Public notification is a crucial step in the development
application process. What may seem like a simple task at the outset
can have significant cost implications down the track if not done
In the recent case of CQ Group Australia Pty Ltd v Isaac
Regional Council  QPEC 003, the Planning and Environment
Court declared that the appellant had failed to comply with the
public notification requirements and struck out the appeal.
The background to the case
CQ Group Australia Pty Ltd (CQ) filed an appeal in the Planning
and Environment Court against the Isaac Regional Council's part
refusal of the workers' accommodation component of a proposed
The development application was for an increase in the scale and
intensity of the existing Nebo quarry, which included additional
ancillary facilities (for workers' accommodation (30 staff),
fuel storage and water tanks).
Shortly after the appeal had been filed, the Council filed an
application seeking orders and declarations that CQ had failed to
comply with the provisions of the Sustainable Planning Act
2009 (SPA) with respect to public notification of the
development application. In particular, the Council asserted that
the description of the proposed development on the signs erected on
the frontages to the land and in the newspaper advertisement
(Notices) failed to properly describe the proposed development and
proposed use of the land.
The Notices set out the following:
From: Extractive Industry (up to 50,000t per year). General
Industry (Heavy Vehicle Depot & Ancillary Motor Vehicle &
Ancillary Office Building) & Rural
To: Extractive Industry (up to 1,000,000t per year)
& Ancillary Facilities, General Industry
(Heavy Vehicle Depot & Ancillary Motor Vehicle Workshop &
Ancillary Office Building) & Rural
The issue was whether the Notices had properly described the
'ancillary facilities' referred to in the Notices, which
included workers' accommodation for 30 staff, and whether this
was sufficient to meet the notification requirements under SPA.
The Court held that 'the public notification failed to
contain a description of the contentious use which was sufficient
to convey the workers' accommodation component of the proposed
development such that an interested person would be put on notice
and moved to search the development application at the
CQ requested that the Court exercise its discretion and not
strike out the appeal. However, due to the conduct of CQ in failing
to disclose the true nature of the proposed development in both the
development application and in its response to an information
request, the Court declined to exercise its discretion and struck
out the appeal.
The consequences of getting it wrong
If a preliminary point is raised regarding the public
notification of your development application, you may be exposed to
significant legal and other costs. These costs may include the
costs of the appeal and costs associated with any further
application for the development, including any further public
notification of the development application in compliance with the
requirements under SPA.
We can assist in developing a checklist and appropriate
procedures to ensure applicants get it right the first time, saving
costs and avoiding any subsequent adverse consequences.
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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.
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