ACT project to help low-income households install solar

The ACT Government is rolling out a program that will allow low-income households to receive funding to install solar in their homes.

Eligible households are invited to register their interest throughout he ACT Government, as part of a four-year pilot.

ACT Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Simon Corbell, suggested the program would help low-income Canberran’s bring down the cost of their electricity bill, as well as do their part for the environment.

“This program will assist people who want to do their part by investing in renewable energy for their home but need a hand because of their circumstances,” Mr Corbell said.

The ACT currently has one of the most ambitious emissions reduction schemes in the country, with a target of 100% renewables by 2050.

The project is an Actsmart Household initiative, and will be run in conjunction with ACT Housing, community welfare organisations, and no-interest loan providers.

It is expected to be launched in late 2016 or early 2017.

Those interested in registering for the program can email or call Access Canberra on 13 22 81.


PM appoints new Minister for Environment and Energy

Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, unveiled his new Ministry on Monday, announcing key changes to the Environment Portfolio.

Josh Frydenberg will become the new Minister for the Environment and Energy, a newly expanded title which brings energy under the umbrella of the Department of Environment.

Mr Turnbull said the intent of the decision was to align renewable targets, clean energy development, and emission reduction with other environmental policy areas, a concern echoed by Josh Frydenberg.

“As we transition to a lower emissions economy, I’m focused on ensuring Australia has a stable and secure energy supply, capitalising on new energy efficient technologies,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Environmental groups have largely welcomed the move, noting the importance of energy policy in tackling climate change.

“Making the transition to clean energy is the solution, so it makes sense to have a single minister responsible for environment and energy,” said ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

The Green Building Council of Australia also applauded this new ‘integrated’ approach, noting that the role affords the Minister greater powers for sustainability.

“A fragmented approach hasn’t worked. An integrated approach brings together the ‘big picture’ of meeting climate targets, while investing in clean energy and unlocking the potential of carbon zero economy,” said CEO Romilly Madew.

“Importantly, Minister Frydenberg will have greater power to deliver the priorities under the National Energy Productivity Plan.”

However there was criticism of Josh Frydenberg’s track record on coal, and suggestions that he is ill-suited to the role of Environment and Energy minister.

“For Malcolm Turnbull to appoint a minister who still believes that there is still a strong moral case for coal even during the worst coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef’s history is clear show of contempt for the Australian public,” said Greenpeace senior climate and energy campaigner Nikola Casule.

In Queensland, Josh Frydenberg’s state counterpart called on him to do more to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

He requested an extra $1.6 million in funding over four years for the Great Barrier Reef field management program (FMP) amid concerns it is under-resourced.

“Our funding is contingent on the Commonwealth matching the commitment in line with existing funding agreements, in which the QPWS jointly delivers the field management program across the length and breadth of the reef in an award winning partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,” Dr Miles said.

Federal Parliament will resume on August 30. Josh Frydenberg’s predecessor as Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, will remain in Cabinet as the Minister for Industry, Innovation, and Science.





Tasmanian Wilderness management commended by World Heritage Commission

Australia has been given a positive scorecard for its management of he Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, in the World Heritage Committee’s 2016 State of Conservation report.

Among measures commenced include a commitment to protecting the wilderness area from mining and the development of joint management arrangements with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community.

Continue reading “Tasmanian Wilderness management commended by World Heritage Commission”

Unprecedented mangrove dieback in Northern Australia

Thousands of hectares of mangroves on the Gulf of Carpentaria have suffered a severe dieback as a result of drying conditions and high temperatures.

Professor Norm Duke, spokesman for the Australian Mangrove and Saltmarsh Network, said around 7000 hectares of mangroves had been affected, which is more than nine percent of the mangroves in the area stretching 700km west from Normanton.

Continue reading “Unprecedented mangrove dieback in Northern Australia”

New steward for Australian Alps

For the next three years, the Australian Alps will be under the stewardship of the ACT Parks and Conservation Services, as part of a cross border management program.

Famous for ski fields and diverse alpine landscapes, Australia’s Alps comprise the Namadgi (ACT), Kosciuszko (NSW) and Alpine (Victoria) national parks. This unique positioning across two states and a territory led to the establishment of the internationally recognised Australian Alps National Parks Cooperative Management Program over three decades ago.

Continue reading “New steward for Australian Alps”

Election 2016: Environmental policy comparison


With a Federal Election looming, Australia’s political parties have released details of their policies on environmental issues such as climate change, renewable energy, and protecting the Great Barrier Reef. With so much to trudge through, it can be difficult to decipher differences on important issues.

Numerous environmental and lobby groups have created their own ‘score-cards’, rating the major parties on the credibility of proposed policies. These bite-sized evaluations cast a critical eye on where the parties stand when it comes to Australia’s environmental future, and can help create clarity for voting decisions.

With such a large amount of information on hand, here is a three-stage guide to the environmental policies of the Liberal Party, Labor Party, and The Greens. Continue reading “Election 2016: Environmental policy comparison”

Abbot Point expansion faces court challenge from residents

Adani’s controversial Abbot Point coal port expansion is facing a legal challenge from Whitsunday residents, with the first directions hearing to take place in the Queensland Supreme Court today.

The expansion is located 19 kilometres from the Great Barrier Reef, and was given Environmental Authority by the Queensland Environment Department in April this year, having received Federal approval in December 2015.

Continue reading “Abbot Point expansion faces court challenge from residents”