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Bulletin | September 2013

The NELA Bulletin is published on the first Thursday of each month. Contributions 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. Contribute to the National Environmental Law Review
03. 2013 NELA WA Annual State Conference, 11 October 2013
04. Tour of Tootgarook swamp biodiversity offset property
05. NELA 2013 Environmental Law Essay Competition now open
06. Member profile: Amanda Cornwall

Law and policy developments
In the courts

09. In the legislature
10. Policy developments

News and events from NELA’s partners
11. (Vic) Victorian Planning and Environment Law Association - Study Tour Seminar
12. (NZ) Resource Management Law Association Conference 2013
13. (Vic) Sustainable Business Australia
(Vic) Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) Annual Conference 2013

Other events
15. (Aus – various locations) Legalwise Seminars
16. (Vic) Planning Institute Australia: Recent amendments to the Planning and Environment Act 1987
17. (ACT) IUCN World Parks Congress 2014
18. (SA) Environmental Defenders Office Planning Seminar
19. (Qld) Wild Law Conference 2013
20. (Aus – various locations) Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) – upcoming events
21. (ACT) Fenner Conference on Environment 2013
22. (Aus) 3rd Future of Environmental Law Symposium
23. (UK) Gartner Lecture 2013
24. (Fiji) 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas

25. Opportunities for comment
26. Roles
27. Other

NELA news and events

From the President


NELA is pleased to welcome Sustainable Business Australia as a new partner organisation. SBA is the peak body in Australia for the low carbon and environmental goods and services sector, providing commercial solutions to environmental challenges. Its members include investors, bankers, technology and infrastructure developers, consultancy and engineering companies. Like NELA it’s a not-for-profit membership
-based organisation. 

Collaborating on policy development is a core element of NELA’s partnership with SBA, and with the Coalition likely to be elected on 7 September there’ll be plenty for us to talk about.

The Coalition’s policy of delegating to the states its decision making powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (Cth) is of particular interest to NELA. We support removing unnecessary duplication in environment approvals but do not support the federal government handing over its responsibilities for national and international biodiversity and cultural heritage. We look forward to discussing with the new government how they can best achieve their policy of maintaining national environmental standards.

Both major parties support the unconditional minimum target of reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emission by 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020. But Australia has also committed to reduce its emissions by 25 per cent if the world agrees to measures capable of stabilising GHGs at 450 ppm CO2 equivalent or lower. Looking at policy developments in China, the US and elsewhere we think it’s time to think about the upper range.

For information on NELA’s other partners and their events see the events section below.

Amanda Cornwall


Contribute to the National Environmental Law Review

Jessica Feehely, Tasmanian Executive member will be guest editor for the November 2013 edition of the National Environmental Law Review. The deadline for contributions is 27 September 2013 and these can be sent to secretariat@nela.org.au.


2013 NELA WA Annual State Conference, 11 October 2013


The 2013 NELA WA Annual State Conference will be held on 
11 October 2013 
at the Parmelia Hilton Perth. The conference theme is Water in Practice; laws for a limited resource.

Click here to download the event flyer and registration form.



Tour of Tootgarook swamp biodiversity offset property

NELA Victoria and Trust for Nature are pleased to offer a tour of this site of Biological Significance in Victoria which is protected and managed with funding under a biodiversity offset arrangement with the Linking Melbourne Authority. Meet the owner and hear speakers from DEPI and Linking
Melbourne Authority.

When: Saturday, 12 October 2013, 10am to 4pm

Travel by bus from meeting points in the CBD and southeast Melbourne (details to follow) or meet us onsite in Tootgarook. Limit of 20 people so book early.

Please click here to download the flyer for more information


NELA 2013 Environmental Law Essay Competition now open

This year's theme is "If it's worth protecting then it's worth protecting well".

Win $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. Deadline for entries is 5pm, 8 November 2013.

Please spread word. A flyer is available in PDF here.

The competition guidelines are available here.


Member profile: Amanda Cornwall

Amanda Cornwall is the current NELA President, a position she’s held for the past year.  She headed the NELA national conference, Delivering a Low Carbon Future, in March 2013, which was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.

Amanda has experience government, business and the not for profit sector in her professional career. From 2004 to 2012 she held senior management positions at the then Department of Sustainability and Environment in Victoria.  In that role Amanda led a range of projects from advising on reducing red tape environment and planning regulations to leading the government’s carbon markets and natural resources program.

She currently runs her own business providing governance advice, program management and stakeholder consultation to government and business.

In her early career Amanda was a banking and finance lawyer at Mallesons, a position she left to become the inaugural principal solicitor at the Environment Defenders Office in Victoria. During the1990s Amanda was a manager at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, a policy think tank and community legal centre in Sydney.  Her greatest achievement there was running a public interest law training program with the Legal Aid Institute and Indonesian Centre for Environmental Law.  ‘It was right on the cusp of Indonesia’s transition to democracy, so an exciting time.  My Indonesian colleagues were enormously dedicated professionals working in very difficult circumstances, but they always had a light hearted attitude.  We had lots of laughs during the long hours we worked on the program’, she said.

Amanda has taught public health and environment law at the University of Western Sydney and was a lecturer for the Indonesian Judicial Education program at the University of Sydney.

Name a key lesson that you have learnt during your career?
Trust your instincts. They’ll never let you down.

Identify and explain three key motivations in your professional life?

I’ve never been good at planning my career. I seem to be attracted to a challenge, to cutting edge new approaches to doing things whether it’s litigation or policy and programs. I’m driven by a strong sense of social justice, and working with people who share my values is a big priority.  

What is your ideal holiday and why?
My ideal holiday destination is camping anywhere on the mid north coast of NSW. The beaches and forests are beautiful, the surf is great and the weather is mild. When I lived in Sydney we went there at least once a year. Now we’re back in Melbourne and camping by the sea is a bit more bracing.

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Law and policy developments

In the courts


Leo Akiba on behalf of the Torres Strait Regional Seas Claim Group v Commonwealth of Australia & Ors [2013] HCA 33

In this case, the High Court unanimously held that successive Commonwealth and Queensland legislation, which prohibited taking fish and other aquatic life for commercial purposes without a licence, did not extinguish the native title right of certain island communities in the Torres Strait to take resources from defined areas of water. The Court also held unanimously that certain reciprocity-based rights between members of the island communities did not constitute native title rights and interests within the meaning of s 223 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).


New South Wales

Environment Protection Authority v Coal and Allied Operations Pty Ltd [2013] NSWLEC 134

In February 2012, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) officers discovered a water pollution incident while on a routine site inspection of a Rio Tinto coal mine in the Hunter Valley. Coal and Allied Operations Pty Ltd, which manages the mine, was prosecuted before the NSW Land and Environment Court. The company pleaded guilty, was convicted and fined $45,000 and ordered to pay $51,000 in prosecutor’s costs.

The EPA says that the incident, which occurred in February 2012, could have been prevented if the mine had had the correct sediment controls in place.



John Gurry & Associates Pty Ltd v Moonee Valley CC (Red dot) [2013] VCAT 1258

This decision, recently issued by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), deals with the tension between the ‘reasonable development expectations’ of proponents vis-à-vis avoiding unreasonable overshadowing of existing adjacent solar panels.  The vexed question is at what point such overshadowing becomes an unacceptable planning outcome. 

In this case, a neighbour abutting a proposed redevelopment of a relatively large suburban lot for 14 new dwellings objected that the closest double storey part of the new built form would unreasonably overshadow the existing solar panels on the rear of her dwelling.
The Tribunal ultimately rejected the 14 dwelling proposal primarily on the basis that it would produce a poor neighbourhood character outcome. However, the decision includes discussion of previous VCAT ‘overshadowing of panels’ cases and suggests seven factors to be considered in resolving the above-mentioned tension. In the interests of having a comprehensive rather than a reactive approach, the decision also recommends that there be a proper State-wide statutory assessment framework for dealing with this issue.


Western Australia

The Wilderness Society of WA (Inc) v Minister for Environment [2013] WASC 307

The WA Supreme Court recently overturned the environmental approvals for one of Western Australia's most controversial development proposals, the Browse LNG Precinct at James Price Point, north of Broome.

In reaching this conclusion, the Court found that the decisions of the EPA to submit the assessment report and to declare a certain development proposal a derived proposal, and the decision of the Minister that the proposal could be implemented, were all invalid.

This decision raises fundamental questions about Western Australia's environmental assessment process and may mean that proposals currently before the EPA could be delayed, or need to re-start if they suffer the same defect as in this case, or even that recently approved proposals require
a re-assessment.


In the legislature

New South Wales

Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2013

The Minister for Primary Industries has given notice of intention to introduce this Bill. The Bill will amend the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 abolish the Game Council. The Bill itself is not yet available but the progress of this Bill can be followed here.



No key changes likely for replacement law to Wild Rivers legislation

Early indications are that the Queensland Government’s replacement Wild Rivers legislation for western Queensland rivers will not be significantly different from the existing legislation. Announcements to date have highlighted the following key points:

  • open cut mining will not be allowed in the Channel Country surrounding the Georgina and Diamantina Rivers and Cooper Creek and petroleum development will be strictly controlled in these areas under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld);

  • as a result, proposed petroleum developments will be subject to stronger environmental conditions than in any other part of Queensland;

  • a special “Channel Country Protection Area” will be created which will protect a greater channel/flood plain area than the existing Wild Rivers legislation; and

  • no cotton will be grown on the Cooper Creek and no further water released for irrigation from these river systems.

But development higher up the systems will be made easier. The government will not be buying or removing any existing licences. Instead it will offer an opportunity for water to be traded in those licences on those catchments, within certain zones of the rivers.

Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps says he will be introducing the legislation later this year.



First order passed under Tasmanian Forest Agreement Act

On 29 August 2013, Tasmania’s Upper House voted 9:5 in favour of approving the first reserve order under the controversial Tasmanian Forest Agreement Act 2013.  The order will allow approximately 100,000ha of forest to be reserved, with a further 289,000ha to be reserved pending Forest Stewardship Council certification.

Despite indications that forest contracts could not be met from current supplies, the durability report released by the Special Council (who are appointed under the Act to assess progress against the Tasmanian Forest Agreement) advised that there had been significant progress towards resolving supply concerns within the constraints of the agreement. 

A motion to disallow the reserve order by independent member, Paul Harriss MLC, failed.  If the motion had been successful, the entire Tasmanian Forest Agreement Act 2013 would have
been repealed.

Details regarding the reserved land, and the next steps under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement Act 2013 are available here.


Policy developments


Revised Australian Forestry Standard now in force

The revised Australian standard for forest management, Sustainable Forest Management – Economic, social, environmental and cultural criteria and requirements (AS 4708–2013) is now
in force.

The revised and improved standard reflects best forest management practice and strengthens forest managers’ responsibilities in relation to social, cultural and public participation requirements.

Some of the changes to the standard include:

  • clearer, more specific requirements for public participation in forest management planning;

  • clarification of the role of monitoring and review of biodiversity values;

  • improved requirements for weed and pest control,

  • tightened requirements for chemical use;

  • clarification of specific requirements for carbon management;

  • clarification of the requirement relating to protection of indigenous and heritage values;

  • exclusion of the use of genetically modified trees;

  • more explicit requirements to protect workers’ rights in line with international expectations.


Effectiveness of threatened species and ecological communities’ protection in Australia

The Senate Committee has released its report on the effectiveness of threatened species and ecological communities’ protection in Australia.  The report makes over 40 recommendations for the protection of threatened species and communities including increasing consistency between state and national listings of threatened species and communities, improving data about threatened species and their habitats, improved protection measures, incorporating concrete targets, changes to the provision and application of funding, broader responsibility for monitoring threatened species, and a review of threatened species laws.

To read the full report, click here.


New South Wales

NSW Chief Scientist releases report following review of coal seam gas related activities in the State

The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane, has released her report following a review of coal seam gas (CSG) related activities in the State which focused on the impacts of such activities on human health and the environment.

The report highlights the need for world class practice, high performance standards and training, and recommends the implementation of a State-wide repository for environmental data, a strong regulatory and monitoring regime and further research into environmental impacts.

Further information is available here.

Packaging Impacts Decision Regulation Impact Statement published

The options being considered in the national Packaging Impacts Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) have been published and are available here.

Ten options are being considered, including co-ordinated voluntary action on litter and packaging, five industry product stewardship models, an advance disposal fee, and three different container
deposit schemes.

There has been extensive consultation on the options, which include a container deposit model proposed by Boomerang Alliance, and an industry co-regulatory product stewardship scheme proposed by members of the beverage and packaging industries and Keep Australia Beautiful.

Development of the RIS continues; it will be completed and considered by Ministers in late 2013.

Proposed amendments to allow native forest material to be burnt in electricity generating works

The NSW Environment Protection Authority has sought comment on the draft Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Native Forest Bio-material) Regulation 2013, which proposes to exclude two additional types of materials from the definition of ‘native forest bio-material’ under the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009. The additional materials are invasive native species (in certain circumstances), and certain material resulting from forestry operations carried out on land to which an Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA) applies under Part 5B of the Forestry Act 2012, as well as debris from private native forestry (in certain circumstances).

Further information about these proposed amendments is available here.

Proposed amendments to mining legislation

The NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Mr Hartcher, recently sought comment on proposed amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007. The amendments will impact the balancing of economic, social and environmental factors by decision makers in undertaking development assessment of major mining projects, prioritising the significance of the resource and stipulating key environmental, ecological and amenity criteria to protect water resources, habitat and amenity.

The proposed amendments are widely considered to be a response to the Land and Environment Court’s decision in April to refuse development consent to the Warkworth coal mine in merit appeal proceedings, on the basis that its significant environmental and social impacts outweighed its economic benefits.



Draft State Coastal Policy Statement released

The Department of Premier and Cabinet released a draft Tasmanian Coastal Policy Statement for public comment (comments closed 16 August 2013).  The policy statement sets out proposed guiding principles, goals and policy directions which will form the basis of a Coastal Protection and Planning Framework.  A draft Implementation Plan outlining measures to achieve the objectives of the policy statement is expected to be released by November 2013.

The draft Statement, and submissions received in response to the draft, are available here.


Second approval for Shree Minerals Tarkine Mine

In July 2013, the Tarkine National Coalition successfully challenged the Federal Environment Minister’s decision to approve Shree Minerals’ iron ore mine near Nelson River in Tasmania’s north west. Justice Marshall was satisfied that the Minister had failed to give genuine consideration to approved conservation advice for the Tasmanian devil and remitted the application to the Minister to reconsider.
On 29 July 2013, the new Environment Minister, Mark Butler, gave approval for the mine subject to almost identical conditions to those imposed on the original approval.   The approval, and a statement of reasons, is available here.


Submissions on Low Carbon Issues Paper

Submissions received by the Tasmanian Climate Change Office in response to the Low Carbon Tasmania Issues Paper are now available here.  The Climate Change Strategy 2020, which will incorporate comments received in response to this issues paper, and an earlier paper regarding adaptation measures, is expected to be released in November 2013.



(UK) Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Environment and climate change

The UK government is reviewing the balance of competences between the UK and the EU for all the main areas of EU competence. As part of this review, it has just completed a call for evidence concerning the environment and climate change. The political context for the review is increased Euroscepticism, evidenced by the rise in popularity of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), and a sense that (in the words of Prime Minister David Cameron) Europe has 'gone too far' on the environment.

The UK Environment Law Association (UKELA) is one of a number of organisations to have submitted evidence supporting continued EU competence in these areas. UKELA points out the advantages of dealing with cross-border issues with common rules, thereby also providing a level playing field. The response also highlights areas where EU legislation needs to be reformed to make it more effective. The consultation paper and UKELA’s response are 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!

(Vic) Victorian Planning and Environment Law Association

Study Tour Seminar - USA: The Blues and Soul of Cities

This seminar outlines the key findings of the study tour the VPELA and UDIA hosted to five cities in the USA.  It also identifies some new and emerging trends in the USA which are relevant to our Australian cities.

When: Tuesday 17 September 2013
Where: SMEC URBAN, Level 10, 71 Queens Road (opposite Albert Park Lake) Melbourne 3004

For more information, 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.For more information, click here.


(Vic) Sustainable Business Australia

Australian Sustainability Conference

The Australian Sustainability Conference brings together leading practitioners and strategic leaders in this growing industry to explore and share ideas to spearhead sound sustainable
business strategy. 

When: 9-10 October 2013
Where: Melbourne

For more information click here.


(Vic) 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

(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.

(Vic) Planning Institute Australia: Recent amendments to the Planning and Environment Act 1987

The Planning and Environment Amendment (General) Act 2013 (Vic) implements a number of changes to the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic).

Join Astrid di Carlo and Annette Jones for a practical seminar that provides an overview of the changes and what they mean for those involved with Victoria’s planning system. The evening will include a Q&A and networking session.

When: 5.30–7.30 pm, Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Where: Russell Kennedy Solicitors, Level 12, 469 Latrobe Street Melbourne
Cost: CPPs: $45, PIA/PEOA members: $55, non-members: $70

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

For more information or to register, click here.


(ACT) IUCN World Parks Congress 2014

Forum to discuss the Congress with ACT stakeholders

In 2014, the World Parks Congress in Sydney will explore the theme Parks, People, and Planet: Inspiring Solutions. These are solutions drawn from practice that are inspired, innovative and successful, as well as inspiring others to apply, scale up and commit to in the future. The main objective of the Congress is to position parks within goals of economic and community well-being, by increasing understanding of their vital role in conserving biodiversity, delivering ecosystem services and underpinning human welfare and livelihoods. This forum provides an opportunity for ACT stakeholders to discuss the Congress.

When: Wednesday 25 September 2013,  9am to 1pm
Where: Crosbie Morrison Room, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra

For more information, contact Hanna Jaireth.


(SA) Environmental Defenders Office Planning Seminar

A review of South Australia’s planning system is currently underway and community input will be sought. EDO SA is holding 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, including speakers, are available here.

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.


(Qld) Wild Law Conference 2013

Living within our ecological limits: law and governance to nurture the Earth community

When: 27-29 September 2013
Where: Ian Hangar Recital Hall, Griffith Conservatorium, Southbank, Brisbane

Join us for a fascinating multi-disciplinary conference that explores the issue of how to live within our ecological limits and asks what role law and governance can play in helping us create sustainable societies. For more information, and to register, click here.


(Aus – various locations) Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) – upcoming events

AELA’s mission is to promote the understanding and practical implementation of earth jurisprudence and ‘wild law’ in Australia.  Earth jurisprudence is a new legal theory and growing social movement.  It 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. To learn more, join us at one of our upcoming events:

  • (Qld, Vic, WA) Workshop and seminar series: Exploring community and nature’s rights – 30 September to 5 October 2013 

  • (Qld) – Environmental Justice Symposium – 12 and 13 December 2013.

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


(ACT) Fenner Conference on Environment 2013

Population, Resources and Climate Change: Implications for Australia’s near future

When: 10 and 11 October 2013
Where: Shine Dome, Acton, Canberra

Keynote address by Professor Paul Ehrlich. Richard Denniss will be the after-dinner speaker. Scholarships are available for graduate students.

For more information about the conference, click here. To register, click here.


(Aus) 3rd Future of Environmental Law Symposium

Wild rivers to aquifers to oceans

This Symposium, hosted by the Law Council of Australia’s Legal Practice Section Australian Environment and Planning Law Group, will honour the contribution of Professor Simon Molesworth AO QC to the field of environmental and planning law. 

When: 8 November 2013
Where: The Langham, 89–113 Kent Street, Sydney

To register for this event, 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 for comment



Productivity Commission releases Major Projects report

The Productivity Commission recently released its draft report on Major Project Development Assessment processes. In it, the Commission reports finding a series of deficiencies in major project approval processes, with a high risk of delays and significantly increased costs.  

The Commission proposes establishing a ‘one project, one assessment, one decision' framework, through bilateral assessment and approval agreements.

The Commission has put forward a five point planning process which involves:

  • increasing State and Territory environmental assessment procedures with Commonwealth accreditation;

  • strengthening State and Territory approval processes;

  • initially targeting approval bilaterals on less environmentally sensitive issues;

  • COAG Reform Council monitoring progress on bilateral approval agreements; and

  • COAG publishing a timetable of agreed reforms and the COAG Reform Council reporting annually on key milestones, barriers to reform and how to address them.

The draft report also proposes statutory timelines for assessment and approval decisions, the wider use of Strategic Assessments, and the establishment of Major Project Coordination Offices.

Submissions are invited until 13 September 2013. For more information or to make a submission, click here.


National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority Strategic Assessment 

The Federal government has released draft terms of reference for a strategic assessment to create a single environmental management and approval process for offshore petroleum developments. Submissions are invited until 13 September 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.



Review of GMO Moratorium

The Minister for Primary Industries has released an Issues Paper for a Review of the Moratorium on Genetically Modified Organisms in Tasmania, seeking comments on the continuation of Tasmania’s current moratorium, which will expire in November 2014.   The Terms of Reference include domestic and international gene technology policies, research and development opportunities and potential market advantages and disadvantages of allowing the use of gene technology in Tasmanian primary industries.

Comments on the Issues Paper can be made until 1 October 2013.  For more information, or to make a submission, click here.


Scalefish Fishery Management Plan Review

The Wild Fisheries Management Branch has commenced preliminary work on a new Scalefish Fishery Management Plan, to replace the current management plan when it expires in November 2014.  

Statutory consultation will commence in April 2014, however the Branch is inviting interested stakeholders to raise any issues that they would like to see addressed in the new Plan now.  Details about the review, including a list of preliminary issues identified for consideration,
are available here.


Western Australia

Inquiry into the implications for Western Australia of hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) for
unconventional gas

The WA Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs recently commenced its inquiry into the implications of fracking for Western Australia.
This is the first parliamentary inquiry in Australia to consider the process of fracking for unconventional gas and the results will inform future policy decisions regulating the practice.
The inquiry terms of reference include:

  • how hydraulic fracturing may impact on current and future uses of land;

  • the regulation of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process;

  • the use of ground water in the hydraulic fracturing process and the potential for recycling of ground water; and

  • the reclamation (rehabilitation) of land that has been hydraulically fractured.

Submissions are invited until 20 September 2013.

For more information or to make a submission click here.



(Vic) Fundraising officer – EDO Victoria
EDO Vic is seeking a fundraising officer who will be responsible for directly managing and coordinating fundraising activities and events by working within the Fundraising Strategic Plan.

Applications close 5pm, Monday 9 September. For more information, including the position description, and to apply, click here.


(Qld) Environmental Lawyer (Cairns) - Senior Solicitor or Solicitor
The Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland has a vacancy for a Senior Solicitor or Solicitor (depending upon skills and experience) to work as part of our environmental law team. The EDO runs an active litigation and legal advice service and contributes to policy, law reform and community education work. Salary $57,065 to $73,992 (depending on experience) plus super and leave loading. Applications close 5pm, Monday 16 September 2013. Click here to see the job description.


(NSW) Communications Officer - EDO NSW
EDO NSW has created the new position of part-time Communications Officer. They are currently seeking applicants for this role, which will work with EDO NSW staff to promote services, highlight issues relevant to public interest environmental law, raise the EDO's profile and build its supporter base. Applications close 5pm, Monday 16 September 2013. For more information and to apply,
click here.


(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.



Call for nominations: Mahla Pearlman AO Award for Australian Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year

Nominations are now open for the Mahla Pearlman Award for the Australian Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year.

The Award is named in recognition of the former Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of NSW, and former President of the Law Council of Australia, the late Mahla Pearlman AO.

Nominations must be received by the close of business AEDT on 13 December 2013 by email to lps@lawcouncil.asn.au or by post to GPO Box 1989 Canberra.

For more information about the award, including eligibility criteria, click here.

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Thanks to this month's contributors

Bronwyn Woodgate; Jessica Feehely, EDO Tasmania; Michelle Maloney, Australian Earth Laws Alliance; Natasha Hammon-Deakin; Philip Martin; Rosie Oliver, UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA)