On 6 December 2013 amendments were made to the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 as part of so-called Greentape Reduction reforms. Amendments include standard conditions for different prescribed environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) and prescribing conditions for small scale mining activities.
The Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 has made eligibility criteria and standard conditions for the following eligible ERAs.
· ERA 7(3)(a) - Chemical manufacturing >200 tonnes of soap, surfactants or cleaning or toiletry products in a year
· ERA 25(1)(a) - Meat processing, not including rendering, 1000 to 5000 tonnes of meat or meat products in a year
· ERA 25(2)(a) - Meat processing, including rendering, 1000 to 5000 tonnes of meat or meat products in a year
· ERA 29(2) - Metal foundry, producing 50 tonnes or more of non-ferrous metal castings using permanent moulds in a year
· ERA 38(2) - Surface coating, painting or powder coating using >100 tonnes of surface coating materials in a year
· ERA 63(1)(a)(i) - Sewage treatment works with total daily peak design capacity of 21 to 100 equivalent persons if treated effluent is discharged through an irrigation scheme
Operators who are able to meet the eligibility criteria can now make a standard application for an environmental authority. If an operator needs to vary one or more of the standard conditions they may do so by making a variation application. Use the online tool to identify the correct application type for your project.
Small scale mining activities include:
· a mining claim for 20 hectares or less for opals, gemstones and other precious stones,
· an exploration permit (minerals) for 4 sub-blocks or less for minerals other than coal.
These activities were deregulated by the Mining and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (MOLA Act) in March 2013.
This change to Qld’s environmental regulation means that small scale mining operators no longer need to apply for an environmental authority.
To support the reforms and ensure environmental standards are maintained, prescribed conditions relating to rehabilitation and financial assurance have been included in Environmental Protection Regulation 2008. The regulation also includes a list of designated environmental areas which are derived from ‘category C environmentally sensitive areas’ and supports the definition of small scale mining activity in the dictionary of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
From 2 January 2014 changes to the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 will remove the devolution of administration and enforcement responsibilities in relation to particular ERAs from the State to certain local governments. A number of local governments that administered 10 or less licenced sites in their local area following the deletion of several ERAs earlier this year elected to have the administration and enforcement of these remaining ERAs returned to the State. A total of 17 local governments listed in Schedule 8A of the regulation no longer have devolved responsibilities, with 20 licences being transferred to the State.
The regulation also prescribes a fee of $2,200 for applications for a Temporary Emissions Licence.
Qld is finalising a new agreement on environmental assessments with the Commonwealth Government. The agreement enables the establishment of a single assessment process that incorporates state and federal requirements to ensure proponents meet the national environmental standards.
The Federal Government will retain control over decisions involving offshore Commonwealth waters, nuclear actions and projects for which state governments are “likely to have a significant conflict of interest” as the proponent. The Qld Government will be able to seek input and advice on assessments from Commonwealth organisations such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority or the Supervising Scientist in relation to uranium mining and exploration.
Nominations are open for the 2014 Premier’s Sustainability Awards which recognise the achievements of Qlders who are developing or adopting sustainable practices.
Nominations close on Friday 14 March 2014. Finalists and winners of the 2014 Premier’s Sustainability Awards will be announced at a presentation dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday 30 May 2014. More information about the awards and an online application form can be found at www.ehp.qld.gov.au/premiersawards