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Latest AELERT Updates

04/10/2019

Find out all the latest about the upcoming joint conference with INECE, new AELERT Cluster names, our Webinar about how to deal with aggressive people, and much more.

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AELERT-INECE Conference

23/09/2019

The Australasian Environmental Law Enforcement and Regulators neTwork (AELERT) and the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) are delighted to announce their first joint conference in Adelaide, South Australia which will take place from 10-13 March 2020.

This year, we wanted to do something different. As networks, both of our groups spend a lot of time contemplating the power of cooperation, recognising the reality that we are stronger through partnership. While this objective of collaboration is well appreciated across the world, there is a need to share success stories and unpack challenges to working together effectively given the circumstances imposed by the ballooning complexity of environmental protection.

The conference theme, “Environmental Collaboration: Shaping the future of regulation, compliance and enforcement together” will challenge you to consider the ways in which working together and sharing knowledge contributes to environmental protection at all levels.

This joint conference is a unique opportunity for environmental practitioners and leaders in the pollution (brown), wildlife and conservation (green) and marine (blue) subject areas as well as other environmental spheres that fit within our umbrella.

The conference will be open to members and non-members of either network alike, and there will be no restrictions on which sessions participants may attend. The conference organisers aim to attract a diverse range of perspectives for the event, and we encourage practitioners from traditionally under-represented groups to participate.

On behalf of AELERT and INECE, we look forward to seeing you there so don’t forget to save the date. Visit the conference website for more information: 2020aelert-inece.net

Network News - Out now!

02/09/2019

This month’s issue features the relaunch of our AELERT Environmental Liabilities Community of Practice. Environmental liability and compliance regulations are very important - industry needs to know of its obligations when leasing land, extracting resources, or dealing with the by-products of manufacturing. And environmental regulators, like us, need to take the lead on making sure industry is aware of, and complies with, any legislation relevant to their business undertakings.

AELERT Executive Officer, Zoé Kennedy recently attended the annual seminar of the Australian Institute of Local Government Rangers where she met with Council Rangers from across NSW and introduced them to the benefits of AELERT membership. So far there have been three new agency sign ups as a result of this conference.

The Water Compliance Community of Practice update us on the success of their recent forum. With over 13 organisations represented, this is a great example of how the AELERT network aims to improve capacity building and information sharing amongst environmental regulators.

Also featured in this month's Network News are upcoming events, new member agencies, highlighted discussion board topics and a select digest of the latest news – local, national and international – on environmental protection and enforcement.

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Environmental Liabilities Re-established

29/08/2019

The Environmental Liabilities Community of Practice (CoP) has been re-established. This CoP sits under the Operations Cluster and focuses on finding common ground with jurisdictions looking for approaches to managing environmental liabilities, including the use of financial assurances.

Please welcome Joanne Stuart as the new Environmental Liabilities Chair. Joanne is the Manager of Regulatory Practice and Programs, part of the Contaminated Land Management Section at the NSW Environment Protection Agency (EPA). Joanne has worked with the NSW EPA for 20 years, her expertise includes engaging in regulatory reform in important, but not always visible, areas such as petroleum storage systems, increases in penalty amounts, and development of regulatory tools. One of her current tasks is a review and remake of the Underground Petroleum Storage Systems Regulation.

While each jurisdiction has its own challenges, the newly reconstituted Environmental Liabilities CoP aims to recognise successful approaches, learn from precedents, and share this knowledge among jurisdictions.

Issues vary in size and scope. Queensland has experience managing the environmental impacts of mining, in particular coal seam gas extraction, while Victoria has been working on financial assurances related to landfill after EPA Victoria was called to conduct clean-up operations following illegal dumping of tyres.

Financial assurances mitigate the risk of companies, such as now bankrupt Linc Energy, from walking away from environmental damage. The negligence in this instance cost taxpayers upwards of $30 million to clean up. In Victoria, an illegal tyre dump at Numurkah, saw taxpayers’ foot a $1.5 million bill. Financial assurances can cover any foreseen environmental degradation, ensuring companies take responsibility for environmental protection.

Financial assurances can take the form of a bond, commitments to undertake specific works including monitoring and maintaining containment cells, and post-closure rehabilitation. Joanne explains that a financial assurance is intended to cover the EPA's 'reasonable costs' in the event the EPA had to undertake these works. Monitoring and enforcement is ongoing, with licences to operate on land up for periodic review.

Managing environmental liabilities is only going to grow in importance and intricacy, so the relaunch of the Environmental Liabilities Community of Practice is a good opportunity for the AELERT network to discuss emerging issues and share their expertise.

If you would like to join the Environmental Liabilities CoP or find out more information, contact the Chair, Joanne Stuart through our Members Directory.

Image: Sitting in the NSW EPA Regulatory Practice and Programs Unit is the Environmental Liabilities team, with Kim Boxsell, Magdalena Paszkiewicz, Audrey Yim, and Joanne Stuart.

Water Compliance Community of Practice Forum 2019

28/08/2019

Following the success of the first annual Water Compliance Community of Practice (CoP) forum in November 2018, the Murray­­­–Darling Basin Authority and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) co-hosted the 2019 forum which took place in Brisbane on 22 - 23 August. A total of 53 delegates from 13 organisations, including Commonwealth and State government and water corporations attended the two day forum to share knowledge, showcase new technologies and collaborate on developments for water compliance.

The forum explored topics ranging from risk-based approaches to compliance and enforcement, the use of technology as evidence in court and approaches to learning and development. Genene O’Neill, Lead Behavioural Scientist with the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, provided an engaging key note presentation on the application of behavioural science to improve compliance outcomes.

A range of speakers from jurisdictions presented on a variety of relevant topics. Kirsty Ruddock from the NSW Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) provided valuable insights into prosecution learnings gathered in NRAR’s short but productive 16 month existence. She explained the opportunities and risks of using aerial photography, Sentinel satellite imagery, telemetry and crop yield data as evidence in prosecutions.

A highlight of the forum was the field trip to the Rocklea Technical Centre where attendees witnessed the practical testing of compliance equipment by technicians from DNRME (Qld). Testing equipment included ultra-portable gauging stations and telemetry systems transmitting flow data via the IoT (Internet of Things) network. Arran Corbett, Team Leader (Water Divisional Support Queensland), explained how rapid advancements in technology is presenting many opportunities for compliance. One such example is the opportunity telemetry has provided to increase efficiency of compliance data collection. The application of telemetry using satellite networks has removed the need for long driving hours to remote monitoring sites as staff now receive pumping or river data in the office in real time.

Regular teleconferences and the annual Water Compliance CoP forum provides a platform for water regulators to identify common challenges and issues, share operational learnings and openly discuss avenues for regulatory framework improvement. AELERT members have expressed the value of learning from collective experiences and from testing solutions within a group environment.

For more information on the Water Compliance CoP or to join, please contact watercopcoord@mdba.gov.au

Group photo   Water Compliance CoP attendees 23 Aug 2019

Nominations for EPA TAS Sustainability Award close soon

06/08/2019

​The Environment Protection Authority Tasmania (EPA TAS) is calling for nominations for this year's EPA Sustainability Award until entries close on Wednesday 14 August 2019.

EPA Director, Mr Wes Ford said that the Sustainability Award is designed to recognize the practical efforts being made by industry and community sectors towards environmental sustainability.

“The Award is open to Tasmanian businesses, groups and organisations that have developed and implemented clean production initiatives and sustainable practices," said Mr Ford.

“The EPA is particularly keen for nominations from Tasmanian businesses wanting to demonstrate how they are helping to protect the Tasmanian environment," said Mr Ford.    

Nominations are open until Wednesday 14 August 2019, and the winners will be announced at a Gala presentation on Friday 22 November 2019.

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Network News - July

31/07/2019

All the latest from AELERT including the recent Secretariat visit to Tasmania, our Woodsmoke Webinar, featured Discussion Board questions and the latest Environmental Regulation news.

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JOB ALERT: Principal Water Regulation Officer

19/07/2019

A rare opportunity to influence water regulation compliance and monitoring in Western NSW in this ongoing, full-time position located in Armidale, Tamworth, Dubbo, Queanbeyan, Albury or other as negotiated is now available within the Natural Resource Access Regulator, a part of the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment.

The Principal Water Regulation Officer provides strategic direction to and manages water regulatory projects to ensure the delivery of agreed outputs and outcomes. This role also provides expertise in water-related compliance processes and projects.

An attractive salary starting from $125,000 pa is available for the right candidate.

Closing date: 28/7/19

For more information about the role including key accountabilities and challenges, please view the role description or contact Graeme White at graeme.white@nrar.nsw.gov.au.

Full job ad: https://iworkfor.nsw.gov.au/job/principal-water-regulation-officer-163884

Registrations for the AELERT Water Compliance Forum now open!

16/07/2019

Registrations for the AELERT Water Compliance Community of Practice (CoP) 2019 Forum are now open! The purpose of the Water Compliance CoP is to share information on cross-cutting issues, solve problems, and promote best practice in water compliance policy and operations amongst Australian States and the Australian Government in a collaborative way, while building capability within the AELERT network. The 2019 Water Compliance CoP forum will be held in Brisbane, Queensland. It is being jointly hosted by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

Water compliance practitioners in policy, operations, coordination, and management, from all Australian States and Territories are invited to attend. If you are unable to attend, or have changed your role, please consider forwarding this to a colleague.

The forum will involve:

  • A keynote presentation
  • Panels and guest speakers
  • Breakout sessions
  • An optional post forum dinner
  • An optional field trip on 23 August 2019

The agenda will be confirmed closer to the date of the forum. If you have any questions about the Water Compliance CoP or the forum, want to refer a colleague to join the CoP, or want to suggest an agenda item at the forum, please contact the team at watercopcoord@mdba.gov.au

FREE Webinar For AELERT Members

01/07/2019

"Who's Pluming Who?" Woodsmoke in Tasmania

 

John Innis, Senior Scientific Officer, EPA Tasmania 

Tasmania's location in the roaring forties combined with its comparatively small population, low traffic levels, and limited large-scale industry, results in low ambient levels of most of the Air NEPM criteria pollutants. However, for PM2.5 (particulate matter up to 2.5 millionths of a metre in effective diameter) Tasmania has a number of centres that exceed the 24-hour standard. The cause is woodsmoke from winter wood heating, bushfires, and planned burning operations.
 

In 2009, EPA Tasmania commenced a program of establishing a near-state-wide smoke monitoring network, using instrumentation that was both state-of-the-art and much lower cost than conventional instrumentation. This program was called "BLANkET" - the Base-Line Air Network of EPA Tasmania, and currently consists of 35 stations across Tasmania. 

The rich BLANkET dataset has provided significant insight into smoke levels and detailed information on smoke movement and dispersal across Tasmania. The data is used in improving smoke-management practices from planned-burning operations, assisting public health response during bushfires, and for real-time public information, as well as to inform EPA Tasmania for assessing air quality against national standards. The data has allowed us to assess the relative sizes of the smoke impacts from the various sources. 
 

The data indicates that most Tasmanians receive most of their particle exposure from winter woodheater smoke. Woodheater education programs are conducted each winter by both EPA Tasmania and local councils. In general however these do not appear to have significantly lowered winter smoke levels.
 

This talk will present an outline of BLANkET, overview the new understandings that have arisen from the data, and will consider some of the broader aspects of smoke pollution in Tasmania. 
 

Where: 

Once live, you can watch the webinar with this link and even post questions during the talk: bit.ly/smokeTAS

If you are based in the Launceston area you’re welcome to attend in person, simply email secretariat@aelert.net

 

When: Tuesday 9 July 10:30am AEST


Time by jurisdiction:            
TAS, NSW, ACT, VIC, QLD          10:30am – 12pm
SA, NT                                           10am – 11:30am
NZ                                                 12:30pm – 2:00pm
WA                                                 8:30am – 10am