26 August, 2012

CanDo Poop



Taken from the Queensland State Parliament - Record of Proceedings (Hansard):


Palmer, Mr C
Ms PALASZCZUK: My question is to the Premier. He likes talking about Clive Palmer and now he has an opportunity to keep talking about him. Is the Premier aware that Clive Palmer, a life member of his own party, is so concerned about the Premier’s job-slashing program that he is considering providing funding for counselling services for those 20,000 public sector workers facing the sack?

Mr NEWMAN: They are showing so much flexibility, are they not? It is like they sit there in their little den and come up with questions. They have shown week after week that they will continue to drive the caboose over the cliff, even though I have already dealt with it.
Mr Palmer and China First have lots of plans. They have a plan for a mine in the Galilee Basin, they have a plan for a resort on the Sunshine Coast, they have a plan for Titanic II. And, no, I am not taking tickets because I saw what happened to the first one.

A government member: Labor should go on it!

Mr NEWMAN: I do not know if those opposite have bought tickets. Again I reiterate, in terms of this anxiety, very seriously for a moment, that we understand—

Ms Palaszczuk interjected.

Mr NEWMAN: Madam Speaker, they asked the question. The people who are the victims at the moment are public servants who have been employed by the people opposite when there was not money to pay their salaries. Unfortunately we are the ones who are cleaning up Anna Bligh’s mess. It is Anna Bligh’s legacy. We get the pooper scooper out every day of the week. We have to make these tough decisions. We know there is fear and anxiety and we are sorry about that. It will end as soon as possible.
In relation to Mr Palmer—and those opposite need to hear this—if he is indeed the Labor Party’s newest best friend, if that is the case—

Ms Palaszczuk: No, I am not saying that at all.

Mr NEWMAN: The Leader of the Opposition is saying now she is not supporting Mr Palmer.

Ms PALASZCZUK: No.

Mr NEWMAN: You are supporting Mr Palmer? Yes or no? Is Mr Palmer the Labor Party’s new best friend? Is Mr Palmer going to be providing electoral funding contributions to the Labor Party? Is he going to be providing money to the Katter’s Australian Party? Is he going to be building a statue of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen in South Brisbane? And will those opposite support it? Because, fair dinkum, Mr Palmer wants to build a statue to the former Premier in South Brisbane. Will they support that proposal or will that cause great anxiety for the member for South Brisbane. They support counselling services, but will they support the statue? That is what I want to know.
We have no problem with statues to former Premiers—perhaps not Anna Bligh at the moment. A lot of members here might not agree, but I am prepared to think about a statue of Peter Beattie. He was on a traffic signal box while I was the Lord Mayor of Brisbane. I am not overly combative about these things. The rhetorical question that I have for those opposite is: will they have any sort of anxiety about the statue in South Brisbane?

Interruption.

my letter to Fiona Simpson [Pooper Scooper]







The Honourable MsFiona Simpson
Member for Maroochydore and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
Queensland Government



Dear Madam Speaker,

Congratulations on your re-election to serve the electorate of Maroochydore.

Congratulations also on your appointment to serve the people of Queensland as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

The behaviour of the Queensland Premier this week in Parliament does not demonstrate the "humility, grace and dignity" that he promised in his Victory speech on winning the election in March 2012.

I find it a little hypocritical for the Premier to refer to cleaning up "Anna Bligh's mess" and "Anna Bligh's legacy" with a "pooper scooper" when he left Cr Graham Quirk and the people of the city of Brisbane with a legacy of debt as well.

I wonder what the visiting United Kingdom delegation thought of the Premier's decorum in the Parliament.

The question remains un-answered. Will the Queensland Government provide funding for counselling services for those 20,000 public sector workers facing the unemployment and an uncertain future?  I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter and how you (as Speaker) might hold the Premier to his promise to conduct himself and the Queensland Government with humility, grace and dignity.

your's sincerely,

Rowan Barber




21 August, 2012

A letter from my Member of Parliament


I sent a letter to my Member of Parliament, expressing concerns:

Robert Cavallucci
Member for Brisbane Central

Dear Mr Cavallucci,

Thank you for standing for election to represent the people on the seat of Brisbane Central.

Prior to the election, Mr Newman promised that "all hardworking public servants in Queensland, should look forward to a bright and rewarding future with the LNP....." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF8cajLv8C0&feature=youtube_gdata_player 

The reality of the situation is very different.

I cannot find the words to express my grief for my friends and former colleagues, who have been sacked by the Queensland Premier.

regards,

Rowan Barber

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is his response:








Dear Mr Barber,
 
Thank you for your email regarding the Queensland financial position, and I applaud you for your interest in the matter.
 
Unfortunately for all Queenslanders, the former Labor Government spent well beyond its means and had no clear plan to rein in spending.
 
The recent Commission of Audit Report outlined the need for major fiscal repair to end the debilitating cycle of over-expenditure and crippling increases in debt and debt-servicing costs.
 
During the election campaign it was highlighted that governments must live within their means, and that a future Newman Government would act to make sure expenditure did not continue to outstrip revenue – as was the case under Labor.
 
The economic plan put to the people by the LNP included the following aims:
• To stabilise and then significantly reduce debt;
• To achieve and maintain a general government sector fiscal balance in 2014-15;
• To maintain a competitive tax environment for business; and
• To target full funding of long term liabilities in accordance with actuarial advice.
 
During the 2012 election the LNP committed to achieving an operating surplus in 2014-15.
 
Recent statements by the Premier and the Treasurer have reiterated their objective to minimise disruptions to the public service, and that the LNP Government wants to protect as many public sector jobs as possible, but the reality is the former Labor Government employed more public servants than the people of Queensland can currently afford.
 
However, the Premier also stated that the LNP Government was committed to a right sized public service focused on revitalising front line services.
 
The people of Queensland expect the Newman Government to focus on getting the state back on track.
 
I thank you again for your email.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Robert Cavallucci MP
 

EPOLA








EPOLA

 

In recent SBW’s ASBG has been focusing on the details of amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) (EP Act) through passing the Environmental Protection (Greentape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Act (EPOLA).

This week is back to an overview of Green Tape Reduction to tie things all together. The EPOLA is scheduled to commence in March 2013.   Applications received after 31 March 2013 will be processed and assessed under the new, streamlined approval process. Applications received prior to 31 March 2013 will be processed under the current provisions

The EPOLA seeks to simplify and streamline regulatory requirements with a view to ensuring that Queensland's regulatory framework reduces costs to industry and government while maintaining environmental standards. In particular, it creates a single approval process for environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) and develops a licensing model that is proportionate to the risk the activity poses to the environment, providing flexible operational approvals for ERAs under the EP Act.

The EPOLA introduces a new licensing framework with a streamlined approval process for environmental authorities for all environmentally relevant activities, including resource activities.

If one holds a registration certificate before 31 March 2013 you will be automatically added to the suitable operator register. On 31 March 2013, the conditions in your development approval imposed by the administrative authority under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, along with your registration certificate, will effectively become your environmental authority.

Part of the parliamentary process was the review of the Greentape Reduction Bill by parliament’s Agriculture, Resource and Environment Committee.
The committee’s recommendations have led to the following amendments to the Greentape Reduction Bill:
  • Suitable operators will be removed from the register if they have not held an environmental authority for five years.
  • The notification period of 20 business days will exclude the dates between 20 December and 5 January of the following year (avoiding the Christmas/New Year period) to ensure individuals and community groups are afforded reasonable opportunities to respond to applications for environmental authorities for resource activities.
In addition to amendments to the Greentape Reduction Bill, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, will develop a guideline to extend the submission period to 30 business days for large-scale mining or petroleum operations which have not already undergone an environmental impact statement.

The Newman Government claims the changes will bring about significant savings for both government and industry, with small-to-medium-sized businesses expected to benefit the most.

The environmental approvals system in Queensland has not been reformed in 15 years, and has grown to be a complex and difficult system. The purpose of the EPOLA is to make it easier and less costly for businesses to obtain environmental approvals, while the Government continues to uphold the environmental standards expected by the community.

The Newman Government also states that the environment will not suffer at the expense of industry as a consequence of the new assessment and approval process.

While Environmental Minister Andrew Powell has explained that the changes simplify the process and in no way lower environmental standards, the EPOLA has been criticised for not providing adequate notification periods, and thereby reducing the opportunity for affected stakeholders to express their concerns about the activity.

Further information about the transition into and operation under the new system is included in the updated frequently asked questions on the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) website.

Waste Water Discharge Policy


One of the Greentape Reduction initiatives is to improve the quality of information available. In the process of revising existing policies, EHP has drafted a technical guideline to replace the operational policy titled 'Waste water discharge to Queensland waters'.

This guideline will provide technical information for the assessment of proposals to discharge waste water to waters based on the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

Environmental Protection Regulation amendment project
As part of the Greentape Reduction reforms, the department is preparing amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008. The regulation will include provisions that support the changes to the Environmental Protection Act 1994 made by the Greentape Reduction Act.

Further Greentape Reduction initiatives are being investigated and an impact assessment will be released for public consultation if required.
There is more information, on the Greentape Reduction pages on the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) website.

18 August, 2012

A progressive story



Ok.

I am both bored and time constrained and I have vague ambitions of becoming a writer.

Prompted by the posting of John Birmingham and a random drug induced post on twitter by Sally Piracha about her ambitions to be a romance writer: I would like to enlist the help of friends and strangers to crowd source a Romance novel.

So here is how it works.  We shall collectively create a story.

I will be the editor.  Your contributions will be published at my discretion.

The objective is to add a sentence or two at a time and attempt to maintain some sort of continuity and build on the character development.

What is the worst that can happen?

Our story is set in modern day Brisbane.  The genre is "Romance Novel".

.....and so we begin.....


Theo never liked his dead-end, clerical job in the Department of Public Works and Housing (or Housing and Public Works as they now called it), until he no longer had a job.

15 August, 2012

some black sheep that I used to know







Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could dye
Told myself that there were three bags full,
But over my eyes you did pull the wool,
But that was shearing and it's a job I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kind of fibre
Like beanies, socks and jumpers end to end
So when I found that there were no bags left 
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I'll admit that I was glad it was over

But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that I was nothing
And I don't even need your wool
But you treat me like a shearer and that feels so rough
No you didn't have to stoop so low
Have Master collect three bags and then change your paddock
I guess that I don't need that though
Now you're just some black sheep that I used to know

Now you're just some black sheep that I used to know
Now you're just some black sheep that I used to know

[Baa Baa:]
Now and then I think of all the times you sheared me over
But had me believing it was always something that I'd grown
But I don't wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn't catch you hung up on some Black Sheep that you used to know

[Shearer:]
But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don't even need your wool
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No you didn't have to stoop so low
Have Master collect three bags and then change your paddock
I guess that I don't need that though
Now you're just some black sheep that I used to know 

[x2]
Baa Baa Black Sheep
(I used to know)
Baa Baa Black Sheep 
(Now you're just a Black Sheep that I used to know)

(I used to know)
(That I used to know)
(I used to know)
Baa Baa Black Sheep

13 August, 2012

Development Reform, Environmental Authorities, Waste Policy






Development Reform

 

Last week’s newsletter discussed the passing of laws in the Qld Parliament to cut green-tape for Qld businesses. 


This week the Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning: Jeff Seeney announced amendments to the Sustainable Planning Regulation to remove a range of triggers requiring referral of development applications to State agencies.

 

Referral triggers to be removed include: 


·     Advice referrals for conservation estate areas, cultural heritage premises, and wetlands - Department of Environment and Heritage Protection;

·     Advice referral for premises affected by acid sulphate soils - Department of Natural Resources and Mines;

    Concurrence referral for particular applications for preliminary approval -Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning; and

    Concurrence referrals for purposes of community uses, places of worship, and education-care service premises-child care centres - Department of Transport and Main Roads.

 

This ties in with the new Green Tape reduction legislation, such that when one is seeking new approvals for a ‘material change of use’: all Environmental Relevant Activities (ERA’s) are authorised by Environmental Authorities (EAs) under the Sustainable Planning Act. 

Therefore the development application will also be deemed to constitute an EA application.

Accordingly, the development permit will approve the use of the land, while the EA will condition the carrying out of the ERA. Further, as EAs will attach to an operator, not the land (unlike development permits), registration certificates will no longer be required.

Single project EAs for ‘ERA projects’ where an EA has been issued for an ERA project, the EA holder cannot apply for a separate EA to authorise additional activities for the project. Instead, the EA holder will need to apply to amend the existing EA for the project;

EA applications will now be categorised according to environmental risk, with the assessment level corresponding to that risk. The categories are:

·         Standard applications;
·         Applications for which the standard must be varied (known as variation applications); and
·         Site-specific applications;

Amendments have been proposed to the definition of a ‘material change of use’ in the Sustainable Planning Act to exclude ERAs.   Consequently, the start of a new ERA or minor amendments to operating conditions can occur without always triggering the need for a development permit.

Streamlining EA application processes


The Environmental Authority (EA) application and assessment process for particular ERAs will commence with a decision as to whether the proposed activity is an ‘eligible ERA’. The concept of ineligible ERAs will replace the concept of ‘Level 1’ or higher risk activities currently contained in the EP Act, and will include those ERAs:

·         That do not meet eligibility criteria (as prescribed under a regulation) in effect for the activity;
·         For which there are no eligibility criteria are in effect; or
·         Carried out in relation to a ‘significant project’ under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld).

The site specific application process - which is the highest level of assessment applicable for EAs - will apply to ineligible ERAs. The two lower levels of assessment (that is, the standard application or variation application process, as appropriate) will be used in assessing eligible ERAs.

Detailed assessment will not be undertaken where activities meet the eligibility criteria and standard conditions will be automatically imposed.

Where the activity does not meet all of the standard conditions, minimal assessment (to the extent of any variations required) will be undertaken. This simplified process will reduce the lead time and administration involved in obtaining approval for lower risk activities.

For many smaller scale projects, these changes will be significant. Larger scale projects may experience fewer benefits from the changes.

Queensland’s environmental approvals system has evolved substantially over the last decade. The changes proposed in the Bill seek to reduce the regulatory burden and timeframes applicable relation to environmental approvals.

The Bill potentially represents a positive step in improving the efficiency of Queensland’s environmental regulatory framework. However, the efficiency of the framework relies on the ability of Government departments to deliver on the intent of the legislation (with limited resources).



National Waste Policy


The Australian Council of Recycling Inc (ACOR) report that the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG’s) Standing Council on Environment and Water has released the latest National Waste Policy Implementation Report 2011 on 20 July 2012.

The report outlines progress against the National Waste Policy and the National Waste Policy Implementation Plan milestones to the end of 2011.

The Federal Government believes the results show the clear benefits of a collaborative approach across government and industry.  Though there is a lot more coordination to go.

04 August, 2012

Recycling Portal, GreenTape, ecoBiz






National Data Portal for Recycling Industry

Rod Welford (Chief Executive: Australian Council of Recycling) presented at the Enviro2012 Conference in Adelaide recently, on the need for a national data portal for recycling industry data to enable better policy design and industry development.

This data could be filtered to provide performance benchmarking for recycling businesses industry profile data, to help government understand the scale and benefits of the industry and a one stop shop for State EPA-type bodies to deliver licensing reporting requirements.



Greentape Reduction

The Qld Parliament has passed laws to cut green-tape for Queensland businesses.  The Greentape Reduction Bill is the most significant reform to licensing processes in over a decade.

Recently Laurie Wade – the Manager of the Reform and Innovation Branch within the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection spoke at an Environment Practitioner’s Workshop, organised by ASBG.  Laurie has been working on Green Tape reduction programmes for a few years.

The program was commenced in January 2010, driven by the Qld Treasury in response to community consultation and an identified need to reduce “Red Tape” and reduce the cost of doing business.  Greentape reduction will save businesses $1,000’s and contributes to the Qld Government’s target of reducing red tape and regulation by 20%.

The Bill reduces the Environmental Protection Act by 90 pages by taking out duplicated provisions.

A standard application will save on average $20k in costs, 150 pages in paper work and 68 days in processing time. The environmental approval process will be changed to ensure greater flexibility for operators delivers a saving in government administrative costs of $12.5million.
The Bill streamlines approvals by combining mining and petroleum and other industrial into one system.  It clarifies the application process by removing the need for administrative transfers while ensuring communities are consulted earlier in the process.

The Qld Government is looking at other options including removing the need for small business environmental risk assessments to obtain an environmental authority at all. This could include motor vehicle workshops, small chemical storage and boiler making businesses.

The Bill potentially represents a positive step in improving the efficiency of Qld’s environmental regulatory framework. However, the efficiency of the framework relies on the ability of Government departments to deliver on the intent of the legislation, with fewer staff and reduced resources.

The new framework is intended to commence in March 2013 to allow time for more detailed information to be made available to industry and the wider community.

ecoBiz to be Outsourced to Private Sector Partners

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell this afternoon announced his Department would seek expressions of interest to establish a partnership with the ecoBiz program.

Mr Powell said that: “ecoBiz was established in 1999 at a time when sustainable industries were in their infancy and needed high levels of Government assistance.”  Mr Powell believes that the Newman  Government is still committed to the ecoBiz  program but it is apparent that the current levels of Government support and assistance will be cut back.

Reading between the lines, It appears to be the intent of the Newman Government to leave it up to private sector service providers and the State Government will pull back funding and resources.
A gap in the market is appearing to address the sustainability needs of small to medium businesses across the State.  The Department of Environment & Heritage Protection will soon call for expressions of interest to establish a collaborative service delivery model to continue the work of ecoBiz.


Sustainability Assessment Training

The Society of Sustainability and Environmental Engineering are running a Two Day Course on the 29 - 30 August 2012.

Sustainability assessment is an emerging tool to direct decision making towards sustainability and deliver better outcomes for business and the community as a whole. In this course you will learn about the use of sustainability assessment as both a regulatory tool that goes beyond traditional impact assessment and an internal planning tool to transform organisational decision making and subsequent operations.

The aim of the training is to introduce participants to current thinking and understanding of sustainability assessment concepts, procedures and techniques. This includes:
·       Sustainability assessment principles, processes and issues
·       Sustainability as a tool for approval of new development proposals
·       Sustainability assessment to inform planning and discussion making within an organisation
·       A generic 7 step process framework for sustainability assessment of any proposals ranging from physical projects to plans and policy change
·       Various tools and techniques that can be usefully applied in sustainability assessments.
·       How to develop a sustainability decision-making protocol appropriate to a particular context, by drawing on relevant strategies and standards.

To register please go to the event listing on the SSEE website.

03 August, 2012

30 year plan for Queensland’s water sector


My letter to the Minister for Energy and Water......






The Honourable Mark McArdle

Minister for Energy and Water

cc: The Premier, Mark Pascoe (CEO - International Water Centre), Robert Cavallucci (Member for Brisbane Central)


Dear Mr McArdle,


At the AWA Water Association Awards and Gala dinner recently, you announced that the Qld Government will “Release a discussion paper for a 30 year plan for Queensland’s water sector".


Over dinner, this led to a discussion about: "what are the issues that the Qld Government should discuss?" 

We (as a society) have to get better at dealing with an integrated water cycle with a comprehensive (holistic) approach to managing water supplies, irrigation, sewage treatment and managing stormwater.

Our current institutional arrangements do not lend themselves to an integrated approach.

Our centralised water distribution and sewerage networks are very vulnerable to extreme weather events and heavily reliant on energy intense treatment and transport.

In framing a 30 year plan for the Water Sector, I would like to see the Qld Government and the Water industry respond to the causes and impacts of climate change.

The causes of climate change, obviously include generation of greenhouse gas emissions (directly and indirectly).

The impacts include a greater intensity and variability of rainfall events. 

 I am interested in seeing more mileage for Sustainable sewage transport and treatment as part of the 30 year plan.

Sustainable sewage (also known as Productive Sanitation) might include source segregation of urine, faeces and trade waste with more emphasis on resource recovery and reuse.

I am looking forward to the release the discussion paper for a 30 year plan for Queensland’s water sector and participating in the discussion.

regards,

Rowan Barber

SSEE Sustainability Assessment Training


Sustainability Assessment Training

The Society of Sustainability and Environmental Engineering are running a Two Day Course on the 29 - 30 August 2012.

Sustainability assessment is an emerging tool to direct decision making towards sustainability and deliver better outcomes for business and the community as a whole. In this course you will learn about the use of sustainability assessment as both a regulatory tool that goes beyond traditional impact assessment and an internal planning tool to transform organisational decision making and subsequent operations.

The aim of the training is to introduce participants to current thinking and understanding of sustainability assessment concepts, procedures and techniques. This includes:
·       Sustainability assessment principles, processes and issues
·       Sustainability as a tool for approval of new development proposals
·       Sustainability assessment to inform planning and discussion making within an organisation
·       A generic 7 step process framework for sustainability assessment of any proposals ranging from physical projects to plans and policy change
·       Various tools and techniques that can be usefully applied in sustainability assessments.
·       How to develop a sustainability decision-making protocol appropriate to a particular context, by drawing on relevant strategies and standards. To register please go to the event listing on the SSEE website.



clearer rules on CSG water



A Media Release from:


Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
The Honourable Andrew Cripps

Thursday, August 02, 2012
Government delivers clearer rules on CSG water
The Newman Government has proposed new rules to govern the management of water and brine produced from the coal seam gas industry.

The changes will deliver improved environmental outcomes and economic benefits for industry and landholders.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, introduced proposed amendments to the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 in State Parliament today relating to CSG water and brine, registration of pipeline easements, and incidental activities across tenure associated with CSG-LNG projects.

“The safe storage and treatment of water and brine produced by CSG activities is a priority issue for landholders and industry,” he said.

“Currently, CSG companies store untreated water and brine in containment ponds on each petroleum lease and treat it through infrastructure built on site. It is inefficient and costly.

“If the water and brine could be transported off-site to a central location for treatment and salt recovery, the environmental and economic benefits could be significant.

“These amendments provide much-needed flexibility that will help reduce the CSG industry’s environmental footprint through centralising water treatment facilities and limiting the need for holding ponds on each petroleum lease.

“Landholders are naturally concerned about the potential environmental impacts of untreated CSG water seeping from containment ponds or affecting their land and water aquifers during floods.”

Mr Cripps said, importantly, CSG companies would still require an Environmental Authority and a water licence to transport water and brine off their lease.

“Additionally, the current framework for land access, compensation and land tenure will be extended to ensure landholders are fully compensated for any impacts on their properties,” he said.

“There are obvious environmental, economic and community benefits from taking this more flexible approach to managing CSG water and brine transportation and treatment,” Mr Cripps said.

“These amendments could result in the beneficial use of salt produced by the CSG industry for products such as soda ash and soda bicarbonate rather than it being dumped in landfill, and will boost potential for beneficial re-use of CSG water for irrigation.”