18 May, 2011

Sustainable Business Weekly QLD Edition [A Price on Carbon, Sustainable Australia, WASH, Transport]

A Price on Carbon

The Federal Government has still not released the details of the proposed Price on Carbon.

The impacts of the proposed Price on Carbon were left out of the Federal budget last week. The Government has indicated details of this initiative will be announced in July 2011.

The first step in understanding the Carbon Price is to get one’s head around National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (the NGER Act).

The Howard Government introduced a national framework for the reporting and dissemination of information about greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gas projects, and energy use and production of corporations which will form the basis of the financial liabilities for a price on Carbon.

The objectives of the NGER Act, as stated in the legislation, are to:
· inform Government policy and the Australian public;
· help meet Australia’s international reporting obligations;
· assist Commonwealth, state and territory government programs and activities;
· avoid the duplication of similar reporting requirements in the states and territories.

The first annual reporting period began on 1 July 2008.
Corporations that meet an NGER threshold must report their:
· greenhouse gas emissions;
· energy production;
· energy consumption;
· other information specified under NGER legislation.

Many of Australia’s largest organisations will be significantly impacted and, under the current timeline, will have less than a year to prepare, develop and implement a comprehensive strategy.

Sustainable Australia

Further to discussions on the Federal Government’s Sustainable Population Strategy. It has not set a population target, but includes major initiatives to drive growth to regional areas.
The platform for a Sustainable Australia was included in the Budget with $140 million of new expenditure:
• to encourage employment precincts in outer metropolitan suburbs to reduce travel time and fuel use;
• to support for regional areas to plan for future growth and housing supply, and
• new indicators to measure the nation's sustainability needs.

Sustainability in Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

There was an international AusAid Conference in Brisbane this week, considering sustainability in water, sanitation & hygiene, in the context of emergency relief & international development assistance.

Some of the issues that were raised at the Conference included:
· Institutional Sustainability;
· Functional/Environmental Sustainability;
· Behavioural Change & Social Sustainability &
· Financial Sustainability.

ASBG QLD is having a closer look at these same issues in the context of Queensland’s ongoing flux in the institutional arrangements, ecological impacts (& systemic failures during the floods) & the political machinations & ongoing blame game between State & Local Governments & the Statutory Authorities.

The Queensland Government has announced a new Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) following the retirement of Barry Adams. Mr Forbes Smith will have his work cut out for him with the blame game on water pricing between State, Local Government & the various Utilities still in flux. He will commence his duties on 4 July 2011.

An Issues Paper preceded development of the Strategy. The Australian Water Association has previously commented on the rising cost and potential environmental and social impact of the extension of sewerage (&Trade Waste) systems. In an urban area, water supply cannot be extended without a concomitant extension in sewerage services. The discharge of treated effluent and the management of biosolids have, potentially, a significant impact on the environment. Installation of sewerage systems is expensive, particularly in brownfield sites where access may be difficult and land is in short supply.

Sustainable Transport

24 May 2011, the Society of Sustainability & Environmental Engineering (SSEE) will be hosting a Technical Meeting at Engineering House including a presentation on Electric Vehicles & a panel discussion on the wider issues of Sustainable Transport, including rail & active transport.

the History & Future of Human Sustainability

Richard Cassels, a Director of Climate Leadership will be discussing “Learning from the past at a lunch time presentation on Wednesday 25 May 2011 from 12:30 - 13:30 at the Department of Environment & resource Management (DERM) Wet Tropics Room, Level 3, 400 George Street.

ASBG June Seminars

Don’t forget ASBG QLD’s Environmental Management Seminar on Thursday 15 June 08:00-12:30.

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