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.

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