Latest news – National
COAG's Reform Council report receives mixed
In a review of Australia's capital cities the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council has found that governments need to do more to plan better for the future land use, infrastructure and economies of our cities, with mixed responses from industry (05 April 2012) More...
Think change - Clean Energy Regulator begins
The Clean Energy Regulator commences operations on 02 April. The statutory authority will administer new and existing regulatory schemes, including the carbon pricing mechanism, National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting, the Renewable Energy Target, the Carbon Farming Initiative, and the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units. (02 April 2012) More...
Solving the puzzle of capital cities
In a landmark review of Australia's capital cities the council has found that governments need to do more to plan better for the future land use, infrastructure and economies of our cities. The Chairman of the COAG Reform Council, said the report found that while governments have shown strong commitment to improve their planning systems, none of their systems are entirely consistent with COAG's agreed criteria to re-shape our capital cities (02 April 2012) More...
The Role of Local Government as Regulator
A draft report released by the Productivity Commission has identified a number of areas of local government regulation that place unnecessary regulatory burdens on Australian businesses. Of most concern to business is the costs they face from local government planning and zoning assessment and building and construction regulation (02 April 2012) More...
Landmark Cities Report Sparks Call for
Professional planners are calling for greater collaboration among governments at all levels to ensure Australian cities are liveable, productive and sustainable. The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) says a landmark study has uncovered a lack of cooperation and communication among governments when it comes to planning for land use, infrastructure and the economies of our cities (02 April 2012) More...
ASIC releases unlisted property
ASIC will focus on Australia's unlisted property schemes with the release of a new disclosure principle and six new disclosure benchmarks for the sector. Under the new disclosure requirements, unlisted property schemes must disclose whether they meet the benchmarks (29 March 2012) More...
Latest news – Victoria
Auditor General finds Victoria's public housing in
need of critical reform
An audit by the Victorian Auditor General has highlighted the urgent need for reform in the public housing sector. The recently released report titled 'Access to Public Housing' has highlighted that 'public housing is facing significant challenges' (04 April 2012) More...
New guidelines to boost value for money on Victorian
The Victorian Coalition Government has released enhanced Implementation Guidelines to the Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry (03 April 2012) New guidelines to boost value for money on Victorian construction projects
Councils receive $400,000 heritage
|A total 36 councils across Victoria will receive funding towards the provision of Heritage Advisory Services for 2011-12, the Planning Minister Matthew Guy has announced. Councils supplement the funds with a minimum $1 for $1 expenditure to provide Heritage Advisory Services through the appointment of an experienced professional (30 March 2012) Councils receive $400,000 heritage support
Victorian Government funds pioneering hydro-electric
The Victorian Coalition Government announced funding today for a cutting-edge hydro-electricity project that uses unique Victorian-developed technology to harness kinetic energy in open water flow to generate power (28 March 2012) Victorian Government funds pioneering hydro-electric project
Access to Public Housing
This audit examined how effectively the Housing and Community Building Division of the Department of Human Services plans for, and maintains public housing assets, to support current and future access for eligible tenants has been released by the Government (28 March 2012) More...
Victoria adopts Commonwealth position to reject new
emissions intensity restrictions
In line with the Commonwealth Government's recent announcement that it will no longer proceed with the introduction of national emissions standards or carbon capture and storage (CCS)-ready requirements for new coal-fired power stations, the Victorian Coalition Government will not proceed with a Victoria-specific restriction (27 March 2012) Victoria adopts Commonwealth position to reject new emissions intensity restrictions
Key objectives for Flinders Street Station
The Minister for Major Projects Denis Napthine has revealed the Victorian Coalition Government's vision for a potential revamp of Flinders Street Station precinct with the release of the design competition's Statement of Key Objectives document (26 March 2012) Key objectives for Flinders Street Station revealed
Latest news – New South Wales
Sydney to build Australia's first low-carbon energy
An historic agreement to be signed today between the City of Sydney and Cogent, wholly owned by Origin, will link central Sydney in the nation's first citywide low-carbon energy network. This tri-generation network could save NSW electricity consumers as much as $1.5 billion by 2030 in avoided or delayed spending on grid upgrades and new power stations (03 April 2012) More...
Community meeting on Warriewood Valley
Pittwater Council and the NSW Department of Planning & Infrastructure have drafted a strategic review report on development in Warriewood Valley, which is on public exhibition for comment until 18 May. This strategic review is not a rezoning proposal – rather it identifies the key issues, and proposes increased residential densities in some areas of the Valley (04 April 2012) Community meeting on Warriewood Valley
Billion dollar Green Square projects starts with a
Demolition at the old Royal South Sydney Hospital site in Zetland Sydney commences, to kick start an $8 billion development project. The Lord Mayor said they have earmarked four heritage buildings for community use and they will be fitted out to help reduce energy and water use and costs across Green Square (26 March 2012) More...
Latest news – Queensland
Australia and European Union linking Emissions Trading
The Australian Government and the European Union (EU) have confirmed their strong commitment to working towards linking their Emissions Trading Schemes (ETS), during bilateral talks in Brussels (02 April 2012) More...
DERM: record fine for north west mine water
The Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) Assistant Director-General has handed down the largest ever under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and was in addition to the estimated $11 million the former operator had been made to spend by DERM to clean up and rehabilitate the site following the discharge (29 March 2012) More...
Xstrata wins approval for Australia's biggest coal
An Australian court ruled in favour of global miner Xstrata in a case which sought to halt the company's plans to build the country's largest coal mine on the grounds that it would contribute to climate change (27 March 2012) More...
Brisbane Property Market - Developing fringe
The Property Council of Australia's Office Market Report showed that the Brisbane market is continuing to power ahead, with CBD vacancy declining to 6.2 percent and fringe vacancy down to 7.6 percent, and new supply in the CBD for the next three years is known and largely committed (27 March 2012) More...
Valuation report reflects subdued property
The Queensland's Valuer-General has released a report summarising Queensland's property market ahead of the March 28 issue of the 2012 annual statutory land valuations, with the 2.6% reduction in total valuations, the exceptions are those areas influenced by the resources boom including the mining, gas, energy and mineral processing industries (26 March 2012) More...
Sales rise as land in Brisbane becomes
The Colliers International South East Queensland Residential Communities Research and Forecast Report found signs of a recovery in the residential communities market at the end of last year but noted that land in the Brisbane region was becoming more scarce (26 March 2012) More...
Articles – National
The merits review provisions in the Australian energy
Author: Professor Allan Fels
The report was commissioned by the Energy Networks Association (ENA), and supports merits review of price determinations by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) as in the interests of consumers and businesses (March 2012) More...
NWC Urban Performance report
Author: National Water Council
"The urban report shows that the water industry is performing well in delivering water and wastewater services to 18.7 million Australians, including very high quality drinking water. The urban report includes information from 79 utilities that supply approximately 18.7 million Australians with their urban water (03 April 2012) Urban Performance report 2010–11
Coastal climate change risk – Legal and policy
responses in Australia
Author: Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
This report provides a comprehensive assessment of state and territory planning regimes and the extent to which they take into account coastal climate change risks (04 April 2012) Coastal climate change risk – Legal and policy responses in Australia (PDF 2.2 MB)
Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events
and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation
Author: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
The report focuses on the relationship between climate change and extreme weather and climate events, the impacts of such events, and the strategies to manage the associated risks (2012) More...
Too much of a good thing: the macroeconomic case for
slowing down the mining boom
The Australian mining boom has been driven by rapidly rising world commodity prices. The world is now willing to pay much higher prices for our coal, iron ore, gold and other resources than they were 10 years ago (03 April 2012) Too much of a good thing? The macroeconomic case for slowing down the mining boom
Carbon farming initiative handbook 2012
Author: Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
This sets out how farmers and landholders can improve land and farm sustainability while generating carbon credits that can be sold on domestic and international markets (29 March 2012) Carbon Farming Initiative Handbook
Practice notes/directions – National
New Standard - Managing Environment-related
SAI Global, on behalf of Standards Australia, published the updated HB 203:2012 Managing environment-related risk on 30 March 2012. This handbook is intended to help organisations manage environment-related risk based on the process set out in the AS/NZS 31000:2009 More...
Draft regulations for consultation - Carbon Farming
Initiative (the CFI)
draft regulations to support the Carbon Farming Initiative (the CFI) have been released by the government for consultation. The second tranche of regulations provides further detail on elements such as auditing, reporting and the issuance of credits. Public submissions are due by 26 April 2012. For more information or to access the consultation papers visit: www.climatechange.gov.au/cfi. (05 April 2012)
Draft report for comment - The Role of Local Government
A draft report released by the Productivity Commission has identified a number of areas of local government regulation that place unnecessary regulatory burdens on Australian businesses.
This draft report was released on 02 April 2012. Final submissions are due by 25 May 2012. (02 April 2012) More...
Clean Energy Regulator commences in April
The Clean Energy Regulator commenced operations on 02 April. The list of entities expected to be liable under the carbon pricing mechanism will be published to the Clean Energy Regulator website. The Liable Entities Public Information Database will be published in a staged approach of updates as information is available to the Clean Energy Regulator (02 April 2012) More...
EEX - Energy Efficiency Exchange website
An initiative between the Australian and state and territory governments, the website is designed to save businesses time and money by providing comprehensive, quality information on energy efficiency in one online location. The website can help businesses identify, investigate and implement energy efficiency projects that can reduce their energy costs and save money (30 March 2012) More...
ASIC - Unlisted property schemes: Improving disclosure
for retail investors guide
Regulatory Guide 46 Unlisted property schemes: Improving disclosure for retail investors ( RG 46) is the next in the series of the 'if not, why not' benchmark model of disclosure for sectors that pose particular risk to investors and financial consumers. It follows the issue of disclosure benchmarks for the infrastructure and over-the-counter contracts for difference sectors in Regulatory Guide 231, 227 and 232 (28 March 2012)
Current Draft Policies and Plans,
A new Activity Centre Zone Mapping Style Guide is now available. The guide has been developed to provide guidance on producing framework plans and precinct maps for inclusion in any Activity Centre Zone schedule. It provides practical advice on preparing maps as well as examples of maps that have been prepared for a number of schedules.
VCAT Red Dot Decision
Dual Gas Pty Ltd & Ors v Environment Protection Authority (includes Summary) (Red Dot)  VCAT 308: Consideration of object standing under s33B(2) of the Environment Protection Act 1970; meaning of interests affected by the decision having regard to s5 of the VCAT Act 1998. The Minister for Planning has announced the first round of funding of the Community Works program. Councils across Victoria are eligible for grants up to $200,000.
Practice notes/directions – New South Wales
North West Rail Link plans – Public
The public is being invited to comment on the first Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the North West Rail Link project. The EIS, which includes the concept plan amendment and Stage 1 project application for major civil construction works, is being exhibited by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure from Wednesday 4 April 2012 until Monday 21 May 2012 (04 April 2012) Have your say on North West Rail Link plans
Simplified retirement village contracts for public
A draft set of standard terms for retirement village contracts for public consultation has been developed with the help of a committee with specialist expertise in contracts and other retirement village matters. The consultation draft is available for comment until 18 May 2012 (29 March 2012)
Simplified retirement village contracts a step closer
Legislation – Victoria
Amendment to the list of threatened species under
section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 (129) (14/03/2012)
amends the List of Threatened Species to include Epinephelus daemelii in the vulnerable category of the list of threatened species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (03 April 2012) More...
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
1999 – Amendment to List of CITES Species
This instrument amends the List of CITES Species for the Purposes of the Act (29/11/2001) to incorporate the 1 amendment to Appendix III appearing in CITES Notification 2012/002 (02 April 2012) More...
Cases – Victoria
MyEnvironment Inc v VicForests  VSC
COSTS – Usual rule – Costs follow the event – Unsuccessful claim brought in the public interest – Raised questions of construction of public importance – Reasonable offer of settlement made by successful defendant – Costs awarded on party and party basis – Plaintiffs conduct not so unreasonable as to require award on higher basis – Civil Procedure Act 2010 s 9 More...
m3 Property (Vic) Pty Ltd v Whitehorse Towers Pty Ltd
 VSC 109
APPEAL FROM VICTORIAN CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL ON A QUESTION OF LAW – Agreement – Construction of agreement – Question of law – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, s 148. WORDS AND PHRASES – "which subsequently results in" More...
Lend Lease Development Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State
Revenue; Lend Lease Real Estate Investments Ltd v Commissioner of
State Revenue; Lend Lease IMT 2 Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State
Revenue  VSC 108
STAMP DUTIES – Assessment – Agreements for sale of dutiable property – Condition of transfer for additional payments to be made in addition to the amount for the land – Whether payment of additional amounts were "consideration for" the dutiable transaction – Nexus required between consideration and the dutiable transaction – Duties Act 2000 (Vic) ss 11, 20(1), 21(1), 25(1), 30(1) – Taxation Administration Act 1997 (Vic) ss 11(2), 109.
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Whether communications from solicitors to the Court without leave is appropriate More...
Conder Tower Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue;
Harbour One Tower Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue; Dock 9
Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue; The Avenue Stage 1 Pty Ltd
v Commissioner of State Revenue; Aquavista Tower Pty Ltd v
Commissioner of State Revenue; Yarranova Pty Ltd v Commissioner of
State Revenue  VSC 107
STAMP DUTIES – Assessment - Agreements for sale of dutiable property – Condition of transfer for additional payments to be made in addition to the amount for the land - Whether payment of additional amounts were "consideration for" the dutiable transaction – Nexus required between consideration and the dutiable transaction - Commissioner's assessment by way of an estimate – Whether there was full and true disclosure to prevent the Commissioner from a reassessment of tax liability more than three years after the initial assessment date – Whether there is a need for "exceptional circumstances" for Commissioner to exercise discretion to remit interest payable – Duties Act 2000 (Vic) ss 11, 20(1), 21(3), 25(1), 30(1), 30(3), (31) – Taxation Administration Act 1997 (Vic) ss 9(3), 11(2), 28, 109.
PRACTICE & PROCEDURE – Discretion to allow taxpayer to add grounds of objection- Commissioner's inclusion for assessment to duty of various payments arising in relation to the transfer of land involved in the redevelopment of the Docklands Precinct More...
Dual Gas Pty Ltd & Ors v Environment Protection
Authority (includes Summary) (Red Dot)  VCAT
Review of EPA works approval for the Dual Gas Demonstration Project, involving use of coal gasification technology- Parts 2, & 6-9 (Analysis of key issues); Part 4 (Objector Standing). Consideration of objector standing under s 33B(2) of the Environment Protection Act 1970; meaning of "interests affected by the decision" having regard to s 5 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998
LEGISLATION – interpretation or application of statutory provision - Consideration and application of the Climate Change Act 2011. Consideration and application of the State Environment Protection Policy (Air Quality Management), including 'best practice' and whether the project is inconsistent with the aims, principles and intent of SEPP More...
Aitken & Anor v Yarra CC  VCAT
Sections 80 and 82 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987; Yarra Planning Scheme; Residential 1 Zone; Heritage Overlay; Extension to dwelling; Heritage; Amenity impacts; Windows in boundary wall More...
Furman Construction (Vic) Pty Ltd v Glen Eira CC 
Section 77 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987; Glen Eira Planning Scheme; whether proposal is respectful of neighbourhood character; whether the existing large Golden Elm tree should be retained More...
Velocity Investment Group Pty Ltd v Yarra CC  VCAT
Section 77 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987; Yarra Planning Scheme; built form; medium density development; transition in heights; walls on boundary; overlooking; overshadowing; car parking; pedestrian entrances; streetscape presentation; front setback – no permit More...
Regis Investments Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State
Revenue  VSC 115
STAMP DUTY – Land rich provisions - Appeal against assessment by the Commissioner of State Revenue - Acquisition by trustee of shares in a land rich company - Application of relevant provisions of the Duties Act 2000 (Vic) before and after 13 May 2004 – Distinction between "entitlement" and "beneficial entitlement" – Whether the trust is a "person" who acquired an "interest" within the meaning of s 76 the Duties Act 2000 (Vic) – Duties Act 2000 (Vic) ss 76, 77, 78, 79 – Commissioner of State Revenue v Landrow Properties Pty Ltd (2010) 79 ATR 800 – Challenger Listed Investments Ltd (as trustee for Challenger Diversified Property Trust 1) v Commissioner of State Revenue (Vic) 2011 ATC 20-278 – Court bound to adopt a construction of provisions consistent with the Court of Appeal.
PENALTY AND INTEREST – Leave sought to add additional grounds of objection - Taxpayer bears the burden of proof on an appeal – Whether taxpayer exercised "reasonable care" – Exercise of the Commissioner's "general power of remission" – The complexity of a provision is not sufficient to establish reasonable care nor for an exercise of the Commissioner's discretion under the general power of remission - Taxation Administration Act 1997 (Vic) ss 30(3) and 35 More...
The ABJ Group Pty Ltd v Yarra CC  VCAT
Use of land for the purpose of a tavern with an increase in operating hours to 1am, liquor license and a reduction on the car parking requirement, construction of a cool room at the rear of the building More...
Cases – Queensland
Body Corporate for Sunseeker Apartments v Jasen 
HOME AND COMMERCIAL UNITS – Body Corporate Fees – proceedings to recover unpaid contributions – recovery costs – test for assessment of COSTS – Assessment – recovery for costs in respect of proceedings to recover unpaid body corporate contributions – test on assessment – whether costs reasonable More...
Smith v Body Corporate for Professional Suites 
Negligence – claim against occupier of commercial building in central Brisbane – plaintiff employee of a tenant – after hours following staff Christmas party and socialising at a night club plaintiff (intent on entering) came into contact with a glass panel alongside main entry doors while fumbling for the key – glass shattered and she fell through it, suffering severe lacerations – glass panel complied with Australian Standards current when constructed in 1971, not with new standards – defendant allegedly negligent in failing to upgrade to new standard (requiring safety glass in the application) or conduct a safety audit – contention defendant ought to have so proceeded when relevant area of building was refurbished only months before accident to replace glass doors using safety glass – whether plaintiff guilty of contributory negligence because intoxicated and fell into glass panel as opposed to leaning on it for support – damages assessed – whether interest should be awarded for a reduced period on account of delay – whether Griffith v Kerkemeyer damages available for "emotional support" More...
Copley v Doyle & Ors  QPEC 024
Flood impacts on the subject land - new flood levels prediction - significant differences between the issues raised in the proceedings in the Land Court and those before this Court - application would not be decided on its merits in an impartial way More...
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.