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February 2014

The NELA Bulletin is published on the first Thursday of each month. Contributions are welcome and should be emailed to the editor, Ellen Geraghty, by 5pm AEDST on the preceding Friday.

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This Month

NELA news and events
01. NELA delegation meets Environment Minister
02. NELA submissions
03. 2013 NELA Essay Competition winner announced
04. Support for EDOs

Law and policy developments
05. In the legislature
06. In the courts
07. Australian news and policy developments

News and events from NELA’s partners
08. (Melbourne) The Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association (VPELA) and Ecology & Heritage Partners present the Minister
09. IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme’s (GMPP) Marine News released

Other events
10. (NZ) New Zealand Earth Law Conference on Sustainability
11. (Australia – various locations) Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) events
12. (Sydney) Mahla Pearlman Oration 2014
13. (Australia – various locations) Legalwise Seminars

14. Opportunities for comment
15. Roles
16. Study
17. Other

NELA news and events

NELA delegation meets Environment Minister

Environment Minister Greg Hunt appeared to be all ears when he met with a delegation from NELA on 15 January 2014 to discuss NELA priority policies. The delegation urged the Minister to take a more cautious approach to shifting its responsibilities for environment approvals to the states and territories. The delegation also discussed the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper, particularly the proposed approach to generating abatement (for carbon credits), the method for establishing baselines, and compliance. NELA will provide a submission later this month.
The Minister welcomed NELA proposals for a national biodiversity offset standard and a national oceans policy, requesting further detail.

The NELA delegation consisted of the President, Amanda Cornwall, with Elisa de Wit, partner at Norton Rose and Tim Power, partner at Herbert Smith Freehills. Thanks to Chris Schulz, partner at Allens Linklaters for his contribution prior to the meeting.


NELA submissions

NELA submission writers were busy during December and January, producing a total of six submissions to the federal government on our three priority policy topics. The submissions made were on:

  • consultation draft bills for the repeal of the carbon tax legislation,

  • draft Victorian Coastal Strategy 2013, supporting better integrated coastal and marine planning and management,

  • Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications Inquiry into the Environmental Legislation Amendment Bill 2013,

  • Draft Great Barrier Reef Coastal Zone Strategic Assessment 2013 and the associated Program Report,

  • proposal to Environment Minister Hunt for a national biodiversity offset standard,

  • brief to Environment Minister Hunt on NELA’s National Oceans  Policy proposal.

Thanks to our members Damien Lockie, Felicity Millner, Jess Feheely, Sarah Waddell and Amanda Cornwall for preparing the submissions. We appreciate their time and expertise. Copies of the submissions will be posted on the NELA website shortly.   


2013 NELA Essay Competition winner announced

NELA is pleased to announce Ms Madeleine Figg, from the University of Tasmania Law School, is the winner of the 2013 NELA Essay Competition. Her essay on 'Protecting Third Party Rights of Appeal, Protecting the Environment: A Tasmanian Case Study' impressed the judges as a fresh look at the issue, highlighting their importance in achieving better outcomes for the environment even though the majority deal with private interests.

Madeleine has won $1000 and a year's free membership of NELA for her efforts and NELA is liaising with the editor of the prestigious Environment and Planning Law Journal to have the essay published.

The judges also commended Isabelle Whitehead’s essay on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act's water trigger, which posed the question whether the water trigger was ‘Better Protection or Pure Politics?’
Congratulations to Madeleine and Isabelle!

NELA will announce details for the 2014 Essay Competition next month. The deadline for submissions is 12 December 2014. The competition is open to any student enrolled at an Australian tertiary institution (including undergraduate and postgraduate programs).


Support for EDOs

NELA members by now will be aware of the federal government’s decision to cut funding to Environment Defenders Offices, a move that may result in most offices closing by the end of this year. EDOs provide vital information to communities about how to protect our environment, and they help make sure government and others comply with the law.

NELA believes the government has misjudged the way people feel about EDOs. We encourage all of our members to find out what their local EDO is doing to find alternative sources of funding and do what you can to support them.

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Law and policy developments

In the legislature

Australian Capital Territory

Nature Conservation Bill 2013

The Nature Conservation Bill 2013 is part of the review of the Nature Conservation Act 1980, which, for more than thirty years, has been the chief legislation for the protection of native plants and animals in the ACT and for the management of the conservation reserve network.

The long-awaited exposure draft for the Nature Conservation Bill 2013 was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on 31 October 2013 and while the submission period has now ended, the exposure draft is still available here and the ‘Review of the Roles and Functions of the Conservator of Flora and Fauna’ conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in 2011 has now been released and is available here.


New South Wales

Mining Amendment (ICAC Operations Jasper and Acacia) Act 2014

This Act, assented to on 31 January 2014, cancels three coal exploration licences at Doyles Creek, Glendon Brook and Mount Penny following investigations and proceedings of the Independent Commission Against Corruption which found that the licences were tainted by serious corruption.


Planning Bill 2013

The Planning Bill 2013 will return to the NSW Legislative Assembly for further debate in 2014 because the NSW Legislative Council made almost 50 amendments to the Bill. Amendments include the removal of code assessment provisions, new affordable housing provisions, and the insertion of a definition of “environmentally sensitive area” which includes critical habitat, wilderness areas, and land identified by local plans as an environmentally sensitive area, an area of high Aboriginal cultural significance, or an area of high biodiversity significance. An amendment was also passed by the upper house which would remove provisions in the newly made Mining SEPP relating to the consideration of the significance of resources and non-discretionary development standards for mining.  The Government has indicated that it will be consulting further in the interim.



Pulp Mill Assessment Amendment Act 2014

This Act, which has just been passed by the Tasmanian parliament, amends the Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007, under which the controversial Bell Bay pulp mill project was assessed and approved, to extend the period within which the project must be substantially commenced from 4 years to 10 years. The amendments also remove a provision requiring the permit to be suspended in the event of a breach of any permit conditions.

The amendments will put an end to the Tasmanian Conservation Trust’s current Supreme Court challenge regarding the validity of the Pulp Mill Permit.  The Trust is alleging that the Pulp Mill Permit lapsed when Gunns Limited failed to substantially commence the development by August 2011. The amendments have effectively extended this commencement deadline to August 2017.

The pulp mill project has been on hold since Gunns Limited went into administration in September 2012.  The company’s assets, including the Bell Bay site and associated permits, were put up for sale last November 2013. Administrator, KordaMentha, has indicated that a number of parties are interested in purchasing the site, though not all are interested in constructing the pulp mill.


Western Australia

Amendments to the Environmental Protection (Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004

Amendments to the Environmental Protection (Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004 were gazetted on 3 December 2013 and comprised the following key changes to prescribed clearing definitions (regulation 5) for the purposes of section 51C of the Environmental Protection Act 1986:

  • an increase in time from 10 to 20 years for land owners and occupiers to maintain existing cleared areas for land that has been used for pasture, cultivation or forestry,

  • an increase in the allowable limited clearing area from one hectare to five hectares, per property, per financial year.  Limited clearing is defined as clearing to construct a building, clearing for firewood, clearing to provide fencing and farm materials, clearing for woodwork, clearing along a fenceline, clearing for vehicular tracks, clearing for walking tracks, and clearing isolated trees.

The amendments relax the requirements for clearing permit authorisations for these prescribed activities.


In the courts

New South Wales

Connell v Santos NSW Pty Limited [2014] NSWLEC 1

Santos pleaded guilty to four charges of committing offences under section 136A (1) of the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 (“the Act”) in that it, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with certain reporting conditions of a petroleum title which it held over an area of land south of Narrabri, NSW.

In considering sentence, the court considered, among other things, the following factors: that the harm in question was low level environmental harm comprising damage to soil and vegetation; that the risk of harm to the environment was clearly foreseeable; that practical measures could and should have been taken to prevent harm; and that the defendant had control over the causes of the harm.

The defendant was convicted of the offences as charged, fines were imposed, the defendant was ordered to pay the prosecutor's costs and moiety orders were made.



Tarkine National Coalition seeks reasons for decision to amend Shree Minerals’ permit conditions

In 2013, the Environment Protection Authority granted approval for Shree Minerals’ magnetite mine at Nelson Bay River, in the Tarkine area, subject to a condition requiring in-ground storage of potentially acid forming waste materials.  At the time, the EPA noted that there was “no suitable location on the site for above ground storage”.  Prior to the commencement of mining in December 2013, the EPA approved an amendment allowing above ground storage of acid forming wastes for a period of up to 30 months.

The Tarkine National Coalition has commenced court proceedings for an order that the EPA provide reasons for its decision to amend the permit. The EPA refused earlier requests to provide a statement of reasons on the basis that the Tarkine National Coalition was not a “person aggrieved” by the amendments. The Supreme Court will consider the matter on 4 March 2014.



Cherry Tree Wind Farm Pty Ltd v Mitchell Shire Council (Red dot) [2013] VCAT 1939

In a previous issue it was reported that the Tribunal had made an interim decision in this case involving 16 proposed wind turbines in the Cherry Tree Ranges, north of Melbourne.  This interim decision allowed further time for additional ‘public report’ information to be considered, regarding the potential adverse health impacts of wind turbines on nearby residents (being a key issue in debate).  Having received this further information, the Tribunal handed down its final decision in November 2013, approving the proposal. This final decision focused on the above-mentioned public health reports handed down by relevant statutory authorities, which essentially found that there is no published scientific evidence to directly link wind turbines with adverse health effects.  With respect to the ‘potential health impacts’ issue, the Tribunal found that there is no compelling evidence (and no evidence at all capable of being tested) that would justify the Tribunal adopting a view that is opposed to the findings of these authorities.  The Tribunal reiterated that in relation to statutory authorities charged with the protection of public health, their views must be respected and departed from only if there is compelling evidence that so requires.


Australian news and policy developments


Final hurdle for commencement of Abbot Point project cleared

On December 10, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved the dredging and dumping project in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area at Abbot Point. The dredging project is to make way for Adani Mining Pty Ltd’s three new terminals to export millions of tonnes of coal from Galilee Basin mines every year, which project has also been approved.

On 31 January 2014, the final hurdle to commencement of the project was cleared when the proponents received the permits they need to commence work from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMA), the federal authority specifically created to manage the reef’s conservation. The permits are subject to “strict environmental conditions”.

Further information about the grant of these permits is available here.


Environment Minister’s Council abolished

Australia’s environment ministers will no longer meet as a group to tackle common environmental issues.

The COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water was abolished at the council’s meeting on 13 December 2013, the first since the federal Coalition was elected. “Too much bureaucracy and red tape has grown up around COAG,” the meeting communiqué said.

COAG decided 22 standing committees “should be streamlined and refocused on COAG’s priorities over the next 12-18 months”. Of the eight new committees none will deal with environment, water or climate change issues.


Marine parks ‘open for business’

On 13 December, federal environment minister Greg Hunt and agriculture parliamentary secretary Richard Colbeck scrapped what they called the “flawed” management plans for ocean sanctuaries. Hunt and Colbeck said the Abbott government was “delivering a key election promise by scrapping [the former Labor government’s] plan to lock out recreational fishers from key coastal areas around the country”.

Governor-General Quentin Bryce has “reproclaimed” the new marine reserves, and the fishing exclusion zones that would have come into play next July will no longer come into operation.

The media release is available here.


Australian Capital Territory

90% Renewable Energy Target Made Law

In November 2013, the ACT Minister for the Environment, Simon Corbell, announced the formal establishment in law of the 90% renewable energy target for the ACT to be achieved by 2020.
Mr Corbell said that the renewable energy target will see “90% of electricity used in the ACT in 2020 coming from renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind or biomass, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by around 1.5 million tonnes in that year”.

More information is available here.


New South Wales

Additional coal seam gas exclusion zones introduced

The NSW Government has introduced a number of additional coal seam gas (CSG) exclusion zones. CSG development cannot be carried out on or under land that is zoned residential or identified as future residential growth area land, or within a two kilometre buffer around these areas.  New CSG developments have been prohibited on land zoned residential and in the “future residential growth areas” of the North West and South West Growth Centres of Sydney since October 2013. Areas identified as “critical industry clusters” have been mapped by the NSW Government, and new CSG developments are now prohibited in these areas.

For more information, click here.


Bilateral agreement to create single environmental assessment process signed

The Federal and NSW governments have signed a new bilateral agreement to create a single environmental assessment process less than two days after public submissions on the agreement closed. Under this agreement, the NSW Government is responsible for assessing projects relating to matters of national environmental significance under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (“EPBC Act”). An approval bilateral agreement is expected to be signed within 12 months, which would make the NSW Government responsible for approving projects under the EPBC Act.


Northern Territory

Approvals bilateral for matters of national environmental significance and strategic assessments
In December 2013 the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to finalise an approvals bilateral agreement for matters of national environmental significance by 18 September 2014. It was also agreed to finalise a “comprehensive assessment bilateral agreement” within 6 months. This will mean that both the assessment and approval of actions that may have a significant impact upon matters of national environmental significance will undertaken by the Northern Territory rather than the Commonwealth Government if these agreements are finalised.

The stated purpose of the MOU is to ‘deliver a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 removing duplication in assessment and approvals processes, while maintaining environmental outcomes’.

Both Governments have also committed to develop during 2014 an agreed priority list of future strategic assessments for the Northern Territory.

The MOU is available here.


Investigation into failure of mine leach tank

A joint Northern Territory and Federal Government investigation was announced on 13 December 2013 into the ‘failure’ of a leach tank at Ranger Uranium Mine, which is surrounded by Kakadu National Park. A taskforce will investigate in accordance with the following terms of reference:

  • identify the immediate cause of the incident,

  • examine the integrity of broader processing operations,

  • identify any gaps in operating procedures or maintenance practices,

  • undertake a comprehensive examination of corporate governance arrangements,

  • provide recommendations to the Commonwealth Minister for Industry and the Northern Territory Minister for Mines and Energy.

The Traditional Aboriginal owners will be asked to appoint a member to the taskforce.



Federal government seeks to ‘wind back’ World Heritage listing for Tasmanian wilderness areas
In June 2013, the World Heritage Committee approved the extension of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area by approximately 170,000 hectares. The extension, which included contested areas such as the Western Tiers, Styx, Florentine and Weld Valleys, was a key conservation outcome under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.

The Federal government has written to the World Heritage Committee to request a “minor modification” to remove approximately 74,000 hectares of the extension area from the World Heritage listing.  Details regarding the request have not been released, however Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck indicated that the area to be removed would include areas that have been “impacted by forestry operations and devalue the existing Outstanding Universal Value".  The government hopes that the request will be determined at the Committee meeting in Doha in June 2014.

It remains to be seen whether the World Heritage Committee will accept that the proposal is a “minor modification”, or will consider that it constitutes a significant modification that would require a longer assessment process.


Government and opposition refuse to commit to supertrawler ban

In the lead up to the State election, the Stop the Trawler Alliance, a joint initiative between recreational fishers and conservation groups, has sought a commitment from each of Tasmania’s major parties to permanently ban supertrawlers from operating in Tasmanian waters. (The existing Federal ban on supertrawlers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 will expire in November 2014.) 

Tasmanian Labor and Liberal spokespeople refused to commit to a blanket ban, indicating that they would determine each situation on the basis of scientific evidence. The Tasmanian Greens support a permanent ban on the basis of concerns regarding localised depletion and impacts on recreational fishing and marine ecosystems.


GMO ban extended indefinitely

The Tasmanian government has announced an indefinite extension of the current moratorium on genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in Tasmania, which has been in place since 2001. Primary Industries Minister, Bryan Green MHA, said that the indefinite ban on GMOs was intended to maintain the integrity of Tasmania’s brand and maximise future marketing opportunities. The ban, which has tri-partisan political support, has been criticised by the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association and Poppy Growers Tasmania, who advocated for regular reviews of the ban to consider the potential benefits of new GMOs to primary industries.


Western Australia

Protection of naturally vegetated areas through planning and development

In December 2013 the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) released Environmental Protection Bulletin No. 20 (Protection of naturally vegetated areas through planning and development).

The bulletin sets out the EPA’s views and expectations for the design of urban and peri-urban development proposals in order to protect naturally vegetated areas. It is designed to assist planners and developers in the integration and consideration of naturally vegetated areas during all stages of the planning process, to meet the EPA’s environmental objectives for vegetation and flora, and terrestrial fauna.

The bulletin applies to strategic planning, structure plans, new schemes and scheme amendments, subdivision and development proposals, in urban and peri-urban areas of Western Australia.

To obtain a copy of the bulletin, click here.


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News and events from NELA’s partners

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

(Melbourne) The Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association (VPELA) and Ecology & Heritage Partners present the Minister

In 2013 Minister Matthew Guy demonstrated a passionate commitment to the reform of the Victorian planning system. Come along and hear how the implementation of so  much  change  is  progressing  and  what  is  in  store  for  2014 – an  election  year.

The Minister’s address will be followed by a Q&A session and then drinks and supper at 7.15pm.

When: 5.15pm for 5.30pm, Wednesday 12 February 2014
Where: Treasury Theatre, Lower Level, Treasury Building, 1 McArthur Street, Melbourne (stair access to the lower level is located to the right of the Treasury Building forecourt terrace)
RSVP: 7 February 2014

For registration details and inquiries phone Jane on (03) 9813 2801.


IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme’s (GMPP) Marine News released

The IUCN GMPP has just released its latest news magazine, “Marine News”. As part of its focus on marine protection, this 36-page issue celebrates the choice of 31 new ocean Hope Spots, areas of ocean that merit special protection due to their wildlife and significant underwater habitats. The magazine also reports on how new research demonstrates the amazing ability of seagrasses to trap atmospheric carbon dioxide and the work of GMPP and IUCN’s Regions, Commissions and partners around the world.

For your copy, click here. To view previous issues, click here.


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Other events

(NZ) New Zealand Earth Law Conference on Sustainability

The Earth Law Alliance Aotearoa NZ, The German Australian Pacific Lawyers Association and The Resource Management Law Association of New Zealand is hosting this Earth Law Conference on Sustainability.

When: 14–16 February 2014
Where: Wellington, New Zealand

Topics covered will include environmental bills of rights, legal incorporation of indigenous perspectives on the environment, and on the effects of climate change.

For more information click here.


(Australia – various locations) Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) events

AELA’s mission is to promote the understanding and practical implementation of earth jurisprudence and ‘wild law’ in Australia.  Earth jurisprudence is a new legal theory and growing social movement.  It proposes that we rethink our legal, political, economic and governance systems so that they support, rather than undermine, the integrity and health of the Earth. To learn more, join us at one of our upcoming events:

  • Building Sustainable Communities and Sharing Economies – Lectures and Workshops by Janelle Orsi

    • Brisbane – 25 and 26 February 2014 – hosted by Australian Earth Laws Alliance

    • Sydney – hosted by University of NSW (more details soon)

    • Melbourne – hosted by EDO Victoria (more details soon)

  • “Eradicating Ecocide” – Public Lectures and Workshops with UK barrister and acclaimed author, Polly Higgins

    • Adelaide – Monday 11 March 2014

    • Brisbane – Tuesday evening, 12 March 2014, and Wednesday morning, 13 March 2014

    • Sydney – Wednesday evening, 18 March 2014

  • 1 Day Environmental Justice Symposium – hosted by AELA and Griffith University’s Urban Research Program, at Griffith University’s EcoCentre in Brisbane – April 2014

  • “Exploring Intersections and Differences between Animal Law, Environmental Law and Earth Jurisprudence” - joint half day seminars hosted by AELA and Voiceless:

    • Sydney – Friday, 2 May 2014 – to be held at Sydney University

    • Perth – Friday, 8 May 2014 – to be held at Murdoch University

    • Brisbane – Monday 12 May 2014 – to be held at Griffith Universit

  • Ecospirituality seminars – Brisbane and Perth – July 2014

For more information about each event, or to RSVP, click here.


(Sydney) Mahla Pearlman Oration 2014

The Law Council of Australia and the Environment and Planning Law Association (NSW) Inc invite you to register to attend this year’s Mahla Pearlman Oration and presentation of the award for the Australian Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year 2014.

The Oration is named in recognition of the former Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of NSW, and former President of the Law Council of Australia, the late Mahla Pearlman AO.

This year’s Oration will be delivered by Professor Rob Fowler, Adjunct Professor, School of Law, University of South Australia. 

The Oration will be chaired by the Hon Justice Dennis Cowdroy OAM, of the Federal Court of Australia and formerly of the Land and Environment Court of NSW.

When: 5pm to 7pm, Thursday 6 March 2014
Where:  Federal Court 21A of the Law Courts Building, Queens Square, Sydney
Cost: Free

For further information please contact the Law Council Secretariat, telephone (02) 6246 3722 or email lps@lawcouncil.asn.au.


(Australia – various locations) Legalwise Seminars

Legalwise Seminars runs over 400 legal seminars per year with the most up-to-date content, expert speakers and interactive opportunities to learn. All seminars are CPD accredited and NELA members receive a 10% discount.

Check out their website for their regularly updated program, or click on any of the below upcoming offerings for more information.


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Opportunities for comment



Draft Koala referral guidelines

The Australian Government is seeking public comment on its draft referral guidelines for the Koala. The combined Koala populations of Queensland, NSW and the ACT were listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) in May 2012 and the Australian Government has developed these guidelines to provide further guidance to proponents about whether and what action is likely to require referral to the Australian Department of the Environment due to impacts on the listed Koala.

Submissions are invited until 5pm on Friday 7 February 2014.

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


Energy White Paper

The Australian Government invites submissions on its Energy White Paper Issues Paper. The Australian Department of Industry will deliver an Energy White Paper in 2014, and is seeking comment on issues to be considered in a Green Paper that will outline possible policy approaches.

Submissions on the issues paper are invited until Friday 7 February 2014.

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


Emissions Reduction Fund - Green Paper

The Australian Government has released its Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper, outlining its preferred design options for the Emissions Reduction Fund.

Submissions are invited on the Green Paper until 5pm Friday 21 February 2014.

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


Biodiversity decline and habitat degradation in the arid and semi-arid Australian rangelands

On behalf of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee, the Australian Government Department of the Environment is undertaking public consultation on the assessment of the “Biodiversity decline and habitat degradation in the arid and semi-arid Australian rangelands due to the proliferation, placement and management of artificial watering points” for listing as a key threatening process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and associated threat abatement plan decision.

Submissions are invited until Friday 28 February 2014.

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


New South Wales

Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme Regulation Review

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is calling for public submissions as part of its 10-year statutory review of Protection of the Environment Operations (Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme) Regulation 2002. The purpose of the review is to undertake the statutory 10-year review of the regulation and improve it to make it a more effective and efficient tool for managing discharges of saline water into the Hunter River Catchment under the Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme.

Submissions are invited until Friday 7 February 2014.

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


Consultation on changes to the NSW Threatened Species Priorities Action Statement

The Chief Executive of the Office of Environment and Heritage proposes to amend the NSW Threatened Species Priorities Action Statement (PAS). Amendments include:

  • replacing the current recovery and threat abatement strategies for 370 species with new draft recovery and threat abatement strategies,

  • adding strategies for 114 species, populations, ecological communities and key threatening processes that have been developed since the last public exhibition of the PAS,

  • changing how relative priorities for implementing recovery and threat abatement strategies are established,

  • establishing performance indicators to facilitate reporting on achievements in implementing recovery and threat abatement strategies and their effectiveness.

Submissions are invited until Friday 14 February 2014.

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


Aboriginal Cultural Heritage reform

The NSW Government has released a model for managing Aboriginal cultural heritage and is currently carrying out community consultation on the future management of Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW.

Submissions are invited until Friday 14 February 2014.

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


Local Land Services Board Member nominations

The inaugural Local Land Services Board Member elections have been announced with voting closing at 5pm on Wednesday 12 March 2014.

Ratepayers across the State are encouraged to enrol to vote. You can do this by lodging an enrolment form to be eligible to vote in the 2014 LLS elections. Enrolment closes Monday 17 February 2014.

For more information, to make a nomination, or to enrol to vote, click here.

Marine estate community survey

The NSW Government has commissioned a private company to survey community views about the NSW marine estate and its future management. The NSW marine estate includes marine waters, the coast and estuaries, including the NSW marine parks, mangrove systems, islands, wetlands and lakes that are intermittently connected to the sea and rivers under a detectable tidal influence.
The survey will target stakeholder and focus groups, as well as randomised samples of NSW community residents for their views. Community members will be contacted directly by the company to complete the survey questionnaire.

Other members of the public may submit their views of future management of the marine estate by email to contact.us@marine.nsw.gov.au. These views will not be included in the survey results, however, they may inform new marine estate projects.

For more information, click here.


Western Australia

Review of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003

The Contaminated Sites Act 2003, introduced in December 2006, is currently up for a five-year statutory review. Following a 12 week public consultation period in 2012, a discussion paper was released in November 2013.  Several areas of the Act have been identified as requiring modification including the duty to report contaminated sites, the site classification scheme, mandatory disclosure statements and the role and procedures of the Contaminated Sites Committee.

The discussion paper is open for public comment until 24 February 2014.

For more information and to comment, click here.



Volunteer contributors—NELA Bulletin
NELA seeks volunteers to contribute Bulletin updates for their jurisdiction for Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the Commonwealth. Law and policy updates and opportunities to comment are our primary interest, however other items of interest to Bulletin readers (such as events, job or study opportunities and new resources) are also welcome.

The estimated time commitment is around 1–2 hours a month and volunteers are named in the “Thanks to this month’s contributors” section of the Bulletin; we can also include the name of your organization and a hyperlink to your organisation’s website.

Please contact the Bulletin editor, Ellen Geraghty, by email or mobile 0407 459 490 for more information.



(New York) Summer International Environmental Law Institute

Pace University’s law school, a top-ranked environmental law school located in New York, has just established its Summer International Environmental Law Institute. The Institute is now welcoming registrations from law students, lawyers, and other professionals from around the world who might be interested in attending environmental law classes in New York City in June and July 2014.

For more information, click here.



Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) seeks expert nominations

IPBES is currently seeking nominations of experts for the implementation of its first work program for 2014-2018, which aims at addressing the capacity and knowledge needs, providing sub-regional to global assessments on the status and trends of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and assessing knowledge related to various issues including threats, drivers and methods.
Experts are sought to participate in the followingtask forces and expert groups:

  • Task force on capacity building;

  • Task force on indigenous and local knowledge systems;

  • Task force on knowledge and data;

  • Expert group on the production and integration of assessments from and across all levels;

  • Assessment on pollination and pollinators associated with food production;

  • Methodological assessment on scenario analysis and modeling;

  • The scoping of a methodological assessment on the conceptualization of values of biodiversity and nature’s benefits to people;

  • Expert group on policy support tools and methodologies.

A call for nominations for experts to contribute to other work programme deliverables – including for scoping and authoring regional and sub-regional assessments, and assessments relating to land degradation and restoration, invasive alien species, and sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity – will be circulated towards the end of March 2014, with a deadline for nominations in June 2014.

For additional information about the programs and participation in them, please email Dr Thomas Brooks, Head of the IUCN Science and Knowledge Unit.


(Sydney) Rental space available at Total Environment Centre

TEC has 40m2 of separated office space available for rent in its Jones Street, Ultimo office. $11,000pa, no outgoings. Desks, good storage and shelving.

Located in The Hub, access and cabling + WiFi. (NB. Only Telstra reception for mobiles) Suitable for one or two NGOs or a compatible small business. Available from December, 2013.

Contact Jeff Angel on (02) 9211 5022 for more information.


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Thanks to this month's contributors

Environmental Defender’s Office Australian Capital Territory; Jessica Feehely, EDO Tasmania (Tas); Michael O’Donnell (NT); Natasha Hammond-Deakin (NSW); Philip Martin (Vic); Siobhan Pelliccia, MBS Environmental (WA).