Australia: Planning & environment news – 1 August 2017

Last Updated: 6 August 2017
Article by Joseph Monaghan, Breellen Warry, Peter Holt, Gerard Timbs and Jenny Humphris

Most Read Contributor in Australia, December 2017

In the media – National

Sunshine state lives up to its name – highest rate of solar installations in Australia
Clean Energy Regulator data for June 2017 shows homes and small businesses across Queensland are leading the way on small-scale renewable energy installations (20 July 2017). More...

Acceleration in investment as CEFC commitments exceed $2 billion in 2016-2017
The CEFC has recorded a substantial increase in investment commitments in 2016-2017, with almost $2.1 billion to 35 individual transactions (18 July 2017). More...

Local councils join forces to fight climate change
A group of local government councils are joining forces in an ambitious effort to tackle climate change, inspired by a new report from the Climate Council showing cities, urban centres and rural townships have the potential to slash energy emissions by a staggering 70 per cent (19 July 2017). More...

More action needed to protect vital infrastructure corridors
Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) president Mayor David O'Loughlin writes that while the corridor protection measures put forward by Infrastructure Australia are important and worthwhile, the Federal Government must also address first- and last-mile issues (17 July 2017). More...

First bioregional assessments released
The first full assessments of the potential impacts of coal mining and coal seam gas extraction on a bioregion's water resources have been released as part of the Federal Government's program to strengthen the science used to inform regulatory decision-making and build community confidence in the sustainable development of Australia's coal and gas resources (13 July 2017). More...

Tapping into tidal energy technologies
Harnessing the potential power of tidal energy to contribute to Australia's energy needs is the focus of a three-year mapping project being supported by a $2.5 million investment by the Turnbull Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) (13 July 2017). More...

A new era for cities: National Cities Performance Framework
The National Cities Performance Framework (NCPF) announced this week by Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor has been declared "a new era for cities and how they are managed" by Cities Reference Group member and Chief Executive of Consult Australia, Megan Motto (21 July 2017). More...

$1.57 million grants funding for our National Heritage List places
Forty nine projects from across the country will share in more than $1.57 million of Turnbull Government funding to help protect, conserve and raise awareness of places on Australia's National Heritage List. The National Heritage List now comprises 110 places of outstanding natural, historic and Indigenous significance to Australia (11 July 2017). More...

New ISO standard for measuring building carbon footprints
Measuring, reporting and reducing a building's greenhouse gas output is set to become easier, thanks to a new ISO standard. ISO 16745, Sustainability in buildings and civil engineering works – Carbon metric of an existing building during use stage (12 July 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

Building the Hepburn Waste to Energy System
Hepburn Shire Council has received $650,000 from the Andrews Labor Government to implement the first stage of an innovative waste to energy system, as part of the second round of the Labor Government's $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund grants. The first stage of the project is expected to be complete by 2020 (22 July 2017). More...

Monitor appointed to Central Goldfields Shire
The Andrews Labor Government will appoint a monitor to examine the governance at Central Goldfield Shire Council. The monitor will now be in place until 30 November and will work to ensure the ongoing stability of the council's governance processes (21 July 2017). More...

Celebrating the return of traditional burning
In light of the success of the Dja Dja Wurrung and Forest Fire Management Victoria partnership, the Andrews Labor Government has since announced a targeted $250,000 in seed funding enabling Victorian Aboriginal leaders to develop a statewide traditional burning strategy (19 July 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

EPA issues multiple fines for serious forestry breaches in Putty
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued penalty notices to contractor Honey Ridge Timber Pty Ltd and landowner, Putty Holdings Pty Ltd for logging in protected areas and polluting a stream on a private property near Putty, north of Sydney (18 July 2017). More...

PCA: Directions Document a welcome approach
The Property Council NSW Executive Director has welcomed the release of the Greater Sydney Commission's Directions for a Greater Sydney 2017 – 2056 that included the announcement of new Growth Infrastructure Compacts to manage Sydney's growth (18 July 2017). More...

Poor controls at the Broken Head Quarry results in $15,000 fine
The NSW Environment Protection Authority has issued Leadshine Pty Limited with a fine of $15,000 for ongoing poor erosion and sediment controls at the Broken Head Quarry (17 July 2017). More...

Coal spill into World Heritage area costs Clarence Colliery more than $3 million
The Land and Environment Court today convicted Clarence Colliery Pty Ltd of two offences and imposed financial penalties totalling $1,050,000 after more than 2,300 tonnes of coal material escaped from a coal storage area on 2 July 2015, causing significant impacts on the Wollangambe River and the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park (14 July 2017). (EPA) More... (ABC) More...

Unlicensed waste operation cost Wyong facility and company director $37,500
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Alcon Disposals Pty Ltd $30,000 and the director $7,5000 after the Wyong facility received and stored thousands of tonnes of waste without an environment protection licence (11 July 2017). More...

New suburbs named as priority precincts to fast-track housing supply
To fast-track the building of new homes close to transport and services, 15 new priority precincts have been earmarked for growth and revitalisation (10 July 2017). More...

In the media – Queensland

New Land Court Member Appointed
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath has appointed Peta Stilgoe OAM as the new member of the Land Court of Queensland (20 July 2017). More...

Property Council responds to draft Ferny Grove-Upper Kedron Neighbourhood Plan
The Property Council has provided a submission to Brisbane City Council's Draft Ferny Grove-Upper Kedron Neighbourhood Plan. Concerns have been raised regarding the functionality of the transport network, the ability to provide increased densities, and unnecessary politicisation of greenfield development within the plan area (20 July 2017). More...

Cane growers commit to change for the Great Barrier Reef
More than 100 cane growers have pledged to protect the Great Barrier Reef by signing up to a Palaszczuk Government program that improves the long-term sustainability of farms and the environment (20 July 2017). More...

Rogue Brisbane tyre company ordered to clean up
A rogue tyre recycling operator, who has had two fires at his business in Brisbane's south, is handed clean-up notices (19 July 2017). More...

Water release drives growth, jobs in north-west
Thousands of megalitres of water will be made available from next month to support business and job growth in the north west (19 July 2017). More...

Mine rehabilitation case study shows the way forward
A resource company case study project to rehabilitate former mining land shows that better environmental outcomes can be achieved, Environment Minister Steven Miles said (14 July 2017). More...

Sun shining on Lockhart River solar project
The light of opportunity is shining on a remote Queensland town, with Lockhart River continuing its transition from a diesel powered community to a solar powered community (12 July 2017). More...

Queensland Adopts Statutory New Planning Regime
Queensland's Planning Act 2016 (Qld) (the Act) commenced this month, together with the Planning Regulation 2017 (Qld), replacing the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) (SPA). Not all concepts from the SPA have made their way to the new Act however, with the State Planning Regulatory Provisions, Queensland Planning Provisions as well as compliance assessment and permits notably absent (11 July 2017). More...

Sunshine Coast Council and Unitywater Establish Joint Initiative Aimed At Encouraging Development
The new joint initiative offers a 50% reduction on council infrastructure charges for targeted developments in defined areas of central Nambour and Caloundra, built to a deadline, and where spare council network capacity exists. The two-year program is capped at $10 million (10 July 2017). More...

In practice and courts – Commonwealth

Australian Government's role in the development of cities: Inquiry
The inquiry will investigate potential for the Commonwealth Government to provide leadership and coordinate longer-term national city planning and will be split into two sub-inquiries: Sustainability transitions in existing cities and Growing new and transitioning regional cities and towns. Further information on the inquiry, including the full terms of reference, is available on the Committee website.

New approved conservation advices
The Minister has approved conservation advices for 30 species and six ecological communities that are listed as threatened under the EPBC Act (13 July 2017). More...

Outcomes from the public consultation process on the draft National Carbon Offset Standard for Buildings and Precincts are now available
The outcomes set out the key points raised through the consultation process and outline the Department's position in response to these points (12 July 2017). More...

Updated rules for the treatment of renewable energy under the National Carbon Offset Standard
These rules replace those under section 2.2.4 of the Carbon Neutral Program Guidelines (version 4.0) (12 July 2017). More...

ACSI Corporate Sustainability Reporting in Australia: 2017
This report assesses the level of sustainability disclosure by ASX200 companies for the 2016 reporting period. It is the 10th annual sustainability disclosure review ACSI has undertaken. Given the prominence of climate-related risks for investors, this year's study includes for the first time a review of climate-related disclosures (11 July 2017). More...

In practice and courts – New South Wales

NSW Land and Environment Court
20 July 2017: The Chief Judge has today issued a new practice note for Class 1 Residential Development Appeals, and repealed the practice note of the same name made on 28 March 2017. It commenced on 24 July 2017. More...

Updated: commencement date for new simplified Housing Code and Housekeeping Amendment
The new simplified Housing Code and Housekeeping Amendment will make it easier, faster and cheaper for homeowners to undertake exempt and complying development. The commencement date for these amendments has been updated to 14 July 2017. The new simplified Housing Code can be viewed here (11 July 2017).

Environmental Impact Assessment for State Significant Projects
The Department Planning and Environment is seeking feedback on nine draft guidelines which explain in detail the proposed changes to environmental impact assessment (EIA) for state significant projects. The documents are on exhibition until 1 September 2017. Community information sessions are being held around the state between 19 July and 10 August. More...

Community Consultations on Exhibition


Revised Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor Strategy
Open 25/06/2017; Close 03/09/2017.


Environmental Impact Assessment Improvement Project draft guidelines
Close 01/09/2017.
Proposed amendment to Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
Close 24/07/2017.

In practice and courts – Queensland

UDIA: Neighbourhood plan submission
The Institute provided feedback last week to Brisbane City Council on its draft Ferny Grove-Upper Kedron Neighbourhood Plan (21 July 2017). More...

PCA: Queensland Submission Snapshot
Over the last fortnight, the Property Council has submitted to the State Government on two key areas crucial to the industry's future.
Coastal Management District submission
Queen's Wharf PDA submission

Cases – Victoria

Speechley v Midway Ltd (Building and Property) [2017] VCAT 1014
Claims brought by the applicants under sections 15 and 16 of the Water Act 1989. The applicants own a small farm in Kilmore East Victoria. The respondent managed a large pine plantation on the adjacent property. The pine plantation was completely burned in the Black Saturday fire in 2009. Following the fire, the respondent salvage harvested the pine plantation and planted a blue gum plantation. The applicants bring claims for damages and other relief alleging the respondent caused, or interfered with, flows of water onto their property, and/or the caused pollution (chemical and/or sediment pollution) of water flowing onto their property and into a dam on their property. Claims dismissed.

Cases – New South Wales

Diverse Property (Aust) Pty Ltd v the Council of the City of Sydney [2017] NSWLEC 1384
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: Staged application; subsequent stages; integrated development; building envelopes; residential amenity for occupants in terms of acoustics, ventilation, solar access and private open space; amenity impacts including overshadowing of neighbours; objections.

Whittaker v Northern Beaches Council [2017] NSWLEC 1379
DEVELOPMENT APPEAL – Dwelling in a heritage conservation area – proposal to lift the cottage to create undercroft for parking and storage – role of expert evidence - breach of height control - whether request to vary height control satisfactorily deals with requisite matters – failure to identify a environmental planning ground – whether the objectives of the height control are met – proposal does not meet objectives of the height control based on expert evidence – appeal dismissed.

Abrams v The Council of the City of Sydney [2017] NSWLEC 1371
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: demolition of the existing commercial building on the site and construction of a new residential flat building - excessive floor space ratio - amenity impacts on future residents - inconsistent with the desired future of the locality.

Marshall Rural Pty Ltd v Basscave Pty Ltd [2017] NSWLEC 84
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – motion seeking expedition of proceedings concerning allegedly unlawful earthworks and erection of buildings – whether expedition of proceedings in the public interest – whether other factors warranting expedition of proceedings – application for expedition refused.

Assad v Inner West Council [2017] NSWLEC 1362
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: alterations and additions to an existing heritage listed building for a child care centre - unacceptable heritage impacts on the heritage item and adjoining heritage item - inadequate parking - poor access to car park- unacceptable acoustic impacts - inadequate landscaping – resident concerns.

Cases – Queensland

Althaus & Anor v Brisbane City Council [2017] QPEC 041
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPEAL – PROPOSED DEMOLITION OF BUILDING WITH TRADITIONAL BUILDING CHARACTER – where the traditional building character was the "timber and tin" character – where the building is structurally unsound – where houses are located in a street of mixed character – whether the proposed demolition complied with the Traditional building character (demolition) overlay code – whether the building is reasonably capable of being made structurally sound – where the demolition of the building would result in meaningful or significant loss of traditional building character – whether the street had no traditional character – whether the house positively contributed to the visual character of the street.

Hawkhaven Pty Ltd v Mackay Regional Council [2017] QPEC 040
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING – DEVELOPMENT CONTROL – APPLICATIONS – where development application for material change of use for commercial premises refused by Council – where development application assessed against current planning scheme – whether weight should be given to draft planning scheme – whether development application conflicts with relevant planning schemes – whether sufficient grounds exist to warrant approval.
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING – DEVELOPMENT CONTROL – APPLICATIONS – where development application approved subject to conditions – whether conditions valid pursuant to section 345 of Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld).

Cherish Enterprises Pty Ltd v Ipswich City Council [2017] QPEC 038
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – application for declarations – where the applicant made a development application to Council – where the Ipswich Planning Scheme 2006, as amended, was the relevant planning scheme in force at the time of the application – where the applicant had not applied for, or sought approval of, a Precinct Plan or an Area Development Plan under the Springfield Structure Plan – whether the development application made by the applicant is a properly made application – whether it is necessary for a Precinct Plan to have been prepared and approved in order for the development application to be approved and development carried out on the subject land – whether it is necessary for an Area Development Plan to have been approved in order for the application to be approved and development carried out on the subject land.

Ortlipp v Bowyer [2017] QCAT 225
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – TREES, VEGETATION AND HABITAT PROTECTION – DISPUTES BETWEEN NEIGHBOURS – loss of view, sunlight and breezes – leaf litter – where bamboo caused obstruction – whether constituted a severe obstruction – view at the date of possession – whether obstruction is substantial, ongoing and unreasonable interference with use and enjoyment – whether tree order should be made in all the circumstances – appropriate orders.

Legislation - Commonwealth

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment (Whitsundays Plan of Management) Instrument 2017 19/07/2017 - This instrument amends the Whitsundays Plan of Management 1998 to assist in achieving the objects of the Plan by making the amendments identified as being needed during the 2016-17 review. Effective management of the Whitsunday Planning Area is achieved through periodic review of the Whitsundays Plan of Management 1998 (the Plan) in response to new information and changing uses. The Plan has been reviewed and amended in 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008. More recently, a review carried out between December 2014 and June 2017 highlighted the need for further amendments to the Plan.

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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