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June 2014

The NELA Bulletin is published on the first Thursday of each month except January. Contributions to the Bulletin are welcome and free of cost and should be emailed to the editor, Ellen Geraghty, by 5pm AEST on the preceding Friday.

Subscription to the Bulletin is a benefit of NELA membership. To join NELA (and subscribe to the Bulletin), click here.

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This Month

NELA news and events
01. NELA National Conference 2014
02. 2014 NELA Essay Competition now open
03. 2014 NELA (WA) State Conference: Best Practice Environmental Legal Compliance
04. Follow us on Twitter

Law and policy developments
05. In the legislature
06. In the courts
07. Policy developments and other news

Events from NELA’s partners
08. (Melbourne) Social Impact Assessment Training Course
09. (Brisbane) ACIUCN’s Science Informing Policy Symposium Series
10. (New Zealand) Resource Management Law Association (RMLA) Conference 2014

Other events
11. (Canberra) World Environment Day: International Court of Justice Landmark ruling against
      Japanese whaling

12. (Perth) Groundwater in Mining
13. (Australia – various locations) Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) events
14. (Tarragona, Spain) 12th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law
15. (Sydney) 2014 Government Sustainability Conference
16. (Brussels, Belgium) European Environmental Law Forum
17. (Gold Coast) Climate Adaptation 2014 – Future Challenges
18. (Sydney) IUCN World Parks Congress 2014
19. (Australia – various locations) Legalwise Seminars

Open for Comment
20. Commonwealth
21. New South Wales
22. Queensland
23. Western Australia

24. Roles
25. Study
26. Other

27. Book: Environmental Impact Assessment in Australia 6e
28. (NSW) Have Your Say
29. Groundwater and surface water management: how well is it integrated?
30. Latest issue of BioRes now out
31. Facebook group for environmental law research students

Thanks to this month's contributors

NELA news and events

NELA National Conference 2014

Preparation is now underway for the NELA National Conference 2014. This year we are working in conjunction with Legalwise Seminars to bring together in just one day the largest gathering of experts to discuss recent and future directions in environmental and climate change law.

When: 21 November 2014

Where: Intercontinental Sydney  

We would love your input regarding relevant sessions and/or authoritative speakers, for example:

  • areas of environmental and climate change law that you would like to be included in the program,

  • future developments and challenges facing environmental law, and 

  • potential speakers – is there anyone specific you would like to hear from?

If you have any questions, or would like to submit your session ideas or speaker suggestions, please email jwily@legalwiseseinars.com.au, or call Jane directly on (02) 8070 9906. The deadline for session and speaker ideas is 5pm, Friday 20 June 2014.


2014 NELA Essay Competition now open

We are pleased to announce that the 2014 NELA Essay Competition is now open.

The theme for this year’s competition is Are we selling ourselves short?. The deadline for submissions is 12 December 2014 and the competition is open to any student enrolled at an Australian tertiary institution in either an undergraduate or postgraduate program. Essays are expected to relate to the theme and be between 4000 and 7000 words in length.

The winning undergraduate entry and the winning postgraduate entry will each be awarded a prize of $1000 and a 12 month NELA membership.

Click here for more information, including the competition guidelines.


2014 NELA (WA) State Conference: Best Practice Environmental Legal Compliance

So you have your approval – what next?

The 2014 NELA (WA) State Conference will focus on the theme of compliance with environmental approvals. The conference will cover compliance, monitoring and incident management built into the environmental approvals framework in WA. It will explore third party access to information, legal challenges and appeals and best practice in environmental compliance systems. The conference will also include presentations on legal reform and an interactive workshop on incident management.

Speakers and panellists will be drawn from government, industry and environmental interest groups, and the conference will include plenty of networking opportunities with fellow environmental professionals.

Save the date: Thursday, 16 October 2014

Further details will be published in the Bulletin and on the NELA website as they become available.


Follow us on Twitter

The NELA Twitter feed is a great way to stay up to date with environmental law developments in Australia in between issues of the Bulletin. We tweet updates, articles and podcasts, as well as jobs, events and other things which are going to expire before the next issue of the Bulletin is published.

It doesn’t cost anything and you don’t have to be on Twitter (though we welcome follows if you are) – just Google @NELA_Australia or click here to see what’s been happening lately.

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Law and policy developments

In the legislature


Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Alpine Grazing) Bill 2014

In 2011 the Victorian Government allowed a ‘scientific trial’ of alpine grazing by cattle in Alpine National Park to investigate the effect of grazing on fire fuel reduction. This trial was ended after intervention from the Federal Environment Minister.

In March 2014, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved another trial of grazing in Alpine National Park, which is a declared National Heritage place, and contains many threatened and endangered species listed by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).

Given the significant impact that grazing is having on threatened and endangered species in Alpine National Park at the time of introduction of this Bill, the Bill removes any doubt as to the application of Commonwealth environmental law on this activity, and requires cattle to be removed from the park.


EPBC Act amendments

On 14 May 2014, the Federal Government tabled the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 (the Bill). The Bill seeks to amend the EPBC Act to allow approval of large coal mining and coal seam gas developments that are likely to have a significant impact on a water resource to be delegated to State governments.  The Bill also seeks to allow assessment and approval powers to be further delegated by State governments to other agencies, including local governments.

A second Bill, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Cost Recovery) Bill 2014 was also introduced.  This Bill would allow the cost of environmental assessments and strategic assessments undertaken after 1 July 2014 to be recovered from the proponent.

Both Bills have been referred to the Senate Environment and Communications Committee to consider the potential impacts of delegation, maintenance of high environmental standards and the impacts of cost-recovery on assessment processes.  The Committee is expected to report by 23 June 2014.


New South Wales

Mining and Petroleum Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (cognate with the Criminal Assets Recovery Amendment Bill 2014)

This Act recently received assent and amends mining, petroleum and planning laws to address further issues raised in the ICAC’s reports on investigations into mining licences in NSW. The amendment introduces a power to cancel, or refuse to grant or renew, a mining right or petroleum authority if the applicant is not a "fit and proper person". The test will also enable refusal to transfer a mining right or petroleum title, to cancel or suspend operations under a mining right or petroleum title and to impose conditions or restrict operations under a mining right or petroleum title.



Environmental Offsets Act 2014

The Environmental Offsets Act 2014 was assented to on 28 May 2014. The main purpose of the Act is to ‘counterbalance the significant residual impacts of particular activities on prescribed environmental matters through the use of environmental offsets’ (section 3 (1)). The Act is accompanied by the Queensland Environmental Offsets Policy, which commences with the legislation. This policy will replace a number of more specific offset policies.



Legislation to ‘rip up’ Forestry Agreement introduced

On 8 May 2014, the Tasmanian government introduced the Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Bill 2014 (Tas). The Bill, designed to repeal the Tasmanian Forests Agreement Act 2013
, will impose a 6 year moratorium on harvesting in “future potential production forest” (previously reserved land). Significantly, the Bill also introduces a number of provisions which will effectively limit the protection of reserved land, including:

  • exemptions to allow special species harvesting in reserved areas;

  • allowing future potential production forest land to be ‘exchanged’ for other unreserved land, without any clear restrictions on how such exchanges will be assessed;

  • requiring any new reserve declarations to be approved by two-thirds of each House of Parliament (rather than the simple majority currently required).

The Bill is expected to pass in the Lower House in early June, despite not having the support of Labor or the Tasmanian Greens.


In the courts

New South Wales

Warkworth Mining Limited v Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association Inc [2014] NSWCA 105

The Court of Appeal NSW has refused an appeal by Warkworth Mining Limited against the first instance judgment of Preston CJ.

Preston CJ’s judgment was the first time a judge of the Land and Environment Court had refused, in a merit appeal, to grant approval to a coal mining development. His judgment was upheld unanimously by Bathurst CJ, Beazley P and Tobias AJA. The court rejected Warkworth’s 13 grounds of appeal, including contentions that:

  1. Warkworth had been denied procedural fairness in respect of a number of factual matters relating to their application,

  2. Preston CJ of LEC had erred in law:

    1. by failing to give weight to the Director-General’s report, and the recommendations contained therein, as a ‘focal point’ or ‘fundamental element’ in his determination as to whether to grant approval to the application,

    2. by failing to have regard to the Mining Act 1992, which was relevant legislation under the Court Act, s.39(4).



Federal court dismisses challenge to Tarkine mine

The Federal Court has dismissed an application by the Tarkine National Coalition (TNC) for review of the former Federal Environment Minister’s decision to approve Venture Minerals’ Riley Creek mine. TNC argued that the Minister had failed to properly consider the cumulative impacts of the mine and other projects proposed in the Tarkine, and had failed to give adequate consideration to additional permit conditions imposed by the Tasmanian Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal.  Justice Tracey rejected both arguments, noting that the Minister was not required by the EPBC Act to consider cumulative impacts.  However, his Honour did note, contrary to the findings of the Tribunal, that the EPA could consider cumulative impacts in its assessment under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (Tas).

The full Judgment is available here. The parties have made submissions in respect of whether TNC should be required to pay costs.


Western Australia

Marsh v Baxter [2014] WASC 187

The Supreme Court of Western Australia has ruled against Mr Marsh who sought damages and a permanent injunction against hi neighbour, Mr March for allegedly contaminating his organic farm with genetically-modified (GM) canola.  According to Mr Marsh, Baxter breached his duty to take reasonable care to ensure that GM canola was not transferred (by being blown or carried) on to his adjoining property, and that failure to exercise reasonable care caused Mr Marsh to suffer economic loss.

In his decision, Justice Kenneth Martin concluded that that Baxter could not be held responsible just for growing a GM crop in a conventional way, that wind blowing some swathes of canola onto Marsh’s property was not intentional, and that Baxter was not to be held responsible as a broadacre farmer merely for growing a lawful GM crop and choosing an entirely orthodox harvesting method.


Policy developments and other news

New South Wales

Watermark Coal Project to be assessed by Planning Assessment Panel (PAC)

The  Watermark Coal Project proposed by Shenhua, located 25kms south-east of Gunnedah and covering nearly 10,000 hectares of land, will be assessed by the Planning Assessment Panel despite the NSW Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel recommending that it not proceed until the company correctly identifies the amount of strategic agricultural land that'll be affected and the long-term risks to water quality in nearby creeks and aquifers.

Further detail is available here.



Draft Wind Farm State Code

The Queensland government has released a draft code to apply to the assessment of wind farm developments. The code will require development to a number of requirements, related to safety, electromagnetic energy levels, noise levels, amenity, and the environment. Some of the crucial requirements include that development:

  • must be sited, designed and operated to avoid and minimise impacts on flora and fauna, including bird and bat collisions, and vegetation clearance,

  • does not result in unacceptable levels of nuisance from audible noise emissions, and from low frequency noise emissions,

  • does not adversely impact on landscape character, landscape values or view sheds of significance.

An associated draft guideline has been released to assist with application of the draft code.

The content of the final Code is currently under consideration, and is expected to commence in mid-2014.

More detail is available here.



Reports critical of government request to de-list World Heritage forests

On 15 May 2014, the Senate Environment and Communications Committee released its Report for the inquiry into the Federal government's proposal to reduce the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) by 74,000ha. The Report recommended that the government withdraw the boundary modification request, noting that claims that the forest areas are degraded are “unsubstantiated and inaccurate” and the request to reverse a decision made by the World Heritage Committee only 11 months earlier had the potential to cause international embarrassment.  The Report also urged the government to assess the Aboriginal cultural heritage values of the additional areas by February 2015 (as requested by the World Heritage Committee).

The Government representatives on the Committee issued a dissenting report noting: “The Australian Government will honour its forestry election commitments in Tasmania to ensure the industry is sustainable in the long-term and is not hampered by self-interest groups.”

On 17 May 2014, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an expert body advising the World Heritage Committee, released its technical evaluation report, recommending that the Australian Government’s request to remove 74,000 ha from the TWWHA be rejected.  The IUCN’s report was very critical of the proposal, describing the government's election promise to wind-back the earlier World Heritage extension as "clearly inappropriate".  The IUCN also noted that removing the requested area “would impact negatively on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property."

The Federal government has confirmed that it will continue to seek to wind back the extension.


Tasmanian Planning Reform Taskforce announced

The Tasmanian government has appointed a Tasmanian Planning Reform Taskforce to advise the government on reform of Tasmania’s planning system, including the implementation of the election commitment to develop a single, state-wide planning scheme.


Liberal government will not ban 1080

Consistent with the Tasmania Together goals, developed following extensive community consultation, the former Labor government had committed to phasing out the use of 1080 poison for animal control by 2015.  The new Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP, has announced that the Liberal Government will not implement the 2015 ban, instead investigating options to expand the use of the poison. 1080 use is currently regulated by the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment pursuant to the Poisons Act and a Code of Practice.



Victoria axes energy efficiency scheme

The Victorian Government announced in May 2014 that it will abolish the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Scheme (VEET) and introduce legislation to close the scheme at the end of 2015. The scheme was originally set up to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage investment, employment and technology development in industries that supply goods and services that reduce the use of electricity and gas by consumers.

The Government’s decision to close the scheme was informed by a business impact assessment (BIA) which was prepared in-house by the Department of State Development and Business Innovation, with assistance from external consultants.  The BIA states that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is “no longer a core objective of the Victorian Government”, as it is a Federal responsibility, and it therefore does not place any beneficial value on the abatement delivered by the VEET scheme.

The plan to abolish the VEET contrasts with moves by the NSW Government to strengthen its equivalent Energy Savings Scheme.


Waste management policy for storage of waste tyres

The Victorian Government gazetted an interim waste management policy on 30 April 2014. The policy applies to premises that store the equivalent of more than 5,000 waste passenger vehicle tyres or more than 40 tonnes of waste tyres. It requires that waste tyres on these premises must:

  • only be stored for purposes such as transfer, reuse, recycling, reprocessing or energy recovery, and 

  • ensure that waste tyres are stored in a manner that minimises risks to the environment and human health, predominantly due to the risk of fire. 

The policy is particularly targeted at addressing high risk stockpile sites in preparation for the 2014/2015 fire season. It is also a response to moves by NSW to strengthen its regulation of waste tyres and resulting concerns that tyre stockpiles will grow in Victoria as a result of it not having effective regulatory requirements in place for the management of waste tyres. The policy will expire on 29 April 2015.

More information is available here.


Development contributions reforms announced

On 1 May 2014 the Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, announced reforms in relation to the development contributions regime in Victoria.  Development contributions are used in Victoria’s planning system to enable contributions towards additional infrastructure (e.g. community facilities, roads and open space) required as a result of the use and development of land.

The reforms will directly affect greenfields or infill developments in “strategic development areas” in metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria, and include:

  • the introduction of Standard Levies for development contributions in priority growth locations (which will be available for use from 1 July 2015)

  • the implementation of a new Infrastructure Contribution Plan (ICP), which is a new tool with which development contributions will be levied in priority growth locations, and

  • a streamlined approval process to implement the Standard Levies through local planning schemes and deliver substantial savings in approval time.

A detailed implementation package will be prepared to support the introduction of the reforms and will include legislation to amend the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic), a new Infrastructure Contribution Overlay and the release of various guidance materials. 

More information is available here.


Plan Melbourne finalised

On 19 May 2014 the Victorian Government released the new city shaping strategy to 2050, Plan Melbourne. The strategy focuses on implementation, proposing a new Metropolitan Planning Authority, dedicated to implementing the long-term strategic vision for Melbourne which includes efforts to improve the city’s efficiency and liveability.

More information is available here.


Western Australia

Commencement of Independent Assessment of Browse Basin Gas Hub

The WA EPA, with the approval of the Minister for Environment, has delegated its powers under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) to assess the Browse Basin Gas Hub strategic proposal to three delegates who have had no previous involvement in this matter. This follows an August 2013 Supreme Court finding that there had been no valid assessment of the Minister for State Development’s strategic proposal and no valid report on that assessment. 
Further details of the assessment and subsequent process are available here.


WA EPA to assess extended shark drum-line proposal

The WA EPA has set a Public Environmental Review (PER) level of assessment on the WA Shark Hazard Mitigation Drum Line Program 2014–2017 with a four-week public submission period.

The proposal involves the temporary setting of up to 72 baited drum lines off metropolitan and south-west coastal regions of WA for four and a half months each year for three years, commencing November 15, 2014 and ceasing April 30, 2017, after which the program would be subject to review.

Unlike this summer’s 13-and-a-half week drum-line program, the EPA will need to undertake a detailed assessment of the environmental impacts, including the cumulative impacts of implementing a 22-week program every year for three consecutive years to determine whether or not the EPA’s objectives for marine fauna can be met.

Further details 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!

(Melbourne) Social Impact Assessment Training Course

The Victorian Division of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) invites you to register for a 2 day intensive training course on Social Impact Assessments. 

Social Impact Assessments (SIAs) are required to inform decision-making. SIAs should also be included in the process of developing new local and central government policies and programmes. SIAs help to ensure that any adverse impacts/effects from a development project, proposed policy or programme are identified at an early stage and minimised and that any potential benefits of projects or programmes are maximised.

When: 10-11 July 2014 
Where: Melbourne City Mission Conference Centre, 24 Tope Street, South Melbourne
Cost: Early bird registration (until 10 June) – EIANZ members $880, non-members $1,100 
         Full price (11 June – 2 July) – EIANZ members $980, non-members $1,210
         All costs are GST inclusive and include catering and training bookets.
         *** NELA members are able to claim the EIANZ member price ***

For more information or to register, click here. Registration closes 2 July.


(Brisbane) ACIUCN’s Science Informing Policy Symposium Series 

From the sublime to the bottom line – ecosystem services and protected areas: Australian and regional perspectives

This symposium will look at ecosystem services - the rich benefits we gain from intact nature. We hope to gather experts from across Australia but also international colleagues from the Pacific, New Zealand and Canada. It will highlight the role of protected areas as one of the most effective mechanisms developed over centuries to maintain the integrity of ecosystems, critical to human well-being and survival. It is a lead in event to the World Parks Congress where we hope to launch a useful summary of papers and a clear policy direction statement.

When: 21 – 22 July 2014
Where: The Shore Function Centre, South Bank, Brisbane

Register here for information and updates.


(New Zealand) Resource Management Law Association (RMLA) Conference 2014
Through the looking glass (if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there)

When: Thursday, 25 September 2014
Where: The Dunedin Centre

For more information, click here.


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Other events

(Canberra) World Environment Day: International Court of Justice Landmark ruling against Japanese whaling

You are invited you join the Environmental Defenders Office (ACT) for their World Environment Day Event on the International Court of Justice's landmark ruling against the Japanese whaling program.
This event brings together three prominent contributors to the opposition to the Japanese Whaling program, the Hon Mark Dreyfus, QC MP; Mr Shane Rattenbury, MLA; and Professor Donald Rothwell, Professor of International Law and Head of School, ANU College of Law. Each speaker will provide unique insights into the roles of Government, activism and academia.

Attendance of this event will earn 1 CPD unit for legal practitioners. 

When: 6pm – 8pm TODAY, Thursday 5 June 2014
Where: Hedley Bull Centre, corner Liversidge Street, Garran Road, Australian National University
Cost: $30 per person (inclusive of drinks and canapés)

For more information or to register, click here.


(Perth) Groundwater in Mining

This 3-day National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training course is designed for professionals and students keen to learn about groundwater in mining. While a focus of the course will be mine dewatering, other key topics will include management of waste rock and tailings, management of groundwater as part of site-wide operational management, environmental impact assessment, and planning for closure.

When: 16-18 June 2014

Click here for more information or to register.


(Australia – various locations) Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) 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:

  • (Brisbane) Supporting Earth friendly organisations: 1 day law and governance clinic - 4 July 2014

  • (WA) Exploring community and nature’s rights: workshops and meetings 7 - 11 July 2014

  • (Brisbane) Exploring ecospirituality: 1 day workshop - 25 July 2014

  • (Sydney, Adelaide, Perth) Exploring ecospirituality: 1 day workshops (more details soon)

  • (Sydney) Half day symposium: New trends in environmental law and governance - keynote speaker: Judge Preston, Chief Justice of the Land and Environment Court (more details soon)

  • Wild Law Judgment Project (workshop) – November 2014 (more details soon)

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


(Tarragona, Spain) 12th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law

The 12th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law will be hosted by Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona, Spain.

When: 30 June to 5 July 2014

Please save the dates. Further information will be made available here in due course.


(Sydney) 2014 Government Sustainability Conference

Call for speakers now open

The 2014 Government Sustainability Conference will again provide delegates from local, state and federal government and the wider public sector with comprehensive analysis and advice on how to address crucial environment issues and embed sustainability within their organisations.
Presentation topics will include:

  • The future of carbon regulation and how government organisations should be responding: an analysis of the current carbon regulatory landscape for local government and public sector authorities

  • Effective sustainability strategies for government organisations

  • Climate adaptation strategies for government organisations and their communities

  • Public sector sustainability reporting

  • Community engagement on sustainability issues

  • Sustainable resource management: waste, water, energy

When: 12 and 13 August 2014
Where: Doltone House, Sydney

For more information about the event and to register, click here.


(Brussels, Belgium) European Environmental Law Forum

The theme for this year’s European Environmental Law Forum conference will be “Environmental and planning law aspects of large scale projects”.

When: 10–12 September 2014
Where: Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel (HUBrussel), Belgium

More information can be found here.


(Gold Coast) Climate Adaptation 2014 – Future Challenges

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and CSIRO joint 2014 conference will bring together end users and researchers from across Australia to share experience in adaptation and showcase activities, strategies and research.

When: 30 September – 2 October 2014 (early bird registration closes 30 June 2014)
Where: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Queensland

For more information or to register, click here.


(Sydney) IUCN World Parks Congress 2014

The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 is a landmark global forum on protected areas. The Congress will share knowledge and innovation, setting the agenda for protected areas conservation for the decade to come. Building on the theme "Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions", it will present, discuss and create original approaches for conservation and development, helping to address the gap in the conservation and sustainable development agenda.

When: 12 – 19 November 2014
Where: Sydney, Australia

Registration for this event is now open; early bird registration closes on 30 June 2014. For more information, and to register, click here


(Australia – 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 their website for their regularly updated program.


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Open for comment


Consultation on amendments to National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting measures

The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Scheme was introduced by the Howard Government in 2007 to provide data and accounting in relation to greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption and production. The NGER (Measurement) Determination 2008 sets out methods and criteria for calculating greenhouse gas emissions and energy data under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007.

A draft National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Amendment Determination 2014 has been released for public comment.  The new determination is intended to apply in 2014-15, requiring NGER reports complying with the new determination to be submitted in October 2015.  Submissions are invited until 5 June 2014

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


Australian Heritage Strategy

The draft Australian Heritage Strategy is now available for public comment. The document sets out commitments and priority actions against the following themes:  national leadership, partnerships and community engagement. The draft Strategy also notes that the Australian government should “contribute to international heritage standard setting and guidance” and promote Australia’s standing as a “world leader in heritage management.” 

Feedback on the themes, priorities and actions documented in the draft Strategy can be made until Monday, 9 June 2014. For more information, click here.


Energy Efficiency Opportunities (Repeal) Bill 2014

The Energy Efficiency Opportunities (Repeal) Bill 2014 (the Bill) intends to repeal the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006 (the Act), which established the Energy Efficiency Opportunities program – a Howard Government initiative. The programme requires businesses that were identified as using large amounts of energy to identify energy saving opportunities and report on their progress towards achieving energy efficiency.
If the Bill is passed, high energy using companies would no longer be required to assess their energy use, identify opportunities to reduce energy use or report on energy savings. The Government claims that the Act is no longer required, as increasing energy prices provide sufficient incentive to reduce energy use and internal energy management processes in large companies have improved. Repeal of the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006 will leave the Federal government’s proposed Direct Action scheme as the principal mechanism to deliver Australia's 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target.
This Bill has been referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee.  Submissions can be made until 20 June 2014. 


Senate Inquiry into Southern Ocean

The Senate made a referral to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee to report on Australia’s future activities and responsibilities in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters.  The inquiry will consider Australia’s management and monitoring of the Southern Ocean in relation to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, cooperation with international partners under treaties and agreements, and appropriate resourcing in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic territory for research and governance.

Submissions to the inquiry can be made until 1 July 2014. For more information, click here.


Review of the Water Act 2007 (Cth)

The Federal government has announced the first statutory review of the Water Act 2007 (Cth) since its commencement and released terms of reference for the review. The review will be conducted by an Independent Expert Panel , chaired by Eamonn Moran.

Submissions to the Panel can be made before 4 July 2014 by emailing wateractreview@environment.gov.au.


Review of Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas legislation 

The Federal Government has announced a review of Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas legislation, the first such review since 2001.

Submissions on the Terms of Reference are invited by 18 July 2014. An interim report is expected to be available for comment by the end of 2014. A final report will be delivered to the Government in mid-2015.

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


New South Wales

Marine estate community survey

The NSW Government has commissioned a private company to survey community views about the NSW marine estate and its future management. The NSW marine estate includes marine waters, the coast and estuaries, including the NSW marine parks, mangrove systems, islands, wetlands and lakes that are intermittently connected to the sea and rivers under a detectable tidal influence.
The survey will target stakeholder and focus groups, as well as randomised samples of NSW community residents for their views. Community members will be contacted directly by the company to complete the survey questionnaire.

Other members of the public may submit their views of future management of the marine estate by email to contact.us@marine.nsw.gov.au. These views will not be included in the survey results, however, they may inform new marine estate projects.

For more information, click here.


Draft Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014

The NSW EPA is proposing a number of amendments to the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2005 (The Waste Regulation) and Schedule 1 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. The Waste Regulation contains provisions relating to the waste levy, waste tracking, management requirements for certain waste types, payment schemes for councils, consumer packaging recycling and other miscellaneous provisions.  

Submissions are invited until Friday 6 June 2014. For more information or to make a submission, click here.



Draft Environmental Offsets Regulation 2014

As part of its reforms to environmental offsets, the Queensland Government has prepared the draft Environmental Offsets Regulation 2014. This regulation prescribes a number of important matters and processes for environmental offsets and is now available for consultation.
Submissions close 5pm 6 June 2014. For more information or to make a submission, click here.


Final stage reached on federal environmental approvals in Queensland 

The Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and the Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell recently released a draft Queensland bilateral agreement on environmental approvals for public comment.

Submissions are invited until 5pm, Friday 13 June 2014.

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


Western Australia

WA Bilateral Agreement under Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth)

The Regulatory Reform Taskforce of the Federal Department of Environment has invited comments on a draft assessment bilateral agreement with Western Australia under Section 49A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).

The draft is open for public comment until 27 June 2014. For more information or to make a submission, click here.


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(Suva, Fiji) Legal Advisor for Deep Sea Minerals Project, Applied Geosciences and Technology Division, Secretariat of the Pacific Community

The Applied Geosciences and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community seeks an efficient and analytical Legal Adviser with a solid background in drafting and providing legal advice.

The Division's work provides guidance on scientific and technical aspects of the region’s seabed mineral resources, supports development of national policy and regulatory frameworks, and contributes to geoscientific and geotechnical understanding of the underlying causes of environmental vulnerability in the region.

Under the direction of the Project Team Leader, the Legal Advisor to the Division will improve the legal and regulatory regimes and institutional capacities for the sustainable management of deep-sea mineral resources in the region, in accordance with international law and best practice.

Applications for this role close 8 June 2014. For more information about the role, or to apply, click here.


(Sydney) IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 – call for volunteers

The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 is an influential gathering of people involved in parks and protected areas who work together to set the global protected area agenda for the decade ahead. Held once every ten years, the Congress will bring together over 3000 delegates from 160 countries to Sydney, Australia, from 12-19 November 2014.

We have an exciting opportunity for people to get involved with the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 as volunteers. Volunteering at the Congress provides a unique opportunity to be part of the global hub of knowledge and innovation in protected area conservation.

Applications for volunteers are now being accepted (closing 13 June 2014).  For more information, or to submit an application, click here.


Chair, Lake Eyre Basin Community Advisory Committee

The Lake Eyre Basin is one of the last unregulated dryland river systems in the world. A unique opportunity exists for a proven, dynamic and independent Chair with knowledge of government processes and the role of legislation in achieving outcomes, and an understanding of whole-of-basin natural resource management issues, to lead the Lake Eyre Basin Advisory Committee over the next three years.

Applications close 19 June, 2014. For further information contact: Mr Christopher Biesaga, (02) 6274 1420 or email christopher.biesaga@environment.gov.au.


(Sydney) Chief Executive Officer, Nature Conservation Council of NSW, $95-105k

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) has an exciting opportunity for a passionate senior manager to move into the position of Chief Executive Officer on a full-time, three year contract. The role will be based in Newtown, Sydney.

In this key role, you will be responsible for driving the overall strategy and operations of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW's programs, community / media engagement activities and organisational progress in accordance with the NCC's purpose, vision and goals.

For more information or to apply, click here.


(Location negotiable) Contributors to NELA Bulletin needed

NELA needs contributors to cover the Commonwealth and South Australian jurisdictions for its monthly Bulletin.

Contributors are asked to focus on providing brief overviews of law and policy issues in their assigned jurisdiction; contributions on additional matters such as events, opportunities and resources are welcome but not our primary focus.

Positions are voluntary and it is expected that no more than a couple of hours’ work a month would be required and can be done from anywhere at any time that suits you, as long as contributions are received by the contribution deadline (5pm the Friday before the first Thursday of each month). You will however be credited in the “Thanks to this month’s contributors” section of any issue of the Bulletin to which you have contributed.

For more information, please contact Ellen Geraghty.


(Adelaide) Environmental Defenders Office (SA) seeks volunteers for its environmental law advisory service

The EDO (SA) invites lawyers with environmental law experience and who have an unrestricted practicing certificate to offer their services, free of charge, at the EDO Advisory Service on a Thursday evening.

You would be on a roster with other legal practitioners, advising clients face to face on their legal rights in all manner of environmental and planning issues.

For more information, click here.


(UK) Write for a leading authority on climate change adaptation and business

Acclimatise is a specialist advisory company providing world-class expertise in climate change adaptation and risk management looking to build its growing global contributors network. If you have an article, interview, video or podcast on any aspect of climate change adaptation then Acclimatise would like to hear from you.

For more information about the Acclimatise Network and the benefits of contributing, click here.

Alternatively, send your stories of 400-800 words, along with a short bio and photo (optional), to Will Bugler at w.bugler@acclimatise.uk.com.



University of Tasmania intensive: Current issues in environmental law and policy

The University of Tasmania will once again be holding its intensive course, Current Issues in Environmental Law and Policy, this winter.

This course explores the legal and policy context in which some of Australia's most challenging environmental controversies arise. It introduces students to the framework for national and international environmental regulation using a range of topical issues and case studies. These include the Gunns pulp mill dispute, coal seam gas expansion, international climate change negotiations, adapting to the impacts of climate change, and water rights in a drying world.

The course runs from 23 June to 13 July and is open to anyone with an interest in environmental law and policy.

For more information, click here.


(New York) Summer International Environmental Law Institute

Pace University’s law school, a top-ranked environmental law school located in New York, has just established its Summer International Environmental Law Institute. The Institute is now welcoming registrations from law students, lawyers, and other professionals from around the world who might be interested in attending environmental law classes in New York City in June and July 2014.

For more information, click here.



Call for support to develop an international law for ecosystems

The Saltus Forum is an independent, not-for-profit think-tank that is initiating a new discussion among leading companies, organizations and experts about the real possibility of an international law for ecosystems.

The Saltus Forum is currently seeking partners and supporting organizations to professionally evaluate and potentially develop such a law.

If you or your organization are interested in learning more, click here or email Steve Venton.


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Book: Environmental Impact Assessment in Australia 6e

Environmental Impact Assessment in Australia 6th edition (Federation Press, 2014) fully revises its evaluation of EIA practice around Australia and updates case studies throughout to complement the theory.

A key text on the topic of environmental impact assessment, the book emphasises practical application and evolving practices in various jurisdictions, effective stakeholder consultation, how good assessments can lead to better decisions and how politics plays an integral role in EIA. 

Recommended retail price for the publication is $64.95.  NELA members can buy a copy for the special price of $50.00 (+ $11.00 freight) by doing the following:

  1. Log onto the Federation Press website.

  2. Enter the title of the book and add it to your cart.

  3. At the ‘checkout, quote Federation Press Promotion Code EP1426.

  4. Pay with credit card as usual.

Federation Press will despatch your order within 24 hours. Offer valid to 30 June 2014.


(NSW) Have Your Say

Have Your Say is a community guide to influencing environmental outcomes. Hosted by EDO NSW and assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust, Have Your Say lists current and upcoming opportunities for the community to have a say in environmental decision-making processes, and provides practical guidance on how to effectively use these opportunities to achieve better outcomes for the environment.

Have Your Say can be accessed here and EDO NSW is currently seeking feedback from users on their experience with this new resource - to provide your feedback, click here.


Groundwater and surface water management: how well is it integrated?

Under the National Water Initiative (NWI) all governments agreed to the integrated management of surface and groundwater resources.

Since the NWI was signed in 2004 there has been substantial progress towards recognising and understanding connected systems, and there are many examples of innovative and leading practice.

Integrating groundwater and surface water management in Australia looks at progress and outlines opportunities for governments to optimise the benefits of integrated management and potentially achieve multiple water management objectives.

The report can be accessed here.


Latest issue of BioRes now out

The latest issue of BioRes, a newsletter published by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) providing analysis and news on trade and environment, is now out.

This issue contains a number of articles and items which may be of interest to NELA readers, including:

A full-text PDF copy of the issue is available here.


Facebook group for environmental law research students

Postgraduate students at University College London and King’s College London have set up a fantastic Facebook group for environmental law research students around the world. If you are such a student (or even if you’re not), this is a great way to keep in touch with like-minded individuals.

Search Environmental Law Research Student Network in Facebook or click here.


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Thanks to this month's contributors

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