Australia: Planning & Environment - What's News - 15 March 2016

Last Updated: 22 March 2016
Article by Joseph Monaghan, Breellen Warry and Gerard Timbs

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2017

In the media


Government provides $4.8m to tackle gully erosion in Great Barrier Reef catchments
The Australian Government is providing $4.86m for five organisations to work with landholders to address the vast issue of gully erosion in the Great Barrier Reef catchment (03 March 2016).  More...

Water savings and productivity benefits flow across NSW
Irrigators in NSW are set to benefit from significant improvements to water infrastructure, with approval of the first tranche of funding of $12.5 million under Round Three of the Australian Government's $750 million Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Programme (PIIOP) (03 March 2016).   More...

Simplifying water information reporting
The Australian Government has released a report identifying a number of measures to reduce the regulatory burden and costs of providing water information for industry, and accepted all the recommendations presented (03 March 2016).  More...

Moree Solar Farm starts feeding into the grid
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) today welcomed the news that the Moree Solar Farm in Northern New South Wales had successfully achieved first generation (01 March 2016).   More...

New renewable focussed energy retailer open for business
A new energy retailer is entering the Australian market and pioneering a ground breaking business model. It will empower consumers to reduce their power usage and potentially use more renewable energy (29 February 2016).   More...

Grab opportunity to build very fast train now, says former trade minister Andrew Robb
The Commonwealth is no closer to committing to a very fast train with the Abbott government's decision in 2013 to protect identified rail corridors but abolish the High Speed Rail Advisory Group (29 February 2016).  More...  More...

Australia's marine environment to benefit from plastic waste research
The Australian Government will commit an immediate $60,000 to kick-start urgent research into the best way to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans, reefs and waterways (29 February 2016).  More...

Water resource assessments to unlock the full potential of the North
Major opportunities to expand irrigated agriculture across northern Australia are a step closer with a $15 million Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment by the CSIRO now underway (25 February 2016).   More...

Australia's 10 biggest climate polluters 2016: Australian Conservation Foundation
Australia's 10 biggest polluters – all energy and mining companies – continue to rely on last century's fuels to generate energy and conduct their businesses (29 February 2016).  More...

New South Wales

A new NSW wind farm
The NSW Division of Resources and Energy today welcomed the ACT Government's announcement of its investment in a wind farm to be built west of Glen Innes on the NSW Northern Tablelands (04 March 2016).  More...

The EPA announces the new Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee
Following the review of nominations, 11 former members to the Committee and two new members have been appointed. A representative of Muswellbrook Shire Council is yet to be announced (04 March 2016).  More...

Northern Beaches Hospital site road network upgrade to go ahead
The final stage of the $500 million Northern Beaches Hospital road upgrade project has been approved (02 March 2016).  More...

EPA takes regulatory action against Hydromet for water pollution
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a clean-up notice to Hydromet Corporation Pty Ltd, ordering an assessment of contamination in soils and groundwater (01 March 2016).  More...:

New reserves to protect koalas
Four new flora reserves will be established on the far south coast of NSW to help protect the last known local koala population (02 March 2016).  More...  More...

Certainty for North Coast environmental zones
Planning Minister Rob Stokes has announced the finalisation of the environmental zoning reforms for the Far North Coast (02 March 2016).  More...

Department approves application to increase production at Hera Gold Mine and expand workforce
The Department of Planning and Environment has approved a proposal to extend the life of Hera Gold Mine and increase production creating new jobs for the Nymagee community (01 March 2016).  More...

$100 million boost for regional water and waste water
Minister Lands and Water, Niall Blair has announced 45 projects have been shortlisted as part of the NSW Government's $110 million Regional Water and Waste Water Backlog Program to ensure regional communities have the right infrastructure to build for the future (29 February 2016).  More...

Independent PAC to determine Ashton Coal Project
The independent Planning Assessment Commission will make the final decision on a modification application for Yancoal's underground Ashton Coal Project after receiving updated recommendations from the Department of Planning and Environment (29 February 2016).  More...

EPA and Police join forces to target trucks carrying dangerous goods
A joint operation between the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the NSW Police has found a number of truck drivers transporting dangerous goods unsafely (26 February 2016).  More...


Historic mine revives as green energy project
A former gold mine site may soon be a world-first generator of clean, green energy and jobs for North Queensland (03 February 2016).   More...

New South Bank Corporation Board to guide precinct's future success
A new South Bank Corporation Board, announced today, will guide the world-class precinct into a new era, with members bringing a wealth of experience in infrastructure, urban planning, business and design (01 March 2016).  More...

Seniors housing initiative for regional Queensland
Elderly residents could avoid a heartbreaking move away from their home towns and be able to retire locally under a new Palaszczuk Labor Government initiative to build adaptable housing in regional communities (24 February 2016).   More...

In Practice and Courts


ARENA: New large-scale solar data and shortlisted project
A summary of the data from 75 large-scale solar project proposals is now available (04 March 2016). 

New South Wales

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2016

NSW Report illegal dumping
Use your smartphone to report any illegal dumping throughout NSW (22 February 2016).  More...

NSW Planning and Environment Court
2 March 2016: Volume 8 Issue 1 of the Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available.

Further consultation on NSW coastal reforms
Planning Minister Rob Stokes has announced a second stage of targeted consultation on the NSW Government's coastal reforms, in response to valuable community feedback already obtained during the initial consultation phase (25 February 2016).  More...

Community input sought into revised guidelines for Community Consultative Committees
The Department of Planning and Environment is inviting the public to have its say on proposed changes to Community Consultative Committee Guidelines. Submissions close on  31 March.  More...  More...

Department of Planning: Current Consultations February 2016

NSW Consultations

04 March 2016 - Have your say on modifications to the Silverton wind farm.

02 March 2016 - Have your say on modifications to Woolooware Bay Town Centre.

26 February 2016 - Have your say on modifications to Casuarina Town Centre Concept Plan and Project Approval.

25 February 2016 - Community feedback sought on proposal to rezone land and bring jobs to western Sydney. 


Draft guideline consultation reminder: master planning for priority ports (Gladstone, Abbot Point, Townsville and Hay Point/Mackay)
In accordance with the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 and consistent with the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, the Queensland Government has released the draft guideline: master planning for priority ports for public comment until 14 March 2016.  More...

Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee: Current Inquiries

Water Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

Planning Bills 2015

Queen's Wharf Brisbane Bill 2015

Queensland Parliamentary Committee: Planning Bills and Public Inquiry
The committee is required to consider all of the Planning Bills and reopened committee's inquiries into the private members' Bills and report to Parliament by 21 March 2016.  More...

Reports due

Water Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 – 01 March 2016 Submissions close on 18 December.

Planning Bills 2015 – 21 March 2016.



Krajniw v Minister for the Environment [2016] FCA 141
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – application by the respondents for summary judgment pursuant to s 31A Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) and r 26.01 Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) – application to strike out pleadings pursuant to r 16.21 Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) – where no reasonable prospect of success – where pleadings include extensive scandalous and inflammatory allegations – pleadings contravene requirement to plead briefly – where relief sought falls under legislation outside Federal Court jurisdiction – issues of relitigation.  ENVIRONMENTAL LAW – alleged contraventions of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) – operation of ss 18, 18A, 20 and 20A Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) – where only one respondent has taken or proposes to take "action" – no evidence of a significant impact on species as a whole – where species are not protected – claiming contravention of provisions that are incapable of being contravened.  More...


Moorabool SC v Ethanwray Developments Pty Ltd (includes Summary) (Red Dot) [2016] VCAT 191 Whitney M
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – ENFORCEMENT ORDER APPLICATION - expiry condition in a planning permit - need for clear drafting of planning permit conditions - conversion of offices to dwellings - whether the use of the dwellings needs to have commenced for there to be a contravention of the planning scheme - physical characteristics of the buildings – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found use not needed to have commenced for there to be a dwelling – practical considerations – Council would otherwise need to wait for a person to use the land before it could undertake enforcement action – undermine Council obligation to efficiently enforce the planning scheme – physical characteristics of dwelling were enough to constitute a dwelling – contravention of scheme established.  More...

Clarke v South Gippsland SC (Includes Summary) (Red Dot) [2016] VCAT 176 (Clarke) Paterson M, Cook M.
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – ANCILLARY USE – skate ramp known as the 'Mega Ramp' – owner of the ramp argued that its use was ancillary to the use of a dwelling on the property – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found use of the skate ramp was ancillary to the use of the dwelling – whilst the size of the works that support the recreational pursuits is one relevant factor in this case in assessing whether the use is ancillary to the dwelling use, that is just one aspect of the assessment of the overall use – use was ancillary if only used by friends and family of dwelling occupants and no more than small number of users and spectators at any one time.  More...

New South Wales

Mount Annan 88 Pty Ltd v Camden Council [2016] NSWLEC 1072
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: construction of a residential housing development – whether proposed development is permissible – whether breach of height development standard well founded – whether design acceptable.  More...

Lindsay Bennelong Developments Pty Ltd v Council of the City of Sydney [2016] NSWLEC 1064
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: Residential flat building. Consistency with "staged" development consent.  More...

Ocean Shores Community Association Inc v Byron Shire Council (No 5) [2016] NSWLEC 8
COSTS – whether unsuccessful community association in judicial review proceedings should pay costs of Respondent – consideration of public interest costs rule in LEC Rules.  More...

Randwick City Council v Micaul Holdings Pty Ltd [2016] NSWLEC 7
APPEAL – appeal against Commissioner's decision on questions of law – grant of consent to development that contravenes development standards – written request justifying contravention – Commissioner's satisfaction of required matters to justify contravention – whether development consistent with objectives of development standards and zone – whether Commissioner so satisfied – whether adequate reasons given for being so satisfied – whether compliance with development standards was unreasonable or unnecessary – whether Commissioner gave adequate reasons for being so satisfied – non-compliance with control in development control plan – whether principal contested issue requiring resolution and reasons.  More...

Upper Mooki Landcare Inc v Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Ltd and Minister for Planning [2016] NSWLEC 6
JUDICIAL REVIEW – development consent for open cut coal mine – likely significant effect on threatened species of the koala – development application contained indication of likely significant effect – whether misdirection in giving or considering indication – consideration of impact on koala population including by koala translocation – whether failure to consider what was local population of koalas – condition of consent requiring koala plans of management – whether condition deferred consideration of impacts on koalas – whether failure to consider precautionary principle or principle of conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity – application dismissed.  More...


Ferreyra & Ors v Brisbane City Council & Anor [2016] QPEC 010
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – Application for declaratory relief in relation to the first respondent's decision to approve the second respondent's request to change an existing approval as a "permissible change" – Where the applicants are owners of residential units adjacent to second respondent's hotel – Where the requested change included construction of acoustic wall near to the boundary - Where the decision was challenged on the basis of jurisdictional error – Whether first respondent failed to take into account relevant considerations in considering whether the requested change resulted in a "substantially different development" under s 367(1)(a) of SPA, namely, the impact of the acoustic wall on availability of natural light, air ventilation and visual amenity – Whether the first respondent's opinion, for the purposes of s 367(1)(c) of the SPA, that the change was not likely to cause a person to make a properly made submission, was legally unreasonable.  More...

Aldi Stores (A Limited Partnership) v Brisbane City Council [2016] QPEC 011
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – Whether change to a development application is a permissible change – whether change would cause a person to make a properly made submission objecting to the proposed change.  More...

Norfolk Estates Pty Ltd v Brisbane City Council & Body Corporate for Kirribilli Apartments Community Titles Scheme and Ors [2016] QPEC 009
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT; appeal against decision by Brisbane City Council to refusal development application for material change of use to develop two adjoining lots; where the Appellant argues that the proposed development does not conflict with various provisions of CityPlan 2014 including the New Farm and Teneriffe Hill Neighbourhood Plan; the Multiple Dwelling Code and the Medium Density Residential Zone Code; whether the proposed development is of a height, bulk and scale consistent with the intended character of the area; whether there is an economic or community need warranting approval of the proposed development contrary to the planning strategy expressed in the CityPlan 2014 for medium rise, medium-high density residential accommodation; whether the proposed development conflicts with the Planning Scheme; whether there is an inconsistency within CityPlan 2014, between the Multiple Dwelling Code and the Medium Density Residential Zone Code on the one hand and the New Farm and Teneriffe Neighbourhood Plan on the other; where the Planning Scheme must be read as a whole; whether the proposal responds appropriately to adjoining buildings; whether the proposal will lead to unacceptable amenity impacts including on views of the river enjoyed by residents of an adjoining building.  More...

Zacsam Pty Ltd v Moreton Bay Regional Council [2016] QLC 12
Compensation – assessment of compensation – loss of profits of business – loss of capital value of business – loss of rental expense of business premises Acquisition of Land Act 1967, s 20.  More...


New South Wales

Bill introduced Non-Government – 26 February 2016

Transport Administration Amendment (Authority to Close Railway Lines) Bill 2016.

Government Information (Public Access) Amendment (Sydney Motorway Corporation) Bill 2016.


Bills Introduced 23 February 2016

Mineral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016
The legislative amendments will give landholders the protection they want for their agricultural infrastructure like stockyards, bores and artesian wells, and restore the community's right to have their say on mining lease and environmental authority applications for projects that have not gone through an Environmental Impact Statement process.  More...

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Gerard Timbs
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