Environmental law enforcement in WA is on the uptick

The Perth Magistrates Court recently found gold miner Bellevue Gold Limited (Bellevue) liable for two environmental offences relating to a hypersaline spill after enforcement action by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER). Bellevue was fined $41,000 in total for the offences.

This prosecution comes a number of months after the recommendations in the Auditor General’s Report on Compliance with Mining Environmental Conditions which concluded that DWER and the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety have not been fully effective in ensuring mining projects comply with conditions to limit environmental harm and in monitoring operator compliance (see our previous blog post here).

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Update on WA Aboriginal heritage reform

By Melanie Debenham, Senior Associate, and Emily Wilson, Senior Associate, Perth

Yesterday, the WA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs publicly announced that a draft bill to reform WA’s Aboriginal heritage legislation will be made available for public comment in early 2020. Continue reading

WA EPA consultation on greenhouse gas guidance

By Melanie Debenham, Senior Associate, Perth

The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) commenced consultation last week on the greenhouse gas guidance for assessing proposals likely to have a significant impact on the environment under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA).

The guidance being consulted on is exactly the same as that initially released and withdrawn in March 2019, being the Environmental Factor Guideline (Air) – Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Technical Guidance – Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions. To support the consultation, the EPA has also released a background paper. Continue reading