Australia: Planning & Environment - What's News - 14 September 2016

In the media – National

Grattan Institute urges caution on renewable targets
A leading think-tank has lashed out at plans by the Victorian government to introduce an auction scheme for renewable energy, which could at the very least serve to complicate moves by the federal government to rein in carbon emissions (04 September 2016). More...

Linc Energy ordered to hand over insurance documents to farmer
Liquidators of the failed Linc Energy project are ordered to hand over insurance documents to a farmer who is part of a $150 million class action against the company (31 August 2016). More...

Dozens of airports across Australia being monitored for toxic foam contamination
Investigations continue into the impact of toxic firefighting chemicals at 36 airports across the country, Airservices Australia says (24 August 2016). More...

NABERS for apartments finally sees light of day
The COAG Energy Council has agreed to fund development of a NABERS tool for residential apartments, meaning Australia's fastest-growing property sector is finally on track to start slashing carbon emissions and reducing energy bills (24 August 2016). More...

World first to combine big solar and storage
A world-leading project in far north Queensland is set to combine big battery storage and big solar to supply solar power after sundown and during peak usage times. ARENA is providing $17.4 million funding support for Conergy to build and operate a 10.8 MW (AC) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant with 1.4 MW / 5.3 MWh of lithium-ion battery storage (23 August 2016). More...

ARENA: Doubts in funding leads to clean energy company suspending projects
Doubts in continued funding to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has led to clean energy company Geodynamics placing two projects into suspension in New South Wales and Western Australia (02 September 2016). More...

Renewable energy industry calls on Australian Parliament to protect ARENA grants funding
Innovation will be stifled right across the clean energy sector if the Australian Parliament supports legislation to remove future grant funding available from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), according to a briefing paper released today by the Clean Energy Council (30 August 2016). More...

From little things big things grow: seeding investment in clean energy
The Turnbull Government's Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced a $10 million cornerstone investment in Australia's first dedicated Clean Energy Seed Fund—its first initiative under the $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund (02 September 2016). More...

Ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol
The Turnbull Government has tabled the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol for Parliamentary and public scrutiny. Australia is seeking to ratify the Agreement by the end of this year (31 August 2016). More...

Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions Resumes Work
The Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions has met to progress the Turnbull Government's commitment to reduce Australia's vehicle emissions. Some 80 submissions have been received and will inform the development of draft regulatory impact statements on emissions, fuel efficiency measures and fuel quality standards (29 August 2016). More...

Stockland leads the charge in sustainable communities
Stockland has more Green Star-rated communities than any other developer in Australia, after the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) certified six new communities in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth (31 August 2016). More...

In the media – Victoria

Victorian Government bans onshore unconventional gas mining
The Climate Council has today congratulated the Victorian Government for becoming the first state in Australia to put a blanket ban on onshore unconventional gas mining (30 August 2016). More...

Sky rail gets strong backing from voters
Voters have strongly backed the Andrews government's sky rail project as part of its policy to remove dozens of level crossings. A new ReachTEL poll commissioned by The Age found 60 per cent of Victorians "support the use of sky rail to remove level crossings" (05 September 2016). More...

Plans for new suburb in Melbourne's inner north unveiled
A draft plan for a new suburb to be developed in Melbourne's inner north over the next three decades is released by the Victorian Government (31 August 2016). More...

Water corporation ordered to pay almost $100k over Bendigo sewage spill
Coliban Region Water Corporation has been ordered to pay a $75,000 donation, plus court costs, over a 2013 sewage spill of up to one million litres into Long Gully Creek in North Bendigo, impacting surrounding land occasionally used by children, dogs and dog owners (25 August 2016). More...

Keeping Victoria at the cutting edge of the New Energy Economy
Energy technology company GreenSync is one of the first successful recipients of the Andrews Labor Government's $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund grants (23 August 2016). More...

In the media – New South Wales

EPA fines EarthPower Technologies Sydney Pty Ltd $23,000
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined EarthPower Technologies Sydney Pty Ltd (EarthPower) $15,000 for unlawful transportation of waste, and $8,000 for providing false information about the disposal of waste, at its food and grease trap waste processing facility in Camellia (31 August 2016). More...

EPA fines Hardy's Excavations $15,000 for sand extraction without a licence
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a $15,000 penalty notice to Hardy's Excavations Pty Limited for extracting sand from Eaton's Quarry at Bagotville near Ballina without holding an environment protection licence (30 August 2016). More...

Environmental Consulting Services Pty Ltd fined for providing false waste report
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued two fines of $8000 each to Environmental Consulting Services Pty Ltd (ECS) after the consultant provided a report with two false statements about waste characterised as excavated natural material (29 August 2016). More...

Rezoning Review to improve planning system
A more independent and faster planning review process that stops rezoning applications being endlessly revived will be introduced by the NSW Government. The new Rezoning Review will replace the existing pre-Gateway review, enabling applicants to seek an independent review of council decisions on proposed rezonings (29 August 2016). More...

$37,500 in fines for unlawful waste facility at Badgerys Creek
An illegal waste facility at Badgerys Creek and its director have been fined a total $37,500 by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), following an extensive investigation (26 August 2016). More...

NSW Forestry Industry Roadmap
The NSW Government has released a plan to build a stronger, more competitive and ecologically sustainable forestry industry (25 August 2016). More...

$200 million NSW wind farm helps Australia's capital meet Renewable Energy
The ACT Government has announced it will award a 20 year feed-in tariff contract to the NSW Crookwell 2 Wind Farm to be built near Goulburn (23 August 2016). More...

In the media – Queensland

Gross negligence' behind overflow of Palmer's tailings dam, court hears
Clive Palmer's nickel refinery is accused of "gross negligence" over the overflow of its tailings dam during a trial in north Queensland (29 August 2016). More...

Moreton Bay targeted as Queensland's next priority development area
The former Petrie paper mill site and its surrounds will be transformed into a world-class innovation and knowledge precinct supporting more than 6,000 jobs, after the Palaszczuk Government today declared it Queensland's next Priority Development Area (PDA) (02 September 2016). More...

Palaszczuk Government's biofuels mandate on track
A new guideline which gives small fuel businesses – mostly in regional Queensland – an exemption under the Palaszczuk Government's biofuels mandate has been tabled in Parliament (01 September 2016). More...

Straddie begins transition to future
A $28-plus million economic strategy kicks off tomorrow to guide North Stradbroke Island through the transition to an eco-tourism hub (01 September 2016). More...

Queensland Government approves mine on conservation land
An in-stream mine on a Cape York property is one step closer after the Queensland Environment Department issued a draft authority for the project, despite the same department buying the land for conservation earlier this year (01 September 2016). More...

Gold Coast canegrowers offer up 6,000ha site for city development
About 40 cane farmers on the northern outskirts of the Gold Coast pitch to sell their farms as a block to a major planner and property developer (31 August 2016). More...

Pump crews work to keep toxic mine spill out of Murray-Darling Basin
Heavy rainfall this week threatened to trigger a toxic spill of the storage ponds at the Texas silver mine in southern Queensland, prompting government officials to take emergency action (25 August 2016). More...

Qld Govt team packs in behind MSF Sugar expansion plans
A team of Government officials is working with MSF Sugar to progress its multi-million expansion plans, particularly its clean, green biofutures focus (24 August 2016). More...

First North Queensland Regional Plan to supercharge development
The first regional plan for North Queensland will become a reality after all five councils agreed to start work on the blueprint that will supercharge future development across the region. The North Queensland Regional Plan will establish a vision and direction for the region (24 August 2016). More...

Some Oakey land valuations decreased after public backlash
The Queensland Government decreases land valuations on almost 30 properties near a contaminated aviation base on the Darling Downs after a public backlash (23 August 2016). More...

In practice and courts – Victoria

Planning Permit Activity Report now available
The Planning Permit Activity Report for July 2016 is now available (25 August 2016).

Have your say on better draft design standards
Submissions on the Better Apartment Draft Design Standards close 19 September 2016. More...


Towards a climate policy toolkit: special review on Australia's climate goals and policies
Climate Change Authority: 31 August 2016: This report draws on analysis including commissioned economy-wide and electricity sector modelling to compare the performance of a range of possible electricity sector emissions reduction policies.

Implications of the 1.5°C limit in the Paris Agreement for climate policy and decarbonisation
Climate Analytics: Bill Hare, Niklas Roming, Michiel Schaeffer, Carl-Friedrich Schleussner: This report, commissioned by the Climate Institute in Australia, examines the impacts on Australia of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C and 2°C, and to provide estimates of the global carbon budgets associated with achieving these temperature limits (23 August 2016).

Department of Environment and Energy: The August 2016 issue of the Commonwealth environmental water latest facts is now available (26 August 2016).

In practice and courts – New South Wales

Container Deposit Scheme draft Bill for comment
The NSW Government has released the draft Bill to implement a Container Deposit Scheme in NSW for public consultation. The consultation period concludes on 21 September. More...

NSW Government announces new review process for re-zonings
The DP&E commenced a review of the Pre-Gateway Process in 2015. The Minister for Planning announced the new process would commence on 1 September. Most of the changes are intended to simplify the process and make the review process less complicated. The powers of delegation around plan-making have also been made clearer. More...

EPA: New spills and leaks guide for underground fuel tanks
The EPA has published an environmental incident prevention and management guide to help service station owners and operators check for leaks and clean up fuel spills (02 September 2016). 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...

In practice and courts – Queensland

DERM Prosecution Bulletin - August 2016
A selection of the department's enforcement actions are summarised in prosecution bulletins outlining the facts and outcomes of finalised prosecutions for environmental offences. More...

Cases – Commonwealth

Australian Conservation Foundation Incorporated v Minister for the Environment [2016] FCA 1042
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - judicial review challenge to Minister's decision to approve coal mine project – failure to apply ss 82 and 527E of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (the EPBC Act) in assessing impact of combustion emissions – failure to apply the precautionary principle as required by ss 136(2)(a) and 391 of the EPBC Act – failure to comply with s 137 of the EPBC Act regarding inconsistency with the World Heritage Convention – judicial review application dismissed.
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW – construction and application of ss 82, 133, 136, 137, 391 and 527E of the EPBC Act in assessing effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef.

Cases – Queensland

James Russell Architects v Brisbane City Council & Anor [2016] QPEC 043
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING – DEVELOPMENT CONTROL – APPLICATIONS – OBJECTIONS ¬– where the Appellant made a development application for a material change of use and preliminary approval for building work (extension to heritage place) – where the development application was refused by the Respondent Council – where the development application was assessed against City Plan 2000 – where City Plan 2014 came into effect three days after lodgement of the development application – where the Court must determine what weight to be given to each of City Plan 2000 and City Plan 2014 – where the development application seeks approval for construction of a 'pod' structure – where the 'pod' structure sits atop an access core constructed from within the heritage place – whether the development application unacceptably impacts the cultural heritage value of the heritage place – whether the development application is consistent with the relevant planning scheme – whether sufficient grounds exist to warrant approval of the development application despite conflict with a relevant planning scheme.

Kanesamoorthy & Anor v Brisbane City Council [2016] QPEC 042
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING – DEVELOPMENT CONTROL – APPLICATIONS – OBJECTIONS – where the Appellant made a development application for preliminary approval to carry out building work (demolition of pre-1946 house in the Traditional Building Character Overlay) – where the development application was refused by the Respondent Council – where the subject Dwelling has been altered – where the subject dwelling is accepted to represent traditional building character – where the development application is to be assessed against the Traditional Building Character (Demolition) Overlay Code under City Plan 2014 – whether Performance Outcome PO5(c) is satisfied – whether Acceptable AO5(c) is satisfied– whether Acceptable Outcome AO5(d) is satisfied.

Donovan v Brisbane City Council [2016] QPEC 041
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – APPLICATION – JOINDER OF PARTIES – where an application for joinder has been brought by an adjoining landowner – where approval has been sought for permissible change to a development approval – where the change will result in an increase in the building location envelope – where the change will result in a corresponding reduction of the area subject to a covenant for the preservation of native animals and plants – whether there is scope for the application of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) – whether the adjoining landowners are directly affected for the purposes of rule 8 of the Planning and Environment Court Rules 2010 (Qld).

Gold Coast City Council v Lear & Anor [2016] QDC 215
APPEAL – where respondents failed to comply with an Enforcement Notice – where the Magistrate dismissed the complaint on the basis that there was no case to answer - where appellant seeks an appeal against the order of the Magistrate – whether there was jurisdiction to challenge the Enforcement Notice before the Magistrate.

Bond v Chief Executive Department of Environment and Heritage Protection [2016] QPEC 040
APPLICATION – Administrative Law – decision – natural justice – procedural fairness – review of decision to issue an Environmental Protection Order – whether the Environmental Protection Order was unlawful.

Legislation – New South Wales

Consultation or Exposure Bills – 26 August 2016
Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Amendment (Container Deposit Scheme) Bill 2016

Acts Assented to

No. 46: Local Government Amendment Act 2016
Assent: 31/08/2016 SG (No. 275) 31/8/2016 p. 1 Commencement: Ss 1-4 on 31/08/2016: s. 2.
See Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Bill 2016

Legislation – Queensland

Subordinate legislation as made

No 144: Proclamation commencing remaining provisions - Tobacco and Other Smoking Products (Smoke-free Places) Amendment Act 2016 - fixes date of 1 September 2016 for the commencement of the Amendment Act.

No 145: Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2016 - Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 - prescribe 1 William Street as a smoke-free government precinct and prescribe parts of national parks where smoking bans apply.

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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