Our weekly eBulletin keeps you up to date with important environmental law news from NSW and beyond, plus opportunities for public comment listed in our online resource Have Your Say
EDO NSW EBULLETIN – 23 June 2017: Number 1011
Battle for Bulga
You probably know about our work for the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association and their battle with mining company Rio Tinto to protect their local environment and sleepy little town in New South Wales. Meet the heroes of Bulga in this beautiful video.
Community heroes at last week's Gala Dinner
In May we shared the wonderful news that our client Wendy Bowman was one of only six people internationally to be awarded the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize. The prize honours grassroots heroes from across the planet; recognising their sustained, significant efforts to protect the natural environment, often at great personal risk.
Last Thursday, Wendy was our keynote speaker at our 2017 Gala Dinner - raising lots of chuckles and huge admiration with the story of how she came to accept the award.
Wendy Bowman addresses the crowd at our gala dinner
Another EDO NSW client featured at the Gala was the wonderful Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association, whose courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds brought many to tears. You can watch their story in the Battle for Bulga video above.
It is vital that we are able to maintain our essential services to ensure community heroes like Wendy and the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association have access to environmental justice.
As our clients in Bulga said; "I couldn't believe [there was] such an organisation with highly skilled people prepared to work for you for almost zero, and with... 150 consultants on their books!"
Right now, we are working throughout NSW, Australia and the South Pacific with communities who are dealing with the impacts of mining and coal seam gas development and pollution in their water catchments; seeking to protect Aboriginal or local culture and heritage, threatened species and native vegetation; and grappling with the impacts of planning and development on the built environment.
If you have already donated, thank you! If not, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our Environmental Defence Fund, and help us put the power back into the hands of the community.
Biodiversity law update
The public exhibition of the latest round of draft regulations and instruments for the NSW Government’s biodiversity and land clearing laws has now concluded.
The new regime is due to commence on 25 August 2017, despite there being certain components that have not been finalised.
We will continue to provide feedback on the aspects of the new regime that are still being developed, and we’ll continue to work with communities concerned about the new laws.
Keep an eye on future eBulletins for updates on our ongoing biodiversity and native vegetation law reform and outreach work.
Construction companies fined for sediment and erosion control offences
The NSW Environment Protection Authority has conducted a ‘blitz’ on sediment and erosion control at construction sites in the Parramatta River Catchment, resulting in $165,000 in fines.
Offences included having no sediment and erosion controls in place at all, collapsed fencing, ripped and torn sediment bags, and inadequate containment of sediment stockpiles.
Waste company fined for breaching licence conditions
The NSW Environment Protection Authority has fined waste management company Suez $15,000 for breaching licence conditions at its waste processing site at Kemps Creek in Sydney’s west.
The company was fined for processing waste outside the permitted operating hours and leaving waste material uncovered overnight in breach of its licence conditions.
Review of Water Trigger Legislation
The Independent Review of the Water Trigger Legislation and Post Implementation Review were tabled in the Australian Parliament on Monday 19 June 2017.
Back in 2016, EDOs of Australia made a number of recommendations in a submission on this review. You can read more at our blog: The ‘water trigger’ – an important first step, but there’s room for improvement.
Simplified housing codes released
The NSW Government has released its simplified Housing Code, and other minor changes to the State Policy for exempt and complying development (‘Codes SEPP’), including minor amendments to granny flats and group homes to clarify definitions and further simplify these policies.
The changes will start on Monday 17 July 2017.
Recent EDO submissions and reports
Read all of our law reform submissions and briefing papers on our website.
New legislation introduced to Parliament
This Government Bill aims to amend the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Act 1987 to provide the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) greater flexibility in the use of its property and facilities, including enabling the establishment of innovation precincts at its Lucas Heights facility in NSW and at other sites in Australia.
This Government Bill amends the sunsetting regime specified under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 to avoid the need to remake plans revoked as part of the sunsetting process.
Local Environmental Plan tracking
To access the LEP tracking system, visit the Department of Planning and Environment website. Read more about LEPs in our Fact Sheets. Visit your local council’s website to see if there are any planning proposals or LEP changes open for public comment.
This eBulletin provides alerts for opportunities to comment on changes to law and policy, and activities that may impact the environment in your area. For a comprehensive list of current opportunities to have your say on a range of environment and planning matters, visit our Have Your Say site.
This online resource also helps the community to effectively engage with decision-makers and request a workshop for your community. We are always trying to improve our community resources and are currently seeking feedback on the effectiveness of Have Your Say. You can help us out by checking out the site and completing a short three-question survey.
The NSW Department of Planning & Environment has extended the deadline for submissions on a proposed new Greenfield Housing Code, which will aim to speed up greenfield land releases.
The Department has released the Background Paper – A Review of Complying Development in Greenfield Areas for comment.
Submissions are now invited until Friday 7 July 2017.
NSW Local Land Services has extended the deadline for public submissions on a comprehensive review of the network of Travelling Stock Reserves (TSRs) in NSW. The review will determine which TSRs are still used or required, and determine if they are important for other reasons. An online mapping tool has been provided to help people identify TSRs in their local area.
Submissions are now invited until Friday 7 July 2017.
The Australian Department of the Environment and Energy is calling for public comments on an application for for the commercial export of eastern and western grey kangaroo skins from Victoria.
Submissions are invited until Friday 21 July 2017.
The Australian Treasury is calling for public submissions on a discussion paper that considers reforms to the Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) tax arrangements. The paper outlines a number of proposals, including DGR governance arrangements and eligibility for DGR status.
The proposals could have implications for environmental organisations with DGR status, including EDO NSW.
Submissions are invited until Friday 14 July 2017.
For a full listing of threatened species and endangered ecological community listings currently open for public comment, visit the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website and the Australian Department of the Environment website.
For a full listing of fisheries assessments currently open for public comment, visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries website and the Australian Department of the Environment website.
Major Project proposals: Invitation to comment
For a full listing of major project proposals currently open for public comment, visit the Department of Planning and Environment’s website. To learn more about the planning process for major projects, read our Fact Sheet on State Significant Development and State Significant Infrastructure.
EPBC Referrals: Invitation to comment
Referrals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) can be viewed on the Australian Environment Department’s website. To learn more, read our Fact Sheet on the EPBC Act.
Plans of Management: Invitation to comment
The full listing of plans of management for protected areas can be viewed on the Office of Environment and Heritage website. To learn more about the Plans of Management, see our Fact Sheet on Protected Areas.
New Coal and Petroleum Exploration Licence Applications
To view current coal and petroleum (including CSG) exploration licence applications and approvals, visit the Minerals and Petroleum website. The NSW Government Gazette also contains a list of all exploration and mining lease applications and determinations. Public comment can be made on coal and petroleum (including CSG) exploration licence applications on the Minerals and Petroleum website. To learn more, read the EDO NSW publication Mining Law in NSW: A guide for the community.
New this week
2017 NSW Coastal Conference
Registrations are now open for the 26th annual NSW Coastal Conference.
With the theme "The Next Wave", conference sessions will focus on the new coastal management framework.
When: Wednesday 8 to Friday 10 November 2017
The Age of Consequences film screening
Sustainable Business Australia is hosting a free screening of The Age of Consequences; a film that investigates the role of climate change as an “accelerant of instability”.
The documentary looks at how climate change exacerbates catalysts for conflict. The film looks at how extreme weather events can have grave implications for the peace and security in the 21st century. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion.
When: Monday 10 July 2017, 6-8pm
For more information contact (02) 8267 5782 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Future Ready: Rehabilitation, project closure and decommissioning seminar series
Governments around Australia are looking to tighten regulatory arrangements for ensuring adequate rehabilitation is carried out when projects are abandoned or closed.
This Norton Rose Fulbright seminar series explores the tightening of regulatory arrangements for rehabilitation when projects are abandoned or closed. Environment and Planning experts will examine proposed changes to regulatory and policy arrangements for project closure and decommissioning, and for securing compliance with rehabilitation obligations.
For further information contact Sarah Taripo.
When: Tuesday 25 July 2017, 7:45am
Key roles at environment and planning agencies
A number of key positions are currently being advertised at NSW environment and planning agencies:
From last week
NELA National Conference 2017
Registrations are now open for the National Environmental Law Association (NELA) national conference 2017. This year’s conference explores the current state of Australia’s environment, how various States are addressing past impacts, and innovative mechanisms being explored to avoid future harm.
When: Friday 4 August 2017
Summary report on outfalls around coastal Australia
The Clean Ocean Foundation has released its community summary into outfalls around coastal Australia. The summary is part of the National Outfall Database produced by the Clean Ocean Foundation for the Marine Biodiversity Hub.
The Foundation is also asking recreational water users to take part in an online survey.
Australasian Groundwater Conference
The theme of the Australasian Groundwater Conference 2017 is ‘Groundwater Futures: Science to Practice’. The plenary session on day 3 will be on groundwater and the law.
When: Tuesday 11 to Thursday 13 July 2017
Essay prize on environmental law
The topic for this year’s Australian Academy of Law’s Annual Essay Prize is How well do Australian legal institutions respond to climate change? How could that response be improved?
The $10,000 prize is open to anyone who is studying or has studied legal subjects at a tertiary level, or who is working or has worked in a law-based occupation.
If you’re interested in entering, you need to submit an expression of interest by Friday 30 June 2017. Essays need to be submitted by Thursday 31 August 2017.
Help us help community heroes
Every day, our dynamic public interest environmental law experts help communities in Australia and across the Pacific protect our environment through law. Those communities need us, and we need you!
Other ways you can help us defend the environment
You can have an even greater impact by becoming a Friend of the EDO. Our regular donors are an invaluable source of funding and help us ensure we are ready to respond when the community needs our help.
Visit our website for even more ways to support our work.
Read more about how your support can help protect the environment in the latest edition of our supporter newsletter, Environmental Defender.
EDO NSW has been providing critical legal support to NSW communities for 30 years. We are the only legal centre in NSW specialising in public interest environmental issues.
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