Environmental compliance news for business


Law and policy tracker: New policies on plastics, financial assurance, coasts

Thursday, 12 March 2020 2:55pm

Open access. Highlights include a major chemicals prosecution, a new Victorian coasts and marine policy, NSW proposals on plastics, waste and financial assurances, and new grants. Jobs include posts with SA Water, the Mindaroo Foundation, Zenergy, WSP and the ACF.

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Resources and corporate news:

  • The Smart Energy Council has loaded recordings of two recent webinars on its site, one on the hydrogen transition pathway and another on renewables PPAs.

  • The Plastic Leak Project has released a methodology for conducting plastic leakage assessments that identify plastic pollution hotspots across value chains.

  • Germany's KENFO has become the first sovereign fund to commit through the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance to a net-zero investment portfolio by 2050.

  • The EU has released its framework for achieving climate neutrality.


  • COAG will meet tomorrow, with waste export bans one of the scheduled agenda items.

  • The soon-to-be-replaced NICNAS chemical assessment and approval scheme is inviting submissions by March 31 on a list of more than 1,600 chemicals that appear in the current inventory of chemical substances but won't appear in the replacement inventory of industrial chemicals.

  • The Department of Defence will pay $212.5 million to settle three PFAS class actions. Footprint premium coverage here.

  • The federal government has awarded one of its largest-ever cooperative research centre grants to an energy productivity alliance that has multiple programs for business on its agenda. Footprint premium coverage here.

  • The designers of a proposed industry-led battery stewardship scheme today agreed to seek ACCC approval for it, and resistance from two major battery companies is dissipating. Footprint premium coverage here.

  • The federal government has announced the renewable power percentage and small-scale technology percentage for 2020. The RPP and STP set the annual statutory demand for the RET's large-scale and small-scale certificates.

  • The Clean Energy Regulator is inviting registrations to participate in the March 25 and 26 ERF auction, with applications accepted until March 17.

  • ARENA has provided a $2 million grant to a Melbourne-based robotics business that is developing a driverless vehicle with a solar PV roof and a mini-battery.

  • ARENA has also provided $1.25 million to Stanwell Corporation to investigate the feasibility of establishing a 10MW renewable hydrogen electrolysis plant near its Rockhampton power plant. The hydrogen plant would ramp up when peak solar output results in excess energy supply.

  • The Senate inquiry into the Greens product stewardship bill will conduct a public hearing in Sydney on March 19.

  • The Clean Energy Regulator and the federal energy department have invited comments on proposed changes to sampling requirements for earning credits from soil carbon projects.

  • Labor Senator Penny Wong, a former climate change minister, has given a speech on climate change at a launch of The future we choose, a book by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac.

  • Have your say – last chance!: A House of Representatives committee inquiry into a Bill introduced by Andrew Wilkie that would require NGER reporting of scope 3 emissions is accepting submissions until March 20.

  • Have your say!: A Senate committee has invited public submissions by May 21 into a Greens-instigated Bill that would make greenhouse gas emissions a trigger for EPBC Act assessment. Footprint premium coverage here.

  • Have your say!: A Senate inquiry into a Bill that will facilitate the establishment of a low-level radioactive waste repository at Kimba (SA), and establish a community fund, is accepting submissions until March 26.

  • Have your say!: Submissions to the natural disaster arrangements Royal Commission, established following this summer's bushfires, are due by April 3.

  • A House of Representatives inquiry into vegetation and land management policy relating to bushfires has been discontinued, because of the Royal Commission.

  • Have your say – last chance!: Comments close March 19 on an Australian Energy Market Commission issues paper on integrating electric vehicles into the grid.

  • Have your say!: Comment closes April 15 on a draft EPBC wildlife conservation plan for seabirds, which provides a framework to guide the conservation of 76 seabird species.

  • Award opportunity – last chance: Nominations must be submitted by March 16 for the national energy efficiency awards, with winners in the 12 categories announced May 26.

  • Have your say!: Submissions on the EPBC Act review discussion paper are due by April 17. Footprint premium coverage here.


  • Grant opportunity: Applications are now being accepted for a share in $100 million to support land-based carbon abatement projects, offered through the Land Restoration Fund. The deadline for the second investment round is April 15.

  • The state government has also listed approved carbon farming advisors.


  • The state government could introduce mandatory plastics standards and will adopt a new target of net-zero emissions from organic waste, according to a draft plastics plan and 20-year waste strategy. Footprint premium coverage here.

  • The state government will shortly release a report by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel on decarbonisation opportunities for the state Footprint premium coverage here.

  • Grant opportunity: The EPA is offering grants worth a total of $1.17 million for litter prevention measures, with $500,000 earmarked for cigarette butt litter. Applications must be submitted by April 14.

  • The EPA has issued a guide to prevent cigarette butt littering.

  • The NSW Minerals Council and ten coal mining companies have applied to the ACCC to jointly negotiate access and prices with the Port of Newcastle.

  • The Port of Newcastle has announced that more than 200 wind turbines have been imported through it over the past four years, and this number will grow by 25% in 2020.

  • The EPA has proposed changes to financial assurance arrangements to reduce the risk of taxpayers footing the bill for site clean-ups. Footprint premium coverage here.

  • The Independent Planning Commission has approved UPC's 720MW New England solar farm, which will be coupled with 200MW/400MWh of battery storage.

  • The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has issued guidance for local governments on undertaking a critical review of a biodiversity development assessment report.

  • The state government has announced it will provide funding totalling $24 million to support the introduction of kerbside collections of food and organic waste. Footprint premium coverage here.

  • The state government should abandon or overhaul a Bill that limits the type of carbon emission conditions that can be imposed on new projects, a state parliamentary committee has recommended. Footprint premium coverage here.

  • Transcript of a March 6 parliamentary Estimates hearing for the environment portfolio is now available.

  • Seven regional community energy projects will share $15 million in state government funding.

  • A hearing has been scheduled for March 30 for a parliamentary committee inquiry into the costs of remediating of coal ash repositories.

  • Have your say!: Comment closes June 21 on an animal welfare issues paper released by the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

  • Have your say – last chance!: The Natural Resources Commission has invited comments by March 22 on upcoming water audits under the Water Management Act.


  • Electricity and gas distributor Evoenergy has received a $2.05 million ARENA grant to trial marketplace tools to better integrate household PV and batteries, as well as electric vehicles, into the grid.

  • Have your say!: The ACT government has issued draft environmental protection for construction and land development, with comments due by April 3.


  • The EPA has laid 12 charges against an individual over illegal storages of dangerous chemicals at three warehouses, with at least one of the charges carrying a maximum penalty of seven years jail.

  • The state government has released a coastal policy that says interventionist responses to climate risks will increasingly be required, and will next year revise its sea-level rise planning benchmark. Footprint premium coverage here.

  • Four bioenergy projects will share more than $700,000 awarded through the Bioenergy Infrastructure Fund.

  • The Essential Services Commission is considering an application for a generation licence made by Infigen Energy for the 57.6MW Cherry Tree wind farm, about 90km north-east of Melbourne.

  • The Municipal Association of Victoria has made a submission to proposed changes to electricity line clearing regulations warning that they could lead to mass removal of branches and entire mature trees across the state. There have been more than 359 approved applications for solar batteries since they became available last July, with 219 of these already installed.

  • The state government has expanded its solar homes battery rebates to households in an extra 143 postcodes, meaning homeowners in 247 postcode areas now have access to the scheme.

  • Grant opportunity: Grants of up to $500,000 are available under a new Sustainability Victoria e-waste infrastructure funding round, with a total of up to $2 million on offer. Applications must be submitted by March 30.

South Australia:

  • Adani subsidiary Whyalla Renewables Pty Ltd has applied to the Essential Services Commission for a generation licence for its proposed Whyalla solar farm, which would have a capacity of up to 160MW.

  • A free home battery will be offered to each householder who rebuilds their home lost in the bushfires, under an arrangement offered by the state government in conjunction with battery manufacturer Sonnen.

  • Nyrstar has reported to the EPA a huge increase in levels of cadmium in groundwater at its Port Pirie facility, as a result of overflows from its cadmium tank into a sump.

Western Australia:

  • New documents tabled in the WA Parliament show that the board of the state's EPA last year decided Chevron should ultimately be required to sequester 100% of reservoir CO2 from its Gorgon LNG project, but later backed down. Footprint premium coverage here.

  • Statutory development: Parliament has passed a bill that extends A key purpose of the variation agreement is to extend the existing term of the state agreement applying to Woodside's Karratha gas plant by 25 years, and allows it to process gas from third parties.

  • Court ruling: A former company director and operations manager at a Kwinana used tyre storage facility in Kwinana have each been fined $15,000 by Rockingham Magistrates Court for breaching their operating licence, despite the company being liquidated in December 2018.

  • Have your say!: The state government has released a consultation paper on the circular economy that proposes changes to legislation on waste, and has also released a waste levy consultation paper on waste levy changes. Comment closes May 15. Footprint premium coverage here.

Northern Territory:

  • Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has announced plans for a revised EPBC bilateral agreement with the Northern Territory. Footprint premium coverage here.

Jobs and appointments:

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