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Twice the coral trout in Great Barrier Reef protected zones


Regulatory Area: Marine Jurisdiction: Australia (Commonwealth)

A 30-year study has confirmed the benefits of no-take fishing zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). The study, by researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University, found that the expansion of the no-take reserves since 2004 has led to a substantial increase in fish stocks and greater resilience to environmental events.

The researchers found that there were approximately 2.5 times more fish within the no-take areas, and that the fish themselves were bigger in size compared to areas where fishing is allowed. Furthermore, the no-take reserves were found to cope better to cyclone damage, and assisted the recovery of fished areas by providing a source of replacement fish larvae. The no-take areas were

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is currently comprised of a large-scale network of no-take reserves that cover more than 2000km of coast line. The growth of this network, from less than 5% in 2004 to more than 30% today, has been the result of a long term integrated management strategy, involving the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and Commonwealth and state fisheries agencies.

These findings provide evidence that networks of no-fish zones provide a viable management strategy for conserving marine biodiversity.

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EPA SA prosecutes for abusive and threatening language


Regulatory Area: Legal Practice, Investigations Jurisdiction: South Australia

UPDATE: Judgement has now occurred relating to the below prosecution, resulting in Mr Ron Papillo being fined $26,125 (2 April 2015). [END UPDATE]

The Environment Protection Authority South Australia (EPA SA) has successfully prosecuted the director of an earthmoving company, Mr Ron Papillo, after he made threats and used abusive language towards visiting authorised officers.

On three separate occasions in 2013, EPA SA Staff were subject to threats and abusive language when carrying out inspections of contaminated land belonging to Mr Ron Papillo. On one occasion, an EPA Officer recorded the conversation, which was later submitted as evidence. The audio recording, a portion of which can be heard on, reveals Mr Papillo swearing and threatening the officers. The recording was taken by EPA SA authorised officers, as allowed by their powers under section 87 of the Environment Protection Act 1993 (SA). The court also heard that Mr Papillo referenced his ownership of firearms, and threatened to "harm" the officers.

EPA SA, through the crown, prosecuted Mr Papillo, who pleaded guilty to all counts of abuse. Judgment is yet to occur.

Read more media coverage on the ABC News website, or at

National Review of Environmental Regulation- Interim report published


Regulatory Area: Better regulation, strategy Jurisdiction: Australia (Commonwealth)

An interim report for the National Review of Environmental Regulation has been prepared and published by the Department of the Environment (Commonwealth). The report acts as a stock-take of the environmental regulatory reforms currently underway, or recently completed, in all Australian jurisdictions.

It follows a Meeting of Environment Ministers in April 2014, where they agreed to the National Review of Environmental Regulation, which focuses on identifying unworkable, contradictory or incompatible regulation, and ways in which regulations can be simplified and made nationally consistent.

Seven areas were selected for potential reform assessment:

  • Threatened species listing processes;
  • Opportunities for better practice regulation;
  • Biodiversity regulation (including offsets);
  • Chemicals;
  • Integrated waste management;
  • Product stewardship;
  • Heritage listing;
  • Simplification of environmental aspects of land use planning.

The interim report outlines the current environmental regulatory reform effort across jurisdictions and lists issues for further investigation. A summary of each jurisdiction's current activity is detailed in Attachment A of the report.

Capital dredge disposal banned in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park


Regulatory Area: Marine Parks Jurisdiction: Australia (Commonwealth)

The Australian Government has announced a proposal to ban the dumping of dredge spoil within any part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The proposal will be put into law through the creation of a new regulation by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983.

The Commonwealth ban, accounting for 99% of the Marine Park, will be supplemented by a Queensland Government ban for the remaining 1% of the area. When combined, they will prevent dredging material from major projects, such as port developments, being dumped anywhere within the 345, 000 square kilometre park area.

The new regulation will apply to existing permits and all future proposals, and will not include works for critical island infrastructure, such as burying cables and pipelines for telecommunications, electricity or water. Dredging at existing ports for maintenance purposes will also be exempt in the interests of safety.

The proposal is open for public comment until 5pm on 27 March 2015.