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August 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. Environment and Climate Change Law Library
02. Save the date: NELA WA State Conference 2014
03. Save the date: NELA National Conference 2014
04. 2014 NELA Essay Competition now open
05. Follow us on Twitter

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

09. (Sydney) 2014 Government Sustainability Conference
10. (Melbourne) Legalwise Seminar: Recent developments in Planning Law
11. (Tasmania) Planning Institute Australia State Planning Conference
12. (Perth) Legalwise Seminar: Enforcement under the Environmental Protection Act
13. (Melbourne) VPELA presents: Red Dot Decisions seminar
14. (Sydney) 2014 Government Sustainability Conference
15. (Brussels, Belgium) European Environmental Law Forum
16. (Canberra) Understanding Groundwater Law
17. (Sydney) AELA half day symposium: New trends in environmental law and governance
18. (Perth) 3rd Annual Water in Mining Summit
19. (New Zealand) Resource Management Law Association (RMLA) Conference 2014
20. (Gold Coast) Climate Adaptation 2014 – Future Challenges
21. (Bangkok) 27th LAWASIA Conference
22. (Hobart) EIANZ National Conference 2014
23. (Sydney) IUCN World Parks Congress 2014
24. (Gold Coast/Lismore) Wild Law Judgment Project (workshop)
25. (Hawaii) 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

Open for Comment
26. Commonwealth
27. Queensland
28. South Australia
29. Tasmania
30. Victoria
31. Western Australia

32. Work
33. Study
34. Other

35. Facebook group for environmental law research students

From the editor

With our intrepid editor taking a well-earned break this month, a team of volunteer contributors have helped to pull this issue together. Thanks to all involved… hurry back, Ellen, we miss you!

Contributions for the September edition can be sent to the Bulletin email address.


NELA news and events

Environment and Climate Change Law Library

NELA has recently launched the Environment and Climate Change Law Library, a project which aims to bring together the wealth of high quality analysis of environment and climate change law developments being produced by law firms, academics and consultants around Australia.
With contributions from a wide range of sources, over time we hope this online Environment and Climate Change Law Library will become a comprehensive and accessible resource. To become a contributor, please contact us at review@nela.org.au

Each quarter, NELA will also publish the Australian Environmental Law Digest, highlighting key recent articles uploaded to the Library and related news.

Both the Library and the Digest are free and will be distributed widely. To subscribe to the Digest, click here


Save the date: NELA National 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 available on the NELA website soon – in the meantime, please save the date.


Save the date: NELA National Conference 2014
Transformation or Train Wreck?  Environmental and Climate Change Law at the Crossroads

This year NELA are working in conjunction with Legalwise Seminars to deliver our National Conference, bringing together speakers from the judiciary, legal profession, industry, consultants and academics to share their perspectives on current practices.  We are currently finalising an interesting programme guaranteed to generate debate about future directions for environmental and climate change law.    

When: Friday, 21 November 2014
Where: Intercontinental, Sydney

More information and a full programme will be available soon – in the meantime, please save the date.


2014 NELA Essay Competition now open

The 2014 NELA Essay Competition is now open, with the theme ‘Are we selling ourselves short?’

Essays addressing this theme can be submitted by any undergraduate or postgraduate student enrolled at an Australian tertiary institution. Essays should be between 4,000 – 7,000 words in length.

The deadline for submissions is 12 December 2014.  Winners in each of the undergraduate and postgraduate categories will receive $1,000 and a 12-month NELA membership.  Appropriate entries will also be published in the Environment and Climate Change Law Library.

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


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


Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014

On 17 July 2014, legislation to repeal the Carbon Tax was passed in the Senate with a final vote of 39:32. This was the third attempt by the Coalition government to pass the Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014 (‘the Bill’) through the Senate, the final numbers being achieved with the support of the Palmer United Party and key cross-bench senators. The Greens and Labor senators opposed the repeal.

The Bill repeals the six Acts which established the carbon pricing mechanism and makes consequential amendments to other legislation in light of the repeal, including:

  • Amendments to the Clean Energy (Consequential Amendments) Act 2011 (Cth)and Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth)to remove the conservation tillage tax offset; and

  • Amendments to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011 (Cth)to change the future funding for the agency (this amendment was negotiated with Senator Ricky Muir, to prevent complete abolition of ARENA).

Read the Bill as passed and the original explanatory memorandum.


Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) (Sequestering Carbon in Soils in Grazing Systems) Methodology Determination 2014

On 16 July 2014, Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved rules to enable graziers to create carbon credits under the Carbon Farming Initiative by boosting soil carbon levels. The methodology determination sets out rules for implementing and monitoring projects that sequester carbon in grazing land soils. The methodology obliges proponents to explain the management actions they will take to store carbon in soils. The methodology also allows existing actions to generate credits, provided new actions are also involved.

Projects seeking to use the determination to earn credits must obtain approval from the Clean Energy Regulator. A range of supporting tools has also been released to assist rural landowners.


Australian Capital Territory

Bilateral Agreement Between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Australian Capital Territory

On 8 July 2014, the Commonwealth and Australian Capital Territory Ministers for the Environment entered into a new assessment bilateral agreement (‘Agreement’) for the ACT. The Agreement, which replaces an earlier assessment bilateral, allows the Commonwealth Minister to rely on environmental impact assessments under the Planning and Development Act 2007 (ACT) for the purposes of an assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Some submissions in relation the Agreement raised concerns regarding the adequacy of assessment standards under the Planning and Development Act 2007 (ACT) to protect matters of national environmental significance, as required under the EPBC Act.  However, the governments dismissed concerns and were satisfied that the Agreement satisfied all requirements under the EPBC Act.



Native Vegetation Credit Market Bill 2014 rejected

The Native Vegetation Credit Market Bill 2014 was rejected by the Victorian parliament on 26 June 2014.  The Bill aimed to introduce a formal market-based framework for the creation, trade and allocation of native vegetation credits (a system which had operated informally under the former native vegetation policy). Under the Bill, native vegetation credits could be used to offset the loss of biodiversity values as a result of clearance of native vegetation. 

Opponents of the Bill raised concerns regarding how rigorously the offset criteria would be applied and the quality of mapping on which assessments would rely.

For more information about the Bill, click here.


In the courts

New South Wales

Orica fined $768,000 for various chemical spills

In a series of judgments, chemical company Orica Australia Pty Ltd (‘Orica’) has been fined $768,000 over chemical spills and safety breaches at two of its sites in New South Wales, between October 2010 and December 2011. 

The NSW Environmental Protection Authority commenced proceedings against Orica in the Land and Environment Court for various breaches of its licence conditions, failing to carry out activities competently and failing to report incidents in a timely manner. Orica pleaded guilty to nine charges under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, dealt with in seven concurrent sentence proceedings:



Tarkine National Coalition seeks review of Tarkine mine decision

On 24 July 2014, the Tarkine National Coalition lodged an application for the judicial review of Tasmania’s Environment Protection Authority (‘EPA’) decision to vary the conditions of a planning permit in respect of Shree Mineral’s Nelson Bay River magnetite mine in north west Tasmania.

In November 2013, the Director of the EPA issued an Environment Protection Notice to Shree altering the mine’s operating conditions to allow acid-forming mine waste to be stored above ground. The EPA Board’s original assessment report identified acid mine drainage as a critical issue, and recommended in-ground storage only.

The Tarkine National Coalition application alleges that the Director’s decision:

  • was an improper exercise of the power conferred by s44(1) Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (Tas); and

  • failed to take into account relevant considerations (including the EPA Board’s earlier report).



Rutherford & Ors v Hume CC (includes Summary) (Red Dot) [2014] VCAT 786

In 2013, the Planning and Environment Act 1987 was amended to explicitly require decision-makers to consider “any significant social effects and economic effects” which a proposed use or development may have (s.60(1)(f)).  The first VCAT decision addressing this provision was delivered on 14 July 2014.

The decision involved the development of a mosque for Shi’ite Muslims on land adjacent to an existing Christian church.  The Tribunal considered what significant social effects may result from the proposal, particularly given ethnic and religious tensions, and how to balance those against other considerations.   The Tribunal noted that the relevant effect must be considered to be significant by the decision-maker, rather than by affected party, and be subject to a “proper assessment” or empirical analysis.  On that basis, the Tribunal preferred the Council’s expert assessment of social effects to evidence presented by community members.  The case appears to require expert social impacts assessments to be routinely undertaken where there is likely to be a significant social effect from any proposed use or development.

Read the decision here.


Western Australia

Department of Environment Regulation v Brownes Food Operations Pty Ltd

Brownes Food Operations Pty Ltd (‘Brownes’) was fined $100,000 after pleading guilty to pollution in the Bunbury Magistrates Court.  The Court heard that between 70,000 and 140,000 litres of unprocessed milk was discharged into a storm water drainage system which flowed into a natural creek feeding the Elvira Gully, between 27 November and 16 December 2011, from Brownes’ Brunswick milk processing facility.

In issuing the fine, the Court took into account Brownes’ cooperation with Department’s investigation, the early guilty plea and the significant costs incurred by Brownes’ during the clean-up operation.


GMO case to be appealed

An organic farmer who unsuccessfully applied to the Supreme Court of Western Australia seeking damages against his neighbour, Mr Baxter, in relation to contamination of his organic crops with genetically-modified canola, has filed a notice of appeal.  


Policy developments and other news


New Threatened Species Commissioner

On 2 July 2014, Gregory Andrews was appointed as Australia's first Threatened Species Commissioner. The Commissioner will work with the national Threatened Species Scientific Committee, the community, the non-profit sector, industry, scientists and all levels of government in order to prevent any further extinction of Australian fauna and flora.  

A group of informal expert advisors will also provide guidance and technical advice to the Commissioner.  For more information on the commissioner and the expert advisors, click here.

Improved compliance and enforcement activities under the EPBC Act

Following a critical review of compliance practices with the Federal Department of Environment by the Australian National Audit Office, the Department has released a document detailing changes that have been implemented to improve compliance and enforcement activities. 
Changes include an increase in staff members monitoring compliance and the introduction of more than 60 standard operating systems.

The EPBC Act Compliance and Enforcement Policy continues to guide the work done by the department.


Australian Capital Territory

Environmental Offsets Policy

The Australian Capital Territory Government is working to develop an offsets policy for accreditation as part of the Commonwealth government’s ‘one-stop shop’.   The proposed policy would allow existing conservation reserves to be credited for offset purposes.

The draft policy was available for public comment throughout July.  EDO (ACT), among other organisations, made a submission raising concerns regarding the use of existing reserves, In particular, opponents questioned whether use of such areas could achieve the ‘additionality’ criteria to which offsets should be subjected. 

Click here to read the EDO (ACT) submission.


New South Wales

Compliance officer shot on duty

A senior compliance officer with the Office of Environment and Heritage, Mr Glendon Turner, was fatally shot on 29 July 2014 while serving a notice relating to an inspection of a property after reports of illegal land clearing in the area. The landowner, Mr Turnbull, has been charged with murder.  Mr Turnbull had been involved with ongoing court proceedings relating to illegal clearing of native vegetation, recently pleading guilty to offences associated with clearing between November 2011 and January 2012 (see NELA Bulletin, July 2014).

The Office of Environment and Heritage has issued a statement commending Mr Turner for his dedicated service and noting the tragic loss of a colleague.  


Native Vegetation report released

The Office of Environment and Heritage has released the NSW Report on Native Vegetation 2011-13.  The report combines four major reports relating to native vegetation management in NSW:

  • Native Vegetation Report Card (which indicates over 300,000ha of native vegetation were conserved or improved across the state in 2012-13, and 2,140ha were approved for clearing, subject to offsetting or other mitigation requirements);

  • Private Native Forest Report (which indicates that around 61,000ha of land were approved during 2012-13 to be managed under Property Vegetation Plans);

  • NSW Woody Vegetation Change Report 2010–2011 (which reports a net loss in woody vegetation resulting from bush fires of 29,900ha, or 0.04% of the area of NSW); and

  • Compliance and Enforcement Report Card



Carmichael Coal project gets federal approval

On 28 July 2014, Commonwealth Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, gave federal approval for the $16.5 billion Carmichael Coal and Rail Project in Queensland's Galilee Basin.  The mine project west of Rockhampton would be Australia's largest coal mine and one of the biggest in the world, covering 200km2 and producing about 60 million tonnes of coal a year.

The proposal was assessed by the Independent Expert Scientific Committee (‘IESC’) on coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.  The Committee report questioned the modelling provided by the company and raised concerns regarding the impact of the mine on groundwater in the underlying and adjacent Great Artesian Basin.

The Minister said that he took the IESC report into account when determining the referral for the mine. The approval is subject to 36 conditions, which the Minister describes as “[t]he absolute strictest of conditions … imposed to ensure the protection of the environment, with a specific focus on the protection of groundwater.” 

Carmichael’s proponent, Adani, has yet to obtain the required State mining lease and environmental authority. 



Game Management Authority commences

The new Game Management Authority commenced operation on 1 July 2014.  The Authority is responsible for “promoting sustainable game hunting”, as well as licensing, education, compliance and enforcement activities.  The Authority will also work with public land managers to develop a new Hunting and Game Management Action Plan, and advise the Government on achieving better public land, pest management and broader game management outcomes.

Find out more about the Game Management Authority at www.gma.vic.gov.au


Western Australia

Delegates assessing Browse Basin Gas Hub call for more information

The three independent Delegates appointed to assess the Browse Liquefied Natural Gas Precinct strategic proposal have requested new technical and scientific information be submitted for consideration. 

The Delegates will consider all information previously provided but have recognised that new or additional information relevant to the environmental assessment of the strategic proposal may now be available.  Any person who made a non-pro forma submission may provide further technical and scientific information to the Delegates by 9 September 2014.


EPA recommends strict regulation of Kintyre Uranium Project

The Environmental Protection Authority (‘EPA’) has completed its assessment of the Kintyre Uranium Project, located 270km north-east of Newman.  The key environmental factors considered were rehabilitation and closure, human health, inland waters environmental quality and terrestrial fauna. 

A strict set of conditions have been recommended for the project, including requiring a Conservation Significant Fauna Management Plan to manage impacts on the Bilby, Mulgara and Rock Wallabies and risk assessment to manage potential radiological impacts to plants and animals.  The EPA has also advised the Department of Mines and Petroleum to liaise with the Commonwealth Department of Environment’s Supervising Scientist regarding long term closure plans for the site. 

The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environmental is open for a two-week public appeal period, closing on 11 August 2014.  For more information, click here.


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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!

(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

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


Header(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.


(Tasmania)  Planning Institute Australia State Planning Conference

The Tasmanian branch of the Planning Institute is hosting the annual State Planning conference. This year’s theme, Planning with People in Mind, provides for discussion of the current reform agenda and reflection on how well our planning system facilitates community participation and drives positive social outcomes.

The conference will commence with a forum with new Planning Reform Taskforce members, followed by a keynote presentation by Professor Billie Giles-Corti looking at social licence, social impact assessment and higher level policy inclusion of social issues for community development.

When:  20 August 2014
Where:  Campbell Town.

For more information, see the conference program. Visit the PIA website to register.


Header(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.


Header(Melbourne) VPELA – Celebrating planning leaders

Help celebrate two of the industry’s most eminent and influential individuals, Helen Gibson (Deputy President Planning, VCAT) & Kathy Mitchell (Chief Panel Member, Planning Panels Victoria).

When: 6:00pm, 26 August 2014 
Where: River’s Edge, Ground Floor, World Trade Centre, 18-38 Siddeley Street, Melbourne

For more details go to www.vpela.org.au


Header(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: University House, Australian National University, Canberra

For more information or to register, click here.


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

This free half-day seminar brings together eminent environmental law experts, including Judge Brian Preston, (Chief Justice, Land and Environment Court), Jeff Smith, Michelle Maloney and Martijn Wilder.

When: 12 September 2014
Where: Allens Linklater, Lvl 28, Deutche Bank Place, 126 Phillip Street

For more information, click here.


Header(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.


(Hobart) EIANZ National Conference 2014

Living on the Edge:  21st Century Solutions for Environmental Practitioners

Keynote speakers include Minister for the Environment, Hon Greg Hunt, Gregory Andrews (Commonwealth Threatened Species Commissioner), Anna Littleboy (Research Director, CSIRO) and Peter Cosier (Director, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists).

When: 30-31 October 2014
Where: Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart

To see the preliminary programme, click  here.


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

To see the preliminary programme, or 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.


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Open for comment


Environmental Biosecurity - preventing the arrival of new threatened species

The Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications is conducting an inquiry into the adequacy of arrangements to prevent the entry and establishment of invasive species likely to harm Australia's natural environment. The inquiry will examine recent biosecurity performance and the state of preparedness for new threats.

Submissions can be made until 12 August 2014. To find out more about the inquiry, or to make a submission, click here.


Proposed variation to the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure in relation to the standards for particles

The National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure (‘Ambient Air Quality NEPM’) will be varied to reflect the latest scientific research into the health risks associated with airborne particle pollution. The National Environmental Protection Council has released an impact statement and a draft variation to the Ambient Air Quality NEPM, which are now open for public comment.

Public submissions must be made by 10 October 2014. To find out more, make a submission or to complete the online questionnaire, click here.


Draft National Recovery Plan for the Orange-bellied Parrot

A Draft National Recovery Plan for the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) has been released for public comment.  The draft Plan outlines the long-term strategy, short-term objectives and actions for the recovery of this critically endangered species.

Submissions can be made until 7 November 2014. For more information, click here.



Reforming Queensland’s resources reporting framework

The Queensland government has released a blueprint outlining objectives and strategic outcomes for a new resources reporting framework relating to resources-related data.  The new framework aims to “achieve more efficient and transparent industry reporting and better management of geological data.” 

Comments on the draft framework can be made until 29 August 2014.  For more information, click here.


Fisheries management review

The Fisheries Minister has announced a review of fisheries management, appointing MRAG Asia Pacific to conduct the review and make recommendations to the government. 

Public submissions can be sent to qldfisheriesreview@mragap.com.au until 30 October 2014. For more information, click here.


South Australia

Flinders Ranges National Park Draft Management Plan

The Flinders Ranges National Park Co-management Board invites further feedback on the development of a management plan for the Flinders Ranges National Park. A draft management plan is expected to be released for public consultation in late 2014.

For further information, click here.



Draft Assessment Bilateral Agreement

The Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments have released a draft assessment bilateral agreement (‘Agreement’) for public comment.  The Agreement, which will replace the existing Bilateral Agreement, allows environmental impact assessment processes under Tasmanian legislation to be accredited for the purpose of assessing actions under the EPBC Act.

Specifically, the Agreement seeks to accredit assessments under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (Tas), Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (Tas) and the State Policies and Projects Act 1993 (Tas).

Comments on the proposed Agreement can be made until 15 August 2014. For more information, visit the Department of Environment website.



Draft Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy

Following floods in 2010 - 2012 the Victorian government reviewed the effectiveness of flood warning and response systems, flood mitigation infrastructure and floodplain management. The outcomes of that review have informed the development of the Draft Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy.

The draft strategy sets out the proposed policy framework for managing floodplains in Victoria over the next 10 years. Significant changes include greater community involvement, consistent risk assessment frameworks for flood mitigation, planning scheme amendments to identify flood risk areas and more targeted investment strategies.

Public comments on the draft Strategy can be made to the DEPI until 11 August 2014.  For more information, click here.


Western Australia

Regulating the use of waste derived materials

The Department of Environmental Regulation (‘DER’) has released a draft guidance statement setting out how the DER will regulate the use of waste-derived materials. Feedback is invited from the waste management industry and those who produce handle and use waste and waste derived materials.

Comments can be made until 29 August 2014.  For more information, click here.


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Contributors for NELA publications

NELA needs contributors to cover the Commonwealth, Victorian 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.

NELA has recently launched its Environment and Climate Change Law Library, which aims to become a comprehensive compilation of articles published on environmental law topics by law firms, academics, consultants and NGOs. To register to become a regular contributor, or to submit a one-off article for inclusion in the Library, please contact Jess Feehely at review@nela.org.au


(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.



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 are now closed.

Scholarships for domestic students are open 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.


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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.


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 the NELA Bulletin team

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

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