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Office of Environment and Heritage recognised as a world leader (NSW)


The New South Wales' Office of Environment and Heritage has been recognised as an environmental leader by the World Economic Forum. Their Sustainability Advantage Program received second place in the award for Circular Economy Cities at an awards ceremony in Davos, Switzerland on 20 January 2015. First place was awarded to the Danish Business Authority for the Denmark without Waste program.

Sustainability Advantage is a unique industry/business partnership program that aims to help companies save money and increase productivity through better environmental practices. Participating companies access expertise, training and business tools throughout the 18-month program, starting with a self-evaluation of their organisation's current environmental performance.

The Office of Environment and Heritage estimates that the 530 participating organisations have saved a combined $85 million per year and have diverted 700,000 tons of waste from landfills.

Read the official Media Release to find out more about the award-winning program, or watch this video featuring Rob Stokes, NSW Environment Minister, and Alice Cahill, manager of the Sustainability Advantage Program.

Regulatory area: Industry, Capacity Training Jurisdiction: New South Wales

Environment Protection Authority Victoria nominated as a finalist for 2014 IPAA Leadership in the Public Sector Award


EPA Victoria has been nominated for the 2014 IPAA (Institute of Public Administration Australia) People Development Award, in recognition of their Expertise Framework Program. The Program identifies, recognises and rewards experts in EPA’s environmental areas that are critical to the organisation. The Program appoints Principal Experts, who provide important advice on complex issues to EPA’s decision makers, mentor the next generation of experts, and represent the Authority at community engagements and to the media.

Lynne Curtin, Knowledge Transfer Leader at EPA Victoria, is the Program Manager and has recently completed the process to appoint EPA’s Principal Experts for the next two years. EPA Victoria is dedicated to sharing the Program method with other organisations, particularly regulators, and has presented to government departments around Australia that have shown an interest in applying similar programs.

Read Lynne’s thoughts on developing the Expertise Framework Program in her exclusive article for AELERT Members. Member login is required to view the full article. Would you like to hear more about the Expertise Framework Program? Please get in touch with the AELERT Secretariat to register your interest for an online video briefing with Lynne.

24 new weeds declared in South Australia


24 plant species including buffel grass, gazania and white arum lily, have been declared weeds under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 in South Australia. The declaration prohibits the sale of listed plants within the state, and requires landholders to manage the weeds within their properties.

It follows the completion of a comprehensive review of declared weeds by Biosecurity SA, in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DEWNR) and the state's eight regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) Boards. The updated weed policies, which were last reviewed in 1991, will assist NRM Boards to prioritise, plan and deliver weed management programs, including the enforced destruction of some species.

The updates also include the removal of five formally declared plants, including onion weed, and changes to the policies of 22 other declared plants.

For more information, read the official media release or see the full list of declared plants and their associated policies.

Regulatory area: Vegetation Jurisdiction: South Australia

US EPA proposes changes to oil spill contingency plans


Via United States Environment Protection Authority.

The US Environment Protection Authority has proposed a series of changes to the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan. The amendments are in response to issues raised during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico that resulted in the death of eleven workers and significant environmental damage.

The changes primarily relate to the use of specific products on maritime oil spills, incorporating learnings from recent spills and current scientific knowledge. The revisions include:

  • New methods for testing the toxicity and effectiveness of spill-mitigating substances, and accompanying new criteria for using those products;
  • New monitoring requirements for substances used to disperse oil discharges;
  • Introduction of an aquatic toxicity threshold.
  • The revisions are open for public comment for 90 days.

    For more information read the offical Media Release or visit the US EPA website for details about the revisions.

    Regulatory area: Pollution, maritime safety Jurisdiction: International (USA)

    New waste strategies- NSW and QLD


    Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority have both recently released waste and recycling/resource recovery strategies. Summaries of the two strategies are below.

    NSW Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014-2021 Via NSW Environment Protection Authority

    The Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014-2021 features updates to resource recovery targets that were set in 2003, and re-affirmed in 2007, following an expert review and community consultation. The new strategy aims to provide a seven year blueprint for waste management in New South Wales, including the identification of six key result areas with specific performance measures and targets.

    Targets outlined in the strategy include:

  • Establish or upgrade 86 drop-off facilities for household waste
  • Increase municipal solid waste recovery from 52% to 70% by 2022
  • Increase construction and demolition waste recovery from 75% to 80%
  • Divert 75% of waste from landfill (from 63%)
  • Reduce the incidence of illegal dumping by 30% by 2017
  • You can find the strategy (downloadable PDF) here.

    Queensland’s waste and recycling strategy Via Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

    The Queensland Waste Avoidance and Resource Productivity Strategy (2014–2024) provides a high-level vision and direction for Queensland over the next 10 years, outlining the many opportunities and challenges ahead for Queensland to improve its waste avoidance and recovery performance.

    It comes following the jurisdiction suffering a declining resource recovery rate. To combat this decline, the strategy outlines targets for reducing waste generation and improving recycling rates including:

  • An overall landfill diversion target of 15% over 10 years
  • Increase in construction and demolition waste recovery to 80%
  • 45% regional waste recovery by 2024
  • 55% metro municipal solid waste recovery by 2024
  • An action plan is to follow. You can find the strategy (downloadable PDF) here.

    Regulatory area: Waste management Jurisdictions: QLD and NSW

    Man jailed for 13 years after buying and eating three tigers (China)


    Via ABC News 15 people who participated in the killing and eating of three tigers in southern China have been found guilty of “illegally transporting precious endangered wild animal products”. The killings occurred over three separate trips organised by Chinese business man, Xu, with one of the slaughters being filmed on a group member’s mobile phone.

    Xu, who was also found in possession of other illegal animal products, has been jailed for 13 years and fined over $300, 000, while other group members were jailed for terms ranging from five to six-and-a-half years.

    Read the full article on the ABC News website.

    Regulatory area: Wildlife trade Jurisdiction: International (China)