Australia: Planning & Environment - Whats News - 28 March 2017

Last Updated: 31 March 2017
Article by Joseph Monaghan, Breellen Warry, Peter Holt and Gerard Timbs

Most Read Contributor in Australia, July 2017

In the media – National

Farmers sceptical of Nationals plan to give gas royalties to landowners
Farmers say they support the idea to compensate landowners for hosting gas wells on their property, but they still have concerns about the potential damage gas extraction could have on their land and water (18 March 2017). More...

Energy companies want rewards for keeping the lights on
In a submission to the Finkel Review, some of Australia's major energy companies have called for an end to "piecemeal" climate and energy policy and a "reward structure" for picking up the slack when renewable sources fail (17 March 2017). More...

Snowy Hydro expansion could open the floodgates to the future
Upgrading the iconic Snowy Hydro Scheme could boost the flexibility of Australia's energy system and help it make the best possible use of our world-leading renewable energy resources, the Clean Energy Council said today (16 March 2017). More...

CEFC announces next wave of large-scale solar finance, for projects in Queensland and Victoria
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced the latest wave of successful transactions under its large-scale solar financing program, investing $77 million in three new projects in Queensland and Victoria (13 March 2017). More...

Global carbon emissions flat despite economic growth, raising hopes of downward trend
A greener energy mix has helped keep energy-related carbon dioxide emissions flat in 2016 according to International Energy Agency data, showing countries are able to have economic growth while reducing emissions (18 March 2017). More...

Australia's first virtual power plant goes live in South Australia
Australia's largest operating virtual power plant is now live with the first tranche of solar battery storage installations 'switching on' to power local homes and businesses across Adelaide. AGL Energy Limited's Virtual Power Plant project will operate as a 5 MW solar power plant by installing batteries that 'talk' to each other through a cloud-based platform to form a connected system (16 March 2017). More...

Can urban congestion really be solved with high speed rail?
Australian capital cities are facing challenges of diminishing housing affordability, increasing urban congestion, a perceived infrastructure shortfall and growing inequality, yet regional cities are declining. Both CLARA and the HSR Phase 2 study largely agree on the benefits of high-speed rail (15 March 2017). More...

Energy retailers making millions off solar feed-in rates
Energy retailers are buying electricity from homeowners with solar panels at lower prices than what they would pay on the wholesale market (10 March 2017). More...

AGL joins calls for carbon price
One of Australia's largest electricity providers joins the National Farmers' Federation in calling for a carbon price (07 March 2017). More...

Terms of Reference released for freight inquiry
A panel of transport industry experts has been appointed to help the Federal government to develop a blueprint for Infrastructure investment in the 21st century (09 March 2017). More...

Carbon Positive Roadmap will pave the way for climate action
All new buildings must be emissions-neutral by 2030 and all existing buildings by 2050 if Australia is to meet its climate change targets, says the GBCA. Chief Executive Officer Romilly Madew says the GBCA is developing a new 'Carbon Positive Roadmap' in close consultation with industry to drive carbon positive buildings and communities (06 March 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

Melbourne council announces plans to replace carpark with open space
A $60-million multi-functional park in Prahran, which the City of Stonnington has compared to Federation Square in the CBD, will provide desperately needed open space in Melbourne's inner south-east, the council says (19 March 2017). More...

An advertising sign no more?
The tribunal hearing about the 500 Flinders St sign was a very complex case that was heard by a deputy president of the tribunal and leading planning barristers represented the council and permit applicant. This is an indication of the amount of revenue big advertising signs can generate (17 March 2017). More...

Retail Job Bonanza as The Glen launches Massive Redevelopment
A massive $490 million re-development of The Glen Shopping Centre in Glen Waverley is set to create more than 2,350 new jobs and further cement Melbourne's reputation as the nation's retail capital (14 March 2017). More...

Saving the Backyard and Boosting Liveability
Minister for Planning Richard Wynne announced changes today, which follow a review of suburban Residential Zones. There will no longer be a cap on how many dwellings can be built on a block, but new requirements mean developments must have a mandatory percentage of garden space. The changes are linked to the Government's refreshed Plan Melbourne (11 March 2017). More...

Review of residential zones completed
The government has completed a review of the residential zones that were introduced into Victorian planning schemes in 2014 – the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, the General Residential Zone, and the Residential Growth Zone (11 March 2017). More...

Fracking Banned in Victoria, Giving Certainty to Farmers

The Resources Legislation Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2016 has passed through the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament without amendment. The permanent legislative ban will protect the 'clean, green' reputation of Victoria's agriculture sector, which employs more than 190,000 people (07 March 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

NSW announces record growth in renewables, but no plan to join leading states
NSW has more than doubled its renewable energy generation over the past six years and now enjoys the highest proportion of direct renewable energy jobs in Australia, according to its just released NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan annual report. However, there's currently no plan to go beyond a 20 per cent renewables target by 2020 (16 March 2017). More...

Beaches Link plans revealed
The NSW Government has revealed a preferred route for the Beaches Link and Western Harbour tunnels (16 March 2017). More...

NSW is the national solar leader
Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts said new solar proposals could generate more than 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity, enough clean energy supply to power 365,000 homes across NSW (16 March 2017). More...

Call to local councils as floodplain management grants open for applications
Grant funding to assist councils in carrying out floodplain management projects to help manage flood risk open for applications today, announced the NSW Government (16 March 2017). More...

Social and affordable housing fund first phase to deliver thousands of homes
The NSW Government has taken a major step towards delivering thousands of additional homes for vulnerable people across the State, with contracts awarded for the first phase of the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) (10 March 2017). More...

In the media – Queensland

Queensland Building Plan: Why six star apartments may not be the target
Consultation ends this month on reform proposals for both the residential and commercial building and development sector. A draft non-mandatory maintenance code for energy efficiency in the ongoing operation of commercial buildings has also been developed and forms part of the current consultation documents (15 March 2017). More...

Opportunity open for info on Spit proposals
Locals are being encouraged to find out more about proposals to protect The Spit's parkland and develop an integrated resort development (14 March 2017). More...

Tunnel plan for Queensland University
A Tunnel would be built to carry buses to a major new underground transit centre below the University of Queensland, according to a fresh masterplan for the St Lucia campus. The draft masterplan will be released on Monday, open to public consultation for a month, with a final version to be released in July (11 March 2017). More...

Solar future for public housing in Queensland
A trial to deliver electricity savings for some of the community's most vulnerable electricity customers will be rolled out in four Queensland locations (10 March 2017). More...

'No logical explanation': Brisbane's soaring land valuations puzzle experts
While Valuer general Neil Bray said the valuations are "all down to the market", experts said these valuations are well above Brisbane's residential property price growth. The Brisbane market value of land has not gone up by 10 per cent (09 March 2017). More...

Noise and traffic concerns for microbrewery plans
A newly presented proposal to transform a Bulimba building into a microbrewery has attracted resistance from residents, despite the application not yet opening to public comment (08 March 2017). More...

Billion dollar farmland sale to foreign investor on the cards if cane land rezoned
The sale of Gold Coast cane farms could carry the biggest price tag of any Australian land deal to a foreign investor (07 March 2017). More...

In practice and courts – Victoria

Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 Launched
Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 was launched on 11 March 2017. Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 sets out the strategy for supporting jobs and growth, while building on Melbourne's legacy of distinctiveness, liveability and sustainability. A separate Implementation Plan contains 112 actions to deliver the strategy. Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 will be given statutory effect through amendments to the State Planning Policy Framework within the Victoria Planning Provisions (16 March 2017). More...

In practice and courts – Queensland

Queensland Building Plan: discussion paper
The government would be rolling out a comprehensive consultation program through early 2017 with public consultation sessions right across the state. The Queensland Building Plan discussion paper and information about the consultation can be found at Have your say on the Queensland Building Plan Closes: 31 March 2017.

Cases – Victoria

Rajendran v Heritage Council [2017] VSCA 48
TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING – Heritage buildings, places and objects – Application for an order in the nature of mandamus – Property registered on Victorian Heritage Register – Scope of the Court's power to compel removal of the property where no relevant application made under the Heritage Act 1995 for its removal - Heritage Act 1995 ss 15, 19, 42, 54, 64 – Application for leave to appeal refused.

Cases – Queensland

Brisbane City Council v Reynolds & Anor [2017] QPEC 012
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – BUILDING WORK – EXISTING RESIDENTIAL DWELLING - where a building development application is made to a private certifier (class A) under the Building Act 1975 seeking a development permit for building work – where the building work is assessable development, required to be assessed against the building assessment provisions under the Building Act 1975 – where a decision to refuse as directed by Council as concurrence agency was appealed to the Building and Development Committee - whether the appeal to the Building and Development Committee was only an appeal about a referral agency's response concerning the amenity and aesthetic impact of a building or structure – whether the Chairperson of the Committee was an architect – whether the decision of the Committee should be set aside on the basis the Committee was not properly constituted.

McConaghy Properties Pty Ltd v Townsville City Council & Anor [2017] QPEC 011
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – Appeal against approval of major commercial development including a supermarket, specialty shops - land currently zoned open space, sport and recreation purposes – land owned and occupied by rugby union association – relocation of existing use to larger facilities subject of future application, assess and approval.
OUT OF CENTRE DEVELOPMENT – provision of the necessities of life (food and groceries) - whether unacceptable adverse impacts on the centres network – whether unacceptable adverse impacts on the open space network - whether unacceptable adverse impacts on the traffic network.
CONFLICT – Conflict with the scheme – at serious end of spectrum - whether the proposal will meet an existing town planning and community need, and economic need, without unacceptable amenity or economic impacts; whether the proposal will create a definable node of uses; whether the proposal will result in improvements to the road network; whether proposal will provide additional employment opportunities during construction and operation; whether the zoning of the subject land has been "overtaken by events" - whether sufficient grounds to approve the application despite the conflicts.

Brisbane City Council v Atkins [2017] QPEC 010
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – BUILDING WORK – EXISTING RESIDENTIAL DWELLING - Where a building development application is made to a private certifier (class A) under the Building Act 1975 seeking a development permit for building work – Where the building work is assessable development, required to be assessed against the building assessment provisions under the Building Act 1975 – Where a decision to refuse as directed by Council as concurrence agency was appealed to the Building and Development Committee - Whether the appeal to the Building and Development Committee was only an appeal about a referral agency's response concerning the amenity and aesthetic impact of a building or structure – Whether the Chairperson of the Committee was an architect – Whether the decision of the Committee should be set aside on the basis the Committee was not properly constituted.

Lipoma Pty Ltd v Minister for State Development & Anor [2017] QPEC 006
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING – DEVELOPMENT CONTROL – CONSENTS, APPROVALS, PERMITS AND AGREEMENTS – CONDITIONS – MODIFICATION – OTHER MATTERS – where a development approval was granted – where the development approval was subject to a ministerial call-in pursuant to the Integrated Planning Act 1997 (Qld) – where the development approval was subject to a permissible change request – whether the permissible change request was made to the correct responsible entity under section 369 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) – whether non-compliance with the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) should be excused under section 440.

Eastpoint Mackay Pty Ltd v Mackay Regional Council [2017] QPEC 009
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – DISCLOSURES – whether documents are directly relevant to the issues in dispute.

Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group Pty Ltd v Moreton Bay Regional Council [2017] QPEC 008
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPLICANT APPEAL AGAINST REFUSAL OF AN ADVERTISING SIGN – whether approval would conflict with the advertising sign code in the planning scheme – whether conflict with corresponding code in new planning scheme.

LMRM Pty Ltd v Brisbane City Council [2017] QPEC 007
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – COSTS – where respondent successful in application to expand the issues in dispute – where additional issues initially opposed on the basis that they went beyond the reasons for refusal and the respondent had not explained why the additional issues were not in its reasons for refusal – where consent ultimately given to orders expanding the issues once particulars where given – where particulars had not been requested until the hearing of the application – whether appellant ought to pay the costs of the respondent's application.

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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