federal Opposition introduced a disallowance motion into Parliament that attempted to prevent the adoption of management plans for six Commonwealth marine park zones, which would have prevented their full operation. The Opposition stated that the management plans were challenged because in their opinion the process for developing marine parks regulation did not consult widely enough nor was it scientifically rigorous. These claims were refuted by the Government.

The motion was lost 71-70 after two independent MPs sided with the Government to vote it down. The failure of the disallowance motion means that the management plans will now come into force, allowing the Commonwealth marine parks network to be fully established and operational. 

 

Queensland

Protection of Prime Agricultural Land and Other Land from Coal Seam Gas Bill 2013

The objective of this Bill is to protect prime agricultural land from coal seam gas (CSG) and mining activities to ensure the sustainability of the agricultural industry and food security in Queensland.
The Bill seeks to specifically exclude CSG and mining activities from designated areas which have been identified as prime agricultural land, including by:

  • prohibiting all CSG and exploration mining activities on land east of the Condamine River from Chinchilla to the New South Wales Border and from the Longitudinal line running directly through the Chinchilla Post Office east to the coast; and
  • protecting areas of identified prime agricultural land as “potential strategic cropping land”  under the Strategic Cropping Land Act 2011

This Bill was introduced to Parliament on 7 June 2013 and has now been referred to the Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee (the Committee) for examination and report.

 

Policy developments

Commonwealth

Inquiry into Australia’s biodiversity in a changing climate

The inquiry of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Environment and the Arts into Australia’s biodiversity in the face of a changing climate tabled its final report, Managing Australia’s biodiversity in a changing climate: the way forward, in the House on 17 June.

Under its terms of reference, the inquiry was to have particular regard to, among other things, an assessment of whether current governance arrangements are well placed to deal with the challenges of conserving biodiversity in a changing climate. The inquiry made a number of recommendations, including the referral of an exposure draft of an EPBC Act amendment Bill to the Committee and the establishment of an expert panel to report on options for Australia’s future integrated forest management. The Government’s reponse to the report is pending.

The final report can be accessed here.

 

Great Barrier Reef avoids an ‘in danger’ listing by World Heritage Committee, for now

The United Nations’ World Heritage Committee has shelved plans to place Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on its ‘in danger’ list at this year’s meeting, although it has left the door open to it being listed next year should there not be “substantial progress” in implementing key requests by the Committee.

The full text of the Committee’s decision can be found here.

 

New South Wales

Review of native vegetation regulations

The NSW Government will implement all 40 of the recommendations contained in an independent report on native vegetation management, undertaken as part of the review of the regulations under the Native Vegetation Act 2003.

The resulting arrangements will:

  • let farmers clear paddock trees, manage invasive native species and thin native vegetation using self-assessable codes, saving farmers time waiting for approval,
  • deliver faster and simpler assessment of property vegetation plans through a revised Environmental Outcomes Assessment Methodology,
  • adopt a state-wide list of invasive native species allowing a common sense and equitable approach to management,
  • stop the deterioration of native  pastures, allowing the sustainable management of native grass species under a new exemption, and
  • eliminate the dual-consent problem by eliminating the need for a property vegetation plan where landholders have development consent.

The new regulations will be supported and implemented by Local Land Services and an ongoing compliance and enforcement regime to prevent illegal clearing.

Further information about the review of this regulation is available here.

 

Review of NSW waste and environment levy

The NSW Government has been conducting an independent review into the operation of the waste and environment levy. A final report has recently been released and contains 17 recommendations to improve the waste levy, drive greater recycling and better align future waste levy funding to stimulate infrastructure, combat illegal dumping and reduce littering.

Information about the review, including a copy of the final report, is available here.

 

Queensland

Queensland’s Water Sector: A 30-Year Strategy

According to community feedback on the Queensland Government’s 30 Year Water Strategy discussion paper, Queensland’s water services need better planning, lighter-handed regulations and business sustainability. The consultation period for this discussion paper has closed and the Queensland Government is currently developing the final strategy.

More information about this process, including the discussion paper, is available here.

 

South Australia

Nullarbor Wilderness Protection Area proclaimed

The South Australian Government has proclaimed a new 9000 km2 Nullarbor Wilderness Protection Area utilising land from the former Nullarbor National Park and a portion of the Nullarbor Regional Reserve under the Wilderness Protection Act 1992 (SA). The new wilderness area, which stretches approximately 300km east from the West Australian border, effectively doubles the amount of Wilderness Protection Area in the state to 17300 km2.

 

Tasmania

Proposed Aboriginal Heritage laws

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment has released a report outlining proposed changes to draft Aboriginal heritage legislation, following public consultation undertaken since late 2012. The changes would:

  • clarify the relationship between the heritage permit process and the planning process,
  • remove the “ignorance defence” proposed in relation to unlawful disturbance,
  • provide for mapping of high and low sensitivity areas, with no permits required in low sensitivity areas unless the site contains a registered Aboriginal heritage item,
  • allow the Aboriginal Heritage Council to approve Aboriginal Heritage Management Plans (with Ministerial approval only required where the proponent and Council cannot reach agreement), and
  • confirm that assessment, approval and enforcement activities in relation to Aboriginal heritage  will remain the responsibility of the State government, rather than local government.

The Aboriginal Heritage Protection Bill 2013 is expected to be introduced to Parliament in late 2013.

The regulatory impact statement is available here.

 

Review of GMO policy announced

The government has flagged its intention to commence a public review of Tasmania’s current policy on genetically modified organisms in July 2013, to be completed before the expiration of the current GMO moratorium in November 2014.  The review will consider the potential market advantages and disadvantages of allowing the use of gene technology in Tasmanian primary industries.

More information regarding the review is available here.

 

Wind farm feasibility study to proceed on King Island

Hydro Tasmania, Tasmania’s state-owned utility company, has decided to proceed with a feasibility study for a large wind farm on King Island.  If developed, the 200 turbine project would be the largest wind farm in the Southern hemisphere, delivering electricity to the national market via a high-voltage underwater cable across Bass Strait.

Given the level of community concern regarding the controversial project, Hydro Tasmania committed to not proceed with a feasibility study unless a community survey indicated 60% support. The results of a survey distributed to the 1,500 residents showed 59% support amongst the nearly 900 respondents. 

For more information about the proposal, click here.

 

World Heritage Committee accepts nomination of additional Tasmanian Wilderness World
Heritage Areas

On 24 June 2013, the World Heritage Committee accepted the Australian government’s nomination to extend the boundaries of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area to include 170,000 additional hectares. The extension includes areas in the Upper Florentine, Styx, Huon, Picton and Counsel River Valley.

Details of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area are available here.

 

Tasmania’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory now available

The Tasmanian government has released the inaugural Tasmanian Greenhouse Gas Accounts, compiled from the most recent Australian National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (based on data from 2010-2011).

The Accounts demonstrate a decline in Tasmania’s overall emissions since 1990 of approximately 34%.  However, the decline is almost entirely attributable to changes in forest practices and reforestation of land, and amended accounting practices in relation to carbon sequestration. When these factors are excluded, the Accounts reveal a net increase in Tasmania’s emissions of approximately 0.5% since 1990.

The Accounts are available here.

 

Victoria

Inter-Government Agreement for Implementation of Murray Darling Basin Plan signed

The Victorian Government has signed the Inter-Governmental Agreement for the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and an associated funding agreement. Among other things, the IGA and funding agreement will provide Victoria with:

  • $14.3 million over three years to develop offset projects to reduce the volume of water required to be recovered from productive use under the Basin Plan,
  • $47.4 million over eight years for costs associated with implementing the Basin Plan, and
  • a commitment from the Commonwealth that it will consult with states on the details of its $100 million Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program, to provide assistance to communities affected by the Basin Plan.

More information is available here.

 

International

United Kingdom

Proposed guideline for sentencing environmental offences

The UK Sentencing Council has just consulted on a new guideline for sentencing environmental offences. It introduces a tariff-based approach to setting fines. The underlying aim is to promote greater consistency and increase fines levels. The UK Environmental Law Association has responded with concerns that the matrix-approach is crude, inflexible and not helpfully focussed. The approach and higher levels could affect sentencing for other environmental offences and other areas of regulatory crime such as health and safety offending that are not currently subject to such guidance.

The consultation and UKELA’s response are both available here.

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News and events from NELA’s partners

Events offered by NELA’s partners often provide substantial savings for NELA members - so check them out and make the most of your NELA membership!

(Aus) Building the Capacity of Australia's Professionals to Respond to Climate Change

Tickets are now on sale for Learning to Adapt 5 - Building the Capacity of Australia's Professionals to Respond to Climate Change.

This important Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) NSW and Australian Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Settlements and Infrastructure (ACCARNSI) initiative has been designed to update, train and facilitate learning in climate change adaptation and features a a full day seminar and training workshops.

When: 8.30 am to 5.15 pm, Thursday 1 August 2013
Where: University of New South Wales

For further information and to register please click here.

 

(NZ) 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.

The conference program is at an advanced stage of development and sponsorship opportunities are currently on offer. For more information, click here.

 

Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) Annual Conference 2013

Adapt, Innovate, Advocate – Business as Usual is not an Option

The theme for this year’s EIANZ conference reflects the urgency of the environmental challenges facing Australia, New Zealand and the world in the 21st century and the need for environment professionals to lead in addressing these challenges.

When: Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 October 2013
Where: RACV Club, 501 Bourke Street Melbourne

NELA members are entitled to registration at EIANZ member rates (inc GST)

For more information about the conference, including a sponsorship prospectus, click here.

 

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Other events

(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 are eligible for a discount on the full residential package; to learn more about this discount, please contact us

 

(NSW) Environment and Planning Law Association NSW together with Sustainable Business Australia - Special Information Forum

Access to Justice and the Right to Public Participation: Lessons learned from the Gunns 20 litigation

In 2004, The Wilderness Society, a number of other environmental activists and other interested persons in Tasmania were served with a multi-million dollar claim for compensation resulting from an alleged conspiracy to interfere with the business interests of Gunns Limited. The case raises numerous cutting-edge issues for environmental justice, human rights, procedural fairness and ethical duties of corporate entities and the legal profession.

Speakers include one of the case’s pro-bono advocates, Mr Julian Burnside AO QC; filmmaker and defendant number 5, Ms Heidi Douglas; and via, videolink, the ‘father of SLAPP suits’, Professor George Pring.

Following the formal part of the session, there will be an opportunity to ask questions of the expert panel which, in addition to our speakers, will include Pepe Clarke, Executive Director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, and Dr Gerry Bates, a leading environmental academic and former Tasmanian MP. 

Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the event.

When: 5.30pm to 7.30pm, Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Where: Reserve Bank Building, 20th Floor, 65 Martin Place, Sydney  
Cost: Members of EPLA/SBA: $44.00, non-members: $55, students, Councils and Government employees: FREE

Please RSVP to Ms Michelle Kearns by Wednesday 24 July 2013 on (02) 8227 9600 or by email.

This is a CLE event and practitioners can claim 2 CLE points for attendance.

 

(Aus – various locations) Legalwise Seminars

Legalwise Seminars runs over 400 legal seminars per year with the most up-to-date content, expert speakers and interactive opportunities to learn. All seminars are CPD accredited and NELA members receive a 10% discount.

Check out their website for their regularly updated program, or click on any of the below upcoming offerings for more information.

 

(SA) Environmental Defenders Office Planning Seminar – advance notice

A review of South Australia’s planning system is currently underway and community input will be sought. The EDO SA will be convening a day-long seminar to develop ideas for reform.

When: Thursday 26 September 2013
Where: Room 1, Level 1, Flinders University City Campus, 182 Victoria Square, Adelaide

Further details on speakers and registration will be made available on EDO SA’s website. If you won’t be able to attend but would like to contribute ideas for reform you are invited to contact the office on (08) 8410 3833 (freecall from country areas 1800 337 566) or by email.

 

(Aus – various locations) Australian Wild Law Alliance (AWLA) – upcoming events

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. Learn more and become part of the movement at AWLA’s upcoming events:

  • (Qld) Wild Law 2013: AWLA’s Major Conference Event – 27–29 September 2013 – online registration now open; abstracts for presentations etc being accepted until 30 June
  • (Qld, Vic, WA) Workshop and seminar series: Exploring community and nature’s rights – 30 September to 5 October 2013 – these workshops will explore different approaches to protecting the rights of local communities and nature and feature Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil from the USA’s Community Environmental Legal Defence Fund (CELDF), Nati Green from Ecuador’s Fundación Pachamama and leaders from a range of Australian organisations, including Lock the Gate Alliance.
  • (Qld) – Environmental Justice Symposium – 5 and 6 December 2013 – more details will be available soon.

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

 

(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.

 

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Opportunities

Opportunities for comment

 

Commonwealth

Reducing emissions from wood heaters

The Council of Australian Government's Standing Council on Environment and Water is seeking information and perspectives from the public on options for reducing emissions from wood heaters.

Submissions are invited and are due by 15 July 2013.

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

 

Mineral and Energy Exploration – draft report of the Productivity Commission

The Productivity Commission is inviting submissions on its draft report on its inquiry into the non-financial barriers to mineral and energy exploration.

Among other things, in this inquiry the Commission was to determine whether there was evidence of unnecessary regulatory burden, to examine the complexity and time frames of government approvals processes for exploration, to examine areas of duplication between and within Local, State, Territory and Commonwealth regulation that can be triggered throughout an exploration project, the costs of non-financial barriers and to consider options to improve the regulatory environment for exploration activities, having regard to regulatory objectives.

The deadline for submissions is 15 July 2013.

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

 

Queensland

Examination of the Nature Conservation (Protected Plants) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013

This Bill forms the first stage of amendments that are required to facilitate the implementation of a new legislative framework for protected plants. The Bill will amend primary legislation, including the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Vegetation Management Act 1999 in order to lay the foundations for subsequent changes to relevant subordinate legislation.

The review of the protected plants framework arose out of a need to contemporise the framework, and to assess its currency and effectiveness in achieving the conservation and preservation of threatened plants. Businesses, landholders and other interested parties operating under the framework identified that the existing legislation concerning protected plants is complicated and burdensome, and difficult for operators to interpret and regulators to effectively implement and administer. These factors have led to a lack of compliance with regulatory requirements and, in turn, poor conservation outcomes for protected plants.

Public submissions are invited until 5 July 2013. For more information or to make a submission,
click here.

 

Examination of the Protection of Prime Agricultural Land and Other Land from Coal Seam Gas Mining Bill 2013

The Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee is currently undertaking an examination of this Bill.

The objective of this Bill is to protect prime agricultural land from coal seam gas (CSG) and mining activities to ensure the sustainability of the agricultural industry and food security in Queensland.

The Bill seeks to specifically exclude CSG and mining activities from designated areas which have been identified as prime agricultural land, including by:

  • prohibiting all CSG and exploration mining activities on land east of the Condamine River from Chinchilla to the New South Wales Border and from the Longitudinal line running directly through the Chinchilla Post Office east to the coast; and
  • protecting areas of identified prime agricultural land as “potential strategic cropping land”  under the Strategic Cropping Land Act 2011

Written submissions are now being accepted (currently no end date). For more information or to make a submission, click here.

 

Roles

(NT) Principal Lawyer

The Environmental Defenders Office (NT) Inc is looking for an experienced and self-motivated Principal Lawyer to manage and conduct its legal practice for the Northern Territory from its Darwin office. The position provides legal services to the Territory community in the form of advice, advocacy, education and law reform, with limited administrative support.

Applications close 5 July 2013. For more information and to apply, click here.

 

(SA) Board memberships: Natural resources management boards

The SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources seeks individuals who are well-connected in their communities, have strong leadership skills and a drive to improve natural resource management in their regions to join its eight regional NRM boards, established under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 (SA).

Each position will require approximately 2–4 days of work each month and the positions are remunerated.

For further information on board membership or to obtain an application form click here or contact Mica Balela on (08) 8463 6860 or by email.

Applications close Friday 12 July 2013.

 

(SA) Environmental lawyers wanted

EDO SA seeks lawyers to help with their free advisory service.

If you have environmental law experience, and are free on Thursday nights, please contact EDO SA.

 

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 and volunteers are named in the “Thanks to this month’s contributors” section of the Bulletin; we can also include the name of your organization and a hyperlink to your organisation’s website.

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

 

Other

Current issues in environmental law intensive offered at University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania’s winter intensive course, Current Issues in Environmental Law (LAW639) will examine how environmental issues can affect major projects and developments and how environmental controversies can influence legal, social and political change. The course will address such issues as:

  • the super trawler, Abel Tasman
  • the Tasmanian Forestry debate
  • coal seam fracking
  • water rights in a drying world
  • protecting Antarctica
  • international climate change negotiations.

The course is HECS-free, non-law students are very welcome to enrol and no prior law study is necessary. The course is also a valuable professional development opportunity for those from a broad range of professions.

More information regarding this course is available here.

 

Current issues in environmental law intensive offered at University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania’s winter intensive course, Current Issues in Environmental Law (LAW639) will examine how environmental issues can affect major projects and developments and how environmental controversies can influence legal, social and political change. The course will address such issues as:

  • the super trawler, Abel Tasman
  • the Tasmanian Forestry debate
  • coal seam fracking
  • water rights in a drying world
  • protecting Antarctica
  • international climate change negotiations.

The course is HECS-free, non-law students are very welcome to enrol and no prior law study is necessary. The course is also a valuable professional development opportunity for those from a broad range of professions.

More information regarding this course is available here.

 

Sustainable Energy Law: New graduate course at Australian National University (ANU)

The ANU College of Law is offering a new Sustainable Energy Law course, developed with the Australian National University’s Energy Change Institute. The course is designed for professionals from public and private sectors with an interest in better understanding the legal framework that applies to and affects the renewable energy industry. It explores the rapidly evolving policy, legal and regulatory issues relating to renewable energy projects. It may be taken for professional development with no assessment, and is open to law and non-law graduates.

For more information about this course, click here.

 

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Thanks to this month’s contributors:

Jess Feehely, EDO Tasmania; Natasha Hammond-Deakin; Philip Martin; Environmental Defenders Office (SA).