Clean technologies developer, Dr Marc Newson, has been appointed as the Federal Government's Clean Technologies Supplier Advocate.

Announcing the appointment, the Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, said Dr Newson has extensive experience in working with clean technology businesses in the manufacturing sector, and has held senior roles with leading consulting firms including Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Dr Newson will work with local manufacturers to develop and showcase their clean technology capabilities. He will assist in developing business plans through the Australian Clean Technologies Ideas Competition, and implement development strategies in the lighting and waste sectors.

A new draft protection plan for the Swan Canning Riverpark, which outlines a range of actions to improve the management, health and amenity of the river, has been released for a three-month public comment period.

WA Environment Minister Bill Marmion said the draft River Protection Strategy (RPS) sets out how to achieve safe, equitable and sustainable management of the Riverpark. The plan acknowledges the key river managers, including State Government agencies, local governments and the community while recognising the need to better coordinate initiatives across key partners.

“The draft strategy outlines ways of better managing commercial and recreational activities, preserving river ecology and improving public amenity of the Swan Canning Riverpark as a recreational space,” Mr Marmion said.

“The Riverpark is important to users for many reasons including its environmental, social and economic values.”

“The draft RPS has been developed to foster a collaborative management approach for the Riverpark. Local government makes an enormous contribution to river management and support from the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) has been critical.”

The WA Government made a $14.1million contribution to the Swan River Trust this year. This commitment will enable the trust to continue testing end-of-catchment wetland treatment systems, build a third oxygenation plant on the Canning River and continue erosion control infrastructure at 13 riverbank project sites.

The draft strategy is available here.

The Queensland Government has announced $600,000 in funding to protect the recently declared wild rivers of Western Queensland from pests and weeds.

The public consultation period for Queensland’s Marine Mammal Legislative review has been extended to 31 January 2012. The review is considering proposed changes to the laws protecting whales, dolphins and dugongs along the Queensland coast.

Fifty-five submissions have been received on Queensland’s proposed Flinders Karawatha Green Corridor, a 60km tract of bushland running from Karawatha in Brisbane's south to Flinders Peak south of Ipswich and on to the Wyaralong Dam.

The NSW Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Robyn Parker has announced funding of $4.4 million to establish the NSW section of a 3,600 kilometre conservation corridor between far north Queensland and the Grampians in Victoria.

The first of two large free-flowing wells in the Great Artesian Basin’s west have been sealed as part of the third phase of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative, a $2 million partnership between the State and Federal governments to conserve and manage groundwater across the basin.

The City of Sydney has reported a record number of residents taking part in the last electronic waste collection for the year, with over 20 tonnes of old televisions, computers, mobile phones and electronic devices handed in.

 A report card looking at the health of the Derwent River in Tasmania has found that investments to improve water quality are paying off, but that a broader scope may be needed to sustain river health in the longer term.

A new agreement has been finalised between Main Roads WA and the WA Waste Authority that could see more than one million tonnes of recycled construction and demolition (C&D) waste diverted from landfill and used to build roads.

The Western Australian Environment Minister Bill Marmion has upheld the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) decision to reject Vasse Coal Management Pty Ltd’s proposal to develop a coal mine north-east of Margaret River, citing serious risks to environmental values as the main concern.

“In making my determination, I’ve decided it’s likely there would be significant impacts or risks from the proposed mine on the Leederville and Sue aquifers and on significant environmental values which these aquifers support,” Mr Marmion said.

In May, the EPA reported the proposal would be environmentally unacceptable, due to serious risks to important environmental values in the Margaret River region. Five appeals were received in objection to the EPA’s report, including one from the proponent.

After considering the appeals and a report from an independent Appeals Committee, the Minister formed a view that the conclusions of the EPA were justified, particularly noting the uncertainty of risks to surface and groundwater in the Margaret River area. 

In coming to his decision, Mr Marmion concluded that further assessment was unlikely to significantly alter the level of uncertainty. 

“Margaret River is a unique region with important environmental values which should be protected. From an environmental perspective, this project is too risky,” he said.

Having formed the view that the project is environmentally unacceptable, the Minister is required under section 45(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 to now consult with relevant decision making authorities on whether or not the proposal may be implemented based on broader social and economic factors. This process will commence as soon as possible to provide the proponent and local community with certainty regarding the proposal.  

Sixty landholders across four target areas in Victoria have been awarded a total of $4 million to improve their properties through the 2011 round of BushTender funding from the Victorian Coalition Government.


The successful landholders will manage vegetation on their land in central Victoria, north-east Victoria, sections of the Murray River and an area stretching between the Wimmera and Mallee.


Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said there had been a good response from community members and another BushTender was now open for expressions of interest in the Avoca Plains region and to the north of Epping.


The Bushtender program is run as a competitive process in which tenders are awarded to bids which offer the best value for money. Successful landholders are paid for managing and conserving the native vegetation on their properties through work such as weed and pest control.


More information is at

The Federal Government announced that Southern Cross Venture Partners has been appointed fund manager of the country’s  largest renewable energy venture capital fund, making available a total of $200 million to support renewable energy companies from early next year.

The Australian Government has released a draft Energy White Paper for public consultation, alongside the release of the 2011 National Energy Security Assessment and the Strategic Framework for Alternative Transport Fuels.

The fourth Australia State of the Environment has been released, providing an overview of the current condition of the environment and its outlook, and calling for a strong leadership role from the Federal Government.

The Queensland Government has releaseds its Greenspace Strategy 2011-2020, aiming to assist the State Government in reaching its target of 50 per cent increase in land protected for conservation and recreation.

The Queensland Government has announced its intentions to make three Wild River declarations to enforce strict environmental protection measures in the state’s west.

A commercial wind power forecasting system called Wind Insight will provide greater security to Australia’s electricity power systems.

Roam Consulting, a Brisbane-based firm that specialises in energy market modelling, has used UNSW research to develop the  Wind Insight software.

By extracting key information from numerical weather prediction systems, the program can alert power system operators in advance of potential rapid changes in wind power output. This allows operators to more effectively manage the grid and set up power reserves as needed, which will help maintain power system security.

Engineer Nicholas Cutler, who works at Roam Consulting, originally developed the technology as a PhD student with his supervisors at UNSW in the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications.
"My research aim was to develop a wind power forecasting technique to facilitate the uptake of wind power into the national electricity market," said Cutler.
The Australian Energy Market Operator funded a further year of research at UNSW to develop a prototype version of the program.

The arrangement with Roam Consulting is the first Australian deal forged under the University of New South Wales' Easy Access IP framework, which was adopted\in November to turn more university-bred research into practical, real-world solutions.

“The deal went extremely well,” said Kevin Cullen, CEO of NewSouth Innovations, the commercialisation company of UNSW. “Easy Access did exactly what it was designed to do and that was to make the technology easily available.”
As the amount of installed wind power continues to grow, Cutler said Wind Insight could become an important tool for all electricity market participants, as rapid changes in wind power can impact electricity spot prices.
The simplified Easy Access IP framework has given Cutler access to the code he created while working at UNSW, and the opportunity to turn it into an operational tool that is ready for commercial deployment.
There are currently six technologies available under the Easy Access IP model, with more on the horizon as NewSouth Innovations continues to assess the University’s IP portfolio.
“We hope that by seeing how simple the process is it will spur more interest and demand,” said Cullen, “and that this will lead to more deals over the next year.”

International climate talks in Durban have seen India, China and US commit to a legally binding limitation on fossil fuel emissions after all participating countries have agreed to produce the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to negotiate a new legal agreement by 2015, taking effect by 2020.

A major new scientific review, involving more than 30 scientists from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands sets out our current knowledge of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the latest special edition of the scientific journal Pacific Conservation Biology.

The Federal Government has officially opened the Carbon Farming Initiative Administrator, forming part of the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Future plan.

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