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September 2014

You are receiving this Bulletin because you are a member of NELA.

To join or renew your membership with NELA, click here.

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.

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This month

NELA news and events
01. Membership renewals
02. Review of NELA’s constitution
03. Save the date: NELA (WA) State Conference 2014
04. NELA National Conference 2014
05. 2014 NELA Essay Competition now open
06. Environment and Climate Change Law Library
07. Follow us on Twitter

Law and policy developments
08. In the legislature
09. In the courts
10. Policy developments and other news

11. (Brussels, Belgium) European Environmental Law Forum
12. (Sydney) Breakfast with the Clean Energy Regulator
13. (Canberra) Understanding Groundwater Law
14. (Sydney) AELA half day symposium: New trends in environmental law and governance
15. (Perth) 3rd Annual Water in Mining Summit
16. (Melbourne) Save the date: Inaugural VPELA Barber Lecture
17. (New Zealand) Resource Management Law Association (RMLA) Conference 2014
18. (Gold Coast) Climate Adaptation 2014 – Future Challenges
19. (Melbourne) Save the date: Cardno Nexus Ball
20. (Bangkok) 27th LAWASIA Conference
21. (Albury, Vic) Australian Regional Development Conference
22. (Melbourne) Water Sensitive Cities Conference
23. (Hobart) EIANZ National Conference 2014
24. (Sydney) IUCN World Parks Congress 2014
25. (Gold Coast/Lismore) Wild Law Judgment Project (workshop)
26. (Hawaii) 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

Open for Comment
27. Commonwealth
28. Australian Capital Territory
29. Queensland
30. South Australia
31. Tasmania
32. Victoria
33. International

34. Work
35. Study
36. Other

37. Book: Climate Change & Coastal Development in Australia, by Dr Justine Bell
38. (Cth) New threatened species database
39. (NSW) Online native vegetation tools
40. Facebook group for environmental law research students

NELA news and events

Membership renewals

Membership renewals for the 2014-15 financial year are now overdue. If you have not yet renewed your membership, please click here to do so.


Review of NELA’s constitution

NELA’s board of directors has embarked on a review of NELA’s constitution to update and modernise our governance, and to reflect current practice in the way the organisation operates.
We will shortly be inviting your comments about the proposed changes prior to finalizing a new constitution which will be put to members for a vote at the AGM on 30 October 2014.

A detailed comparison between the current and proposed constitution will be provided to members via email in the near future. The email will also include a copy of the new draft Articles and details of an online discussion forum which we will be holding on the NELA website from 1 to 19 September 2014, and in which you are invited to participate.


Save the date: NELA (WA) State Conference 2014

After the Approval – Appeals, Compliance and Prosecutions

The 2014 NELA (WA) State Conference will focus on legal issues arising after an approval is obtained, from the perspective of proponents, government and third parties.

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 include presentations on legislative reforms and prosecution policy as well as an interactive compliance workshop and panel session on public interest challenges to environmental approvals. Speakers and panellists will be drawn from private practice, government, industry and environmental interest groups.

The conference will include networking opportunities with fellow environmental professionals including a seated breakfast and casual morning tea and lunch.

When: 7.30am – 2pm, Thursday 16 October 2014
Where: Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth

More information will be available on the NELA website soon – in the meantime, please 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 very pleased to announce that the NSW Minister for the Environment, Rob Stokes, will be giving the opening address.

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

For more information, including the full program, and to register, click here.


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.


Environment and Climate Change Law Library

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

To become a contributor to the Library, please contact us at review@nela.org.au.

Both the Library and the Digest are free. To visit the Library, click here. To subscribe to the Digest, 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


Bill to reintroduce supertrawler ban powers

Debate on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2014, a private members’ bill introduced by former Minister for Fisheries, Senator Joe Ludwig, commenced on 28 August 2014.  The sunset clause in section 390SM of the EPBC Act prevents any new declarations of commercial fishing activities (including super trawler operations) after September 2013.  Senator Ludwig’s Bill seeks to repeal the sunset clause and reintroduce powers to ban declared fishing activities for up to two years while an independent panel examines the environmental and economic impacts. 


EPBC Bilaterals Bill to be debated

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 is expected to be debated in the Senate on 1 September 2014. The Bill proposes a range of amendments to facilitate the government’s ‘one-stop shop’ policy, allowing proponents to avoid referrals for actions covered by approval bilateral agreements with State and Territory governments. Significantly, the Bill also seeks to remove the current exclusion of large coal mining and coal seam gas developments likely to have a significant impact on a water resource (the ‘water trigger’) from approval bilateral agreements.

Green and Labor Senators oppose the one-stop shop policy. The Palmer United Party has indicated that it will oppose the water trigger amendments, meaning that the Federal government would retain assessment  relating to the water trigger, urging the Federal responsibilities in relation to large coal mining and CSG developments.

For a review of recent articles examining the implications of the one-stop shop policy, see the latest edition of the Australian Environmental Law Digest.


Australian Capital Territory

Planning and Development (Bilateral Agreement) Amendment Bill 2014

On 14 August 2014 the Planning and Development (Bilateral Agreement) Amendment Bill 2014 was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly. The Bill is intended to amend the Planning and Development Act 2007 (ACT) to facilitate the ‘one stop shop’ for environmental approvals. Debate for the Bill was adjourned until the next sitting of the ACT Legislative Assembly. The Bill allows for an ongoing approvals role for the Federal Government in environment protection matters.


New South Wales

Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2014
This Bill was recently introduced into the Legislative Assembly and aims to achieve the following:

  • clearer, stronger and more consistent penalties for offences under the POEO Act to deter contamination and radiation offences,

  • increased penalties under the Contaminated Land Management Actfor corporations responsible for contamination that fail to comply with an EPA direction,

  • power to strengthen the EPA’s arm against companies that flagrantly breach environment protection licence conditions,

  • increasing the ability of the EPA to prevent and respond to pollution incidents, and

  • allowing the EPA to require problem waste transporters to install a GPS tracking advice, which will act as a strong deterrent against illegal dumping.



Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014

On 28 August 2014, this Bill was introduced to Parliament as the second part of the Government’s ‘greentape’ reforms. The Bill proposes several key changes to environmental legislation in Queensland, including significant increases to maximum penalties for environmental offences. For example, the maximum penalty for wilful serious environmental harm is being raised from $474,185 to $711,562 and the maximum penalty for wilfully contravening a condition of an environmental authority is being raised from $227,700 to $711,562. Additionally, the Bill introduces enforceable undertakings, similar to those under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).

The Bill also makes some amendments to the contaminated land regime.


Forestry and Another Act Amendment Act 2014

On 15 August 2014, the Queensland Government passed amendments to the Forestry Act 1959 (Qld). Amongst other things, the amendments increase the maximum penalties for a range of offences in State forests, including polluting watercourses and littering.



Legislation to ‘rip up’ forest peace deal passes Upper House, with amendments

The Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Bill 2014 was debated in the Legislative Council in the last week of August.  As passed by the Lower House, the Bill proposed to make 400,000ha of forests marked as reserves under the forest peace deal available for harvesting after a six year moratorium and to allow special species harvesting in regional reserves and conservation areas.  The government put forward a range of subsequent amendments to the Bill for the Legislative Council to consider, including requiring harvesting to be in accordance with a special species management plan.

By 9:5, the Legislative Council passed the legislation, subject to further amendments preventing special species harvesting in reserve areas for three years and requiring the Minister to be satisfied that the special species timber could not be obtained outside reserve areas before issuing a permit.  The Legislative Council also removed the requirement for a two-thirds majority vote to approve new reserve areas, reverting to a simple majority.

The amended legislation will now go back to the Lower House for consideration.  The majority Liberal government, which has the numbers in the Lower House to guarantee approval, will not bring on debate on the revised Bill until after Budget Estimates are completed.


In the courts

New South Wales
Hunter Environment Lobby Inc v Minister for Planning and Infrastructure (No 2) [2014] NSWLEC 129

The Land and Environment Court held this week that approval for a large open cut coal mine in the Hunter Valley, NSW could be granted but that further work would be required on the conditions of approval.

The case was an objector appeal against the Planning Assessment Commission's decision, under delegation from the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, to approve an open-cut coal mine under the former Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The main issues in the proceedings were the impact of the proposal on Aboriginal cultural heritage, long term functionality of agricultural land, groundwater, protection of downstream water users, air quality health impacts from dust, and the social and economic effects of mitigation measures.

The Court held that the project would not have a significant impact on an area of significant Aboriginal cultural heritage, taking into account that the area of significance to the local Aboriginal people lay outside of the mine site, and would not have a significant impact of the long term functionality of agricultural land as the majority of the project site consists of relatively poor soil which the experts agreed has limited productivity. The applicant's contention that the precautionary principle was activated was not supported by the expert hydrogeological evidence.



Invasive Species Control Bill

The Victorian Government has introduced the Invasive Species Control Bill into Parliament. The Bill aims to provide a framework for more effective monitoring and surveillance of invasive species and management or mitigation of the risks posed by invasive species.

The Bill would apply to Victorian land and waters and provide the legislative means to monitor and control the entry, establishment, spread and impact of invasive species, including aquatic invasive species that may infest marine environments.

The Bill would replace the existing controls in the Conservation Forests and Lands Act and enable Victoria to meet its obligations under the National Environment Biosecurity Response Agreement, which was endorsed by COAG in 2012. 

The Bill is available here.


Policy developments and other news


RET Review

On 28 August 2014, the Government released the report of the independent panel on the review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET). The review found:

With the renewables industry now established in Australia, the main rationale for the RET hinges on its capacity to contribute towards the Government’s emissions reduction target in a cost effective manner. However, the RET is a high cost approach to reducing emissions because it does not directly target emissions and it only focuses on electricity generation. It promotes activity in renewable energy ahead of alternative, lower cost options for reducing emissions that exist elsewhere in the economy. In the presence of lower cost alternatives, the costs imposed by the RET are not justifiable.

The review has been criticised by a range of economists, climate scientists experts and supporters of the renewable energy industry.  The government is expected to respond to the report within the next few weeks.

Seabird threat abatement plan released

The Threat Abatement Plan for bycatch of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations, a listed key threatening process under the EPBC Act, has been released.  The new plan was developed taking into account public consultation and a range of new research regarding seabird bycatch mitigation measures including at-sea trials. 


Report recommends changes to regulation of urban water

 The Water Services Association of Australia has released a report, Economic Regulation of Urban Water, highlighting opportunities to improve efficiency in the water sector.  The report identifies significant gaps in the regulatory frameworks across Australia compared to best practice and recommends a range of actions, including developing a national urban water agreement through the Council of Australian Governments.

The full report and summary are available on the Water Services Association website.


Australian Capital Territory

ACT Government going carbon neutral

The Carbon Neutral ACT Government Framework will enable and coordinate a whole-of-government approach to achieving carbon neutrality by 2020. By implementing the framework, the ACT government can help build its resilience to rising energy prices and the impacts of climate change.


ACT Offsets Policy

The Commonwealth and ACT Governments intend to enter into an approval bilateral agreement, otherwise known as a 'one-stop-shop' for environmental approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. An offsets policy is required by the Commonwealth Government to implement the agreement.

The ACT Offsets Policy and ACT Offsets Delivery Framework is supported by an Environmental Offsets Calculator which can be obtained by contacting environment@act.gov.au. Consultation on a draft ACT Environmental Offsets Policy and Delivery Framework Position Paper and associated draft Guidelines closed on 11 July 2014. Twenty submissions were received from individuals, groups and organisations. The Guidelines have been modified in response to community consultation, but will require further consultation prior to being made statutory guidelines under the proposed changes to the Planning and Development Act through the Planning and Development (Bilateral Agreement) Amendment Bill 2014. This consultation will occur as soon as possible after the Bill is passed.


South Australia

EPA Corporate Plan 14-15

The South Australian EPA has released its 2014-2015 Corporate Plan. The Plan outlines the areas for focus which include:

  • progressing the development of a new approach to site contamination in the planning system and reviewing the communications approach and protocols for managing site contamination legacy issues;

  • progressing the State of the Environment Reporting Improvement Plan;

  • reviewing the appropriateness of EPA licence conditions for priority sites;

  • finalising the Water Quality Environment Protection Policy; and

  • progressing the Air Quality Environment Protection Policy.

The Corporate Plan is available here.



2014-15 Budget released

The Tasmanian Liberal government released its first budget on 28 August 2014. It is a tough budget, with few wins for the environment. Cost savings are made through reductions in public sector jobs and spending, and the abolition of a range of statutory boards, including the Tasmanian Climate Action Council, Forest Practices Tribunal, Marine Farming Planning Review Panel and the Assessment Committee for Dam Construction.

There is little in the way of environmental spending in the budget, though there is a significant funding boost to allow the Parks and Wildlife Service to manage a large number of new reserves created under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.  The Budget also sets a target of 30% increase in the number of reserves covered by management plans by the end of 2015. 

A summary of the environmental, planning and resource funding under the budget is available on the EDO Tasmania website.


Mines suspend operations, blame ENGO legal actions

On 19 August 2014, Venture Minerals released a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange announcing that operations would be suspended at their Riley Creek mine in the Tarkine. The announcement followed the decision by Shree Minerals earlier in the year to halt operations at its Nelson Bay mine.

Venture Minerals explicitly cited risks associated with ongoing legal appeals as a reason for its decision.  The Riley Creek mine was subject to an ongoing Full Federal Court appeal in relation to the Federal Environment Minister’s decision to grant approval under the EPBC Act despite impacts on threatened Tasmanian devil populations.

Economists have downplayed the role of legal actions and indicated that the companies’ decisions relate primarily to a downturn in commodity prices.


Western Australia

EPA recommends development of a strategic plan to address cumulative environmental impacts in the Pilbara

The WA Environmental Protection Authority has released a report on the cumulative impacts of development in the Pilbara.  The report identifies a number of risks and impacts to biodiversity in the region, including gaps in publicly available regional scale information, only 6% of the region being held as formal reserves, increased clearing of native vegetation and increased number and spread of feral animals and weeks. The impacts of mining on surface and groundwater was also highlighted including impacts on groundwater dependent ecosystems, including as a result of dewatering to creeks and rivers, as well as legacy issues such as pit lakes.

The report provides a number of recommendations for consideration by the Minister for Environment, including:

  • Development of a strategic plan for biodiversity conservation in the Pilbara.

  • The development of a central register (similar to the Offset Register) to make information (including spatial information) on clearing and rehabilitation activities in Western Australia publicly available.

  • The need for investment in research and knowledge sharing and the establishment of a group to establish objectives for rehabilitation and mine closure.

  • That the proposed 2015 pastoral lease exclusion areas within the Pilbara be afforded the highest possible level of conservation tenure.

  • That the EPA’s proposal for a strategic, coordinated approach to environmental offsets in the Pilbara via a strategic conservation initiative be investigated by Government in consultation with industry.

  • Strategic guidance outlining environmental objectives and management strategies, for high value ecosystems in addition to the work done for the Fortescue Marsh. 

For the full report, click here


Environmental Offset Guidelines released

On 14 August 2014, the Minister for Environment released the WA Environmental Offsets Guidelines as well as a revised Environmental Protection Bulletin No.1 (Environmental Offsets). The guidelines have been designed to complement the existing WA Environmental Offsets Policy and the public Environmental Offsets Register, released in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

The guidelines aim to ensure that a consistent approach is used in the application of offsets by addressing the use of offsets under Part IV (environmental impact assessment) and Part V (clearing of native vegetation) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

The guidelines stipulate that environmental offsets will only be applied where the residual impacts of a project are determined to be significant, after avoidance, minimisation and rehabilitation have been pursued. A model for determining application of offsets is provided in Figure 3 of the guidelines and is a good starting point for proponents trying to determine if offsets apply to their project.

For more information click here.


EPA Releases environmental compliance performance

The WA Department of Environment Regulation has released data on its environmental compliance performance for the last quarter.

The Report reveals that there were over 600 complaints and incidents during the quarter, pollution response officers attended 156 incidents, but that enforcement action was limited to 19 Environmental Field Notices and 35 letters of warning or education. The Report is available 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!

(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.


Header(Sydney) Breakfast with the Clean Energy Regulator

The Carbon Management Institute of Australia and New Zealand (CMIANZ) and Sustainable Business Australia cordially invite you to breakfast with the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Clean Energy Regulator, Chloe Munro.

CMIANZ will also launch its inaugural CMIANZ 2014 Carbon Management Survey.

When: 7.45 – 9am, Thursday 11 September 2014
Where: The Lab, Legion House, Level 1, 161 Castlereagh Street, Sydney

For more information, and to register, click 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(Melbourne) Save the date: Inaugural VPELA Barber Lecture

Resilience, democracy and creating a globally competitive future for Victoria

VPELA is excited to announce the inaugural VPELA Barber Lecture.Named in honour of VPELA's founder and inaugural President, Peter Barber, it is hoped that this will become a regular seminal event for the industry, creating a forum for big picture discussion of critical topics. The inaugural lecture will feature special guest speaker, the Hon. Jeff Kennett AC, former Premier of Victoria and Founding Chair of beyondblue, and MC Jon Faine, presenter on the 774 ABC Morning Programme.

When: Thursday 18 September 2014
Where: ANZ Pavilion, the Victorian Arts Centre Melbourne.

For more information and to register, click here.


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)

The RMLA’s 2014 Annual Conference will be held in Dunedin from 25 - 27 September. This Conference will examine how the introduction in 1991 of the Resource Management Act fundamentally changed how we manage the environment. A feature of that change is that local communities are charged with the responsibility for their own social, economic, and cultural wellbeing. Risk and reward in perfect symmetry. The courts explain that environmental decisions are refined through the friction of participation. Has that friction created too much heat? Is sustainable management a political concept anyway... and if it is, what role is there for the judiciary?

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.


(Melbourne) Save the date: Cardno Nexus Ball

The arrangements for this year's VPELA Young Professionals’ Masquerade Extravaganza are almost complete.  Make sure this date is in your diary - it promises to be a sell out event! 

When: Friday 3 October 2014

Sponsorship opportunities are still available, download the sponsorship prospectus here or contact Grace on 8080 5684. Further information will be made available in due course.


(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.


(Albury, Vic) Australian Regional Development Conference

The Australian Regional Development Conference will focus on the broad issues of economic, planning, environment and community development.

When: 15-17 October 2014
Where: The Commercial Club, Albury, Victoria

For further information, or to register, click here.


(Melbourne) Water Sensitive Cities Conference

This conference will feature keynote addresses from eminent international thought-leaders, including Professors Gustaf Olsson and Glenn McGregor.

When: 21-22 October 2014
Where: Arts Centre, Melbourne

For more information and to register, click here.


Header (Hobart) EIANZ National Conference 2014
Living on the Edge: 21st Century Solutions for Environmental Practitioners

Keynote speakers include Minister for the Environment, the 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


Natural damp grasslands of the South East Coastal Plain Bioregion

The Threatened Species Scientific Committee is undertaking public consultation on the assessment of whether the Natural Damp Grasslands of the South East Coastal Plain Bioregion should be considered a critically endangered ecological community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 .

Public comments on the draft Conservation Advice for the ecological community can be made until 19 September 2014.


Draft Murray-Darling Basin Environmental Watering Strategy

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority seeks feedback on its draft Basin-wide Environmental Watering Strategy.

The draft strategy builds on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and is intended to help environmental water holders, Basin state governments and waterway managers plan and manage environmental watering at a Basin scale and over the long term to meet the environmental objectives.

The strategy is open for comment until 26 September 2014. For more information, including a copy of the draft strategy, and to provide feedback, 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

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.


Australian Capital Territory

Commonwealth/ACT draft approval bilateral agreement

Submissions are invited on a draft approval bilateral agreement between the Australian Capital Territory and the Commonwealth.

The draft approval bilateral agreement provides for accreditation of Australian Capital Territory processes for approval of proposed actions that would otherwise be assessed by the Australian Government for approval under the EPBC Act.

Click here to view the draft approval bilateral agreement and here for more information on the ACT bilateral agreements.

Submissions are due by 5pm on 12 September 2014. For more information or to make a submission, click here.



The Queensland Government has announced the replacement of the State’s Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 as part of its reform program. The replacement legislation – the draft Planning and Development Bill and draft Planning and Environment Court Bill – are said to present a more concise and streamlined basis for plan making, development assessment and dispute resolution than the existing legislation.

Both Bills are currently open for comment. Comments will be accepted until 26 September 2014.
For more information, including copies of the draft Bills, and to make a submission, 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

Report – Our Ideas for Reform

On 6 August 2014, the Expert Panel on Planning Reform released its second public report, Our Ideas for Reform. The report contains 27 ideas which were developed following the Panel’s community engagement efforts in 2013. The reform ideas are aimed at delivering a simpler, consistent and more transparent planning system.

The Report is open for public comment until 26 September 2014, and submissions can be made via this link.


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 approval bilateral agreement

draft approval bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments has been released for public comment.  Under the agreement, projects of regional significance approved under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993, Level 2 activities assessed under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 and Projects of State significance approved by the Premier will no longer require approval under the EPBC Act.

Submissions in relation to the draft approval bilateral agreement can be made until 11 September 2014.



Review of Planning and Environment Regulations

The Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure is reviewing the Planning and Environment Regulations 2005 with the aim to replace the existing regulations, which sunset in May 2015.

The department is seeking feedback on how the Planning Regulations work and how they can be improved. The submission period closes on 12 September 2014.

For more information and to make a submission click here.


Discussion Paper on State Environment Protection Policy

The EPA Victoria and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries have commenced a two-stage review of Victoria’s State Environment Protection Policies for Noise (SEPPs).
The Discussion Paper marks the beginning of stage one, involving consultation with the community to ask about people’s experience of noise and the effectiveness of the current noise SEPPs. It aims to identify issues with the current noise SEPPs and receive feedback on what the objectives for the management of noise in Victoria should be.

Following stage one, options will be developed for managing commercial, industrial and music noise. This could involve making changes to the noise SEPPs, or the use of alternative regulatory or non-regulatory approaches. The review is anticipated to be completed in 2016.

The discussion paper is available here. The public comment period closes on 15 October 2014.



Draft Aluminium Stewardship Initiative Standard

IUCN, represented by its Global Business and Biodiversity Programme, is the coordinator of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative standard-setting process.

Draft 1 of the ASI Performance Standard is now available for public consultation. This draft builds on comments received during the first public consultation on Draft 0, in which IUCN Members participated. The Draft 0 version and a synopsis of all comments received are available here.

You are invited to provide your comments on Draft 1 of the ASI Performance Standard until 7 September 2014. For more information or to comment, click here.


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(Australia) Chair Position, 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 to lead the Lake Eyre Basin Advisory Committee over the next three years.

The successful applicant will be appointed by the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum.

For further information, contact Christopher Biesaga on (02) 6274 1420 or email christopher.biesaga@environment.gov.au . Applications close 10 September 2014.


Director, Australian Committee for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ACIUCN)

The ACIUCN is seeking talented and committed applicants for the position of Director to lead, enrich and expand a large and diverse membership network of governments, non-government organisations and experts.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation.

The Australian Committee for IUCN Inc. (ACIUCN) was founded in 1979 to provide a focus for member organisations of IUCN with interests or responsibilities supportive of IUCN’s global mission for ‘a just world which values nature’ within Australia.

For more information, including the position description, and to apply, click here.

Applications should be made by 15 September 2014.


(Australia) 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 the Bulletin team section of any issue of the Bulletin to which you have contributed.

For more information, please contact the editor, 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


(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.



(NSW) Building Resilience to Climate Change Grants

This $1 million program, funded through the Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW) and the NSW Environmental Trust and administered by Local Government NSW (LGNSW), will address identified climate change risks and vulnerabilities facing NSW Local Government.

Round 1 of the Building Resilience to Climate Change grants, inviting projects that address extreme heat or adapt priority infrastructure, will close on 29 September 2014. Grant guidelines and online application forms can be found here.


Call for papers: Resource Management Theory & Practice [2015] Volume 11

Thomson Reuters is calling for papers for the Resource Management Law Association of New Zealand’s journal, Resource Management Theory and Practice. The journal aims to publish papers that will be relevant in both Australia and New Zealand, as well as internationally. Comparative and transnational perspectives on environmental law, policy or practice are welcomed.

The journal is peer reviewed and the editorial board is assisted by a prestigious international advisory panel. Volume 11 will include the 2014 Salmon Lecture given by Dr Jan Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Papers should be within the range of 4000-8000 words inclusive of endnotes, and should comply with either OSCOLA (4th ed) or the New Zealand Law Style Guide (2nd ed).

Final papers should by submitted by 28 November 2014.

For more information, or to submit a paper, please contact Trevor Daya-Winterbottom, General Editor Emeritus.


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.


Book: Climate Change & Coastal Development in Australia, by Dr Justine Bell

Sea levels are rising and extreme weather events leading to coastal erosion and inundation are becoming more frequent. The 711,000 (2009 figures) Australian residential addresses within 3 kilometres of the sea and less than 6 metres above sea level are at risk. This book analyses the legal and policy aspects of this hazard. What are the implications of legal risks? How can these risks be managed? What legal approaches can be implemented to reduce the economic impacts of rising sea levels?

NELA members can purchase this book (paperback, 288pp, published by The Federation Press) at the special price of $70.00 + $11.00 freight (rrp $85.00).

To access this discount, log onto the Federation Press website, select title, add to trolley, checkout, quote Federation Press Promotion Code EP1457, enter credit card details and we’ll despatch your order within 24 hours.

This offer is valid to 30 September 2014.


(Cth) New threatened species database

The Threatened Species Commissioner has released a new Species of National Environmental Significance Database, mapping the general distribution of listed threatened and migratory species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.  Database maps are indicative only, but provide a useful guide to determine where more detailed investigation should be undertaken regarding potential impacts on listed species.


(NSW) Online native vegetation tools

The Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW) has developed a series of information tools to help landholders navigate the Native Vegetation Act 2003 (NSW) and Native Vegetation Regulation 2013 (NSW). The information tools are user friendly and aim to help landholders find which clearing approvals apply to them. There are four tools:

  1. Does the native vegetation act apply?

  2. What is the category of my vegetation?

  3. What clearing can I do without approval?

  4. What routine agricultural management activities are available?

Routine agricultural management activities do not require approval. Further information 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 the NELA Bulletin team

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

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