Leading Practice Mining Review - Recommendations to date

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In September 2017, 82 recommendations from the Leading Practice Mining Review were released based on progress to date, and our comments were sought. We cautiously welcomed the recommendations related to environmental protection, particularly those designed to ensure the rehabilitation of land impacted by mining and those to increase transparency and the provision of publicly available information on mining activities. We remain concerned, however, about the need for native vegetation to be properly protected from clearance associated with mining or exploration activity.

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Interim Native Vegetation Council Guidelines: clearance of Scattered Trees & clearance for Farming/Forestry/Agriculture

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As part of the transition from the Native Vegetation Regulations 2003 to the Native Vegetation Regulations 2017, the Native Vegetation Council reviewed two sets of guidelines made under section 25 of the Native Vegetation Act 1991 (the Act). Our comments reiterated that we remain concerned that this transition is a move away from policies that avoid clearing toward policies that allow for clearing and offsetting.

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Discussion Paper re-Deductible Gift Recipients

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In June 2017, the Australian Government Treasury released a discussion paper on potential reforms to the Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) tax arrangements. DGR status allows organisations, such as NCSSA, to receive gifts and contributions for which donors are able to claim a tax deduction. Potential reforms included requiring charities to provide 'additional information' about their advocacy activities, and specifically requiring environmental organisations to commit no less than 25 per cent of their annual expenditure to 'on ground' work. We argued that advocacy is an important part of the work of all environmental groups and therefore we did not support the calling in to question of activities that are not specifically 'on-ground' in their delivery. Environmental groups are permitted by law to conduct both 'on-ground' and advocacy activities in pursuit of their charitable purpose to protect and enhance the natural environment.

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Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL) Technical Papers for “The Future of Australian Environmental Laws”

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The Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL) released a series of Technical Papers in May 2017 that outlined key elements of proposed new Commonwealth environmental laws with the aim of ensuring a healthy, functioning and resilient environment for generations to come. Given the need to address systematically, effectively and creatively Australia's ecological challenges, APEEL considered the need for more effective environmental laws.
We strongly supported the urgent need for legislative reforms to provide greater protection for biodiversity and address ongoing declines in the condition and extent of native vegetation and biodiversity that have been reported in successive National State of the Environment Reports over the past two decades. Our submission focussed on on two of the technical papers prepared by APEEL: "Terrestrial biodiversity conservation and natural resource management" and "Marine and Coastal issues".

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