Australia: Inside track: Local Government: recent media releases, reports, cases, legislation

Last Updated: 29 November 2018
Article by Gerard Timbs, Jenny Humphris, Joseph Monaghan and Peter Holt
Most Read Contributor in Australia, April 2019

In the media

Retirees encouraged to 'get amongst it' to stay active
An aging population brings with it increased responsibilities for local governments wanting to enhance the health and well-being of their community. To facilitate this, a new Australian web-based resource has been developed (09 November 2018). More...

Urban forests: Councils tackle urban tree decline
Local governments are exploring creative ways to revive greenery in cities as growing populations and urban density put tree cover at risk (05 November 2018). More...

New NHVR guides for PBS approvals
The NHVR has released a new PBS Vehicle Configurations chart showing 32 common combinations approved under the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme. The material provides road managers with robust and detailed information about the PBS approval process and the type of safety features that are common. It will assist them to make informed decisions about which vehicles can safely access their local roads, intersections and bridges (02 November 2018). More...

ALGA federal election advocacy focus: Support communities with their climate change response
Councils in Australia are committed to playing their role and many councils have responded to the climate change challenge by adopting proactive strategies to reduce emissions and to adapt to unavoidable climate change impacts through climate change risk assessments and adaptation plans (02 November 2018). More...

Councils call out worsening financial burden
Cost shifting and inadequate federal grants are compromising public infrastructure and services, local governments say. While the Federal Government's 2018 budget saw the restoration of indexation to financial assistance grants, councils have consistently criticised the lack of increases to the funding, which experts say is crucial (01 November 2018). More...

Sweden's sustainable cities a lesson for Australia
The involvement of local government has been essential to Swedish city's remarkable carbon emissions reduction success, experts say. Professor Brendan Gleeson, director of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, says Australian councils can learn a lot from Swedish local governments' success in driving down emissions (26 October 2018). More...


LGAQ: Waste levy should be deferred to mid-2019
The Local Government Association of Queensland has warned that some councils will simply not be able to build or properly fund the new infrastructure required to administer the levy if the Government presses on with its proposed levy start date of 4 March 2019 (08 November 2018). More...

LGAQ: Expand carbon farming in your region
The Land Restoration Fund Pilot Projects Program provides $5 million in funding for projects that will expand the scope of Queensland's carbon farming industry through market development and on-ground projects that deliver carbon abatement (06 November 2018). More...

Island 'in the middle of nowhere' gets go-ahead for $1.2b development
There are no roads, no sewerage, no bridge, and no water but the Queensland Government is overruling a local council by giving the green light to a plan to build 700 homes and hundreds more units on a remote island (05 November 2018). More...

New online dashboard for monitoring South East Queensland growth
The Palaszczuk Government has launched an Australian-first new online dashboard vital to planning for South East Queensland's projected population growth over the next 25 years. Council of Mayors (SEQ) CEO Mr Scott Smith has supported the introduction of the online dashboard (02 November 2018). More...

Land tax grab a burden for all
Many Townsville investors who own buildings or land assets in the region will have recently received their land tax notices. These will be the first assessments issued since the State Government's land tax increases were adopted in the State Budget. The property industry is Queensland's biggest taxpayer, already contributing a staggering 53.7% of all state and local government taxes, rates, fees and charges (31 October 2018). More...

2019 Valuation Program announced
Queensland's Valuer-General has announced the local government areas to be included in the 2019 Annual Valuation Program (01 November 2018). More...

Brisbane councillor investigated over 'harassment, stalking' claims by real estate agent
Greens councillor Jonathan Sri could face thousands of dollars in fines, and even be referred for suspension, after a local real estate agent made a complaint about his involvement in disputes between his company and tenants (31 October 2018). More...


Security upgrades begin at Flinders Street Station
The City of Melbourne has begun works to install permanent security measures at Flinders Street Station, as part of the Victorian Government's $50 million CBD security upgrade project (08 November 2018). More...

Solar farms power council's economic agenda
A small regional council's sustainability program is creating 800 construction jobs and delivering $90 million to the local economy. Each project has an economic value of $12 million to the local economy, so nearly $90 million will be injected into the economy just through the construction phase (05 November 2018). More...

Federal contribution to Geelong City Deal announced
The Federal Government has announced a contribution of $154 million to the Geelong City Deal. The Government has said that the deal will unlock the economic potential of the region's tourism industry, revitalise the Geelong city centre and boost emerging businesses (02 November 2018). More...

Councils partner on population boom
Despite the sheer number of people relocating to regional Victoria, infrastructure and services are significantly under-resourced, local governments say. To address these challenges the Peri Urban Group of Regional Councils has partnered with the Victorian Planning Association to examine the impacts of a mounting population on regional areas (29 October 2018). More...

New South Wales

Future councils are 'interconnected'
Councils need to address their myriad challenges using a multi-pronged approach, with the first being financial reporting. The NSW Auditor General's first financial audit on local government released earlier this year highlighted that key challenges are not only common, but interconnected (08 November 2018). More...

'Stop the blame game': waste, recycling sectors back EPA
The waste and recycling sectors have rallied around NSW's Environment Protection Authority and its acting chair and CEO after the state's environment minister publicly criticised the apparent delay in releasing a key report. The EPA says it is contacting all councils affected by the change to their waste management services as well as all affected landholders (07 November 2018). More...

Tree management simplified with council's app
The Trees Mosman app is part of a suite of applications being rolled out by Mosman Council as part of its goal to ensure all interactions can be completed online by 2023. The council launched its latest app – a sophisticated online parking permit system that made it the first local government to introduce virtual permits in NSW (05 November 2018). More...

Cost shifting undermines financial stability of local government
Cost-shifting onto councils means ratepayers are being forced to pick up the tab for local infrastructure and services to the tune of $820 million each year – about the same amount the NSW Government plans to splash out to rebuild a single sports stadium in Sydney (05 November 2018). More...

Limit on NSW stamp duty increases 'too little, too late' to help homebuyers
The State Opposition lambasts the overhaul of NSW stamp duties, saying a savings of $500 in three years' time does little to help future homebuyers (05 November 2018). More...

NSW Parliamentary Inquiry - Land Release and Housing Supply
On 25 October, the Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment and Planning released its report into land release and housing supply in New South Wales (01 November 2018). More...

Population Policy Panel
The NSW Government has appointed an expert panel to develop a population policy for NSW to address concerns about current high rates of population growth and pressure on infrastructure (01 November 2018). More...

In practice and courts

Free industry Chain of Responsibility sessions continue in November
Places are still available for free Chain of Responsibility (CoR) information sessions during November. The sessions explain the changes to CoR, what this means for your council and how a Safety Management System can help manage your operation's safety risks. For more information or to register for a session click here.

Council feedback needed
The Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee's (ANZCTC) Crowded Places Advisory Group developed Australia's Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism in consultation with states and territories, local governments, law enforcement agencies and private sector representatives through the Business Advisory Group. All councils are encouraged to take a few minutes to complete this survey to ensure the independent reviewers can make informed recommendations. Take the survey by clicking here (02 November 2018).

Councils make up successful grant recipients to commemorate Centenary of Armistice
More than 660 community projects – including from councils – commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of the First World War are set to share in more than $5.3 million under the Armistice Centenary Grants Program. This is the latest announcement of successful community projects awarded funding and details by state are available on the Minister's website. Further announcements of successful grant recipients will be made over the coming weeks (26 October 2018).

Regional Growth Fund - Council projects proceed to assessment stage
Seven transformational council regional infrastructure projects are a step closer to becoming a reality with applicants asked to submit full business cases for approval under the Australian Government's $272.2 million Regional Growth Fund. More information about the projects is available here (26 October 2018). More...

Round 4 of the Mobile Black Spot Program now open
The Australian Government released the guidelines for Round 4 of the Mobile Black Spot Program and called for applications from mobile network operators and infrastructure providers, including local government, to the Round 4 competitive assessment process. Applications will be open until 10 December 2018. To apply and for more information click here.

Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018
The Funding Arrangements now apply in respect of eligible events that occur on or after that date. All eligible events occurring up to and including 31 October 2018 will be governed by the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) Determination 2017. Under these arrangements, the state or territory government determines which areas receive assistance and what assistance is available to individuals and communities. More...

Building Better Regions Fund: Round 3
Regional tourism and local jobs are front and centre of the latest round of the Building Better Regions Fund, with regional Australia set to share in $200 million for local infrastructure and community-building projects. Applications closed on 15 November 2018. For further information on eligibility, please click here.

National Local Roads and Transport Congress, 20-22 November 2018, Alice Springs, NT
The theme for the 2018 Congress is 'Connecting transport networks now and into the future'. The key benefit of improved transport connectivity is its transformational effects - making cities and regions more accessible, more liveable and creating opportunities for economic development that could not otherwise exist. Registration is open.


LGAQ: Have your say on GAB management
The Australian Government has extended the deadline to submit comments on its Draft Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan 2018. Comments on the plan could be made up until 9 November 2018 (01 November 2018). More...

Local Government Act 2009: Redland City Council (Making of Local Law) Notice (No. 7) 2018
Commencement 4 February, 2019. Redland City Council has, by resolution dated 24 October 2018, made Subordinate Local Law No. 1.19 (Placement of Shipping Containers, Railway Carriages and other Objects on Land) 2018 (09 November 2018).

Local Government Act 2009: Redland City Council (Making of Subordinate Local Law) Notice (No. 6) 2018.
Commencement: 09 November 2018. Subordinate local laws being amended: 4. Amending Subordinate Local Law No. 8 (Subordinate Local Law No. 4 (Local Government Controlled Areas, Facilities and Roads); 2015) 2018 amends Subordinate Local Law No. 4 (Local Government Controlled Areas, Facilities and Roads) 2015 (09 November 2018).

LGAQ: The Queensland Plan is being reviewed
The Queensland Government is seeking feedback from community and business organisations around The Queensland Plan, Queenslander's 30-year vision for the state. Members are invited to provide their feedback around whether, five years after its release, the vision outlined in The Queensland Plan is still appropriate. The Consultation Paper and a feedback form are available online here. Submissions closed on 7 November 2018.

Regulated waste amendment approved
The Environmental Protection (Regulated Waste) Amendment Regulation 2018 will commence on 4 February 2019. The regulation establishes the types of waste for regulated waste categories 1 and 2. More...

Proposed changes to the Economic Development Act
The Economic Development and Other Legislation Amendment (EDOLA) Bill 2018 was introduced into the Queensland Parliament on 19 September 2018. Amendments are proposed for more than eight Acts through the EDOLA Bill. A copy of the Bill and the Explanatory Notes is available from the Queensland Parliament website. More...

Reminder: Building our Regions Queensland
Building our Regions is a $445 million targeted regional infrastructure program for local government projects. To date, Building our Regions has allocated $225 million across 174 projects. From the expressions of interest received in Round 4, 53 projects have been shortlisted. Successful projects are expected to be announced in late 2018.

Reminder: New Councillor Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct can be viewed here. Note that from 3 December 2018, the Independent Assessor and the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) will assess and investigate councillor conduct complaints. The Code of Conduct will take effect on 3 December.

QRA ready for disaster funding reform
To assist with the implementation, QRA has developed the Management and Reporting System (MARS), an online application designed to streamline the disaster funding submission process. MARS is used for events as of 1 November 2018, in line with the implementation of DRFA. More...

Queensland container refund scheme
Queensland's container refund scheme commenced on 1 November 2018, with more than 230 container refund points in operation across the state. The number of these sites will continue to grow as the scheme rolls out.


Audit: Reporting on local government performance
Expected to be tabled in March 2019.
Objective: To determine the relevance, appropriateness and fair representation of key local government performance measures and the extent to which the Local Government Performance Reporting Framework (LGPRF) drives council performance and improvement.
Issues: The Local Government Act 1989 makes councils accountable to their local communities for the way they perform their functions, exercise their powers and use their resources. More...

Seven councils implement new ESD policies
Seven councils have had their local Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) Policies approved by the Minister for Planning in Amendment GC110. The Cities of Brimbank, Greater Bendigo, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Kingston, Whittlesea and Wyndham join 10 other councils with an identical ESD Policy. Congratulations to these councils and to all Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) councils who have collaboratively worked on this initiative (09 November 2018).

New South Wales

Renegotiation of the Local Government (State) Award
LGNSW will begin negotiations with local government unions early next year to agree to a new award to replace the Local Government (State) Award 2017. As it has done in the past, LGNSW is establishing an award working party to assist in the negotiations. Submit EOIs by Friday 22 February 2019 (09 November 2018). More...

Recycled glass in roads
NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is encouraging councils to consider using recycled glass in local roads. RMS is establishing demonstration projects and case studies to show the benefits, standards/specifications, testing regimes, life cycles and costs of using recycled glass sand in roads (09 November 2018). More...

NSW Public Lighting Code
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment's updated Public Lighting Code will come into effect on 1 July 2019. The new code's introduction coincides with the beginning of the next five-year revenue determination for NSW distributors. Until then the existing code, which is voluntary, continues to apply.

Have your say: Short-term rental accommodation amendments
The NSW Department of Environment and Planning (DPE) sought feedback on proposed changes to the planning system for short-term rental accommodation (STRA). For further information see the Explanation of Intended Effects. Submissions were due by 16 November 2018.

Inland Code commences 1 January 2019
The NSW Government has released an inland code, allowing one and two storey homes, home renovations and some farm buildings to be treated as complying development. The inland code applies to 69 local government areas and will commence on 1 January 2019, giving councils and industry time to understand the new requirements. Visit the DP&E website for more information.


New South Wales

Sanctuary Cammeray No 2 Pty Ltd v North Sydney Council [2018] NSWSC 1699
REAL PROPERTY - Imposition of easement by court - s 88K of the Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW) – where the grant of easement is unopposed - whether grant of easement is 'reasonably necessary' - whether grant of easement is consistent with the public interest – where quantum of compensation to be paid is agreed between the parties.

Newcastle City Council v Newcastle East Residents Action Group Inc [2018] NSWCATAP 254
APPEAL – Administrative law – access to government information – where residents action group requested access to information in documents relating to the Newcastle 500 Supercars Event – whether Tribunal had erred in providing access to certain information – re-determination on merits – whether there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of information.

O'Grady v Sutherland Shire Council [2018] NSWCATAD 253
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Government information – whether proceedings lacking in substance – costs.

INA Operations Pty Ltd ATF INA Operations Trust No. 6 v Hawkesbury City Council [2018] NSWLEC 1582
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION - Expansion of an existing caravan park to add 208 long term residential sites - whether the development is inconsistent with the zone objectives - whether the development, including the increase in residential density, is incompatible with the rural character of the area - whether the necessary community facilities and services are available in the locality - whether separation to adjoining land is adequate - resident objectors.

Jigari Pty Ltd v City of Parramatta Council [2018] NSWLEC 1568
DEVELOPMENT APPEAL - Two storey town house redevelopment – infill self-care housing - consistency with the character of the area - variation to standard sought – standard requires single storey development to the rear of the site – potential impacts on the visual and acoustic privacy of adjoining residential lots.

Knight v Coffs Harbour City Council [2018] NSWLEC 1569
APPEAL – Development application – residential flat building – breach of the height development standard – bulk and density – visual and acoustic privacy.




Economic Development and Other Legislation Amendment (EDOLA) Bill 2018
Introduced to Queensland Parliament on 19 September. Amendments are proposed for more than eight Acts through the EDOLA Bill. A copy of the Bill and the Explanatory Notes is available from the Queensland Parliament website.

Subordinate legislation as made
Reminder: No 158 Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment (Postponement) Regulation 2018 – 19 October 2018
The postponed law now automatically commences on 11 November 2019.

No 170 Aboriginal Land (North Stradbroke Island) Amendment Regulation 2018 – 02 November 2018
Amends the Aboriginal Land Regulation 2011 to redescribe transferable land and to redescribe areas of land identified in a change to the boundaries of a city, as is defined and provided for under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991. The Regulation commenced on 2 November 2018.

New South Wales

Proclamations commencing Acts
Forestry Legislation Amendment Act 2018 No 40 (2018-620) — published LW 9 November 2018

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Forestry Amendment Regulation 2018 (2018-627) — published LW 9 November 2018
Local Land Services Amendment (Private Native Forestry) Regulation 2018 (2018-628) — published LW 9 November 2018

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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Gerard Timbs
Jenny Humphris
Peter Holt
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