On 31 July 2015, amendments to the Environmental Planning
and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act)
(assented to on 19 November 2014) commenced, including new
penalties for breaches of planning law, a new offence regime and
increased enforcement powers.
As we outlined
previously, the reforms include a new tiered offence system
modelled on the Protection of the Environment Operations Act
1979. For example, for tier 1 offences such as carrying out
development without approval, a corporation can be charged up to $5
million plus additional penalties for continuing offences.
Alternative sentencing and increased investigation and enforcement
powers have also commenced.
Other provisions will commence on 30 September 2015, including
the offence of providing false or misleading information. A person
is guilty of an offence where a person provides information in
connection with a "planning matter" that the person
knows, or ought to have known, was false or misleading in a
material manner. A person provides information in connection with a
planning matter if:
the person is an applicant for consent, approval or certificate
under the EP&A Act and the information was provided in
connection with that application;
the person is engaged by the applicant and the information is
provided in connection with an application;
the person is a proponent of a proposed development and the
information is requested in connection with the making of, for
example, an environmental planning instrument; or
the information is provided in connection with any other matter
that the regulations declare to be "the provision of
information in connection with a planning matter"
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment
(Offences and Enforcement) Regulation 2015
(Regulation) was also published on 31 July 2015 to
support the new offence regime. In particular, it extends the false
and misleading offence by making the provision of information in
connection with a condition of approval for development consent, a
transitional Part 3A Project or state significant infrastructure a
declared matter. For example, where an approval requires the
furnishing of information to a consent authority, such as a
contamination report by way of a condition, the provision of that
information is now captured by the false and misleading offence
The maximum penalty for providing false and misleading
information is $1 million for a corporation and $250,000 for an
individual (plus additional penalties for continuing offences) and
will apply to information supplied on or after 30 September
1Environmental Planning and Assessment
Amendment Act 2014, schedule 1, section 13 (new clause
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