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October 2014

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

If you have been forwarded a complimentary copy of the Bulletin and would like to receive it regularly, please join or renew your membership with NELA 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 by 5pm AEST on the preceding Friday.

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This month

NELA news and events
01. Membership renewals
02. Annual General Meeting
03. 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. (Sydney) Second Indigenous Knowledge Forum
12. (Melbourne) Cardno Nexus Ball
13. (Bangkok) 27th LAWASIA Conference
14. (Brisbane) Rights of Nature Tribunal: Is the Great Barrier Reef a victim of ecocide?
15. (Albury, Vic) Australian Regional Development Conference
16. (Adelaide) Earth laws and governance workshop
17. (Melbourne) Water Sensitive Cities Conference
18. (Byron Bay) Earth laws and regional community environmentalism
19. (Hobart) Polar Law Symposium
20. (Hobart) EIANZ National Conference 2014
21. (Canberra) Grass half full or grass half empty? Valuing native grassy landscapes
22. (Melbourne) Evening seminar: Should rivers have legal rights?
23. (Melbourne) Thomas Berry Colloquium
24. (Sydney) IUCN World Parks Congress 2014
25. (Sydney) NSW Young Lawyers Trivia Night – supporting EDO NSW
26. (Sydney) Wild Law Judgment Project (workshop)
27. (Hawaii) 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

Open for Comment
28. Commonwealth
29. New South Wales
30. Northern Territory
31. Queensland
32. South Australia
33. Victoria

34. Work
35. Other

36. Free EDO NSW publications
37. Facebook group for environmental law research students

Letter from the editor

Dear colleagues,

It is with some sadness that I announce that this will be the last issue of the NELA Bulletin that I will be editing. After two years on the board of NELA, and 18 issues of the Bulletin, I have decided that it is time for me to move on to other projects.

I will be meeting with the NELA communications group over coming weeks to discuss next steps for the Bulletin, as well as our other communications channels, and we will keep you up to date with the decisions that we make when we have something substantive to report in that regard.

I have loved working with the dedicated volunteers who have helped me produce the Bulletin each month, and hope that this publication has been of use and interest to you all.

In other news, Sarah Waddell has recently stepped down from the NELA board. On behalf of NELA I would like to thank her for the wonderful work she has done for our organisation over the last couple of years, in particular her work with the oceans policy group and her management of the NELA website. We look forward to her continued involvement with NELA's policy work in future.

Kind regards,

Ellen Geraghty
Editor, NELA Bulletin

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.


Annual General Meeting

NELA’s AGM is coming up on 30 October 2014 at 1pm. Papers were recently circulated in preparation for this meeting, which will include a vote on the proposed updated constitution.

Please put this date in your diary and attend if you can (the AGM takes place via teleconference so is easily accessible regardless of your location in the country) - your participation makes our organization stronger!


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 challenges to environmental approvals.

Speakers and panelists will be drawn from private practice, government, industry and environmental interest groups.

The conference will include networking opportunities with fellow environmental professionals.

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

For more information and to register, please click here.


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

It’s just over two months until the 2014 NELA Essay Competition closes!

Essays addressing this year’s theme, “Are we selling ourselves short?”, 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 and must be submitted by 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


Cost recovery for environmental assessments

Amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and supporting regulations allowing the Commonwealth Government to recover the cost of environmental and strategic assessments from proponents came into effect on 1 October 2014.

The amendments introduce a referral fee of $7,352, and a scale of assessment fees determined by the number and complexity of components involved in the assessment. Fees will not be charged retrospectively for any stages of the assessment process that have already been completed, or for projects where the applicant has an annual turnover less than $2 million. Applications for fee waiver may also be made.

For more information, see the Department of Environment website.


Senate motion opposes whaling in the Southern Ocean

At its recent annual meeting, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) passed a resolution, proposed by New Zealand and supported by Australia, giving the IWC’s Scientific Committee a greater role in issuing scientific permits and determining whether proposed research programmes meet the criteria set down by the International Court of Justice.  Despite this ruling, the Japanese Government confirmed at the meeting that it plans to submit a new research plan, with the aim of resuming whaling in the Antarctic Ocean in 2015.

On 24 September 2014, the Australian Senate passed a motion calling on the Japanese Government to “respect the IWC motion and not to recommence a lethal 'scientific' whaling program in the Southern Ocean in 2015”.


Australian Capital Territory

New EPA Bill tabled before the Legislative Assembly

On 18 September 2014 the Environmental Protection Amendment Bill 2014 was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly. The Bill was drafted in the light of the 2012-13 review of the Environmental Protection Act 1997 (ACT) and its subordinate legislation.

The ACT government has issued a release stating the Bill will introduce major amendments to implement the recommendations that were made during the review. Such recommendations include broadening the definition of environmental harm to include ‘likely or potential harm’ and the removal of Government immunity.


New Nature Conservation Bill tabled before the Legislative Assembly

On 18 September 2014 the Nature Conservation Bill 2014 was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly. The ACT Government’s Bill intends to achieve an expansion of the role of the Conservator of Flora and Fauna, to align the ACT legislation with the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (Cth), and introduce new approaches to the management of species and ecosystems.



Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provision) Bill 2014

Recent last-minute amendments to this Bill by Queensland mines minister Andrew Cripps have removed long-standing public rights to object to large mines. The changes affect public notification and objection rights for the two major approvals needed by a mine at a state level in Queensland: a mining lease and an environmental authority.


Water Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014

This Bill was introduced on 11 September 2014. It proposes to amend the Water Act 2000 (Qld) in order to greater facilitate the use of water for agricultural purposes. To this end, it intends to introduce streamlined systems for gaining entitlements to use water.

The Bill will also reform the water rights access system for the resources sector. In particular, it will require mining operators to enter into make good arrangements with the owners of water bores.


Queensland Heritage and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014

This Bill was introduced on 9 September 2014, and will amend the Queensland Heritage Act 1992 (Qld). The objectives of the bill are to:

  • Improve community collaboration;

  • Streamline the process for entering properties into the register;

  • Encourage appropriate development of heritage places;

  • Strengthen protection of most important heritage places; and

  • Provide greater flexibility for local governments.


South Australia

Urban Renewal Act 1995

The Housing and Urban Development (Administrative Arrangements) (Urban Renewal) Amendment Act 2013 was proclaimed on 18 September 2013.

The Act amends the name of the Housing and Urban Development (Administrative Arrangements) Act 1995 to the Urban Renewal Act 1995 and inserts new provisions into allowing for the declaration of precincts. The intent of these new provisions is to allow precinct areas to be master-planned and developed by a single precinct authority which can, by way of authorisation through regulations, exercise many of the roles and functions of a council and State government entities. 

The Amendment Act is available here



Protest laws to be amended

Earlier this month, the Legislative Council refused to send the Workplace (Protection from Protesters) Bill 2014 to Committee for review, with several members saying the anti-protest Bill required a complete re-write before being seriously considered.

On 24 September 2014, the Tasmanian government announced that the controversial Workplace (Protection from Protesters) Bill 2014 would be amended, following the Legislative Council’s refusal to send the Bill to Committee for review. The Bill, which has been widely criticised for the breadth of its application and severity of its penalties, will be amended to exclude protests staged at public places, professional offices, shops or markets. Changes to the penalties and prosecution powers are also proposed, however the government intends to retain provisions imposing mandatory 3 month sentences for second time offenders. Details of the amendments will be introduced before the Bill is debated in October.

Opponents of the Bill, including conservation groups, the Law Society and Civil Liberties Australia, have criticised the government’s proposal, saying that the amendments will not address their concerns and calling for the Bill to be withdrawn.


Western Australia

Environment Protection Amendment (Validation) Bill

The WA State Government has introduced legislation to validate environmental approvals, following a review of the independent Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)’s conflict of interest procedures.

The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Environmental Protection Act 1986 to effectively provide that the rights, obligations and liabilities of all persons shall be the same as if each relevant action of the EPA and subsequent environmental approval had been validly done.

The Bill follows the Supreme Court finding on 19 August 2013 regarding the validity of State environmental approvals for the Browse LNG Precinct. The Court found that the EPA failed to comply with section 12 of the Act when members who held shares in companies with a commercial interest in the outcome of the Browse LNG Precinct assessments participated in the assessment. Because the share-holding members were sometimes required to form a quorum, there was also a failure to comply with section 11 of the Act. As a consequence of the failure to comply with these provisions, the Court held that the environmental approvals which followed the EPA's purported assessment were invalid.

See the Bill here.


In the courts

South Australia

Suspended sentence for failure to revegetate

In 2006 as a result of successful enforcement proceedings undertaken by the Native Vegetation Council against the respondent pursuant to section 31A of the Native Vegetation Act 1991 (SA) for clearing native vegetation contrary to that Act, Mr Wandel was ordered by the Environment, Resources & Development Court to make good his breaches by, amongst other things, revegetating and rehabilitating the cleared areas in accordance with a revegetation plan. 

This Order was not fulfilled and Mr Wandel was charged with contempt of Court Orders.

In The Registrar, Environment, Resources & Development Court v Wandel  [2014] SAERDC 3, the Court found Mr Wandel, the Respondent, guilty of the charge and, in the The Registrar, Environment, Resources & Development Court v Wandel (No 2) [2014] SAERDC 13, the Court imposed an order committing the respondent to prison for six months, suspended on condition that he revegetate the land as per the original Order and imposing a fine of $5,000.


Policy developments and other news


Review of Commonwealth marine reserves

The Federal government has announced a review of the comprehensive network of Commonwealth marine reserves, and associated management plans, developed under the former Labor government. The proposed reserves, covering approximately one third of Commonwealth waters and establishing some no-take zones, were due to come into effect on 1 July 2014. However, following its election in 2013, the Liberal government set aside the management plans for review.

The Government has established an Expert Scientific Panel and five Bioregional Advisory Panels to conduct the review.  These bodies will:

  • provide advice on “areas of contention within the marine reserves”,

  • outline options for zoning, and zoning boundaries, and allowed uses,

  • identify future priorities for scientific research and monitoring relating to marine biodiversity within the marine reserves, and

  • make recommendations for improving the inclusion of social and economic considerations into decision-making for marine reserves.

The panels are set to report to the Government by mid-2015.  For more information about the Review, see the Department of Environment website.


Report finds threatened species laws inadequate

A recent report by the Australian Network of Environmental Defenders Offices compares State and Territory threatened species and planning legislation against national standards. The report concludes:

  • laws in every State and Territory fail to meet best practice standards; and

  • there is a widening gap between State and Territory environmental standards and national standards.  

Click here for a summary of the report’s findings.


Coastal flooding could cost billions

The Climate Council’s latest report, Counting the Costs, highlights the significant risks to homes, infrastructure and biodiversity from coastal flooding. The key findings of the report include:

  1. Sea level has risen and continues to rise due to climate change. Climate change exacerbates coastal flooding from a storm surge.

  2. Australia is highly vulnerable to increasing coastal flooding, as our population and critical infrastructure are mainly located on the coast. Australia’s infrastructure is unprepared for rising sea level.

  3. Coastal flooding is a “sleeping giant”. The projected increases in economic damage caused by coastal flooding are massive.

  4. Rising sea levels pose risks for many of Australia’s species and iconic natural places, such as Kakadu National Park and the Great Barrier Reef.

  5. Rising sea level is eroding the viability of coastal communities on islands in the Torres Strait and the Pacific, and in low-lying areas of Asia, increasing the likelihood of migration and resettlement.

  6. We need deep and urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions this decade and beyond if we are to avoid the most serious risks from rising sea levels and coastal flooding.

Click here to read the full report.


End in sight for EPBC "one stop shop"?

The Greens have secured the support of the Palmer United Party for the disallowance of EPBC approval bilateral agreements between the Federal Government and the State and Territory Governments when they are tabled in the Senate. Labor has also said it opposes the agreements, which means the Senate is likely to vote in favour of rendering them invalid. This would mean the end of the Federal Government's attempt to minimise its involvement in issuing environmental approvals.

For more information click here.


Australian Capital Territory

ACT Offsets Policy

The ACT Government has recently developed an Environmental Offsets Policy as part of their ‘one-stop-shop’ assessment and approval process. The offsets were introduced as a means to provide ‘environmental compensation’ for development impacts on sites that contain matters of national environmental significance.

A number of organisations do not support these offsets, recommending that the ACT Government places at the centre of the offsetting scheme the achievement of positive biodiversity outcomes based on robust and objective science. See the EDO’s submission that further suggests that the recommendations of the Senate (Environment and Communications Committee) Environment Offsets Report are taken into account when developing the offset framework


Bilateral Approval Agreement

The ACT Government intends to enter into a Bilateral Approval Agreement with the Commonwealth Government as part of the new ‘one-stop-shop’ assessment and approval process. This agreement will see ACT Government take on environmental approvals that were previously the responsibility of the Commonwealth.


New South Wales

New process for wind farm assessments

The NSW Minister for Planning has announced that all applications for wind farm developments will be referred to the Planning Assessment Commission for determination. 

The changes will affect all new and current applications already being reviewed by the Department of Planning and Environment.

For more information about this development, click here.


Northern Territory

Ranger Uranium Mine Investigation

The Report by the Supervising Scientist on the impacts of a leach tank failure resulting in a slurry spill at Ranger uranium mine in December 2013 has been released.

The Report is available here.


Developing Northern Australia

The final report of the Australian Parliament’s Northern Australian Committee was released on 4 September 2014, and is available here.



Third party planning appeals to be restricted

The Tasmanian government has released a consultation paper outlining a range of proposed changes to the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (Tas), including doubling the appeal fee for third parties other than adjoining neighbours. The fee increase is designed to “deliver on the Government’s commitments in regard to limiting unreasonable third party appeals”. During Budget Estimates, the Planning Minister confirmed that a second phase of reforms would be proposed in 2015 restricting appeal rights and converting the costs presumption in the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal from each party bears their own costs to costs following the event. 
A copy of the consultation paper is available here.


Western Australia

WA EPA recommends Shark Hazard Mitigation Drum Line Program should not be implemented

The EPA has recommended against implementation of Shark Hazard Mitigation Drum Line Program proposed by the WA Department of the Premier and Cabinet. The proposal involved temporary deployment of drum lines in response to an identified shark threat or incident anywhere in State waters at any time of the year until 30 April 2017.

Following examination of the proposal, EPA Chairman Dr Paul Vogel said a high degree of scientific uncertainty remains about impacts on the south-western white shark population, with available information and evidence failing to provide the EPA with a high level of confidence.

The EPA assessed the program as a Public Environmental Review (PER) – the highest and most thorough level of Environmental Impact Assessment. The proposal attracted 6,751 public submissions as well as two petitions.

The independent board tested the potential impacts of the proposal against the environmental objective for Marine Fauna, which is to “maintain the diversity, geographic distribution and viability of fauna at the species and population levels”. The assessment had particular regard to the white shark because it is listed as a migratory species and ‘vulnerable’ under both state and commonwealth environment legislation.

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) Second Indigenous Knowledge Forum

Comparative Systems for Recognising and Protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Culture

This Forum brings together key speakers from around the globe representing those nations with either existing legal frameworks or nations in the midst of developing such regimes for the protection of Indigenous knowledge and culture. IKF2 will facilitate dialogue and discussion, and information exchange bringing together government officials, decision makers, scholars, and especially Indigenous and local peoples’ representatives.

When: 2 – 3 October 2014 (note that day registrations are being accepted for 3 October 2014 so it’s not too late to attend)
Where: UTS Haymarket (Law), 1-59 Quay St, Haymarket

For more information and to register click here.


(Melbourne) 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: 7.30-11.30pm, Friday 3 October 2014
Where: Blue Diamond, Level 15, 123 Queens Street, Melbourne

For more information, 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

For more information, click here.


(Brisbane) Rights of Nature Tribunal: Is the Great Barrier Reef a victim of ecocide?

The Australian Earth Laws Alliance is hosting Australia’s first Rights of Nature Tribunal. This Tribunal is a Regional Chamber of the International Ethics Tribunal for the Rights of Nature and the event is part of the International ‘Earth Rights Days of Action’.

When: 6pm to 8pm, 15 October 2014
Where: QUT Gardens Point, Room E207, Brisbane

For more information, click here


(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 and to register, click here.


(Adelaide) Earth laws and governance workshop

AELA is co-hosting a morning workshop exploring Earth laws, rights of nature and indigenous Earth governance. Speakers include representatives from AELA, EDO SA, local indigenous custodians and the University of Adelaide.

When: 8.30am to 12pm, 17 October 2014
Where: Flinders Building, 1st Floor, 181 Victoria Square, Adelaide
Cost: FREE

For more information and 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.


(Byron Bay) Earth laws and regional community environmentalism

Join EDO NSW, AELA and SCU in Byron Bay for a free half day seminar on earth laws and regional community environmentalism.

Speakers include Sue Higginson, Principal Solicitor of EDO NSW, Michelle Maloney, National Convenor of Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA), Aidan Rickets, Lecturer at Southern Cross University (SCU), activist and writer, and Simon Richardson, Mayor, Byron Shire Council.

When: 1:30pm, Thursday 23 October 2014
Where: Byron Bay Community Centre, 69 Johnson Street Byron Bay
Cost: FREE

For more information and to RSVP visit our website or contact 02 6621 1070 or education@edonsw.org.au.


(Hobart) Polar Law Symposium

The 7th Polar Law Symposium will be hosted by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and the Polar Law Institute. The keynote speaker for the event is Professor Akiho Shibata from Japan’s Kobe University, whose principal research interests relate to international lawmaking process, international environmental law and the Antarctic Treaty System.

When: 28 – 31 October 2014

For more information, 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

For more information and to register, click  here.


(Canberra) Grass half full or grass half empty? Valuing native grassy landscapes

The forum will present and demonstrate achievements in grassland conservation and management throughout south-eastern Australia. It will provide an opportunity to consider opportunities and shortfalls and how they can be addressed, and encourage a new wave of community enthusiasm. This will be underpinned by a focus on research-based management, political gains and community-led advocacy and action.

This forum will bring together research scientists, land managers, government policy makers and implementers and the community to share experiences and knowledge.

When: 30 October – 1 November 2014
Where: CSIRO Discovery Centre, Canberra

Registrations are now open. For more information or to register, click here.


(Melbourne) Evening seminar: Should rivers have legal rights?

When: 6 November 2014

More details will be made available here in due course.


(Melbourne) Thomas Berry Colloquium

This event celebrates the life and work of Thomas Berry, whose work has inspired the global Earth jurisprudence movement.

When: 7.30pm, 7 November 2014 – 1.30pm, 9 November 2014
Where: Edmund Rice Centre, Amberley – 7 Amberley Way, Lower Plenty

For more information or to register, 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).


(Sydney) NSW Young Lawyers Trivia Night – supporting EDO NSW

The NSW Young Lawyers Environment and Planning Law Committee's 2014 Charity Trivia Night will be held in support of EDO NSW. Join us for an entertaining evening of trivia on pop–culture, the environment, music, movies and law.

When: Thursday 20 November 2014
Where: Sydney

Tickets and tables are available now but are strictly limited - click here to book your place and ensure you don’t miss out.


(Sydney) Wild Law Judgment Project (workshop)

This workshop is open to everyone interested in participating in the Wild Law Judgments writing project, and features opening remarks by the Honourable Justice Brian Preston SC, Chief Justice of the NSW Land and Environment Court.

When: 10am – 1pm, 12 November 2014
Where: University of New South Wales

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 here as it becomes available.

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Open for comment


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.


Great Barrier Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan

The Australian and Queensland governments have released the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan for public comment. The Plan is the overarching framework for protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef from 2015 to 2050. It is a key component of the Australian Government’s response to the recommendations of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and has been developed by the Australian and Queensland governments in consultation with partners including the resources, ports, tourism, fishing, agriculture, Indigenous, local government, research and conservation sectors.

Public comments on the Plan are invited until 27 October 2014. For more information and to make a submission, click here.


Commonwealth Energy Green Paper

The Commonwealth Government has released an Energy Green Paper outlining policy approaches for reliable and affordable energy to “improve Australia’s energy outcomes”. The Green Paper focuses largely on Australia’s gas industry and how to attract more investment into extractive energy resources.  There is little focus on the investment opportunity for renewable energy sources in Australia, however discussion does include some options for nuclear energy projects.

Public submissions on the Energy Green Paper can be made until 4 November 2014. Comments received in relation to the Green Paper will be considered in the development of the government’s Energy White Paper.   


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.


Secondary environmental boycotts

On 22 September 2014 a Draft Report was released on the government’s review of competition policy.

Several key Coalition MPs and Senators had asked the review panel to consider removal of the current exemption for secondary boycotts motivated by environmental concerns.  The review panel noted that changes to secondary boycott exemptions would raise complex issues, potentially preventing anti-smoking and gambling campaigns, and no adequate justification for the change had been made out. The panel did not rule out future changes to the law, but found that an assessment of the justification for the change was outside the scope of the review.

However, the panel specifically requested further comments on the impacts of “environmental or consumer groups taking action that directly impedes the lawful commercial activity.”  The extent to which such actions, or legal provisions to address such actions, will be considered by the panel is unclear.

Submissions regarding the draft report, and further comments regarding impacts of environmental consumer actions, can be made until 17 November 2014.
For more information and to make a submission, click here.


Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review

The Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review is underway following the setting aside of the management plans that were scheduled to come into effect in July 2014. The Review is being conducted to consider the management arrangements for Australia’s Marine Reserves.
Terms of reference for the review for the Expert Scientific Panel and Bioregional Advisory Panels have been released. These include:

  • options for zoning, and zoning boundaries, and allowed uses,

  • future priorities for scientific research and monitoring relating to marine biodiversity within the marine reserves,

  • advice on areas of contention within the marine reserves, and

  • recommendations for improving the inclusion of social and economic considerations into decision-making for marine reserves.

Community consultation will include an online survey, and the opportunity to make written submission. This consultation has not yet commenced. You can sign up to receive updates about the review’s progressRead more about the review, or contact 1800 069 352 or email cmrreview@environment.gov.au for more information.


New South Wales

Review of rail environmental regulation

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is seeking comments on a review it has undertaken of the environmental regulation of the NSW rail network.

The review has identified that the existing regulations have not achieved the level of benefits for the environment and the community that had been intended. The EPA has prepared a position paper explaining the likely impacts of the proposed regulatory changes on key stakeholders.

This position paper is open for comment until 8 October 2014.

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


Northern Territory

Review of Waste Management and Pollution Control Act and the Litter Act.

A review of this legislation has been announced and an Issues paper released for public comment with comments due by 27 October 2014.

For more information 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

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.



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.


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(NSW) NSW representative – NELA Board of Directors

NELA is seeking an individual from New South Wales to join its board of directors from 30 October 2014. This is a great opportunity to help lead this organization as well as to work with the talented and diverse group of individuals who make up the board.

If you’re interested in learning more about what this role entails, please contact Ellen Geraghty on 0407 459 490 or by email before the upcoming AGM.


(Australia) Contributors for Environment and Climate Change Law Library

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.



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.


Free EDO NSW publications

EDO NSW has prepared several plain-English guides to environmental law covering topics such as mining law, rural land management, conservation on private land, Aboriginal cultural heritage, coastal protection and more. Click here to access these guides.

EDO NSW also maintains over 50 Fact Sheets on environment and planning law which you can download from their website.

The EDO’s Our Have Your Say resource is a community guide to influencing decisions that impact the environment. You can read about how to effectively engage with decision-makers, view current opportunities to have your say, and request a workshop for your community.


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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