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March 2016

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

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The NELA Bulletin is published on the first Thursday of each month except January.

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This month

NELA news and events
01. Improving the NELA Conference – Survey
02. Marine Plastics Senate Inquiry
03. NELA Policy Working Groups
04. Australian Environmental Law Digest
05. Contributors Wanted

Law and policy developments
06. In the Legislature
07. In the courts
08. Policy developments and other news
09. Open for comment
10. Resources
11. Opportunities

12. (National) Nature Laws Workshops
13. (Hobart) Stormwater Symposium
14. (Canberra) EPBC Act Forum
15. (Melbourne) Post-Paris Climate Action in Victoria
16. (Various) Contaminated Land Management
17. (Brisbane) Environmental Law: Updates and Developments
18. (Sydney) 2016 Mahla Pearlman Oration
19. (Sydney) Environmental and Planning: Legislative Reform and Case Law Update
20. (Melbourne) Environmental and Planning Law: Reforms and Updates
21. (Sydney) Embracing and Enabling Disruption: Green Cities Conference
22. (Sydney) Is Our Love Affair with Coastal Living at Risk?
23. (Hawaii) 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress


NELA news and events


Improving the NELA Conference - Survey

Plans are underway for the 2016 NELA conference. To ensure we stage the best possible event in terms of location, timing and content, we’d like to understand what factors influenced your decision to attend (or not to attend) recent NELA conferences.

We have prepared a brief survey and would be very grateful to receive your feedback. It should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete and can be accessed here. Thanks for helping us to make the conference as interesting, representative and accessible as possible.


Marine Plastics Senate Inquiry

Former NELA Committee members, Dr Sarah Waddell and Ellen Geraghty appeared on behalf of NELA at the recent hearings of the Senate Inquiry into the threats posed by marine plastic pollution. Sarah and Ellen did a fantastic job in discussing the key recommendations made in our submission to the Inquiry about the need for national leadership in developing more effective strategies to prevent and control marine pollution.

The NELA Committee extends a huge thanks to Sarah and Ellen for their time and effort.


NELA Policy Working Groups

As flagged in response to last year’s member survey, we will be establishing key policy working groups and inviting members to help us by drafting NELA submissions and presenting at NELA events. Stay tuned for details about how you can get involved in next month’s Bulletin.


Australian Environmental Law Digest

Contributions for the next edition of the Australian Environmental Law Digest are due on 24 March 2016. If you or your firm has written any short environmental law articles in the previous quarter that you’d like to receive wider circulation, feel free to send them to review@nela.org.au for consideration.


Contributors wanted

The NELA Bulletin team is looking for additional contributors, particularly from WA, NT and Victoria. Each month, contributors prepare brief summaries of cases, laws and policies for their State or Territory to be included in the Bulletin.

If you are able to provide summaries (even if irregularly), or would like more information about becoming a contributor, please contact Jess Feehely at review@nela.org.au


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Law and policy development

In the Legislature


Renewable Fuels Bill 2016 introduced to Parliament

On 8 February 2016, the Renewable Fuels Bill 2016 was introduced to the House of Representatives by Bob Katter MP. The Bill aims to provide for the regulation of renewable fuel content (including ethanol and other renewable fuels) in petrol at the bowser. The Bill proposes to mandate a minimum content (growing from 5% in 2019 to 10% in 2022) and to establish a Renewable Fuel Program Administrator to oversee implementation of new requirements.

For further information, including the explanatory memorandum, click here.


Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act amended to validate prior use titles

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment Act 2016 was passed on 24 February 2016. The Act will amend the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 to validate past Joint Authority decisions to renew or extend ‘prior usage rights’ petroleum titles, after it was revealed that necessary consents from the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment had not been obtained.

For more information on the application of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment Act 2016, click here.



Bill to reinstate community objection rights

The previous State government introduced legislation with (yet to commence) provisions limiting notification and objection rights for mining projects. The Minerals and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 proposes to repeal these provisions, and to reinstate objection rights.

The Bill also seeks to provide greater protection for agricultural land that may be affected by mining proposals. The Bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee for consideration.


Mineral Resources (Aurukun Bauxite Resource) Amendment Bill 2016

The Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Anthony Lynham, has introduced a Bill seeking to revoke provisions in the Mineral Resources Act applying a special assessment regime to the Aurukun Bauxite project, and to reinstate standard notification and objection processes for the mining project.

The Bill is being considered by the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee, that is expected to report by 10 March 2016.

For more information regarding the Bill, click here.



Review of Local Government Act announced

The Minister for Local Government has announced a review of the Local Government Act 1993 to "ensure the legislative framework for local government is effective and efficient, with a focus on governance improvement."

The review will be overseen by a steering committee which will consider and make recommendations in relation to the functions and powers of various stakeholders, including mayors, councillors, general managers and the Director of Local Government and the role of a Board of Inquiry.

A discussion paper will be released before June 2016 outlining a range of reform ideas for public comment. It is expected any amendments to the Act as a result of the review, will be introduced to Parliament by May 2017.

For more information, click here.


Interim Planning Directive No.1 – Bushfire-Prone Areas Code

On 23 February 2016, the Planning Minister declared Interim Planning Directive No.1 – Bushfire-Prone Areas Code, to replace the existing Bushfire-Prone Areas Code (Planning Directive No 5). The Interim Planning Directive was introduced as part of a package to move responsibility for assessing and regulating building in bushfire prone areas from planning authorities to officers under the Building Act 2000.

However, complementary amendments to the Building Regulations 2014 to give effect to the package are yet to be enacted, raising concerns about a regulatory gap until the amendments are finalised.

For more information, click here.


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In the Courts


US Climate Change Plan overturned

The Supreme Court ordered a suspension of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, pending resolution of a series of legal challenges which the Court considered have 'fair' prospects of success. The Environmental Protection Agency will now be unable to enforce the plan until the court actions are determined, expected to be mid-2017 (by which time the US will have a new President).

The Clean Power Plan proposes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by one third by 2030, a significant component of the plan to achieve targets committed to as part of the Paris Climate Agreement.

For more information, click here.



Information Commissioner orders release of biodiversity offset strategy

A mining company, understood to be Whitehaven Coal, has failed in its efforts to prevent the Department of the Environment from releasing the company’s biodiversity offset strategy (in response to an FOI request). The company argued that the disclosure of the material would damage its share price by providing insight into regulatory compliance issues.

Acting Information Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, rejected the arguments and held:

"The mere fact that disclosure of the information may adversely affect a business is not enough to establish that the information has commercial value".

Mr Pilgrim was satisfied that the material would eventually be released under the EPBC Act, and there was no information to support claims that its release under FOI would have adverse market impacts.

To read the case, click here.


New South Wales

Upper Mooki Landcare Inc v Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Ltd and Minister for Planning

On 19 February 2016, the Land and Environment Court dismissed an appeal by local community group, Upper Mooki Landcare, against the approval of Shenhua’s open cut coal mine on the Liverpool Plains. The challenge had focussed on the impacts of the mine on significant koala habitat, over 800ha of which is to be cleared.

The Court held that approval conditions requiring efforts to relocate koala populations prior to clearing were valid and was satisfied that, if implemented, those measures would appropriately manage the impact on the species.

To read the judgment, click here.


Northern Territory

Decision that no approval required for Port Melville challenged

Environment Centre Northern Territory has commenced proceedings seeking to review the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment’s decision that the use of Port Melville as a marine supply base for the offshore oil and gas industry was not a controlled action under the EPBC Act.

Concerns were raised in April 2015 when it was discovered that no environmental assessment had been undertaken, or approval given, for the construction of a major offshore oil and gas industry on Melville Island, an area of international conservation significance. It was subsequently decided that the construction of the port upgrade did not, of itself, require referral to the Commonwealth Minister, however, the operation of the Port as a marine supply base would be referred.

In October 2015, the Commonwealth Minister's delegate decided that the operation of the marine supply base was not a "controlled action" under the EPBC Act, provided it is taken in a particular manner.

At the first directions hearing in the proceeding on 25 February 2016, His Hon. Justice White ordered the Commonwealth Minister to release the departmental briefing for the decision that the project was not a controlled action.

Given the significant costs potentially associated with the action, Environment Centre NT (represented by EDO Northern Territory) intends to apply for a protective costs order. The Court will reconvene on 14 April 2016 to hear that application.

For more information, click here.



Court dates set for Queensland Nickel charges

Two charges against Queensland Nickel relating to tailings dam discharges from its Yabulu refinery will be heard in April. The charges relate to allegations of wilful contravention of a condition of the company's environmental authority which resulted in discharge from the tailings storage in April 2014. Queensland Nickel, which is currently in voluntary administration, intends to plead not guilty to the charges.

The hearing has been listed for mention in the Townsville District Court on 29 April 2016.

For more information, click here.



Federal Court prevents re-opening of 4WD tracks on West Coast

On 1 March 2016, the Federal Court held that a proposal by the Tasmanian government to open three off-road vehicle tracks in coastal areas was an action under the EPBC Act that would have a significant impact on the national heritage values of the Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape.

The Tasmanian government had argued that declaring the tracks open and regulating use through a permit system was a "government authorisation" under s.524 of the EPBC Act and could not be characterised as an "action". Justice Mortimer rejected that argument, ruling that the declaration lacked the specificity required to rely on the government authorisation exemption.

Her Honour was satisfied that the impacts of the action, including the consequent use of the tracks by off-road vehicles, would have a significant impact both by way of physical damage to specific places of significance, and by compromising the integrity of the broader cultural landscape.

The Tasmanian government has not ruled out appealing against the decision.

To read the decision, click here. For a summary of the case, click here.


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Policy developments and other news


Defence White Paper acknowledges climate change risks

The Defence White Paper, released by the Commonwealth Government on 25 February 2016, acknowledges that climate change poses "major challenges" for Australia’s security planning. The White Paper finds that climate change will "exacerbate the challenges of population growth and environmental degradation, and will contribute to food shortages and undermine economic development."

Despite this welcome acknowledgement of the impacts of a changing climate on regional development, the detail in the White Paper focusses largely on the deployment of resources in response to extreme weather events, rather than potential domestic climate security threats or actions to reduce the defence force’s own footprint.

This is in contrast to more detailed strategies developed by countries such as the United States to prepare for domestic instability in vulnerable nations affected by climate change.

In 2015, the Climate Council released a detailed report addressing climate change security issues affecting Australia’s defence force, and co-hosted the first Australian Climate Security Summit.


Funding Cuts to CSIRO Climate Science Programmes

On 4 February 2016, the Chief Executive of CSIRO announced funding cuts that will see up to 350 jobs lost from Oceans and Atmosphere, Land and Water, manufacturing and Data 61 programmes. In announcing the cuts, the CEO indicated that the existence of climate change was largely settled, meaning that modelling and monitoring resources could be diverted to mitigation efforts.

Scientists from around the world have warned that the cuts may compromise ongoing international research and mitigation efforts. On 22 February 2016, the Climate Council released a report concluding that the planned cuts "would breach Australia’s commitments under the Paris agreement and leave a gaping hole in the world’s understanding of climate change in the Southern Hemisphere". To read the report, Flying Blind: Navigating Climate Change without the CSIRO, click here.

A Senate Select Committee scrutinising Government Budget Measures intends to hold hearings in Hobart in the coming weeks to further investigate the proposed cuts.


Oil, Gas and Energy Resource Growth Centre announced

On 24 February 2016, the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Hon Christopher Pyne MP, and the Minister for Resources and Energy, Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, announced $15.4M in funding for a new Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Growth Centre, to be known as National Energy Resources Australia.

The centre will "work closely with researchers from universities, CSIRO and Cooperative Research Centres to building links with business and industry."

To find out more, click here.


New report finds land clearing will outpace emission reduction action

A new report from CO2 Australia, commissioned by The Wilderness Society, estimates that emissions resulting from land clearing will exceed emission reduction efforts funded under the Direct Action programme. The report queries Australia's capacity to meet Paris commitments under current policy settings.

The report notes that land clearing has increased rapidly in Queensland, and weakening of land clearing laws in other States was likely to exacerbate vegetation losses.

To read Tree Clearing in Australia: Its Contribution to Climate Change, click here.


Freedoms Inquiry recommends further review of EPBC Act

The Australian Law Reform Commission’s broad ranging inquiry into Traditional Rights and Freedoms was released on 2 March 2016. Amongst other things, the report considers whether Commonwealth environment laws, principally the EPBC Act and the Water Act 2007, unduly interfere with property rights.

The report concludes that the extent to which the EPBC Act infringes on property rights, and the extent to which such infringements can be justified, should be examined in more detail as part of the next review of the EPBC Act.

The report also re-states the ALRC’s 1996 recommendation for open standing in relation to enforcement of civil laws.

To read the report, click here.



State of the Environment report

The Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment has released the 2015 ACT State of the Environment report.

The report finds that the ACT environment is generally in well-managed and in good condition, but notes that improvements are required in relation to monitoring, data collection and landscape scale planning. Key recommendations include:

  • Ensure the new Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is best practice, cross-sectoral and integrated with other key strategies

  • Better integration of monitoring, reporting and evaluation of all key strategies, including planning, waste management, nature conservation, water and transport.

  • Require air emissions (particularly from wood heaters) to be considered in assessments of future urban development.

  • Provide resources to fully implement priority actions in the ACT Nature Conservation Strategy and next phases of the Conservation Effectiveness Monitoring Program

  • More effective use of strategic environmental assessments to manage cumulative impacts

  • Conduct an audit of the condition of heritage places.

To read the Report, click here.


New South Wales

Plastic bag bans considered

Following a commitment made at the Environment Ministers meeting in December 2015, the NSW and Queensland Environment Ministers hosted a roundtable meeting on 29 February 2016 to discuss the merits of introducing bans on lightweight plastic shopping bags, such as those already in place in the ACT, Tasmania, South Australia and Northern Territory.

The meeting of retailers, business groups, local government and environment groups discussed the experience of jurisdictions with a ban in place and options for a nationally consistent approach to reduce the impacts of plastic bags. The outcome was to refer consideration of a ban to a steering group.

The Commonwealth Minister for the Environment committed to taking action by 1 July 2018 to ban microbeads in cosmetic products, if industry or State based efforts to ban their use had not been effective by then.

For more information regarding the roundtable, click here.


South Australia

Royal Commission into Nuclear Fuel Cycle releases preliminary report

On 15 February 2016, the Royal Commission inquiring into nuclear fuel cycle options for South Australia released its Tentative Findings. The Tentative Findings set out the Commission’s preliminary thinking and are an interim step before the Commission’s final report in May 2016.

The Commission’s key tentative findings include:

  • exploration and mining of uranium is valuable to South Australia, but an expanded industry is not the most significant opportunity for the State;

  • the commercial development of uranium processing capabilities in South Australia is not a viable opportunity in the short-term, though fuel leasing may present a commercially attractive option;

  • a commercially viable integrated facility for the management, storage and disposal of nuclear waste could be operational by the late 2020s; and

  • despite a number of potential benefits, the future demand for and anticipated costs of nuclear power (including small modular reactors) mean that it is unlikely to be commercially viable in South Australia in the foreseeable future.

To read the Tentative Findings, click here. For an analysis of the Tentative Findings, read Emily Gerrard’s overview here.

The Royal Commission is seeking comments on the Tentative Findings before finalising its report and making recommendations. See "Open for Comment" below.



FSC compliance audit report released

Forestry Tasmania has released the Forest Stewardship Council’s initial audit of FT’s operations. The audit concludes that Forestry Tasmania is not currently able to meet the criteria for FSC certification, and outlines 10 areas where improvements are required. These areas include clearfell harvesting, protection of hollow-bearing trees, surveys of proposed coupes to identify threatened species, monitoring and reporting.

To read the audit report, click here.


Bushfires update

Through the stellar efforts of the Tasmania Fire Service, interstate and volunteer fire crews, Parks and Wildlife and Forestry Tasmania officers, bushfires throughout most of north west Tasmania are largely under control. As at 29 February 2016, 19 small fires were still burning in remote wilderness areas and crews are expected to continue working for several weeks to extinguish fires, including many smouldering in underground peat fields.

Approximately 20,000 hectares of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is estimated to have been damaged by the fires. For more information regarding the extent of damage, click here.

On 22 February 2016, the Senate passed a motion calling on the Australian Government to work with the Tasmanian government to "establish and adequately resource an independent inquiry to examine the response to the current fires in the TWWHA, and the planning for, management of, and response to future fire events in the TWWHA."


Works Guidelines for Historic Heritage Places

The Tasmanian Heritage Council has issued Work Guidelines for Historic Heritage Places. The Guidelines will be considered in deciding whether to approve works under the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995.

The guidelines outline when a certificate of exemption may be possible, and when a development application must be lodged for works.

For more information, click here.



Independent Review of Climate Change Act 2010

The independent panel commissioned by the Victorian government to review the operation of the Climate Change Act 2010 released its report on 11 February 2016. The review makes a number of strong recommendations, including re-introducing emissions reduction targets and setting interim targets to monitor progress, considering a state-based emissions trading scheme, establishing an enforceable Climate Change Charter to guide government decision-making and increasing the EPA’s powers to regulate emissions.

While the review does not specify targets, it recommends that targets be set on the basis of up to date science with the objective of contributing to efforts to curb global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.

The government has ruled out setting up a state-based emissions trading system, but has yet to formally respond to the balance of the recommendations.

To read the Review, click here.


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Open for comment


Bumblebee pollination trials

The Senate Environment and Communications References Committee is conducting an inquiry into the "risks and opportunities associated with the use of the bumblebee population in Tasmania for commercial pollination purposes". Senator Jacqui Lambie has previously staked her support for amendments to the EPBC Act to implement bilateral agreements on amendments to allow bumblebee pollination trials to proceed.

Submissions can be made until 3 March 2016. For more information, click here.


Shortlisted sites for radioactive waste storage

Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, has released a shortlist of six proposed sites for a national storage facility for low and intermediate-level radioactive waste: three in South Australia, one in Queensland, one in NSW and one in the Northern Territory.

Comments on the proposed sites are invited until 11 March 2016. For details of the proposed sites, click here.


Trans Pacific Partnership

The Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has called for submissions regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the supporting 'national interest analysis' prepared by the government. No independent cost benefit analysis of the agreement has been commissioned.

Submissions are open 11 March 2016. To find out more, click here.

For an interesting analysis of the potential impact of the TPP on Australia’s climate policies, read this Saturday Paper assessment.


Selection committee on unconventional gas mining

In late 2015, the Senate established a Select Committee on Unconventional Gas Mining, tasked with making an inquiry into the adequacy of Australia’s legislative, regulatory and policy framework for unconventional gas mining including coal seam gas and shale gas mining. The committee’s final report to Senate will be provided on or before 30 June 2016.

Submissions to the inquiry can be made until 14 March 2016. For more information, click here.


NICNAS review

A Department of Health discussion paper released in mid-February makes a number of recommendations for overhauling the operation of the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) and significantly reducing the range of industrial chemicals that will require pre-market assessment. Under the proposed scheme, a range of exempt and low-risk chemicals would require no pre-market assessment, while medium to high risk chemicals would not need further assessment by NICNAS if they had already received approval from equivalent international agencies.

Comments on the discussion paper can be made until 30 March 2016. For more information, click here.


Senate Inquiry into Carbon Risk Disclosure

The Senate Economic References Committee is conducting an inquiry into corporate obligations regarding carbon risk disclosure. The inquiry will investigate international carbon risk disclosure frameworks and practices, regulatory and policy oversight of disclosures and Australia’s involvement in the G20 Financial Stability Board carbon risk discussions.

Submissions to the inquiry can be made until 31 March 2016. For more information, click here


Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture Inquiry

The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a public inquiry into Australia’s marine fisheries and aquaculture sectors. In undertaking the inquiry, the Commission has been asked to identify opportunities to increase productivity, reduce duplication and lack of coordination between States, and to minimise regulatory burdens.

Comments on an initial Issues Paper can be made until 31 March 2016. For more information, click here.


Senate Inquiry into oil and gas drilling risks in Great Australian Bight

The Senate Environment and Communications References Committee is conducting an inquiry into the environmental risks and socio-economic impacts of oil and gas drilling in the Great Australian Bight, including the capacity to deal with impacts on the event of an oil spill. The inquiry was proposed by independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Greens Senator Robert Simms in response to a BP proposal to drill in the area.

Submissions to the inquiry can be made until 1 April 2016. For more information, click here.


Vehicle Emissions Discussion Paper released

On 11 February 2016, the Vehicle Emissions Ministerial Forum established by the Australian Government released a Discussion Paper to examine ways to reduce the health and environmental impacts of motor vehicle emissions. The Vehicle Emissions Discussion Paper is informed by discussions with key stakeholders, including vehicle manufacturers and consumer, environmental and health groups.

The paper seeks views on measures to achieve the Australian Government's greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, air quality objectives, and improvements in energy productivity in the context of road vehicles. The paper examines a range of options, but focuses on two key measures, introducing fuel efficiency (CO2) standards for light vehicles and strengthening noxious emissions standards for light and heavy vehicles.

Comments on the Discussion Paper can be made until 8 April 2016. For further information, click here.


New South Wales

Review of the Local Government Act

The NSW Government has released the first stage of proposed amendments to the Local Government Act, with the goal of building on the preliminary work already undertaken by the Local Government Acts Taskforce and the Independent Local Government Review Panel. The proposed reform aims to strengthen the Integrated Planning and Reporting system, remove red tape, simplify reporting and increase accountability to the community, amongst other goals.

Submissions can be made until 15 March 2016. For more information, click here.


Guidelines for Community Consultative Committees for major projects

The Department of Planning and Environment has released draft guidelines for the establishment and operation of community consultative committees in relation to State Significant Projects.

Community Consultative Committees provide a forum for discussion between proponents, local councils and the community regarding major projects, particularly in the resources sector. The proposed new guidelines will encourage earlier engagement, but will also make the guidelines more flexible and recognise that Committees are not required for all projects (or for all phases of large projects). The draft Guidelines also alter the criteria for community and environmental representatives.

Comments on the draft Guidelines can be made until 31 March 2016. For more information, click here.



The Department of State Development has released draft guidelines for master planning in priority ports. This master planning is a port-related action of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and mandated under the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015.

"Priority ports" include Gladstone, Abbot Point, Townsville and Hay Point / Mackay.

Comments on the draft guidelines can be made until 14 March 2016. For more information, click here.


South Australia

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Tentative Findings

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission released its Tentative Findings report on 15 February 2016 (see 'Policy Development and Other News' above). Public comments on the report can be made until 18 March 2016.

For more information, click here.

The Commission is hosting a series of consultation meetings across South Australia to discuss its Tentative Findings. For details, click here.



Draft Amendment of Tasman Peninsula and Norfolk Marine Farming Development Plan

The Draft Amendment No.3 to the Tasman Peninsula and Norfolk Bay Marine Farming Development Plan has been released for public exhibition. The draft amendment seeks to delete the current 'Special Management Control provisions' restricting total fish production in the plan area to 770,000 fish annually, instead relying on individual licence conditions to control density.

Submissions on the proposal can be made until 7 March 2016. For more information, click here.


Draft Climate Action Plan

The Tasmanian government’s draft climate action plan, Embracing the Climate Challenge 2016-2021, outlines a framework for action over the next 5 years to capitalise on Tasmania’s renewable energy advantage and climate research expertise.

The government is seeking feedback on priorities, the targets Tasmania should adopt, the best ways for Tasmania to contribute to efforts to combat climate change and any changes to the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008 needed to facilitate emissions reductions.

Comments on the draft plan can be made until 25 March 2016. For more information, click here.



Point Nepean Master Plan

The Victorian Government has released a discussion paper outlining future plans for the Point Nepean National Park, a site of significant heritage and cultural values.

Comments on the master plan will be accepted until the end of March 2016. For more information, click here.


Western Australia

North Kimberley Marine Park

The Department of Parks and Wildlife is working with Wunambal Gaambera, Balanggarra, Ngarinyin and Miriuwung Gajerrong traditional owners to create the proposed North Kimberley Marine Park. The park will cover 1.8 million hectares from north east of Derby to the NT border.

The draft management plan proposes eight sanctuary zones to protect critical habitat and a further eight special purpose zones for recreation, conservation and protection of cultural heritage. Approximately 65% of the park will be available for general use.

In recognition of the significant cultural values and ongoing connections to sea country, it is intended that the marine park will be jointly managed with traditional owners.

Comments on the draft management plan can be made until 20 May 2016. For more information, click here.


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A New Way to Monitor Air Quality

Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville, has launched "EPA AirWatch", an interactive map that allows Victorians to monitor and understand air quality readings from around the state. Users of the map are also able to obtain health advice on days when the readings are particularly high. The Victorian Government has also recently upgraded their rapid response air monitoring equipment, boosting their ability to monitor air quality during state-wide emergencies such as bushfires.

For more information, click here. For access to AirWatch, click here.


Data on significant species updated

Version 3 of the Species of National Environmental Significance 10km gridded maps and data has been released. The updated product contains over 200 new or revised distributions.

The database contains maps and data on the distribution of species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

To find out more, click here.


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Lawyer needed to draft koala protection legislation

The Australian Koala Foundation is seeking a lawyer to finalise draft koala protection legislation. The drafting would have to be completed by 18 March 2016.

AKF would welcome pro bono assistance, but remuneration may be negotiated.

If you are interested, please contact: DTabart@savethekoala.com


Environmental Research Grants - NSW

The Environmental Trust is inviting applications for up to $150,000 in funding to support research that will help to address environmental problems in NSW.

Applications close on 11 March 2016. 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!


(National) Nature Laws Workshops

From March – May, Places You Love will be co-hosting a series of community workshops to discuss options to "reimagine the laws that protect nature and support life". In particular, the workshops will seek ideas and feedback on the Australian Panel of Experts in Environmental Law project to prepare "next generation" environmental laws.

For details of workshops near you, check the Places You Love website.


(Hobart) Stormwater Symposium

The Australian Water Association and IPWAE are co-hosting a symposium on the management, monitoring and regulation of stormwater.

When: 9:00am, 4 March 2016

Where: Old Woolstrore, Hobart

For more information, click here.


Leaf (Canberra) EPBC Act Forum

EIANZ is hosting a forum on the operation of the EPBC Act, covering topics including recent cases, bilateral agreements, compliance monitoring, Threatened Species Strategy, fisheries management and proposals for reform.

When: 9:00am, 8 March 2016

Where: University House, ANU

For more information, click here.


Leaf (Melbourne) Post-Paris Climate Action in Victoria

EIANZ (Victoria) is hosting a panel forum exploring the outcomes of, and responses to, COP21 and the opportunities and challenges they present for practitioners in Victoria. Hear from Dr Tim Richards (Carbon Market Institute), Anna Skarbek (Climate Works Australia), Nicola Murphy (NAB) , Dr. Cathy Oke (City of Melbourne) and Associate Professor Peter Christoff (Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute).

When: 5:30pm, 9 March 2016

Where: Morphum Environment, Level 17, 31 Queen St, Melbourne.

For more information, click here.


Leaf (Various) Contaminated Land Management

Norton Rose Fulbright and GHD are hosting a national seminar series examining recent regulatory and policy reforms in relation to management of contaminated land.

Melbourne: 7:30am, 9 March 2016, Level 15, RACV Tower

Brisbane: 7:30am, 10 March 2016, Level 21, 111 Eagle Street

Sydney: 7:30am, 15 March 2016, Level 18, Grosvenor Place

Perth: 7:30am, 16 March 2016, Level 30, BankWest Tower

For more information, click here.


Leaf (Brisbane) Environmental Law: Updates and Developments

This Legalwise seminar provides expert insights into what’s been happening in environmental regulation, and what’s in store for 2016 in Queensland. Featuring presentations on Federal regulation, contaminated land reforms, planning to avoid environmental hazards and offsetting regimes, this is a not to be missed event.

When: 10 March 2016, 9:00am – 1:15pm
Where: Mercure Hotel, North Quay, Brisbane

For more details, click here.


(Sydney) 2016 Mahla Pearlman Oration

Professor Jacqueline Peel (University of Melbourne) will deliver the prestigious oration, speaking on the topic "Addressing Climate Injustice: Human Rights and Climate Change in the Courts".

When: 10 March 2016, 5pm

Where: Courtroom 1, Commonwealth Law Courts Building, Sydney

For more information, click here.


Leaf (Sydney) Environmental and Planning: Legislative Reform and Case Law Update

This Legalwise seminar provides expert insights into what’s been happening in environmental regulation, and what’s in store for 2016 in NSW. Featuring presentations on Federal regulation, the new environmental prosecution regime, mining policy reform, recent significant cases and the DPE’s outlook for the year, this is a not to be missed event.

When: 17 March 2016, 9:00am – 1:15pm
Where: UNSW CBD Campus, Sydney

For more details, click here.


Leaf (Melbourne) Environmental and Planning Law: Reforms and Updates

This Legalwise seminar provides expert insights into what’s been happening in environmental regulation, and what’s in store for 2016 in Victoria. Featuring presentations on Federal regulation, the EPA review, hitting refresh on Plan Melbourne and recent major environmental and planning law cases, this is a not to be missed event.

When: 22 March 2016, 9:00am – 1:15pm
Where: Intercontinental Melbourne, The Rialto, Melbourne

For more details, click here.


(Sydney) Embracing and Enabling Disruption: Green Cities Conference

Green Cities is Australia’s leading sustainability event for the built environment. This year’s conference offers a wide array of experts discussing options to shake up business and regulatory models and find innovative ways to secure greener, healthier, more sustainable cities.

When: 22-24 March 2016

Where: The Hilton, Sydney

For more information, click here.


(Sydney) Is Our Love Affair with Coastal Living at Risk?

The Sydney Environment Institute’s Small Changes: Environmental Conversation 2016 series kicks off with a discussion of the complexities associated with rising sea levels and decision-making at the municipal level. Join Associate Professor Abbas El-Zein (School of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney) and Tayanah O’Donnell (University of Canberra) for a conversation about how we plan for the future in Australia’s coastal towns.

When: 6:00pm, 23 March 2016

Where: Law School Foyer, Sydney Law School

For more information, click here.


Leaf(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

For more information about the 2016 Congress click here.

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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