Last Updated: March 23, 2017

What’s Happening

Watch it here! Paris Climate Agreement: Implications for Australian Lawyers

14 March 2017

If you missed last week’s special event where Australia’s leading legal minds came together to discuss the legal implications of the Paris Climate Agreement, you can watch it online here:

 

Speaker 1, Dr Justine Bell-James, “Paris: Has the world been saved?”

Speaker 2, The Hon Justice Brian Preston SC, “Paris: Its implications for environmental jurisprudence in Australia”

Stephen Keim SC, commentary and audience questions

Climate and the future of law: Experts discuss Paris Climate Agreement implications, 9 March 2017

6 March 2017

Leading Australian legal minds will come together to discuss the Paris Climate Agreement’s implications for Australian lawyers at the Banco Court in Brisbane on Thursday 9 March.

Join chair and retired Queensland Supreme Court judge Mr. Alan Wilson SC alongside expert guest speakers who will explore current climate law and what’s in store for the future in Australia and abroad.

Lawyers and law students are invited to attend the event, hosted by EDO Qld and including high-profile speakers:

“The impacts of climate change, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation, are affecting every aspect of Australian environment, society and economy,” Dr Justine Bell-James, said.

“It is imperative Australian lawyers have a good understanding of climate law and how this climate change will shape their practice of law in the future.

“This event is not just relevant for lawyers who practice in property, planning, environment or consumer law – it’s for any lawyer or student lawyer who cares about the future of Queensland.

“Join us to gain a better understanding of current and future clients issues, be better prepared for the future practice of your profession and don’t be left behind.”

The Paris Climate Agreement: Implications for Australian lawyers will take place on Thursday 9 March from 5.45pm to 8pm at Banco Court. A panel Q&A will follow presentations.

Please note legal practitioners may claim up to 2 CPD units. Costs $30 or $15 for concession holders. Visit www.edoqld.org.au/Paris to register.

COP-21

Get your submissions in by 3 March to have your views heard on the draft SEQ Regional Plan – ‘ShapingSEQ’

23 February 2017

The draft South East Queensland (SEQ) Regional Plan has been released and is open for comment until midnight on Friday 3 March 2017. You can find a copy of the draft plan, along with supporting information here, and information from EDO Qld below.

Download our template to help supercharge your submission!

Thank you to all of those who participated in our workshop and LawJam last Thursday night, we were very pleased with the level of engaged participation at both events.

Access the recording of our info seminar here.
(Please note you will have to log in to the site to view the video).

A big thanks to SEQ Catchments Members Association Inc for hosting the community workshop, and to Professor Darryl Low Choy of Griffith University and Mr Paul McDonald of Healthy Waterways and Catchments for joining with us to provide these events and for their contributions on the evening.

The slides from our workshop and LawJam can be found here:

Background

The SEQ Regional Plan is an important regional planning tool, which can direct how both the state and local governments undertake planning and development decision-making in SEQ. Regional Plans override planning schemes where there is inconsistency.

As part of the package released for consultation, there are numerous background papers which provide more information as to the policies which shaped the new SEQ Regional Plan. We recommend you review these background papers, which are under the following headings:

  • Background paper 1: Grow– considers the preferred pattern of settlement to best manage projected regional growth in SEQ
  • Background paper 2: Prosper– considers the approach to supporting improved economic and employment outcomes for the region
  • Background paper 3: Connect– considers the infrastructure demands and integrating land use and transport planning to improve outcomes in the region
  • Background paper 4: Sustain– considers issues for the protection and management of our natural environment and sustainable social outcomes for our communities
  • Background paper 5:Live – considers ways to improve the quality of design and amenity in our urban areas

The government has collated the preliminary responses to the ‘Shaping SEQ’  community consultations; check out whether your response has been adequately captured, by reviewing the responses here.

You can find the full suite of documents here: http://www.shapingseq.com.au/ShapingSEQ/documents

Key suggestions from EDO Qld:

EDO Qld will be providing an in-depth analysis and suggested submissions on the SEQ Regional Plan, with a view to protecting SEQ’s diverse ecologies and maintaining or improving healthy communities in our region. We will notify supporters via our e-bulletin, so make sure you are subscribed!

  • Stronger protection for the newly identified ‘regional biodiversity values’ – broaden this to include the urban footprint which still contains valuable and vulnerable ecosystems and environmental features;
  • Stronger protection for both ‘regional biodiversity values’ and ‘regional biodiversity corridors’ such that they are protected as matters of state environmental significance, and required to be mapped throughout Queensland regions (this would need to be provided through instruments outside of the SEQ Regoinal Plan)
  • Require mapping and protection of areas that are ideal sites for renewable energy, to avoid conflicting land uses and to support this thriving industry that is essential to helping us meet our climate change commitments.
  • Improvements are needed to ‘Measures that matter’ to ensure that they have specific, measurable outcomes, rather than vague or missing goals, to assist with measuring our progress and identifying where we need to amend our framework to achieve our goals. Also, measures relevant to levels of fragmentation and koalas, and other key biodiversity indicators, would be useful.

Stay tuned for our template submission which will provide more helpful tips to assist you with your submission.

Make sure you have your say!

How to lodge a submission

Submissions must be provided to the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning in writing and include the following information:

  • first and last names
    addresses (home or business)
    • signatures (unless lodged electronically).

You may lodge your submission in several ways.

  • Online, here
    By email, to SEQRegionalPlan@dilgp.qld.gov.au
    • By post, to Draft South East Queensland Regional Plan Review Feedback, Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, PO Box 15009, City East QLD 4000.

Win for transparency: all environmental authorities are to be published online from DEHP, but more to be done

17 February 2017

EDO Qld commends Minister Miles for undertaking to provide copies of all environmental authorities online from today, Friday 17 February 2017.

Environmental authorities are required to be made available to the public through the public register under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) (EP Act).

CEO of EDO Queensland, Jo-Anne Bragg, praised this initiative, stating that this is a necessary step towards helping Queensland move into the 21st century in meeting community expectations that information should be provided online, making it free and easily accessible to the majority of the community.

“However, this should just be the first step in improving transparency and accountability in the decision making and regulation around environmental and community impacts in Queensland.

“Our government agencies have a duty to proactively provide information to the community. Matters of environmental interest affect all Queenslanders, and it is important that interested members of the public and advocates of environmental issues have ready access to public documentation such as EAs and enforcement tools, such as Environmental Protection Orders, online.

“This information is necessary for organisations such as the Environmental Defenders Office, whose lawyers are routinely called upon by the community to provide legal advice on environmental matters. The community needs to know if industry is complying with conditions protecting air, water and nature.

“There is also the fact that environmental approvals and compliance actions need to be undertaken in a transparent manner. This is a good start to put EAs on line, to be followed by Environmental Protection Orders.

The next needed step is to put online all public register documents, such as plans required to be submitted under the conditions of Environmental Authorities, plans of operations for mines, monitoring data, application documents and enforcement documents. Having these documents online will also save the Department and the community time and resources,” Ms Bragg said.

“Improvements to the public register under the EP Act are also needed, to ensure the community can access all monitoring data that is created to determine compliance with a condition of an environmental authority condition. Frequently conditions are being drafted in a way that prevents monitoring data created by industries from being obtained by the community, because it is not required to be given to the government.”

“The public has a right to know the quality of the air they are breathing and the water they are drinking, and the impacts to the environment that concerns them.

“We hope the Queensland Government continues this trend of working to improve transparency through ensuring increased, easier access to information relevant to proposed or existing impacts to the environment and communities.”

The media release from Minister Miles is here.

Stronger State planning needed to protect renewables and agricultural land

9 February 2017

Comment by EDO Qld Solicitor Revel Pointon

EDO Qld supports the need for the Queensland Government to take a strong, strategic approach to planning for the growth of our renewable energy sector, and to protect our vulnerable ecological areas and prime agricultural land.

Currently the Queensland Government is seeking comment on the State Planning Policy, State Development Assessment Provisions and the new draft Planning Regulation. These documents set out what the Queensland Government considers to be the most important matters in Queensland which require protection by the State Government in planning decision making. Submissions are due Friday 10 February 2017.

EDO Qld are disappointed to see that the current versions of these draft instruments out for comment do not provide sufficient protections for the renewable energy sector to develop smoothly and in a way that is compatible with other planning demands on our State.

A requirement to identify and protect renewable energy projects should be provided, so that prime sites for renewables that do not affect prime agricultural land nor our vulnerable environmental matters are protected from incompatible development.

The State Planning Policy currently requires strong planning and protections for ‘key resource areas’ which include coal and petroleum and gas resources, along with other extractive resources. Why aren’t similarly strong planning requirements and protections being afforded to our expanding, clean, renewable energy industry?

The assessment of renewable energy projects still lies with local governments, whereas our Planning Regulation could make the State government responsible for assessment of these projects to ensure proper assessment against other matters of State significance, such as environmental and agricultural matters and coherent planning across the State.

With the support of the funding received from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding and the Queensland Government’s renewable energy target, the large-scale renewable energy sector is likely to grow quickly in Queensland in the coming years.

We need strong planning laws which reflect the importance of the renewable energy industry to meeting our climate change commitments and transitioning our state to clean energy that is better for our air, water and health.

We encourage all Queenslanders to get their submissions in by Friday to ensure that the matters they think should be given the strongest and most coherent protection across Queensland are reflected in State planning policy and law.

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