Australia: Local Government News - 30 January 2018

Last Updated: 2 February 2018
Article by Jenny Humphris, Joseph Monaghan and Peter Holt
Most Read Contributor in Australia, March 2019

In the media – National

State governments relying more on stamp duty
New data from the Housing Industry Association (HIA) shows that the overall proportion of state government revenue coming from stamp duty on property purchases is the highest it has been for ten years. During 2015-16, stamp duty accounted for 26.1 percent of total state tax revenues – the highest share since 2008-09 (17 January 2018). More...

Australia Day: Greens to use local council numbers to lead #changethedate push
The Greens are planning to use their numbers in local governments across the country to spearhead a push to move Australia Day, following successful moves to cancel celebrations in several council areas in Melbourne and Western Australia (15 January 2018). More...

Surge in self-contained RVs presents tourism opportunity for small towns
The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) says towns that do not offer an alternative to caravan parks for self-contained recreational vehicles will miss out on their business. CEO of the Victorian Caravan Parks Association, Elizabeth White, said councils offering low or no-cost areas for self-contained RVs "did not concern them in the least" as long as they were located away from existing caravan parks (13 January 2018). More...

Mayor 'walked a fine ethical line' during China trip, but cleared of misconduct

An investigation into a South Australian country mayor finds while he inappropriately used his business card in dealings during a taxpayer-funded trip to China, his mistakes were "not serious enough for a finding of misconduct" (12 January 2018). More...

Cabinet reshuffle means new Local Government Minister
In the shadow of Christmas. Australia had a reshuffle of its Federal Government ministries. The process saw a new Minister for Local Government, Queenslander John McVeigh (05 January 2018). More...

In the media – Queensland

Tangalooma's island paradise becomes a 'nightmare' for some property owners
Property owners on Moreton Island break their silence about a "David and Goliath" dispute with the island's management, which they say is threatening to send some of them broke (21 January 2018). More...

East Coomera koala population faces further loss of habitat
Head of the City Planning committee, who conducted the report, Gold Coast councillor Cameron Caldwell said they were investigating as to whether there was "suitable land in the area" and the State Government said they would be willing to work with councils. (18 January 2018). More...

Hundreds of Mount Isa children questioned in police crackdown
Children have been stopped 500 times in three weeks as part of a new operation to reduce property crime, but police concede it's only about 20 who are committing most of the offences (17 January 2018). More...

Treated sewage used to trial biofuels, boost northern development
With about a megalitre of sewage flowing from the toilets of Cloncurry every day, the local council has built a new trial site for biofuel plants (15 January 2018). More...

In the media – Victoria

Heritage Victoria: Living Heritage Grants Program
Heritage Victoria is delivering regional information sessions in November as part of the Living Heritage Grants Program, an initiative of the State Government to support the repair and conservation of 'at risk' heritage places and objects included in the Victorian Heritage Register. The third round of the community heritage grants program open on 1 February 2018. More...

Heritage Council Local Government Forum
The Heritage Council of Victoria is inviting all heritage advisors and consultants, strategic and statutory planners to its Local Government Forum on 23 February. The forum's theme is Celebrating Heritage Differently – The Heritage Journey beyond protection. Bookings are essential, please register via email (18 January 2018).

Whole Government response to major hazard facilities released
A Whole of Government Response, released on 10 January 2018 broadly supports the 17 recommendations detailed in the Major Hazard Facilities Advisory Committee Report submitted to the Minister for Planning on 19 July 2016. The recommendations - developed in consultation with industry, councils and community members - ensure the right planning framework is in place, that supports community safety and comfort, while providing certainty for industries (11 January 2018).

In the media – New South Wales

$17 Million available for Public Reserves
Minister for Lands Paul Toole has announced $17 million will be available in the next round of the NSW Government's Public Reserves Management Fund program. Mr Toole said the program supports a wide range of activities that help maintain, protect and improve Crown reserves (15 January 2018). More...

New Sydney Planning Panel Chairs announced
Community and business leaders have been appointed to Chair the Sydney Planning Panels to help build on their strengths to make decisions on major development proposals (15 January 2018). More...

Council attacks NSW Government over food inspection responsibilities
One of NSW's largest local government authorities has criticised the state government for its plans to force councils to inspect home-based food businesses (04 January 2018). More...

In Practice and Courts

Call for Motions for 2018 National General Assembly
The ALGA is now calling for Notices of Motions for the 2018 National General Assembly (NGA). To assist councils identify motions that address the theme of the National General Assembly, ALGA has prepared a short discussion paper. Click here to open the Discussion Paper. Motions need to be lodged by Friday 30 March using the online form here.

A flash flood advisory service for councils
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is promoting a recently developed advisory service intended to support Local Government and other agencies develop fit-for-purpose flash flood warning systems. The Flash Flood Advisory Resource (FLARE) is a registered-user website and telephone and email advisory service. For more information, and to register for FLARE, go the Bureau's website.

Closing the Gap Agenda
Closing the Gap agenda has begun with the release of a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) discussion paper to support ongoing consultations. More sessions are scheduled across the country in coming months in 2018. Submissions close 5pm 31 March. More...

Applying for Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program funding: proposals
On 15 December 2017, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, announced that Round Six of the HVSPP was open for proposals from 15 December 2017 to 30 March 2018. State, territory and local governments are eligible to apply for funding for projects that will upgrade road infrastructure to improve heavy vehicle safety and freight efficiency. More...

Applications for funding: Round Six of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP)
Local Government, as well as the state and territory governments may apply for funding, with the Federal government contributing up to 50 per cent of the total project cost to successful projects, up to a maximum of $5 million. About $98 million will be provided Round Six funding. Proposals will be accepted up to 30 March 2018. More...

Regulatory Reform Summit 2018
The Regulatory Reform Summit 2018 seeks to cover the most topical and timely of trends in regulatory transformation and provide solutions to common regulatory struggles. The conference aims to help policy makers solve the jigsaw policy that is re-regulation - creating smarter, simpler, more responsive and technologically integrated regulation. Hear from 30+ leading government departments. More...

Round Two: Commonwealth's Building Better Regions Fund
Applications from councils and not-for-profit organisations are now being accepted for Round Two of the Commonwealth's Building Better Regions Fund. A second funding round is expected to open for applications in the first half of 2018. More...

Consultation: Regulation Impact Statement on options to phase out PFOS chemicals
The Department of the Environment and Energy has released a consultation Regulation Impact Statement on options to phase out PFOS chemicals nationwide. The Department is holding a number of public sessions from 10 November. The public comment period closes on 26 February 2018. More...


Queensland Government Gazette of 2018

Gazettal of the making of local laws by the following councils:

Opt in to receive land valuation information by e-mail
Queensland landowners are being encouraged to receive their statutory land valuation notice and other valuation information by email (05 January 2018). More...

Queensland Government's Disaster management funding 2017
Additional disaster funding is being provided to communities and primary producers affected by recent heavy rains in the Bundaberg, Gladstone and North Burnett regions of coastal Queensland. Federal funding will also be provided to help the Queensland state government and local councils manage disaster operations and restore damaged community infrastructure. Information on disaster assistance can be found on the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website and the Queensland Government's Disaster management website.


Rate cap: On 21 December, the Minister for Local Government announced a rate cap of 2.25 per cent for councils in 2018/19. The cap has been set in accordance with the advice received by the Minister from the Essential Services Commission and the updated forecast Consumer Price Index. The MAV continues to seek a model that more appropriately reflects council input costs to deliver services, as well as flexibility to reflect

E-waste landfill ban consultation papers
The Victorian Government is seeking feedback on its proposed approach to managing e-waste in Victoria. The introduction of a ban on e-waste from landfill was an election commitment of the government. A Policy Impact Assessment (PIA) and two draft waste management policies have been released for public consultation. A summary of the PIA and of the proposed policy package have also been published. Given the direct impact of the proposed changes on local government, the MAV is intending to make a submission.

New South Wales

Regional Joint Organisations
Interested rural and regional councils have until 28 February 2018 to submit nominations to form joint organisations to the NSW Government. The Local Government Amendment (Regional Joint Organisations) Act 2017 commenced on 15 December 2017 allowing councils to voluntarily join new Joint Organisations (JOs) in their planning region. By 28 February 2018, Submit your nomination via email. Include the resolution and a completed Forming a Joint Organisation – checklist. The JO network and funding allocations will be announced in March.

Easy to do Business Outdoor Dining Trial commences
Dates Trial: 4 September 2017 to 30 June 2018; Consultation closes: 19 January 2018
Councils are invited to take part in a NSW Outdoor Dining Trial being conducted by Service NSW and the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner. The NSW Government's Interim Outdoor Dining Policy (part of the Easy to do Business initiative) enables eligible cafes, restaurants and food -based businesses to have outdoor dining applications approved in two business days through a self-assessment process. More...


Bass Coast Council v Hollole [2017] VSC 803
JUDGMENTS ORDERS AND DECLARATIONS - Application for declaration in default of defence - Declaration sought on deemed admissions - Absence of contradictor - Whether declaration ought be made - Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure Rules) 2015, r 21.04 - The declaration classified the combined roadway as a 'rural lane'. As a result of the declaration, the rural lane became a public road for the purposes of the Road Management Act, and also became a 'road' within the meaning of the Local Government Act. These events resulted in giving the defendant the power to remove any obstructions placed on the rural lane under powers in the Local Government Act, including powers to carry out any work to remove obstructions on the rural lane.

Victorian Electoral Commission v Municipal Electoral Tribunal [2017] VSC 791
ELECTIONS – Duty and powers of Victorian Electoral Commission – Commission's powers and responsibilities – Register of electors – Objections to enrolment – Principal place of residence – Electoral Act 2002 (Vic) ss 21, 22(1), 23, 26, 27, 38(4), 42(1), 138.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT – Local government elections – Residency entitlement to stand for election as a councillor – Whether candidate can only nominate in the ward in which the candidate resides – Entitlement to vote in municipal elections – Conclusivity of register of electors – Objection not sustained – Local Government Act 1989 (Vic) ss 11-15, 28(1), 28(1AA), 45, sch 2 cl 6(3A).
JUDICIAL REVIEW – Appeal on questions of law from decision of Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on appeal from Municipal Electoral Tribunal – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic) s 148.

Mailey v Sutherland Shire Council [2017] NSWCA 343
BUILDING CONTROL – order to do work to place land in safe condition – retaining wall at imminent risk of collapse – retaining wall straddling common boundary – power to issue order – whether lower land not in safe condition – whether order can require work on upper land owned by another person – if any part of order invalid, whether severable – whether order uncertain – whether order issued for improper purpose – order not invalid in ways challenged – claim for compensation if order invalid – source of power to award compensation.
Access to Neighbouring Land Act 2000; Conveyancing Act 1919 s 177; Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 s 121B; Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 cl 98E; Interpretation Act 1987 ss 3, 32; Local Government Act 1993 ss 124, 129, 136, 137, 138A, 180, 181, 676.

The Mount Isa Irish Association Friendly Society Ltd v Mount Isa City Council [2017] QSC 316
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – ERROR OF LAW – LOCAL GOVERNMENT – ORDINANCES, REGULATIONS, BY-LAWS AND LOCAL LAWS – VALIDITY – POWER TO MAKE – PARTICULAR ORDINANCES, REGULATIONS, BY-LAWS AND LOCAL LAWS – where the councillors of the respondent held a special meeting and resolved to levy utility charges for water – where the respondent issued rates notices to the applicant charging the applicant for utility charges for water in respect of rateable land owned by the applicant pursuant to s 94 of the Local Government Act 2009 (Qld) and s 101(1) of the Local Government Regulation 2012 (Qld) – where the utility charges were not a 2-part charge – where the utility charges were worked out as comprising a fixed amount calculated in accordance with a number of units which were allocated in accordance with the use, or uses, to which the particular parcel of rateable land was being put – whether the respondent's utility charges were charged wholly according to the water used under s 101(1)(a) Local Government Regulation 2012 (Qld) – whether the utility charges are invalid.
Acts Interpretation Act 1958 (Qld) s 14D; Local Government Act 2009 (Qld) ss 3, 4, 94; Local Government Regulation 2009 (Qld) ss 41, 99, 101.

Denshire v Roads and Maritime Services [2017] NSWLEC 181
COMPULSORY ACQUISITION – compensation payable for acquisition of part of land for highway upgrade – market value and disturbance agreed –residential subdivision potential of land part of market value – option to develop residential subdivision by applicant's father and third party did not amount to special value to applicant – no special value in addition to market value.
Clarence Valley Local Environmental Plan 2011; Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 s 96; Land and Environment Court Act 1979 ss 19, 63; Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 ss 54, 55, 57, 66; Maclean Local Environmental Plan 2001.

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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Jenny Humphris
Peter Holt
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