Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your browser



July 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.

Join us
Follow us

This month

NELA news and events
01. Save the date: NELA WA State Conference 2014
02. Save the date: NELA National Conference 2014
03. 2014 NELA Essay Competition now open
04. NELA thanked by ACIUCN
05. Follow us on Twitter

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

09. (Brisbane) Supporting Earth friendly organizations: 1 day law and governance clinic
10. (WA) Exploring community and nature’s rights: workshops and meetings
11. (Melbourne) Clearing the air: environmental injustice and air pollution
12. (Melbourne) Social Impact Assessment Training Course
13. (Victoria) PIA and VPELA State Planning Conferencee
14. (Brisbane) ACIUCN’s Science Informing Policy Symposium Series
15. (Melbourne) VPELA presents: Red Dot Decisions seminar
16. (Sydney) 2014 Government Sustainability Conference
17. (Melbourne) Legalwise Seminar: Recent developments in Planning Law
18. (Perth) Legalwise Seminar: Enforcement under the Environmental Protection Act
19. (Sydney) Legalwise Seminar: Prosecutions in the Land and Environment Court
20. (Brussels, Belgium) European Environmental Law Forum
21. (Canberra) Understanding Groundwater Law
22. (Sydney) AELA half day symposium: New trends in environmental law and governance
23. (Perth) 3rd Annual Water in Mining Summit
24. (New Zealand) Resource Management Law Association (RMLA) Conference 2014
25. (Gold Coast) Climate Adaptation 2014 – Future Challenges
26. (Bangkok) 27th LAWASIA Conference
27. (Sydney) IUCN World Parks Congress 2014
28. (Gold Coast/Lismore) Wild Law Judgment Project (workshop)
29. (Hawaii) 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

Open for Comment
30. Commonwealth
31. Australian Capital Territory
32. Queensland

33. Work
34. Study
35. Other

36. Latest issue of BioRes out now
37. Facebook group for environmental law research students

From the editor

You’ll notice a few changes to the layout of the events this month. Rather than separating partner events from other events, these have now all been listed together, by date, with events from NELA's partners shown with a Header. NELA partner events can mean big savings for NELA members, who can attend partners’ events at partners' members’ rates. A number of other organisations also offer discounts for NELA members - where available, these discounts are mentioned in the entries for the relevant events.

I’ll be enjoying a much-needed holiday next month, so will be leaving the production of the August issue in the capable hands of my colleague, Jess Feehely, from EDO Tasmania. Contributions can continue to be sent to the Bulletin email address during that time.


NELA news and events

Save the date: NELA WA State Conference 2014

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 also explore third party access to information, legal challenges and appeals and best practices in environmental compliance systems. The conference will also include presentations on legal reform and an interactive workshop on compliance management.

When: Thursday, 16 October 2014

Where: Pan Pacific, Perth

More information will be shared as it becomes available – in the meantime, please save the date.


Save the date: 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

More information will be shared as it becomes available – in the meantime, please save the date.


2014 NELA Essay Competition now open

The 2014 NELA Essay Competition is now 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, which this year is Are we selling ourselves short?, and should 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.

Submissions must be made by 12 December 2014.

For more information, including the competition guidelines, click here.


NELA thanked by ACIUCN

The Australian Committee of the IUCN has had another year of intense activity and has thanked NELA for its financial contribution as an NGO member. Details of the work NELA has supported are set out in a report provided to NELA. Click here to download a copy.


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.

back to top


Law and policy developments

In the legislature


Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014

On 18 June 2014, the Federal Government introduced to Parliament a bill to implement the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). The ERF underpins the Federal Government’s Direct Action Plan by providing a Government fund for the purchase of carbon abatement. The Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014 (the Bill) proposes changes to the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) under the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011. The changes provide for a wider range of projects that can be used to generate Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs). The Bill also allows for the Clean Energy Regulator to purchase ACCUs. The Senate referred the Bill to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee for inquiry. Submissions closed on 26 June 2014. The Committee’s report is due on 7 July 2014.


Repeal of Carbon Tax

The Federal Government proposes to abolish the carbon tax legislated under the Clean Energy Act 2011 from 1 July 2014.  The bills to repeal the carbon tax were reintroduced on 23 June 2014 after having been rejected by the Senate when initially introduced on 13 November 2013 and passed the House of Representatives on 26 June 2014.  The Bills will be considered by the new Senate in July.  The Palmer United Party has indicated that it will support abolition of the carbon price, but will not support the abolition of the Climate Change Authority or CFEC.


Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Cost Recovery) Bill 2014

On 24 June 2014, Parliament passed the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Cost Recovery) Bill 2014 (the Bill). The Bill will allow for cost recovery for environmental impact assessments, including strategic assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Relevant fees are to be outlined in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000, except for fees in relation to assessment by an inquiry or strategic assessment, which will be set by a Ministerial determination.


Green Army Bill passes the Senate

The Social Security Legislation Amendment (Green Army Programme) Bill 2014 has received bi-partisan support, approving a programme that allows 17 – 24 year olds to participate in environmental conservation. The Green Army will be deployed across the country to work with communities in conservation projects. The Federal Government has committed $525 million over five years to the scheme and is seeking applications from community organisation for potential Green Army Projects.


Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas amendments

The Federal government has introduced two Bills to amend the arrangements for offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage activities:

The Bills will impose a levy on applicants submitting an environmental plan and make changes to available compliance and enforcement measures.

Read the Explanatory Memorandum and the First Reading Speech for the Regulatory Levies Bill. Read the Explanatory Memorandum and the First Reading Speech for the Regulatory Powers and Other Measures Bill.  


New South Wales

Climate Change Bill 2014

This Bill proposes a framework for action on climate change mitigation and adaptation in New South Wales and sets targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It provides for monitoring and reporting of impacts of climate change on people, communities and ecosystems in the State. The Bill has not yet been introduced.



Tasmanian Climate Action Council to be axed

The government has introduced a Climate Change State Action Amendment Bill 2014 to abolish the Tasmanian Climate Action Council, the statutory body advising government on emissions reduction and climate change adaptation actions.  Environment Minister, Matthew Groom, told parliament that the work previously done by the Council would now be undertaken by government staff.

The proposed changes to the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008 will retain the target to cut the State’s emissions to 60% below 1990 levels by 2050 and the requirement for four-yearly independent reviews of progress towards the target.

Forestry Bill passes Lower House

The Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Bill 2014 was passed by the Lower House on 5 June 2014, despite not being supported by Labor or the Tasmanian Greens.  The Bill will now be considered by the Legislative Council.


Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Bill 2014

The Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Bill 2014 (the Bill) has passed the Lower House, despite strong opposition by the Tasmanian Law Society, Civil Liberties Australia and environmental groups. The Bill is designed to deliver on the Government’s election commitment to introduce “tough penalties” for people protesting at forestry and mining operations.
The legislation creates a range of offences for protest activities at business premise, and provides for significant penalties, including:

  • On-the-spot fines of $2,000 for the offence of invading or hindering a business (with penalties up to $5,000 if protestors unsuccessfully contest the fine in court).

  • Convictions automatically recorded for all offences.

  • Any subsequent offences will be subject to a mandatory prison sentence between three months and two years.

  • Individuals and organisations “inciting” protest activities will also face heavy fines for inciting (undefined) others to invade or hinder a business and for damaging a business premises.

summary of the Bill is available on the EDO Tasmania website.


In the courts

Australian Capital Territory

Animal Liberation ACT v Conservator of Flora and Fauna (Administrative Review) [2014] ACAT 35

In mid-June the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) decided to uphold the licences issued by the Conservator of Flora and Fauna to undertake a conservation cull of eastern grey kangaroos to protect biodiversity in eight local reserves.

In reaching its decision, ACAT confirmed the need for the cull, which would not threaten the eastern grey kangaroo as a species, to avoid significant impacts on the endangered ecological communities in the reserves.


New South Wales

Botany Bay City Council v Minister for Planning and Infrastructure [2014] NSWCA 141

Botany Bay City Council (the Council) sought leave to appeal against the decision of Sheahan J, in which His Honour refused to grant the Council leave to rely on expert evidence in judicial review proceedings in the Land and Environment Court. Generally, admissibility of such evidence depends upon the ground of review, the relevant issue and the nature of the evidence. The Court of Appeal refused leave to appeal, finding no error in the primary judge’s finding that the evidence was not "reasonably required" to resolve the proceedings.


Turnbull v Director-General, Office of Environment and Heritage [2014] NSWLEC 84 –  Class 1 merit appeal

Landholders that had pleaded guilty to offences of clearing native vegetation under Section 12 of the Native Vegetation Act 2003 (NSW) (the NV Act) have successfully appealed the Director-General’s Directions for remedial works. Almost 500 hectares of native vegetation were cleared for commercial crops, wheat and barley. The sentence hearing was held and judgment reserved pending outcome of merit appeal. The applicant sought to remediate different land from that cleared, a smaller area, and on different terms. The Court held there is power under Section 38 of the NV Act to make directions for remedial work on land other than land subject to clearing. The Court maintained that remediation is often best achieved by permitting and promoting natural regeneration, and that remedial work should be carried out on areas likely to provide the greatest conservation gain. The Court directed that fencing, weed management and monitoring for 15 years is required and that a Property Vegetation Plan be submitted. Parties were required to file agreed remedial works directions. The hearing was adjourned.



Court orders EPA to provide reasons for changes to mine permit

On 18 June 2014, Chief Justice Blow of the Tasmanian Supreme Court ordered the EPA Director to provide a statement of reasons for his decision to alter the permit conditions for Shree Minerals’ iron ore mine.

Save the Tarkine wrote to the Director in December 2013 asking for reasons for this decision, concerned that the amended conditions changed the way in which potentially acid-forming material is handled at the mine.  The Director refused to give reasons, saying Save the Tarkine did not have a sufficient interest in the decision (that is, Save the Tarkine was not a “person aggrieved” under the Judicial Review Act 2000).

Seven months later, Chief Justice Blow concluded that Save the Tarkine was a “person aggrieved” by the amendments to the permit and was entitled to reasons for the decision to amend. The EPA Director conceded that Save the Tarkine has a sufficient interest and agreed to provide the reasons by 2 July 2014.

The EPA was also ordered to pay Save the Tarkine’s costs. Chief Justice Blow’s decision can be read here.


Tarkine National Coalition v Minister for Environment

On 15 May 2014, the Federal Court dismissed the application of the Tarkine National Coalition (also known as Save the Tarkine or TNC) to review the former Environment Minister’s decision to approve Venture Minerals’ mine at Riley Creek in the Tarkine.

On 5 June the TNC lodged an appeal against this dismissal in the Full Court of the Federal Court in relation to the Riley Creek mine. TNC’s grounds of appeal include:

  • The Minister had failed to take into account cumulative impacts of the mine proposal, when considered together with other developments (including other mine proposals) in the area.

  • The failure to take into account the cumulative impact meant that EPA Board assessment did not fulfil the requirements of the bilateral agreement between the Tasmanian and Commonwealth governments and did not contain enough information about the relevant impacts of the proposed action to enable the Minister to make an informed decision.

  • The conditions which permitted Venture Minerals to contribute a specified amount of money where deaths of threatened species resulted were not permitted under the EPBC Act.

The matter is continuing.


Policy developments and other news


Audit of Federal Department of Environment

An Australian National Audit Office audit of the Department of Environment’s compliance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 has highlighted problems with the department’s enforcement of environmental laws. A number of operational issues were cited as impacting on the department’s ability to effectively target its compliance monitoring activities. The report outlines an increased workload has resulted in the department’s passive approach towards monitoring compliance and managing non-compliance of conditions, concluding:

“[N]early 14 years after the enactment of the EPBC Act, [the Department of] Environment is yet to establish mature administrative arrangements to effectively discharge its regulatory responsibilities in relation to approved controlled actions”.

The report can be read here.


Senate report regarding Bilateral Agreements and Cost Recovery Bills

The Senate Environment and Communications Committee Inquiry into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Cost Recovery) Bill 2014 has released its Report  (including dissenting reports from the Labor and Greens’ members).

The majority report recommends that both Bills be passed. The dissenting report from the Labor members supports the Cost Recovery Bill, but recommends against passing the Bilateral Agreement Implementation Bill. The Greens’ dissenting report recommends that neither Bill be passed.


Australia’s Electricity Sector: Ageing, Inefficient and Unprepared

The Climate Council has released a detailed report, Australia’s Electricity Sector:  Ageing, Inefficient and Unprepared.  The report urges the sector to commence an active transition to low carbon alternatives to minimise risks and costs, noting that alternative energy options could take a decade or more to plan, permit, finance and build.


Senate report on Environmental Offsets

The report of the Senate Environment and Communications Committee Inquiry into Environmental Offsets has been released.  The majority report identifies deficiencies in current approaches to offsetting and makes recommendations, including:

  • that the Environmental Offsets Policy under the EPBC Act be strengthened to clarify the application of the additionality principle,

  • that environmental offsets only be used as a last resort, subject to a clear, and rigorously implemented, mitigation hierarchy,

  • that ‘red flag’ areas be identified where offsets will not be appropriate,

  • that offsets be clearly identified before development approval is granted, and

  • that a public register of environmental offsets be maintained.

The report also recommends against entering into bilateral agreements under the EPBC Act to accredit state and territory approval processes.  The Government’s dissenting report is appended to the majority report.


New NGER Determination

The Environment Minister has issued a revised NGER Determination, National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Amendment Determination 2014 (No. 1).

Changes to the NGER Determination include:

  • removing specific references to coal seam gas (now included in the definition of natural gas).  Direct monitoring of vented fugitive emissions from coal seam gas operations will now be available for other forms of gas production,

  • new method for estimating emissions from sludge lagoons,

  • revised emission factors for electricity purchased from the grid

The Determination will take effect from 1 July 2014, requiring all reports submitted by companies from October 2015 to comply with the new requirements.


RET review modelling released

Preliminary modelling undertaken by ACIL Allen as part of the RET review shows that the existing Renewable Energy Target will account for an increasing proportion of energy bills paid by 2020, after which the proportion will steadily fall.  The modelling estimates that RET costs will peak at 10% of power bills by 2020, then fall to 4% by 2030.

The modelling concludes that the existing LRET will deliver abatement for $54 per tonne from 2014 until 2040. The modelling also shows that abolishing the RET would result in decreasing power bills in the short term, but is expected to increase power costs from 2020 onwards.


Developing Northern Australia

The Commonwealth Parliament Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia has released an Interim Report in relation to its Inquiry into the Development of Northern Australia.
The Interim Report is available here.


New South Wales

Biodiversity Legislation Review

The Minister for the Environment has released terms of reference for a comprehensive review of the legislative framework for threatened species and native vegetation management in New South Wales. The scope of the review will include the Native Vegetation Act 2003Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995Nature Conservation Trust Act 2001 and the parts of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 that relate to native plants and animals and private land conservation.
The review will include stakeholder engagement. You can view the terms of reference here. More information available here.


Amendment to Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs)

The New South Wales Government is amending IFOAs made under the Forestry Act 2012 (NSW) for the Eden, Southern, Upper and Lower North East coastal regions of NSW. IFOAs are a key regulatory tool for managing the logging of state forests. Consultation on the discussion paper has now closed but further consultation on the draft IFOAs is anticipated by mid–2014. More information available here.



World Heritage Committee rejects the request to delist Tasmanian forests

On 23 June 2014, the World Heritage Committee unanimously rejected the Australian Government’s request to amend the boundaries of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area to exclude approximately 74,000 hectares of forest.  The Committee’s advisory bodies, ICOMOS and IUCN, both recommended that the request be rejected.  ICOMOS described the material supporting the request as “sparse”, and noted concerns that no assessment or consultation had been undertaken in respect of cultural heritage values within the area proposed for removal. 

Meeting reports and records of decisions are available on the World Heritage Committee’s website.


back to top



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

(Brisbane) Supporting Earth friendly organizations: 1 day law and governance clinic

Our local communities are full of amazing people and organisations who work hard to support people and planet. The Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) is trialling a new program in Brisbane/South East Queensland, aimed at supporting Earth friendly organisations by connecting them with legal, governance and other expertise.

When: 4 July 2014

To learn more, click here.


(WA) Exploring community and nature’s rights: workshops and meetings

AELA’s National Convenor, Michelle Maloney, is working with AELA WA and the WA Forest Alliance to facilitate workshops and meetings in Perth, Margaret River and Jarrahdale.  These discussions will explore how we can use community and nature’s rights legal frameworks in community campaigns. 

When: 7 - 11 July 2014

For more information, click here.


(Melbourne) Clearing the air: environmental injustice and air pollution

Every year more than 3000 people die prematurely from exposure to air pollutions. Thousands more are made sick and lose years of healthy life from illness suffered as a result of exposure to air pollution.

The impacts of air pollution affect everybody but they affect some far worse than others. The most polluted places are typically less well off and the most vulnerable are those who are already sick. 

Environmental Justice Australia has highlighted these issues in our recent report Clearing the Air: Why Australia Urgently Needs Effective National Air Pollution Laws. Building on the report, this seminar will look at the issues surrounding the impacts of air pollution and how best to regulate it to protect both human health and the environment.

When: 5.45pm for 6pm start, Tuesday 8 July 2014


For more details and speaker information, visit our website, or click here to register.


Header (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.


Header (Victoria) PIA and VPELA State Planning Conference

From Gatekeeper to Game Changer

Victoria is at a crossroad.

With pressure increasing from global economic factors, population growth, urbanisation, climate change and rapidly evolving technologies, now more than ever, we need to do things smarter and better. The safety of the status-quo and business as usual are not enough – we need to change to keep up and transform to thrive. We can all play an active part in change and must each become change agents; envisage the future we want and identify what must be retained; formulate creative solutions and work collaboratively to implement them.

This year’s State Planning Conference keynote speakers have embraced the role of ‘Game Changer’, taken chances seized opportunities, and met the challenges of doing things differently – they are re-shaping our future, are you ready? Join industry colleagues at this must attend event and prepare to move out of your comfort zone.

When: 17 and 18 July 2014

Where: Warrnambool, Victoria

For more information or to book your place, click here.


Header (Brisbane) ACIUCN’s Science Informing Policy Symposium Series 

Valuing nature: Protected areas and ecosystems

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.


Header (Melbourne) VPELA presents: Red Dot Decisions seminar

Come along and hear a concise review and commentary of the Red Dot decisions from VCAT for 2013/2014, as well as recent amendments to the VCAT Act.

When: 5.30pm, 22 July 2014 

Where: Rigby Cooke Lawyers, Level 11,360 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne 

Chair Jane Sharp, Victorian Bar; guest barristers: Nicola Collingwood, Emma Peppler and Jennifer Trewhella. 

Numbers are limited; to learn more or book your place, click here.


(Sydney) 2014 Government Sustainability Conference

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

Early bird registration closes tomorrow, 4 July 2014. For more information about the event and to register, click here.


(Melbourne) Legalwise Seminar: Recent developments in Planning Law

Victoria is developing its strategies that will direct future developments of Melbourne and the state.

Ensure you understand what the consequences are for your clients.

When: 2 – 5.15pm, Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Where: InterContinental Melbourne

This seminar is run by Legalwise Seminars, which runs over 400 legal seminars per year with the most up-to-date content, expert speakers and interactive opportunities to learn.

This seminar is accredited for 3 CPD points and NELA members receive a 10% discount. For more information, click here.


(Perth) Legalwise Seminar: Enforcement under the Environmental Protection Act

The heightened activity of the environmental enforcement body in WA makes this program a perfect opportunity to learn about the strategies to prevent the risk of prosecutions and options available to gain best outcomes if enforcement action is taken against an operator.

When: 2 – 5.15pm, Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Where: Parmelia Hilton, 14 Mill St, Perth

This seminar is run by Legalwise Seminars, which runs over 400 legal seminars per year with the most up-to-date content, expert speakers and interactive opportunities to learn.

This seminar is accredited for 3 CPD points and NELA members receive a 10% discount. For more information, click here.


(Sydney) Legalwise Seminar: Prosecutions in the Land and Environment Court

On 28 May 2014 the NSW Government announced a range of new measures that will likely increase the number of prosecutions in the Land and Environment Court. Join us at this seminar to examine enforcement, prosecutions and procedures in the Court in addition to key cases.

When: Thursday, 4 September 2014

Where: Sydney

NELA members receive a 10% discount on this seminar. Click here for more information.


(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.


(Canberra) Understanding Groundwater Law

This course is delivered in partnership with the Australian Water Association and provides an overview of the laws relating to groundwater resources in Australia. It includes a particular emphasis on the regulatory and policy frameworks that regulate groundwater extraction, use and management at the Federal and State level.

The course will provide insights into the application of groundwater law in key areas that will have important implications for government agencies that undertake environmental planning and assessments and the entities that rely on the subsequent approvals, and the process and methods through which coal seam gas and mining projects are assessed and conditioned.

When: 11-12 September

Where: Canberra

For more information or to register, click here.


(Sydney) AELA half day symposium: New trends in environmental law and governance

When: 12 September 2014

Keynote speaker: Judge Preston, Chief Justice of the Land and Environment Court.

More details will be available here soon.


(Perth) 3rd Annual Water in Mining Summit

The 3rd Annual Water in Mining Summit will bring together water and environmental experts as well as government regulators and industry consultants to discuss new technologies, innovative solutions and successful strategies for managing water at mine sites.

The case study-led program will highlight new techniques and best practices for dewatering, water treatment, sustainable re-use of water, mine pit lake and tailings management, and the latest modelling tools and assessment frameworks to monitor the water quality and quantity at your projects.

When: 16-18 September 2014

Where: Perth

To download the brochure to view the agenda and speaker line-up, click here.

To register, contact Resourceful Events at +61 2 8525 9488 or email info@resourcefulevents.com.

NELA members are entitled to a 15% discount on this event; quote promo code “852NELA15D” during registration.


Header (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.


(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

Where: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Queensland

For more information or to register, click here.


(Bangkok) 27th LAWASIA Conference

There will be three environmental law sessions at this year’s LAWASIA Conference:

  • Environmental law: Recent developments in environmental assessment in Asia - legal regimes and jurisprudence

  • Environmental/judicial: Improved resolution of environmental disputes by judicial specialization

  • Ecotourism: Environmental and tourism laws – conflicts and marriages

When: 3 to 6 October 2014

Where: Bangkok, Thailand

You are warmly invited to express interest in participating as a speaker in any of the conference sessions.

For more information, or to express your interest, please call +61 2 9926 0165 or email lawasia@lawasia.asn.au.


Header (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. For more information, and to register, click here.

Note that NELA is an NGO member of IUCN so as a member of NELA you are entitled to a discount rate – simply register using NELA's member number (3002-65014).


(Gold Coast/Lismore) Wild Law Judgment Project (workshop)

AELA and the Southern Cross University are pleased to invite members and colleagues from academia, legal practice and the judiciary to participate in an exciting new project called The Wild Law Judgment Project. An overview of the project is available here.

The first workshop to develop this project further is currently being planned for November, 2014. The workshop is expected to be held at the Southern Cross University Gold Coast or Lismore campus.

When: November 2014

More information is available here.


(Hawaii) 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

Held every four years, the IUCN World Conservation Congress brings together leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and indigenous and grass-roots organizations to discuss and decide on solutions to the world’s most pressing environment and development challenges.

When: 1 to 10 September 2016

Where:  Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, Hawaii

The last World Conservation Congress was held in 2012 in Jeju, Republic of Korea. More information about the 2016 Congress will be shared as it becomes available.


back to top

Open for comment


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.


ARENA repeal Bill

The Senate Economics Legislation Committee has invited public submissions regarding the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Repeal) Bill 2014 (Cth). The Bill proposes to close the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the independent agency responsible for funding renewable energy projects and supporting research and development to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies.

Submissions close on 16 July 2014. For more information and to make a submission, click here.


Review of Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas legislation 

The Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (Cth) and related Acts are under review. These Acts aim to reduce emissions of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and synthetic greenhouse gases (SGGs) by controlling the manufacture, import, export and end use of products containing these gases.

Public submissions can be made to the review 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.


Developing Northern Australia

A Federal Government Green Paper has been released on Developing Northern Australia. The Green Paper identifies six broad policy directions: infrastructure, land, water, business, trade and investment, education research, innovation and governance.

Public submissions in relation to the questions raised in the Green Paper are now being received; submissions close 8 August 2014. For more information or to make a submission, click here.


National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement)

A discussion of proposed methods for the estimation of emissions from carbon capture and storage (CCS) activity is detailed in this Department of the Environment Departmental Commentary.

The consultation period in relation to the proposed estimation approaches is now open, and submissions will be received until 31 August 2014.

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

Inquiry into “attacks on Australia’s environment”

On 18 June 2014, the Senate referred the following matter to the Standing Committee on Environment and Communications:  “The Abbott Government's attacks on Australia's environment, and their effects on our natural heritage and future prosperity.”

The terms of reference for this broad inquiry include climate change, delegation of approval powers under environmental laws, attacks on funding for community organisations and programmes, compliance with international obligations and any other related matter.

The closing date for submissions is 1 September 2014, and the Committee is expected to report in early 2015.

To make a submission, click here.


Australian Capital Territory

Environmental offsets policy

Comments are being sought on the ACT Environmental Offsets Policy and Delivery Framework Position Paper and associated guidelines. 

For copies of the policy, paper and guidelines, click here.

Comments will be accepted until 11 July 2014. To comment, click here.



Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014

The Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 was introduced to the Queensland Parliament on 5 June 2014. Currently, there are five separate pieces of legislation in Queensland regulating the coal, minerals, petroleum, CSG, geothermal energy and greenhouse gas storage sectors. The purposes of the Bill are to:

  • consolidate provisions that are common to all of these Acts,

  • provide for common processes that will apply to all of these sectors,

  • manage overlapping coal and petroleum resource authorities for coal seam gas, and

  • assist in achieving the purposes of each of the current Acts (cl 3).

Public submissions on the Bill may be made to the Parliamentary Committee before 9 July 2014. For more information or to make a submission, click here.


back to top



(Melbourne) Graduate environmental consultants

Prensa is an exciting and vibrant nationally based professional risk management consultancy firm which services clients throughout Australia, in all types of industries.

Prensa is seeking motivated and forward thinking graduates to assist in growing the provision of the following services in our Melbourne office:

  • Contaminated land and groundwater assessments,

  • Environmental due diligence assessments,

  • Toxicology and risk assessment,

  • Environmental management plans,

  • Hazardous building material audits, and

  • Occupational hygiene.

The position provides an excellent opportunity to begin and develop a career in the environmental and property field, and gain experience in consulting.

Applications close 11 July 2014. For more information, or to apply, click here.


Call for abstracts for chapters for a new volume on CITES as a tool for sustainable development

Are you an expert or scholar working on legal aspects of biodiversity, protected species and/or sustainable development? Would you like to contribute a chapter for a new volume on implementing CITES for sustainable development, with Cambridge University Press?

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), in a cooperative partnership with the University of Cambridge, the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), is delighted to announce this Call for Submissions for the volume “CITES as a Tool for Sustainable Development”. Legal experts and researchers from law and biodiversity-related fields are invited to submit abstracts with their ideas for a chapter by 30 July 2014.

Experts and potential authors are invited to send abstracts of approximately 200 words, along with a brief 3-line biography to Ms Elina Väänänen at evaananen@cisdl.org and Ms Stephanie Forte at sforte@cisdl.org. Submissions will be considered on a rolling basis until 30 July 2014.

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.



International Water Leadership Program

The International Water Leadership Program begins in September 2014, and is based on the success of the International WaterCentre’s own Water Leadership Program that started in 2011.

Participants will progress through a full year of intensive work and learning involving four face-to-face sessions and a challenging on-the-job assignment for leadership development. Learning will occur collectively in the face-to-face sessions and individually through mentoring, coaching and implementing leadership development plans in the workplace.

Applications for the program are open until 1 August 2014. For more information and to apply, click here.


IWC Masters Scholarships now open for international students

Join the global community of leaders that is changing the way the world manages water! Up to four scholarships are available for high calibre international students accepted into the Master of Integrated Water Management (MIWM) commencing in Semester 1, 2015.

Using problem-based and experiential learning, MIWM students create and implement integrated solutions to local and global water challenges. The degree is co-badged and co-taught by IWC's four founding member universities, the University of Queensland, Griffith University, Monash University and the University of Western Australia.

Scholarships applications for international students close on 1 August 2014.

Scholarships for domestic students will open from 1 July until 1 October 2014.

For more information and to apply, 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 organisation are interested in learning more, click here or email Steve Venton.


back to top


If you have a relevant resource (such as a book, paper or website) you would like to share with NELA Bulletin readers, please email the editor.

Latest issue of BioRes out now

Avoiding a collision with nature – and setting the world on a path toward sustainable development – will require making full use of a range of available policies. Trading emissions virtually with a steadily rising permit price tag is one, increasingly used, option. This issue of BioRes looks at options to link emissions trading schemes, and addressing trade barriers that hinder renewable energy technology diffusion. Also included are interviews with Gabriel Blanco, Chair, Technology Executive Committee, UNFCCC, and Heleen de Coninck, Associate Professor, Institute for Sciences, Innovation and Society.

To access a full-text PDF copy of BioRes, click 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.


back to top

Thanks to the NELA Bulletin team

The NELA Bulletin is researched and written entirely by volunteers. This month, we thank the following people for their work:

back to top