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EDO NSW EBULLETIN – 8 July 2016: Number 965 The EDO NSW eBulletin is a free weekly bulletin that includes news, events, public notices and opportunities for public comment listed in our online resource Have Your Say. Contents EDO News and Events Court and Compliance Watch Law Reform and Policy Watch Have Your Say Alerts – Opportunities to Comment Community News Support EDO NSW
EDO NSW News and Events The community’s right to participate: What happened to merits review? Over the past few years, we’ve received many calls and emails from community groups across NSW worried about the removal of their merits review rights for large resource extraction projects. Communities are concerned that they have lost access to a valuable right of public participation in the state’s planning system. In response, we have had a critical look at merits review and the role such reviews actually play in the planning system, and have released our findings in a new report, Merits Review in Planning in NSW. Sue Higginson, our CEO/Principal Solicitor, explains more in her blog post ‘The community’s right to participate: what happened to merits review?’ Read more »
NAIDOC Week and beyond: Our commitment to Aboriginal communities This NAIDOC week, we are celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
With help from our Aboriginal Advisory Committee (pictured below), we deliver tailored legal services to Aboriginal people and communities across NSW. Find out about our Aboriginal Engagement Program. And to see the Program in action, read about our work with the Dharriwaa Elders Group. We are committed to using our expertise to assist and stand with our Aboriginal clients as they protect and promote their Country, culture and heritage through law. Read more »
The EDO NSW Aboriginal Advisory Committee at the April 2016 annual meeting: Jason Behrendt (Chalk & Fitzgerald Lawyers), Constance Chatfield (Local Government NSW), Natalie Rotumah (NTSCORP Limited), Zachary Armytage (Community Legal Centres NSW) and Darren Perry (Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations). Not pictured: Tony McAvoy SC.
Helping a farmer access justice You may have seen news reports about Pat Murphy, a farmer whose land is within 2km of the Maules Creek Open Cut Coal Mine near Boggabri in Northern NSW. Since Pat called our environmental advice line in September last year, we’ve been helping him understand his legal rights. Pat featured on the ABC's Australian Story on Monday 27 June. Find out more about Pat’s story and watch the program on iView. Read more »
CSG Water Trigger case: Western Downs Alliance v Minister for the Environment & Santos We’ve launched a case in the Federal Court on behalf of Western Downs Alliance. This is the first CSG case brought under national environmental law testing the application of the Water Trigger. Our client is challenging the approval of 6,100 new CSG wells in the Surat Basin in Queensland. The wells will draw water from the Great Artesian Basin, and are likely to release waste water into lakes and rivers, including the Dawson River. Our client argues that the project’s approval was unlawful because the Environment Minister didn’t properly assess the impact the project will have on water, as required by the ‘Water Trigger’ under the EPBC Act. Read more »
NSW biodiversity law reforms – wrap up We have made our submission on the NSW Government’s proposed changes to biodiversity laws. We cannot support the proposed changes, and have detailed our concerns in three submissions on the reform package, which you can view on our website. Thank you to everyone who came along to one of our workshops or presentations. Over the consultation period, we spoke to over 600 people – local communities, Landcare members, Local Land Services officers, local councils, ecological consultants, private land conservation agreement holders, Aboriginal people, conservationists, wildlife carers, as well as a number of private individuals through our advice line. Areas we visited include the Hunter, Greater Sydney, North Coast, Northern Tablelands, South East and Central West regions. With the exception of representatives of the NSW Farmers Association, no-one we spoke to told us the proposed laws were an improvement on current laws, and almost all were seriously concerned about the implications of the new regime for biodiversity. Your comments and feedback reinforced our assessment that the reform package represents a serious backwards step for environmental protection in NSW. Our submissions detail our conclusion that the proposed laws are a retrograde step for NSW biodiversity and land management. While the proposed investment private land conservation is welcome, once this money runs out, we will be left with weak laws that offer no real protection for our unique threatened species and ecological communities and that will facilitate ongoing decline in biodiversity. We’ll keep our web page dedicated to the reforms live, so you can review the links and resources any time. We’ll also report back as the NSW Government responds to your submissions. Read more »
Recognising the role of EDOs in environmental protection “Environmental Defenders Offices [are] often the most effective critics of environmental degradation. In the face of biddable governments, it is only the law that keeps miners and other polluters accountable.” A few weeks ago The Saturday Paper ran an article on our CEO and Principal Solicitor Sue Higginson. The Paper’s editorial, Coral reaching, also recognises the crucial role that Australia’s EDOs play in protecting our environment. Read the editorial online »
Calling law students Studied environmental law, and want to gain experience while making a difference? Volunteer with us! As a legal volunteer, you’ll help our solicitors with case work and be dedicating your energies and skills into defending the environment through law. What better way to spend your break? If you’re wondering if volunteering with us is for you, read about what our legal volunteers Christine and Peter have been doing. Read more »
Court and Compliance Watch Quarry fined for failing to undertake groundwater assessment The Department of Planning and Environmen has fined Blakebrook Quarry in Lismore $15,000 for failing to undertake an assessment of groundwater impacts that was required as a condition of its approval after the company was repeatedly contacted by the Department to undertake assessment and monitoring. In addition to the fine, the company has been ordered to complete assessment by a specific date and undertake monitoring of the groundwater systems. If it does not comply with these orders, the Department has indicated that it will consider taking enforcement action in the Land and Environment Court. Read more »
Developer fined for construction work outside permitted hours The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has fined Karimbla Construction Services $15,000 for undertaking construction work outside of the hours permitted under its conditions of approval. The company is developing two mixed-use residential towers in Parramatta up to 52 storeys high. Noise from the site had been affecting nearby residents, and
Department compliance officers found that construction had been starting before 7am. A fine was issued as the company was already on notice for non-compliance with noise conditions. Read more »
Law Reform and Policy Watch Warrumbungle first dark sky park in Australia Warrumbungle National Park in Central Western NSW has been declared Australia’s first Dark Sky Park. The Dark Sky Region in NSW is home to the visible-light Observatory at Siding Spring, located on the edge of the Warrumbungle National Park. The Observatory has more than 20 telescopes and is one of the few in the world that can view the whole Southern Hemisphere sky. The declaration means that the area’s dark sky will be protected by controlling light pollution. The dark sky planning guide and other information can be viewed at the Department of Planning and Environment website. Read more »
New online environmental information released The Australian Government Department of the Environment has released new data and information sets online:
The Collaborative Australian Protected Area Database (CAPAD) releases from 1997 onwards NVIS 4.2 Major Vegetation Groups and Major Vegetation Subgroups, Extant and Estimated Pre-1750 Vegetation Types
Recent EDO NSW submissions and reports
Merits Review in Planning in NSW, EDO NSW discussion paper NSW Biodiversity reform package 2016, EDO NSW submission Protection of the Environment Operations Regulation – railway coal transport, EDO NSW submission Review of Complying Development for Inland NSW, EDO NSW submission Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment Suggested Management Initiatives, EDO NSW submission National Standard for Environmental Risk Management of Industrial Chemicals, EDOs of Australia submission
Read all of our law reform submissions and briefing papers on our website.
New legislation introduced to Parliament Australian Parliament
No new bills have been introduced into Parliament since the last eBulletin
Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Bill 2016
This Government Bill would amend the Local Government Act 1993 in relation to the governance and planning functions of councils. The Bill is awaiting 2nd reading. Read the Bill »
Local Environmental Plan tracking
Liverpool – Amendment to permit ‘shops’ as an additional use at Orange Grove Mega Centre, Warwick Farm. Camden – Amendment to the provisions and maps that apply to land at Catherine Park Estate.
To access the LEP tracking system, visit the Department of Planning and Environment website. Read more about LEPs in our Fact Sheets. Visit your local council’s website to see if there are any planning proposals or LEP changes open for public comment.
Have Your Say Alerts – Opportunities to Comment This eBulletin provides alerts for opportunities to comment on changes to law and policy, and activities that may impact the environment in your area. For a comprehensive list of current opportunities to have your say on a range of environment and planning matters, visit our Have Your Say site. This online resource also helps the community to effectively engage with decisionmakers and request a workshop for your community. We are always trying to improve our community resources and are currently seeking feedback on the effectiveness of Have Your Say. You can help us out by checking out the site and completing a short three-question survey.
Malabar Headland Walking Track
National Parks and Wildlife Service is seeking comment on conceptual plans for a walking track at Malabar Headland National Park. This consultation supplements the community engagement process conducted in March 2016 by Randwick City Council for the 'Western Escarpment Walking Track'. View the plans and chat to Rangers on Saturday 9 July between 9-11am on Maroubra Beach Promenade opposite McKeon Street. Submissions are invited until Friday 29 July 2016. Read more and have your say »
Intersection improvements: Warwick Farm
NSW Roads and Maritime Services is planning work at the intersection of Bigge Street and the Hume Highway, Warwick Farm. It is proposed that work will be undertaken up to five nights a week for 17 weeks. Submissions are invited until Wednesday 13 July 2016. Read more and have your say »
Intersection improvements: Cabramatta
NSW Roads and Maritime Services is seeking feedback on additional work on the Cumberland Highway and Cabramatta Road intersection. Work includes a pedestrian signal across Links Avenue and relocating the existing merge point south of the bridge over Cabramatta Creek.. Submissions are invited until Friday 8 July 2016. Read more and have your say »
Threatened Species and Endangered Ecological Community Listing Consultations o No new listings have been placed on exhibition since the last eBulletin.
For a full listing of threatened species and endangered ecological community listings currently open for public comment, visit the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website and the Australian Department of the Environment website.
Fisheries assessments o No new fisheries assessments have been announced since the last eBulletin.
For a full listing of fisheries assessments currently open for public comment, visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries website and the Australian Department of the Environment website.
No new legislative reviews have been announced since the last eBulletin.
Major Project proposals: Invitation to comment
Moorebank – Modification to undertake additional civil and earthworks site preparatory works, including the import, placement and stockpiling of clean fill at Moorebank Ave – Submissions invited until Monday 22 August 2016. Lilyfield – Digital conversion of the two existing monopole signs adjacent to City West Link – Submissions invited until Thursday 18 August 2016. Taverners Hill – Digital Conversion of two existing advertising signs attached to the pedestrian bridge on Parramatta Road – Submissions invited until Friday 19 August 2016. Tahmoor – Residential subdivision of land into 37 residential lots and monetary contribution by developer – Submissions invited until Friday 5 August 2016.
For a full listing of major project proposals currently open for public comment, visit the Department of Planning and Environment’s website. To learn more about the planning process for major projects, read our Fact Sheet on State Significant Development and State Significant Infrastructure.
EPBC Referrals: Invitation to comment
Beeliar, WA – Clearing of native vegetation and rehabilitated vegetation for low to high density residential development – Submissions invited until Wednesday 20 July 2016. Gosnells, WA – Extension and widening of streets, involving the clearing of native vegetation – Submissions invited until Monday 18 July 2016. Keilor Downs, VIC – Proposed development including townhouses, shop-top apartments and retail tenancies – Submissions invited until Monday 18 July 2016. Batchelor, NT – Rehabilitation of the former Rum Jungle mine site, including the satellite operations of Mount Burton and Mount Fitch – Submissions invited until Thursday 14 July 2016.
Referrals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) can be viewed on the Australian Environment Department’s website. To learn more, read our Fact Sheet on the EPBC Act.
Plans of Management: Invitation to comment
No new National Park plans of management have been placed on exhibition since the last eBulletin.
The full listing of plans of management for protected areas can be viewed on the Office of Environment and Heritage website. To learn more about the Plans of Management, see our Fact Sheet on Protected Areas.
New Coal and Petroleum Exploration Licence Applications
No new coal or petroleum exploration licence applications have been listed since the last eBulletin.
To view current coal and petroleum (including CSG) exploration licence applications and approvals, visit the Minerals and Petroleum website. The NSW Government Gazette also contains a list of all exploration and mining lease applications and determinations. Public comment can be made on coal and petroleum (including CSG) exploration licence applications on the Minerals and Petroleum website. To learn more, read the EDO NSW publication Mining Law in NSW: A guide for the community.
Community News New this week BioBanking – History & Future This next PEP talk from the NSW Environment Instititue of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) will provide an insight into the history of BioBanking, the changes to the scheme over the last eight years and the proposed changes under the current NSW biodiversity reforms. The talk will also explore what has worked and what hasn’t in terms of biodiversity conservation. Presenters are certified BioBanking assessors Liam Hogg and Ariane Weiss. Cost: Members $20; Non-Members $40 When: Thursday 21 July 2016, 5:30-7:00pm Where: SMEC Australia, Level 8-20 Berry St, North Sydney Read more »
Call for EIANZ event ideas The NSW EIANZ is asking for ideas for future divisional events. If you have an idea for a talk, series or professional development event , or if there is an environmental professional or public figure you’d like to hear from, Contact Monica at [email protected]
From last week Australian Environment Review out now The latest edition of Australian Environment Review explores the politics of environmental law. There’s an article on Australian Environmental Law — its historical and current political context, as well as summaries of the major parties’ environmental policies. There’s also a case note on our case win from earlier this year, Friends of Tumblebee Inc v ATB Morton Pty Ltd. Read more »
Police powers and protest laws update: impacts on environmental activism The NSW Young Lawyers Criminal Law and Environment & Planning Law Committees are holding a seminar on the impact of the new protest laws on environmental protesters. Our own Kira Levin will give an overview of what the protest laws mean for environmental protesters, and will provide a checklist for lawyers. David Porter, Senior Solicitor, UNSW Policing Practice at Redfern Legal Centre, will provide an overview and analysis of the new laws. Cost: Members $120; Non-Members $156 When: Tuesday 30 August 2016, 5-6:30pm Where: The Law Society of NSW, Level 3, 170 Phillip Street, Sydney CPD units: 1.5. Read more »
Maintaining Australia’s Natural Wealth: Priorities for Conservation Policy The draft program is now available for the sixth symposium in the ACIUCN Science Informing Policy Symposium Series. The symposium will bring together around 100 conservation experts from across governments, non-government organisations, academia, Indigenous organisations and natural resource management bodies to discuss the future of Australia’s rich natural environment. Our own Policy and Law Reform Director, Rachel Walmsley, will be participating in the Wednesday morning session title ‘Ensuring a strong national framework of environmental laws for the future of conservation’. Download the draft program. When: Tuesday 19 to Wednesday 20 July 2016 Where: The Hall, University House, Australian National University, Canberra Read more »
Building the new economy: activism, enterprise and social change Early bird registrations are now open for the New Economy conference. The conference will explore what types of future economic systems we want to build in Australia. The conference will include an interactive plenary session on Day 2, which will enable interested participants to co-design a Charter for a Coalition for a New Economy, and those Interested are invited to propose a creative range of participation, including: papers, mini-workshops, performances, games or other interventions. When: Tuesday 16 to Wednesday 17 August 2016 Where: Glebe Town Hall, Sydney Read more »
Support EDO NSW We recently won a court case for a Hunter Valley community group who has been fighting for many years to protect an area of forest vital to the long term survival of the the Regent Honeyeater, a bird on the brink of extinction. Your donation will ensure we can continue fighting legal battles for communities who are committed to protecting our wildlife from extinction. Please make a donation today.
Other ways you can help us defend the environment You can have an even greater impact by becoming a Friend of the EDO. Our regular donors are an invaluable source of funding and help us ensure we are ready to respond when the community needs our help. Visit our website for even more ways to support our work.
Environmental Defender Read more about how your support can help protect the environment in the October 2015 edition of our supporter newsletter, Environmental Defender. EDO NSW has been providing critical legal support to NSW communities for 30 years. We are the only legal centre in NSW specialising in public interest environmental issues.
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