Australia: Analysis: Discussion draft of EPA Amendment Bill 2017 (NSW)

The Department of Planning and Environment has published a public consultation draft Bill (Draft Bill) amending the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EPA Act). This accompanies (former) Minister Stokes' media release and plain English summary of the Government's proposed 'tweaks' to the EPA Act ( see our earlier summary here). Public comment on the Draft Bill is invited until 10 March, 2017.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DRAFT BILL INCLUDE:

  • New mandatory community participation requirements (Schedule 2, Division 2.6): These apply to all consent authorities including the Minister and the Planning Assessment Commission (now to be renamed 'Independent Planning Commission'). Of concern is that the requirements will be mandatory. This obligation will provide fertile ground for legal challenges to the validity of development consents and Planning Proposals. Planning authorities are to have in place, as a mandatory provision, their own community consultation plan which must have regard to specified public consultation principles. The principles are based on the premise that the community has a right to be informed about planning matters that affect it. Further, communities are to be consulted about any proposed major development before a development application is made.
  • Council consultation: The Independent Planning Commission (IPC), a Sydney district or regional planning panel cannot exercise a function that will, or might, reasonably be expected to have a significantly adverse financial impact on a council, until after it has consulted with that council. The parameters around what might constitute a significant adverse financial impact are not specified. This provision has the potential to delay panel decisions, pending necessary council consultation.
  • Public hearing requirements for the IPC: These requirements are set out in Part 2 of Schedule 2 of the Draft Bill. They are helpful but would be enhanced by a requirement for the IPC to specify that a meeting actually constitutes a 'public hearing' where that is the case. There are no specified natural justice requirements. Proponents continue to be at risk of not having an opportunity to adequately respond to submissions made by objectors and others, particularly those issues that arise in oral representations without prior notice.
  • Changes to the current Planning Proposal regime are in Schedule 3: These include naming authorities undertaking Planning Proposals as 'planning proposal authorities'. The Minister or the Greater Sydney Commission can direct the Secretary of the Department to be the planning proposal authority. This can also happen in specified cases, including where a council has failed to comply with its obligations in relation to making of a proposed environmental planning instrument.
  • Review of plans: Environmental planning instruments (including LEPs) are required to be reviewed every 5 years (new s73(2)). A new obligation is proposed requiring councils to prepare a local strategic planning statement and review that every 5 years.
  • Switching off consent conditions: Updated new section 80A(4A) allows consent conditions to be imposed that cease to have effect on the issue of an authorisation under another Act. For example, where an environment protection licence (EPL) is issued by the EPA that deals with the same impact as an earlier development consent condition, the EPL can "take over" regulation of that impact. This is a positive amendment that ought to avoid inconsistency between development consent conditions and the terms of other permits and authorisations. However, the provision will only apply where a consent condition specifies that it ceases to have effect – this means it is likely to only operate for development consents granted after the Draft Bill is enacted.
  • Modifications to development consents are to be amended: Section 96 is to have a new provision requiring the consent authority to take into consideration the reasons given by the consent authority for the grant of the original development consent. Importantly an updated section 96(3A) prevents the grant of consent to a modification which seeks to authorise unlawful works already undertaken.
  • Infrastructure corridor controls: There may be valuation impacts for land designated as an "infrastructure corridor" under Schedule 5 Division 5.3. It is proposed that a SEPP may designate land to be within an infrastructure corridor for purposes such as road, rail, pipeline or other linear infrastructure. That designation cannot occur unless the land is zoned for that future purpose, is designated in a strategic plan or where concurrence of another public authority is required for development consent. Development applications within infrastructure corridors will require concurrence of specified public authorities. Where concurrence is refused, the relevant consent authority (eg council) can seek a review of the concurrence refusal.
  • Updated building certificates: Provisions relating to building certification have been consolidated. Certifiers will be able to require the issue of owners building manuals for specified types of building (Schedule 6, Division 6.27).
  • Expansion of SICs: Amendments proposed to section 93F will allow the imposition of State Infrastructure Contributions (SICs) on complying development certificates. Also, the Minister will be able to direct the method of determining the extent of the provision of public benefits to be made under a planning agreement (proposed section 93K(b)). The Minister will be able to give a direction to a council or other consent authority to impose a condition requiring a development contribution to be made or requiring a person to obtain a determination from the Secretary of the Department as to whether a development contribution is required to be made.
  • Housekeeping: Provisions relating to reviews of development consent and modification refusals have been updated and consolidated. Reviews relating to integrated development are no longer excluded. The former constraint on extensions of lapsing of development consents to one year will be removed.
  • Part 3A Repeal: Unfortunately the Draft Bill is silent on the new provisions that will apply following the complete repeal of Part 3A, leaving the ongoing operation of Concept Plan Approvals and Project Approvals and the modification process to new Regulations which are not yet available. Of particular concern here is the proposal for s75W modifications to be repealed. This is likely to mean that the 'substantially the same development' test which currently applies under section 96 will operate, rather than the very much more extensive modification regime available under the current s75W.

CONCLUSION

The Draft Bill attempts to organise the EPA Act in a more logical way, which is positive.

Opportunities missed are:

  1. to articulate the savings and transitional provisions around repeal of Part 3A; and
  2. allowing appeals or review of delayed council approval of designs of public domain areas, including roads.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Chambers Asia Pacific Awards 2016 Winner – Australia
Client Service Award
Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (WGEA)

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Norton Rose Fulbright Australia
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Norton Rose Fulbright Australia
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions