05 October, 2012

Have your say on Green Tape and groundwater

Feedback on Greentape Reduction


Queensland’s Environment and Heritage Protection Minister Andrew Powell has announced that the need to have ERAs will be removed from many business types (but not all businesses).

Some ASBG members have reported  their businesses did not make the list. 

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell, today announced the Qld Government’s plan (adopted from the previous Government) to cut green tape.

These changes to legislation will offer three ways to apply for approval of environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) – including an automatic approval process - depending on the size and environmental risk posed by business activities.

Assessment timeframes will be reduced by around three months.  It is estimated that following full implementation in March 2013, around half of all ERAs (around 410 applications a year) will be able to go through the standard (automatic) application process, saving each applicant an average of $20,000 in application preparation costs, 68 days in processing time and 150 pages in avoided application materials.

The Department of Environment Heritage Protection (EHP) is seeking feedback on the proposed initiatives by public consultation on the Review of Environmentally Relevant Activities - Draft Regulatory Assessment Statement.

The department is seeking comments on:
·       The environmentally relevant activities and environmentally relevant activity thresholds proposed to be deleted
·       The environmentally relevant activities and environmentally relevant activity thresholds proposed to be allocated to the standard application assessment track
·       Issues regarding halving sewage treatment plant annual fees
·       Issues regarding new application fees.

The Greentape Reduction project seeks to ensure Queensland’s regulatory framework is proportional to the environmental risks posed by environmentally relevant activities. The EHP has identified options to amend the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 to reduce the environmental regulatory burden for small to medium-sized businesses. These initiatives have the potential to save businesses $6.77 million in annual fees, plus savings in ongoing administration costs.

Initiatives include:
·       Deleting up to 29 environmentally relevant activities and environmentally relevant activity thresholds from Schedule 2 of the Environmental Protection Regulation
·       Halving small sewage treatment plant annual fees
·       Introducing new application fees to reflect processes introduced by the Greentape Reduction Act.

The regulatory assessment statement is supported by the Assigning Environmentally Relevant Activities to Assessment Tracks report. This report summarises the findings of the assessment process conducted by the department to recommend environmentally relevant activities and environmentally relevant activity thresholds for standard or site-specific assessment, or for deletion.

ASBG will be putting together a submission. All submissions must be received by EHP by 5.00pm on 26 October 2012. Please send your submission in writing to: epact.policy@ehp.qld.gov.au

Water Sensitive Cities

On Tuesday, 25 September CRC for Water Sensitive Cities hosted the Launch of the South East Queensland (SEQ) Hub. 

The Brisbane Launch was officially conducted by Jon Black, Director-General of the Department of Energy and Water Supply (DEWS). Jon was keen for his department to work collaboratively with the CRC and the Queensland participants.

Draft Bore Assessment Guideline

The Water Act 2000 sets out the framework for managing impacts on underground water as a result of the exercise of underground water rights by petroleum tenure holders. This includes requirements for petroleum tenure holders to carry out bore assessments for private bore owners.
Bore assessments must be carried out where:

·       An underground water impact report (UWIR) or an amendment of a report has water bores located in an ‘immediately affected area’; or
·       A final report (when the tenure is about to cease) or an amendment of a report takes effect, for any water bores in a ‘long term affected area’; or
·       Where the chief executive of the EHP believes that a water bore can no longer supply a reasonable quantity or quality of water for its authorised use or purpose.
Under section 413 of the Water Act, the chief executive can make guidelines about the minimum requirements for undertaking a bore assessment. To provide a level of consistency and transparency about how bore assessments are to be undertaken, EHP has prepared a draft guideline for the purpose of consultation.

Your comments on this draft guideline are sought by C.O.B Friday 19 October.  Please provide any comments to: shirley.simpson@ehp.qld.gov.au.

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