In this issue:                                                                    May, 2016

MAV Environment Conference
New Minister for Environment
Unconventional gas statement
MAV staff update
MAV submission: Water for Victoria discussion paper

EPA Inquiry: final report released
Climate Change Adaptation discussion paper
Victorian Climate Change Grants 2015
Premier’s Sustainability Awards: entries now open
Resilient Melbourne Strategy launched
Our Catchments, Our Communities
Victorian Market Development Strategy for Recovered Resources

MAV Environment Conference

The full program for the MAV Environment Conference has been released.

Join us at Melbourne Park on 12-13 July to hear the latest on the science and politics of climate change; community, customer and council-led renewable energy projects; the use of drones for ecology and conservation; smart lighting and smart cities; designing thriving built environments; the sharing economy, and more.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Rob Gell, Inaugural Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand
  • Dr Richard Denniss, The Australia Institute
  • Anthony Carbines, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment
  • Jenny Gray, CEO of Zoos Victoria
  • Dr Gillian Sparkes, Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Victoria
  • Dr Dominique Hes, Melbourne School of Design.

Registrations can be made online.

New Minister for Environment

On 23 May the Premier announced the following environment portfolio changes to the Victorian Government Ministry:

  • Lily D’Ambrosio has taken on the new portfolio of Energy, Environment and Climate Change and is also Minister for Suburban Development
  • Lisa Neville retains the Water portfolio and takes on the Police portfolio.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has advised that it’s business as usual in terms of the various reviews and reforms underway.

Unconventional gas statement

The Victorian Government’s new Minister for Resources, Wade Noonan, has issued a statement advising that the government is still considering the findings and recommendations from the Parliamentary Inquiry into unconventional gas in Victoria.The statement acknowledges that there are significant concerns within the Victorian community about unconventional gas exploration and the extraction methods used.

In the interim, the following measures will remain in place:

  • A hold on granting new exploration licences for all types of onshore gas (tight, shale, coal seam and conventional gas)
  • A hold on approvals for hydraulic fracturing
  • A hold on exploration drilling activities
  • A ban on the use of BTEX chemicals, which has been enshrined in legislation

The government will respond to the Inquiry’s recommendations when Parliament resumes in August.

MAV staff update

Rosemary Hancock has taken over responsibility for water policy and Nicky Kindler has commenced as a senior policy and engagement officer. This position, funded by DELWP, will enable us to bring a local government perspective to the development of the new Water Plan and its implementation.

MAV submission: Water for Victoria discussion paper

The MAV would like to thank all councils who provided feedback for our submission to the Water for Victoria discussion paper.

Our submission covers a broad range of issues highlighting many areas of interest councils have in long-term water policy and planning for Victoria.

As climate change, urbanisation and rapid population growth pose major challenges for water supply, quality, and use, water policy is an area of ongoing interest for local government. To help us understand how we can best communicate about our work and receive your input and comments, please complete this short survey.

For further information, contact Nicky Kindler.

EPA Inquiry: final report released

The State Government has released the final report for the independent inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). The report provides 48 recommendations aimed at establishing a modernised EPA with a clear focus on environmental and human health.

Minister Neville has advised that the government will consider the report’s findings and recommendations, and provide a comprehensive response later this year.

The MAV has prepared a members brief to highlight key points of interest in the report for local government.

Climate Change Adaptation discussion paper

To help guide preparation of Victoria’s second Climate Change Adaptation Plan, DELWP recently held a number of workshops for metropolitan councils to gather feedback on climate change adaptation challenges, barriers, opportunities and priorities. In the lead up to the workshops, DELWP released a discussion paper.

DELWP is still keen to gather further input from councils and is inviting written submissions (formal or informal) to be lodged via email by 30 June. The MAV intends to prepare a brief submission in response to the discussion paper and will circulate our draft submission to councils for feedback.

DELWP has advised that its regional offices are currently arranging consultation sessions for rural and regional councils to be held over the coming weeks.

Victorian Climate Change Grants 2015

Recipients of the Victorian Climate Change Grants 2015 have been announced. The 2015 round totalled $1.15 million with a competitive round of grants of $20,000-$80,000 open to all councils, and a non-competitive round of grants of up to $10,000 aimed at resource-constrained councils. In all, 45 council-driven projects have received a grant. Details of the recipients are available online.

Premier’s Sustainability Awards: entries now open

The Premier’s Sustainability Awards is now inviting entries from Victorian councils who are showing leadership in sustainability by undertaking activities and projects to protect and enhance their local environment, including climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the management of waste, water and resources.

The Awards provide a great opportunity to promote projects to the wider community, reward those who have been involved, and network with like-minded government groups. Further information on all categories and how to enter is available online, or by calling Clare Vella on 8656 6704. Entries close at 5pm on 27 June.

Resilient Melbourne Strategy launched

Australia's first Resilience Strategy for Greater Melbourne was launched last week, with a panel of speakers including City of Melbourne councillor, Arron Wood; City of Melbourne Chief Resilience Officer, Toby Kent; and 100 Resilient Cities Vice President, Bryna Lipper.

The strategy sets out a series of actions that will help make Melbourne a viable, sustainable, liveable and prosperous city long into the future. It was endorsed by the City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne Committee and is the result of the work of more than 1000 individuals from 230 organisations, Melbourne’s 32 local councils, and many Victorian Government departments.

Our Catchments, Our Communities

The Victorian Government has released Our Catchments, Our Communities - a statewide strategy for integrated catchment management. The strategy sets out five goals to address current challenges in the catchment management framework, with a number of actions attached to each goal.

The strategy acknowledges local government as a critical partner in catchment management, and the need for greater clarity around roles and responsibilities for all partners. Local government is identified as a lead partner for the development of catchment partnership agreements (to replace regional operating agreements) in order to improve role clarity.

Victorian Market Development Strategy for Recovered Resources

The Victorian Government has launched the Victorian Market Development Strategy for Recovered Resources - a new strategy which aims to stimulate markets for recovered resources in Victoria.

It provides Victoria with a 30-year framework to address the challenges in demand for recovered resources, by reducing barriers and developing the right conditions for material and product markets to grow and mature.

Upcoming MAV events...

20 June

VCOSS-MAV Emergency Management Forum

12 - 13 July

MAV Environment Conference

10 - 11 August

MAV Technology National Conference


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