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November 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. NELA Board members
03. NELA National Conference 2014
04. NELA (WA) State Conference 2014
05. NELA Publications
06. 2014 NELA Essay Competition now open
07. Follow us on Twitter

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

11. (Melbourne) Thomas Berry Colloquium
12. (Sydney) Energy Efficiency Council national conference
13. (Sydney) IUCN World Parks Congress 2014
14. (Sydney) Wild Law Judgment Project (workshop)
15. (Sydney) The Judiciary and Protected Areas
16. (Sydney) Mock International Case on Marine Issues
17. (Sydney) NSW Young Lawyers Trivia Night – supporting EDO NSW
18. (Brisbane) EDO Qld Quiz Night
19. (Melbourne) Environmental Management and Sustainability Workshop
20. (Melbourne) Engineers Australia Convention
21. (Sydney) Introduction to Coal Seam Gas, Mining & Groundwater
22. (Adelaide) Bioenergy Conference
23. (Sydney) Soil and Groundwater Pollution: Characterisation, Remediation and Risk Management
24. (Melbourne) Climate Change Adaptation for Local Government & Public Sector Conference
25. (Hawaii) 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

Open for Comment
26. Commonwealth
27. New South Wales
28. Northern Territory
29. Queensland
30. Tasmania

31. Work
32. Other

33. Free EDO NSW publications
34. Facebook group for environmental law research students

NELA news and events

Membership renewals

Membership renewals for the 2014-15 financial year are now overdue. Membership revenue and expert contributions from members are critical to secure NELA’s capacity to be a voice for improved management of natural and cultural resources in Australia.

NELA members receive discounts to events run by NELA and our partner organisations, the monthly NELA Bulletin and opportunities to contribute to national policy submissions on critical environmental and resource management issues. 

If you have not yet renewed your membership, please click here to do so.


NELA Board members

At our AGM on 30 October 2014, NELA welcomed a new president, Professor Jan McDonald.  Amanda Cornwall stepped down from the role of president, after skilfully guiding NELA through the past few years, but she’ll be staying actively involved in NELA activities as a board member. 

The NELA Board for 2014-2015 comprises:

President: Prof Jan  McDonald

Vice-President: Danyelle Kelson

Treasurer:  Nick Wimbush

Secretary:  Jess Feehely

Ordinary members: Fiona Sinclair, Wildaliz de Jesus, Natasha Hammond, Brendan Grigg, Amanda Cornwall and Hanna Jaireth. 

NELA would like to express our sincere gratitude to outgoing Board members Ellen Geraghty and Sarah Waddell, both of whom made invaluable contributions to NELA policy work, resources and strategic positioning of the organisation. NELA is stronger for their involvement and we wish them well.


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. Speakers include NSW Minister for the Environment, Rob Stokes, Justice Dennis Cowdry and many others.

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

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


NELA (WA) State Conference 2014

This year’s conference was held on 16 October 2014 on the topic ‘After the Approval – Appeals, Compliance and Prosecutions’.

As industry in Western Australia moves to the production phase, the topic was selected to highlight the continuing importance of best practice compliance and to facilitate knowledge sharing regarding techniques and practices for efficient and effective regulation and environmental protection.

The Conference provided a forum for more than 80 professionals in environment related disciplines to exchange information and ideas on the development of environmental law and policy and best practice environmental regulation.

Conference delegates enjoyed a plated breakfast followed by presentations from environmental regulators on the history of environmental protection legislation, investigations and prosecutions. The conference also examined the case law relevant to the validity of conditions and grounds of appeal and a comparative analysis on the limited legal rights of third parties in environmental law in WA.

The second session of the day started with a compliance workshop and was followed by an engaging panel session on the topic of ‘Challenges to environmental approvals’. Topics discussed included potential reforms to the Appeals Convener’s process, whether WA needs a specialised court or tribunal to deal with environmental appeals, the future of public interest litigation in Australia following funding cuts to the EDO and whether industry is open to consultation on environmental issues including the appropriate stage for environmental issues to be raised to produce the best result for industry, the environment and the community. The conference closed with a final networking opportunity over lunch.

The WA NELA Committee thanks all delegates, and the speakers and panelists for their time in preparing for and attending the conference. Presentations from the conference are available on our website.


NELA Publications

The latest edition of NELA’s Australian Environmental Law Digest was published last week, featuring a range of articles exploring changes to energy and planning laws. To subscribe to this free quarterly Digest, click here.

To contribute articles to the Digest or the Environment and Climate Change Law Library, email review@nela.org.au.  The deadline for articles for the next edition is 15 January 2015.


2014 NELA Essay Competition now open

Only one month 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 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.


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


Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014 passed

On 31 October 2014, legislation to give effect to the Federal Government’s Direct Action plan passed the Senate with the support of crossbench Senators from the Palmer United Party. The legislation will establish the $2.55 billion emissions reduction fund, with companies opting into the scheme by competing for government money. 

Significant amendments were made to the legislation in the Senate, including increasing the standard contract duration to seven years, creating options to extend crediting periods and increasing crediting periods for savanna burning projects. As a result of these changes, the Bill will need to be tabled again in the House of Representatives. It is expected to be introduced during the next sitting period starting on 24 November.

To secure the support of the Palmer United Party, the government agreed to scrap plans to abolish the Climate Change Authority and to direct the Authority to undertake an 18-month investigation into a potential future emissions trading scheme. However, Environment Minister, Greg Hunt MP, has confirmed that the government has no intention of introducing an ETS.

For more information, click here.


Australian Capital Territory

Environmental Protection Amendment Act 2014

The Environmental Protection Amendment Act 2014 was passed on 30 October 2014, aimed at implementing recommendations of the 2012-13 review of the Environmental Protection Act 1997 (ACT).

The Act, which has yet to commence, will strengthen the powers and regulatory tools available to the Environment Protection Authority when dealing with pollution incidents. Significant changes include provision for action to be taken in respect of potential environmental harm, rather than having to wait for environmental harm to occur, and the introduction of "enforceable undertakings" as an alternative to prosecution.


Planning and Development (Bilateral Agreement) Amendment Act 2014

The Planning and Development (Bilateral Agreement) Amendment Act 2014 was notified on 2 October 2014. The Act makes a number of amendments to the Planning and Development Act 2007 (ACT) to streamline environmental approvals and facilitate the ‘one stop shop’. The Act requires applications affecting matters of national environmental significance to be referred to the Federal Environment Minister for comment, and approval decisions to be consistent with any comments received.


New South Wales

Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2014

This Bill will amend the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 to increase the maximum penalties for offences, create additional offences and expand the investigative powers of local councils and the Department of Planning and Environment.

Read more here.


Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment Bill 2014 

This Bill will amend the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 to provide for Aboriginal Land Agreements, including establishing a process for the Crown Lands Minister and Aboriginal Land Council to enter into an agreement for the transfer or lease of land. The Bill includes amendments to administrative aspects of Aboriginal Land Councils.


Biosecurity Bill 2014

This Bill provides for the prevention, elimination, minimisation and management of biosecurity risks.


Crown Lands Amendment (Public Ownership of Beaches and Coastal Lands) Bill 2014

This Bill makes provision for the lease of Crown beach and coastal land, but prevents its sale. It also seeks to prevent any land claim under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW) to or in respect of Crown beach and coastal land.


Pesticides Amendment Bill 2014

This Bill will amend the Pesticides Act 1999 to make further provision with respect to the licensing of activities involving pesticides, to implement nationally agreed reforms, and to improve the administration and enforceability of the Act.


Responsible Mining (Protecting Land, Water and Communities) Bill 2014

This Private Member's Bill has been re-introduced by Jeremy Buckingham MP, following an earlier Bill of the same name which did not proceed in 2012. The Bill seeks to prohibit exploration and mining activities on certain land, and to ensure that local councils and communities are involved in decisions to prohibit exploration and mining on other land.


New waste levy guidelines gazetted

New levy guidelines for waste facilities have been released, setting out obligations on facility operators under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation.  The guidelines, which address record-keeping requirements, procedures for calculating weight and guidance on deductions for trackable liquid waste, road works and construction works, are available here



Recreation Areas Management and Another Act Amendment Bill 2014

This Bill was introduced before the Queensland Parliament on 14 October 2014. One of the main purposes of the Bill is to streamline the permitting system for commercial and tourism activities in recreational areas including the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, in order to reduce ‘red tape’ (see the Explanatory Notes). The Bill will replace existing Federal and State permits for commercial activities and marine park activities with a single permit.


Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014

The Queensland Parliament has passed a bill amending key environmental legislation, including the Environmental Protection Act, the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act, the Environmental Offsets Act and the Nature Conservation Act.  Significant changes include increased penalties for environmental offences, introduction of enforceable undertakings and a range of new procedures in relation to contaminated sites.

Amendments to the Bill were introduced following a parliamentary inquiry and comments from the Property Council in relation to offset rules. The amendments will allow local governments to impose lower offset contributions for developers of locally significant projects.


Queensland Plan Act 2014

The Queensland Plan Act 2014 requires the Premier to “facilitate the development of a plan to provide a long-term vision for key areas affecting the future growth and prosperity of Queensland.”  The Plan is to address education, community, economic issues, health, environment, infrastructure and governance. 

The Plan is to be developed following community consultation and must be endorsed by the Queensland Parliament prior to its implementation.


South Australia

Parliament rejects request for inquiry into unconventional gas

Members of the South Australian Parliamentary Environment, Resources and Development Committee have voted against holding an inquiry into unconventional gas exploration and production. The inquiry, proposed by the Greens, would have explored the hydraulic fracking of oil and gas reserves as well as examining the potential impact of exploration in the State’s southeast.

The decision was contrary to the Liberal Party’s pre-election promise. However, Liberal Party members argued that the terms of the proposed inquiry were too broad and noted the importance of unconventional gas for the State’s economy.



Assessment Bilateral Agreement released

The Agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and Tasmania relating to environmental assessment was finalised on 22 October 2014. The agreement, made under the s.45 of EPBC Act, accredits assessments under the State Policies and Projects Act 1993, Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 and Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994.


Protest laws revised to remove mandatory sentencing

The Legislative Council haspassed a range of amendments to the Tasmanian government’s controversial Workplace (Protection from Protesters) Bill 2014. The amendments, proposed both by the Government and independent Legislative Councillors, were made in response to concerns voiced by opponents, including members of the Legislative Council, the Law Society, Human Rights Law Centre, a UN Special Rapporteur and a former judge, regarding the breadth of the Bill and mandatory sentencing provisions. 

The amendments restrict the operation of the legislation to protest activity affecting key industries (forestry, agriculture, mining and manufacturing) or government business enterprises, and excludes footpaths and public places from the definition of “business premises”. Significantly, amendments adopted by the Legislative Council have also removed mandatory sentences, in favour of retaining judicial discretion.

The amended legislation will now be reconsidered by the House of Assembly.


Land Use Planning and Approvals (Streamlining of Process) Amendment Bill 2014

The Land Use Planning and Approvals (Streamlining of Process) Amendment Bill 2014 proposes a number of amendments to reduce approval timeframes for strategic planning and development assessment decisions. The Bill also allows interim planning schemes to be introduced without full public hearings in many circumstances.

The consultation draft of the legislation proposed to remove any opportunities for public hearings in relation to interim planning schemes and increase the cost of third party appeals, however those proposals were modified in the Bill introduced to parliament. 

The Bill has been passed by the House of Assembly and will be debated in the Legislative Council in late November 2014.



Assessment Bilateral Agreement signed

The Victorian and Commonwealth governments have finalised a revised bilateral agreement for environmental assessments under s 45 of the EPBC Act. You can read the Bilateral Agreement here.  

Emergency Management Amendment (Critical Infrastructure Resilience) Act 2014

The Emergency Management Amendment (Critical Infrastructure Resilience) Act 2014 has received Royal Assent. Read Dariel de Sousa’s analysis of the legislation, which requires infrastructure providers to report on the impacts of climate change, in the Australian Environmental Law Digest.


Western Australia

Assessment bilateral agreement signed

The Western Australian and Commonwealth governments have signed a bilateral agreement in relation to environmental assessments under s 45 of the EPBC Act. The bilateral agreement forms part of the Coalition’s ‘one-stop-shop’ reforms and accredits certain Western Australian environmental assessment procedures as satisfying Commonwealth requirements under the EPBC Act. Specifically, the agreement accredits the State to conduct assessments on behalf of the Commonwealth in relation to permit assessment processes under Part V Division 2 of the Environment Protection Act

The bilateral agreement is due to commence on 1 January 2015. Read the agreement here.


In the courts

New South Wales

Davis v Gosford City Council [2014] NSWCA 343

The appellant applied for development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) for an integrated resource recovery facility on their land at Somersby. The proposed development involved clearing native vegetation that provided habitat for the threatened Eastern Pygmy Possum. The development application was not accompanied by a species impact statement (SIS) and was refused by the Council on this basis. 

On application by the appellant, the Land and Environment Court (LEC) held that while an SIS was not required, the likely impact of the development on the Eastern Pygmy Possum warranted refusal of the appellant’s development application. The appellant appealed on grounds relating to two issues:

  1. whether the LEC erred in its assessment of the degree of effect on threatened species required for refusal of development application; and

  2. whether the decision makers failed to consider any concurrence of the Director-General.

On the first point, the NSW Court of Appeal held the matters to be considered were not limited to an effect on threatened species that is likely to be a significant effect. The Court also held that there was no actual or assumed concurrence of the Director-General to be considered. 

The appeal was dismissed with costs.


Northern Territory

Environmentalists Challenge Water Entitlement Decisions

The Environment Centre NT (ECNT), represented by the Northern Territory Environmental Defenders Office, has applied for judicial review of a decision of the Territories Land Resource Management Minister to grant 18 water extraction licences. ECNT argues that this decision was made contrary to law as the licenses will significantly exceed the previously established maximum caps on extraction.

For more information, click here.


Policy developments and other news


Chinese backflip on coal tariffs

Just weeks after announcing increased tariffs on coal imports, the Chinese Ministry of Finance looks likely to repeal the higher levy following the release of guidelines stipulating that any country with which China has a Free-Trade Agreement would not be subject to such taxes. The tariffs were predicted to be a major blow to the Australian coal mining industry as a result of the estimated $4 / tonne increase in price. 25% of the 90 million tonnes of coking coal China is expected to import this year will come from Australia.


Australia last in environmental leadership: Green Economy Index

The results of the Global Green Economy Index 2014, prepared by consultant, Dual Citizen, are particularly damning for the Australian government. Already subject to criticism for being overly passive in relation to key environmental issues, Australia ranked 37th for overall environmental performance, behind developing nations such as Kenya and Brazil. More alarmingly, Australia was ranked 60th out of a possible 60 countries in relation to leadership on climate change.



Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

A further round of TPP trade negotiations were held in Sydney on 25 October 2014. The TPP, negotiated between 12 countries with the aim of freeing up and regulating trade between signatories, is set to have an extensive impact on environmental regulations.

Read more regarding the progress of negotiations and the TPP’s implications here and here.


20 year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan Report

On 10 October 2014, the Commonwealth Environment Minister released the independent report on the 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan. The report provides an assessment of the current status of the Australian Antarctic Programme and the challenges to maintaining and expanding Australia’s status in Antarctic science, operations, diplomacy and effective administration of the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Read more here.


Senate inquiry into Southern Ocean makes strong recommendations

On 29 October 2014, the Senate Committee into Foreign Affairs and Trade released the report of its inquiry into Australia's future activities and responsibilities in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters. The consensus report makes a number of recommendations to strengthen Australia’s governance and diplomacy in the Antarctic region, increase monitoring of illegal fishing and increase research funding.

Read the report here.


RET Review

Senator Ian Macfarlane has announced that the Federal government intends to support scaling back the renewable energy target to a “real” 20% (from 41,000 gigawatt hours per year by 2020 to 26,000 gigawatt hours) and introducing exemptions for emissions intensive industries such as aluminium, copper, zinc and cement. The government is continuing its negotiation with the Labor party regarding amendments to the RET scheme.

The independent review of the RET, headed by Dick Warburton, earlier in the year recommended the abolition or significant scaling back of the target. The renewable energy industry maintains that reducing the target as proposed would devastate the industry, costing jobs and jeopardising the achievement of emissions reduction targets.

The Climate Change Authority is also expected to complete its legislated biannual review of the RET by the end of 2014. It is not clear whether the Federal government intends to wait for this review before proposing legislation to effect its preferred position.

Read more here. Read Finalysons’ excellent article regarding Australia’s energy regulations in the Australian Environmental Law Digest.


Improving Great Barrier Reef Water Quality in the Wet Tropics

The Federal Government has tenders for a $5 million project to improve water quality in the Wet Tropics. It is one of the first projects to be funded from the $40M Reef Trust and targets nitrogen discharge from the Wet Tropics, which poses a risk to the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef.

Expressions of Interest for the Reef Trust project are now open. Read more here.


Koonalda Cave, South Australia listed on National Heritage List

On 15 October 2014, Nullarbor Plain’s Koonalda Cave was placed on the National Heritage List in recognition of its rare Aboriginal archaeology and heritage.

Read more here.


Australian Capital Territory

Compensation for Mr Fluffy asbestos

The Commonwealth government has agreed to provide a $1 billion concessional loan to the ACT government to fund the recommendations of the Asbestos Response Taskforce on the Long Term Management of Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation in Canberra Homes. Taskforce recommendations include the acquisition and demolition of over 1,000 homes affected by Mr Fluffy asbestos.


New South Wales

In response to concerns raised by the Maules Creek Community Council, the Department of Planning and Environment has imposed restrictions on vegetation clearing associated with Whitehaven Coal's Maules Creek coal mine. The approved environmental plan restricts clearing in Leard State Forest during wildlife hibernation and nesting months.

For more information, click here.


Northern Territory

Glencore - McArthur River Zinc Mine

The NT EPA has issued McArthur River Mine (MRM) with a Notice to carry out an Environmental Audit program to monitor, evaluate and report on airborne pollutant issues from a waste rock dump. This Notice follows a series of public complaints received by the EPA concerning ‘smoke and fumes emitting from the waste rock dump’.

The Independent Monitor’s report on the MRM’s operations was released on 23 October 2014.


Ranger Uranium Mine Investigation

The findings and recommendations of the final independent expert report into the leach tank failure resulting in a slurry spill at Ranger uranium mine in December 2013 has been released by the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments Western Desert Resources Mine.

The NT EPA issued a direction under section 72 of the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act on the 26 September 2014 to:

  • take all reasonable measure(s) to divert stormwater away from and prevent flooding of mining activities;

  • install and rectify appropriate sedimentation ponds and associated drainage systems to service mining activity areas; and

  • take all reasonable measures to prevent erosion and sediment runoff at bridge approaches along the haul road.

These measures are to be completed by 1 December 2014.



Proposal to amend Coastal Management Districts

In early October, the State government released a proposal to amend existing coastal management districts (coastal areas that require special development assessment processes). Importantly, this proposal will reduce the footprint of these districts, and also remove sea-level rise projections from the mapping.

The proposal closed for comment on 27 October 2014.



King Island Wind Farm proposal abandoned

Hydro Tasmania announced on 27 October 2014 that it would not proceed with a 600MW wind farm project on King Island after early feasibility work concluded that the project was not financially viable, even if the Renewable Energy Target was retained at current levels. 

Hydro Tasmania will continue to investigate the viability of a second interconnector cable across the Bass Strait.


Forestry Tasmania posts $43M loss

Government business entity, Forestry Tasmania, has released its 2013-2014 Stewardship report, detailing an operating loss in excess of $43 million. The Liberal Government has blamed restricted access to forests as a result of the Tasmanian Forests Agreement established under the former government for the loss. However, Forestry Tasmania notes restricted port access and a reduced value of its forest estate due to the rising Australian dollar as key contributing factors.

The Liberal government 2014-2015 budget allocated a further $6 million in "community service" funding to assist Forestry Tasmania to maintain forestry infrastructure.


Western Australia

WA Draft Mine Closure Plan Guidelines released

The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum has released draft Guidelines updating proponent requirements in relation to Mine Closure Plans. The Guidelines propose new requirements that risk assessments be undertaken at each phase of the mining project and that these assessments be included as appendices to a closure plan. Proponents would also be required to progressively develop their closure plan in response to these changing risk assessments throughout the mines life. Other additional requirements include the preparation of a stakeholder engagement register, which is to be included in the closure plan.

To read the draft Guidelines, 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!

(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.


(Sydney) Energy Efficiency Council national conference

The Energy Efficiency Council is holding its national conference  on 11-12 November 2014.  Join business leaders, Australian and international experts, senior policy makers and major energy users to explore and debate the latest domestic and global thinking about saving energy. Speakers include Rob Stokes (NSW Environment Minister), Innes Willox (Ai Group chief executive), Tim Nelson (AGL head of policy, economics and sustainability) and Jillian Broadbent (chair of the CEFC). 

When: 11-12 November 2014
Where: Swissotel Hotel, Sydney

For more information, 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 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) 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.


(Sydney) The Judiciary and Protected Areas

This event will provide an opportunity for audience members to ask senior judges from Australia, Belgium and Brazil about recent developments and judicial decisions relating to protected areas law. This interactive event will be chaired by the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC, Shadow Attorney-General for Australia.  

When: 6pm – 9pm, 13 November 2014
Where: Southee Pavillion North, Olympic Park

More information is available here.


(Sydney) Mock International Case on Marine Issues

This event will feature Hon Justice Pain and Hon Justice Pepper of the Land and Environment Court in a mock trial regarding marine issues.  The event is supported by the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law, the Institute for Marine Science, the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law and the IUCN World Commission for Protected Areas’ Marine Specialist Group, and supported by the Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment and the Australian Environment and Planning Law Group in the Law Council of Australia’s Legal Practice Section.

When: 6pm – 8pm, 18 November 2014
Where: Dome Theatrette, Olympic Park

More information is available here.


(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: 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.


(Brisbane) EDO Qld Quiz Night

EDO Qld is hosting a Trivia Fundraising Night, featuring wine, trivia, prizes, food and fun. Places are very limited so book while you still can.

When:  20 November from 5pm.
Where: Queensland Law Society House, 179 Ann St, Brisbane.
Cost: Tickets are available for $80pp, or $600 for a table of 8.

To book, download and return the Ticket order form


(Melbourne)  Environmental Management and Sustainability Workshop

The Australian Environment Business Network is hosting an environmental management workshop on 20-21 November 2014.

The 2-day intensive workshop will cover environmental Federal, Victoria and New South Wales laws and requirements for industry, business and councils. Expert speakers will demonstrate how these laws are implemented into best practice to assist with compliance and facilitate more sustainable business. 

For more information, click here.


(Melbourne) Engineers Australia Convention

The Engineers Australia Convention will be held on 25-27 November 2014, including a conference stream on practical responses to climate change. The conference features of range of sessions covering water, coastal infrastructure, energy, transport, waste, agriculture and sustainable buildings.

For more information, click here.


(Sydney) Introduction to Coal Seam Gas, Mining & Groundwater

This three day course seeks to cover the broad topic of Coal Seam Gas within the Australian environment, including the location and characteristics of CSG, extraction methods and technologies as well as the environmental impacts of CSG and mining. Presenters include Dr John Bradd, Rachel Braikenridge and George Gates. 

When:  26-28 November 2014
Where:  Rydges Central Hotel
Cost: $1,850 (+GST)

For more details, click here.


(Adelaide) Bioenergy Conference

The national Bioenergy conference will be held in Adelaide on 1-2 December 2014, with speakers including CEFC chief executive, Oliver Yates.

For more information, click here.


(Sydney) Soil and Groundwater Pollution: Characterisation, Remediation and Risk Management

This training course comprehensively covers soil and groundwater pollution and remediation due to anthropogenic contamination. International experts, Dr Bernie Kueper and Dr Dave Reynolds, will join local experts to present this event. 

When:  1-4 December 2014
Where: Rydges Central Hotel

For more details, click here.


(Melbourne) Climate Change Adaptation for Local Government & Public Sector Conference 

EnviroInfo is hosting this conference targeted at public sector professionals including sustainability specialists, environment managers, strategic planners, senior managers of local government and public sector bodies whose operations will be impacted by climate change, and risk management coordinators.

Presentations by experts from local government, research organisations, the tertiary sector, government authorities and the private sector will provide delegates with information they need to help them benchmark their organisation’s climate change strategies.

When:  4 December 2014
Where: Rydges, Swanston Street

Early bird registrations close on 7 November 2014.  For further details, click 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 - 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


Draft National Recovery Plan for the Orange-bellied Parrot

The period for comments on the draft National Recovery Plan for the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) close soon.  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.


Attacks on Australia’s environment inquiry

On 18 June 2014, the Senate directed the Environment and Communications Committee to inquire into “the Abbott Government's attacks on Australia's environment, and their effects on our natural heritage and future prosperity.” The inquiry is expected to cover a range of policy decisions, including abolition of climate change institutions, the one-stop shop policy, funding for ENGOs and Environmental Defenders Offices and cuts to Landcare programmes.

Submissions to the inquiry can be made until 10 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.


Agricultural Green Paper released 

In 20 October 2014, the Federal Government has released its Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper.  The Green Paper outlines ideas on a range of issues including infrastructure, drought support, trade and finance.

Public submissions in response to the Green Paper can be made until 12 December 2014.  For more information, click here.


New South Wales

Sydney Water MoU

The NSW EPA is seeking public comment on a revised draft Memorandum of Understanding with Sydney Water, which is required under the terms of Sydney Water's operating licence. 

Comments can be made until 22 November 2014.


Northern Territory

Ranger R3D u-mine

The Northern Territory EPA has released its draft Environmental Impact Statement in relation to the Ranger 3 Deeps Underground mine for public comment. The draft relates to the proposal from Energy Resources of Australia Ltd to ‘produce uranium bearing ore’ for processing at the existing plant at Ranger mine.’

Conservation groups have voiced concerns about the significant difficulties that would be experienced in trying to rehabilitate the Ranger site to a standard that is suitable for inclusion in the World Heritage Kakadu National Park that surrounds the mine site.

Comment on the draft Environmental Impact statement can be made until 12 December 2014.  For more information, click here.



Revisions to Bilateral agreement

The Commonwealth and Queensland governments have released a revised  bilateral agreement for environmental assessments, amended to include revised impact assessment procedures under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971

Comments on the revised agreement can be made until 21 November 2014.  For more information, click here.



Fracking review paper released

In March 2014, the Tasmania government imposed a 12 month moratorium on fracking, to be implemented through an internal commitment from Mineral Resources Tasmania, while a review was undertaken.  The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment has now released an Issues Paper, Review of Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking) in Tasmania, for public comment. 

The review invites comments on environmental impacts, availability of viable gas deposits, the current regulatory framework and any economic benefits associated with unconventional gas projects.

Comments can be made until 5 December 2014.  For more information on the review paper, click here


Calls for public participation in FSC certification

The independent auditor engaged to assess Forestry Tasmania’s application for Forest Stewardship Council certification, SCS Global, is seeking stakeholder input regarding FT’s forest practices ahead of their field audit on 4-9 December 2014.

Anyone interested in having a say can email FSCConsultation@scsglobalservices.com to be registered as a stakeholder. Stakeholders can request that any comments they provide be kept confidential.

Comments regarding the FSC certification application will need to specifically address the FSC/SCS Interim Standard for Natural Forest and Plantation Forest Management in Australia, Version 2.0 August 19th, 2014 and the FSC Controlled Wood Standard, FC-STD-30-010.  

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(ACT) Environment and Sustainability Directorate

The ACT Environment and Sustainability Directorate is advertising two positions:


(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


(Hobart)  EDO Tasmania Summer Internship programme

EDO Tasmania is offering voluntary summer internships in December, January and February for students in their final or penultimate year of study.  Internships provide a great opportunity for law, politics or planning students to gain practical experience, use their research skills and learn more about Tasmania's planning and environmental laws.    

Applications must be received by 17 November 2014.  For more information, click here.


(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 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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