29 April, 2011

Carbon Price, Coal Seam Gas, Flood, Cows

ASBG June Seminars
ASBG QLD is very excited about a couple of seminars to be hosted at Norton Rose Australia in June 2011.

We are still fine tuning the programmes. Registration forms will be sent out soon. Both these seminars will provide an update on the recent changes to Australian & Queensland Laws affecting Environment & Safety respectively.

The Environmental Management Seminar on Thursday 15 June 08:00-12:30 will feature Andrew Wilford discussing the bigger picture & setting the context for Environmental Management.

Rebecca Hoare (Norton Rose Australia) will provide an overview & an update of recent changes to Australian & QLD Environmental Law.

Omar Ameer from DERM will be informing those who attend the seminar on how to stay out of trouble with one’s Environmental Regulator.

On Wednesday 22 June from 08:00 to 12:30, ASBG is running a Safety Management Seminar which will include the new changes to Dangerous Goods Packaging & Labeling requirements (Global Harmonisation).

There is a Carbon Price workshop ready to roll, as soon as there is sufficient detail released by the federal Government (watch this space).

Implementation of the Carbon Price

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency is calling for written submissions from interested stakeholders on the proposed architecture and implementation arrangements for a carbon pricing mechanism.

Submissions will be used by the Department to inform the development of policy options for discussion by the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee (MPCCC). In order that views can be taken fully into account in the design of policy options, the Department is seeking written submissions by close of business 10 May 2011. Submissions should be emailed to CarbonPriceSubmissions@climatechange.gov.au by 10 May 2011

Coal Seam Gas
ASBG QLD have been hearing a lot of about Coal Seam Gas from frustrated proponents and disaffected opponents who share a common grievance with the Queensland Government Regulators: The Department of Environment & Resource Management (DERM) &/or the Queensland Water Commission (QWC).

ASBG QLD recently heard from a frustrated Environmental Manager from a major Coal Seam Gas proponent, complaining about the amount of pointless analyses & data collection that was required by the Regulators that:
A) Added no value (in terms of knowledge or information);
B) Used time, money & human resources that could be better spent on problem solving or collecting more useful information.

As Environmental Practitioners, there is going to be a huge demand for our services to address complex environmental & regulatory compliance issues.

It would appear the Regulator faces a problem with recruiting and retaining staff (with appropriate qualifications & experience). Anecdotal evidence would suggest that the Coal Seam Gas industry is poaching staff (either passively or actively) from where ever it can get them.

ASBG QLD has started to hear more stories from other industry sectors (such as Petroleum Refining & the Sugar Industry) that are losing staff to the Coal Seam Gas sector and are having a lot of difficulty replacing them.

An unusual alliance of farmers, environmentalists & scientists called the Western Downs Alliance has been lobbying the State and Federal Governments claiming that Coal Seam Gas activities are potentially hazardous to human health, agricultural land & underground water.
One of the Western Downs Alliance’s greatest fears is that Coal Seam Gas Development could irreparably damage the Great Artesian Basin. This lobby is calling on Government/s to impose a moratorium on the industry until all outstanding social & environmental issues have been addressed.

Qld Flood Inquiry
The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry continues its public hearings into the 2010-11 flood events. It was heartbreaking to hear about the emergency calls from flood victims in Toowoomba and hear of the heroics of the people of Grantham.

The public hearings will be held in Goondiwindi, St George and Brisbane this coming week (3-6 May 2011). The interim report is due in August 2011, to enable early recommendations to be implemented before next summer's wet season.

Cows means Farts

ASBG QLD’s newly acquired rural reporter, Lord Julian of Boonah, reports that farmers are happy because cattle prices are at a high & there is lots of grass around!

ASBG is interested in what Lord Julian will make of Professor Ross Garnaut’s Update Paper 4: Transforming rural land use.

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