Australia: Planning & Environment - What's News - 7 December 2016

In the media – National

City Deals must build economic capacity says Property Council
City Deals must be 'real deals' that prioritise jobs and economic growth according to a new discussion paper released today by the Property Council. It's a policy that signs all levels of government to a performance focused plan that delivers infrastructure, productivity improvements and a stronger local economy founded on jobs (23 November 2016). More...

World Heritage Centre update on Great Barrier Reef protection
The Australian and Queensland Governments will next month update the World Heritage Centre on the significant progress being made through joint measures to protect and improve the Great Barrier Reef. Providing a status update to the World Heritage Committee is required as part of its decision not to list the Reef as "in danger" in June 2015 (25 November 2016). More...

New energy efficiency report a 'must read' for government, owners and tenants of mid-tier buildings
Real-world examples of energy efficiency in action provide a compelling narrative for owners and tenants of older buildings and 'must read' material for government ministers, says the GBCA (16 November 2016). More...

Record renewables now in the grid
Renewable energy supplied 21.7 per cent of grid energy in October, the highest figure since complete National Electricity Market data became available, according to the latest pitt&sherry CEDEX report (14 November 2016). More...

Additional watering priorities for 2016-17: Murray-Darling Basin Authority
The MDBA has updated the annual environmental watering priorities for 2016-17 following wet conditions across the basin. When the priorities were announced in July they anticipated dry to moderate conditions across the system (15 November 2016). More...

BCA report on major project approvals is a vital contribution to the infrastructure debate
A new report by the Business Council of Australia into streamlining major project approvals is a vital reminder to policy makers about the costs of unnecessary delays on major projects across Australia and the need to develop best-practice to get job creating projects moving (25 November 2016). More...

Review of the first five years of Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy
On 25 November 2016, environment Ministers endorsed the report on the review and agreed to revise the Strategy based on the review's findings (25 November 2016). More...

Meeting of Environment Ministers agreed statement
Commonwealth, state and territory Environment Ministers met today in Sydney to advance the protection of species and habitats, improve the environment for human health, and discuss climate change (25 November 2016). More...

PCA: Urban rail focus of national infrastructure statement is welcome development
The decision of the Turnbull Government to embrace urban rail as a national infrastructure priority is a welcome expansion of the Government's Infrastructure agenda. The concept of dedicated rail plans for our five biggest cities represents a big leap forward (24 November 2016). More...

Delivering strong environmental outcomes through better practice regulation
The Department continues to improve its work practices and performance to deliver strong environmental outcomes through better practice regulation. The Departmental Response to the Regulatory Maturity Final Report details a commitment to improvement and the approach being taken (21 November 2016). More... More...

Positive steps towards carbon positive
While this year's meeting is more subdued than previous years, it's because the Paris Agreement came into full force on 4 November. COP21 was focused on garnering global support. COP22 is all about implementation (16 November 2016). More...

In the media – Victoria

A New Conservation Reserve for South Gippsland
The first parcel of land for a new conservation reserve will be handed back to the public more than ten years ahead of schedule. An in-principle agreement had been reached for the early hand-back of about 1,200 hectares of leased land in the Cores and Links area of the Strzelecki Ranges (22 November 2016). More...

Banning Fracking for Good
The Andrews Labor Government has introduced legislation to permanently ban fracking in Victoria, protecting our agricultural sector and giving certainty to regional communities. The Resources Legislation Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2016 amends the Petroleum Act 1998 and the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 to implement the Government's decision (22 November 2016). More...

Lancefield Road and Sunbury South Precincts
The Victorian Government has released two major plans for new housing, public transport and community infrastructure for the Lancefield Road and Sunbury South precincts, for public comment to guide development around Sunbury for the next 30 years (22 November 2016). More...

Council Plan Changes Puts Residents First
The Andrews Labor Government has unveiled its first major decision as part of the reform of the Local Government Act requiring all councils by law to develop four year plans with their communities. The change will give residents more say in their council's priorities, services and budgets (17 November 2016). More...

In the media – New South Wales

Compliance blitz hits Parramatta River building sites with over $127,000 in fines
Over 50 per cent of sites inspected during a month-long compliance blitz were not managing their environmental controls adequately leading to fines totalling more than $127,000 for developers along the Parramatta River (24 November 2016). More...

184,300 homes over five years with new infrastructure
A strong NSW economy and new public transport links have opened the way for an expected 184,300 new dwellings over the next five years – easily surpassing previous records (21 November 2016). More...

Detailed plan for Sydney's future unveiled
An ambitious 40-year vision for Sydney that aims to change the structure of the city is unveiled by the overarching planning body, the Greater Sydney Commission (21 November 2016). More...

Koalas to be better protected under improved policy to conserve habitat
One of Australia's most iconic native animals, the koala, will be better protected under an improved policy proposed by the NSW Government that will conserve their natural habitat (18 November 2016). More...

Sydney Metro West: A new railway, more trains for Western Sydney
A new underground metro railway for Western Sydney will be the State's next major public transport project – securing the long-term future of the region and of Australia's global city (14 November 2016). More...

In the media – Queensland

Queenslanders to have say on climate change directions
Regional Queenslanders as well as those living in the state's capital can have their say on how climate change is affecting their communities through a series of Palaszczuk Government workshops (25 November 2016). More...

Environment Minister welcomes national summit to discuss giving States and Territories greater powers to deal with Commonwealth contamination
Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles has applauded a Commonwealth decision to address environmental and health concerns about Federal laws dealing with contamination on land currently or previously owned by the Australian Government (25 November 2016). More...

Herston Quarter declared a priority development area
The $1.1 billion Herston Quarter Redevelopment project has today been declared a Priority Development Area (PDA) — fast-tracking investment and job creation on the important inner-city site (18 November 2016). More...

Queensland Resources Council boss criticises state government funding of EDOs
The Queensland government has been criticised for funding the Environmental Defenders Office, which helps people fight big miners and developers (16 November 2016). More...

Investigation continues into Fraser Island oil spill
An initial analysis of oil samples collected during the Fraser Island oil spill clean-up has confirmed the oil is the same type as that used by large trading ships (15 November 2016). More...

Guideline for new Chain of Responsibility laws one step closer
A draft statutory guideline to complement the Environmental Protection (Chain of Responsibility) Amendment Act 2016 has been released for public comment (14 November 2016). More...

Linc Energy fights Queensland environment order
The liquidators for Linc Energy have launched a legal challenge to the Queensland government's environmental protection order on its operation near Chinchilla, claiming liquidated companies should not need to comply (15 November 2016). More...

In practice and courts – National

Call for comment on changes to the CFI rule and new savanna burning methods
The Department of the Environment and Energy has opened a consultation on proposed changes to the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Amendment Rule 2016 (No. 1) and its Explanatory Statement. Among the proposed changes, all sequestration projects will report on how they intend to maintain sequestration in the permanence period, savanna burning project owners may be eligible to transfer their project between related methods (18 November 2016).

GBCA: new Green Star certification process
The GBCA is introducing a new streamlined process for the registration of applications for Green Star certification effective 1 December 2016, and freshened up the Green Star Certification Agreement. Clauses and processes have been clarified, particularly, the appointment of Applicant Agents and Change of Ownership process and Limitation of Trustee Liability clause. The Agreement remains substantially the same (16 November 2016).

In practice and courts – Victoria

Metropolitan Planning Levy (MPL)
Planning Practice Note PPN82 released in May 2016 clarifies that only works requiring a planning permit should be included in the estimated cost of development. The State Revenue Office will only consider a refund request for overpayment of MPL that occurred in the period prior to PPN82 (24 November 2016).

In practice and courts – New South Wales

NSW Native Vegetation legislation
Legislation is now before the NSW Parliament to repeal the Native Vegetation Act 2003 and replace it with a fair, evidence-based and modern system that will improve biodiversity and agricultural productivity in NSW. If passed, the Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2016 and Local Land Services Amendment Bill 2016 will commence in 2017. The reform package implements the 43 recommendations of the Independent Biodiversity Legislation Review.

Climate Change Policy Framework
The NSW Government has released a new NSW Climate Change Policy Framework. The policy provides important context for the government's approach to climate change. Submissions close 16 December 2016. More...

In practice and courts – Queensland

Updated State Planning Policy: public consultation
An updated State Planning Policy (SPP) is open for public consultation from 21 November 2016 to 10 February 2017 to commence alongside the new planning legislation on 3 July 2017. Submissions close 10 February 2017 (24 November 2016). More... More...

Comment on the Development Assessment Rules
The Development Assessment Rules are now open for comment until 19 December. These Rules, provide for key provisions around how the community is informed of development applications, and the process for how development applications are assessed. See draft DA rules, overview documents, and associated information here.

Draft SEQ Regional Plan released
The Queensland Government has released their draft revision of the South East Queensland Regional Plan (SEQRP), which will include a 25 year statutory plan, and a 50 year vision. Five background papers accompany the plan, which provide further information on the data used and assumptions made in the draft's development. Public consultation on the draft plan will run until 3 March 2017.

Draft City West Neighbourhood Plan
Brisbane City Council has released a draft City West Neighbourhood Plan for public comment following consultation on a renewal strategy in 2015 and review from the State Government. The draft City West Neighbourhood Plan contains a focus on protecting the area's heritage and character (including adding 9 sites to the pre-1911 building overlay).

Cases – Victoria

Capital Alliance Investment Group Pty Ltd v Minister for Planning [2016] VCAT 1940
Proposal to amend development plan; Proposed high rise building; Expansive relevant planning controls, policies and approved development plans; Various versions of amended development plan; Criticism of a site specific development plan; Character of the area and broader precinct; Overshadowing including winter shadow to public open space.

Cases – Queensland

Land Services of Coast and Country Inc v Chief Executive, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection & Anor [2016] QSC 272
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS FOR REVIEW – ERROR OF LAW – where a delegate of the first respondent made a decision to grant an environmental authority to the second respondent pursuant to s 194(2)(ii) of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) ("EPA") – where the applicant submits that ss 3 and 5 of the EPA, taken together, obliges the delegate to be positively satisfied that in making a decision under s 194(2)(ii) of the EPA, the delegate is exercising her power in a way that best achieves the object of the EPA – whether the legislative scheme of the EPA is consistent with the applicant's proposed construction – whether delegate's decision involved an error of law.

Platinum Design Architects v Brisbane City Council [2016] QPEC 058
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPEAL – where the respondent Council refused a development application seeking a development permit for a multi-unit dwelling – conflict – number of storeys – grounds – whether sufficient grounds to justify an approval despite conflict.

Kissane & Ors v Brisbane City Council [2016] QPEC 057
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPEAL – appeal against a development application seeking development permits for multi-unit dwellings – conflict with planning scheme – unacceptable bushfire risks – amenity and character impacts – Grounds – whether sufficient grounds to justify an approval despite conflict.

Harburg Nominees Pty Ltd v Brisbane City Council & Anor [2016] QPEC 056
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING – DEVELOPMENT CONTROL – CONSENTS, APPROVALS, PERMITS AND AGREEMENTS – CONDITIONS – RELEVANCE AND REASONABLENESS – GENERALLY – where Appellant made a development application for a development permit for a material change of use for medium impact industry – where development application approved subject to conditions – where conditions required road works on a state controlled road to be completed – whether the conditions imposed satisfy section 345 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld).

Legislation – Commonwealth

Renew Australia Bill 2016
Registered 21 November 2016; Introduced HR 21 November 2016.
The Bill establishes Renew Australia, an authority to plan and drive the transition to a new clean energy system. The objects of the Bill are to help reduce Australia's greenhouse gas pollution by transforming Australia's electricity system.

High Speed Rail Planning Authority Bill 2016
Registered 21 November 2016; Introduced HR 21 November 2016.
The Bill establishes an Authority to continue work towards establishing high speed rail on the east coast of Australia. The objects of the Bill are to establish an Authority to advise on, plan and develop high speed rail (HSR) and to ensure the HSR corridor is preserved.

Legislation – New South Wales

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament – 18 November 2016

Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2016

Proclamations commencing Acts

Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Amendment (Container Deposit Scheme) Act 2016 No 57 (2016-675) — published LW 17 November 2016.

Bills assented to

Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 No 63 — Assented to 23 November 2016.

Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Amendment Act 2016 No 59 — Assented to 14 November 2016.

For the full text of Bills, and details on the passage of Bills, see here.

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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