30 April, 2013

WWF vs Andrew Cripps

No this is not wrestling.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) coming under fire from the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines.

Successive Queensland governments in the 1990s to 2009 bought in laws which provided strong protection for bushland in Queensland.   This followed major campaigns from Queensland conservation groups supported by the great majority of Queenslanders. 

Before the Vegetation Management Act came into effect Queensland was experiencing some of the highest rates of clearing in the world – similar to Brazil’s clearing of the Amazon!

Once the new laws started to take effect clearing rates declined from a massive 750,000ha a year before laws were introduced in 1999 to 77,590ha in 2009-10. 

In an election-eve letter to WWF’s CEO, Dermott O’Gorman, Campbell Newman promised that the “LNP will retain the current level of statutory vegetation protection”. The letter was sent just 10 days out from the 2012 state election. He made a similar commitment in a letter to the Queensland Conservation Council representing a wide membership of conservation groups across Queensland.

Proposed reforms to relax Vegetation Management laws have been referred to the State Development, Infrastructure and Industry parliamentary committee. 

WWF believe that despite this public commitment Minister Cripps in the Liberal-National Party Government is now proposing to water down protection.   

The following is a media release from Minister Crisp.....

Media Statements

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
The Honourable Andrew Cripps

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WWF wrong on vegetation reforms

The Newman Government has rejected claims by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that common sense changes to Queensland’s vegetation management laws will damage the environment.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said proposed changes to the Vegetation Management Act were well-considered and maintained critical protection measures for vegetation adjacent to watercourses in Great Barrier Reef catchments.
“Green groups are at it again, spruiking ill-informed and alarmist rhetoric in an attempt to stay relevant and grab media headlines,” Mr Cripps said.
“If WWF CEO Dermot O’Gorman properly read our proposed legislation, he’d discover that the Newman Government will retain 50-metre buffer zones alongside rivers and streams in reef catchments to protect water quality in these environmentally-sensitive areas.
“I notice also that the WWF supports the introduction of industry-led Best Management Practice programs as the primary way of boosting agricultural production.
“However if the WWF was genuine, it would acknowledge that the LNP Government has committed $5.4 million to progressing BMP programs in the grazing and cane industries.”
However, Mr Cripps emphasised that while industry BMP programs played an important role in supporting sustainable farming practices, they would not deliver the productivity gains or economic growth in regional Queensland to achieve the Government’s agricultural production targets.
“The Government has made it clear it plans to double the value of agricultural production in Queensland by 2040, and these reforms are a vital component to achieving that goal,” he said.
“The proposals contained in the Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Bill 2013 will allow sustainable vegetation management activities to occur, to support the development of high value agriculture in areas with appropriate land and available water.”
Mr Cripps said the amendments would restore a long-overdue balance to Queensland’s vegetation management framework, while retaining key environmental protections.
“Consecutive Labor Governments had, in the past, enforced radical green policies upon landholders that threatened their ability to effectively manage their farm businesses and maintain productivity,” he said.
“In contrast, we are creating an opportunity for farming businesses to expand cropping operations and build infrastructure without the burden of unnecessary regulation.”
Mr Cripps stressed that environmental values would be protected through these reforms.
“These reforms do not mean landholders can indiscriminately clear land. Inappropriate vegetation management practices that show no regard for the environment will not be supported. Monitoring will still occur and penalties for illegal clearing of vegetation still apply.”
More information on the amendments is available under Vegetation Management at:www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/home
[ENDS] 30 April 2013
Media contact: Jane Paterson 0417 281 754 or Paul Sutherland 0428 868 237

23 April, 2013

Mothballing purified recycled water

After recent floods in Brisbane in 2011 and 2013, it would appear we (collectively) have forgotten the Millennium drought from 2002-2009.
The Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant (AWTP) located in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia is to be mothballed. 
The AWTP, built as part of the Western Corridor Recycled Water Project (WCRW) to solve the water scarcity problem in south-east Queensland, has never been used for its intended purpose.
Built at a cost of $380m, the plant can produce 66 ML/day of treated water, from tertiary treated sewage treatment plant effluent.
The purified recycled water produced by the plant is of very high quality and could be safely used directly or indirectly as potable water.  
Construction of the plant started in September 2006 and was carried out in two stages - Stage 1A and Stage 1B. Stage 1A was completed in August 2007 and Stage 1B in March 2008. The plant became fully operational in June 2008 but has never run at full capacity.
During the Millennium drought (2002-2009) it produced water to provide security of supply and operation for Tarong and Swanbank power stations.  However, there are not sufficient demands for high quality (relatively expensive) purified water to match the capabilities of the AWTP (apart from potable reuse).
The plant is not only capable of purifying sewage effluent but the back end of the plant includes technologies that remove nutrients and pollutants from the effluent (that are otherwise discharged to our Rivers and Moreton Bay).
Continuous microfiltration, reverse osmosis, advanced oxidation processes are quite energy intense, but the AWTP certainly a cheaper and more efficient process than seawater desalination.

In 2011, Seqwater released the third Water Quality Report for the Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant, with results confirming the excellent quality of purified water it produces and proving the water is safe to add to the drinking supply.
More than 27 000 water quality tests were conducted in this reporting period from July 2010 to June 2011, taking the total amount of tests now performed to more than 92 100. The tests showed the treatment process was 100% effective in removing contaminants present in the inflowing water as prescribed by the relevant guidelines.

These results confirm the findings of the previous water quality reports and prove we can be confident that when we need to add purified water to Wivenhoe Dam it will be safe to drink.
The Independent International Expert Scientific Advisory Panel reviewed the results and Panel Chair, Paul Greenfield said the panel had “concluded the treatment process barriers are able to control any water quality hazards and produce purified recycled water suitable to augment a drinking water supply”.

Carbon Pollution Reduction Targets

In 2007, in the lead up to a Federal Election, the Garnaut Climate Change Review, led by Professor Ross Garnaut, was first commissioned by State and Territory Governments to conduct an independent study of the impacts of climate change on the Australian economy.

The Review's First Report was released on 30 September 2008. The Report recommended medium to long-term policies and some suggestions for Australia’s carbon pollution emissions reductions targets.

The review recommended that Australia should be ready to calibrate its emissions reductions proportionately to a global effort directed at less than the 2°C (or 450 parts per million concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalent) objective.

The key point in the First Garnaut Review Report  released in 2008, was that Australia should indicate its preparedness to play its full, proportionate part in an effective global agreement.

According the Garnaut Review, Australia’s full part for 2020 would be:
·                     a reduction of 25% in emissions entitlements from 2000 levels, or
·                     one-third from Kyoto compliance levels over 2008–12, or
·                     40% per capita from 2000 levels.
For 2050, reductions would be 90% from 2000 levels (95% per capita).

It was Professor Garnaut who suggested that if there was no comprehensive global agreement at Copenhagen in 2009, Australia should commit to reduce its emissions by 5% (25% per capita) from 2000 levels by 2020, or 13% from the Kyoto compliance 2008–12 period.

By 2011, both the Australian Government and the Opposition had each committed themselves to reducing Australia's emissions by 2020 by at least 5% (relative to 2000 levels), unconditionally, in the absence of any global agreement on emissions reductions.

The Garnaut Climate Change Review—Update 2011 released a series of papers in February and March 2011 addressing developments across a range of areas including: Update Paper 6: Carbon pricing and reducing Australia's emissions.

Garnaut indicated that Australia’s carbon pollution emissions reduction target will need to be revised upwards over time in line with international action.

The Climate Change Authority has commenced a review of targets for reducing Australia's carbon pollution by 2020 and beyond.

The Caps and Targets Review will recommend a target for reductions in emissions for Australia and a proposed pathway to that target.  As part of this Review, the Authority will also recommend annual emissions caps (or limits) for Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism for the period 2015-16 to 2019-20.

The Authority has released an Issues Paper on the Caps and Targets Review and invited public submissions.  Submissions should be lodged by 30 May 2013.

16 April, 2013

National Waste Policy

National Waste Policy

COAG’s Standing Council on Environment and Water (SCEW) has previously recognised the strong support from industry, the community and local governments for further action to address the environmental impacts of packaging waste and litter.

The National Waste Policy is supposed to be a coherent, efficient and environmentally responsible approach to waste management in Australia.

The policy, agreed by all Australian environment ministers in November 2009, sets the ambitions for Australia's waste management and resource recovery direction to 2020.

A stock-take of waste-related standards, specifications and guidelines  published in January 2013, found more than 200 current Australian waste-related standards, specifications and guidelines.

There are significant differences in approaches across different jurisdictions and markets.  Particularly since Qld does not have a waste levee, whilst NSW and VIC do.  The review identifies ten areas that could benefit from further action:

a)         Waste compositional auditing
b)         Standards and specifications for the use of recycled materials
c)         Domestic recycling standards
d)         Recycler data collection and disclosure
e)         Energy from waste facilities and refuse derived fuels
f)          Asbestos
g)         Consultation, communications and education
h)         Transfer stations
i)          Greenhouse gas emissions
j)          Data collection and reporting.

The stock-take supports work under the National Waste Policy: Less Waste, More Resources, specifically Strategy 5 which aims to 'facilitate the development of a suite of agreed national principles, specifications, best practice guidelines and standards, to remove impediments to the development and operation of effective markets for potential wastes.'

On the 11 April 2013, the SCEW considered a progress report on the development of a Decision Regulation Impact Statement and noted the progress that has been achieved to date, particularly the focus on consultation with key stakeholders on the options. Ministers requested that work on the Statement and its modelling be completed as soon as possible to enable a facts-based approach on this issue.

SCEW agreed on the need to include end-of-life handheld batteries and waste paint on the SCEW’s work plan. More than 264 million handheld batteries reach the end of their useful life each year and the equivalent of 18,000 tonnes of paint require disposal each year. There could be significant environmental and community benefits to be gained from working with industry to find better management solutions for these products.

Contaminated Land

NEPM Amendment

The Standing Council on Environment and Water has approved an amendment to the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure (also known as the NEPM).

ASBG is holding a series of conferences on the latest regulatory and policy perspective on contaminated land.

·       16 May 2013 in Sydney
·       23 May 2013 in Melbourne
·       30 May 2013 in Brisbane

The conference has been prepared for landowners and practitioners. It will focus on the amendment to the Assessment of Contaminated Site NEPM, other current regulatory changes and technical aspects of contaminated land management.

The NEPM establishes a nationally-consistent approach to the assessment of site contamination to ensure sound environmental management practices by the community which includes regulators, site assessors, contaminated land auditors, land owners, developers and industry.

The NEPM contains two schedules:
·       Schedule A, which is included in the NEPM, identifies the recommended process for the Assessment of Site Contamination.
·       Schedule B of the NEPM comprises 10 general guidelines for the Assessment of Site Contamination. (Schedules B(1) – (10) can be downloaded from the Environment Protection and Heritage Council.) 

A review of the NEPM commenced in 2004. In June 2007, NEPC agreed to initiate a process to vary the NEPM based on recommendations made in the NEPM review.  The amendment was finally approved by the Standing Council on Environment and Water on 11 April 2013.

The variation will ensure that the NEPM remains the premier document for the assessment of site contamination in Australia by drawing on the latest methodologies for assessing human and ecological risk from site contamination and updating guidance on site assessment methods in line with technological changes in Australia and overseas.

The recent amendment ensures it will remain the premier document for the assessment of site contamination in Australia, used by regulators, site assessors, consultants, environmental auditors, landowners, developers and industry.

The measure incorporates updated methodologies for assessing human and ecological risks and site assessment methods now in line with advances in Australia and overseas.

State Ministers have recognised the contributions from all stakeholders, including the National Health and Medical Research Council, in the development of the updated measure.

vomiter? living with infants

I am the primary carer of my daughters: Ms R aged 18 months and Ms A aged three and a half.

They really are funny little creatures as they explore their own worlds and are learning language. 


I just love the language my daughters use and working together as a family to decipher the encryption.

My younger daughter (Ms R) speaks in one word sentences, which sometimes need translation by the elder sister (Ms A).  Ms R, the toddler's vocabulary includes:

Ms R is partially toilet trained, simply by imitating her sister, Ms A.


Last night Ms A was hiccuping after her bath and lying on our bed giving my beloved wife a cuddle. 

Hiccuping is unusual for her. My beloved wife asked her: 
Was she sick?  Did she have a sore belly? Did she want to vomit?  

Ms A said yes.

My beloved asked me to take Ms A to the bathroom and get a bucket in case she really was sick. 

Ms A then got really upset and she kept ranting that she wanted to vomit in her bedroom. 

My wife was mortified and kept saying no and Ms A should not vomit in her bedroom and definitely not vomit in her bed. 

The more this exchange happened between wife and daughter, the more the daughter became upset. 

My wife was getting concerned that she really would vomit all over our bed.  My wife was trying so hard not to laugh and find a strategic way to prevent Ms A from throwing up on our bed.

I took Ms A to her bedroom and she went straight to her cupboard and got my wife's digital thermometer off the shelf.

Ms A wanted me to check her temperature. 

So I finally realised Ms A was actually saying she wanted the "vomiter" meaning "thermometer" and really wasn't about to throw up. 

Another recent exchange with Ms A went as follows.

A: Daddy I need a surfboard.
A: I am going to escape
A: I am going to Ms R's Hospital
A: We are going to feed the babies with the Mummies Boobies.

I found her a swimming kick board in the cupboard.  

Ms A and Ms R stood on it and pretended to surf with their arms out.

Ms A and Ms R are about the same weight, though Ms A is lean and Ms R is relatively stocky.  Ms A wears sizes 2 to 3.  Ms A wears mostly size 1, but is growing into size 2's.

When my beloved came home from work late one night this week, she crept into Ms A's room and kissed her.   I had somehow dressed Ms A in Ms R's PJs. This was plainly obvious to my wife.  It was clearly the wrong size but in the heat of the moment of pulling two wet girls out of the bath, I had dressed them in each others PJ's.  My beloved thought it was such a funny look.  Fashion has never been been my passion.


We had gradually been losing all our tea spoons.  We were down to perhaps two. 

They had been slowly going missing over the past few weeks. 

I thought the girls may of been posting or hiding them in the rubbish bin, never to be seen again. 

My beloved and I kept asking Ms A if she had seen them. Ms A is usually pretty good at find missing shoes/hats/bottles.  

Then yesterday Ms A said to me: " Daddy what's this?". 

She was pointing to our mesh baby gate in the kitchen. The exchange kept happening and I kept saying its the baby gate. Finally I went over and found a hidden pocket in a seam that I didn't know existed, 

It contained 26 teaspoons and little forks in it. 

I suspect both Ms R and Ms A were thieving the cutlery and hiding it. Mystery solved.