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2022 AELERT Conference: theme announced and call for papers

07/06/2022

The call for papers is now open for AELERT’s 2022 conference, themed ‘Regulating Towards 2050: Working together to face emerging challenges’.

The Conference will be held in November 2022, with dates and venue details to be released soon. Papers can be submitted via the portal by Tuesday 5 July 2022.

This year's Conference will focus on the fact that we are living in a changing world, and we are regulating in an environment that is subject to change.

Climate change is creating increased expectations to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, respond to climate induced environmental impacts such as increased frequency of natural disasters, and regulate adaptively during periods of sustained drought and flood.

We are also seeing the emergence of new industries and technologies which require regulation, while continuing to address addressing legacy impacts from past practices.

Call for Concurrent Papers

The Conference Committee is seeking Expressions of Interest for the conduct of concurrent presentations from stakeholders. Interested authors are encouraged to submit a paper of their selected topic for review and possible selection at the Conference.  

Presenters will be required to indicate in which stream they wish their contribution to be considered in, including, but not limited to the concepts listed below:

Regulating emerging industries and responding to emerging environmental issues (Regulatory Practice Stream)

This stream focuses on current regulatory and emerging environmental threats in various jurisdictions, including challenges to achieving compliance. 

Topics could include:

  • Addressing unregulated pollutants and other environmental issues
  • Regulating new and emerging issues, industries, and technologies
  • Adaptive regulation in response to changing circumstances

Risk-based regulation: what’s new in the regulatory toolkit? (Legislation and Policy Stream)

This stream focuses on recent developments in risk based environmental regulation.

Topics could include:

  • New legislation to address environmental issues
  • New regulatory tools to address environmental harm, hold offenders to account and improve investigative and enforcement powers
  • New policy approaches.

Innovation and technology: Adapting the way we work to meet emerging challenges (Innovation and Adaptation stream)

This stream focuses on showcasing new and emerging solutions driving more effective environmental practice, and the use of new ideas and ways of thinking including intelligence, technology, and data analytics to address environmental problems.

Topics could include:

  • Using data from self-monitoring, citizen science and complaints to solve problems and target enforcement activities
  • Exploring the value of using intelligence to improve environmental outcomes
  • The use of tech-enabled innovation such as sensor technologies, body worn cameras or drones
  • Using data and predictive analytics and new technology for effective targeting and identifying non-compliance
  • Embedding intelligence in environmental agencies
  • Research opportunities for academia 
  • Learning from the results on inquiries into regulation
  • Installing a culture of compliance
  • Best practice and new approaches in regulatory frameworks, environmental law/policy and fieldcraft
  • Measuring outcomes and impacts
  • Meeting compliance challenges in the Local Government sector
  • Tools for consistent enforcement
  • Utilising communications strategies to drive environmental outcomes

Other

We welcome submissions from relevant subject areas that may fit into the overarching conference theme, and we’re open to developing and refining the themes based on the range of submissions received.  

Types of Presentations

Presenters will also be required to indicate the style of presentation they wish to deliver from the list below:

  • Practitioner & Research Papers (10-15 mins including Q&A)
  • Case Studies or Showcases (20-30 mins including Q&A)
  • Plenary or Breakout Presentations (30-45 mins including Q&A)
  • Plenary or Breakout Panel Discussions (45 mins including Q&A)
  • Plenary or Breakout Workshops (45-60 mins including Q&A)
  • Capacity Building Sessions (45-60 mins including Q&A)
  • Discussion Roundtables (45-60 mins including Q&A)  

Please download the Submission Guidelines which will provide you with all the information you require to prepare your submission.

Paper submission must be made through the online submission portal by Tuesday 5th July 2022.

Submission Guidelines

Submit Your Paper

AELERT National Council announcement

11/05/2022

We’re pleased to announce AELERT’s National Council, the newly established governing body of AELERT.

The National Council will set strategic direction and ensure AELERT delivers value to its members.

The new National Council has 9 members:

  • Monica Collins (Chair): Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (Cth)
  • Amy Dennison: Environment Protection Authority (NT)
  • Cindy Ong: Environment Protection Authority (Tas)
  • Derek Poulton: Lake Macquarie City Council (Local Government)
  • Germaine Larcombe: Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (WA)
  • Grant Barnes: Natural Resources Access Regulator (NSW)
  • Mary O'Kane: O'Kane Associates; Independent Planning Commission (Independent)
  • Paul De Ionno: Department for Energy and Mining (SA)
  • Stuart Smith: National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (Cth)

We are making significant changes to our governance, funding, and membership to modernise AELERT.

These changes will deliver improved value to members, greater accountability, and provide a more sustainable funding base. 

We look forward to working with the Council to deliver these improvements for our members. 

Read more about AELERT's National Council.

11th May, 2022.

Local Businessman convicted of offences under the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act 1998

05/01/2022

The Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NT EPA) welcomes the decision by Darwin Local Court Judge Alan Woodcock to convict and fine a property developer for serious breaches of the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act 1998.

Judge Woodcock found that local property developer, Michael Adrian Anthony and his company DWD Project Pty Ltd intentionally contravened or intentionally failed to comply with Pollution Abatement Notices (PANs) that were issued to them.
The purpose of the PANs were for the defendants to remove approximately 15,000 tonnes of demolition and construction waste and other contaminants they had dumped on land and into Darwin Harbour.

The defendants were convicted and fined a total of $300,000. The defendants were also ordered to pay victims levies and some of the NT EPA’s legal costs.

To date this is the largest fine ever handed down in the Local Court for contraventions of the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act 1998.

The NT EPA issued businessman Michael Adrian Anthony and his company DWD Project PTY LTD with the PANs in June 2020, in accordance with the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act 1998, requiring him to stop illegally dumping construction and demolition waste and contaminants on his land, on Crown Land and also into Darwin Harbour.

The waste material and contaminants included asbestos, timber, concrete and PFAS contaminated soils. During the hearing, Judge Alan Woodcock said it was a clear cut case on the evidence that the Defendant had refused to comply with the Notice.

“Having gone through the Act, I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the notice was authorised, and issued by an appropriate Delegate,” Judge Woodcock said.

“It was served on the Defendant on 3 June last year and the particulars are made out as charged. Despite exhaustive efforts, detailed consultation with the Defendants, great efforts to educate and assist, they have refused to do so.

“There is a clear election by the Defendant, despite all of the NT EPA’s efforts, not to comply.”

Quotes by Peter Vasel, Director of Environmental Operations:

“Our position is that this incident was totally avoidable had the company and its sole director complied with accepted industry standards for the disposal and recycling of construction and demolition waste.

“It is also a reminder to the broader community that everyone has an obligation to comply with NT’s environmental laws and matters brought to our attention will be investigated.”

The media release can be found here.

Introducing the AELERT Interim CEO

28/10/2021

AELERT has grown to a membership of over 3000 individual members and over 250 agency members. Membership spans all tiers of Australian and New Zealand Governments, universities, international governments and not for profit and other organisations. 

With this increased membership and growth across the broad sector of environmental regulation, AELERT has reached a point where its original governance model is no longer fit for purpose. On 20 August 2021 the AELERT Steering Committee made key resolutions regarding the future of AELERT. 

This included a decision to establish a Leadership Committee that will work closely with the Steering Committee to deliver the day-to-day strategic, financial and operational activities of AELERT. 

The Steering Committee agreed that an Interim CEO would be onboarded to lead the AELERT Leadership Committee and manage the process of moving AELERT towards its new governance model. The Interim CEO will play a key role in modernising AELERT and ensuring we continue to provide value for our members. 

We are pleased to announce that Mr Adam Gilligan has accepted the AELERT Interim CEO position, commencing 1 November 2021.

Adam is based in Newcastle and has most recently been in the position of Director Reulatory Operations at NSW EPA; responsible for a team of environmental regulators involved in a range of work across the state, from coal mining and power stations to rail regulation and PFAs contamination. He has spent time in emergency management, environmental regulation at a local government level, and was Co-Chair of the AELERT Better Regulation Working Group.

Please join us in welcoming Adam as Interim CEO of the AELERT Leadership Committee.

 

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AELERT Authorised Officer Guideline

16/04/2021

megaphoneThe AELERT Authorised Officer Guideline, developed by the Capacity Building Working Group, is intended to assist organisations to develop an authorised officer policy or framework outlining the experience, training, qualifications, and other requirements to appoint a person as an authorised officer in a regulatory role, allowing them to exercise powers under legislation.

View this in AELERT resources - member login required 

AELERT Authorised Officer Guideline

 

 

Update from EPA Victoria - Webinar

01/02/2021

Victoria’s New Environment Protection Laws

Wed, 3 February 2021 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

You can explore key changes to Victoria's environmental regulations and get more information on the environmental law changes and effects on industry and community. You can also submit your questions when you register.

EPA Victoria will also provide this webinar as an ongoing resource. A video will be made available after the session.

More information and registrations are on this Eventbrite link.

 

Register HERE

 

AELERT Strategic Plan 2021 - 2024

22/12/2020

 

The new AELERT Strategic Plan-on- a-page is now available online.

 DOWNLOAD PLAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does your council approach litter enforcement?

06/11/2020

The NSW EPA wants to hear from authorised officers and rangers from local government areas regarding their litter enforcement behaviours.

The survey twill help the EPA to shape future programs and better support its partners. This expanded on a project that was started late last year.

The survey closed on 30 November 2020.

If you have any questions or feedback about the survey, please contact Alice Morgan at litter.prevention@epa.nsw.gov.au.

SURVEY NOW CLOSED

 

 

Victorian Game Management Authority introduces body-worn cameras

26/08/2020

As part of the Victorian Game Management Authority's (GMA) plan to strengthen its operational and surveillance capacity, all authorised GMA Game officers are now equipped with new high-tech body-worn cameras (BWCs). The GMA’s Authorised Officers are now using the BWCs to improve evidence gathering in situations such as approaching and engaging alleged offenders caught illegally spotlighting deer, exceeding bag limits on game ducks and shooting protected species.

The GMA undertook extensive research into BWCs and found that the Axon Body 2, which is a wearable camera system incorporating an audio and video recording device, was the most appropriate model for the GMA’s purposes.

The camera provides high quality audio and video recording capabilities. Mobile phones can be paired with the BWC, and a mobile phone app, called Axon View, is used to monitor and save video footage.

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Through Axon View Authorised Officers can:

  • adjust user settings
  • live view instantly
  • playback recorded media
  • add information to the recording in the field to reduce additional paperwork required at the end of a shift.

The recorded footage is stored on a cloud-based digital evidence management system. This system allows for a ‘forensic fingerprint’ of each evidence file and tamper proof evidence audit records. The evidence management system also allows the sharing of footage within the GMA and with other trusted agencies, including Victoria Police, via a secure link. Photos taken by members of the community who report alleged illegal hunting offences can be saved to evidence management system and stored within the database for inclusion on case files and information reports.

The GMA’s Authorised Officers can also capture photos, video and audio with their mobile phones, and using the mobile app, securely upload these files to the evidence management system. In equipping GMA Authorised Officers with BWCs, the GMA was mindful of the risks associated with the privacy of community members, particularly in the context of inadvertently capturing footage or recordings of people not involved in a GMA enquiry i.e. if our Officers walk past a group of people conversing while approaching an offender.

At all times, the GMA maintained a conscious effort to ensure the use of the new BWCs meant that Authorised Officers could still comply with the Surveillance Devices Act 1999

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Recent amendments to the Act ensure that police, ambulance officers and other prescribed persons do not commit this offence inadvertently, while carrying out their duties. The GMA obtained legal advice from the Victorian Government Solicitors Office on how best to ensure that GMA Authorised Officers could also be protected from any breach of the Act. This risk was removed by making a recommendation under s 37A of the Act to the Governor in Council (GIC) to make regulation with respect to prescribing a GMA Authorised Officer as a prescribed person for the purpose of the of the Act. The BWCs are part of the Victorian Government's $6 million boost over four years to increase GMA staff, provide new equipment, increase research capacity, conduct education campaigns and develop a new online Game Licensing System.

Asbestos removalist gets suspended sentence for assault but company fined for illegal stockpiles

12/08/2020

Source: ABC News

A South Australian waste removalist convicted of assaulting two environment protection officers has been given a suspended sentence, but his company has been fined $49,000 for illegally storing more than 17 tonnes of asbestos.

The Environmental, Resources and Development Court heard Gavin Piller snatched a camera and audio recorder from the hands of the officers from SA's Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

The court heard Piller's company, GP and Sons, had a history of complaints dating back to August 2015, when the EPA attended one of the company's sites to discuss concerns over a large amount of dust causing an environmental nuisance.

EPA chief executive Tony Circelli said Piller's punishment sent a strong message to "anyone attempting to intimidate or assault EPA officers during the course of their duties".

He said the EPA officers were documenting the contents of two skip bins containing wrapped and unwrapped asbestos on April 3, 2018 at Largs Bay when they were abused and attacked.

"This type of illegal activity will not be tolerated — it risks both harm to the environment and the community, and damages confidence for investment and fair play for legitimate waste operators," he said.

Piller wrote a letter of apology addressed to the court, the EPA and its officers, expressing regret and accepting "full responsibility for his poor and unacceptable behaviour that afternoon".

Read more