Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your browser



December 2016 Bulletin


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 AEDT; on the preceding Friday.

Follow us
Join us


This month

NELA news and events
01. Happy holidays!
02. NELA National Conference - Environmental Law: What Can We Do Better?
03. Australian Environmental Law Digest
04. SAVE THE DATE: Climate Change and Environmental Legislation – 17 February 2017

Law and policy developments
05. In the Legislature
06. Policy developments and other news
07. In the courts
08. Open for comment
09. Other

10. (Melbourne) The future of reporting: Where to next?
11. (Perth) World Renewable Energy Congress
12. (Sydney) Pollution Incident Response Management Plans and emergency response
13. (Perth) Climate Change and Environmental Legislation
14. (Melbourne) Environment and carbon laws and funding
15. (Montreal) Impact Assessment’s Contribution to the Global Efforts in Addressing Climate Change

NELA news and events

Happy holidays!

It’s been a busy year for NELA – we’ve established policy working groups, hosted a number of successful events, contributed to law reform submissions and kept our members up to date with all the happenings in environmental and planning law across Australia.

NELA thanks all our Bulletin contributors, our support team at PAMS, our Executive Committee and our members for supporting the organisation throughout 2016, and wishes you all a safe and relaxing holiday period.

The NELA Bulletin team is taking a well-earned break, but will be back with all the updates, news and events in February 2017.


NELA National Conference - Environmental Law: What Can We Do Better?

The recent national NELA conference was a resounding success. NELA thanks all the speakers, panellists, delegates and our conference partners, King & Wood Mallesons.

To read the presentations from the conference, click here .


Australian Environmental Law Digest

The latest edition of NELA’s Australian Environmental Law Digest was published earlier this week, including papers on enforcement, biodiversity, Indigenous Protected Areas and the prospects of a national container deposit scheme. 

Submissions for the next edition are due by 20 February 2017 .  Contact review@nela.org.au for details.


SAVE THE DATE: Climate Change and Environmental Legislation – 17 February 2017

NELA WA, in partnership with Murdoch University, Glen McLeod Legal and the International Bar Association, will be hosting a conference featuring a range of eminent speakers discussing how climate change can be accommodated within environmental law.

Click here for the latest flyer – more details will be available soon.

back to top

Law and policy development

In the Legislature


Proposed improvements to the import, export and transport of hazardous waste

Two new Bills have been introduced to Parliament to improve the administrative efficiency of the import, export and transit of hazardous waste. The Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Amendment Bill 2016 amends the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989 (the Act ), designed to implement Australia’s obligations under the Basel Convention . The Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Export and Imports) Levy Bill 2016 supports the amendments by introducing a levy on import, export and transit permit applications.

To read the Bills, click here .


Renew Australia Bill

Australian Greens’ Adam Bandt MP has introduced a Private Member’s Bill, Renew Australia Bill 2016, seeking to establish a new statutory authority, Renew Australia, to oversee Australia’s transition to a low carbon electricity system. The Bill also sets out new energy objectives and a process to develop transition plans for communities affected by staged closures of coal fired power stations.

To read the Bill, click here .


Carbon Credits for plantations

The Department of Environment and Energy has released an ERF  draft determination  that would allow the establishment of new pulpwood, timber or biomass plantations, or the conversion of existing ones from short- to long-term rotation to earn carbon credits.

To be eligible, plantations must be located within National Plantation Inventory regions, and managed with the intention of harvesting forest products.

To read the draft determination and explanatory statement, click here .


New South Wales

Controversial biodiversity laws pass

On 17 November 2016, the NSW Legislative Assembly passed the  Biodiversity Conservation Bill   and accompanying  Local Land Services Amendment Bill , following earlier passage of the Bills by the Legislative Council The Bills repeal and replace NSW’s existing suite of threatened species and land clearing laws.

The Acts are expected to come into force in July next year, with detailed regulations to be released earlier in 2017.

For more background, check out Rachel Walmsley’s presentation from the NELA National conference.



Guidelines proposed for 'chain of responsibility' law

On 14 November 2016, the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection released a draft statutory guideline  to clarify the application of its 'chain of responsibility' law to banks, shareholders, landowners and senior managers.

The draft guidelines were briefly available for public comment, and will now be reviewed prior to a final guideline being introduced.

For an analysis of the liability provisions under the legislation, you can read Marita Foley’s paper in the latest Australian Environmental Law Digest .



New climate change laws

On 22 November 2016, Climate Minister, Lily d'Ambrosio MP, introduced a bill to replace the Climate Change Act 2010 with stronger legislation. The Bill was passed by the Legislative Assembly on 8 December 2016, but is expected to be opposed in the Upper House.

Introduction of the Bill follows the completion of the Independent Review of the  Climate Change Act 2010 in 2015 and the government’s acceptance of 32 of the 33 recommendations made by the review panel. The Bill will complement the Climate Change Framework currently being developed by the government and expected to be released before the end of 2016.

To read the Climate Change Bill 2016 , click here . For a summary of the changes proposed by the Bill, read Norton Rose Fulbright’s overview .


back to top

Policy developments and other news


Review of Federal Climate Policies

Minister for the Environment & Energy, Josh Frydenberg, has released the terms of reference for a review of Australia's climate change policies.  The review was committed to when the government announced its 2030 emissions reduction target (26-28 per cent below 2005 levels) prior to the Paris Conference.  The broad terms of reference include economic impacts, integration of climate and energy policies, the role of the ERF and safeguard mechanism, research and development opportunities, and a potential long-term emissions reduction goal post-2030.

When announcing the review, the Minister indicated that an emissions intensity scheme could be considered in the mix of options.  He later stated that no trading scheme would be on the table .

The review will commence in early 2017 with the release of a discussion paper and invitation for public submissions.  For more details, click here .

** Please note : the preliminary report of the Finkel Review of the National Electricity Market will be presented to the COAG leaders meeting on 9 December 2016.


Murray-Darling Basin Plan adds new watering priorities for 2016-17

Following a wetter than expected Spring, the Murray–Darling Basin Authority has updated the Basin Plan’s annual environmental watering priorities for 2016-17 to take advantage of the conditions and prevailing moderate water resource availability. The priorities include preventing further deterioration of Moira Grass in the Barma-Millewa Forest, harnessing the opportunity to support waterbird breeding and expanding and establishing new populations of threatened fish species.

For the full list of additional priorities, click here .


Outcome of 17th Conference of the Parties to CITES

The Department of the Environment and Energy has released the outcomes from the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ( CITES ), held in September and October 2016 in Johannesburg.

The 17th Conference adopted 51 amendments relating to species protected by the Convention, including the helmeted honeyeater, Norfolk Island boobook, silky shark, thresher shark, nautilus, mobula ray, and timber species commonly referred to as rosewoods.

For the full list of outcomes, click here .


Fourth ERF auction complete

In the fourth Emissions Reduction Fund ( ERF ) auction, the Clean Energy Regulator awarded 47 contracts for 34.4 million tonnes of abatement at an average price per tonne of $10.69. After four auctions a total of 356 carbon abatement contracts have been awarded to deliver 178 million tonnes of abatement. 

For further information on the auction, click here .

Carbon consultancy, RepuTex, has raised concerns that the Fund is rapidly running out of money and may struggle to achieve the necessary emissions reductions to meet Paris commitments. Reputex also stated that “companies were losing interest in the scheme because of the diminishing budget and complexity in signing up the scheme”, which pays companies to reduce their carbon emissions.

Threatened Species Strategy – 12 month progress report

The Department of Environment and Energy has released a report reviewing implementation of the objectives of the National Threatened Species Strategy , introduced in 2015.  The report concludes that 21 of the 26 targets for 2016 have been achieved in full.

To read the report, click here .


Supertrawler update

On 22 November 2016, AFMA announced that the Geelong Star had left Australian waters.  The ship has re-adopted its former vessel name (FV Dirk-Dirk) and is no longer under AFMA’s jurisdiction.  The ship’s owner has indicated that it does not intend to return to Australia, however that option remains open.

On 23 November 2016, the Senate released its report on the Inquiry into factory freezer trawlers in the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery. Key recommendations of the majority included a permanent ban on all factory freezer mid-water trawlers operating in the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery, establishment of a National Recreational Fishing Council and greater transparency of bycatch reporting.  

Liberal Senators released a dissenting report saying that the Federal Government remained “committed to maintaining a balanced and science-based approach to all decisions regarding access to Commonwealth fisheries."

To read the report (including dissenting comments), click here.


Meeting of Environment Ministers

On 25 November 2016, Federal and State Environment Ministers met in Sydney to discuss a range of environmental policy issues, including food waste, packaging, microbeads, plastic bags, review of the National Pollution Inventory, and progress on the Clean Air Agreement.  

To read the agreed statement of outcomes from the meeting, click here.

Significantly, the Ministers agreed to release a recent, critical review of Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030 urging a comprehensive review of the Strategy.  To read the review, click here .

Interim report recommends phasing out of coal-fired power stations

The Senate Committee inquiring into the "Retirement of coal fired power stations" has released an interim report recommending that the Australian Government adopt a comprehensive energy transition plan, including reform of the National Electricity Market rules.  The interim report also recommends developing a mechanism for the orderly retirement of coal fired power stations, to be presented to the COAG Energy Council.  Government Senators did not support the interim recommendations.

As outlined in “Legislation” above, Adam Bandt MP introduced a Private Member’s Bill to establish a new statutory authority, Renew Australia, to oversee Australia’s transition to a low carbon electricity system.

To read the interim report, click here.

** As noted above, the preliminary report of the Finkel Review of the National Electricity Market will be presented to the COAG leaders meeting on 9 December 2016.


Calls to improve Environment Department regulatory performance

The Department of Environment and Energy has released its response to the Regulatory Maturity Project report , which recommended (among other things) that there be less reliance on management plans in setting permit conditions, conditions be more consistent, and that compliance and enforcement policies be reviewed.  The Department has committed to developing model conditions and providing training for staff regarding condition writing.

The Department has also released its annual compliance monitoring programme , revealing that nearly 100 controlled actions were found to be in breach of conditions in 2015-2016, yet no prosecutions were commenced.



Northern Territory

NT fracking inquiry

The Northern Territory government has appointed Justice Rachel Pepper to chair an independent scientific  inquiry into the regulation of fracking in the Territory.  Justice Rachel Pepper, a NSW Land and Environment Court judge, will join 10  other panel members, including Professor Barry Hart and acting chief scientist with Geoscience Australia, Jane Coram.

The terms of reference  for the inquiry have been broadened to include activities associated with fracking, such as water and wastewater management.

For more information, click here .




Progress report on the Barrier Reef

The Federal and Queensland governments have submitted a  progress report  to the World Heritage Centre (WHC) outlining implementation activities under the Reef 2050 Plan .  Implementation of Reef 2050 was a key factor in the WHC’s earlier decision not to list the Reef as “in danger”.

Despite a study commissioned by the Queensland government which concluded that achieving stated sediment and nitrogen reduction targets would cost an estimated $8.2 billion, the Investment Framework released with the progress report did not allocate any significant additional funding.



South Australia

Parliamentary inquiry concludes no social licence for fracking

The final report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Unconventional Gas (Fracking) in the South East of South Australia has concluded:

“The natural gas industry does not currently have social licence to operate in the South East, and in the committee’s opinion unconventional gas exploration and development should not proceed without it. This is not to say unconventional gas exploration and development should never occur in the region, but that in the committee’s view, obtaining social licence is a necessary precondition to such development occurring.”

To read the full report, click here




EPA to set lower salmon biomass levels for Macquarie Harbour

The Director of the Tasmanian EPA has made a draft determination reducing cumulative biomass limits for salmon farms in Macquarie Harbour from 21,500 tonnes to 14,000 tonnes. Following an assessment of the Spring monitoring data and review by IMAS, the EPA Director acknowledged that low oxygen levels were likely to be contributing to "a change to the in-fauna ecology in the vicinity of the leases."

The determination follows a report on 4 Corners in late October 2016, in which one of the three companies farming in Macquarie Harbour, Huon Aquaculture, stated that it had repeatedly raised concerns about stocking limits with the government.  Huon Aquaculture has described the reduction proposed by the EPA as inadequate to address deteriorating environmental conditions and called on the Federal Government to intervene.

To read the Director's statement, click here . To read the Spring reports, click here .



Western Australia

New biosecurity strategy for Western Australia

The State Government has launched a new biosecurity strategy to deal with existing and emerging biosecurity issues. The strategy covers a range of pests, diseases and weeds, which could potentially affect agriculture, fisheries, forests and biodiversity. It is based on three principles: biosecurity is a shared responsibility; decision-making should be underpin by risk management; and the need for transparent, consistent and evidence-based policies and programs.

A copy of the strategy is available here.


back to top


In the courts


Class actions progressing for people exposed to firefighting chemicals at defence bases

The Commonwealth Department of Health has established a voluntary free blood testing programme for people who have worked at or lived near the Williamtown RAAF or Oakey aviation base to check levels of PFAS chemicals.

Two law firms, Shine Lawyers and Gadens Lawyers, are currently preparing class actions for people seeking compensation for loss of land value due to contamination from the bases.



LEC rejects complaint against PAC’s Russell Vale Mine report

The Land and Environment Court has dismissed Wollongong Coal’s application against a Planning Assessment Commission report that failed to support its proposed expansion of the Russell Vale Mine, citing concerns regarding water loss, subsidence and impacts on neighbouring swamp lands.

Wollongong Coal argued that the PAC had wrongly considered compliance with the SEPP for the Sydney water drinking catchment to be a mandatory, and had inappropriately had regard to the cumulative impacts of potential future expansions.

The Court was satisfied that references to “cumulative impacts” in the report related only to the impacts of existing and proposed activities, not speculative future expansions. Justice Moore held that the PAC had not treated the SEPP as a mandatory prerequisite, but was justified in considering whether the expansion would have a “neutral or beneficial effect on water quality” under that document.

To read Wollongong Coal Pty Ltd v Minister for Planning and Environment [2016] NSWLEC 154, click here .




Supreme Court rejects Adani challenges

On 25 November 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed two separate applications challenging approvals granted to Adani in relation to its Carmichael coal mine.

The first, an application by traditional owners for review of the decision to grant mining leases, argued that the Minister had failed to properly consult with (and afford natural justice to) the native title holders of the affected land. The traditional owners have appealed against the decision.

The second, an application by Land Services of Coast and Country for review of the decision to grant an Environmental Authority, argued that the Minister had failed to uphold his obligation under s.5 of the Environmental  Protection Act 1994 to achieve ecologically sustainable development.  

For an analysis of whether these legal actions, even when unsuccessful, are forcing incremental improvements in the application of environmental laws, read Dr James-Bell’s article in the latest Australian Environmental Law Digest.




Federal and State governments intervene in ResourceCo High Court dispute

Two companies in the ResourceCo group commenced proceedings in the High Court earlier this year alleging that the Victorian government and EPA Victoria were in breach of s.92 of the Constitution when refusing to allow companies to transport contaminated soil from Victoria to South Australian landfills.  The EPA had refused to allow the transfer on the basis that r.26 of the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations  (Vic) prohibit approval of interstate transfers unless the receiving facility has "better environmental performance standards" than Victoria.

In November, the Commonwealth, NSW, Queensland and Western Australian governments intervened and filed submissions in support of the Victorian government.

For background to the case, click here .


VCAT refuses to accept covenant over land subject to enforced revegetation as a biodiversity offset

Watermark Village Pty Ltd appealed to VCAT against a decision by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to refuse to grant a permit for a residential subdivision requiring clearing 3ha of native vegetation in a swamp area designated as having ecological significance.  Watermark proposed to register a perpetual protective covenant over about 22.7 hectares of land to offset the impacts of the clearing.

The land proposed to be covered by the covenant was subject to an enforcement order from VCAT requiring revegetation, issued in response to previous illegal clearing of the site.

Council argued that the covenant was not a legitimate offset, as it would not provide protection above existing legislative requirements. In contrast, Watermark argued that the enforcement order was not a legislated restriction on use, and had a 10 year life span.  Therefore, it argued, the covenant would offer higher protection and be a genuine offset.

VCAT ruled that the enforcement order constituted a legislative requirement and the proposed covenant would not be a compliant offset. VCAT was satisfied that the environmental impacts of the project outweighed any benefits arising from additional housing, and affirmed the council's refusal.

To read Watermark Village Pty Ltd v Mornington Peninsula SC [2016] VCAT 1853, click here.


back to top

Open for comment


Draft National Strategy for Mitigating Vessel Strike of Marine Mega-fauna

The Department of the Environment and Energy has released the draft National Strategy for Mitigating Vessel Strike of Marine Mega-fauna for public comment. The Strategy is a guiding framework for identifying species most at risk of vessel collision, areas where these species are most at risk of vessel collision, and appropriate management measures to reduce the risk of vessel collisions with marine mega-fauna. The Strategy is not a statutory document and as such the objectives and action should not be considered binding or mandatory.

Submissions can be made until 9 December 2016 . For more information, click here .


Comments sought on savanna fire management draft methods

The Department of the Environment and Energy is calling for public comment on draft savanna fire management methods addressing sequestration and emissions avoidance. The draft methods, which build on previous savanna methods, set out the rules for carbon credit eligibility for managing fire in Australia’s savannas.

Comments are also invited on a new draft Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Amendment Rule 2016 (No.1) to facilitate credits for storage of carbon in savannas.

Submissions on both drafts can be made until 19 December 2016 .  For more information, click here .


Comments sought on illegal logging regulations

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has released a consultation paper outlining potential amendments to the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012 (the Regulation ) to improve the balance between compliance costs and the risk of importing illegally logged timber.

Comments can be made until 23 December 2016.  For more information, click here .


Recovery Plan for Marine Turtles

The Department of the Environment and Energy has released a draft Recovery Plan for Marine Turtles in Australia. The draft plan sets out research and management actions necessary to stop species decline, and support the recovery of threatened marine turtles.

Comments on the draft recovery plan can be made until 13 January 2017 . For more information, click here.


Carbon neutral buildings and precincts consultation open

The Department of the Environment and Energy is seeking comments on two draft voluntary standards for Australia’s property sector: the National Carbon Offset Standard for Buildings and the National Carbon Offset Standard for Precincts . The standards have been developed in consultation with NABERS, the Green Building Council of Australia, carbon accounting experts and property sector businesses.

The Standards set rules for measuring, reducing, offsetting and reporting emissions required to make carbon neutral claims for building and precinct operations.

Submissions can be made until 10 February 2017 . For more information, click here .



New South Wales

Climate Change Policy Framework

The NSW Government has released a new NSW Climate Change Policy Framework , comprising the Climate Change Fund Draft Strategic Plan and NSW Energy and Money . These documents provide important background on the government’s approach to achieving two key objectives: achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and improving resilience to a changing climate. The government has also announced a $500 million funding package to support initiatives outlined in the plans.

Comments on the draft plans can be made until 16 December 2016 . For more information, click here .

Licensing scheme review

The NSW Environment Protection Authority is reviewing the load-based licensing scheme that has been in operation since 1999 to assess its effectiveness and efficiency.

Comments on the review can be made until 23 December 2016 . For more information, click here.

Container deposit rules

The NSW EPA has released a  draft regulation  that deals with the operational details of its container deposit scheme, which is expected to start in July 2017.

The regulation specifies that the scheme will apply to most beverage containers holding between 150ml and three litres of liquid, other than those containing milk, cordial, wine or spirits.  The regulation also sets out arrangements for kerbside collection and accounting.

Comments on the draft Regulations can be made until 23 December 2016 .  For more information, click here .

For an analysis of the proposed NSW scheme, and the prospects of a nationally consistent container deposit scheme, read Rebecca Hiscock and Breellen Warry’s article in the latest Australian Environmental Law Digest .

Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper

The Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper outlines proposed actions for government to meet its goal of improving average air quality results across NSW.

The Environment Protection Authority is seeking feedback on the Paper. Comments can be made until 20 January 2017 . For more information, click here .




Planning reforms

Development Assessment Rules to support the new Planning Act 2016 and standardise assessment processes have been released for comment.

Comments can be made until 19 December 2016 . For more information, click here .

Future of Queensland’s gas sector – discussion paper

The Queensland Government is developing a sector-wide gas action plan, which it expects to complete by mid-2017. As the first step in identifying the preferred approach to gas sector regulation, the government has released the Queensland Gas Supply and Demand Action Plan Discussion Paper .

Comments on the reform proposals set out in the Discussion Paper can be made until 19 December 2016 . For more information, click here .

Climate Change Adaptation Directions Statement

The Queensland government has released the Queensland Climate Adaptation Directions Statement , detailing the Government’s planned approach to “mainstreaming climate adaptation”.

Submissions on the draft Statement have been extended until 9 January 2017 . For more information, click here.  

Plastic bag ban – discussion paper

Queensland's Environment Minister, Steven Miles, has released a  discussion paper  outlining the government’s proposal to ban all lightweight plastic bags less than 35 microns (even if biodegradable, but excluding rubbish and fruit bags) from 2018.

Comments on the discussion paper can be made until 27 February 2017 . For more information, click here .

SEQ Regional Plan

The Queensland Government has released ShapingSEQ , a review of the current SEQ Regional Plan 2009-2031 and framework for managing the region's growth, as well as a series of background papers and technical notes to support the draft Plan.

Comments on the draft Plan can be made until 3 March 2017 . For more information, click here .



South Australia

Leading Practice Review of South Australia’s mining laws

The Mineral Resources Division of the Department of State Development is seeking submissions as part of the review of the Mining Act 1971 and the Mines and Works Inspection Act 1920 and the Opal Mining Act 1995 .  Discussion Paper 1 on the Mines and Works Inspections Act 1920 and Regulations has been released for public consultation.

Submissions are invited until 21 December 2016 . For more information, click here .




RFA extension

The Australian and Tasmanian governments have committed to a '20 year rolling extension' of the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement ( RFA ).  Only minor amendments to the monitoring, communication, review and dispute resolution clauses are proposed.

Feedback on the proposed extension and amendments can be made until 12:30pm on 23 December 2016 . For more information, click here .

Biosecurity Framework review

The Minister for Primary Industries and Water has released the Future Direction for a New Contemporary Biosecurity Legislative Framework for public comment.  The framework proposes a single Act to replace existing legislation, including the Plant Quarantine Act 1997, Animal Health Act 1995, Seeds Act 1985, Weed Management Act 1999, Vermin Control Act 2000 and others, and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of biosecurity regulation. 
Comments on the Future Directions statement can be made until 23 December 2016 . For more information, click here .

Black and Brookers gum forest community considered for critically endangered listing  

The national Threatened Species Scientific Committee is undertaking an assessment on the “Tasmanian forests and woodlands dominated by black gum or Brookers gum (E. ovata / E. brookeriana)” to determine whether to list the forest type as a critically endangered ecological community under the EPBC Act.

The draft conservation advice shows over 90% decline in abundance of the forest community (which occurs mostly in northern and eastern Tasmania).  Listing the ecological community under the EPBC Act will raise awareness of threats to the community, require detailed assessment before any further reduction on abundance is threatened, and encourage restoration efforts.

Comments on the draft conservation advice and listing proposal can be made until 27 January 2017 . For more information, click here .  

Draft Aboriginal Heritage Bill

The Tasmanian government has released draft legislation to amend the Aboriginal Relics Act 1975 . The Bill is designed to give effect to the immediate, minimal changes flagged by the Government earlier in 2016, including:

  • renaming the Act as the “Aboriginal Heritage Act”; 
  • removing the 1876 “cut-off” for what is considered as Aboriginal heritage; 
  • increasing penalties for damage to Aboriginal heritage;
  • replacing the ignorance defence with a due diligence defence, supported by due diligence guidelines;
  • establishing a statutory Aboriginal Heritage Council of Aboriginal people to advise the Minister; and
  • The Government intends to undertake a more comprehensive review of Aboriginal heritage laws within 3 years. 

To read Clare Lawrence’s overview of Aboriginal heritage laws across Australia from the NELA conference, click here.

Comments on the draft Bill can be made until 24 February 2017 .  For more information, click here .


Western Australia

Comments sought on draft guidelines regarding revegetation plans

The Department of Environment Regulation is seeking comments on draft guidelines concerning revegetation plans. The guidelines specify the minimum requirements for revegetation plans. These plans may be required pursuant to a condition of a clearing permit issued under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 .

Submissions can be made until 31 January 2017 . For more information, click here .


back to top



Citizen science grants

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science is offering grants of $50,000 to $500,000 to support community participation in scientific research projects with a national impact. 

Applications close on 17 February 2017 . For more information, click here .


Victoria’s New Energy Jobs Fund – Round two open

The Victorian Government established a $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund in 2015 to support Victorian-based projects that “create long-term sustainable jobs, increase the uptake of renewable energy generation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive innovation in new energy technologies.”

The second round of funding has two streams: community and industry. Applications for projects in manufacturing, technology, community and skills are invited until 1 March 2017. For more information, click here


back to top


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) The future of reporting: Where to next?  

Hosted by the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, this event seeks to introduce industry to the

Reporting 3.0 platform and share insights regarding future reporting requirements.

When :  12 December 2016, 2pm

Where : “The G” – Ground Floor Meeting room in The Lifestyles Working Building

For more information, click here .

Read Prof Jackie Peel and Anita Foerster’s presentation from the NELA conference for some insights into climate disclosure obligations.


(Perth) World Renewable Energy Congress  

Join the 16 th World Renewable Energy Congress to hear about the latest research findings, ideas being implemented across the world, new renewable energy technologies, and local and global policy settings to achieve the transition to clean energy.

When :  5-9 February 2017 

Where : Murdoch University

For more information, click here .


(Sydney) Pollution Incident Response Management Plans and emergency response  

Join the Australian Sustainable Business Group for a conference discussing the latest issues to be considered when developing response plans for pollution incidents.

When :  16 February 2017

Where : Baker & MacKenzie, Level 27, AMP Centre

For more information, click here .


Header (Perth) Climate Change and Environmental Legislation

NELA WA, the International Bar Association, Glen McLeod Lawyers and Murdoch University present a one day conference to consider how environmental laws can be reformed to accommodate climate change and sustainable development concepts, internationally and in Western Australia.

When :  17 February 2017

Where :  Murdoch University

For the current flyer, click here .  More details will be released soon.


(Melbourne) Environment and carbon laws and funding  

The Australian Environment Business Network is presenting a seminar outlining changes to Federal and State environmental and carbon legislation, guidelines, upcoming reviews and opportunities for business funding in 2017. The keynote speaker is Nial Finegan, CEO of EPA Victoria.

When : 24 February 2017

Where : Lander & Rogers Lawyers, Lvl 12, 600 Bourke St

For more information, click here .


(Montreal) Impact Assessment’s Contribution to the Global Efforts in Addressing Climate Change

The International Association for Impact Assessment is hosting a global conference to share information, best practices, success stories, innovations, and lessons learned about the way impact assessment can address climate change issues.

When: 4-7 April 2017
Where: Le Centre Sheraton, Montréal

For more information, click here .


back to top

Thanks to the NELA Bulletin team

The NELA Bulletin is researched and written entirely by volunteers. NELA thanks the many lawyers and students who’ve contributed to the Bulletin in 2016, including this month’s contributors: