Here is a snap shot of a few things I have gleaned from Hansard...concerning Environmental Law & Sustainability. Some of this may end up in my "Sustainable Business Weekly" newsletter.
During the recent election the Liberal National Party made five pledges to:
1. Lower the cost of living for families by cutting waste;
2. Deliver better infrastructure and better planning;
3. Revitalise front-line services for families;
4. Restore accountability in government,
5. Grow a four-pillar economy to provide better opportunities for all Queenslanders in all walks of life.
The Qld Treasurer Tim Nichols believes that, the Qld Government needs to cut back on the red and green tape. In removing the regulation that he believes has at times strangled industry and endangered Qld’s reputation as a safe place to invest (particularly in reference to Coal Seam Gas Development). He is adamant that in simplifying and or removing regulation (green tape) the Qld Government will not do so at the risk of endangering our most productive farmland and our most valuable environmental assets. Mr Nicholls introduced the Treasury (Cost of Living) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill to Parliament, to give effect to a number of key election commitments including:
• Increasing the payroll tax exemption threshold for businesses to $1.1m,
• Freezing the standard electricity tariff (Tariff 11);
• Abolishing Sustainability Declar-ations when selling houses
• Introducing an Office of Best Practice Regulation to save unnecessary red tape.
In his opening speech to Parliament, Premier Campbell Newman spoke of his plan that will free Qld of debt, red tape, impractical ideology and indecision. As a foot note, the Premier says will protect Queensland’s environment by raising the bar on environmental performance and by cutting unnecessary environmental red tape and ideology. There is anecdotal evidence of a recent increase in enforcement activities by the regulators.
The Premier reiterated his ambition to build a broader, stronger Queensland economy based on the four key pillars of agriculture, resources, tourism and construction.
We have seen some of this in action with the split up of DERM into the:
· Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
· Department of Natural Resources and Mines
· Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing
· Department of Energy and Water Supply
· Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts
Don’t forget the move to abolish the waste levy in Queensland from 1 July 2012, which will undoubtedly attract large amounts of waste from NSW.
In agriculture, the Premier has set a target to double Queensland’s food production by 2040. He aims to do this by improving education, skills, technology and practices.
ASBG members involved in food processing industries may be interested to know that the Premier has promised to protect strategic cropping land through statutory regional planning and he declared that he will go further to identify and develop new areas for intensive food production.
Those involved in mining, minerals or hydrocarbon processing should note that the Premier claims he will deliver investment certainty and he will facilitate major projects instead of impeding them.
In her maiden speech the incoming Shadow Minister for Shadow Minister for Transport, Environment and Heritage Protection, Small Business, Consumer Affairs and The Arts: Ms Jackie Trad said: “we will ensure that our environment is protected for future generations. The Labor Party is part of a political movement that is acutely aware of its responsibility to this state and this nation.”
The Member for Gympie, David Gibson noted in his speech that his electorate has a particularly special environmental area, the Mary Valley and the Mary River. He reminded Parliament of the previous Government’s failed plans for the Traveston Crossing Dam.
Bill Byrne (ALP – Rockhampton) "We have been resoundingly defeated at the polls. ‘Belted’ is a more accurate term. However, it would be a factual misrepresentation to condemn every facet of Labor’s record. Labor made some very substantial investments and progress in areas such as education, disabilities, child protection and environmental protection. These achievements were before my time so I will not be dwelling further on the past. As we have already seen this morning, I am sure that the government will be reminding us enough over the next 12 to 18 months about their recollections and, I dare say, interpretations of the legacy of this period."
The Queensland Water Commission’s (QWC) independent scientific study of underground water supplies found that there would be impacts on the Great Artesian Basin. The Deputy premier Jeff Seeney is downplaying these impacts.
The Queensland Water Act 2000 requires petroleum tenure holders to carry out baseline assessments of water
bores before commencing production, and to make good impairment of bore supplies now and into the future. With the Surat and southern Bowen Basin undergoing a major expansion in CSG production, the region was declared a Cumulative Management Area (CMA) under the Water Act which gave the QWC the responsibility of preparing an Underground Water Impact Report (UWIR).
The draft report found some across the Surat Cumulative Management Area would be affected by the CSG industry in the next three years. The report states that in the longer term bores will be affected. Laws will require the CSG companies to “make good” & the Gasfields Commission will be an important part of making sure that those laws are enforced.
The QWC’s independent scientific study of underground water supplies found relatively small impacts on the Great Artesian Basin. Its draft report released found just 85 of some 21,000 bores across the Surat Cumulative Management Area would be affected by the CSG industry in the next three years. The CSG industry and the State Government are assessing options for treatment and reuse for irrigation or other agricultural purposes. Reinjection of treated CSG product water into the groundwater systems might be cost prohibitive.
The new State Government wants to work on all of these issues in cooperation and consultation with those involved. The report is open for public comment until 22 June 2012.