The Australian Government Climate Change Authority has published a paper Australia's climate change policies at the Australian and State and Territory government levels: a stocktake and Fact sheet – Australia's climate change policies to provide an analysis and summary of climate change policies throughout the country. This is one of a series of stocktakes the Climate Change Authority is releasing in 2019.
The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative – Coal Mine Waste Gas) Methodology Determination Variation 2019 makes amendments to the definition of existing regulatory obligations in the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative – Coal Mine Waste Gas) Methodology Determination 2015 to ensure that projects that are already required by a State or Territory law to engage in emission reduction activities are not credited under the Emissions Reduction Fund.
The Clean Energy Regulator has made available the 2018 Annual Statement to the Parliament on the progress towards the 2020 Large-scale Renewable Energy Target which was submitted to Energy Minister Angus Taylor on 22 March 2019 and tabled in Parliament on 4 April 2019. According to the Clean Energy Regulator, the Statement reveals that "[i]n 2018 it became certain that the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target of 33,000 gigawatt hours will be achieved in 2020".
The Green Building Council of Australia is currently consulting on proposed changes to Green Star through the rating tool, Green Star for New Buildings. Green Star for New Buildings proposes new categories for credits to be taken into account in the rating tool. The consultation period is open until 10 June 2019.
A draft of the Queensland Transport Strategy was released on 15 April 2019 and is open for public comment until 24 May 2019. The draft strategy details five outcomes, including sustainable, resilient and liveable communities which considers transitioning to net zero emissions and upgrading the current transport network to become resilient to climate change effects.
The National Construction Code (NCC) 2019 has now been released in "preview mode" before its official launch on 1 May 2019. The Australian Building Codes Board held an industry seminar for more than 200 building professionals in Adelaide on 15 March 2019 to provide an update on the significant changes made to the NCC, which include a major overhaul to the commercial building energy efficiency provisions (in line with the COAG National Energy Productivity Plan).
The Department Environment and Energy has released the executive summary of a report on food waste generation, with the full report to be published in coming weeks.
The ACT Government has released a discussion paper on the phasing out of single-use plastics.
New South Wales
From 15 May 2019, the new Standards for Managing Construction Waste in NSW will be enforced. The standards apply to all construction and demolition waste facilities. One of the key objectives of the Standards is to reduce the risk of harm from asbestos and other contaminants in construction waste. A fact sheet can also be accessed on the NSW EPA website.
The Environmental Protection (Waste ERA Framework) Amendment Regulation 2018 introduces a number of changes to waste-related environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) in the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008, including a new schedule of waste-related ERAs. Existing waste ERAs will be transitioned to the new waste ERAs after July 2019. The new ERA will depend on a number of factors relating to the way waste is managed on site. More information about the waste ERA framework changes is available on the department's website.
The requirements under the new waste levy will commence on 1 July 2019. Some types of waste are automatically exempt under the waste levy whereas others will require the approval of the chief executive. More information here and here.
The Environment Protection Authority has announced that it will be undertaking an independent review into EPA Victoria's "systems and processes around its regulation of chemical waste" in response to "recent discoveries of illegal storage and dumping of chemical waste".
The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change has announced the phase out of the existing paper certificates for waste generation and movement by 1 July 2019, with the introduction of a fully GPS electronic tracking system.
The Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Amendment (Container Deposit) Act 2019 and the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Amendment (Container Deposit) Act (No. 2) 2019 received assent on 20 March 2019. Both Acts facilitate the implementation of an extended producer responsibility container deposit scheme in Western Australia.
Amendments to the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Regulations 2008 have been proposed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. The proposed amendments will require local governments, waste recyclers and some large regional landfill premises to keep adequate records and report waste and recycling data. The proposed methods of record keeping and reporting for each type of entity are open for public consultation until 27 May 2019.
The Senate Inquiry Report into the Rehabilitation of Mining and Resources Projects as it Relates to Commonwealth Responsibilities is now available.
The new financial provisioning scheme for resource activities, introduced by the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Act 2018, commenced in Queensland on 1 April 2019. Mining and petroleum activities will be required to make a contribution to the scheme fund or provide a surety. Funds that are contributed into the scheme fund can be used by the state to conduct rehabilitation activities on abandoned mines and remediation activities on abandoned operating plants. The new calculator to determine the estimated rehabilitation costs (ERCs), and guidelines on how to estimate an ERC, are now available.
More information is available in " All in together: Queensland's new financial provisioning scheme for resource projects".
The consultation period for the draft Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019 and the Regulatory Impact Statement closed on 23 April 2019. The Regulations will remake and replace the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Interim Regulations 2018 with some additional improvements including, the setting of clearer work plan and rehabilitation plan requirements so that mining and mineral exploration risks are appropriately managed.