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JOB ALERT - NT Senior Environmental Assessment Officer

09/10/2018

Senior Environmental Assessment Officer (NT)
Professional 3 - Remuneration Package $116,983 - $130,817 (including salary $101,433 - $113,600)

Interested? Then visit the job site HERE. Using the vacancy number: 022574 to find the full announcement. 

Agency: Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Work Unit: Environmental Assessment

Location: Darwin

Vacancy Types: Ongoing (Permanent) - Full Time

Closes: 18 October 2018

Primary Objective:

Implement environmental impact assessment of development proposals in accordance with the NT Environmental Assessment Act. Investigate, develop and implement environmental protection policies and strategies related to such development.

Contact:

Lisa Bradley, Director Environmental Assessments on 08 8924 4144 or Lisa.Bradley@nt.gov.au

2017 South Australian Mineral Resources Regulation Report

09/10/2018

The Mineral Resources Regulation Report 2017 was released by the South Australian Department for Energy and Mining this month. The report provides an annual account of the ongoing work administered by the Department to ensure the state’s mining laws are upheld.

Transparency, accountability and benchmarking are key features of the regulatory framework for the South Australian mineral resources sector.

This annual report demonstrates to the South Australian public an assurance that the mineral resources sector is accountable to regulators, landholders and the community. It also comprises key indicators on the performance of exploration and mining companies in meeting their compliance obligations to mitigate and manage genuine environmental risks associated with their operations.

The Department for Energy and Mining is committed to responsibly unlocking the value and opportunities of our mineral resources in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.

Further information can be found on the department's website.

If you have any queries, comments and feedback on the annual report please contact Alex Blood, Executive Director, Mineral Resources , Department For Energy and Mining

Individual fined $45,000 for illegal waste activities

05/10/2018

A Mount Morgan land owner has been convicted and fined $45,000 on charges relating to the illegal storage and handling of regulated waste on his property.

John Kevin Campion pleaded guilty to the charges in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on 12 March 2018.

Campion was charged with carrying out an environmentally relevant activity without an environmental authority; being a generator who failed to give prescribed information to the Department of Environment and Science; wilfully failing to comply with a clean-up notice; providing false or misleading information; and wilfully and unlawfully causing material environmental harm.

Campion variously contravened the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008.

The Court heard that in December 2015 a warrant was executed on Campion at his Mount Morgan property where more than 50 200-litre drums containing regulated waste were observed.

Results of sampling concluded that the drums contained hydrocarbons, organic solvents and phenols, all of which are prescribed regulated wastes.

In June 2016, Campion told the department that all regulated waste had been removed from his property, however subsequent departmental investigations showed this to be false. Campion was then issued with a clean-up notice to remove all regulated waste from his property, which he failed to comply with.

The Court was told that in July 2016, information was received that a number of 200-litre drums had been dumped in a gully near Campion’s property.
The department then relied on staff observations, DNA analysis from a cigarette butt retrieved from the gully, and samples of the drums’ contents to show that Campion had illegally dumped the drums.

In addition to the fine, Campion was ordered to pay investigation costs of $8,138.04 and legal costs of $1,500.

NSW EPA steps up efforts to recover the proceeds of environmental crime from offenders

05/10/2018

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has released a new robust and transparent framework to recover the proceeds of environmental crime from offenders, a first for environmental regulators in Australia.

The EPA can apply to the Court for a monetary benefit order (MBO) to be imposed on an offender as part of the sentencing package. MBOs aim to strip offenders of the illegal profits they made from committing an offence.

The EPA’s Chief Environmental Regulator, Mark Gifford, said offenders should not profit from committing an offence.

“Recovering monetary benefits as part of a sentencing package provides a deterrent for possible future offenders and an incentive for operators to take proper precautions,” Mr Gifford said.

Monetary benefits are the financial advantage that an offender gains from committing an offence. For example, additional funds may be available to the business that should have been used to comply with environmental legislation, including infrastructure improvements, or additional profits may have been made from illegal operations.

While the EPA has had this power since the introduction of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act), a robust and standardised approach to calculating and recovering monetary benefits in appropriate cases has been developed that can now be applied.

The new framework will help the EPA determine the monetary benefits offenders obtain through breaking environmental laws and to pursue the recovery of those benefits in appropriate cases, through the court process. A Protocol for calculating monetary benefits, supporting guidance and calculation tools have also been developed. The EPA intends to formally prescribe this Protocol, by Regulation.

The framework has been developed using work done by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a model, and in close collaboration with Victoria EPA.

“We wish to thank Victoria EPA for their ongoing commitment to developing monetary benefit approaches with the NSW EPA, and in particular I’d like to thank them for enabling us to use and publish the NEAT Model monetary benefits calculation tool” Mr Gifford said.

Mr Gifford hopes the framework will be adopted by other environmental regulators across Australia, which are at various stages of introducing the recovery of monetary benefits into aspects of their criminal prosecutions and civil penalty work. And there is scope for the framework to be adopted by local councils in NSW.

“Ultimately, we want to see MBOs being routinely considered by courts across Australia and New Zealand, so there is widespread deterrence, and offenders are being held to account.” Mr Gifford said.

More information can be found on the NSW EPA’s website.

The NSW EPA acknowledges and thanks AELERT and its members for their ongoing support and interest in the MBO project and will continue to be actively involved with this initiative through the AELERT Legal Practice Cluster.

AELERT WEBINAR 27 September 2018: Combating violence

18/09/2018

FREE FOR AELERT MEMBERS

Has violence in the workplace increased? Some sectors of the community believe that it has. Certainly, the headlines illustrate the justifiable anxieties of some of our public contact workers.

What are the causes of this type of violence and how can it be reduced?

Join us in welcoming back Professor Karl Roberts to discuss workplace violence: how to recognise the signals and how to deal with them.

In this hour-long webinar, Professor Karl will address these questions and suggest some counter-measures to protect employees against violence in the workplace.

He will help us understand how to define violence, the factors that trigger it, the different types of violence and recognising the signs before a situation deteriorates. He will give us some strategies on risk assessment and risk management and tactics for negotiation and self-protection.

Date: Thursday 27 September

TIME BY JURISDICTION:
SA (host), NT 9.30am – 11.00am
NSW, ACT, VIC, QLD, TAS 10.00am – 11.30am
WA 8.00am – 9.30am
NZ 12.00pm – 1.30pm

WATCH WEBINAR

You will be redirected to an Eventbrite registration page. We will send all registered attendees a link to the webinar prior to the event or you can access it on the resource section on this website.

If you have any questions please contact secretariat@aelert.net

OUR PRESENTER

10137Professor Karl Roberts is a forensic psychologist and is Professor and Chair of Policing and Criminal Justice at Western Sydney University in Sydney, Australia.

He is an Adjunct Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Massachusetts USA and Adjunct Professor of Pacific Policing at University if the South Pacific, Fiji.

His expertise is in the field of interpersonal violence and law enforcement investigation with a focus on the behavioural assessment of offenders, investigative interviewing by law enforcement and risk assessment and risk management.

Call for nominations - Intelligence Analysis for Environmental Regulators course

14/09/2018

The Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy is now calling for nominations to attend the inaugural Intelligence Analysis for Environmental Regulators training program that will be held in Canberra over 13-15 November 2018.

Full details are in the attached document.

Please email all nominations from your agency, in priority order, to intelligence@environment.gov.au by COB Friday, 5 October 2018. Please include the participant’s full name, position title and email address.

Spaces are limited. We will contact all successful and unsuccessful applicants in the week starting 8 October 2018.

2017 South Australia Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 Compliance Report

12/09/2018

The 2017 South Australia Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 Compliance Report prepared by the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) Energy Resources Division was tabled in the South Australian Parliament last week in accordance with requirements under Section 123 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000.

The report is now available on the Department’s website where you can also find all previous annual Compliance Reports from 2006 when the first report was released.

The Compliance Report details the compliance and regulatory surveillance activities undertaken during 2017 for regulated activities carried out under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 and associated Regulations.

Key areas covered in the report include:

  • An overview of DEM’s approval and compliance monitoring activities undertaken during 2017;
  • A summary of all serious incidents reported in 2017 under the PGE Act;
  • A summary of all fitness for purpose assessments undertaken by licensees on facilities, pipelines and well integrity matters during 2017 and details of work undertaken by DEM to validate these assessments;
  • Industry compliance statistics including the frequency and number of various types of reportable incidents, and analysis of root causes of these incidents. 

EPA fines quarry operator $45,000 for non-compliance

19/07/2018

A Upper Hunter based quarry company is facing $45,000 in fines for breaching its Environment Protection Licence.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issued Stoneco Pty Limited with three $15,000 fines for alleged non-compliances with their Environment Protection Licence following a routine and unannounced inspection of the Braeside Quarry near Scone in February this year.

PA Officers identified a range of issues resulting from poor management practices including a lack of dust emission controls, inappropriate storage of waste and poor storage and handling of diesel, oil and waste oils.

EPA Director Hunter Karen Marler said Stoneco Pty Limited is responsible for complying with the conditions of their licence.

“Compliance with the conditions of their licence is not optional. There was potential for harm to human health and the environment, including for workers onsite, particularly from the uncontrolled dust emissions,” Ms Marler said.

“Operating in a relatively remote location does not mean that the rules do not apply. Those rules are in place to ensure relevant risks are controlled and that activities are carried out in an appropriate manner.”

Stoneco Pty Limited will be required to remove and lawfully dispose of relevant wastes stored onsite as well as carrying out other necessary rectification works.

Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

Source: NSW EPA

Linc Energy fined $4.5 million for serious environmental harm at underground coal gasification plant

19/07/2018

A gas company has been fined a record $4.5 million for causing serious environmental harm at its underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's western Darling Downs.

Linc Energy was found guilty by a District Court jury in Brisbane last month after a 10-week trial.

The company was charged with five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm between 2007 and 2013 at Hopeland near Chinchilla.

Linc Energy mismanaged the underground burning of coal seams, which caused rock to fracture and allowed the escape of toxic gases which contaminated the air, soil and water on site.

The court heard the highest fine imposed upon a company so far in Queensland for similar offending was $500,000.

Linc Energy did not defend itself during the trial because it is now in liquidation.

Five executive directors have been charged with failing to ensure compliance of the company and are due to face a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court in July.

Prosecutor Ralph Devlin told the court the company knew it was causing damage but pressed ahead with operations, and described its offending as "serious".

"The defendant acted in devious and cavalier way … its motivation was commercial gain," he said.

"It pursued commercial interests over environmental safeguards."

The court heard there would be monitoring and remediation of the site for decades to come, and it will take potentially between 10 to 20 years for groundwater to recover.

Judge Michael Shanahan said despite the fact the company was now in liquidation, there was good reason to impose financial penalties.

"I am unsure of any of its assets or liabilities and capacity to pay fines," he said.

"Linc was well aware of the damage being done … and attempted to hide it from the regulator."

Judge Shanahan said the offending was carried out over seven years and was "persistent and in clear breach" of its obligations.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the project had been a "blight" to the environmental and resources council, saying "99.99 per cent of the industry comply by the rules".

"This is one company that stepped outside those rules and I think it's important that the full force of the law was laid against them," Mr Macfarlane said.

Senior Queensland Government Minister Kate Jones said the fine was a clear warning for all companies impacting the environment.

"I'm very pleased with this result," Ms Jones said.

"Clearly Linc Energy has done the wrong thing and the fine sends a very strong message to other companies out there to do the right thing."

Lock the Gate spokesperson Vicki Perrin said she was deeply concerned about Linc Energy's ability to pay the $4.5 million penalty, given they were currently in liquidation.

"The Queensland Government needs to stop approving every mining and gas project that comes before it, and set higher standards in the early stages before we end up with another mess like this," she said.

Source: ABC News

Photo: Nathan Morris, ABC

PODCAST: Litter and Illegal Dumping Compliance

29/06/2018

In June 2018, The Litter and Illegal Dumping Compliance Operation (LIDCO) team of the Department of Environment and Science in Queensland, shared their work administering litter, illegal dumping and unsolicited advertising material provisions under the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011. Their work includes investigating matters and delivering co-ordinated, consistent, timely and transparent enforcement action as part of a state-wide network. The team also assists local government and state agencies to manage and prevent illegal dumping incidents through continual capacity building and behaviour change.

The presentation included a case study investigating an illegal dumping incident thought initially to be stagnant water, but that turned out to be an interesting investigative journey.

GO TO RESOURCE

THE TEAM

The Litter and Illegal Dumping Compliance Operation (LIDCO) team (within Conservation and Sustainability Services, in the Department of Environment and Science) undertake compliance activities with respect to litter and illegal dumping in Queensland and enforce offences under the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011. The team works closely with local governments, departmental regional officers and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to better manage litter and illegal dumping across the state.