15 January, 2012

Sustainable Business Weekly QLD Edition [Waste Levy, WHS Act, QWEST]

The Waste Levy

The LNP candidate for the State seat of Ashgrove is preempting the announcement of a QLD State election & has promisedto repeal the Waste levy if he wins Government (& his seat).

The Australian Sustainable Business Group (ASBG) does not oppose the Waste Levy (in principle) but has been lobbying for some sensible changes to the QLD legislation for the sake of consistency with National initiatives & easier administration.

ASBG held a policy reference group on the 6 October 2011, with members meeting with representatives from the Department of Environment and Resources Management (DERM).

It would appear that ASBG (&/or common sense) have prevailed. DERM has made changes in their naming of low & high hazardous wastes. Now they call it Regulated Waste - low hazard and Regulated - high hazard

The business plan for waste and recycling programs funded by the new Queensland waste levy was published last month & can be accessed from the DERM website. There is a also brief levy FAQ on the DERM website.

The Waste Levy Legislation passed late last year also included:

· Establishment of a scheme to support the Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative via carbon sequestration projects in Qld;

· Amendments to the Water Act 2000 to compliment the National Water Initiative;

· Amendments to the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 to allow, the disposal of treated coal seam gas water to a natural water way without approval under the Act.

· The Qld Government appear to be bending over backward to provide increased flexibility in the management of seepage water discharge from coal seam gas development.

QLD Work Health Safety Act 2011

The new legislation came into force on 1 January 2012. There is still a lot of confusion about the changes.

The changes are an attempt to get some consistency in Work Health & Safety legislations in all Australian States

The regulations were first presented to industry in December 2010, as the start of a four month consultation period. The latest version of the regulatory package (model regulations and first stage codes of practice), which has been considered by the Workplace Relations Ministers, has been available to the public since September 2011. This package provides industry with a very clear picture of what is going forward. Queensland, like all other states and territories, will be introducing transitional arrangements so that industry has time to adjust to any areas that require considerable change to comply with the new laws.

Transitional provisions are included to smooth the transition to the new requirements which will require some action by business operators in order to comply.

· Transitional provisions at a glance: Work Health and Safety Act 2011

· Transitional provisions for the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011

· Asbestos transitional arrangements

The Queensland Parliament passed the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the WHS Act 2011) on 26 May 2011. The WHS Act 2011 reflects the national model WHS Act with minor (but necessary) changes which enable it to operate within the Queensland jurisdiction. This was followed on 24 November 2011 with the approval of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (the WHS Regulation 2011) by the Queensland Governor in Council.

The WHS Regulation reflects the national model WHS Regulation, with some changes, which will enable it to operate effectively in Queensland.

The key pieces of legislation are:

· Work Health and Safety Act 2011

· Explanatory notes (Work Health and Safety Bill 2011)

· Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011

· Explanatory notes

· Proclamation of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011

The new Work Health Safety act relies on the concept of “Reasonably practicable” which takes into account a number of factors that can help one decide what is reasonable in terms of controlling risks.

To determine what is (or was at a particular time) reasonably practicable in relation to managing a risk, a person must take into account and weight up all relevant matters, including:

· the likelihood of the hazard or the risk concerned occurring

· the degree of harm that might result

· what the person concerned knows, or ought to know, about: - the hazard or the risk; and - ways of eliminating or minimising the risk

· the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk.

QWEST Network

Qld Water Energy Sustainable Technology Networking forums (QWESTNet) are running a forum on “Turning manufacturing waste into profit”. It will be at Ipswich Rugby Club on 15 February 2012 supported by Ipswich Regional Council.

The keynote presentation will be from Coca-Cola Amatil's Director of Supply Chain talking about their waste reduction. There is a good range of technologies & practical solutions to reducing one’s bills & waste to landfill.

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