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QLD AELERT Minutes 10 June 05

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									  AELERT (QLD) Meeting 10 June 2005


                          AELERT (QLD) Meeting No. 1
                   Level 7 Mineral House, 41 George St Brisbane
                                   10 June 2005
                                     Minutes

Attendees
Bruce Miller (QPS) [BM]
Bryce Hertslet (Department of Natural Resources & Mines) [BH]
Gary Duffey (Maroochy Shire Council) [GD]
Greg Sullivan (Department of Natural Resources & Mines) [GS]
Jeff Krause (Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries) [JK]
John Forcier (Department of Natural Resources & Mines) [JF]
Louise Youngman (Australian Customs Service) [LY]
Nick Clarke (Brisbane City Council) [NC]
Nicole Scott (Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries) [NS]
Rex Meadowcroft (Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries) [RM]
Robert Djukic (Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries) [RD]
Kel Irwin (Gold Coast City Council) [KI]
Garry Wills (Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources) [GW]

Agenda item 1 - Welcome
Greg Sullivan [GS] (NR&M) opened the meeting at 9.05am and welcomed all attendees.

Agenda item 2 - Introduction
New attendees were introduced.

Agenda item 3 – Review of minutes
GS reviewed the minutes from the first information session on AELERT. The minutes were
accepted as an accurate record of the first meeting.

Agenda item 4 – Summary of regulatory challenges confronting represented agencies
Each agency representative summarised the challenges facing their agency.

     (1) Rex Meadowcroft - DPI&F
         RM noted the challenges that privacy regulations can create for law enforcement
         agencies. RM noted the various areas of regulatory activity DPI are involved in,
         particularly the Bio-Security field, which has attracted attention in recent months.
         NS also spoke about the resourcing pressures that exist in the compliance field.

     (2) Nick Clarke - BCC
         NC identified a number of challenges, including:-
              The growing complexity and volume of legislation (e.g. IPA);
              Increasing urbanification - leading to more complaints;
              Impact of regulation on small business;
              The need for sound risk management approaches;
              High turnover of staff – retention/attraction issues;
              Training for regulatory staff;
              Scale of some enforcement activities is beyond some councils (e.g. taking on
               multi-nationals);

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AELERT (QLD) Meeting 10 June 2005


             Clarifying the regulatory role of the EPA;
             Increasing regulatory burden on local governments;
             Costs of remediation/clean-up in environmental damage cases;
             Developing better links between regulators to enable more effective
              support;
             Developing a combined database to record all prosecution results; and
             Researching the extent to which offenders are building in environmental
              fines into the cost of doing business.

   (3) Bruce Miller - QPS
       BM noted that the skills drain caused by staff retention difficulties was also
       impacting on the QPS. BM explained that, like other agencies, the QPS was forced
       to prioritise cases and apply resources where they will have the greatest benefit for
       the QLD community. BM gave as an example, the intelligence field where a matrix
       system had been developed to assess intelligence and enable the most serious cases
       to be actioned. Not every potential case can be looked at. BM noted that the QPS
       already has MOU’s in place with some agencies that permit data sharing and that
       the QPS was happy to assist other agencies where it can.

   (4) Kel Irwin - Gold Coast City Council
       KI endorsed many of the issues raised by NC (BCC) and noted the following
       issues:-
               A need for greater consultation on legislative changes;
               Growing legislative complexity;
               The need to learn from failures in court;
               Getting the right balance in a compliance management system;
               Developing complementary tools – using tools from throughout the
                compliance spectrum;
               Developing the capacity to assist people to achieve compliance;
               Attracting/retaining staff; and
               Identifying and fixing skills shortages.

   (5) Jeff Krause (representing Rod Supple) - DPI&F
       JK conveyed Rod Supple’s apologies and then outlined some issues that Rod had
       detailed in writing. The main issues were:-
              The need to continually upgrade intelligence gathering and analysis
               capability;
              The trend toward more organised illegal activities in the fisheries sector;
              Increasing cost of compliance activities;
              The need for greater accountability by public sector agencies and increasing
               expectations;
              Growing public concern about management of our resources;
              The impact of Native Title and co-management of our resources;
              The need to find more cost effective ways to deliver regulatory services; and
              Need for appropriate powers to effectively undertake compliance role.

   (6) Louise Youngman - Australian Customs Service
       LY noted that the ACS was primarily focused on its border control duties and is
       largely driven by federal priorities. LY explained that ACS does assist the
       Department of Environment and Heritage with enforcement of the EPBC Act. LY

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AELERT (QLD) Meeting 10 June 2005


       stated that ACS is very good at collecting and providing information and was happy
       to work with other agencies where it could assist.

   (7) Gary Duffey - Maroochy Shire Council
       GD raised a range of issues including:-
             Tight statutory time limits;
             Interaction with the EPA over regulatory issues and responsibilities;
             Structural issues within council which complicate the handling of regulatory
              issues; and
             Lack of standards in some regulatory fields.

Agenda item 6 – Report from Chair of Training Sub-Committee
GS introduced Garry Wills (GW) from the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and
Natural Resources (DIPNR) in NSW. GW is the chair of AELERT’s training sub-
committee.

GW noted that consistency has been a problem with qualification and training standards in
the environmental regulation field for many years. The lack of consistency and recognised
standards exacerbates problems like recruitment/retention of staff, partly because of the
absence of a clear career path and a recognised qualification.

GW outlined the establishment of the training sub-committee and the engagement of
consultants by DEH on behalf of the sub-committee to customise an existing qualification
to meet AELERT’s needs.

GW noted that the package contains generic content which can be customised to suit the
individual agency. The package included a range of assessment tools and could be
delivered through a combination of on-line tutorials, assignments and face to face
components.

GW noted the package promoted consistency whilst still allowing appropriate flexibility,
was cheap to access, would provide a better standard of course content and was designed to
articulate to higher level qualifications.

There was a general discussion about the proposed package.

Agenda item 7 – Case Study: Seizure of a Class 1 Pest under the Land Protection Act
BH and JF presented a case study on two joint operations which involved NR&M, local
government and other agencies that were concerned with the seizure of class 1 pests that
were being illegally kept. The case studies highlighted the benefits of working
cooperatively and the advantages that greater interaction would bring, particularly with
respect to facilitating smoother operational coordination.

Agenda item 8 – Report from Chair Conference Sub-Committee
BH provided an update regarding the second annual AELERT Conference which will be
held in Brisbane from 26 – 28 October 2005, The key points are:-
           The conference will feature breakout sessions covering vegetation, water,
            pollution, wildlife, cultural heritage and regulatory practice.
           Early Bird registration is set at $330.00 and closes on 29 July 2005. After that
            date registration will be $440.00.

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AELERT (QLD) Meeting 10 June 2005


          The conference will include international and national speakers.
          The conference will include presentations from local, state and commonwealth
           government representatives.

Agenda item 9 – Nomination of chair QLD AELERT Committee
GS called for nominations for the role of chair of the QLD AELERT Committee. KI (Gold
Coast City Council) volunteered for the position. By general consensus KI assumed the role
of QLD AELERT Chair.

Agenda item 10 – Nomination of Qld representative on AELERT National Committee
GS called for nominations for the QLD representative on the AELERT National
Committee. NC (Brisbane City Council) volunteered for the position. By general consensus
NC assumed the role of QLD representative on AELERT National Committee.

Agenda item 11 – Other Business
There was no other business.

Agenda item 12 – Next Meeting
It was agreed that the next meeting would be held on a date to be fixed prior to the next
National Committee meeting in October 2005.

Agenda item 13 – Meeting Close
The meeting closed at 11:45am.




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