Australia: Planning & Environment - Whats News - 1 February 2017

In the media – National

Battling progress: Developer stoushes to watch in 2017
With the huge sums of money being paid for capital city development sites it was not surprising that 2016 was a big year for battles between property developers seeking the most bang for their buck and local councils and residents seeking to block inappropriate or over-zealous projects (17 January 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

A win for jobs and industry in Portland
The landmark agreement will see Victoria making a significant contribution over four years to sustain the Portland Smelter, with the Federal Government also providing support (20 January 2017). More...

Melbourne tram network to use solar energy by end of 2018
A new solar energy plant to be built in regional Victoria will run Melbourne's entire tram network by the end of 2018, the State Government says (19 January 2017). More...

Costly outcome for Hallam man after court upholds fine
A $607 Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) fine issued to a Hallam man for throwing a lit cigarette butt out of his car window has proven costly after the fine was upheld in court this week, which also ruled he must now also pay $2000 in EPA's legal costs (19 January 2017). More...

A Stronger EPA For a Healthier Victoria
The Andrews Labor Government will boost the powers of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) with an immediate injection of $45.5 million over two years, with a five year reform program to implement the recommendations of the independent inquiry into the EPA released today (17 January 2017). More...

Victorian EPA finally gets some teeth
In the first major revamp since the environmental watchdog was established 45 years ago, the Victorian Government this week released a five-year reform program and funding package. The funds will kick start reforms over the next two years with a new interim advisory board has been appointed to guide the reforms (19 January 2017). More...

Climate Change and the Victorian Bushfire Threat
Victoria is on the brink of an extreme bushfire season as climate change continues to intensify bushfire risk, our new report reveals. The economic toll of Victoria's bushfires is projected to more than double by 2050, with the state bearing the brunt of Australia's economic losses from bushfires, the report finds (18 January 2017). More...

Hazelwood owners Engie tender for large-scale solar projects in Australia
French energy giant Engie is calling for tenders for large-scale solar power station developments in Australia. The company is shifting away from brown coal-fired power generation and is inviting submissions for Australian solar development sites (17 January 2017). More...

A Road Map for More Affordable Housing
In a unique collaboration, 57 new affordable homes will be built on vacant VicRoads' land in Melbourne's inner west. The lease of land, will be managed by Department of Health and Human Services, will be set at a period of five years with a 12 month notice to vacate should VicRoads require the land to be returned for infrastructure projects (11 January 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

NSW planning legislation updates propose council power to issue stop-work on low-impact development
NSW councils could have the power to issue a "stop-work" on low-impact development under proposed changes to the state's planning legislation. The reforms would give council the ability to pause development done under a complying development certificate – a combined planning and building approval – as council had "limited time" to apply checks and balances to such a speedy process (20 January 2017). More...

Run-off from agriculture and urban environments listed as a major threat to fisheries
Climate change and agricultural run-off are listed as two of the biggest threats to the state's marine waters in a new report (20 January 2017). More...

Community information sessions for the future of the Far West
The community is being encouraged to attend drop-in information sessions in February to learn more about the NSW Government's first ever draft plan for the Far West (18 January 2017). More...

Sydney Metro gets the go-ahead to travel under Harbour
The second stage of the Sydney Metro tunnels project, which will run under Sydney Harbour and the CBD, has been given the go-ahead (11 January 2017). More...

In the media – Queensland

KRAG has win in court over proposed shopping centre
The Kepnock Residents Action Group had a hollow victory in the Planning and Environment Court on Tuesday. Judge Michael Rackemann allowed the appeal on the basis the developer, Janam Pty Ltd, was no longer proceeding with the development application (21 January 2017). More...

What Neighbourhood Plans Are Bolstering Property Developments in Brisbane
Brisbane City Council has a number of neighbourhood plans in the works, and these plans are currently in key phases during 2017 (20 January 2017). More...

Palaszczuk Government welcomes release of second Building Queensland Pipeline
The Palaszczuk Government has welcomed the release of Building Queensland's second Infrastructure Pipeline Report, an independent analysis of Queensland's priority infrastructure projects (16 January 2017). More...

Archaeologists inspecting historic Brisbane buildings as casino construction begins
The developers of Brisbane's Queens Wharf casino project say precautions are being taken to protect nearby historic buildings, as construction work ramps up in the area (16 January 2017). More...

In practice and courts – Commonwealth

Current and future impacts of climate change on marine fisheries and biodiversity
On 14 September 2016, the Senate referred the following matters related to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 June 2017.

Call for Nominations - Threatened species, ecological communities or key threatening processes
Nominations are invited for species, ecological communities or key threatening processes to be considered for listing under national environment law during the assessment period starting 1 October 2017 (13 January 2017).

2016: global heat record broken again
Climate Council: Will Steffan, David Alexander, Martin Rice; 19 January 2017
This report reveals that worldwide heat records have been broken again, with 2016 declared the hottest for a third consecutive year.

In practice and courts – New South Wales

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2016

Planning legislation updates: summary of proposals January 2017
Department of Planning and Environment (NSW): 10 January 2017
This guide sets out the NSW Government's proposals to update the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) through a series of targeted amendments.

NSW: Coastal SEPP –Extension to Consultation Period
The consultation period on the draft Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy, accompanying maps and the draft section 117 Ministerial direction has been extended to 20 January 2017.

Have your say on the Greater Sydney Commission's draft District Plans
The Greater Sydney Commission has put on public exhibition the 40-year vision, Towards our Greater Sydney 2056, and 20-year draft District Plans, one for each of Greater Sydney's six Districts. Have your say - read the draft District Plans and make a formal submission by 31 March 2017. More...

In practice and courts – Queensland

Consultation: Draft South East Queensland Regional Plan (ShapingSEQ)
Following collaboration with the region's 12 local governments, state agencies, and community and business, ShapingSEQ is open for community feedback until 3 March 2017. ShapingSEQ is the Queensland Government's new regional planning framework to sustainably manage change and growth in South East Queensland. See ShapingSEQ website to view the plan and find out how you can have your say.

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. More... More...

Draft Great Artesian Basin and Other Regional Aquifers Water Plan
Developed to replace the existing Water Resource (Great Artesian Basin) Plan 2006 (GAB WRP) which is due to expire on 1 September 2017. Submissions on the draft water plan close on 17 April 2017. More...

Water Queensland
Tenders opened on 02 December 2016 for up to 50,250 megalitres of unallocated water from the Fitzroy Basin. Public information sessions will be held over the coming weeks in Central Queensland communities to provide information about the tender process. Tenders close 23 February 2017. More...

Cases – Victoria

Demediuk v Melbourne CC [2017] VCAT 46
Application under section 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – to review the decision to grant a permit. Partial demolition and construction of alterations and two storey addition to the rear of the exiting dwelling.

Cases – Queensland

Young v Salmon [2016] QCAT 508
TREE DISPUTE – VIEW – whether trees on the tree-keeper's property obscures a view from the neighbours' property – whether view existed when the property was purchased by the neighbour – whether severe obstruction of the view – where neighbour wants trees removed – where palm trees overhang neighbours property-where palm trees fruit and attract flying foxes and drop fruit in the neighbours property.

Legislation – New South Wales

Consultation or Exposure Bills
Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2017 – 09 January 2017
The objects of this Act are as follows:

  1. to promote the social and economic welfare of the community and a better environment by the proper management, development and conservation of the State's natural and other resources,
  2. to facilitate ecologically sustainable development by integrating relevant economic, environmental and social considerations indecision-making about environmental planning and assessment,
  3. to promote the timely delivery of business, employment and housing opportunities (including for housing choice and affordable housing),
  4. to protect the environment, including the conservation of threatened and other species of native animals and plants,
  5. to promote the sustainable management of built and cultural heritage (including Aboriginal cultural heritage),
  6. to promote good design in the built environment,
  7. to promote the sharing of the responsibility for environmental planning and assessment between the different levels of government in the State,
  8. to provide increased opportunity for community participation in environmental planning and assessment.

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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