Australia: Property & Projects - What's News? - 7 February 2012

Last Updated: 11 February 2012

Latest news – National

Owners face big bills over falls from apartments
Mark Lever, the CEO of industry body the Strata Community Association, said that while strata schemes were required to have at least $10 million in public liability insurance, damages payouts for severe injuries where a duty of care was owed could go much higher (25 January 2012) More...

Planners Welcome new Urban Advisory Forum
The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) believes the new Urban Policy Forum will mean better implementation of planning policy and more productive and sustainable Australian cities (20 January 2012) More...

New Urban Policy Forum a welcome step
A new Urban Policy Forum will ensure the planning, design and management of Australia's cities remains high on the national agenda, says the nation's leading green building and communities' organisation. Launching the forum, Minister Albanese said that it aims to promote dialogue between the sector, the community and the government, and will be an 'ideas generator.' (20 January 2012) More...

ABARES reports facts about foreign investment
the Foreign Investment and Australian Agriculture report released by the Government, highlighted the current foreign ownership of agricultural land, businesses and water entitlements in Australia is relatively unchanged from almost 20 years ago (18 January 2012) More...

Adapting effectively to the impacts of climate change
A report released today analyses how current regulations in Australia allow companies to adapt effectively to the impacts of climate change. It was released by Acting Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Senator Chris Evans, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus (20 January 2012) More...

Latest news – Victoria

New Chapel Street licensed premises controls
The Planning Minister Matthew Guy announces new planning controls for licensed premises have been introduced to protect public safety and amenity of popular Chapel Street in the City of Stonnington (30 January 2012) New Chapel Street licensed premises controls

A bright future for residential land supply in the Latrobe Valley
Planning Minister Matthew Guy has approved the rezoning of 228 hectares of residential land in thriving areas across the Latrobe Valley, including Churchill, Moe, Newborough, Morwell and Traralgon (30 January 2012) A bright future for residential land supply in the Latrobe Valley

Another 50 jobs as Southbank Depot prepares for 50 new trams
Southbank Tram Depot is set to receive a $24 million upgrade in a venture that will create more than 50 jobs and will help prepare the network for the arrival of 50 new low-floor trams (25 January 2012) Another 50 jobs as Southbank Depot prepares for 50 new trams

Community invited to visit Kilmore-Wallan bypass shopfronts
Minister for Roads Terry Mulder announces the communities of Kilmore and Wallan are invited to drop into two VicRoads shopfronts to share their views on a western option for the Kilmore-Wallan bypass (25 January 2012) Community invited to visit Kilmore-Wallan bypass shopfronts

$1.13m heritage boost
Thirteen community projects will share in more than $1.13 million worth of heritage grants across the state. Minister for Planning Matthew Guy said the grants, which ranged from $8,000 to $200,000, would help preserve and protect heritage significant heritage places and objects (25 January 2012) $1.13m heritage boost

Property prices edge higher in Victoria
Median property prices in Melbourne and regional Victoria edged higher in the December quarter although buying activity remained relatively subdued on the back of lacklustre economic conditions, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) has reported (23 January 2012) More...

Victorian Government submits recommendations to regional telecommunications review
The Victorian Coalition Government's submission to the Commonwealth Government's regional telecommunications review calls for a national strategy to fix the significant gaps in access to broadband and mobile telecommunications in Victoria's regional and rural areas (20 January 2012) Victorian Government submits recommendations to regional telecommunications review

Victoria's building permit value tops $2 billion in November
The value of building permit activity in Victoria for the month of November 2011 was $2.2 billion, the highest November on record and an 8 per cent increase on the same month last year (18 January 2012) More...

Retail zone reforms to grow Victorian jobs
Planning Minister Matthew Guy today announced changes to retail policy to spur jobs growth and flexibility in Victoria's retail industry, with reforms under Planning Scheme Amendment VC88 (17 January 2012) Retail zone reforms to grow Victorian jobs

Coalition Government delivers on commitment to set up inquiry on feed-in tariffs and barriers to local generation
The Victorian Coalition Government is delivering on its election commitment to establish a Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) inquiry to determine the most appropriate regulatory framework to encourage Victorian households and businesses to create and deliver renewable and low emissions energy to the electricity grid (13 January 2012) Coalition Government delivers on commitment to set up inquiry on feed-in tariffs and barriers to local generation

Latest news – New South Wales

Sydney infill sites need special attention
The Urban Taskforce congratulates the NSW government for setting up a special committee to encourage development in greenfield areas. The government has now taken a much more sensible approach and asked the larger land owners to submit proposals to the government so that real development can occur (30 January 2012) More...

Latest news – Queensland

New population survey shows koalas have a fighting chance
Environment Minister Vicky Darling releases the final report with population data indicating strong declines seen in previous surveys may have been halted. The Queensland Government now has in place some of the nation's most comprehensive koala habitat protection measures through the Koala Conservation State Planning Regulatory Provision which protects around 50,000ha of bushland koala habitat from new development (31 January 2012) More...

Floods Commission of Inquiry seeks further Statements
The Floods Commission of Inquiry has issued a number of new requirements for statements to the Commission. The written statements must be provided under oath or affirmation to the COI by Wednesday 4pm this week and are concerned with their state of knowledge regarding the operating of Wivenhoe Dam during the time of the floods (31 January 2012) More...

Queensland's best cropping land protected from today
Queensland's best agricultural land is officially protected with the State Government's Strategic Cropping Land Act 2011 coming into effect. The Act, Regulation and State Planning Policy form a legislative and planning framework to protect strategic cropping land from resource and urban developments that lead to permanent impacts or diminished productivity (30 January 2012) More...

Premier: one contract will slash red tape in the housing market
Premier Anna Bligh has announced a plan to slash red tape in the housing market by creating a single contract for the sale of a home. The move, which is expected to be finalised by the end of February, could decrease legal costs and reduce the number of forms that homeowners needed from up to six down to a single document (27 January 2012)

HIA-RP data: trend is right, but land sales remain at low levels
The HIA-RP Data Residential Land Report provided by the Housing Industry Association and RP Data, found the volume of land sales increased by 1.3 per cent in the September 2011, however, volumes were still 16.8 per cent lower than in the September 2010 quarter (19 January 2012) Trend is Right, but Land Sales Remain at Low Levels

Articles – National

Australian State of the Environment 2011 report
Written by an independent committee of experts, the main purpose of the report is to provide relevant and useful information on environmental issues to the public and decision-makers, in order to raise awareness and support more informed environmental management decisions that lead to more sustainable use and effective conservation of environmental assets (12 January 2012) More...

Australian Government Response to the Senate Committee on Finance and Public Administration - Native Vegetation Laws, Greenhouse Gas Abatement and Climate Change Measures
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
The Inquiry produced a report which was tabled on 30 April 2010. This document is the Australian Government Response to the Inquiry report (January 2012) Australian Government Response - Native Vegetation Laws, Greenhouse Gas Abatement and Climate Change Measures (PDF - 53KB)

Policy Statement on Foreign Investment in Agriculture: Government Response
Government response to the report and a Policy Statement on Foreign Investment in Agriculture [PDF 262KB], which provides guidance on specific factors that the Government typically considers in assessing foreign investment applications that involve Australian agriculture. These factors are consistent with the Government's existing national interest principles More....

Articles – Victoria

Improving energy market competition through market participation
Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre
This report documents the findings of research into the operation and functioning of competitive retail markets for energy and the Victorian retail market specifically (06 January 2012) Improving energy market competition through market participation

Practice notes/directions – National

National water planning resource goes online
An interactive web resource to help people easily access information on the status of water planning across Australia has today been launched by the National Water Commission. This online web application, based on the inaugural National Water Planning Report Card 2011, provides a summary of the status of water plans across Australia, including the quality of existing water plans, their implementation, and areas for future improvement (30 January 2012) More...

ASIC releases investor guide and disclosure guidance for agribusiness schemes
ASIC has released an investor guide and regulatory guidance with new disclosure benchmarks and principles for agribusiness managed investment schemes to improve investor awareness of the risks associated with these products Regulatory Guide 232 Agribusiness managed investment schemes: Improving disclosure for retail investors (RG 232) (30 January 2012) Australian Securities and Investments Commission - 12-09AD ASIC releases investor guide and disclosure guidance for agribusiness schemes

Policy Statement on foreign investment in agriculture
The Government has released a Policy Statement on Foreign Investment in Agriculture which provides guidance on factors the Government typically considers in assessing foreign investment applications involving the agricultural sector. The enhanced data collecting and Policy Statement will improve the transparency of foreign investment in Australian agriculture and the screening process for foreign investment applications in the sector (18 January 2012) More...

PPSR and Conveyancing Settlements
The Personal Property Securities Register (the Register) and the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA)came into operation on 30 January 2012. The PPSA will apply to the release of security interests over personal property on and from that day. Land is not personal property under the PPSA1 and the PPSA does not apply to interests in fixtures Personal Property Securities Register

Current Draft Policies and Plans, Announcements

Direction under section 46M of the Planning and Environment Act 1987
The Minister for Planning has issued a direction under section 46M of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 applying to all planning authorities in Victoria that a development contribution plan must not impose a development infrastructure levy or community infrastructure levy in respect of the development of land for a non-government school. This direction comes into effect on 25 January 2012. View Directions

Amendment documentation - updated advice: The guideline Preparing amendment documentation, January 2012 provides detailed instruction and examples. Carefully following the advice in the guideline will help ensure that your amendment documentation meets requirements. Some amendment templates have also been updated.

Practice notes/directions – New South Wales

Online lodgement and tracking of development applications
The Department of Planning and Infrastructure has launched new online planning tools to enable proponents to lodge and track applications electronically. A fact sheet explaining the online lodgement and tracking of development applications can be viewed here. (11 January 2012)
Online lodgement and tracking of development applications

Cases – Victoria
Perpetual Trustee Company Limited v De Van Der Schueren [2012] VSC 5
MORTGAGE – Default – Action for possession – Action proved at trial in the absence of the defendant – Application to set aside judgment – Application brought out of time – Insufficient explanation for delay and for non-appearance at trial – No defence on the merits - Rule 49.02(2) & (3), Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 More...

Aston (Aust) Properties Pty Ltd & Ors v Commissioner of State Revenue (Taxation) [2012] VCAT 48
Taxation List - Land Tax Act 1958 - trusts - existence of trusts - related corporations - whether corporations can be taken to be a single corporation - ss 3, 51, 52(1), 44(3) - Land Tax Act 2005 - trusts - existence of trusts - whether corporations are related corporations - ss 46A(2), 47, 50 - Duties Act 2000 - trusts - existence of trusts - change in trustees - s 33(3) More...

Land Management Surveys v Strathbogie SC (includes Summary) (Red Dot) [2012] VCAT 77
Conditions appeal in relation to a permit allowing for a six lot subdivision in a bushfire prone area.
PLANNING SCHEME – interpretation or consideration of VPP provision
Consideration of the application of the Wildfire Management Overlay/Bushfire Management Overlay in bushfire prone areas.
PRACTICE OR PROCEDURE – consideration of individual instance or systemic issues
Discussion of the limitations of trying to use permit conditions to address fundamental planning issues which more go to the decision whether or not any permit should be granted at all More...

Duggan v Bayside CC [2012] VCAT 68
Section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; Bayside Planning Scheme; Residential 1 zone; Design and development overlay; Two dwellings on a lot; Neighbourhood character; Front façade; Side set backs; Landscaping More...

Curtis v Mornington Peninsula SC [2012] VCAT 66
Section 82 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987; Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme; Residential 1 Zone; Design & Development Overlay Schedule 2; Vegetation Protection Overlay Schedule 1; Bushfire Management Overlay; Dwelling; Neighbourhood character, Setbacks; Building height and bulk; Landscape impact More...

Lateral Building Design v Monash CC [2012] VCAT 60
Application under Section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act) to review a decision to refuse a permit. Residential 1 Zone. Vegetation Protection Overlay. Clause 55 Two or more dwellings on a lot and residential buildings. Dwellings (3x1 storey dwellings). Covenant. State and Local Planning Policy Framework. Zone Purposes. Neighbourhood character. Streetscape. Loss of views More...

Jackson v SPI Electricity Pty Ltd (Land Valuation) [2012] VCAT 52
Land Valuation List; compulsory acquisition of electricity transmission easement over part of property consisting of six 13m poles close to property boundary; entire site having area of approximately 130 hectares; value to be allowed for injurious effect to land outside easement; compensation of 55% of market value for fee simple for land within easement agreed; compensation set at the level of respondent's offer - compensation payable is determined to be $55,000 More...

McKillop v Melbourne CC & Ors [2012] VCAT 65
Applications under Sections 80 & 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Melbourne Planning Scheme. Mixed Use Zone. Heritage Overlay. Three storey dwelling additions. Heritage values. Neighbourhood character. Amenity impacts More...

APN (Outdoor) Trading Pty Ltd v Melbourne City Council [2012] VSC 8
LOCAL GOVERNMENT – Regulation of signs – Whether display of sign is necessarily 'development' or may be 'use' – Whether existing use rights may accrue – Appeal on questions of law from Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal allowed – Planning and Environment Act 1987 ss 3, 6 More...

Prowse v Johnstone & Ors [2012] VSC 4
REAL PROPERTY – Restrictive Covenant – Construction – Application for modification – Proceeding dismissed – Property Law Act 1958, s 84 More...

7-Eleven Stores Pty Ltd v Nillumbik SC & Ors (includes Summary) (Red Dot) [2011] VCAT 2418
NATURE OF CASE
Request to amend permit granted by VCAT's predecessor – the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) under s.87A of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 misconceived.
REASONS WHY DECISION IS OF INTEREST OR SIGNIFICANCE
PRACTICE OR PROCEDURE – consideration of individual instance or systemic issues
Only permits issued by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal or amended at its direction (that is since 1 July 1998) are capable of amendment under s.87A of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
APPLICATION – significant, interesting or unusual use or development; application of policy, provision or principle; or circumstances
Restatement of findings in Popular Pastimes Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC (Red Dot) [2008] VCAT 1184 that for the purposes of s.87A, the reference to the "Tribunal" is limited to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and not its predecessor Tribunals More...

Cases – Queensland

HM Australia Holdings Pty Ltd v Treton Pty Ltd [2011] QCA 382
CONVEYANCING – STATUTORY OBLIGATIONS OR RESTRICTIONS RELATING TO CONTRACT FOR SALE – PROTECTION OF PURCHASERS – OBLIGATIONS ON VENDOR: DISCLOSURE, WARNINGS AND LIKE MATTERS – where the respondent contracted to sell two proposed allotments of land to the appellant – where the respondent provided a "disclosure plan" to the appellant pursuant to s 9(2) of the Land Sales Act 1984 (Qld) – where the disclosure plan included a single contour map displaying both natural and final surface contours – where the appellant argued that the disclosure plan was insufficient because s 9(2)(c) required the disclosure of two separate contour maps, the map did not pictorially or graphically depict the contour intervals but only contained sufficient information to enable the intervals to be deduced, and the map did not use "appropriate contour intervals" – where the appellant claimed that it was entitled to avoid the contracts as a result of these defects – where the trial judge held the disclosure plan was sufficient and granted a decree of specific performance of each of the contracts and damages – where the appellant argued the trial judge erred in having regard to information external to the boundaries of the proposed allotment on the map – whether the disclosure plan was sufficient to comply with s 9(2) – whether the trial judge erred in considering information external to the boundaries of the proposed allotments More...

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