30 September, 2011

Sustainable Business Weekly QLD Edition [Silo Smashing, Business Sustainability, RiverPrize, CopperString, Cycling]

The SSEE International Conference

The Society of Sustainability and Environmental Engineering 2011 bi-annual conference 'Escaping Silos' is on in Brisbane from Monday 24 to Wednesday 26 October 2011

Keynote speakers

The SSEE 2011 International Conference organisers are pleased to confirm the following Key Note speakers:

· Annie Leonard the writer and presenter of the Story of Stuff and the Story of Cap and Trade

· Paul Gilding, author of the Great Disruption

· Dr Carol Boyle, International Centre for Sustainability Engineering and Research

· Krista Milne, City of Melbourne Manager Sustainability

· Amanda McKenzie of Australian Youth Climate Coalition

To register your interest in attending go to the Registration of Interest page on the conference website.

Business Sustainability and Global Reporting

In professional practice, Business Leaders are starting to use some relatively new terminology and tools relating to Sustainability, tied into Global Reporting.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) invites practitioners to participate in the first Public Comment Period for G4 – the fourth generation of GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

A Business Sustainability Manager at water utility, state that Business Sustainability has moved beyond the 1987 Brundtland Report to encompass economic, social and environmental values. GRI is one of the drivers.

The survey closes on 24 November 2011. For further details please see the GRI website

AWA Water Sector Sustainability Framework - update

The Australian Water Association’s Water Sector Sustainability Framework has been developed to assist AWA's Corporate Members embed sustainability principles and practices within their business activities, and encourages organisations to assess their progress. The Framework consists of a Sustainability Charter for the water sector, providing a set of Sustainability Principles by which participants can guide their business activities.

The Framework also provides a Business Case for participation and a Toolkit which will in time be developed into an online 'Sustainability Knowledge Point'.

AWA is now ready for Corporate Members to sign-up to the Framework and Charter. For further details about the Framework and how to participate please visit the website.

Sunshine Coast Rivers Initiative wins the Riverprize

The International River Foundation (IRF) awarded the Sunshine Coast Rivers Initiative (coordinated by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and Partners) the National Riverprize for excellence in improving river health and engaging numerous communities in the Sunshine Coast region.

Sunshine Coast Rivers Initiative won the award for their impressive collection of river-health planning and on-ground achievement in six catchment areas, totalling approximately 5000km of waterways across the Sunshine Coast and southeast Queensland.

Each year, the National Riverprize is presented, along with the Thiess International Riverprize, at the International Riversymposium

Visit the International RiverFoundation website for further details.

Copperstring Pork barrels?

There are rumours of a new levy for Electricity consumers in Queensland to tip some funds into the CopperString project. CopperString is a proposal to construct a transmission line from Woodstock (south of Townsville) to Dajarra Road near Cloncurry in North West Queensland.

The CopperString project proponents (rumoured to be mates and/or relatives of Bob Katter) are trying to build a business case which includes renewable energy projects along the proposed transmission line to supply clean energy to the National Electricity Market. The business case is full of holes.

There needs to be more scrutiny of the funding arrangements, to ensure Businesses across Queensland are not subsidizing cheap electricity to a few beneficiaries in the Resources sector.

There needs to be a sustainability analysis and an options study on distributed electricity generation and supply. It does not always make sense to keep extending one grid.

The project has a total financing requirement of approximately AU$1.5 billion.

New Cycling Strategy?

Queensland’s new cycle strategy attempt to get more people cycling, more often, while Governments at all levels have historically failed to provide adequate cycling infrastructure.

The new 2011-21 strategy builds on focuses on four key areas:

  • building safe, directed and connected cycle networks
  • growing a cycling culture
  • creating cycle-friendly communities
  • developing a cycling economy.

View or download a copy of the Queensland Cycling Strategy or Contact: cycles@tmr.qld.gov.au

24 September, 2011

this could be your future

Inspired by Campbell Newman's comments about his "Small & modest fees", I recalled a line about Shakira's breast being "small and humble"..... 

Lucky I was born in Tasmania 
So we could both make fun of Victoria 
Lucky that I love Lisa Newman for 
the sake of our pecuniary interests
Baby I tunnelled Brisbane holely 
A legacy of debt for your city 
Never could imagine there were only 
So many ways to rule somebody 

Le ro lo le lo le 
Le ro lo le lo le 
Can't you see...Ashgrove’s my seat 

Whenever, Wherever 
I meant to be Premier 
I'll be there and I’ll be dear 
And that's the deal my dear 
I’m over, you're under 
You'll never have to wonder 
Just like Joh of yesteryear 
But that's the deal my dear 

Lucky that promises are not honest 
CSG will screw the farmers 
Lucky that my fee is small and modest 
So you don't confuse me with Clive Palmer  
Lucky I have short legs like Napolean 
To run for cover when I need it 
And my party is for no other 
Just a puppet for Clive Palmer 

Le ro lo le lo le 
Le ro lo le lo le 
At your feet...Ashgrove’s my seat 

Whenever, Wherever 
I’m meant to be Premier 
I'll be there, Clive Plamer near 
And that's the deal my dear 
I’m over, you're under 
You'll never have to wonder 
Just like Joh of yesteryear 
But that's the deal my dear 

Le ro lo le lo le 
Le ro lo le lo le 
We can do, say it again 

Le ro lo le lo le lo le 

Tell me one more time 
That you're there 
Lost at Ashgrove 

Whenever, wherever 
I’m meant to be Premier 
I'll be there and you'll be near 
And that's the deal my dear 
You're over, you're under 
You've got me head over heels 
There's nothing left to fear 
If you really feel the way I feel 

Whenever, wherever 
I’m meant to be Premier 
I'll be there and you'll be near 
And that's the deal my dear 
I’m over, you're under 
You've got me wearing high heels 
There's nothing left to fear 
If you ready we can make a deal

19 September, 2011

Sustainable Business Weekly QLD Edition [Flood Mitigation & PRW, Transitional Environment Programs, Carbon tax]

Flood Mitigation and Purified recycled Water

The Commission of Inquiry delivered the interim report on 1 August 2011, covering matters associated with flood preparedness to enable early recommendations to be implemented before next summer's wet season. The final report will be delivered on 24 February 2012.

The Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) has been instructed to arrange an investigation (in conjunction with relevant agencies) into the preferred options to increase the mitigation of floods downstream of Wivenhoe Dam.

This includes the ridiculously expensive consideration of raising of the Wivenhoe Dam wall to increase the flood storage compartment.

There is still no rationale consideration of the use of purified recycled water, in order to lower the required water supply level (thus increasing the flood storage volume). The Qld State Government persists with a policy to introduce purified recycled water only in the unlikely event of the combined dam levels falling below a 40% trigger level.

The Qld Flood inquiry has resumed in Brisbane today for a second round of public hearings.

Transitional Environmental Programs

One of the things that will be under the scrutiny of the Qld floods commission is the release of water from mines during the January floods.

Transitional environmental programs (TEPs) approved by the department allow a mine site to complete actions outside of its agreed environmental authority conditions. The program is in place for a specified time and requires adherence to special conditions, to ensure that any actions, such as dewatering, do not harm the environment.

The department has recently developed a guideline to provide greater clarity around TEP assessment for both industry and departmental officers. The document outlines what requirements need to be fulfilled before a draft TEP will be approved by DERM. The guide has been published on DERM's website as part of a commitment towards ensuring industry understands departmental requirements and expectations.

Carbon Tax

This week the Federal Government introduced the first Bills that will create a price on carbon. The price itself will always be too high for those who are liable to pay for it and it will always be too low for those who are campaigning for Australia to contribute to a global response to climate change.

The greatest disappointment is that the legislation will pass through Parliament with minimal scrutiny by the Federal opposition. At the same time there has been little or no scrutiny of the Federal Opposition’s alternative policy which appears to be more costly and does not appear to actually meet the soft greenhouse gas emission targets.

The treasury modelling indicates that the Australian economy will continue to prosper and incomes will rise, despite the price on carbon. Most Australians will be financially compensated.

ASBG aims to provide members with details and share information about the assistance that will be available to Australian businesses. Stay tuned for upcoming ASBG workshops and information sessions.

Reef regulation compliance update

The reef protection measures under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 require sugarcane cane growers and cattle graziers to submit environmental risk management plans (ERMPs) for their property, to help minimise the risk of sediment, herbicide and nutrient run-off in the Great Barrier Reef.

Currently more than 94 per cent of operators have submitted, or are in the process of submitting, a plan.

Accreditation of the ERMPs is underway and is expected to be finalised by the end of 2011. Audits of other measures (such as the requirement to calculate and apply no more than the optimum amount of fertiliser), and of the implementation of ERMP action plans, will progress through 2011 and early 2012.

A simplified version of the cattle grazing ERMP for graziers has also been developed by an industry-government joint working group.

Read more about ERMPs on the ReefWise Farming website...

The Qld Party

There is an interesting development in Qld politics, purporting to present a new voice on sustainable development and the environment.

The Qld Party was originally formed by a couple of members of the Qld Legislative Assembly, who broke away from the Liberal National Party (LNP).

Having recently also broken away again from Bob Katter’s Australia Party, the Qld Party must now register 500 members by 5pm this Friday or face deregistration.

The Qld Party has a policy to call for an immediate moratorium on Coal Seam Gas and supports local representation in State Parliament allowing members to cross the floor on local issues.

CSG Training

The Qld Government announced another $1.4 million to expand the AgForward Coal Seam Gas Landholder Support Initiative into the Galilee and Bowen Basins.

The funding will be spent to assist landholders to negotiate with coal seam gas companies.