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NSW EPA updates its approach to enforceable undertakings


The NSW EPA has just released its updated policy and process for negotiating enforceable undertakings. You can find the EPA’s policy and accompanying documents on the EPA website.  

Enforceable undertakings are voluntary and legally binding written agreements between the EPA and an operator who is alleged to have breached the EPA’s legislation. The agreement contains details of the commitments made by the operator in response to the alleged breach. The main benefit of an enforceable undertaking is that they are an efficient, flexible and transparent tool that can obtain fit-for-purpose commitments from operators.  

Enforceable undertakings are a regulatory option when there has been a serious breach. They are a more serious regulatory response than a written caution or penalty notice but less serious than a criminal prosecution.  

The new package delivers the following improvements:

A clearer process for negotiating enforceable undertakings. For example, the EPA has introduced an application form that must be completed by any operator proposing to negotiate an enforceable undertaking with the EPA. 

What an acceptable enforceable undertaking must include. For example, any proposal will generally need to go beyond mere compliance; the operator will need to consider if there are any industry-wide applications for the lessons learnt and if so how they can be shared; guidance on negotiating appropriate projects for the benefit of the environment or community.

What the EPA expects from any party that decides to enter into an enforceable undertaking negotiation process (e.g. the operator must be co-operative and forthcoming; the standard conditions of an enforceable undertaking).  

You can access copies of all enforceable undertakings entered into by the EPA here.  

If you are interested in the policy development process for this project you can contact


Register for service station vapour recovery workshops by 24 February


The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is running a second round of workshops for council officers to provide practical information and guidance about vapour recovery technology and compliance. These workshops will be particularly useful to environment, regulatory or planning staff.  

The NSW Clean Air Regulation requires the installation of control equipment to reduce petrol vapour emissions at service stations.  

On 31 January, 2017 regulatory responsibility for vapour recovery was transitioned to councils, with the EPA continuing to manage non-compliant VR sites.  

As the compliance role is new for environment officers within councils the EPA is providing support in the transition process until 30 June, 2017.  

Registration for the workshops is limited to two officers per council at the following locations. Please register by 5pm, Friday 24 February 2017:  

Tuesday, 7 March (Hurstville)
Thursday, 9 March (Parramatta)
Friday, 10 March (Sydney CBD)  

For more information and to reserve your place please register.


AELERT WEBINAR: Dealing with aggressive people


Did you miss it? The video is now available to members.



After the resounding success of his webinar on Inside the Mind: Psychology of an Interview Professor Karl Roberts returns to AELERT to discuss the challenging topic of Dealing with aggressive people.

Aggression is a complex subject, not least because what one person sees as an acceptable form of expressing anger or frustration may be seen by others as a violent act.

There are a number of fundamental techniques for dealing with aggression which should be put into practice, especially if it is feared that such aggression may escalate. 

Are you able to assess an uneasy interaction accurately?

Can you spot the warning signs of aggressive behaviour?

Do you have the ability to de-escalate a situation?

During this webinar, Dr Karl Roberts will present you with useful risk and threat assessment tools to help you to understand how to make accurate threat evaluations before interacting with people. 

You will learn to differentiate the key differences between violence stemming from instrumental motives versus expressive acts and you will acquire essential strategies on dealing with aggression and how to de-escalate a situation.  Professor Roberts will also take us through some case studies where violence has arisen and their outcomes.



- How to access the webinar

- IT Requirements and testing

- Pre-Webinar Reading

INECE Performance Measurement Webinars



Together with Environment and Climate Change Canada, INECE is hosting a series of five discussions commencing Tuesday 17 January 2017 regarding performance measurement in the area of environmental compliance and enforcement.

The purpose of this series is to facilitate discussion among interested environmental law enforcement professionals about the best ways to measure performance in this field of work. 

Each webinar will be 1 to 1.5 hours and will begin at 10:00 AM (US EST). Each webinar will feature a specific theme or question for discussion. Due to the time difference this will be in the middle of the night for Australian and NZ viewers, so INECE will post the presentation component of each webinar on the INECE website for those who are interested in the webinar but unable to join.

They will not be posting the question/comment portion of the webinar online. However, they are providing an opportunity for any after-the-fact viewers to submit questions or comments (including sharing of approaches and experiences) to the INECE Secretariat for a week after each individual webinar.

Those comments and questions are important and will be integrated into the materials that the INECE Secretariat is producing to synthesise the approaches, considerations, and lessons at the end of the webinar series. 

To participate in the webinars you must register for each one individually. To register click here or on the links below.

Webinar 1: What to measure (January 17, 2017)

This session will begin by addressing the most fundamental question regarding performance measurement: what are the underlying objectives of the environmental agencies that can be measured in a performance measurement scheme? It will then turn to the choice of what attributes should be measured. It will address the use of compliance rates and coverage rates as metrics, and the importance of setting appropriate baselines for measurement.

Webinar 2: How to Measure (January 31, 2017)

This session addresses how to measure, including best practices regarding the use of technology for measurement and reporting, as well as how to conduct the business of performance measurement.

Webinar 3: Next Generation Measurement Techniques (February 7, 2017)

This session will delve more deeply into measurement techniques that take advantage of the ability to measure environmental performance in “real time.” It will also cover benefits promised by the use of “big data” in tracking environmental performance.

Webinar 4: Qualitative Alternatives of Measurement (February 14, 2017)

This penultimate session will focus on the qualitative alternatives to quantitative-based measurement practices, including the use of complementary qualitative and quantitative techniques.

Webinar 5: Concluding Session (February 28, 2017)

The INECE Secretariat will synthesise the discussion content into a summary document to serve as a resource for those implementing schemes regarding environmental compliance and enforcement. A draft summary document will be circulated prior to the final webinar session, which will be used to collect feedback regarding the draft summary document. A final version of the summary document will be distributed after the entire series has been completed.

Free online courses to kick-start the year


January is a good time to brush up your skills or explore new directions.  Here are some online courses that could help you develop your capabilities.

Free this month on LinkedIn.

Hate speaking in public? Most people do, here are two courses that can give you some simple tools, strategies and tips to improve your performance.

1Communicating with Confidence
presented by Jeff Ansell, Media and Presentation Coach.


2Public Speaking Fundamentals
presented by Laura Bergells, Writer. Content Strategist. Course Developer.


Never have enough time to get everything done? Want to be more productive? This course will help you to think differently about time-management.


Managing Your Time
presented by Todd Dewett, Author.


Want to be a better team leader? This course takes a look at executive leadership qualities and helps you discover the importance of knowing how to achieve them for yourself.

2Learning Executive Leadership
presented by John Ullmen, Ph.D., Leadership Consultant.

DELWP has major success in illegal wildlife case


A Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) led intelligence-driven Operation Atco, that saw more than 600 illegally kept reptiles seized, has culminated in gaol time for the key perpetrator.

In Dandenong Magistrates Court, Magistrate Pauline Spencer was scathing in her assessment of the accused’s misconduct before convicting him, ordering destruction of his seized goods, and sentencing him to four months imprisonment.

This is the first time DELWP has initiated proceedings under the Wildlife Act that have resulted in an immediate term of imprisonment.

The accused has lodged an appeal, listed for March 2017 in the County Court of Victoria, and has been released on appeal bail.

Following DELWP Wildlife Officers’ search of properties in Pakenham and Frankston in August 2015, a 41-year old Officer man was charged with more than 30 offences, including multiple counts of possession of wildlife and keeping prohibited pest animals.

A 33-year old co-accused man from Frankston has also been charged on related offences but his case is yet to be heard in court.

DELWP Statewide Manager, Regulation and Compliance, Glenn Sharp, said: “The sentencing brought more than two years of intensive effort to fruition."

“The seizure of reptiles and charges laid followed nearly 12 months of monitoring and intelligence gathering by our officers. The hundreds of pythons and bearded dragons we seized had been bred in captivity by the accused, who deliberately in-bred species to create ‘desirable’ mutant traits in the reptiles.

“It is a privilege for Victorians to be able to legally keep, breed and trade reptiles under licence; and the accused flagrantly abused this privilege.”

The accused did not hold a wildlife licence, as it was revoked after he was found guilty of wildlife offences in 2009.

“Our investigators found the accused had been running a very calculated operation, conspiring to secretly house, breed and sell protected wildlife in pursuit of financial gain.”

“Whilst the majority of people endeavour to do the right thing, the community need to know that this illegal and selfish activity is occurring around them. Anything that seems to be ‘not quite right’ when it comes to wildlife keeping and trade should be reported to authorities.”

The reptiles seized included four exotic reptiles, two Parsons Chameleons and two Crested Geckos. These were euthanised to reduce the exotic animal disease risk posed to native wildlife from exotic animals that may have been sourced from overseas.

In October 2015, the Magistrate’s Court also ordered destruction of the native reptiles seized.

"This result sends a strong message to people who involve themselves in illegal wildlife trade and activity." Mr Sharp concluded.

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International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement is hosting a series of webinars to discuss Performance Measurement  


Together with Environment and Climate Change Canada, INECE will be hosting a series of five discussions in early 2017 regarding performance measurement in the area of environmental compliance and enforcement.

INECE will be conducting a series of webinars that will provide a forum for interested environmental law enforcement professionals to discuss the best ways to measure performance in their shared field of work. These discussions will focus in particular on compliance and enforcement in pollution control.

Check the INECE website in early 2017 to find out the details regarding the webinars, and how you can participate in this program.

Season's Greeting from the Chair










Dear Members,

As another productive year draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all their efforts throughout the year. The success of our Network is built on the efforts of our members and in this past year, we have enjoyed many accomplishments.

Our network is continuously growing, with over 1400 members from 205 member agencies including three new international members. 

Without our member’s contributions, AELERT would not have been able to achieve as much as we have in 2016 and we encourage each and every member to be active and engaged in building our Network for the future.

This year we have focused on delivering an easily accessible series of professional development opportunities to members including webinars, podcasts, video interviews, training and workshops that covered a variety of subjects, all of which were well received by the membership.

Some of these projects are still available on the AELERT website for those of you that missed out.

A very popular webinar on investigative interviewing featuring Professor Karl Roberts, Inside the Mind: Psychology of an Interview.

A highly viewed webinar hosted by Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Behavioural Insights for Better Regulation, which focused on the use of nudge theory to facilitate compliance outcomes.

A video series featuring Professor Neil Gunningham discussing modern regulation and the findings of the Victorian EPA review.

Dr, Chris McGrath, barrister and senior lecturer (Environmental Regulation) at the University of Queensland, presented a podcast on the Implications of R v Baden-Clay for environmental prosecutions.

We aim to keep developing these series of information sessions covering subjects that are relevant and factual to you.

Again our Clusters and working groups have been hard at work developing resources and collaborating on projects that benefit all of our members.

The Capacity Building Cluster has been developing a Regulatory Officer Capability Framework which will be available early next year for Network-wide comment. The Framework will benefit AELERT member agencies by providing them with a common language to describe the skills, knowledge and attributes that are critical to building regulatory capability. It is expected that adoption of the Framework will also support the alignment and harmonisation of regulatory officer capabilities across AELERT member agencies.

The Communications and Engagement Working Group have developed a diagnostic toolkit that outlines best practice and case studies for each type of communication strategy. The toolkits will be launched on the AELERT website early next year.

The Better Regulation Cluster has finalised the online Modern Regulator Improvement Tool (MRIT) which is now live on the website and available for members to use and share.

The newly created Environmental Liabilities Community of Practice is the result of a joint EPA NSW and AELERT workshop on environmental liabilities held earlier this year. It will facilitate practitioners working in this field to share information in this emerging field of practice.

Thank you all for all your hard work and I encourage each and every one of you to get involved and contribute to the growth of our Network, where you can.

2017 is also shaping up to be a busy year for AELERT with planning for AELERT’s premiere event, the biennial AELERT Conference already underway. Hosted by NSW EPA in Sydney the Conference promises to be another inspiring and thought-provoking event.

I’m also very pleased to announce that at the Conference, and after three years as Chair of this great Network, I will be formally handing over the reins to AELERT’s Vice-Chair and Chief Regulator of NSW EPA, Mark Gifford. Mark has had a long involvement with AELERT and his commitment and dedication to the Network, I’m sure, will see the Network continue to grow and prosper.

Thank you to everyone for your engagement in our Network, and I wish you all a joyous festive season and a safe, happy and prosperous New Year.

Tony Circelli

Tony Circelli interviews Professor Neil Gunningham on “The Role of a modern Regulator?”


Professor Gunningham is a highly respected regulatory expert and an inter-disciplinary social scientist working principally in the areas of environmental and energy law, regulation and governance.

“Next generation regulation – to accomplish substantive compliance with regulatory goals by any viable means using whatever regulatory or quasi-regulatory tools that might be available, in ways that facilitate compliance, at least administrative cost and in a manner that encourages innovation.”

What should next generation regulation look like? What would it mean to be a ‘modern regulator’?

WATCH VIDEO (duration 31:48 mins)

This video features an interview between AELERT’s Chair, Tony Circelli and Professor Gunningham.

If you would prefer to watch the video in bite size pieces:

WATCH PART ONE (duration 12:22 mins)

WATCH PART TWO (duration 09:22 mins)

WATCH PART THREE (duration 10:48 mins) 


Professor Neil Gunningham is a lawyer and interdisciplinary social scientist who holds joint appointments in the Regulatory Institutions Network and the School of Resources, Environment and Society at the Australian National University. Previously he was Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Environmental Law at the ANU, Visiting and Senior Fulbright Scholar at the Centre for the Study of Law and Society, University of California, Berkeley, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation at the London School of Economics. He is also a consultant to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and to various environmental and occupational health and safety regulatory agencies in Australia. His research has been concerned to identify the contribution that broader, innovative forms of regulation can make to safety, health and environmental policy. Further background information can be found here

Steering Committee Communique - November 2016


The Steering Committee met for the third and final time in 2016, on Friday 4 November in Sydney at the NSW EPA office. 

The Steering Committee is undergoing a transitional period in the lead up to AELERT moving to Sydney at the close of the 2017 Conference. The Committee welcomed new members, thanked departing officers, as well as announcing that Mark Gifford, Chief Regulator of NSW EPA and current AELERT Vice-Chair will be taking over the role of Chair in 2017. 

The Committee received key updates from the Secretariat, Communications and Engagement and Environmental Liabilities Working Groups as well as receiving a key project update from the Capacity Building Cluster.

The attached is an overview of the meeting’s outcomes.