Recent legislative developments in Australia

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Recent legislative developments in Australia

As Parliaments in all jurisdictions are not sitting currently, it provides a good opportunity to outline some key Bills in the jurisdictions and any inquiries currently been undertaken. We have set them out briefly below and will be keenly following the progress of each of them:

Commonwealth

The Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications announced an inquiry into the ‘[r]esponse to, and lessons learnt from, recent bushfires in remote Tasmanian wilderness’ with a particular focus on :

– the impact of global warming on fire frequency and magnitude;
– the availability and provisions of financial, human and mechanical resources;
– the adequacy of fire assessment and modelling capacity;
– Australia obligations as State Party to the World Heritage Convention;
– World’s best practice in remote area fire management; and
– any related matter

Queensland

Environmental Protection (Chain of Responsibility) Amendment Bill 2016 – aimed at enhancing environmental protection for sites operated by companies in financial difficulty and to avoid the Queensland government having to take the costs for managing and rehabilitating sites in financial difficulty.

Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 – will reintroduce environmental measures that the Newman government removed, tighten regulation around land clearing and limit the clearing of riparian vegetation, especially in the Great Barrier Reef catchments.

Water Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 – include the principles of ecologically sustainable development in the purpose of the Water Act 2000 among other amendments. However, this Bill is now back before the lower house after a Committee recommended that it not be passed in its current form.

Mineral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 – will also amend Newman government policy by amending the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014. While much of that act had yet to commence, there are numerous important changes such as repealing the section that would have allowed a mining lease to be granted over restricted land where landholder consent has not been given and compensation has not been agreed.

Tasmania

Primary Industry Activities Protection Amendment Bill 2016 – this bill will amend the Primary Industry Activities Protection Act 1995 to simplify how a primary industry farmer can protect themselves from the tort of nuisance that can be brought by non-farmer neighbours. A government review found that the act was unnecessarily complicated which resulted in the introduction of the bill. This is not a particularly contentious issue but Tasmania is the only jurisdiction in Australia to have this type of legislation, which reflects the importance of rural industry to the economy and the occasional tension with people who move into these areas for lifestyle reasons.

New South Wales

Mining and Petroleum Political Donations Legislation Amendment (Corruption Risk Reduction) Bill 2016– a Bill to extend the donations ban that currently applies to property developers, gambling and tobacco to the mining and petroleum industries.

The upper house have also announced a ‘[i]nquiry into the augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales’ to report by late October 2017, with a focus on the effectiveness on NSW Government agencies that are responsible for the increasing of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales. Curiously climate change is not expressly mentioned in the terms of reference, however, it could be included as part of ‘any other related matter’.

Western Australia

Co-operatives Amendment Bill 2015 – a Bill to reflect the Co-operatives National Law, however, Western Australia is not proposing to accept on C-operatives National Law reforms.

South Australia

Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill 2015 – a Bill that is a major overhaul and modernisation of South Australia planning laws. Now back in the lower house after amendments made in the upper house.

 


 

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