Search archive

Search Archive

The MRIT is finalised, and now we need you!

30/07/2015

We need you!

The Modern Regulator Improvement Tool (MRIT) has been finalised by the Better Regulation Cluster, and is now ready to use. The Tool has been developed to help AELERT members improve and mature as regulators, and is simple to use.

Better Regulation Cluster members Eve West (EPA Victoria) and Kimberly Maiolo (EPA SA) are hosting an interactive session at the 2015 AELERT Conference that shares MRIT results from across the network and discusses ways to improve maturity in selected attributes of regulatory capability.

They need your help to make the session as interactive and meaningful as possible. If you have already completed the MRIT for your organisation, or are planning to soon, they would love to hear from you. In particular the cluster wants to know:

  • What you think of the tool?
  • How you have used it at your organisation?
  • What were your results?
  • Your comments will directly influence the conference discussion.

    To provide your feedback, please contact Kimberly Maiolo or Eve West.

    Drones: Changing the world 1 billion trees at a time!

    20/07/2015

    This use of new technology caught our eye, particularly given the theme of the upcoming AELERT Conference; Focus on the Future. BioCarbon Engineering, a UK firm, has developed a system using drones to plant thousands of trees per day in deforested areas.

    They use a two stage process, starting with drones fitted with mapping technology that produce 3D maps of the deforested area. These are followed by secondary drones that shoot germinated seedpods into the ground at specific locations determined during the mapping stage. The planter drones use pressurised air to embed the seeds in the soil, and each seed is covered in a nutrient rich gel to promote growth.

    Do you use new-technology in your role? Let us know!

    #FutureFocus #technology #NextGen

    Unseen sentinels- monitoring and regulation within local communities

    20/07/2015

    This recent study explores the monitoring and regulatory activities that occur within indigenous communities in the Papua New Guinea region, calling for greater attention to autonomous monitoring. The paper, published in Ecology and Society, provides case studies from three local Papua communities that have been relatively untouched by external settlement.

    The authors describe a range of autonomous monitoring activities, and a number of instances of self-regulation. The researchers found evidence that the community conducted population assessments of animal stocks, and implemented hunting bans when population numbers appeared low. One group, for example, regularly assesses crocodile numbers at night using hand held spotlights and adjusts their hunting accordingly. In addition to monitoring resources, each community instigates 'resting' cycles where areas are allowed to recover from hunting and harvesting.

    The researchers found that decisions regarding resources were generally made informally by consensus, with hunters discussing their success rates, patterns of prints, nests and other environmental indicators. The communities also imposed sanctions when people failed to respect the controls which, in extreme cases, included the head of the community notifying disctrict officials by radio. This was seen as a strong deterrent, due to the public shame associated with being reported to external authorities. They also describe one local community whose guardian (or Ijabait) controls local access to water resources, and issues fines and punishments for unauthorised incursions. The paper notes that local communities cannot necessarily identify and manage all threats to resources, citing examples of a regional dam project, external logging activities and invasive species. The paper concludes by recommending that more attention is paid to autonomous community monitoring, and incorporating these activities into government regulatory programs.

    Related resources

  • Find out about Queensland's Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program
  • Browse the Indigenous NRM programs currently operating through the National Landcare Program
  • Keep up to date with programs and initiatives by following @AboriginalNRM on Twitter
  • Read how CSIRO is working with indigenous communities in Northern Australia to support natural resource management
  • Read this article in 'Forests news'; Forgotten guardians: Local communities in natural resource management
  • Hazelwood recovery effort- findings published

    16/07/2015

    Regulatory Area: Pollution Jurisdiction: Victoria

    EPA Victoria has published findings from its environmental monitoring program following the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire. The reports show no evidence that the fire had any ongoing impact on the environment of the Latrobe Valley.

    The Hazelwood mine fire, which was officially declared safe on 25 March 2014, caused a range of issues for the local Latrobe Valley community. As part of the recovery efforts , EPA Victoria established an intensive 12-month monitoring program in the Latrobe Valley to determine if there were any ongoing impacts on the quality of air, water and soil.

    In addition to EPA Victoria's monitoring and reporting, the Victorian State Government has re-opened the Hazelwood Mine Fire inquiry to examine the long term health impacts on the Latrobe Valley community. Monash University has been appointed to lead the health study, which will span at least 20years.

    EPA Victoria's reports contribute vital information to the community's understanding of how the devastating mine fire has impacted the local area. They find no ongoing changes to air, water and soil quality due to the fire.

    The following reports are now available online:

    Summary reports

  • Hazelwood Recovery environmental monitoring reports – Executive summary
  • Summarising the air monitoring and conditions during the Hazelwood mine fire, 9 February to 31 March 2014
  • Estimating air quality in the early stages of the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire
  • Technical reports

  • Hazelwood Recovery Program water, soil and ash assessment
  • EPA Hazelwood Recovery Program air quality assessment
  • New NZ EPA Chief Executive announced

    10/07/2015

    The New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority has announced the appointment of their new Chief Executive, Dr Allan Freeth, who will officially begin in his position on 1 September 2015.

    Dr Freeth has a background in both science and business, holding a BSc (1st class Honours) degree in Zoology, a PhD in Population Genetics and an MBA. These qualifications are supplemented by extensive senior management experience, including previous CE roles at TelstraClear and Wrightson.

    EPA Board Chair Kerry Prendergast says that Dr Freeth's passion for science and strong leadership profile are qualities that will be immensely valuable as the Authority works towards its future vision of being a world-leading regulator.

    Read the full media release.

    NSW EPA becomes the lead regulator for gas

    03/07/2015

    Regulatory Area: Mining Jurisdiction: New South Wales

    Want to find out more? Keep an eye-out for AELERT's upcoming webinar on unconventional gas. More details coming soon!

    The New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) has begun its new role at the State's lead regulator for the gas industry. The authority now has sole responsibility for compliance and enforcement conditions for all gas activities, including conventional gas, coal seam gas (CSG) and tight gas.

    The EPA has been allocated $6.8million for the 2015-16 financial year to support their new role. This will fund the addition of more than 30 new staff, the cost of the gas plan oversight and CSG monitoring.

    The changes follow an independent review of existing structures by NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane. The Final Report of the Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW, published in September 2014, recommended the establishment of a single independent regulator. The report further recommended that the process for allocation of rights was separated from the regulation of CSG activities.

    In keeping with this recommendation, the following process will now apply to gas exploration and production:

    • Gas exploration will be assessed by the Minister for Resources and Energy
    • Gas production will be assessed by the Minister for Planning or the independent Planning Assessment Commission
    • Once an application to explore, appraise or produce gas is approved, conditions of approval will be issued by the Office of Coal Seam Gas or Department of Planning and Environment
    • Once approved in the planning process, gas activities will be required to hold an environment protection licence issued by the EPA
    • NSW EPA's new regulatory role, formalised under Action 7 of the NSW Gas Plan, will then be to regulate and enforce consent conditions for all gas exploration and production, excluding work, health and safety conditions

      In addition to these changes in the regulatory framework for gas activities, a number of new regulations will also be phased in for minerals, coal and petroleum explorers. The Improved Mining Exploration Regulations aim to reduce regulatory duplication, with 69 petroleum conditions, 54 coal conditions and 35 minerals conditions cut to just 13 standard conditions for all resources.