Australia: Planning & Environment News – 21 June 2017

In the media – National

Government delivers $29 million boost to protect our environment
The Coalition Government through the 20 Million Trees Program is investing $27 million for more tree-planting projects across Australia that will help to support our threatened species and ecological communities. Of this investment, $6 million will be available for community-scale projects, and $21 million for larger projects delivered through service providers (05 June 2017). More...

Solar installation to be largest hospital array in Australia
Bundaberg in Queensland will soon be home to the largest solar energy system on a hospital in Australia, with the project being privately funded (31 May 2017). More...

Clean Energy Finance Corporation to be allowed to invest in carbon capture and storage technologies
The Turnbull Government will remove a legislative prohibition on the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to allow it to support investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies which can reduce emissions by up to 90 per cent. Legislation introduced into Parliament on Wednesday 31 May 2017 (30 May 2017). More...

Australia rises in renewable energy attractiveness
Australia had moved up to 5th place on Ernst & Young's Renewable Energy Attractiveness index following the investment of over $7.5 billion in wind, solar and rooftop installations in 2016-17 (29 May 2017). More...

Finkel Review: A vital next step in the national energy debate
The Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel has delivered the first comprehensive review into Australia's energy market says the Property Council of Australia. "This report isn't light reading but it is compulsory reading – and it will take some time for industry to digest the full implications of the report", said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia (09 June 2017). More...

New report identifies 50 measures to help property sector move towards net zero carbon buildings
Australia's property sector is being urged to use readily available existing technologies to improve the long-term prospects for their properties, in a broader industry push towards net zero carbon buildings (01 June 2017) More...

EPA defends guidelines not to report contaminated property sites if land value could be affected
A review into the NSW Environment Protection Authority's (EPA) management of contaminated sites found the agency routinely did not declare contaminated sites where property values could be affected (27 May 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

New concrete safety barriers to protect our City
New safety barriers are being installed at key landmarks around the CBD to protect locals, visitors and the city. The sites have been identified by Victoria Police based on levels of foot traffic, public gatherings and significance to Melbourne (10 June 2017). More...

Smart solutions to Melbourne's transport challenge
The solutions have been submitted as part of the Resilient Melbourne Citymart Challenge, which invites problem solvers and creative thinkers from across the globe to find ways to lessen transport congestion in Melbourne and limit the social isolation it causes (07 May 2017). More...

Australia's First Offshore Wind Farm proposed for Gippsland
The Andrews Labor Government has welcomed plans for the establishment of Australia's first offshore wind farm in Gippsland. The Offshore Energy proposal includes up to 250 wind turbines within a 574-square kilometre area, which would deliver around 8,000 GWh of electricity per year (02 June 2017). More...

2017/18 Fire Services Property Levy
The 2017/18 Fire Services Property Levy, in place to fund the State's fire services, will collect the same amount as in 2016/17. The levy includes a fixed charge as well as a variable cost that is calculated depending on the type of property you own, its capital improved value and the area in which the property is located (31 May 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

City of Sydney reveals ambitious overhaul of WestConnex
The City of Sydney is calling on the NSW state government to rethink its planning for the contentious WestConnex project, putting forward an alternative proposal it believes will do more to reduce congestion while costing taxpayers and motorists less (05 June 2017). More...

New priority precincts
The Department of Planning and Environment has announced fifteen new priority precincts to provide more homes and jobs close to public transport, shops and services (01 June 2017). More...

Significantly contaminated sites land management and assessment
The NSW Environment Protection Authority has reinforced today that protection of human health and the environment are the priority on any decision to declare a site as significantly contaminated (27 May 2017). More...

In the media – Queensland

Government injects $8.64 million into new biorefinery and jobs for Mackay
The Palaszczuk Government has announced $8.64 million assistance for Mackay's proposed $50 million biorefinery to help accelerate the project's development and construction (09 June 2017). More...

Queensland hedges its bets on energy
The Powering Queensland Plan unveiled by the Palaszczuk government wants all options on the table, including gas, coal and renewables. While it includes a commitment to achieving a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 and the intent to hold a reverse auction for up to 400 megawatts of new renewable energy supply, it also includes re-opening the Swanbank gas-fired power station and opening up new areas for gas exploration (07 June 2017). More...

Bundaberg 10-year Action Plan
A 10-year Action Plan for flood mitigation projects to improve safety in Bundaberg is underway with the Palaszczuk Government honouring an election commitment and investing $4 million to get started on technical investigations (08 June 2017). More...

Contractor fined over illegal tree clearing
A Central Queensland contractor involved in a case of illegal tree clearing has paid a fine of $7150, with the landholder expected to undertake years of rehabilitation work on the affected area (06 June 2017). More...

Queensland Government departments in legal battle over plan to mine river on state-owned land
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is taking on the Department of Natural Resources and Mines in the Land Court over Springvale Station on Cape York, lodging a legal objection to another department over a plan to mine a river on state-owned land (05 June 2017). More...

Fines have been handed out for excessive thinning in the Clermont area
A central Queensland contractor has paid a fine of $7,150 as the result of a Department of Natural Resources tree clearing prosecution, and it's expected the landholder in the case will be ordered to undertake years of rehabilitation work on the affected area (02 June 2017). More...

Acland coal mine: Queensland Land Court recommends scrapping expansion
Landholders and farmers in the Darling Downs are claiming a big win following a Land Court decision recommending the $900 million Stage 3 expansion of the New Acland Coal Mine be scrapped (30 May 2017). More...

Qld ecosystems mapped and online in world-leading science achievement
Queensland Government scientists have developed the first fully-comprehensive map and information systems for the state's regional ecosystems, providing a detailed picture of our diverse native vegetation (30 May 2017). More...

In practice and courts – Commonwealth

National Electricity Market Energy Review - final report released
Dr Alan Finkel presented the Final Report of the Review to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Leaders' meeting on 9 June 2017. See specific details of the report here. Read the reports here:

Blueprint for the future: Independent review into the future security of the National Electricity Market

Executive summary

Consolidated recommendations: this document contains a list of all the blueprint's recommendations

NELA National Conference: Addressing Past Harm, Managing Future Risks, Brisbane 4 August 2017
This year's conference brings together a range of experts to discuss the state of Australia's environment, how various States are addressing past impacts, and innovative mechanisms being explored to avoid future harm. Examining mining rehabilitation, groundwater management, climate risk disclosure, sustainable business practices and much more. More...

In practice and courts – New South Wales

LGA NSW: New Local Government Sustainable Procurement Resources
LGNSW launched a sustainable procurement package this week to help the sector make informed procurement decisions that take into account sustainability. The package comprises a comprehensive, easy -to-read Sustainable Procurement Guide for Local Government and New Local Government Sustainable Procurement Resources (02 June 2017). More...

New BASIX energy targets
On 1 July, new Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) energy targets will come into effect, as part of the government's initiative to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. For more detailed information, view the frequently asked questions. To find out more about BASIX or apply for a BASIX certificate, visit the BASIX website (30 May 2017).

In practice and courts – Queensland

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2017

Property Council of Australia: BCC Submissions – 08 June 2017
The Property Council has provided feedback on a city wide amendment package to Council's biodiversity overlays and to the second period of consultation on the Spring Hill Neighbourhood Plan, after the original plan was sent back by the state Government.

Submission to the Spring Hill Neighbourhood Plan

City-Wide amendments submission

North Queensland Regional Plan
A second round of community conversations will be held in August when you will have the chance to comment on the draft North Queensland Regional Plan (09 June 2017). More...

Bowen Hills PDA Development Scheme Review
Stage 3: June - July 2017: Draft amendments and public notification - Bowen Hills PDA Development Scheme Review - EDQ will prepare draft development scheme amendments and publicly notify them so interested parties can make submissions. More...

Environmental Protection (Water) Policy – proposed changes
Have your say on the draft environmental values and water quality objectives for Queensland waters. This work is being undertaken under the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009. Project waters include Great Barrier Reef coastal waters and contributing catchments, Queensland Murray-Darling and Bulloo Basin waters, and South East Queensland waters. All documents are available from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) website. Submissions close on 30 June 2017.

Better Mine Rehabilitation for Queensland
The Queensland Government is proposing a new policy for mine rehabilitation outlined in a discussion paper. The proposed rehabilitation policy is a key component of an integrated mined land management framework, which also includes six delivery elements read the Better Mine Rehabilitation for Queensland discussion paper and complete the survey.

Cases – Queensland

Hammond v Leighton [2017] QCAT 178
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – TREES, VEGETATION AND HABITAT PROTECTION – DISPUTES BETWEEN NEIGHBOURS – loss of view – where applicant purchased vacant lot – where applicant subsequently built home on the vacant lot – where blocks separated by road – whether severe obstruction of a view, from a dwelling on the neighbour's land.

Hughes v South East Water Properties Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 177 ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – TREES, VEGETATION AND HABITAT PROTECTION – DISPUTES BETWEEN NEIGHBOURS – where approval sought from the council to remove the tree – where approval from the council to remove the tree declined – where approval from the council to undertake tree works including cleaning the canopy – where tribunal orders overhanging branches to be trimmed and canopy cleaned.

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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