Australia: Planning & Environment News – 24 May 2017

In the media – National

The 2017 budget has axed research to help Australia adapt to climate change
The 2017 federal budget has axed funding for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), an agency that provides information to decision-makers on how best to manage the risks. More...

Federal budget round-up: how the built environment sector reacted
There's been a mixed reaction to the federal budget, with mostly positive responses to a focus on infrastructure spending, mixed responses to housing affordability measures and dismay at the silence on the environment and climate change (10 May 2017). More...

CEFC large scale solar program commits over $370M to 10 projects with more than 400MW solar capacity
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has announced finance for its 10th project through its Large-Scale Solar Program, bringing its total program investment commitments to more than $370 million, accelerating projects with a total estimated project value of $900 million and a total generating capacity of more than 400MW (AC) (08 May 2017). More...

A record high for renewables investment in Australia
A report released today by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) detailing Australia's progress towards its 2020 renewable energy target reveals record high investment in renewables in 2016. Large-scale renewable energy investment was five times greater than that of 2015 (03 May 2017). More...

Environmental approval boosts economic development and jobs in Northern Australia
The Coalition Government has approved under national environment law a prawn aquaculture facility in the Northern Territory that will have significant benefits for the local and regional economies (11 May 2017). More...

We need to build smart from the start: GBCA
Tonight's city-building budget demands a laser-focus on long-term value, says the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). An online Commonwealth land registry will be established detailing sites that can be made available for residential development. This represents a fantastic opportunity for new world-class sustainable urban renewal (09 May 2017). More...

Developers welcome Budget's $70 bn infrastructure measures
The federal government's new measures to build more infrastructure and make housing more affordable have been welcomed by the development sector. Under the new measures outlined in the 2017-18 Budget released on 9th May, the federal government has allocated $1 billion for critical infrastructure and $70 billion for transport infrastructure (May 2017). More...

Turning waste into fuel
The Turnbull Government through the CEFC will lend $30 million to ResourceCo to transform non-recyclable waste into solid fuel, known as Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF). The project is being financed through the $1 billion Sustainable Cities Investment program, established to boost the use of renewable energy and clean technology in cities (04 May 2017). More...

Renewable Energy Target delivering: momentum building towards 2020 target
The Clean Energy Regulator believes the 2020 Renewable Energy Target remains achievable provided the current pace of investment continues throughout 2017 (03 May 2017). More...

CEFC commits over $780m to solar and eyes sector as key player in Australian energy transformation
The CEFC sees a bright future for Australia's rapidly developing solar industry, with its own investment commitments to the large and small-scale solar sector surpassing $780 million and unlocking projects and programs valued at over $2 billion (03 May 2017). More...

ARENA's new investment priorities to help Australia transition to reliable, affordable and low emission energy
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched its new Investment Plan outlining the investment priorities which will guide almost $800 million of funding over the coming years. ARENA will broaden its focus to address the challenges facing the energy system as Australia transitions to a low emission economy (02 May 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

New Victorian Planning Authority CEO
Experienced planning expert and public servant Stuart Moseley has been appointed the new CEO of the Victorian Planning Authority (11 May 2017). More...

The 2016-17 Victorian State Budget
2 May 2017 - The 2016-17 Victorian State Budget has been handed down in parliament by the Treasurer, Tim Pallas MP. The budget provides projections of government revenue and expenditure for the following year, and outlines services to be delivered. More...

Giving our regional communities certainty on gas
The Andrews Labor Government is giving farmers and regional communities the certainty they deserve by banning fracking and getting on with a geoscience program to better understand Victoria's gas supplies (02 May 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

Sydney increases tree spend as report shows big property value boost
The City of Sydney has revealed plans to spend an additional $8 million on street trees over the next 10 years.   More...

Final stage for WestConnex unveiled
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres today released the concept design for M4-M5 Link that will provide the vital connection between two of Sydney's busiest motorways. More...

NSW Government simplifies Crown land laws
The NSW Government has passed the Crown Land Legislation Amendment Bill, to improve and streamline legislation for the Crown estate, bringing seven separate pieces of legislation together into one (11 May 2017).  More...
For more information on the Crown Land Management Amendment Bill and the Crown Land Management Act visit

Department welcomes Auditor-General report into mine rehabilitation
An audit report on mine rehabilitation released today by the NSW Auditor-General has been welcomed by the Department of Planning and Environment, with work already underway that addresses some of the recommendations (11 May 2017).   More...

NSW Container Deposit Scheme to be studied for effectiveness
Researchers at the National Marine Science Centre hope the Container Deposit Scheme will pay dividends for NSW waterways (09 May 2017). More...

Skytrain Bridge brings metro a step closer
The deck of the landmark Sydney Metro bridge is in the air, bringing NSW's first metro railway one step closer. Stage 1 of Sydney Metro – the $8. billion Sydney Metro Northwest project – opens in the first half of 2019 (08 May 2017). More...

In the media – Queensland

Heritage buildings protected for future generations
The Palaszczuk Government has ensured heritage buildings in Queensland will be better protected as result of tighter laws and tougher penalties passed by parliament tonight (10 May 2017). More...

PCA: South East Queensland primed to deliver Australia's showpiece City Deal
The Property Council has welcomed the Federal Government's commitment to a future City Deal for South East Queensland (SEQ) in tonight's Federal Budget. An SEQ City Deal will ensure all three levels of government are aligned on the strategies to drive the local economy, tackle housing affordability, improve our connectivity and maintain our enviable lifestyle (09 May 2017). More...

Collinsville Solar farm reaches financial close
Queensland continues to add more renewable megawatts and more renewable jobs to its economy, with the latest milestone for the Collinsville Solar farm reaching financial close (08 May 2017). More...

Mine 'bond' & rehab reforms protect environment, jobs
Major reforms to mine rehabilitation and the financial "bonds" for mines will better protect the environment and taxpayers, and encourage jobs, more investment and growth in the resources sector (04 May 2017). More...

Reedy Creek residents welcome quarry decision but warnings construction costs could rise
Reedy Creek residents are celebrating a court ruling against a proposed quarry but the construction industry says the decision will add $15,000 to the cost of building a new home (05 May 2017). More...

Boral appeal over $2b Gold Coast quarry dismissed
The company behind a proposed $2 billion quarry on the Gold Coast is considering its options after a Queensland court backed Gold Coast City Council's decision to reject the quarry (04 May 2017). More...

Queensland shines in new solar report
Recent research by the Clean Energy Council confirms that Queensland is on track for over $2 billion in investment, based on new renewable energy projects under construction or due to begin construction in 2017 (03 May 2017). More...

In practice and courts – Victoria

Planning Applications open for streamlining for growth
The Victorian Planning Authority invites all councils to apply for grants for planning projects that will boost jobs, housing and infrastructure. The Streamlining for Growth Program provides support and capacity-building for councils through directs grants and VPA staff assistance in regional Victoria and Melbourne. It is funded by the Victorian State Government and managed by the VPA.

In practice and courts – New South Wales

Community Consultations
Proposed changes to planning rules for outdoor advertising and signage to increase road and rail safety (SEPP) Start date 05/05/2017; End date 06/06/2017.
Draft Vegetation SEPP Start date 10/05/2017 End date 21/06/2017.

Have your say on biodiversity reforms
The NSW Government will undertake one more round of public consultation before its improved and simpler land management reforms take effect. Consultation closes on 21 June and the reforms will commence on 25 August 2017. More...

NSW Land and Environment Court
28 April 2017: The time for the submission of comments on proposed changes to the Class 3 Compensation Claims Practice Note was extended to 22 May 2017. Click here for the consultation questions.

In practice and courts – Queensland

SPP Interactive Mapping System update
The State Planning Policy Interactive Mapping System has been amended to reflect changes to the Queensland Heritage Place dataset. Changes to the Heritage Place list, consist of: addition of two new heritage places; reduction in the heritage place boundary of the St George's Anglican Church at Beenleigh and amendments to the lot boundaries of a number of existing heritage places based on improved mapping technology and aerial photography (03 May 2017).
The State Planning Policy Interactive Mapping System updates are applicable to the SPP Plan Making Mapping and State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) Development Assessment (DA) mapping systems.

PCA: Parliament passes Local Government Transparency Bill
The amendments bring forward provisions within the new planning legislation for the retrospective commencement of temporary local planning instruments and the removal of the Court's discretion to award costs, re-introducing pre-determined criteria for how costs are - or are not – awarded. The Bill also introduces changes to the legislation to clarify the relationship between the State's planning and building acts, based on the highly-publicised 'Gerhardt' court decisions (11 May 2017).

EHP Prosecution Bulletin No. 3 May 2017
A gold mining company pleaded guilty to two offences under sections 361 and 430 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (the 'Act') respectively for contravening an Environmental Protection Order (EPO) and contravening a condition of an Environmental Authority (EA). More...

Plan making instrument: The Minister's Guidelines and Rules (MGR)
This key instrument will mandate how local planning schemes and other local planning instruments are made (or changed). The draft MGR also outlines public consultation requirements that support the plan making process. More...

City Plan amendment package
Brisbane City Council has released a varied package of amendments to the Brisbane City Plan for public consultation. The amendments package includes:
The addition of 147 properties to the City Plan's pre-1911 building overlay; A refinement of biodiversity mapping to reflect changes in vegetation and to align with State Government koala mapping and the  latest reiteration of the Spring Hill Neighbourhood Plan and a draft Newstead North neighbourhood plan. Submissions on the proposals are due by 2 June 2017.

Spring Hill Neighbourhood Plan
Brisbane City Council has reopened consultation on its Spring Hill Neighbourhood Plan, following the State Government's State Interest review. The Queensland Government deemed that changes made to the final version of the plan were significantly different from the previous consultation version and warranted a repeat of the public consultation process. Submissions are due by 2 June 2017.

Notification of commencement of processes to identify environmental values and water quality objectives for Queensland waters
The, Director-General Department of Environment and Heritage Protection pursuant to the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009 advises the commencement of the following processes:
(a)  under section 11, to identify environmental values and water quality objectives for the following waters:
Cape York. Consultation materials are being progressively released for information on the department's website here. The closing date for QMDB submissions is 31 May 2017.

The Mill at Moreton Bay Priority Development Area: Proposed Development Scheme
Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) gives notice that the proposed development scheme for The Mill at Moreton Bay Priority Development Area (PDA). The proposed development scheme is the draft planning document for the PDA which sets out the land uses, development criteria and infrastructure envisaged for the PDA. Submissions commence on 12 April and end close of business on 30 May 2017. More...

Aldoga renewable energy project EOI
The Aldoga site will be Economic Development Queensland's flagship renewable energy project and is part of the Queensland Government's Advancing Our Cities and Regions Strategy which aims to renew and repurpose underutilised state land to generate jobs, and drive economic growth. The expressions of interest will close on 24 May 2017. More...

Cases – Victoria

Beman Pty Ltd v Boroondara City Council [2017] VSC 207
PLANNING ENVIRONMENT — Application for leave to appeal and appeal from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal under s 148 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 — Covenant registered on applicant's title requiring the use of certain building materials — Applicant applied for a permit to allow removal of the covenant — Tribunal ordered that a permit be issued varying but not removing the covenant — Whether covenant is enforceable — Whether covenant sufficiently identified the land to be benefited — Leave to appeal granted — Appeal allowed — Order that permit issue permitting removal of the covenant.

Gurner 164 Williams Road Pty Ltd v Stonnington CC [2017] VCAT 622
Six storey building containing commercial and residential land uses; Height, form and appearance of building; Interim Order; Design changes; Equitable development and amenity impacts to nearby commercial properties; Impact on adjacent heritage precinct; Internal amenity of apartments, including daylight; Car parking provision; Crossover access to site.

Gembrook Views Estate Pty Ltd v Cardinia SC (Red Dot) [2017] VCAT 604
NATURE OF CASE - Whether an 'over 55's' retirement village is discriminatory against younger people (under 55) under equal opportunity legislation.
REASONS WHY DECISION IS OF INTEREST OR SIGNIFICANCE - LAW – issue of interpretation or application. PE Act s 149B; exercise of discretion not to make declarations even where other requirements for a declaration are established.
LEGISLATION – interpretation or application of statutory provision - PE Act s 149B; ambit of VCAT jurisdiction; limits on jurisdiction to consider issues under Equal Opportunity Act 2010.
CHANGE TO LEGISLATION OR VPPS - whether change required or desirable - Observations on potential planning policy implications in the use of land for a 'retirement village' (as defined) and the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. Matters for government consideration.

Ronge v Moreland CC (Red Dot) [2017] VCAT 550
NATURE OF CASE - Medium density development on redundant industrial site.
POLICY – interpretation or application of policy - Changes to NRZ purposes and transitional provisions. Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 and State and local policy concerning car parking, traffic and shift to other travel modes.
PRACTICE OR PROCEDURE – consideration of individual instance or systemic issues.
Amendments to NRZ and transitional applications - Necessity to reduce reliance on car based travel.
ANALYSIS – exposition of how to asses an issue or matters to consider - Changes to NRZ purposes and transitional applications  - Car parking and traffic.
APPLICATION – significant, interesting or unusual use or development; application of policy, provision or principle; or circumstances.

Portland Historic Building Restoration Committee Inc. v Glenelg SC (Red Dot) [2017] VCAT 519
NATURE OF CASE Interpretation of VicSmart provisions and application of the principles of Wednesbury unreasonableness.
REASONS WHY DECISION IS OF INTEREST OR SIGNIFICANCE LAW – issue of interpretation or application.
Application of the principles of Wednesbury unreasonableness – declaration under section 149B of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 that a decision in a VicSmart application to demolish a bluestone wall was unlawful because it was made beyond power.
PLANNING SCHEME – interpretation or consideration of VPP provision - Consideration and application of the VicSmart provisions – interpretation of the meaning of fence in the Heritage Overlay and the VicSmart provisions of the planning scheme.
CHANGE TO LEGISLATION OR VPPS - whether change to VPPs or statutory provisions is required or desirable.
Need to amend the Heritage Overlay and the VicSmart provisions to exclude from these provisions any items specified in the schedule to the Heritage Overlay, not just identified in the schedule to the Heritage Overlay.

Cases – Queensland

Lake Maroona Pty Ltd v Gladstone Regional Council [2017] QPEC 025
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – Appeal against Council's refusal of a request to extend the relevant period of a development approval – scope of the decision-making process under s 388 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 – meaning of "the consistency of the approval ... with the current laws and policies applying to the development" in s 388(1)(a) of that Act.
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – Approval for a multiple unit residential development under previous planning scheme – where under current laws and policies applying to the development, including the Gladstone Regional Council Planning Scheme 2015, the land is within the low density residential zone, the purpose of which includes "to provide for predominantly detached dwelling houses... supported by some community uses and small-scale services and facilities that cater for local residents" – meaning to be given to "predominantly" – consistency of the development approval with the current planning scheme.

Boral Resources (Qld) Pty Ltd v Gold Coast City Council [2017] QPEC 023
APPEAL AGAINST REFUSAL OF DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION – appeal against a refusal by the respondent of a development permit for a quarry in the Gold Coast hinterland – where proposed development involved development of a large hard rock quarry – where subject land had been identified for quarrying purposes under a number of State planning documents – where subject land declared a key resource area under State planning policies – where at the time the development application was lodged the respondent's 2003 town planning scheme was in force – where under that planning scheme the subject land was subject to various designations – part Urban Residential Land Use Theme; part Park Living Land Use Theme – part Open Space/Nature Conservation Land Use Theme – where under the relevant Structure Plan Area the subject land located partly in Urban Residential Precinct, part Park Living Precinct and part Open Space/Nature Conservation Precinct – where under respondent's 2016 planning scheme subject land subject to numerous designations.
WHERE DEVELOPMENT RAISED NUMEROUS ISSUES – traffic – dust – noise – blasting vibration – geology – air quality – traffic – ecological/environmental issues – economic and community need and town planning.
CONFLICT WITH PLANNING SCHEME – where proposed development said to be in conflict with respondent's planning schemes.
NEED – where evidence that there was a need for subject development – whether that need could be satisfied by existing and/or other quarries sources – whether in circumstances where there was conflict with the planning scheme sufficient grounds existed to warrant approval notwithstanding conflict.

Legislation – Queensland

Bills Updated in the last week

Local Government Electoral (Transparency and Accountability in Local Government) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016
Introduced on 1/12/2016. Stage reached: PASSED with amendment on 10/05/2017.

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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