Waste-to-energy (WtE) is a topic of much discussion in the ACT, particularly in recent years, given the ACT Government’s commitment to a 90% diversion of waste from landfill by 2025. The EDO ACT welcomes the opportunity to comment on WtE in the ACT, through the “Waste-to-energy in the ACT Information Paper” and make several recommendations to the development of a WtE policy.
As Canberra grows and develops, there are strong concerns that Canberra is losing its character as the ‘bush capital’. Whether building up or building out, key changes to our laws are required to ensure the best outcomes for the natural environment, including the protection of vulnerable biodiversity, are achieved. The EDO ACT was therefore pleased to provide a number of recommendations to the Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services' Inquiry into Nature in our City.
EDO ACT provided a substantial submission to the Inquiry into Engagement with Development Application Processes in the ACT. At a time of large-scale development in the ACT, the community relies on the limited protections within the Planning and Development Act 2007 (ACT), specifically the development application and EIS processes to protect the natural and built environment, to provide the public the opportunity to engage in democratic processes, and to plan for the future.
The ACT Government has developed a proposed framework for a new Biosecurity Act that will enable biosecurity risks to be prevented, eliminated or minimised. The EDO ACT contributed a number of overarching comments on the proposed framework with respect to interactions with the environment.
The ACT Government has been a leader in climate change legislation and policy in Australia and is best placed to continue to lead the way nationally to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reverse the impacts of climate change.
The EDO ACT offered the following recommendation to the ACT Government’s Climate Strategy to a Net Zero Emissions Territory (December 2017):
- That ACT emission reduction targets and climate change strategies be integrated into decision-making processes of ACT Directorates and division, where it is likely that their decisions will impact on such targets. A greenhouse trigger needs to be including in the Planning and Development act, such that an EIS is required for projects with significant climate change target implications.
- That ACT Climate Change legislation and policy incorporate the newest environmental law principles and legally enforceable mechanisms be introduced to implement them.
In this submission, the EDOACT commented on the Housing Choices Discussion Paper and provided recommendations arising from our experience assisting individuals and community groups regarding planning and development where it impacts on the environment in the ACT and surrounding areas.
The aim of our submission is to identify key environmental issues that inform future planning decisions. These issues include:
- Planning and development of greenfield areas;
- Community consultation;
- Integrating climate change policy into housing considerations and the need to coordinate policy approaches to future housing development and planning across directorates, to ensure consistency in objectives;
- Key legal and policy principles to take into account when developing future law and policies.
ANEDO has engaged in the "one stop shop‟ process to date by preparing background papers on best practice environmental laws and standards, making submissions on current legal standards, meeting with members of the Government and COAG taskforce on request to provide expert input, and consultation and submissions on the Productivity Commission‟s inquiry into major project assessment and approval processes, presenting evidence at three parliamentary inquiries, and making submissions on the draft assessment bilateral agreements when exhibited for NSW, Queensland, South Australia and on the draft approval bilateral agreements for NSW, Queensland and Tasmania.
EDO (ACT) recommends that:
- The ACT government places at the centre of the offsetting scheme the achievement of positive biodiversity outcomes based on robust and objective science.
- The ACT government takes the recommendations of the Senate (Environment and Communications Committee) Environmental Offsets Report into account when developing the offset framework and that the ACT waits until any subsequent changes are made to the Commonwealth Government’s Offset policy before finalising the ACT offset scheme.