Australia: Property & Projects - What's News? - 29 May 2012

Last Updated: 2 June 2012

Latest news – National

Airah Sends Communiqué to Government on Carbon-Equivalent Levy
AIRAH has approached government over concerns about the quickly approaching carbon-equivalent levy on refrigerants, which will be introduced as part of the Australian Government's Clean Energy Future legislative package on July 1. The carbon-equivalent levy's price impact at the point of import will allegedly vary across the main refrigerant gases, ranging between 300 and 500 per cent (16 May 2012) More...

Good progress on E-Conveyancing
The Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) welcomes more progress in the development of Australia's national e-conveyancing system. The design stage of the system is now complete and the company, the National E-Conveyancing Development Ltd (NECDL), is moving into the next phase which is building the system for stage 1 implementation planned in the first half of next year (May 2012). More...

Households, jobs and environment to benefit from carbon price The Government is committed to supporting jobs and households through putting a price on carbon, a measure seen as a crucial economic reform to move Australia to a prosperous clean energy future.
The 2012-13 Budget includes further measures to drive energy efficiency which will assist in the transition to a low carbon economy, with a focus on: Building Energy Efficiency, Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards, Adaptation, and Tax Breaks for Green Buildings (09 May 2012) More...

Tough Budget Offers Little for Housing
Amid a tight fiscal environment, the 2012/13 Federal Budget offers little for Australia's development industry. However, the Government has refrained from cutting key housing funding commitments such as the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), the Housing Affordability Fund (HAF) and the Building Better Regional Cities (BBRC) program (08 May 2012) More...

Government is improving our Courts and Tribunals
Federal courts and tribunals will deliver more timely resolutions with greater efficiency under reforms announced by the Gillard Government. Changes to court fees and reforms to the native title system will add to the Government's current court reform agenda which is designed to provide more certainty around the role of each of the Federal Courts (08 May 2012) More...

Latest news – Victoria

Administration to continue at Brimbank City Council
The Victorian Government will introduce legislation next week to extend the Administration of the Brimbank City Council through until March 2015. The decision to extend the period of Administration was recommended by two independent reports, has considerable community support and will help to ensure a return to stable, effective representative government at Brimbank City Council (17 May 2012) More...

Victoria's War on Planning Red Tape has Relevance to NSW The recent release of the key reforms recommended by the Victorian Planning System Ministerial Advisory Committee and the Victorian Governments response has some important proposals that should be considered in the NSW planning review says the Urban Taskforce Australia (14 May 2012) More...

Native vegetation rules must change: VFF
Farmers have renewed calls for more sensible native vegetation rules after a landholder narrowly escaped being forced to plant 800 trees and pay a $600 fine, after cutting down four dead trees on her Indigo Valley property (11 May 2012) More...

Government declares war on planning red tape
Red tape will be slashed by the Victorian Coalition Government in response to a major review of the Victorian planning system (11 May 2012) Government declares war on planning red tape

Metropolitan planning vision gets underway
Victorians are encouraged to have their say on metropolitan planning in the next step towards a shared vision for Victoria (07 May 2012) Metropolitan planning vision gets underway

Latest news – New South Wales

Proposed changes to improve flexibility for local environmental plans
Feedback is being invited on two proposed changes to the standard instrument local environmental plan (LEP), which will provide councils with greater local flexibility to plan for their areas (16 May 2012) Proposed changes to improve flexibility for local environmental plans

Victoria's War on Planning Red Tape has Relevance to NSW
The recent release of the key reforms recommended by the Victorian Planning System Ministerial Advisory Committee and the Victorian Governments response has some important proposals that should be considered in the NSW planning review says the Urban Taskforce Australia (14 May 2012) More...

Latest news – Queensland

$20 million to help small business and community groups save on energy costs
The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency announces over $20 million in grants to improve energy efficiency at small and medium businesses and community groups, and welcomed the positive response to Round One of the Energy Efficiency Information Grants (EEIG) program (18 May 2012) More...

Australia's Future Gas Resources Assured
The Minister for Resources and Energy has released the Australian Gas Resources Assessment 2012 which finds that Australia has enough identified gas resources, excluding shale gas, to maintain current production rates for 184 years. Gas ranked third behind coal and uranium as Australia's largest energy resource (16 May 2012) More...

Good progress on E-Conveyancing
The Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) welcomes more progress in the development of Australia's national e-conveyancing system. The design stage of the system is now complete and the company, the National E-Conveyancing Development Ltd (NECDL), is moving into the next phase which is building the system for stage 1 implementation planned in the first half of next year (May 2012). More...

Government is improving our Courts and Tribunals
Federal courts and tribunals will deliver more timely resolutions with greater efficiency under reforms announced by the Gillard Government. Changes to court fees and reforms to the native title system will add to the Government's current court reform agenda which is designed to provide more certainty around the role of each of the Federal Courts (08 May 2012) More...

Federal budget takes care of local government
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has welcomed the budget's continuation of funding for local roads and infrastructure. Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) to local governments will also be maintained in real terms, with the Government deciding to bring forward the first two quarterly payments of the 2012-13 FAGs into 2011-12 (08 May 2012) More...

CSG cumulative impact to trigger aquifer drawdowns
Freshwater aquifer levels throughout large areas of the Surat Basin are predicted to drop below the 5m trigger threshold for make-good provisions due to extensive Coal Seam Gas developments, according to the released report this week. However, its contents have implications for landholders in all regions of Australia where large numbers of CSG wells are being developed in close proximity to aquifers relied upon for stock water and/or irrigation (17 May 2012) More...

Low CSG impact on Qld bores: report
Only 2.5 per cent of private water bores across Queensland's Surat Basin will be adversely affected by the coal seam gas (CSG) industry, a new study has found. The report, which contains maps that show where water levels are expected to be affected, will be used as part of a new regulatory framework to manage the impact on groundwater (17 May 2012) More...

Expert panel to probe Cross River Rail plan
An expert panel has been given four weeks to review the Cross River Rail project before the Liberal National Party government makes its intentions on the project clear. The Transport and Main Roads Minister announced he had asked the panel to review the costings and business case of the Cross River Rail project (16 May 2012) More...

Gold Coast Airport Master Plan Approved
The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport have approved Gold Coast Airport's Master Plan, which is a statutory requirement under the federal Airports Act 1996, setting out the airport's strategic direction for the next 20 years. T he airport must ensure appropriate management of species listed under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and to communicate better with the local community in relation to aircraft noise and other issues (16 May 2012) More...

Cost of Living cut for Queensland
The Newman Government is delivering on its election promise to ease the cost of living for Queensland families. Cabinet has approved the introduction of the Cost of Living Bill as part of its committment to save Queenslanders on electricity, car registration, stamp duty and transport fares (14 May 2012) More...

Articles – National

Australian environmental water management: 2012 review
Source: National Water Commission
The report describes progress in environmental water management for each jurisdiction. It sets out an overview of environmental water management practices, the legislative framework and policies and responsible agencies for each of the framework criteria. A brief summary of the review and a roadmap for improvement are included (May 2012) Australian environmental water management: 2012 review (PDF 3.6MB)

Articles – Victoria

Australian environmental water management: framework criteria
Source: National Water Commission
This presents the framework which is made up of five elements and 27 criteria that characterise successful environmental water management practice. Each criterion is described and the key building blocks of environmental water management mechanisms, targeted environmental water regimes and targeted water dependent ecosystem outcomes are discussed (May 2012) Australian environmental water management: framework criteria (PDF 3.7MB)

Articles – Queensland

Australian environmental water management: 2012 review
Source: National Water Commission
The report describes progress in environmental water management for each jurisdiction. It sets out an overview of environmental water management practices, the legislative framework and policies and responsible agencies for each of the framework criteria. A brief summary of the review and a roadmap for improvement are included (May 2012) Australian environmental water management: 2012 review (PDF 3.6MB)

Draft Underground Water Impact Report for the Surat Cumulative Management Area
Source: Queensland Water Commission
The Commission's draft report assesses the cumulative impact of CSG activity on groundwater levels and sets out a program for water monitoring and other activities to be implemented by individual petroleum tenure holders (17 May 2012) More...

Practice notes/directions – Victoria

Victorian Planning System Ministerial Advisory Committee report released
The Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy has released the Victorian Planning System Ministerial Advisory Committee report. The report contains recommendations to guide reform of Victoria's planning system (11 May 2012). Read the report and the Government Response

Regional Growth Plans
Regional Growth Plans are being developed for each of Victoria's eight regions to provide broad direction for land use and development across regional Victoria. The development of the Hume Regional Growth Plan is underway. Comments are invited on the draft regional growth plan for G21 Geelong Region Alliance by 18 May 2012 (10 May 2012)

Metropolitan Planning Strategy
The Victorian Government is preparing a new metropolitan planning strategy to manage Melbourne's growth and change over the next 30-40 years. The strategy will contribute to the overall vision for the State including links with regional Victoria. It will be informed by stakeholder and community engagement, research and evaluation and input from a Ministerial Advisory Committee chaired by Roz Hansen (10 May 2012)

Practice notes/directions – Queensland

Energy Efficiency Information Grants – small and medium business
Applicants who did not receive funding in the first round are urged to consider applying again with the announcement that Round Two will open in October. The Government is also increasing the instant asset write off for small and medium businesses with turnover of less than $2 million per year to $6500 (18 May 2012) For more information about the EEIG program visit Energy Efficiency Information Grants.

Electric Traction Services DAAU
The Authority has published 11 submissions on QR Network's electric traction services draft amending access undertaking (15 May 2012) More...

Expert panel to review Cross River Rail
The Newman Government has announced an expert panel will review the Cross River Rail project to ensure the next major investment in rail is affordable and meets the future needs of South-East Queensland. The panel will deliver a report on 13 June 2012 that will properly analyse and confirm the problems facing the rail system, consider the options available, assess the business case already prepared for the project (16 May 2012) More...

Legislation – National

Business Names Registration (Availability of Names) Determination 2012
This determination provides whether business names are identical or nearly identical, whether business names are undesirable names and whether the use of some words of expressions should be restricted (18 May 2012) More...

Australian Securities and Investments Commission Amendment Regulations 2012 (No. 1) (SLI 69/2012) Commencement 12/05/2012
This regulation amends the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Regulations 2001 to recognise Australian carbon credit units issued under the Carbon Farming Initiative, eligible international emissions units issued in accordance with the Kyoto rules or another relevant international agreement and carbon units issued under the Clean Energy Legislation, as financial products (11 May 2012) More...

Water Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1) SLI 68/2012
Registered 10 May 2012 – Commencement Schedule 3 - on a day notified by the Minister in the Gazette for the purposes of this paragraph - 5/07/2012 Schedule 2 and 11/05/2012 Sections 1 to 3 and Schedule 1 - on the day after it is registered This regulation amends the Water Regulations 2008 to prescribe a number of Victorian water resource plans as transitional water resource plans, prescribes variations made to the Snowy Hydro License and sets out information regarding water information that must be provided to the Bureau of Meteorology (10 May 2012) More...

Business Names Registration (Availability of Names) Determination 2012
This determination provides whether business names are identical or nearly identical, whether business names are undesirable names and whether the use of some words of expressions should be restricted (18 May 2012) More...

Cases – Victoria

Barro Group Pty Ltd v Brimbank City Council & Ors [2012] VSC 154
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – Appeal from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal under s 148 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic) – Application for planning permit to develop and use land as a landfill for solid inert waste – Legislative and policy framework for siting and developing landfills – Application of State environment protection policy - Policy of minimising landfills – Whether the lack of 'need' for a landfill can be grounds for refusing a planning permit – Whether the Tribunal's consideration of need for further landfill capacity was consistent with the legislative and policy framework for siting and developing landfills – Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic) ss 16A, 19B, 50B, 50BA, 50BC – Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic) ss 77, 84B, 85. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - Whether the Tribunal misconstrued and misapplied policy – Whether the Tribunal's decision was irrational or illogical or failed to give proper, genuine and realistic consideration to the merits of the case – Rees v County Court [2011] VSC 67 – Minister for Immigration and Citizenship v SZJSS [2010] HCA 48; (2010) 243 CLR 164. More...

Chronis v Cimino (Retail Tenancies) [2012] VCAT 477
Retail Lease – rental fixed at lower rate until repairs completed – some repairs done but not completed – demand by Landlord for higher rental not justified – subsequent re-entry by Landlord unlawful – damage to Tenant's stock from leaking roof - no positive obligation imposed upon Landlord to effect repairs – Retail Leases Act 2003 s.52 - no action maintainable by Tenant for failing to complete repairs More...

Ho v Greater Dandenong City Council [2012] VSC 165
LOCAL GOVERNMENT - Whether a local law prohibiting 'livestock' on land less than half a hectare should be quashed - Functions and powers of local government - Power of a Council to make local laws regulating the keeping of animals in its municipal district - Whether local law inconsistent with planning scheme - meaning of 'ancillary' uses or activities - planning scheme and local law operating as cumulative controls - ss 3C, 3E, 3F and 111 of the Local Government Act 1989 (Vic) More...

Cases – Queensland

Moreton Dolomite Pty Ltd & Anor v McDonough & Anor [2012] QLC 0020
PROCEEDING: Determination of compensation for mining lease under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 Judge's comment: It is clear that the mining tenement process is a compulsory one and the landowners are unable to simply turn the miners away and avoid the inconvenience associated with mining. In many cases 10% per annum is allowed pursuant to s.281(4)(e) of the Act as suitable compensation for the compulsory nature of the process and in particular cases greater allowances may be justified – 10% awarded More...

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