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Open for consultation: Draft Asbestos-Cement (AC) Water and Sewer Pipe Management Guidelines

09/07/2020

In 2018, the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency released a report Case studies of asbestos water pipe management practicesThe report examined six cases of rehabilitating water and sewer pipes containing asbestos in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia and identified best practice for safe and effective management and removal. 

The report recommended that a clear, nationally consistent approach to managing asbestos cement water pipes is needed for cost-effectively managing approximately 40,000 km of water mains pipes and 5,000 km of sewer pipes containing asbestos cement across Australia. 

In response to that recommendation, the Agency developed the draft Asbestos-Cement (AC) Water and Sewer Pipe Management Guidelines, in collaboration with a working group representing industry, union and government officials. The draft Guidelines have now been released for public consultation. The Guidelines provide information on asbestos cement water and sewer pipe removal and remediation methods, and the issues that water agencies should consider in deciding how to safely manage AC water and sewer pipes.

Submissions are invited from the public, industry and government and must be submitted by 5pm on Friday 7 August 2020. Details on how to make a submission are included with the Guidelines.

Your feedback will help ensure the final version is useful and supports safe practices when managing and removing asbestos cement water pipes. Any queries about the public consultation can be sent to the Agency via email to engage@asbestossafety.gov.au

 

Find out more

 

Report: Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade

07/07/2020

Source: FATF

25 June 2020 – The illegal wildlife trade is a major transnational organised crime, which generates billions of criminal proceeds each year. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has conducted a new study to provide guidance to countries on measures they can take to combat money laundering from the illegal wildlife trade.

Wildlife traffickers exploit weaknesses in the financial and non-financial sectors, to move, hide and launder their proceeds, enabling further wildlife crimes and damaging financial integrity. One of the most effective ways to identify the broader criminal networks and take the profit out of this crime, is to follow the financial trails of wildlife traffickers.

Despite the significant criminal gains involved, countries and private sector are not prioritising efforts to trace and combat financial flows from this trade in line with risk. 

To combat the financial flows from the illegal wildlife trade, countries should therefore as a priority:

  1. Identify and assess their money laundering risks relating to the illegal wildlife trade.
  2. Ensure that national laws and powers for law enforcement allow authorities to go after the finances of wildlife traffickers, and to pursue financial investigations.

The private sector also has an important role to play in combatting financial flows from illegal wildlife trade. This study therefore identifies good practices and risk indicators to assist private sector and countries to identify potential suspicious financial activity for the illegal wildlife trade.

This is the FATF's first global report on this topic. It draws on inputs and case studies from over 50 countries from across the FATF Global Network and observers, as well as civil society and the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce. 

News: EPA officer punched during inspection

29/06/2020

Source: Adelaide Advertiser, Adelaide

by Elizabeth Henson 25 Jun 2020 General News - Page 13

A MAN punched an environment protection officer in the head during a heated confrontation at his family's Largs Bay demolition business.

The officer was one of three there investigating suspected illegal storage of asbestos.

Gavin Piller, 59, of St Peters, has pleaded guilty in the Environment, Resources and Development Court to two counts of assaulting an authorised officer, two of hindering an authorised officer and one of abusive language.

The charges stemmed from a violent altercation at GP and Sons Demolition on Jetty Rd on April 3, 2018.

A prosecutor said Mr Piller approached and swore at one of the officers, saying it was private property and "you can't take photographs". He then grabbed the officer's camera, injuring his wrist.

The situation escalated when the officer started filming Mr Piller on his phone. "Mr Piller grabbed (the officer) by the shirt-front, pushed him backwards and there was then a struggle; Mr Piller on top of (the officer), Mr Piller punching him to the side of his head, knocking off his sunglasses," the prosecutor said.

The officer suffers ongoing psychiatric injuries.

Mr Piller's lawyer said he was a "hardworking, community-minded family man" who had been working in Lobethal for months because GP and Sons Demolition had been contracted by the State Government to clear buildings destroyed in the Adelaide Hills bushfires.

"It's abundantly clear (in Mr Piller's letter of apology) that my client has insight into the offence in 2018 and is extremely remorseful and he is disappointed in himself because he had a good working relationship with the SA Government and at that time the EPA" he said.

The matter was adjourned until August for sentencing.

Conference Webinars Available

27/04/2020

There’s never been a better time to get into online learning than while we're all in COVID-19 lockdown. Thanks to the variety of knowledge sharing and capacity building at our recent conference, AELERT has you covered. You can now access recorded presentations online at any time, simply logon with your member details here: www.aelert.net/resource/view/577

Let us know your favourite speaker or biggest learning!

New Chair for AELERT!

27/04/2020

It is with great pleasure that the AELERT Steering Committee and Secretariat welcome Monica Collins into the role of Chair. Monica works as the Assistant Secretary for the Environment Compliance Branch, in the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Monica has been the AELERT Vice-Chair for the past three years and has been acting as the Chair for the last 5 months.

Monica was a great support to the Secretariat in the lead up to and during the recent joint conference with INECE. Her guidance has been invaluable to the AELERT network so far and will further guide us over the coming years.

Monica Collins joined the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy as Head of the Environment Compliance Branch in 2016. In this role Monica has transformed the Department’s approach to compliance, implementing a risk-based and intelligence led model with a focus on delivering environmental outcomes through a broad range of compliance tools. Under this new model, the team has a proud track record of sensible compliance outcomes, from criminal and civil prosecutions, through to working with regulatory partners to improve voluntary compliance in response to emerging compliance risks.

Monica most recently worked with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage and has more than 25 years’ experience working in the environment and natural resources management sector. 

Monica has worked in environmental regulation, compliance and enforcement, community engagement, and environmental program delivery roles, including in the Murray-Darling Basin, biodiversity and threatened species programs, environmental impact assessment, kangaroo management, floodplain and coastal erosion management, forestry regulation, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. Monica also brings significant experience in managing regulatory reform and change management.

“It is an honour and a privilege to take on the role of AELERT Chair! I am looking forward to continuing the great work of AELERT through the Steering Committee, our Working Groups and Communities of Practice. I want to take the time to recognise that all of these members volunteer their time and expertise to this great network.

“I am passionate about capability building and collaborating amongst regulators to enhance the environmental outcomes we are tasked with delivering, and to work together to solve emerging issues. Over the past few years I have seen the level of engagement increasing significantly across the AELERT network, and this is what AELERT is all about.

“I extend a big thank you to our out-going Chair Mark Gifford who has been actively involved with the AELERT for over ten years and has certainly helped drive the network to where it is today. Mark is a passionate regulator and I have no doubt we will continue to see him involved with AELERT”.

2020 Conference Debrief

03/04/2020

The AELERT biannual conference recently took place from 10-13 March 2020 in sunny Adelaide, SA and we are happy to report that it was a great success. The conference has always been a unique opportunity to come together and share experiences, knowledge and expertise. Partnering with INECE this year broadened the opportunity across the international community to cooperate and build capacity in ways that are rarely possible for environmental regulators.

Our main objective was to learn from each other by sharing best practice and innovation as well as hearing views from countries in different stages of development. Around 20% of our audience were international delegates, flying in from countries such as Thailand and Morocco. In total we had over 330 delegates with representation from over 30 countries – not bad considering the battle against bushfires and early emergence of COVID-19 in the lead up to the conference! Our Buddy Scheme connected many of our international guests with AELERT members as a way of welcoming each other and to start conversations that we hope reached beyond the limits of our conference.

The three INECE courses on offer provided delegates with an opportunity to refresh their thinking on performance measurements and exposure to new and innovative approaches in environmental compliance. We also held a series of workshops including one from the popular Intelligence and Analysis Community of Practice. Highlights from a few jam-packed days included a session on ‘Being a Modern Regulator’, a round table discussion between the Superintendency of Environment Chile and the Flemish High Enforcement Council and multiple presentations on ‘Engaging the Public and Community Involvement’.

We finished up with a powerful closing from Brian Gilligan, an environmental regulator with over 50 years’ experience as a public servant. Brian left our audience challenged with his presentation ‘Regulation and Public Service in an Era of Policy Dysfunction’. Take a look at the full presentation and view his report here.

A wide range of abstract submissions to participate in the conference were received, including topics on wildlife, biodiversity and conservation, waste, pollution, marine environment, biosecurity, climate change and much more, at all levels of government and across a range of agencies. It was this variety of practice areas that enabled us to strike a balance between technical and operational topics and broader policy and strategic discussions in the conference program. We extend our thanks to all of those that submitted an abstract and everyone that participated in our conference.

Of course, we also had a lot of help putting the conference together and our volunteer working groups also deserve a big shout out for dedicating their time and assisting in every way they could. A special thanks to AELERT members; Alice Turnbull, Amiette Wakenshaw, Belinda Walker, Hanna Kogelman, Heike Eberhard, Paul Newell, Robert Deves, Stuart Cowie, Kieran Lynch, Heidi Ward and Kevin Rowley, as well as our Community of Practice Chairs for all of your contributions.

Our next conference is due to take place in Perth, WA in 2022 – although this years’ will be a tough one to beat!

Check out the Conference Photos!

20/03/2020

Check out the photos from the conference: https://www.aelert.net/resource/view/575

The videos and presentations will also be available next week.

That's a Wrap! AELERT-INECE Conference 2020

18/03/2020

What an amazing joint conference we had with INECE last week! Adelaide put on a show with wonderful blue skies and stunning scenery, while inside people from all over our environmental regulation sector got together to network and share their knowledge and experience.

We were also lucky that we just got in before the COVID-19 started shutting down large groups and travel.

If you were unable to make it or you would like to have a refresher course, please hold tight as we add the videos, recordings and presentations which will be availble around 25/3/2020.

In the meantime don't forget we have a feedback survey that we'd love to have you fill out: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AELERTINECE2020

 

Register for AELERT Conference

25/02/2020

Have you registered for the AELERT-INECE 2020 Conference yet?

Environmental regulators from around the world will come together in Adelaide, South Australia 10-13 March and we want you there too! The conference caters to pollution, wildlife and conservation, marine and other environmental practitioners and leaders. By engaging a wide-range of stakeholders working on these issues, the conference strikes a balance between technical and operational topics and broader policy and strategic discussions.

AELERT and INECE Secretariat look forward to welcoming you to Adelaide in March 2020! 

Register Now

AELERT Member Returns from Southeast Asia

31/01/2020

I take this opportunity to introduce myself as a returning member.

Over the last decade, I have worked directly for the Government of Lao PDR and Cambodia covering areas that include forest and wildlife law enforcement, risk assessment and gap analysis; and under projects in Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.  

Over this period, with the last five being full time, I have focused efforts on building links and closer ties across agencies to deliver more effective and active enforcement responses. I have also planned and facilitated the operational implementation of transnational enforcement operations targeting organised networks. In 2019 this included two operations each involving over 120 officials from 9 agencies, 3 countries and 8 provinces.  

In 2017 I received a Lao PDR Ministerial Award for Services, recognising my contribution to strengthening forest and wildlife law enforcement at a national and provincial level.  

So, after working in Southeast Asia on improving, strengthening and supporting forest and wildlife law enforcement, how does one measure success?  

  • Is it building capacity that has resulted in 3,000 investigations and 72 imprisonments;
  • It is the issuing of US$2.8 million in fines, confiscating over $2 million in African ivory, 240,000m3 timber and 850 trucks?
  • Is it an 85% reduction in illegal logging and the closure of open trading in CITES products?
  • Is it the development and implementation of cloud-based enforcement tools?
  • Is it the development and implementation of risk assessment, planning and reporting systems?
  • Or is it the fact that I was not expelled from any of these countries and still maintain strong friendships in all?    

While these are indication of activities, they do not really indicate success. To me, I will be happy to be assessed against my capacity to transfer knowledge, skills and ethics, and support personal development of future leaders, because they will influence future enforcement successes. The personal growth exhibited by my counterparts in many of the countries I have worked in is something I am proud of. It is these people who are likely to become future leaders.  

So, when I look back on my success, I can point to Mr Khamphet KEOSOUVANH, a Lao official who came from a minority group in one of the poorest provinces, who now represents the Government of Lao PDR at international events. He has the confidence of ministers, and the confidence to act on this. He understands the need for accountability, transparency and professional application of duty, and promotes these.  

However, Khamphet is not the only success story. The confidence, knowledge and professionalism of many of the motivated young people whom I have supported has also improved and should be celebrated.

And finally, no success is ever achieved without the support (and great depth of tolerance) from one’s family.  

In conclusion, I encourage you to carefully consider how we measure success, and how we judge our success.  

PS – I look forward to sharing my experiences and contributing to the knowledge bank that is AELERT.

Aidan Flanagan.