Australia: Planning & Environment - What's News - 30 August 2016

Last Updated: 13 September 2016
Article by Joseph Monaghan, Breellen Warry and Gerard Timbs

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2017

In the media – National

Investors run shy of Aussie renewable energy projects
Only a fraction of proposed renewable energy projects in the pipeline nationally will go ahead because investors are unwilling to underwrite the projects, according to a leading energy consultant (18 August 2016). More...

Latest wind farm approval could trigger a renewable energy surge
The north Queensland man helping lead the production of Australia's second largest wind and solar farm in South Australia said Queensland will soon see similar projects emerge (15 August 2016). More...

Australian hotels are pioneering renewable energy and storage
The paradigm of power generation is changing, and an increasing number of decentralized small-scale cleantech solutions are evolving. For technology providers, the first reference projects are extremely important milestones of the market-entry process (16 August 2016). More...

Great Barrier Reef targets 'very challenging'
Conservation group WWF says governments will find it challenging to meet health targets set for the Great Barrier Reef, following the release of a report that estimates an extra $8.2 billion is needed to save the reef over the next decade (13 August 2016). More (ABC News- 12 August)... More (ABC News- 11 August)...

National guidelines for planning resilient communities released
Built environment professionals can ensure Australian communities are better protected from the impacts of climate change and natural disasters by getting a better understanding of risk and resilience and how to factor them into plans and buildings, according to the Planning Institute of Australia (12 August 2016). More...

Climate change to worsen disadvantage in rural and regional communities – report
The Climate Council this week released a new report which reveals that climate change is likely to worsen the systemic disadvantages suffered by rural and regional communities, and further widen the gap between rural and urban areas (12 August 2016). More...

Climate change will widen the gap between rural and urban Australia, says report
Climate change is likely to worsen the systemic disadvantages suffered by rural and regional communities and further widen the gap between rural and urban areas, according to a report by the Climate Council (10 August 2016). More...

COAG Energy Council outcome statement
The COAG communique notes that work on the integration of energy and climate policy will now also include consideration of the impacts of state and territory emission reduction policies. This is inadequate, urging the national government to set up a truly comprehensive and strategic review of the electricity system to work through these issues and integrate this with the 2017 review (19 August 2016). More...

New GBCA board reflects evolving sustainable property in Australia
As the GBCA approves its new strategic plan, industry leaders with diverse skillsets and deep experience in new sectors have been appointed to the board of directors (15 August 2016). More...

In the media – Victoria

Crackdown on Underquoting to protect Homebuyers
The Andrews Labor Government is cracking down on underquoting advertising – where an agent misleads a prospective buyer about the likely sale price of a property – under major reforms to the Estate Agents Act 1980. Under the new laws, agents must provide prospective buyers with a comprehensive analysis including three recent comparable sales, an indicative selling price, and the median price for the suburb (18 August 2016). More...

ACCC will not oppose proposals for Port of Melbourne lease
The ACCC conducted extensive inquiries with a large number of port users and stakeholders at various levels of the supply chain. The ACCC has formed the view that neither acquisition would result in a substantial lessening of competition (11 August 2016). More...

Winter Works Put Connections In Full Swing
Farmers in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District are reaping the benefits of on-ground works as part of the $2 billion Connections irrigation modernisation project. The Labor Government will continue to work with the Project Control Group, Goulburn-Murray Water, stakeholders and irrigators to push Connections forward for the benefit of the region and the environment (17 August 2016). More...

Hoddle Street Designs Released To Public
The Andrews Labor Government has today released preliminary designs for four intersections to be upgraded along the Hoddle Street-Punt Road corridor. The designs are now open for community input and Victorians can have their say on the designs by visiting: (14 August 2016). More...

Council to consider new science based climate targets
The City of Melbourne will consider a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions generated by its operations in line with the targets recommended by climate scientists, with a new five year plan to cut emissions from Council's day-to-day operations along with a science-based emissions reduction target (12 August 2016). More...

In the media – New South Wales

EPA clamps down on illegal dumping in Blaxland
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued three penalty notices for illegal dumping at the Sydney Trains electrical substation on Layton Avenue in Blaxland (17 August 2016). More...

NSW Government funding boost for local councils tackling climate change
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has announced an extension of the Governments successful Building Resilience to Climate Change (BRCC) program (16 August 2016). More...

Sydney CBD Retail Remains In Prime Position
Sydney's CBD continues to lead the way nationally in terms of retail rent growth, with a 28.4% increase in NSW prime rents recorded for the year to Q2 2016 (12 August 2016). More...

First tracks in place for Sydney's Light Rail
Construction on the CBD and South East light rail project has entered a new phase with the first section of track laid today in Kensington (12 August 2016). More...

Rezoning of land paves the way for 500 jobs in Western Sydney
Land near the proposed Western Sydney Airport is set to thrive with new businesses and industrial activity and the movements of up to 500 new workers (08 August 2016). More...

In the media – Queensland

Trees: Trad says new laws will be passed after next Qld election
THE Palaszczuk government is set to continue taking action to protect the reef and avoid an in danger listing by UNESCO following the "disappointing" result of the vote on punitive new vegetation laws (20 August 2016). More...

Queensland tree clearing laws fail, prompting reef claim
The minority Palaszczuk Government fails to get enough support from the crossbenchers to pass its toughened tree clearing laws, a defeat that it says will put the Great Barrier Reef at risk of losing its World Heritage listing (19 August 2016). More...

Indigenous challenge to Adani Carmichael coal mine dismissed by Federal Court
The Federal Court has dismissed a challenge from a Queensland traditional owner to mining leases for Adani's Carmichael coal mine. The application was for judicial review against the Queensland Government, Adani and the National Native Title Tribunal (19 August 2016). More (ABC News)... More (Australian Mining article)...

Work commence on rail upgrades for Oakey Beef
Work has started on the $2.5 million project to upgrade rail infrastructure in South West Queensland to support the multi-million dollar expansion of Oakey Beef Exports (18 August 2016). More...

Queensland to partner US Navy in massive biofuel initiative
Queensland's future as the biofuel hub for the Asia-Pacific has further been advanced with the signing of a high-level agreement between the Palaszczuk Government and the United States Navy (17 August 2016). More...

Environmental Authority granted to Northern Oil Refineries for biofuels project
A Gladstone oil refinery has been given environmental approval for a new plant that will turn waste such as tyre rubber into renewable oil for biofuels (17 August 2016). More...

Opposition accuses Brisbane City Council of becoming property developer
The Brisbane City Council is accused of a conflict of interest over a property development at Toowong in Brisbane's inner west (17 August 2016). More...

Coal by-product held in sheds does not breach environmental approvals
Queensland's environment department drops its pursuit of a power station contractor that stores tonnes of coal by-product in sheds, instead finding the company is not breaking the law (17 August 2016). More...

Herston Quarter preferred tenderer announced
Health and financial services company Australian Unity has been announced as the preferred tenderer to develop the site of the former children's hospital at Herston in Brisbane and create a $1.1 billion health, aged care, residential and retail destination (14 August 2016). More...

Tree-clearing review to be carried out: Miles
Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles has announced a review into the risk tree-clearing poses to Queensland's plant and animal species after 21 were this week assessed as facing an upgraded threat (13 August 2016). More...

Habitat loss threatens Queensland species further
Almost two dozen of Queensland's native species have had an upgrade to their threatened status as the government continues to drum up support for tougher vegetation clearing laws (13 August 2016). More...

Burdekin cane farmers prove sustainability leads to higher profits
Farm trials funded by the Queensland Government have proven sustainable practices increase profitability and protect the Great Barrier Reef (12 August 2016). More...

Government agrees to all Reef Taskforce recommendations
The Queensland Government tonight (Thursday) detailed how it would reduce catchment runoff to the Great Barrier Reef and spend an additional $90 million over four years (11 August 2016). More...

Queensland Government pushes for change as tree clearing increases
Tree clearing in Queensland remains at unsustainable levels, the state government says. The Statewide Land Cover and Tree Study (SLATS) has revealed 296,000 hectares of woody vegetation was cleared in 2014-15 (07 August 2016). More (ABC News)... More (QLD Government)...

In practice and courts – Victoria

Have your say on better apartments draft design standards
The Victorian Government has released Better Apartment Draft Design Standards for public feedback to inform final standards that will be introduced later this year. Submissions close 19 September. More...

Protecting Victoria's Heritage
Victorian Minister for Planning, The Hon Richard Wynne MP, has launched a new heritage grants program that will support the repair and conservation of 'at risk' State heritage listed heritage places and objects included in the Victorian Heritage Register, under the Heritage Act 1995. Applications will close on 7 November 2016 and application details and guidelines are available here (11 August 2016).

On the frontline: climate change and regional communities
Climate Council; Lesley Hughes, Lauren Rickards, Will Steffen, Petra Stock, Martin Rice
This report reveals that climate change is likely to worsen the systemic disadvantages suffered by rural and regional communities, and further widen the gap between rural and urban areas (09 August 2016). More....

In practice and courts – New South Wales

New strata laws will start 30 November 2016
New strata laws will start on 30 November 2016. They have been modernised to fit the reality of living in a strata townhouse or apartment today. More...

Sydney District Plans Feedback
The Greater Sydney Commission is seeking feedback on its engagement strategy for the development of the six Sydney district plans (August 2016). More...

Cases – Victoria

Seers v Macedon Ranges SC [2016] VCAT 1198
Section 149B Planning and Environment Act 1987 – assessment of competing evidence – characterisation of use – consideration of whether use has stopped for a period of two or more years – existing use rights – consideration of clause 63.01 of the planning scheme – consideration of need to establish existing use rights under clause 63.01 when there is an existing permit that allows the use – section 109 Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 – whether it is it fair to make an award of costs – consideration of relevant factors.

Telstra Corporation Limited v Greater Geelong CC [2016] VCAT 1361
Section 77 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987; Greater Geelong Planning Scheme; Public Use Zone; Heritage Overlay; Telecommunications facility; Western cemetery; Policy; Whether cemetery is an inappropriate location; Heritage; Landscape; Need; Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Sidoti v Banyule CC [2016] VCAT 1338
Demolition of Existing House Not Supported on Heritage Grounds; 1045 Principles; Balancing the Overall Proposal Does Not Support Demolition in this Case; Form, Height and Appearance of Proposed New Building Not Acceptable Design Response to DDO12 and Policy Aspirations; Vegetation Removal and New Tree Planting; Appearance of Building Adversely Impacts on Heritage Significance; no permit.

Kitanovski v Melton City Council & Anor [2016] VSC 474
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Judicial review – Application under Order 56 of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 – Appeal from judgment of the County Court convicting plaintiff of six charges under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – Plaintiff convicted of depositing soil on his property in contravention of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the Melton Planning Scheme – Procedural fairness – Validity of the charges laid – Plaintiff's common law rights as owner of property in fee simple restricted by operation of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – Electrolux Home Products Pty Ltd v Australian Workers' Union [2004] HCA 40; (2004) 221 CLR 309 cited – Application dismissed.

Mancuso v Darebin CC [2016] VCAT 1334
Section 77 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987; Darebin Planning Scheme; Medium Density Housing: Neighbourhood character (Clause 22.02); Amenity impacts; Reverse-living; no permit.

TPSC Pty Ltd v Kingston CC [2016] VCAT 1221
Application under Section 82 Planning and Environment Act 1987 to review the decision to grant a permit, application under Section 80 Planning and Environment Act 1987 to review conditions in a permit, application under section 149A Planning and Environment Act 1987 for declarations about the expiry of a section 173 agreement, Application under section 149B Planning and Environment Act 1987 for declaration concerning in-principle agreement pursuant to section 178A(1) of the Act, application under section 149(1)(b) Planning and Environment Act 1987 to review failure to consent to request under section 173 agreement, mixed use development comprising retail, commercial, café, medical and residential dwellings, access, pedestrian flow and function, integration with existing centre and activity centre function. Opportunity to amend plans.

Lontos v Darebin CC [2016] VCAT 1314
Five storey apartment building; Design based on Proposed DDO in Amendment C136; Unusual Amendment Process; Not a Seriously Entertained Planning Proposal; Weight of Amendment; no permit.

Cases – Queensland

Conquest & Anor v Bundaberg Regional Council [2016] QCA 203
ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCES – PLANNING LAW – APPEALS, OFFENCES AND ENFORCEMENT – ENFORCEMENT NOTICES – SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS OF ENFORCEMENT NOTICES – where the applicants were found guilty of an offence against s 4.3.15 of the Integrated Planning Act 1997 ("the Act") for failing to comply with an enforcement notice – where the District Court dismissed their appeals – where the applicants apply for leave to appeal under s 118 of the District Court of Queensland Act 1967 ("the District Court Act") – where the applicants contend that it is a condition of the validity of an enforcement notice that the person to whom the enforcement notice is given has committed a development offence – where the applicants contend that they should be acquitted of the offences because it was not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the relevant works on the property were "building works" rather than "operational works" – where the respondent submitted that the elements of the offence against s 4.3.15 of the Act were that a person was given an enforcement notice and did not comply with that notice – whether it is a condition of validity of an enforcement notice, and an element of the offence against s 4.3.15 of the Act, that the person to whom the notice is given had committed a development offence – whether the work carried out by the applicants amounted to "building work" or "operational work" under the Act.
ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCES – PLANNING LAW – APPEALS, OFFENCES AND ENFORCEMENT – ENFORCEMENT NOTICES – OFFENCES RELATING TO ENFORCEMENT NOTICES – where the applicants were found guilty of an offence against s 4.3.15 of the Act for failing to comply with an enforcement notice – where the District Court dismissed their appeals – where the applicants apply for leave to appeal under s 118 of the District Court Act– where the applicants raised a new point of contention – whether leave to raise new contention is granted – whether the Court's jurisdiction is limited by ss 118 and 119 of the District Court Act.

Alphadale Pty Ltd v Department of Environment and Heritage Protection [2016] QLC 38
General Application.

Legislation – New South Wales

Bills Updated in the last week

Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Determination 2016
The Determination specifies the manner in which energy efficiency ratings must be expressed in advertisements, the assessment methods and standards to be applied in calculating energy efficiency ratings for buildings, and the information set out in a building energy efficiency certificate. (11 August 2016).

Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes
Lists as amended, taking into account amendments up to Amendment to the lists of threatened species, threatened ecological communities and key threatening processes under sections 178, 181 and 183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (193) (28/07/2016) (10 August 2016)

Legislation – Queensland

Bills Updated in the last week

Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016
Introduced on 17/03/2016; Stage reached: 2nd reading failed on 18/08/2016.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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Gerard Timbs
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