The Senate Environment and Communications Committee will conduct an inquiry into principles underpinning the use of environmental offsets, the processes used to develop and assess them, and the adequacy of monitoring and evaluation arrangements.
The inquiry will specifically examine offset arrangements for the Abbott Point dredging project and a number of large mining and gas developments, but will also consider offsets for other federally approved projects.
Submissions to the Senate Committee must be made by 4 April 2014. The inquiry will report to the Senate by 16 June 2014.
For more information regarding offsets, you can:
- read the ANEDO submission in relation to the draft EPBC Offset guidelines
- listen to the recent UTAS offset seminar, featuring Jamie Kirkpatick, Nikki den Exter and Jess Feehely (note: audio starts at 2:30 min in)
- read the Senate report in August 2013 into the effectiveness of threatened species protections, which expresses concern regarding the success of offset programmes and the lack of auditing.
The latest edition of our fortnightly bulletin is now available. This edition looks at recent climate reports, the Federal Court’s decision regarding the supertrawler ban, new arrangements for assessment of offshore petroleum projects and Clarence City Council’s decision not to support a proposed golf course and residential development at Seven Mile Beach. To subscribe to receive this useful Bulletin each fortnight, click here.
The State of the Climate 2014 report outlines observations of the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO regarding Australia’s climate. The report notes that records clearly indicate further warming of the atmosphere and ocean.
The Climate Change Authority’s final report of its Targets and Progress Review recommends that Australia increase its current emission reduction target of 5% to 19% by 2020. The report notes that increasing the target would allow Australia to make a “fair contribution” to global emission reduction and no leave an “improbably large task” for the future.
In other climate news, on 3 March 2014, the Senate voted against the Bill to abolish the Climate Change Authority. The Bill is likely to be re-introduced to the new Senate after June 2014.
The House of Representatives has announced an inquiry into “streamlining environmental regulation, ‘green tape’ and one-stop shops”. The inquiry will consider the potential for deregulation, the balance between regulatory burdens and environmental benefits and areas for improved efficiency and regulatory effectiveness.
Submissions can be made by 11 April 2014.
The Australian Government has released the dossier of documents it submitted to the World Heritage Committee when it requested that 74,000ha be removed from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The dossier and maps are available on the Department of Environment website.
Submissions to the Senate Inquiry regarding the wind-back proposal close on 7 March 2014.
A Delisting TWWHA Forests Forum discussing the values of the TWWHA extension area, the listing process and the legal, economic and scientific implications of the wind-back will be held on 11 March 2014. A public forum will also be held in Kingston on 12 March 2014, along with a series of regional forums discussing tourism opportunities in the TWWHA.
On 21 February 2014, the Federal Court dismissed an appeal by Seafish Tasmania against the former Federal government’s decision to impose a 2 year ban on super trawlers operating in the Small Pelagic Fishery. Justice Logan was satisfied that the Environment Minister and the Fisheries Minister were entitled, based on the material before them:
- to agree that there was uncertainty as to the environmental impact of the supertrawler’s operation; and
- that it was “appropriate” to prohibit the operation while the uncertainty was resolved.
You can read the decision on the Federal Court’s website.
The current ban will expire in November 2014. The expert panel appointed to assess the environmental impacts will report to the Ministers in October 2014, following which a decision will be made regarding any permanent ban.
The EPA has released a series of maps to assist recreational boaters to identify areas where vessels may or may not discharge sewage into Tasmanian waters under the Sewage Management Directive.
When we requested a copy of the submission and any documents relating to the review of the 2013 boundary adjustment, we were told that no report was produced as a result of the review and the Minister’s office has directed that the submission to the World Heritage Committee not be released to the public.
Previous submissions to the World Heritage Committee have been made available on the Department’s website. Without access to this material, it is difficult for members of the public to properly address the terms of reference of the Senate inquiry into the proposed amendments to the TWWHA.
The latest edition of our fortnightly bulletin is now available. This edition discusses the Senate inquiry into the wind back of the TWWHA, approval of the dairy expansion at Woolnorth, review of the renewable energy target, a range of recent court cases and details of current funding opportunities. To subscribe to receive this useful Bulletin each fortnight, click here.
On 13 February 2014, the Senate announced that it would conduct an inquiry into the values of the extended Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and the implications of the proposed boundary amendment. Any person can make a submission to the Senate Committee by 7 March 2014.
More information about the inquiry process is available on the Senate Committee website.