Australia: Planning & Environment - What's News - 11 October 2016

In the media – National

SA blackout: climate change readiness will be lost if we fall for blame game
The opportunity to identify solutions to the real causes of South Australia's state-wide blackout, and thereby help Australia prepare for the future, will be lost if anti-renewable energy agendas are allowed to overtake a careful investigation of the situation, the Climate Institute said today (29 September 2016). More...

Density, sprawl, growth: how Australian cities have changed in the last 30 years
Since settlement, Australian cities have been shaped and reshaped by history, infrastructure, natural landscapes and – importantly – policy, according to a newly published paper by the University of Adelaide (29 September 2016). More...

NSW to take action on building certification failure
Developers of deemed high-risk projects in NSW could have the ability to select their own building certifier taken away as part of sweeping changes to the building certification system designed to help fix failings on fire safety, health and energy efficiency (27 September 2016). More...

Lower network revenues proposed for transmission and distribution networks
Revenues for Queensland's Powerlink electricity transmission network and Tasmania's TasNetworks electricity distribution network would be around 30 per cent lower than the existing level from 1 July 2017 under draft decisions released today by the Australian Energy Regular (AER) (29 September 2016). More...

First Reef 2050 Plan Annual Report shows progress towards protecting the Reef
The Australian and Queensland governments today released the first Reef 2050 Plan annual report showing good progress has been made towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef (28 September 2016). For more information on progress and to read the report, visit here. More...

Report to UNESCO notes Queensland's failure to reform tree-clearing laws
A federal and Queensland government progress report on their joint Reef 2050 plan reveals state Labor's failure to pass tougher tree-clearing laws is the only promise that has been "significantly delayed" (28 September 2016). More...

International Criminal Court adds land grabs to 'crimes against humanity'
The International Criminal Court has opened the way for people accused of land grabbing and environmental destruction to stand trial for crimes against humanity (26 September 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 (23 September 2016). More...

Support for action on climate change and renewables strongest since 2008
The 2016 edition of The Climate Institute's long running benchmark Climate of the Nation research reveals that support for renewables continues to grow and a surprising number of Australians expect federal leadership in taking action on climate change (26 September 2016). More...

Owner of Shen Neng 1 to pay Commonwealth $39M following out of court settlement
The Australian Government has won a significant legal challenge and reached a $39.3 million dollar out of court settlement with the owners of a Chinese coal carrier that ran aground in April 2010 causing the largest known direct impact on the Great Barrier Reef (19 September 2016). More...

AEMC says no on rewarding local energy sharing, and industry is dismayed
The case for generating energy locally and sharing it with neighbours has been dealt a huge blow after the Australian Energy Market Commission today ruled against a proposal to incentivise the practice put forward by the Property Council, City of Sydney and Total Environment Centre (22 September 2016). More...

In the media – Victoria

Community input invited on plastic bag bill
Public submissions are being invited on legislation to restrict the supply and sale of plastic bags in Victoria. The Victorian Parliament's Environment and Planning Committee is conducting an inquiry into the Environment Protection Amendment (Banning Plastic Bags, Packaging and Microbeads) Bill 2016. More...

Victoria Home to a Renewable Energy Future
Victoria has strengthened its reputation as a clean energy leader with news the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will establish a permanent office in Melbourne next year (23 September 2016). More...

Vibrant future secured for St Georges Road Corridor
The Andrews Labor Government has approved new zones and a suite of controls covering the St Georges Road Corridor that will guide future development to complement established residential areas (23 September 2016). More...

Work on fully-funded Metro Tunnel begins
Work on the Metro Tunnel – the biggest public transport project in Victoria's history – has begun. The works are part of the Metro Tunnel early works contract – the first package of works on the project – which was awarded to John Holland in June (22 September 2016). More...

Healesville Freeway Reserve
The Victorian Government is preserving the Healesville Freeway Reserve as public open space for the local community with community consultation now available (21 September 2016). More... More...

In the media – New South Wales

Reserve expansion makes for a very happy Save the Koala Day
The Kybeyan Nature Reserve west of Cooma will be expanded with the purchase of an additional 1,000 hectares of koala habitat (30 September 2016). More...

Court rejects proposed residential towers on old Balmain Tigers club site
A Sydney court rejects a controversial proposal to build two residential towers on the old Balmain Tigers club site at Rozelle, in Sydney's inner-west (28 September 2016). More...

Wambo Coal fined $60,000 for offensive odour from blast
Mining company Wambo Coal Pty Ltd has been convicted and fined $60,000 and ordered to pay the NSW Environment Protection Authority's (EPA) legal costs after pleading (30 September 2016). More...

Water Sharing Plan for Nambucca River Catchment
A new water sharing plan for the Nambucca River catchment, including the townships of Nambucca Heads, Macksville and Bowraville, commences today (30 September 2016). More...

Lower Darling water source trade reopened
Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Water has today announced the reopening of trade into and from the Lower Darling water source (30 September 2016). More...

EPA issues $61,000 in fines for unlawful waste activities at Salt Ash
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued fines of $61,000 after soil containing acid sulfate was dumped at the Bruce Mackenzie Complex at Salt Ash (30 September 2016). More...

Community participates in Sydenham to Bankstown revitalisation
The Department of Planning and Environment held community design workshops, giving nearly 200 people the chance to share their views on the revitalisation of the Sydenham to Bankstown rail corridor (29 September 2016). More...

City of Sydney request to change energy market rule all but rejected
A proposed energy market rule change that could save NSW consumers $1.2 billion by 2050 has been all but ruled out by the Australian Energy Market Commission (25 September 2016). More...

EPA welcomes this year's largest waste fine of $390,000 in Land and Environment Court
Businessman Phillip Foxman and his two companies, Botany Building Recyclers Pty Ltd and Foxman Environmental Development Services Pty Ltd, have been convicted and fined in the Land and Environment Court for six waste offences involving the unlawful transport, deposit and storage of at least 15,900 tonnes of waste material (23 September 2016). More...

In the media – Queensland

Public input welcomed for proposed Brisbane Metro
Brisbane residents are being encouraged to help shape the planning of the proposed Brisbane Metro Subway System (28 September 2016). More...

Plan for controversial Gold Coast Spit development on hold
The company behind a proposed $600 million development at The Spit on the Gold Coast withdraws its application while a master plan is developed for the prized area (27 September 2016). More...

Landholder rights strengthened on mining activity
Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines said today marked the beginning of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014 after amendments were made to provide stronger protection against resource activities occurring close to residential buildings and key farming infrastructure (27 September 2016). More...

Improving affordability by reducing planning times
Property consultants Urbis undertook a study for the Property council of Australia using Queensland as an example to calculate the cost to homebuyers of council delays in greenfield sites (26 September 2016). More...

Linc Energy gives Government millions for contamination clean up
The Queensland Government secures $3.6 million from failed resources company Linc Energy to begin rehabilitation efforts on the western Darling Downs (26 September 2016). More...

Consultation opens on Kingaroy wind farm proposal
Community consultation on the proposed $500 million wind farm at Coopers Gap near Kingaroy, which promises up to 350 construction jobs, will open on Monday, 26 September (24 September 2016). More...

In practice and courts – National

Reef 2050 plan: Annual report and implementation strategy 2016
Government of Australia, Government of Queensland: 27 September 2016
We are making progress in implementing the 151 actions under the Reef 2050 Plan. The first annual report shows that 19% of the actions are completed or in place and over 65% are underway. More...

NELA National Conference, 18 November 2016
King & Wood Mallesons, Melbourne - An event bringing together some of Australia's leading experts to discuss current and emerging issues in environmental law. The full programme will be available soon at www.nela.org.au.

August Emissions Reduction Fund - August 2016
The monthly Emissions Position provides a national cumulative snapshot of project and abatement activity under the Emissions Reduction Fund, including contract deliveries, project registrations by state and territory, and project registrations by method type. The monthly Emissions Reduction Fund Carbon Abatement Statement provides a snapshot of activities under the scheme, including a national snapshot of projects by method type and monthly 'Fund Facts' (16 September 2016). More (CER Media Updates)... More (Emissions Reduction Fund page)...

An efficient and responsive housing market for sustainable urban growth and social inclusion
Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute: 21 September 2016 Nicole Gurran et al
This report examined the notion of an efficient housing market and identified key indicators of housing system efficiency, responsiveness, and risk. More...

Land Carbon: No Substitute for Action on Fossil Fuels
Climate Council: 29 September 2016
The new report finds that while increasing carbon in land systems is important, Australia is muddying the waters by combining land carbon and fossil fuel reduction policies – which is giving an inaccurate picture of Australia's progress in tackling climate change. More...

In practice and courts – Victoria

New Planning and Subdivision Fees to Apply from 13 October
The Governor in Council made new planning and subdivision fee regulations on 27 September 2016. The new fees will apply to applications made on or after 13 October 2016 (29 September 2016). More...

In practice and courts – New South Wales

Cost recovery for environmental assessments under the EPBC Act Cost Recovery Implementation Statement
This updated version of the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) has been published to reflect proposed changes to cost recovery arrangements for environmental assessments under the EPBC Act. The commencement date for these changes is expected to be 1 October 2016 (subject to approval by the Governor-General). More...

Court Decisions on Amalgamation Challenges
The NSW Land and Environment Court handed down its judgments on amalgamation proceedings brought by several councils on Tuesday 20 September. Visit the NSW Caselaw website for more.

EPA: Applications open for $200,000 in EPA grants to tackle dumping on Aboriginal land
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) invites Local Aboriginal Land Councils to apply for individual grants of up to $50,000 under the Aboriginal Land Clean-Up. Expressions of interest for Round 3 ALCUP grants close 14 October 2016. More...

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...

In practice and courts – Queensland

Planning changes in Queensland
Several developments in the planning space have occurred over the last fortnight, including the release of a draft Caloundra Centre Master Plan, updates to SPP and SARA mapping and changes to the management of BCC Permissible Change requests (14 September 2016). More...

Queensland Government: Current Consultations - Department of State Development
Hummock Hill Island Development project - application for project change.

Cases – Victoria

Anderson & Anor v City of Stonnington & Anor (No 2) [2016] VSC 575
ROADS — Laneway — Where judgment delivered on part-heard trial — Where reasons for judgment held laneway is a road under the Local Government Act 1989 — Where plaintiffs erected fence across laneway while judgment reserved — Where council issued summons seeking order to have fence removed — Where order a natural consequence of judgment — Local Government Act 1989, ss 207, 225, cl 5 of Schedule 11.
COSTS — Calderbank offer — Rejection of council's offer to settle proceeding — Whether rejection was unreasonable in the circumstances — Hazeldene's Chicken Farm Pty Ltd v Victorian Workcover Authority (No 2) [2005] VSCA 298; (2005) 13 VR 435.

Cases – New South Wales

Hunter's Hill Council v Minister for Local Government; Lane Cove Council v Minister for Local Government; Mosman Municipal Council v Minister for Local Government; North Sydney Council v Minister for Local Government; Strathfield Municipal Council v Minister for Local Government [2016] NSWLEC 124
JUDICIAL REVIEW – proposal for amalgamation of local government areas – Minister's referral of proposal to Departmental Chief Executive for examination and report– inquiry required to be held – Chief Executive appoints Delegate to conduct inquiry – whether reasonable public notice given of the holding of inquiry – whether identification of locations of public inquiry sessions adequate – whether inquiry sessions needed to be held in each area proposed to be amalgamated – whether inquiry held in accordance with Act – whether examinations and reports on proposals in accordance with Act – whether affected councils denied procedural fairness by Delegate – publicly accessible material in support of proposal represented that KPMG analysis and modelling was independent – whether representations misleading – whether allegedly misleading representations invalidated statutory process of amalgamation – whether failure to provide all KPMG analysis and modelling material meant the council was denied procedural fairness WORDS AND PHRASES – requirement for local government areas proposed to be amalgamated to be contiguous – term not defined in legislation – meaning of contiguous – requirement of contiguous areas to be touching – statutory provision deeming extension of local government areas below low-water mark in certain circumstances – areas deemed to be extended – areas therefore contiguous.

Shellharbour City Council v Minister for Local Government (No 2) [2016] NSWLEC 119
JUDICIAL REVIEW – proposal for amalgamation of local government areas – Minister's referral of proposal to Departmental Chief Executive for examination and report– inquiry required to be held – Chief Executive appoints Delegate to conduct inquiry – whether reasonable public notice given of the holding of inquiry – whether identification of locations of public inquiry sessions adequate – whether inquiry held in accordance with Act – whether examination and report on proposal in accordance with Act – whether an affected council denied procedural fairness by Delegate – review and comment on Delegate's report by Boundaries Commission – whether review conducted in accordance with Act – whether affected council denied procedural fairness by Boundaries Commission – publicly accessible material in support of proposal represented that KPMG analysis and modelling was independent – whether representations misleading – whether allegedly misleading representations invalidated statutory process of amalgamation – whether failure to provide all KPMG analysis and modelling material meant the council was denied procedural fairness.

Ku-ring-gai Council v Mr Garry West as delegate of the Acting Director-General, Office of Local Government [2016] NSWLEC 118
JUDICIAL REVIEW – proposal for amalgamation of local government areas – Minister's referral of proposal to Departmental Chief Executive for examination and report– inquiry required to be held – Chief Executive appoints Delegate to conduct inquiry – whether reasonable public notice given of the holding of inquiry – whether difference between state-wide published notice and locally published notice was a material defect in the requirement for reasonable public notice – whether identification of location of public inquiry sessions adequate – whether inquiry held in accordance with Act – whether examination and report on proposal in accordance with Act – whether the Delegate misdirected himself on matters of rating equity – whether the Delegate misdirected himself on the need to consider the impact of all residents and ratepayers (including on those of an area proposed to be excised) – whether an affected council denied procedural fairness by Delegate – review and comment on Delegate's report by Boundaries Commission – whether review conducted in accordance with Act – whether affected council denied procedural fairness by Boundaries Commission – publicly accessible material in support of proposal represented that KPMG analysis and modelling was independent – whether representations misleading – whether allegedly misleading representations invalidated statutory process of amalgamation – whether failure to provide all KPMG analysis and modelling material meant the council was denied procedural fairness – exercise of discretion where no utility in taking action based on sole ground made out proceedings dismissed COSTS – reservation of costs in circumstances where applicant is partially successful but no remedy appropriate.

Cases – Queensland

Coast and Country Association of Queensland Inc v Smith & Ors [2016] QCA 242
ENERGY AND RESOURCES – MINERALS – MINING FOR MINERALS – ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION LEGISLATION – where the appellant appeals the decision of the primary judge dismissing two applications for statutory orders of review – where the first application related to a decision of the Land Court concerning applications for a mining lease and environmental authority – where the second application concerned a subsequent decision of the third respondent to grant an environmental authority for the proposed mine – where the primary judge concluded that a finding of the Land Court that the proposed mine would not produce an impact that would constitute or cause environmental harm was open on the evidence and did not reveal legal error in the member's approach – where the appellant submitted that the primary judge erred by allowing the Land Court when construing certain sections of the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) to give zero weight to the environmental harm caused by emissions from the transport and burning of coal after it was removed from the proposed mine – where the second respondent submitted that the appellant wrongly assumed that emissions in connection with the mine would cause environmental harm or an adverse environmental impact – whether under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) the Land Court needed to consider the impact of activities which would not be carried on under the authority of the proposed mining lease – whether under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) the Land Court was obliged to give weight to the environmental harm caused by emissions from the mine – whether there was legal error in the Land Court's decision.

Gray v Gympie Regional Council [2016] QPEC 049
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – Costs – Whether the appellant should be ordered to pay the respondent's costs of an appeal, in circumstances where the appeal is discontinued.

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