Water Journal : Water Journal August 2011
industry news regular features 22 AUGUST 2011 water "Australia's ability to compete is at risk. The cost of moving minerals around the world is dramatically decreasing. We need to put in place policies that make Australia an attractive destination for investment now and in the future," says Mr Tobin. "What Australia needs are innovative policies to stimulate the economy, not ones that undermine it. Much of the nation's mineral wealth lies in the North, which is why we are advocating for a Northern Special Economic Zone to be established with low taxes and streamlined regulation, necessary to take full advantage of the Australia's natural resources." Call for Land and Environment Court in Victoria A recent $23 million settlement between a group of Cranbourne home owners, the City of Casey and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sparked calls for a dedicated Land and Environment Court in Victoria. National law firm Slater & Gordon, which represented property owners in the Cranbourne class action, has written to Attorney General Robert Clark outlining the need for a new court. Slater & Gordon litigation lawyer, Manisha Blencowe, said her clients in the Cranbourne class action were victims of a system that had not been able to adequately oversee planning and land management in Victoria. "The establishment of a Land and Environment Court would help to avoid a repeat of the Brookland Greens estate case which has had grave ramifications for Victorians not only because of the immediate risk that it posed to those living there, but because of the compensation costs and lengthy legal dispute that has followed," Ms Blencowe said. "It is clear that as the appetite for land in Victoria increases there will also be increased risks associated with development on sites that are not appropriate for development and on sites that have not undergone enough planning and environmental controls before development." Ms Blencowe said the new court could be modelled on similar courts in New South Wales and Queensland, providing a more appropriate forum for substantial planning and environment disputes than Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), which currently hears all planning disputes. AECOM Highway Project Wins NZ Environmental Excellence Award A highway upgrade project led by professional technical services consultancy AECOM, which transformed a lighthouse at the end of a dusty road into one of New Zealand's most spectacular sites has been honoured for environmental excellence. The NZ$19m Healing Te Rerenga Wairua -- Cape Reinga Upgrade at the tip of the North Island has won the 2011 Arthur Mead Environment and Sustainability Award in the large projects category. The prestigious Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand award honours the project's significant contribution to the preservation, conservation and improvement of the environment. AECOM, in partnership with the New Zealand Transport Agency and Department of Conservation, upgraded the road and roadside leading to Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga), a sacred Maori site and one of the country's most popular tourist destinations attracting 150,000 people each year. The project involved sealing and widening the final 19 kilometres of State Highway One, building ecologically sensitive visitor facilities, car parking and information sites along the route and a purpose-built nursery that provided 300,000 plants grown from seeds collected in the area. AECOM project manager Terry Buckley said their extensive services included investigative geotechnical engineering, environmentally sustainable design, roading, construction management, and stormwater and civil design that respected the area's rare and unique plants and animals. "We also restored the cape to its natural state as much as possible by clearing growth, old buildings, roads and carparks and then re-contouring the land, laying new soil and replanting thousands of trees," Mr Buckley said. The project was the first of its kind in New Zealand, where training and work experience for local people was a condition of the construction contract, resulting in an apprenticeship scheme with external training programs that attracted 14 people. Water is Top Issue in US Survey Black & Veatch has released the results of its fifth annual Strategic Directions in the Electric Utility Industry survey in which more than 700 US utility leaders took part. Among the main findings in this year's results, participants believe that energy and commodity prices will rise significantly in the next five years -- and water has become the top environmental and business issue. The Cape Reinga Upgrade at the tip of New Zealand's North Island. The area is one of the country's most popular tourist spots.
Water Journal September 2011
Water Journal July 2011