12 December, 2011

Sustainable Business Weekly QLD Edition [Electricity, Packaging, Compliance, Green & Red Tape]

Qld Electricity Review

An independent review of the QLD Government owned energy corporations has found Qld's electricity network has improved significantly in both security & reliability since it was last reviewed in 2004.

The review headed by Mr Darryl Somerville found network reliability improved 40 per cent over this time & that power outages are now significantly less frequent & shorter in duration.

Over $12 billion has been invested to improve the Qld’s electricity networks since the serious outages experienced prior to the review & in particular during the devastating 2004 storms.

The report also highlighted the importance of the work energy distributors are doing to meet the challenges of ever-increasing peak demand on the Qld network. The review identified a potential $1.5 billion in savings that ENERGEX & Ergon could implement over the current five-year regulatory period (just in time for the next State Election).

The two major areas in which savings can be made are changes to the way the network is planned & lower than forecast electricity demand. These savings will inevitably be passed on & will assist in easing future pressures on electricity bills.

Qld has apparently seen lower than expected electricity demand, perhaps due to the effects of the GFC & because of shifts in customer behaviour due to scare campaigns related to the Carbon Tax.

Packaging & Litter

State Ministers for Environment & Water are looking for feedback about packaging & litter waste.

The Standing Council on Environment & Water has released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on Packaging Impacts for public comment.

The consultation considers options to improve resource recovery & reduce litter associated with a wide range of consumer packaging, including food wrappers & beverage containers.

The consultation provides the opportunity for an informed debate on options to address packaging waste. An extended consultation period over 16 weeks will allow for the Christmas & summer holidays. The Ministers acknowledged the important input of environment groups & industry groups (like ASBG) in formulating the 7 options in the consultation paper.

These options include container deposit schemes, industry-funded schemes that may be co-regulated under the Product Stewardship Act 2011 (Cwth) & nationally consistent Government initiatives.

The analysis includes a base case which recognises existing packaging recovery & litter reduction systems, including the long-standing South Australian container deposit scheme & the implementation of the Northern Territory container deposit scheme; the servicing of most Australian households by kerbside recycling; & the Australian Packaging Covenant. The Council recognised assessment of the costs and benefits of options has many dimensions & cannot be based on quantifiable matters alone.

DERM’s Compliance update

If environmental incidents are not addressed voluntarily by those responsible, the Department of Environment & Resource Management (DERM) may issue environmental protection orders (EPOs) under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 to ensure that environmental harm is prevented or minimised.

DERM’s Compliance alert 4/2011 includes three case studies demonstrating the significant legal and financial consequences of failing to comply with an EPO, as well as key messages on how to avoid enforcement action.

Red & GreenTape Reduction

The Greentape Reduction project has been established by the Qld Government to streamline, integrate and coordinate regulatory requirements under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) without compromising environmental outcomes. The project will result in savings for business & government of $12.5m each year.

The Environmental Protection (Greentape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 was introduced into Parliament on 26 October 2011. The aim is to achieve key objectives of the Greentape Reduction project.

The Qld State Opposition (led by the Candidate for the seat of Ashgrove) is also targeting red (& green) tape that can be easily removed at no or low cost.

Already Mr Newman has announced that an LNP Government would dump Labor's waste tax & streamline real estate regulations.

One can also have one’s say by emailing suggestions to the Qld Opposition: cutredtape@lnpqld.org.au or join their conversation on Facebook. The results will be compiled & revealed in the new year.

Merry & sustainable Christmas

We wish you a Merry (& Sustainable Christmas). We are currently planning a number of Seminars, Workshops and a Carbon Conference for 2012.

We will kick off the year with a half day seminar on Compliance with Environmental Legislation.

We are also planning a half day seminar on embedding Sustainability into one’s supply chain.

Please let rowan@asbg.net.au know if you have any suggestions for future seminars or newsletter topics.

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