All Articles

HOW WE NAVIGATE FULL-TIME CARE AND WORK AS A TWO MUM FAMILY

07/11/2018

Kelly Crosthwaite and her partner Beth have taken turns being full-time stay-at-home parents as well as full-time employees. She writes about how they have supported each other as a two mum family and the important role her workplace has played, in this piece republished here thanks to Grace Papers and Womens Agenda

“We’re strongly committed to ensuring we’re benefiting from all that gender equality can deliver to our workplace, communities, and to the individuals whose lives we impact. We believe achieving diversity is about more than targets. So we’re taking a holistic approach, which includes challenging the biases in our systems and providing practical support for our people.”

— John Bradley, Secretary, Department Of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, Victoria

We are a two-Mum family. My partner Beth and I have two children, a nine year-old son and a six year-old daughter. We each gave birth to one of our children – our donor is a friend and our kids know him and his own children well.  Our kids have known, since they were very young, how they were created, and our donor is involved with our family but not as a parent. Why am I sharing this with you?

It is because we feel like it is normal to talk about our family situation, and we would like other people to feel normal talking about it too.  The more easily and naturally these things can be put out in the open, then the better off our kids will be in the future.

But we’re also very conscious that not every rainbow family likes to disclose the details of how their family is put together or who is in it.  Like the rest of the population – some people are inherently private and keep that stuff to themselves.

There isn’t any right or wrong approach.  But it is something to be mindful of for rainbow families – you need to respect people’s boundaries, and sensitively work them out as you go.

Beth and I have taken turns not only in giving birth, but also in being the full-time stay-at-home parent or full-time worker. We have both worked part-time for periods within the last nine years across two states and four government agencies (State and Federal).

All those workplaces have been incredibly flexible and supportive, and we have benefitted from the great conditions and policies that government agencies implement (or at least the ones we’ve worked in).

The policies and practices that have made the most difference to us are the same ones that make a difference to any family:

  1. Parental leave: we have clearly defined access to parental leave for mothers who give birth and for non-birth parents.
  2. Flexibility: we have the ability to work part-time and to work flexibly.
  3. Job sharing: we have the opportunity to job share – this one is an important ingredient to have in the mix so that the part-timer doesn’t get delegated ‘other’ more menial work in a workplace; and that the teams that you are a part of don’t have to ‘carry’ a position.

As with all HR policies and procedures, it is the practice of them that really makes the biggest impact and the intangibles that can make or break your experience.

For me, being in a workplace, like the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning that so pro-actively deals with gender equity, means that drawing boundaries around my time is seen as a good thing not a bad thing.

Then there is your boss. He or she is one of the most important factors in navigating parenthood and career and we have been fortunate to have caring and supportive supervisors who have made things easy.

The second biggest influence is the team that you’re in.  My teams have been fun, inclusive, caring and generous – and I have benefitted from that as much as anyone else in the team.  Those people that are extra thoughtful are so important in a situation where you might be made to feel on the outside. I know that my teammates in Adelaide celebrated the birth of our son with me just as much as if I had given birth – that meant the world to me.  And taught me lessons about how to do the same for others.

 

 

 

Essential Tips for the Environmentally Conscious Landscaping Enthusiast

01/11/2018

Written by Ginger Reid; Photo by Andrea Reiman on Unsplash

While creating the most beautiful landscape you can is important to you, it doesn't trump your desire to be a friend of the environment. Mother Earth gives us a bounty of beautiful plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and it's only fair that we pay her back by being as eco-conscious in our gardening practices as we can possibly be. Here's how you can adorn your home with beauty while protecting the gift of our natural ecosystems.

First and foremost, conserve water

While many think of water as a free, infinite resource, the truth is that water is one of our most precious commodities. You can't waste water and be an eco-conscious landscaper. One way to conserve water is to collect rainwater and use it to water your plants. Another way to is focus on quality soil. Both mulching and adding organic soil compounds to your existing soil helps it to retain water, which means you have to water it less frequently. Check here for more tips.

This is all especially important if your area is experiencing a drought. Part of your strategy for conserving water in drought-prone areas should involve the technique of xeriscaping, or filling your gardens with plants that require less moisture to survive. When you replace water-hungry plants with those that are less greedy, you can conserve water without really trying.

Forgo the pesticides

Nobody likes it when pests eat their plants, so it's understandable that you would want to prevent that. While chemical pesticides do work well in that regard, they are toxic to animals, pollute the water and soil, and can have adverse effects on any foodstuffs harvested from your garden. Fortunately, there are natural, eco-friendly concoctions that will get the job done. These include citrus oil, cayenne pepper mixtures, onion and garlic spray, and more.

Beyond that, you should invite birds, ladybugs, and spiders into your garden. These creatures eat other insects like aphids, which are true pests to any vegetation. There are also plants that specialize in repelling harmful critters, including basil, lavender, and lemon thyme.

Get into composting

Composting is dirty work, so you’ll want to invest in a good pair of gloves. But the benefits of home composting are far-reaching. Not only will you reduce your own landscaping waste by turning it into nutrients (the ultimate recycling effort), but you’ll reduce your eco-footprint by limiting the amount of new materials you have to purchase. You’ll want to research strategies and ratios of green (plant and veggie scraps, egg shells, grass clippings) and brown (dead leaves, cardboard, newspaper, twigs, branches) composting materials and learn how to properly layer them. But in the end, it’s a simple process.

Reduce your gas-powered tool usage

In the hierarchy of eco-friendly ways to trim and cut your home’s greenery, gas-powered devices like lawn mowers and weed-eaters reside at the bottom. Battery-powered devices are better, but not eco-perfect. Rotary (muscle-powered) devices are your smartest bet.

If you have a huge lawn with a lot of grass, a rotary mower is likely impractical. You then have two options: give in to the gas or simply reduce the amount of grass you have to mow to make it practical. The latter can be done through smart landscaping (more plants, bushes, and shrubs, less grass) and by creating elegant stone or brick pathways and patios.

When you make a decision to garden in an eco-friendly manner, you’re not just doing your part to help maintain the integrity of your local ecosystem, you’re making a small but still meaningful statement about global growing culture. Beyond that, it’s okay to think a little selfishly. Being eco-conscious and growing plants in a natural, non-wasteful way will actually improve the health of your own landscaping!

JOB ALERT - NT Senior Environmental Assessment Officer

09/10/2018

Senior Environmental Assessment Officer (NT)
Professional 3 - Remuneration Package $116,983 - $130,817 (including salary $101,433 - $113,600)

Interested? Then visit the job site HERE. Using the vacancy number: 022574 to find the full announcement. 

Agency: Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Work Unit: Environmental Assessment

Location: Darwin

Vacancy Types: Ongoing (Permanent) - Full Time

Closes: 18 October 2018

Primary Objective:

Implement environmental impact assessment of development proposals in accordance with the NT Environmental Assessment Act. Investigate, develop and implement environmental protection policies and strategies related to such development.

Contact:

Lisa Bradley, Director Environmental Assessments on 08 8924 4144 or Lisa.Bradley@nt.gov.au

2017 South Australian Mineral Resources Regulation Report

09/10/2018

The Mineral Resources Regulation Report 2017 was released by the South Australian Department for Energy and Mining this month. The report provides an annual account of the ongoing work administered by the Department to ensure the state’s mining laws are upheld.

Transparency, accountability and benchmarking are key features of the regulatory framework for the South Australian mineral resources sector.

This annual report demonstrates to the South Australian public an assurance that the mineral resources sector is accountable to regulators, landholders and the community. It also comprises key indicators on the performance of exploration and mining companies in meeting their compliance obligations to mitigate and manage genuine environmental risks associated with their operations.

The Department for Energy and Mining is committed to responsibly unlocking the value and opportunities of our mineral resources in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.

Further information can be found on the department's website.

If you have any queries, comments and feedback on the annual report please contact Alex Blood, Executive Director, Mineral Resources , Department For Energy and Mining

Individual fined $45,000 for illegal waste activities

05/10/2018

A Mount Morgan land owner has been convicted and fined $45,000 on charges relating to the illegal storage and handling of regulated waste on his property.

John Kevin Campion pleaded guilty to the charges in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on 12 March 2018.

Campion was charged with carrying out an environmentally relevant activity without an environmental authority; being a generator who failed to give prescribed information to the Department of Environment and Science; wilfully failing to comply with a clean-up notice; providing false or misleading information; and wilfully and unlawfully causing material environmental harm.

Campion variously contravened the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008.

The Court heard that in December 2015 a warrant was executed on Campion at his Mount Morgan property where more than 50 200-litre drums containing regulated waste were observed.

Results of sampling concluded that the drums contained hydrocarbons, organic solvents and phenols, all of which are prescribed regulated wastes.

In June 2016, Campion told the department that all regulated waste had been removed from his property, however subsequent departmental investigations showed this to be false. Campion was then issued with a clean-up notice to remove all regulated waste from his property, which he failed to comply with.

The Court was told that in July 2016, information was received that a number of 200-litre drums had been dumped in a gully near Campion’s property.
The department then relied on staff observations, DNA analysis from a cigarette butt retrieved from the gully, and samples of the drums’ contents to show that Campion had illegally dumped the drums.

In addition to the fine, Campion was ordered to pay investigation costs of $8,138.04 and legal costs of $1,500.

NSW EPA steps up efforts to recover the proceeds of environmental crime from offenders

05/10/2018

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has released a new robust and transparent framework to recover the proceeds of environmental crime from offenders, a first for environmental regulators in Australia.

The EPA can apply to the Court for a monetary benefit order (MBO) to be imposed on an offender as part of the sentencing package. MBOs aim to strip offenders of the illegal profits they made from committing an offence.

The EPA’s Chief Environmental Regulator, Mark Gifford, said offenders should not profit from committing an offence.

“Recovering monetary benefits as part of a sentencing package provides a deterrent for possible future offenders and an incentive for operators to take proper precautions,” Mr Gifford said.

Monetary benefits are the financial advantage that an offender gains from committing an offence. For example, additional funds may be available to the business that should have been used to comply with environmental legislation, including infrastructure improvements, or additional profits may have been made from illegal operations.

While the EPA has had this power since the introduction of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act), a robust and standardised approach to calculating and recovering monetary benefits in appropriate cases has been developed that can now be applied.

The new framework will help the EPA determine the monetary benefits offenders obtain through breaking environmental laws and to pursue the recovery of those benefits in appropriate cases, through the court process. A Protocol for calculating monetary benefits, supporting guidance and calculation tools have also been developed. The EPA intends to formally prescribe this Protocol, by Regulation.

The framework has been developed using work done by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a model, and in close collaboration with Victoria EPA.

“We wish to thank Victoria EPA for their ongoing commitment to developing monetary benefit approaches with the NSW EPA, and in particular I’d like to thank them for enabling us to use and publish the NEAT Model monetary benefits calculation tool” Mr Gifford said.

Mr Gifford hopes the framework will be adopted by other environmental regulators across Australia, which are at various stages of introducing the recovery of monetary benefits into aspects of their criminal prosecutions and civil penalty work. And there is scope for the framework to be adopted by local councils in NSW.

“Ultimately, we want to see MBOs being routinely considered by courts across Australia and New Zealand, so there is widespread deterrence, and offenders are being held to account.” Mr Gifford said.

More information can be found on the NSW EPA’s website.

The NSW EPA acknowledges and thanks AELERT and its members for their ongoing support and interest in the MBO project and will continue to be actively involved with this initiative through the AELERT Legal Practice Cluster.

AELERT WEBINAR 27 September 2018: Combating violence

18/09/2018

FREE FOR AELERT MEMBERS

Has violence in the workplace increased? Some sectors of the community believe that it has. Certainly, the headlines illustrate the justifiable anxieties of some of our public contact workers.

What are the causes of this type of violence and how can it be reduced?

Join us in welcoming back Professor Karl Roberts to discuss workplace violence: how to recognise the signals and how to deal with them.

In this hour-long webinar, Professor Karl will address these questions and suggest some counter-measures to protect employees against violence in the workplace.

He will help us understand how to define violence, the factors that trigger it, the different types of violence and recognising the signs before a situation deteriorates. He will give us some strategies on risk assessment and risk management and tactics for negotiation and self-protection.

Date: Thursday 27 September

TIME BY JURISDICTION:
SA (host), NT 9.30am – 11.00am
NSW, ACT, VIC, QLD, TAS 10.00am – 11.30am
WA 8.00am – 9.30am
NZ 12.00pm – 1.30pm

WATCH WEBINAR

You will be redirected to an Eventbrite registration page. We will send all registered attendees a link to the webinar prior to the event or you can access it on the resource section on this website.

If you have any questions please contact secretariat@aelert.net

OUR PRESENTER

10137Professor Karl Roberts is a forensic psychologist and is Professor and Chair of Policing and Criminal Justice at Western Sydney University in Sydney, Australia.

He is an Adjunct Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Massachusetts USA and Adjunct Professor of Pacific Policing at University if the South Pacific, Fiji.

His expertise is in the field of interpersonal violence and law enforcement investigation with a focus on the behavioural assessment of offenders, investigative interviewing by law enforcement and risk assessment and risk management.

Call for nominations - Intelligence Analysis for Environmental Regulators course

14/09/2018

The Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy is now calling for nominations to attend the inaugural Intelligence Analysis for Environmental Regulators training program that will be held in Canberra over 13-15 November 2018.

Full details are in the attached document.

Please email all nominations from your agency, in priority order, to intelligence@environment.gov.au by COB Friday, 5 October 2018. Please include the participant’s full name, position title and email address.

Spaces are limited. We will contact all successful and unsuccessful applicants in the week starting 8 October 2018.

2017 South Australia Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 Compliance Report

12/09/2018

The 2017 South Australia Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 Compliance Report prepared by the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) Energy Resources Division was tabled in the South Australian Parliament last week in accordance with requirements under Section 123 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000.

The report is now available on the Department’s website where you can also find all previous annual Compliance Reports from 2006 when the first report was released.

The Compliance Report details the compliance and regulatory surveillance activities undertaken during 2017 for regulated activities carried out under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 and associated Regulations.

Key areas covered in the report include:

  • An overview of DEM’s approval and compliance monitoring activities undertaken during 2017;
  • A summary of all serious incidents reported in 2017 under the PGE Act;
  • A summary of all fitness for purpose assessments undertaken by licensees on facilities, pipelines and well integrity matters during 2017 and details of work undertaken by DEM to validate these assessments;
  • Industry compliance statistics including the frequency and number of various types of reportable incidents, and analysis of root causes of these incidents. 

EPA fines quarry operator $45,000 for non-compliance

19/07/2018

A Upper Hunter based quarry company is facing $45,000 in fines for breaching its Environment Protection Licence.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issued Stoneco Pty Limited with three $15,000 fines for alleged non-compliances with their Environment Protection Licence following a routine and unannounced inspection of the Braeside Quarry near Scone in February this year.

PA Officers identified a range of issues resulting from poor management practices including a lack of dust emission controls, inappropriate storage of waste and poor storage and handling of diesel, oil and waste oils.

EPA Director Hunter Karen Marler said Stoneco Pty Limited is responsible for complying with the conditions of their licence.

“Compliance with the conditions of their licence is not optional. There was potential for harm to human health and the environment, including for workers onsite, particularly from the uncontrolled dust emissions,” Ms Marler said.

“Operating in a relatively remote location does not mean that the rules do not apply. Those rules are in place to ensure relevant risks are controlled and that activities are carried out in an appropriate manner.”

Stoneco Pty Limited will be required to remove and lawfully dispose of relevant wastes stored onsite as well as carrying out other necessary rectification works.

Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

Source: NSW EPA