Australia: Planning & Environment - What's News - 5 July 2016

In the media – National

Clean Energy Regulator moves further online
The Clean Energy Regulator is moving key Emissions Reductions Fund forms online. The switch to online crediting forms aims to significantly reduce administration burdens for both clients and the Clean Energy Regulator.  From 29 June 2016 all clients will need to submit their claim for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCU's) online through the Client Portal (24 June 2016).   More (CER News)...  More (CER Emissions Reduction Fund page)...

First step towards an Australian green-fuel biorefinery
Australia's first 'biorefinery' capable of producing renewable diesel and jet fuels from plant material could become a reality in Queensland with support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) (23 June 2016).   More...

Project proposals show shrinking cost of big solar
The latest step in an ARENA program to support the construction of large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) plants in Australia has shown how quickly the cost of building new plants is falling as momentum in the sector builds (22 June 2016).  More...

Strong NSW budget welcomed by industry, but climate change missing
The NSW budget has been well-received by the built environment sector, thanks to record infrastructure investments of $73.3 billion over the next four years there is also concern not enough is being done regarding climate change, the environment, affordable housing and critical infrastructure projects like hospitals (23 June 2016).   More...

Plummet in large-scale solar cost reveals importance of ARENA grants
The amount of government subsidy needed to get large-scale solar projects off the ground has plummeted, according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (22 June 2016).   More...

ARENA shows businesses the way to cheaper renewable energy upgrades
An innovative way for building owners and tenants to fund renewable energy upgrades more cheaply will be expanded thanks to a project supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) (21 June 2016).   More...

Councils encouraged to tackle infrastructure backlog with switch to clean energy
Australian councils should urgently consider tailored debt finance to improve their energy performance and reduce emissions from old and poorly maintained assets (16 June 2016).   More...

CEDA calls for a social price on carbon
The CEDA has called on the government to establish a social price on carbon as a foundation for policy and investment decision-making to mitigate climate change. The Australia's economic future: an agenda for growth report also identified climate change as one of the key areas that needs to be addressed to drive growth in Australia to 2020 (14 June 2016).  More...

Climate Institute: Who should pay for property damage caused by extreme weather?
It's not just the owners of Collaroy mansions teetering on the edge of the shore who might find themselves having to foot the bill for damage to their properties from the latest weather disaster. Some residents in inland flood-ravaged areas won't have flood insurance, or may not be covered if it's not deemed to be a flood (14 June 2016).  More...

RMIT: How Victoria can become an Australian climate leader
In contrast to our national government's weak efforts at climate response, there seems to be emerging competition between states and territories to set the pace on climate response. The ACT and SA are leading the field with some impressive outcomes and Victoria has now committed to zero net emissions by 2050 (14 June 2016).  More...

In the media – Victoria

Our Coast to help Seaside Communities tackle Climate Change
Our Coast uses the latest data on projected sea level rises and storm surges to help coastal communities and government agencies plan and respond to the impact of climate change (24 June 2016).   More...

$80 Million Development Approved For Geelong
Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has approved an $80 million multi-storey tower in central Geelong. The development was the first approved after the Andrews Labor Government made the Planning Minister responsible for major projects greater than 5,000 square metres or five storeys high last year (24 June 2016).   More...

Master Plan sets future direction for City Road
The Melbourne City Council has endorsed a seven-year capital works plan to transform City Road.  'The master plan, with its focus on encouraging more people to walk, cycle and take public transport, is consistent with Council's Transport Strategy 2012.'  (22 June 2016).  More...

EPA fines SPC Ardmona for Shepparton juice spill
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined SPC Ardmona Operations Ltd over $7,500 for illegally depositing fruit juice into a stormwater drain from a waste water pit at its Shepparton plant (23 June 2016).   More...

Investigation into Casey City Council's Special Charge Scheme for Market Lane
Monitor to be appointed to Casey Council (22 June 2016).   More...

Metro Tunnel transport project moves forward
Major work on the biggest public transport project in Victoria's history will begin early next year. John Holland has been awarded the first major Metro Tunnel contract, which now includes excavating massive shafts in the centre of Melbourne as part of preparations for the tunnel and five new underground stations (22 June 2016).  More...

Bendigo Mosque will be built
A High Court decision has brought to an end a long-running and at times, vicious, campaign to prevent a mosque being built in Bendigo, Victoria. The High Court decision on Wednesday 15 June greenlit the city's first mosque and shutdown any further appeals from those opposing the development (15 June 2016).  More...

Renewable Energy Targets To Create Thousands Of Jobs
Victoria has set ambitious renewable energy targets to create thousands of new jobs and cut the state's greenhouse gas emissions. By 2020, 25 per cent of electricity generated in the state will come from renewable energy and by 2025 that will rise to 40 per cent (15 June 2016).   More...

In the media – New South Wales

Sydney Water to pay $200,000 to Parramatta River Catchment Group after sewage leak
Sydney Water Corporation (Sydney Water) has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to pay $200,000 to the Parramatta River Catchment Group (22 June  2016).  More...

$50 million more for environment and heritage
NSW Budget delivers an extra $50 million to protect and preserve the State's environment and heritage, bringing total funding to a record $1.7 billion and towards keeping the  State's environmental watchdog strong (21 June 2016).  More...

2016-17 NSW Budget: Strongest budget, economy in the nation
Premier Mike Baird and Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Government was investing record amounts on schools, hospitals, public transport and roads in the 2016-17 Budget, while almost completely eliminating the State's debt (21 June 2016).   More...
The state's infrastructure and services have received a boost in the 2016-17 NSW Budget (22 June 2016).  More...

NSW budget: $12 billion in budget for metro rail revolution
The NSW Budget will commit a massive $6.2 billion towards Sydney Metro City & Southwest and $5.8 billion for Sydney Metro Northwest over the next 4 years, with both stages now fully funded (20 June 2016).  More...

EPA blitzes pesticide non-compliance at Hunter turf farms
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued eight fines and forty-four official cautions to eight Turf Farming premises in the Hunter Valley (17 June 2016).  More...

Prisons become a new $3.8bn building boom
The big cash splash on jails, to be spent over four years, was revealed ahead of the forthcoming NSW Budget, with Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian and Corrections Minister David Elliot saying the spend will fund a long-term infrastructure plan to cater for the rising prisoner population (16 June 2016).   More...

NSW Budget: $68 million boost for safer roads
A record $68 million will be included in the 2016 - 17 NSW Budget to deliver hundreds of crucial road projects across the State from bush to beach to improve safety for all road users (17 June 2016).  More...

In the media – Queensland

New plan to diversify and advance North Queensland economy
A new plan for North Queensland's future has been launched in Townsville today, outlining the priority areas of roads, water, innovation, tourism, and a new stadium as key to diversifying and advancing the region's economy (24 June 2016).   More...

Fitzroy River catchment retains waterway health rating
A scientific report card on the health of the Fitzroy River catchment shows the condition of the waterways has remained stable in one of Queensland's most important water systems (24 June 2016).   More...

Feature: QLD Planning Act 2016: Evolution or Revolution?
Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad, has completed the processes through the Queensland Parliament to see the passing of the Planning Act 2016 (21 June 2016).  More...

Brisbane's Cross River Rail to cost $5.4b
It will cost about $5.4 billion to build a much-needed second river rail crossing in Brisbane to ease traffic congestion, Queensland's deputy premier says. It comes after the state government set aside $50 million in its budget last week to establish a delivery authority to oversee final planning and delivery (19 June 2016).  More...

Government commits a further $6.8 million for climate change action
The State Government has committed a further $6.8 million over four years to develop and implement a Queensland climate change strategy (15 June 2016).   More...

Queensland budget 2016 at a glance
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt has delivered a "back-to-work budget" that focuses on innovation, investment and infrastructure (14 June 2016) Queensland budget 2016 at a glance and click on Industry drop box icon
14 June 2016 - $66 million for local councils to boost resilience and improve community infrastructure
14 June 2016 - $1.5 billion boost for State Infrastructure Fund to drive Queensland's infrastructure priorities
14 June 2016 - More than half a billion dollars to pave way for Cross River Rail

In practice and courts – National

NGER: The safeguard mechanism – guidance consultation
The Clean Energy Regulator is seeking comment on a series of technical discussion papers in advance of the introduction of the safeguard mechanism on 1 July 2016. Discussion papers three and four have been released for comment.   More (CER News)...  More (NGER Scheme page)... 

In practice and courts – New South Wales

NSW: Round 4 of the Organics Infrastructure (large and small) grants program now open
Round 4 of the Organics Infrastructure (large and small) grants program is open for applications. Grants between $25,000 and $5 million are available to build or supply the infrastructure needed to divert food and organic garden waste from landfill (14 June 2016).  More...

NSW EPA: New fees and penalty units from 1 July 2016
The fees and penalty units for 2016–17 announced on 08 June 2016 are effective from 01 July 2016.  More...

NSW Planning Circular: PS 16-001
Loose-fill asbestos insulation notations on section 149 planning certificates (17 June 2016).

In practice and courts – Queensland

QLD: Revised Draft SEQRP
A consultation website was launched by the Qld Government to guide the development of a revised SEQRP. The Draft SEQRP will be released for public consultation in October 2016. The "Shaping SEQ" website provides an overview of the role of regional planning and the themes the Government is looking to incorporate into the revised plan.

Cases – New South Wales

Environment Protection Authority v Hunter Water Corporation [2016] NSWLEC 76
PROSECUTION – pollution of waters – discharge of acidic substance into watercourse – discharge over four-month period PROSECUTION – pollution of waters – discharge of large volume of treated water containing chlorine – discharge effected to flush the receiving waterway of the substance subject of the first charge PROSECUTION – breach of Environment Protection Licence condition – failure to maintain an acid transfer pump – failure to maintain pump caused leakage of the substance in the first prosecution PROSECUTION – breach of Environment Protection Licence condition – failure to operate a bund drain pipe valve – bund drain pipe valve left open for a period of four months PROSECUTIONS – whether the offences charged should be regarded as one composite and related group of offences or whether two distinct instances of offending – first pollution of waters offence together with both contravention of licence condition offences constitute a single instance of continuing offending conduct – offence of pollution of waters by flushing with treated water containing chlorine is a separate and distinct offence PENALTIES – assessment of seriousness of the offending conduct PENALTIES – appropriate to have regard to aggregation and proportionality for the group of three offences – appropriate to have regard to the principle of totality when considering all four offences – discount for early plea – total indicative sentences of $600,000 appropriate – application of appropriate principles of aggregation and totality to derive penalties when coupled with the discount of 25% for the early guilty plea results in an appropriate total penalty of $187,500 PENALTIES – publication order – publication order made requiring notices to be produced in one regional and two local papers, all of which circulate in the area where the offences occurred PENALTIES – application of moneys to an environmental project – agreed project – project known as "Managing Sediment Export and Grazing on the Dungog Common Recreation Reserve" – any moneys not expended on the project to be paid into the Environmental Trust fund. 

Complex Field Pty Limited v Ballina Shire Council [2016] NSWLEC 1239
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: subdivision, whether conditions requiring restriction as to user should be imposed. 

Cases – Queensland

Blue Sky Private Equity Limited v Brisbane City Council [2016] QPEC 032
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – permissible change – whether incorporation of open rooftop communal area resulted in an additional storey so as to trigger impact assessment. 

Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group Pty Ltd v Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming [2016] QCAT 090
LIQUOR LICENSING – AFTER HOURS TRADING APPROVAL – CONDITIONS ON LICENCE – considerations in determining whether particular conditions regarding security arrangements should be imposed.
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW- REASONS FOR DECISION – requirements for reasons for decision. 

Key v Harrison [2016] QCAT 091
TREE DISPUTE – whether trees situated on rural land – whether zoning of land on which trees situated the nearest equivalent of rural land under the Queensland planning provisions - whether zoning of land on which trees situated the nearest equivalent of rural residential land under the Queensland planning provisions.  

Cairns Regional Council v Liu & Ors [2016] QPEC 031
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPLICATION – declaratory and consequential relief pursuant to ss 456, 601 & 604 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) – characterisation of balcony enclosure as assessable development - whether the respondent carried out assessable development without an effective development permit for the development – expert opinion evidence - whether declaratory and enforcement orders should be made in the exercise of discretion - costs. 

Legislation – New South Wales

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Risk-based Licensing) Regulation 2016 (2016-340) — published LW 24 June 2016.

Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Amendment (Calculation of Contributions) Regulation 2016 (2016-341) — published LW 24 June 2016.

Water Management (Application of Act to Certain Water Sources) Proclamation 2016 (2016-350) — published LW 24 June 2016.

Water Management (General) Amendment (Access Licence) Regulation 2016 (2016-351) — published LW 24 June 2016.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Loose-fill Asbestos Insulation) Regulation 2016 (2016-321) — published LW 16 June 2016.

Heavy Vehicle (Adoption of National Law) Amendment (Penalties) Regulation (No 2) 2016 (2016-325) — published LW 17 June 2016.

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