Good news: ACT to have 100% renewable electricity by 2020

The Conservation Council welcomes the 23 August 2016 announcement [see below] that the ACT is on track and will meet its target for 100% electricity from renewable energy by 2020.

A key question now is whether the Canberra Liberals will confirm their support for this renewable energy target. In May this year they supported Government amendments to legislation to give effect to this 100% renewable energy target.

We however are also calling on the ACT Government to bring forward our zero net emissions target to 2040.

The Conservation Council wants the ACT to be the first jurisdiction in Australia to have support from all major parties for our climate change targets and actions to deliver them.

With a global climate agreement in place, and 2015 the hottest year on record so far, climate action has never been more urgent.

Larry O’Loughlin, Executive Director

  Corbell media release

23 August 2016

Wind farms final piece in 100% by 2020 plan

The ACT has secured the final renewable energy needed to meet our 100% target by 2020, following two successful additional wind farm bids to power the territory.

Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Simon Corbell, today announced that the wind farms will share in 200MW of large feed-in tariff grants offered under the Next Generation Renewables reverse auction process.

“The winning projects are the Crookwell 2 wind farm in local NSW and the third stage of the Hornsdale Wind farm in South Australia,” Mr Corbell said.

“It is with great satisfaction that the Government can announce this final piece of our plan. These two wind farms will lift our renewable energy percentage to 100% by 2020 and secure the achievement of our emission reduction goals in that year.”

The successful projects are:

  • Crookwell 2 Wind Farm – 91 MW– developed by Union Fenosa Wind Australia, due for completion in September 2018 and located 15km south-east of Crookwell (30km north-west of Goulburn), this project will bring $125 million in benefits to the ACT and region. The farm comprises 28 turbines and will provide enough energy to power 41,600 Canberra homes.
  • Hornsdale Wind Farm Stage 3 – 109 MW – developed by Neoen International SAS and Megawatt Capital, located in South Australia, around 150 km north of Adelaide. This is the third stage of the wind farm, which was also successful in the first and second ACT Wind Auctions, taking the total ACT supported capacity to 309MW. This stage will bring $55 million in economic benefits to the ACT, comprises 35 turbines and will provide enough energy to power 56,600 Canberra homes.

As with all previous reverse auctions run by the Government, the Next Generation Renewables auction has again set a new benchmark price for renewable energy in Australia with $73/MWh for the Hornsdale Wind Farm, fixed for 20-years. The price for Crookwell Wind Farm of $86.60/MWh is a record low for a wind farm in NSW.

“Both projects are providing extensive investment packages for the ACT economy, with over $180 million to fund research, innovation, jobs and education in the renewable energy sector here in Canberra,” Mr Corbell said.

“The proximity of the Crookwell Wind Farm to the ACT means many flow-on benefits for local trades.

“It has been four years since the ACT Government released Climate Change Action Plan 2. Since that time we have systematically put in place the renewable energy and energy efficiency programs required to achieve our target of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2020.”

Mr Corbell said Canberra has established an international reputation for its sustainable energy policy.

“The ACT is attracting international business investment and creating exciting new collaboration opportunities for local start-ups and entrepreneurs,” Mr Corbell said.

“The economic benefits that will flow from successful reverse auction projects now total more than $500 million.

“This will ensure Canberra remains at the centre of this industry as it grows nationally and internationally. With four international wind companies establishing their headquarters here, the future jobs growth potential is enormous.”

In addition to supplying low cost renewable energy to Canberra, the wind farms will also be financing the roll-out of 36MW of distributed battery storage in over 5,000 ACT homes and businesses under the Government’s Next Generation Storage program.

“I look forward to talking about the exciting opportunities created by our latest successful projects, and Canberra’s bright energy innovation future in more detail in the coming weeks,” Mr Corbell said.

Be part of the journey to a clean, sustainable city – access free online tools, services, guides, programs for home, work, school and community at www.actsmart.act.gov.au

Statement ends

Media contact: Ellena Bisset T (02) 6205 0434 M 0466 511 400 [email protected]

 

Riverview: Mechanisms and principles to protect environment and heritage values

The Riverview urban development proposal is a complex large project straddling the boundary of the ACT and NSW. The Conservation Council has been involved in various informal and formal processes over some years. We have always considered it important that any urban development here be carefully considered due to the proximity of significant woodlands, the River Corridor and habitat for a range of threatened species.

Map source: Riverview Projects
Map source: Riverview Projects

The Riverview proposal has two land components — ACT land and NSW land. The ACT side has development approval from the ACT Government. The NSW land will go through further planning approvals over the next year via Yass Valley Council and NSW Planning Minister. The current NSW development area map is indicative only. It was prepared in order for relevant authorities to have a conversation about ‘infrastructure’ and to pass a gateway for further planning work. The final map will be the subject of formal public consultation. Both ACT approval and any future NSW approvals will also be subject to Commonwealth approval and potential conditions via a Strategic Assessment currently in process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (Cth). In short the boundaries are yet to be finalised.

A key feature of planning for the ACT side was that the proposed urban boundary was based on extensive ecological studies then followed up with ground-truthing. This stands in contrast with other ACT urban developments such as Molonglo where the lines were drawn on maps before full consideration of environmental values. In addition, ecological studies for the ACT area were peer reviewed by independent consultants. Also, impacts on Matters of National Environment significance have been minimised so only a very small number of “biodiversity offsets” are required.

The Conservation Council wants the same principles applied in the NSW section. To this end we have recognised the need for further studies into both environmental and Aboriginal cultural heritage values. We also support these studies being peer reviewed. In 2015 we were part of a process recommending additional ecological studies be undertaken and we supported our member group Ginninderra Catchment Group being funded by Riverview to conduct some of these studies. Various other studies are still currently in process.

On the NSW side we are yet to form an opinion until these studies have been concluded and appropriately reviewed. We do not support “blanket” buffer lines, for example 500 metres. While that might get more space into conservation in some parts, in other places we would lose valuable areas. The lines and buffers need to be scientifically based and there is no formula that fits all.

IMG_1139There might also be value in not being too definite about some of the boundaries in NSW – allowing a grey area – in order for long-term monitoring, particularly of the Rosenberg’s Goanna, to determine the final line. Such an approach should adopt the precautionary principle – no urban development in the areas under scrutiny unless such monitoring demonstrates there will not be adverse impacts on ecological values.

Another key issue is adequate ongoing management of land of ecological or cultural value after it is declared as protected. Riverview has developed an innovative “Trust” proposal and is already well-advanced on a draft Management Plan for the proposed reserve and River Corridor and this also will be subject to public consultation. Again contrast this with Molonglo where, with at least three suburbs well-developed, we are still waiting to see the draft Plan of Management for the Molonglo River Corridor.

We need to acknowledge some of the competing visions. The Conservation Council’s first interest was to ensure minimal impacts on the River Corridor, on Matters of National Environment Significance and local threatened species, our second interest was good “urban edge” management principles, our third was in sustainable built form, and finally in balancing ‘access’ to the Ginninderra Falls while ensuring low impact ‘tourism’ and safety.

Other interests include:

  • those whose primary focus is in tourism and opening up some spectacular spots to the community
  • the developer with an economic / business imperative
  • the existing rural leaseholders with an attachment to the land.

So there are various balancing acts in this process. In regard to Ginninderra Falls, it seems all parties support creating community access, yet there are significant questions about safe access, ensuring minimal impacts on the River Corridor, the type of ‘tourist’ facilities, the exact size / location of the buffers, type of land tenure (should it be called a National Park?), and how it will be managed, with some discussion still occurring on the proposed ‘Trust’ model.

While there is much about the Riverview proposal that is of ‘better practice’ we also highlighted concerns in regard to the ACT development – see Conservation Council Submission on TP DV351 and NCP DA85 West Belconnen Urban Development

[* This article was produced for the National Parks Association of the ACT newsletter. Space was limited and the article does not include all issues which we have raised including transport, water sensitive urban design and urban agriculture. There is more discussion of these issues in Conservation Council Submission on TP DV351 and NCP DA85 West Belconnen Urban Development].

Further information: Larry O’Loughlin, Conservation Council Executive Director (02) 6229 3202

Yellow Box Dispatch August 2016

Canberra has just had its second-warmest July on record (and the warmest ever July minimum of 11.1 degrees on July 20) while Anchorage, Alaska had its warmest ever July with an average of 17.1 degrees C. 

Also warming up is the ACT election campaign and the Conservation Council has published Our Future, Our Environment – to put our policies on record before the heat, smoke and mirrors of the ACT Legislative Assembly election campaign distort logic and common sense. Each of the current parties in the Assembly has been given a copy.

The ACT Legislative Assembly last week passed legislation to deal with the ACT’s municipal waste. It was not the legislation we needed to reduce Canberra’s growing waste problem as it did not set targets or establish powers and responsibilities for dealing with minimising waste.

The story of the ACT Government’s sorry use of biodiversity offsets – justification for environmental damage – continued with the official reclassification of the Justice Robert Hope Park, a community established and supported park, as a nature reserve. This renaming is to offset removal of old woodland trees for a development next door to the Park. To make matters worse the Government is allowing the developers to pipe polluted storwater into the new ‘reserve’.

Does the Government really want a new suburb in the Murrumbidgee river corridor next to the Tuggeranong town centre? They are still consulting on it since Minister for Planning Mick Gentleman floated the concept 3 March 2016: “I am pleased to announce a new suburb could take shape between the Tuggeranong town centre and the Murrumbidgee River.” Early consultation showed a distinct lack of support for a range of reasons. A second stage of consultation with a community reference panel is now underway.

And please look at some of the events coming up. We live in an interesting place.

Regards
Larry O’Loughlin
Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT

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Conservation Council election ‘asks’

The Conservation Council’s election policies document – Our Future, Our Environment – is on our website and we have given the document to all political parties and will give it to candidates for the forthcoming 15 October 2016 election for the ACT Legislative Assembly.

We have developed policies against our seven key focus areas and have highlighted three major issues for Canberra to be a vibrant, liveable, compact and ecologically sustainable city:

  • No more loss of our nationally significant and local critically endangered ecological communities: We must manage and protect our biodiversity so that there is no more loss of existing habitat; no further species become locally extinct.
  • Canberra zero net emissions by 2040: Maintain leadership on climate change by continuing to meet stronger greenhouse gas emission reduction targets while also adapting for climate change.
  • Smart and sensitive urban infill: Develop a more compact city that lives within its environmental means while also being liveable for all and providing a high level of human amenity and a place where natural and cultural heritage are respected and protected. We support environmental initiatives through urban planning which look after people so that they highlighted can live without having to impact on the natural environment.

Many policies reflect positions we have previously taken in submissions to various processes.

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When nature reserves are for environmental damage… The Conservation Council welcomes the addition of Justice Robert Hope Park into Canberra Nature Park.However the area was already well protected, well managed and well restored by local Parkcare groups. To claim it is an “biodiversity offset” for clearing the adjoining three hectares is nonsensical and the loss of large mature trees cannot be “offset”.Biodiversity offsets are supposed to provide for additional environmental protection than what already exists and result in “net gain” to our conservation estate.The reality is that we had 18 hectares in good shape and well looked after and now we are going to lose three hectares of our locally and nationally significant Box-Gum Grassy Woodlands – a critically endangered ecological community. There is no biodiversity gain.We are yet to be convinced that biodiversity offsets actually work whether here in the ACT or elsewhere.We propose a better approach is to plan to ensure no development impacts on threatened species habitat and endangered ecological communities, while also allowing for adequate buffers and habitat connectivity to protect those ecological values.BackgroundOur woodlands are nationally significant. About 95% of Yellow-Box Red Gum Grassy Woodlands have been destroyed nationally and it is listed as critically endangered. The remaining ACT patches are exceptional in term of size, quality and diversity. They have very high regional and national conservation significance. They are important habitat for species of local and national significance such as the Superb Parrot.Over the last ten years the ACT has lost over 300 hectares of these critically endangered Yellow-Box Red-Gum Woodlands to urban development in the ACT. It is likely we would have lost more if it wasn’t for Commonwealth Government involvement.Legislation waste of opportunity Wastes (resources with no further use) are an indicator of how we live within our environment. The amount of waste indicates how efficient we are in using resources. The type of waste shows what we value. The way we dispose of waste shows our concern for our environment. [from Our Future, Our Environment]The ACT’s municipal waste mountain at Mugga Lane is growing by nearly quarter of a million tonnes per year yet the Legislative Assembly in the last sitting days before the election focussed on waste management not waste reduction.Minister Fitzharris obtained support of the Assembly on 4 August 2016 to repeal the Waste Minimisation Act 2001 and replace it with the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Bill 2016 and in the process has not only removed waste minimisation from its name, but also did not have a target-setting mechanism or provide enough powers or responsibilities for waste managers to reduce waste generation.The Conservation Council raised issues with the 2015 draft Waste Management and Resource Recovery Bill 2015 and the legislation then went back for re-drafting and did not re-emerge until it was introduced in June 2016. Disappointingly many issues have not been addressed in the legislation.The Conservation Council called for the legislation to require that a waste strategy be developed and that there should be legislated short and long-term targets for waste reduction, resource recovery and the diversion of waste from landfill disposal.Legislated targets have been used successfully in the ACT for greenhouse gas emissions and could also be considered for Canberra’s municipal waste.The legislation establishes the position of ‘Waste Manager’ but does not provide sufficient functions and powers to do anything other than manage the pile of waste not reduce it.Although the legislation will provide some improvements including through the collection of additional data it is not clear that this data will be made publicly available to help bring the community on board with waste reduction measures.A key task of a future government will be to properly address waste issues through legislated targets as for greenhouse emissions. The current legislation is a waste of opportunity.** For more details see Conservation Council comments on the legislation.

West Greenway (concept suburb ‘Thompson’)

The Conservation Council, along with others, was invited to a community consultation panel on the concept suburb ‘Thompson’, now called west Greenway.

Minister Gentleman established the community panel “to capture community expertise to ensure that the right questions are asked, that the answers to the questions are reliable and that all the relevant voices are heard”.

The Conservation Council remains concerned that the panel’s terms of reference are still lingering on development of a suburb given that they include: “Partner with the ACT Government to identify potential planning outcomes that identify whether a viable, sustainable and equitable development is possible.”

It is very odd that the Government is leaving open the option of a suburb so close to the Murrumbidgee while at the same time being part of spending $93million on improving the quality of Murrumbidgee water through the ACT Basin Priority Project. Perhaps they will reduce nutrients while increasing irony.

The next meeting of the panel is 17 June and it is expected that the initial study which sparked the concept will be made available to panel members.

email

Events
Green Drinks (with Emma Thomas)

What: Guest speaker Emma Thomas is Director-General for Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) and brings extensive experience in both commercial and public sectors, including major infrastructure projects that span most forms of transport including ‘planes, trains and automobiles.’ Prior to leading TCCS, Emma was Director-General Capital Metro Agency, delivering Canberra’s first stage of light rail.

Emma’s 10-minute talk will begin about 6pm, followed by a short audience Q&A session. The event will then become total freeform discussion among attendees.

Where: King O’Malley’s Irish Pub, 131 City Walk, Civic (meet at long tables in The Arcade: look for signs with the Green Drinks Canberra logo)

When: 5:30pm Tuesday 9 August 2016

RSVP: Not required.

Cost: Free entry, pay for own drinks.

Start time: 5:30 pm until whenever. Arrive at a time that suits you.

Mailing list: Join our monthly email newsletter. (We promise we will not spam you). We are also on Facebook, Meetup and Eventbrite.

350 Canberra’s campaign launch and dinner

What: Want to find out which major fossil fuel company Questacon takes money from? Or wondering how to have political impact following the Federal election? Perhaps you are curious about trainings and social events to build a stronger 350 Canberra? Answers to all these questions + good company + delicious food will be found at 350 Canberra’s campaign launch night and dinner next Thursday.

Now is the time to strengthen our resolve, and work harder than ever to keep fossil fuels in the ground. There are plenty of ways to get involved with 350 Canberra. Whether it’s contributing to painting a banner, supporting a creative action, doing research, coordinating a team or sharing another talent you have – we’ll find a space for you in our 100% volunteer-run team.

When: Thursday 11 August 2016, 6pm-7:30pm

Where: The Food Co-op, 3 Kingsley St, Canberra ACT 2601

What: Delicious dinner, campaign pitches and planning, meeting Canberrans passionate about climate action.

RSVP here: so we can make sure there is a plate of food for you!

 

Food Hubs: Can They Benefit Farmers, the Economy and Public Health?

What: UC-HRI public lecture: A Conversation with Anthony Flaccavento, an organic farmer and small business owner, based in Abingdon, Virginia. In 2009, he founded SCALE, Inc, a private consul ting business that catalyses and supports ecologically healthy economies and food systems. SCALE works with farmers, entrepreneurs, community leaders, economic development agencies and others in both rural and urban environments. Anthony has a degree in Agriculture and Environmental Science and a Master of Economic and Social Development, and author of Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up.

When: Wednesday 17 August 2016, 5:30pm-7:30pm (Additional workshop with Anthony 9am-1pm 18 August)

Where: Ann Harding Conference Centre, Seminar Room 1 Building 24, University Canberra

Bookings: through Eventbrite

Actsmart Business Sustainability Expo

What: Exhibitors, informative workshops, interactive displays, on stage presentations and a networking event. The Sustainability Expo will provide business and public event organisers with a holistic approach to sustainability, with exhibitors showcasing the latest products and services to assist with energy and water efficiency, and better waste management.

Cost: Free for exhibitors and attendees. Exhibitors can register here and take advantage of pre-register offer to be in draw to win an iPad, thanks to the Actsmart team.

When: Thursday 1 September 2016 10am-6pm

Where: National Convention Centre 31 Constitution Avenue, Canberra

Canberra Birds Conservation Fund

What: Throughout the year, the Canberra Birds Conservation Fund invites applications for small grants for research, conservation and related projects.

The Canberra Birds Conservation Fund has been established for the purpose of supporting the Canberra Ornithologists Group’s (COG’s) environmental objects by receiving and disbursing tax deductible donations.

COG’s environmental objects are ‘to promote the conservation of native birds and their habitats’, with particular reference to the native birds and their habitats in the Canberra region.

Objectives:

1. To encourage interest in, and develop knowledge of, the birds of the Canberra region

2. To promote and co-ordinate the study of birds

3. To promote the conservation of native birds and their habitats.

Who is eligible: The Fund welcomes applications from individuals and organisations for grants to support projects that will contribute to achieving its environmental objectives.

When: Applications may be submitted at any time of the year.

How much: Applications for up to $2,000 are invited. Applications that meet all three of the Fund’s environmental objectives will be particularly favoured, especially those with a focus on the Canberra region.

Further information: please contact Fund convener David McDonald (02) 6238 3706 or 0416 231 890

Yellow Box Dispatch July 2016

Yellow Box Dispatch July 2016

July is a great starting month. The days are getting longer, it’s a new financial year, there’s been some significant ACT Government directorate changes. It’s even raining, refreshing and replenishing the landscape for the hot times ahead.

And there’s been a federal election and now we are heading towards an ACT election. So we are now starting to put more focus on the local environmental issues for the Legislative Assembly election on Saturday 15 October.

Regards
Larry O’Loughlin
Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT

email

Conservation Council election ‘asks’

The Conservation Council is preparing and releasing policies leading up to the October 2016 ACT election. The policies are intended for all candidates to see how their positions, and those of their parties, line up with those of environment groups and we will advocate that they take up our policies in their own campaigns and later in debates and committees in the Assembly or as members of Government.
The policies reflect our main focus areas and some are already online:

In the next few weeks we will publish a single document (about 20 pages) on our website. Many policies reflect positions we have previously taken in submissions to various processes.

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Watson Section 64 Block 9 and Justice Robert Hope Park

The Conservation Council took the ACT’s planners (Environment and Planning Directorate also referred to as ACTPLA) to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) over the decision to approve a development in North Watson. See our Comments on Development Application 2015-28681 Watson Section 64, Block 9 Watson Estate Development Plan.

The endangered Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) assisted us to obtain pro bono legal assistance through Michael Will of HWL Ebsworth Lawyers and the EDO solicitor and Watson Community Association also attended to make a team of four, with five in the developer’s team and eight from ACTPLA.

The mediation session did not provide agreed outcomes and we subsequently discontinued the process. We calculated we had a limited chance of meaningful achievement and did not have the resources – research, preparation and legal expenses – to spend up to five days in a hearing facing the ACT Government and the developer defending the approval of the development.

Our objections were:

  • loss of woodlands of national significance
  • loss of mature trees
  • decision is inconsistent with advice from Tree Protection Unit
  • impacts on Justice Robert Hope Reserve
  • inadequate conditions to mitigate urban edge impacts.

Justice Robert Hope Park is now being given ‘nature reserve’ status by the ACT Government to ‘offset’ the environmental damage which will be done by the development across the fence in Watson. As the Government says:

The medium density residential development on block 9 section 64 in Watson along with the extension of Negus Crescent to Antill Street and the offsite stormwater works for Justice Robert Hope Park will significantly impact the critically endangered White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland (Box-Gum Grassy Woodland). As part of the conditional approval from the Commonwealth Government, Justice Robert Hope Park is identified to offset these impacts and provide better protection for species listed under the EPBC Act, including the Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia).

If we are going to have offsets then it is inappropriate to make an offset out of an existing reserved area. Further the development is going to degrade the reserve area including by laying a pipe through the reserve to divert stormwater to a retention pond in the reserve. The reserve itself has been established and maintained substantially through volunteer labour yet is being offered as an offset for a development which is returning profit to the developer and revenue to the government.

Directorate changes commenced 1 July

July 1 marked the start of new arrangements for two of our key ACT Government directorates and in particular implemented changes that the Conservation Council had championed for some years: establishment of an Integrated Conservation Agency. We set out our reasons for an integrated agency here and here.

Basically we expect that the new arrangement should result in better biodiversity enhancement and protection and improved nature conservation outcomes.

The Integrated Conservation Agency will be the Environment Division of the Environment and Planning Directorate which will now include Parks and Conservation Services transferred from TAMS. Division head, ACT Conservator Annie Lane, will present to the Conservation Council Biodiversity Working Group on the new arrangements at the meeting of 28 July. She will also be presenting on how the ACT is implementing the biodiversity monitoring arrangements arising from the Nature Conservation Act 2014.

The other big change is that TAMS has become Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate and now includes what was Capital Metro, ACTION buses, Domestic Animals (including cat containment), roads, tree protection, waste and others (including Cemetries and Crematoria if you’re dying to know). The new Directorate structure has Emma Thomas (formerly head of Capital Metro) as Director-General. The Directorate will include most ACT Government transport matters including active transport. Roads ACT is located in the Directorate but is regarded as City Services rather than as part of Transport Canberra.

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CSIRO Ginninderra Field Station proposal

Conservation Council member groups visited the CSIRO Ginninderra Field Station on Monday 6 June to look at the environment of the area which is proposed to be an urban development opportunity.

The site visitors noted that there was substantial biodiversity in the area and a subsequent workshop on Monday 27 June among other things discussed some principles for conservation and development that might inform subsequent stages of the project.

The workshop looked at a range of issues including management of trees and habitats on the site and treatment of buffer zones and urban areas including edge effects.

The proposed CSIRO development has been discussed in the Canberra Times and on ABC radio with both outlets seeking comment from the Conservation Council.

We are actually having very good discussions with the CSIRO scientists involved in the project and we say that. But like a lot of consultation, we want to know how the outcomes of these discussions are incorporated into development agendas.

Good news on Little Eagle?

The Canberra Times also asked some questions including on the Little Eagle and COG members assisted with advice for a response which was used in “Fears vulnerable eagle will disappear due to planned CSIRO housing development”.

Subsequently we received a phone call that a Little Eagle was nesting on a farm in NSW not far from the CSIRO site. The farmer has offered access for bird groups and researchers for further investigation.

West Greenway (concept suburb ‘Thompson’)

The Conservation Council, along with others, has been invited to the next stage of consultation on the concept suburb ‘Thompson’, now called west Greenway.

Although the initial consultation seemed to clearly indicate a lack of community support for the proposal Minister Gentleman is establishing a community panel “to capture community expertise to ensure that the right questions are asked, that the answers to the questions are reliable and that all the relevant voices are heard”.

While the Conservation Council will participate in the panel we are concerned that the Government is trying to develop in an area when all the signs indicate that it will not be a suitable site from a community or environmental perspective and especially for its impact on the Murrumbidgee River corridor.

It seems so obvious it’s an inappropriate development that there might not need to be expensive consultancies to state the obvious but the Minister is proposing more studies: “Overwhelmingly we heard that the river corridor is of significant environmental and recreational value to the community. That’s why before the ACT Government formally considers developing this area, we will conduct comprehensive environmental and social studies. We will continue to listen to the community.”

We will report on progress.

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Events

Life without plastic

What: Plastic is everywhere. Its convenience has undeniably saturated our everyday lives. However, single use disposable plastic is killing our environment. Despite efforts to recycle, plastic continues to choke our landscape and environment. According to a study by CSIRO, plastics ingestion in seabirds will reach 95% of all species by 2050. So it’s time to ditch plastic. With an abundance of simple and accessible alternatives, the switch to a plastic free lifestyle has never been easier. As part of Plastic Free July, Canberra Environment Centre invites you to meet three Canberrans who have taken the challenge of living a plastic free lifestyle. Our panellists will discuss environmental issues caused by plastic consumption, busting some myths around giving up single-use disposable plastic and sharing lessons they have learnt from the switch.

How much: This event is FREE.

Who: Canberra Environment Centre

Where: The Food Cooperative Shop, 3 Kingsley Street, Acton

When: Wednesday 27 July 6pm-7pm

Booking: Please RSVP to let us know you’re coming (bring lots of questions!) http://www.ecoaction.com.au/events/life-without-plastic/

Citizen Voice, Community Vision

What: This year’s ACTCOSS conference is ACT 2020: Citizen Voice, Community Vision. Check program confirmed so far.

Theme: This theme has ended up being very timely. The Federal Election results indicate many voters do not believe mainstream political processes reflect their interests or priorities. The conference provides a platform to explore whether and how we can build a collective vision that captures diverse interests and priorities, especially of people and communities who have felt pushed to the margins of public debate and political decision making.

When: Thursday 4 — Friday 5 August

Where: Rydges Capital Hill

Bookings: Register here. Early bird registrations close Tuesday 12 July, so get in quick for extra good value.

Actsmart Business Sustainability Expo

What: Exhibitors, informative workshops, interactive displays, on stage presentations and a networking event. The Sustainability Expo will provide business and public event organisers with a holistic approach to sustainability, with exhibitors showcasing the latest products and services to assist with energy and water efficiency, and better waste management.

Who: If you work in a business, own a business, support business or have an interest in sustainability initiatives then you cannot miss this expo. An initiative of the ACT Government’s Actsmart Program delivered in partnership with Canberra Business Chamber

Cost: Free for exhibitors and attendees. Exhibitors can register here and take advantage of pre-register offer to be in draw to win an iPad, thanks to the Actsmart team.

When: Thursday 1 September 2016 10am-6pm

Where: National Convention Centre 31 Constitution Avenue, Canberra

Canberra Birds Conservation Fund

What: Throughout the year, the Canberra Birds Conservation Fund invites applications for small grants for research, conservation and related projects.>/p>The Canberra Birds Conservation Fund has been established for the purpose of supporting the Canberra Ornithologists Group’s (COG’s) environmental objects by receiving and disbursing tax deductible donations.COG’s environmental objects are ‘to promote the conservation of native birds and their habitats’, with particular reference to the native birds and their habitats in the Canberra region.

Objectives:1. To encourage interest in, and develop knowledge of, the birds of the Canberra region2. To promote and co-ordinate the study of birds3. To promote the conservation of native birds and their habitats.

Who is eligible: The Fund welcomes applications from individuals and organisations for grants to support projects that will contribute to achieving its environmental objectives.

When: Applications may be submitted at any time of the year.

How much: Applications for up to $2,000 are invited. Applications that meet all three of the Fund’s environmental objectives will be particularly favoured, especially those with a focus on the Canberra region.

Further information: please contact Fund convener David McDonald (02) 6238 3706 or 0416 231 890

 

We are a voice for the environment in the ACT region.
As a non-profit, non-government organisation we rely on donations to continue our work. Please donate here to allow our work to continue. Thank you!

[email protected] | www.conservationcouncil.org.au

14/26 Barry Drive (GPO Box 544) Canberra 2601

Assembly wastes opportunity

The ACT’s municipal waste mountain at Mugga Lane is growing by nearly quarter of a million tonnes per year yet the Legislative Assembly in the last sitting days before the election focussed on waste management not waste reduction.

Minister Fitzharris obtained support of the Assembly on 4 August 2016 to repeal the Waste Minimisation Act 2001 and replace it with the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Bill 2016 and in the process has not only removed waste minimisation from its name, but also did not have a target-setting mechanism or provide enough powers or responsibilities for waste managers to reduce waste generation.

“The Conservation Council raised issues with the 2015 draft Waste Management and Resource Recovery Bill 2015 and the legislation then went back for re-drafting and did not re-emerge until it was introduced in June 2016. Disappointingly many issues have not been addressed in the legislation,” said Conservation Council Executive Director Larry O’Loughlin.

The Conservation Council called for the legislation to require that a waste strategy be developed and that there should be legislated short and long-term targets for waste reduction, resource recovery and the diversion of waste from landfill disposal.

“Legislated targets have been used successfully in the ACT for greenhouse gas emissions and could also be considered for Canberra’s municipal waste,” said Mr O’Loughlin.

“The legislation establishes the position of ‘Waste Manager’ but does not provide sufficient functions and powers to do anything other than manage the pile of waste not reduce it.”

“Although the legislation will provide some improvements including through the collection of additional data it is not clear that this data will be made publicly available to help bring the community on board with waste reduction measures.”

 

“The Conservation Council is calling for legislation that has a commitment to waste reduction targets and which sets out a pathway on how waste is going to be minimised.”

“A key task of a future government will be to properly address waste issues through legislated targets as for greenhouse emissions. The current legislation is a waste of opportunity.”

** For more details see the Conservation Council comments on the legislation.