Australia: Whats news in planning & environment? - 1 March 2017

In the media – National

No room for partisan politics in energy
Representatives of Australian communities, including civil society, households, workers, investors, business energy users and energy suppliers today challenged all political leaders to stop partisan antics and work together to reform Australia's energy systems and markets to deliver the reliable, affordable and clean energy that is critical to wellbeing, employment and prosperity (13 February 2017). More...

Solar batteries 'exploding' in popularity with uptake tipped to triple: audit
The first national audit of batteries that store solar power shows almost 7,000 were installed in Australian homes last year — and that's predicted to triple this year (14 February 2017). More...

Renewables the solution to rising power prices: Energy Australia
One of the country's largest operators of coal-fired power stations warns big bills are on the way after recent extreme weather and says renewables are the key to driving down prices (14 February 2017). More...

Government forces foreign nationals to sell over $100m worth of illegally acquired Australian real estate
Treasurer the Hon. Scott Morrison has ordered the forced sale of a further 15 Australian residential properties held by foreign nationals in breach of the foreign investment framework, taking the total number of forced sales to 61, with a combined value of $107 million. The 15 latest properties are located in Victoria and Queensland (06 February 2017). More...

Federal Court ruling puts Indigenous Land Use Agreements in doubt
A ruling by the full bench of the Federal Court over Indigenous Land Use Agreements in WA could have implications for pastoral, mining, oil, gas, and governments (08 February 2017). More... More...

Wholesale electricity price spikes in New South Wales and Queensland triggers regulator report
The wholesale electricity spot price in New South Wales and Queensland exceeded $5000/MWh on two occasions on Monday 6 February, reaching $11,692/MWh at 4.30pm and $6,392/MWh at 5pm in New South Wales and $11,028/MWh at 4.30pm and $6,319/MWh at 5pm in Queensland (07 February 2017). More...

CEFC seeks investors following $75m cornerstone commitment to Palisade Renewable Energy Fund
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is looking to attract mid-tier and large institutional investors to support the next wave of renewable energy projects, with a $75 million cornerstone commitment to a new specialist renewable energy fund managed by Palisade Investment Partners (09 February 2017). More...

Government forces foreign nationals to sell over $100m worth of illegally acquired Australian real estate
Treasurer the Hon. Scott Morrison has ordered the forced sale of a further 15 Australian residential properties held by foreign nationals in breach of the foreign investment framework, taking the total number of forced sales to 61, with a combined value of $107 million. The 15 latest properties are located in Victoria and Queensland (06 February 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

Cowboy developers thumb noses at planning minister, fight order to rebuild pub
The developers who illegally demolished Carlton's Corkman Irish Pub and then promised to rebuild it, are fighting an Andrews government reconstruction order (13 February 2017). More...

Emergency heritage listing for St Kilda Road and surrounds
The Federal Government has granted emergency heritage protection to St Kilda Road, including its famous tree-lined boulevard and surrounding environment, by adding it to the National Heritage register (13 February 2017). More...

Australia's tallest tower to be built in Melbourne
The Victorian Government approves plans for Australia's tallest building — a six-star, 90-storey hotel and apartment complex to be built by casino operator Crown Melbourne (09 February 2017). More...

Council endorses proposed change to its Local Laws
The City of Melbourne has endorsed a proposed change to our Activities Local Law to broaden the restrictions around camping to better balance the needs of all people in sharing public space (08 February 2017). More...

Banning Fracking Once And For All
Landmark legislation to permanently ban fracking for gas will today return to the Victorian Parliament as the Andrews Labor Government puts regional communities first. The Resources Legislation Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2016 amends the Petroleum Act 1998 and the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 to implement the permanent ban (08 February 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

All NSW merged councils to remain in place
In addition to maintaining all existing mergers, the Government will push ahead with those councils in Sydney that are before the courts. Local government reform is particularly important in Sydney if we are to deliver on our commitments to increase housing supply, improve planning and deliver local infrastructure and amenity to communities. These are strong justifications for proceeding with mergers (14 February 2017). More...

Australia's first renewable and advanced energy startup accelerator program launches in Sydney
Sydney will be home to Australia's first startup accelerator program focused on developing the state's renewable and advanced energy sector (13 February 2017). More...

Australia's largest solar farm proposal on exhibition
Sunraysia would be the first solar farm in NSW to use batteries to store energy. This would provide greater energy reliability and allow the solar farm to produce electricity during periods of peak demand rather than only during sunlight hours. The proposal is on public exhibition from 4 February until 5 March. More... More...

In the media – Queensland

Have your say on the proposed new Caloundra suburb
Members of the public and community groups are invited to have their say on a proposal to alter a locality boundary and create a new suburb in the Caloundra South Priority Development Area (PDA) (17 February 2017). More...

New coal mine takes key step forward
Queensland's latest coal mine proposal - the $1 billion Olive Downs mine near Moranbah - is a step closer after been given coordinated project status (17 February 2017). More...

Work starts on master-planned future for Townsville Port
Work has officially begun on a master plan to drive economic development in and around the Port of Townsville (16 February 2017). More...

Environmental authority register adds to transparency
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection's expanded online environmental authority (EA) register will add to the public transparency surrounding these documents (16 February 2017). More...

Parliament progresses local management by irrigators in regional Qld
Irrigators from rural communities are one step closer to managing their own schemes after the Water (Local Management Arrangements) Amendment Bill 2016 was passed by the Parliament (16 February 2017). More...

Linc Energy's contamination zone widens another 25 kilometres
The Environment Department's Anne Lenz said three out of the 12 private properties outside the exclusion zone tested had flammable levels of hydrogen, but that number could change. A conditional litigation funding agreement had been reached with a financial backer in London and subject to due diligence, and a class action would be able to proceed within weeks on behalf of 127 claimants (10 February 2017). More...

Gas contamination of land south of Chinchilla
Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles today emphasised the Palaszczuk Government's priority is to provide support and advice to the landholders in the Chinchilla and Hopeland communities (10 February 2017). More...

North Queensland Stadium another step closer to kick-off
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham today announced that CPB Contractors, Watpac Construction and Lendlease Building will be invited to tender next week for the managing contractor role. This project is a key component of the Palaszczuk Government's wider commitment to advancing North Queensland, with more than $2.4 billion in infrastructure improvements allocated in NQ in the 2016-17 State Budget (10 February 2017). More...

In practice and courts – Commonwealth

Proposed Basin Plan amendments — Invitation for public submissions extended
The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (the Authority), acting pursuant to subsection 47(4) and (5) of the Water Act 2007 (Cth) has sought submissions from interested persons on proposed Basin Plan amendments.

In practice and courts – Victoria

Government Renewable Energy Purchasing
The Victorian Government will run a tender to help build 75MW of new large scale solar farms, delivering $150 million in new capital investment and 300 new jobs. Around 35MW of the new solar farms will be linked to Melbourne's tram network. An open tender will be run in the first half of 2017 to build Victoria's first large scale solar farms by the end of 2018. More...

Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market
The Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market, chaired by Dr Alan Finkel AO, is commencing a wide-ranging public consultation process on its Preliminary Report to inform the development of recommendations for the final blueprint. The Preliminary Report has been released and is available here. More...

In practice and courts – New South Wales

New Regulations to Introduce e-Lodgment for Councils
The Department of Planning and Environment is exhibiting draft regulations, that will introduce e-Lodgement for complying development applications and development applications, until 15 March 2017. Submissions close on 15 March 2017. More...

Consultation: 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

Revised EA register is due to come online February 17
The upgraded register would dramatically increase the number of EAs available online. The revised EA register was part of EHP's move to its new Connect system.

Ongoing management of south-west Queensland soil gas contamination
As has occurred throughout this investigation, EHP will continue to ensure the community remains informed of the extent of the contamination and the government's response to it. For further information contact: (10 February 2017). More...

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.

Cases – Commonwealth

Western Australian Planning Commission v Southregal Pty Ltd; Western Australian Planning Commission v Leith [2017] HCA 7
Appeal allowed. Town planning (WA) – Compensation – Where land reserved for public purpose under planning scheme – Where s 173 of Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA) makes provision for landowner to be compensated where land injuriously affected by making or amendment of planning scheme – Where, under s 177, compensation not payable until land first sold after reservation or responsible authority refuses development application or grants application on unacceptable conditions – Where landowners purchased land affected by planning scheme after date of reservation – Where purchasers applied to develop land and were refused – Whether purchasers entitled to compensation. Words and phrases – "compensation", "injurious affection", "planning scheme", "reservation".

Cases – Victoria

Forbes v Vukadinovic [2017] VSC 20
PLANNING – Broiler farms – Classification of broiler farms – Separation distance – Time for assessing broiler farm classification and separation distance – Time for assessing facts relevant to planning schemes considerations and Code compliance – Significance of two pre-fabricated dwellings placed by plaintiffs within separation distance of proposed broiler farms prior to hearing by Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic) s 148(1); Victorian Code for Broiler Farms 2009.

Creative Property Developments Pty Ltd v Stonnington CC [2017] VCAT 164
The application for a declaration is affirmed. Clause 3.0 of the General Residential Zone (Schedule 10) of the Stonnington Planning Scheme enables a permit to be granted for a building or an extension to a building on the land at 90-96 Mathoura Road, Toorak that is no higher than the immediately adjacent building/s which is/are facing the same street in the same zone, being the building/s at 86A-88 Mathoura Road, Toorak.

Dinopoulos v Darebin CC [2017] VCAT 118
Nightingale Model; Fairfield Village Activity Centre; Commercial 1 Zone; reduction of car parking requirements to zero; Heritage Overlay HO106; Fairfield Railway Station Signal Box; overshadowing of public realm; internal amenity.

Cases – Queensland

Whitsunday Regional Council v Branbid Pty Ltd [2017] QPEC 003
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – whether the use of the respondent's land for the temporary accommodation of people in campervans and/or tents, without an effective development permit, is a development offence – whether an enforcement order ought to be made.

Swan v Santos GLNG Pty Ltd & Ors [2017] QPEC 002
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT; ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: Where applicant asserts that the first three respondents have breached Environmental Authorities affecting his land imposed in relation to the Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas Transmission pipeline that was constructed over part of the land in 2013 – 2014; where the applicant seeks orders pursuant to s505(5) of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
PARTICULARS: where first three respondents assert that the case presented against them was never properly particularised by the applicant as to the offences alleged to have been committed, and the dates and facts and circumstances of such offences.
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION: where Environmental Authorities issued under the EPA are Statutory Instruments and to be construed in accordance with general principles of statutory construction.
NO CASE TO ANSWER: where respondents filed a no case application prior to trial which was heard as part of the trial process; whether the respondents had a case to answer in the absence of proper particulars and/or where remedies sought were incompetent and beyond the jurisdiction of the Court.

Legislation – Commonwealth


Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Amendment (Polar Code) Bill 2017
Registered 16/02/2017; Introduced HR 16/02/2017 - The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 (the POTS Act) to implement amendments to Annexes I, II, IV and V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL).

Infrastructure Australia Amendment (Social Sustainability) Bill 2017
Registered 13/02/2017; Introduced HR 13/02/2017 – The purpose of the Bill is to strengthen the social and community benefit considerations that are assessed when Infrastructure Australia looks at the value of infrastructure projects, auditing existing infrastructure, compiling lists of infrastructure priorities and developing infrastructure plans. It also requires Infrastructure Australia to consult with the community when developing corporate plans.

Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017
Registered 13/02/2017; Introduced HR 13/02/2017 – The Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 amends the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), to resolve the uncertainty created by the Full Federal Court decision in McGlade v Native Title Registrar & Ors [2017] FCAFC 10, regarding area Indigenous Land Use Agreements (area ILUAs). The primary objectives of the Bill include confirming the legal status and enforceability of agreements which have been registered by the Native Title Registrar on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements without the signature of all members of a registered native title claimant (RNTC).

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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