Australia: Planning & Environment News - 6 March 2018

Last Updated: 10 March 2018
Article by Joseph Monaghan, Breellen Warry, Peter Holt, Gerard Timbs and Jenny Humphris

Most Read Contributor in Australia, October 2018

In the media – National

PCA: New cities report tackles population growth head on
Infrastructure Australia's new report, Future Cities: Planning for our growing population, is a compelling conversation starter about the trajectory of our big cities. Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the report confronts the challenges and opportunities arising from population growth head on and called for critical infrastructure funding to be brought forward (23 February 2018). More...

Local councils making cities less liveable, independent infrastructure adviser says
Australia's patchwork of small local councils is threatening urban liveability, according to the independent infrastructure adviser, which is urging the Federal Government to financially reward states which simplify planning processes (23 February 2018). More...

CEFC in finance first to target energy efficiency and sustainability in Australian farming sector
The CEFC is targeting major clean energy benefits in Australian agriculture, with its first equity investment in the sector. As part of the CEFC investment, the CSIRO will contribute expert analysis to enable clean energy learnings to be shared across the farming sector (21 February 2018). More...

NAB in residential green bond first
National Australia Bank has launched a $2 billion residential mortgage-backed bond that, for the first time in Australia, includes $300 million of mortgages that meet the Climate Bonds Standard for low-carbon residential buildings. NAB said the green tranche attracted socially responsible funds and mainstream investors from Australia and internationally, and was almost two times oversubscribed (15 February 2018). More...

Neighbourhood living rooms – we can learn a lot from European town squares
Australian urban design has historically focused on providing and improving access to public green spaces. As cities increase in density, this is a crucial part of creating healthy, engaged communities. But Australian urban designers often fail to consider the "other half" of public space – the town square (14 February 2018). More...

How many governments does it take to plan a city? Fewer is better, a new report says
Australia's patchwork of small local councils is threatening urban liveability, according to the independent infrastructure adviser, which is urging the Federal Government to financially reward states which simplify planning processes (22 February 2018). More...

FOI reveals government found Adani "may have been negligent" in approval process
Adani "may have been negligent" when it failed to disclose its CEO's links to four earlier environmental offences, according to documents released under Freedom of Information (13 February 2018). More...

Basin Authority powerless to act against farmers harvesting floodwaters

The head of the Murray Darling Basin Authority admits the authority is powerless to prevent upstream farmers harvesting rainwater desperately needed to flow through the river system for the benefit of all users (13 February 2018). More...

CEFC invests $25M in Australian first residential housing green bond
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which is playing a key role in developing Australia's green bond market, has made a $25 million cornerstone investment in the first ever green tranche of an Australian residential mortgage backed bond (09 February 2018). More...

In the media – Victoria

Local councils struggling to find solution to China recycling ban
Local councils affected by China's ban on importing recyclable waste are given a short-term reprieve, with the Victorian Government chipping in $13 million to help them manage the rubbish, but the municipal association says there's no solution in sight (23 February 2018). More...

Multi-billion-dollar developments on hold in 'unprecedented' Victorian Government move
Billions of dollars worth of development applications at Melbourne's Fishermans Bend have been put on hold by Victoria's planning minister because of design concerns, in a move being called "unprecedented" by both sides of politics (22 February 2018). More...

Sustainable Housing on the rise – Nightingale Housing secures SV grant
Success in last year's Premier's Sustainability Awards is paying off for Nightingale Housing, a not-for-profit program that offers a new vision for residential developments and city living (15 February 2018). More...

Nightingale Model set to fly across Victoria
The Nightingale Model has received a $100,000 boost from the Victorian government in order to replicate and extend its sustainability achievements across the state (15 February 2018). More...

In the media – New South Wales

Three visions for Sydney's density as 2.4 million more people call it home
Sydney must decide how much density it can handle, as it plans for 2.4 million extra residents over the next three decades, amid mounting community backlash towards perceived overdevelopment. Infrastructure Australia, on Friday released landmark report proposing three alternative visions of Sydney in 2046, when the population is projected to hit 7.4 million (23 February 2018). More...

Hunters Hill residents wary of latest announcement on uranium contamination
Residents on Sydney's lower north shore dismiss the Government's latest plans to clean up land contaminated by a uranium smelter more than hundred years ago as "a hollow promise" (21 February 2018). More...

EPA clamps down on rogue retailers failing to register waste tyre loads
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued 16 penalty notices to businesses across Sydney for failing to register and use the EPA's online tracking system, WasteLocate, to track the movement of their tyres (21 February 2018). More...

Stronger protections on tunnel ventilation facilities
The NSW Government today announced that it is putting in place stronger protections on emissions from motorway tunnels. Under reforms, the ventilation outlets of all current and future operating motorway tunnels in NSW will be regulated by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (17 February 2018). More...

In the media – Queensland

Queensland sets sights on growing sugarcane biorefineries
Renewable jet fuel and diesel made from sugarcane waste could be manufactured across regional Queensland under a project by US company Mercurius and supported by the Palaszczuk Government (20 February 2018). More...

Queensland accepts court block on New Acland coalmine expansion
The state government refuses to provide an environmental licence to allow New Hope to expand mining to the Darling Downs. It was the first time the court had recommended an environmental authority for a mine, known as New Acland coalmine (14 February 2018). More...

Local government representatives' hotline to Integrity Commissioner
Mayors and Local Government Councillors will be able to seek ethical and integrity advice from the Queensland Integrity Commissioner, as part of the Palaszczuk Government's increased transparency and accountability agenda (12 February 2018). More...

Better beef practices to help the Great Barrier Reef
Graziers in the Burnett-Mary region are set to deliver benefits to the Great Barrier Reef and their own farms off the back of more than $600,000 in funding from the Queensland Government for a new project focusing on better land management practices (09 February 2018). More...

In Practice and Courts


The latest organisation to achieve carbon neutral certification
Brisbane City Council has been certified carbon neutral against the Australian Government's National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) (21 February 2018). More...

Amendments to the Threatened Species List
The Minister has approved the inclusion of 19 species, transfer of 8 species, removal of 2 species and retention of 3 species in their current category in the EPBC Act list of threatened species. He also found 3 species ineligible for listing (15 February 2018). More...

Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy
The Department of the Environment and Energy is seeking feedback on this strategy and action inventory for 2018-30. The draft revised strategy is open to public comment until 16 March 2018. More...

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2017


Planning Permit Activity Report
The Planning Permit Activity Report for January 2018 is now available (22 February 2018).

New South Wales

Commencement of updated Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979
The NSW Government passed legislation to update the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) in November 2017. Most changes to the Act commenced on 1 March 2018. More...

State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) for the remediation of land and the Contaminated Land Planning Guidelines Review
The Department is exhibiting an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for a new Remediation of Land SEPP, as well as draft Planning Guidelines and is seeking comment from the community. Submissions are invited by 31 March 2018. More...

State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) review
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) has released its Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for a State Environmental Planning Policy that aims to simplify planning rules for a number of water catchments, waterways, urban bushland, and Willandra Lakes World Heritage Property. More...


Queensland Treasury: New legislation to reform financial assurance and mining rehabilitation performance
The Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill 2018 was introduced into Parliament on 15 February 2018. This important legislation will better protect the community and the environment against the risk of resource companies defaulting on their environmental obligations. The Bill replaces the existing financial assurance provisions for resource activities in the Environmental Protection Act 1994 with a new Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Act 2018 which establishes the financial provisioning scheme. More...
The Bill also introduces new progressive rehabilitation and closure plan requirements for mining lease environmental authorities for a site-specific application. More...



Inter Urban Pty Ltd v Moreland CC [2017] VCAT 1918
Moreland Planning Scheme; Application under Section 79 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 against the responsible authority's failure to determine the matter within time; General Residential Zone – Schedule 1 (GRZ1); Amendment VC110; Healthy neighbourhood; Amendment VC 139; Six three storey dwellings; Neighbourhood character; Reduction in residential and visitor car parking; public transport; corner site.

Kong v Rajaratnam (Building and Property) [2018] VCAT 204
Water Act 1989 – s.16(1) – damage suffered by unreasonable flow of water – liability of person who caused the flow – s.19(10) – flow – evidence as the source.

Shayher Properties Pty Ltd v Moreland CC [2018] VCAT 176
Moreland Planning Scheme; Section 77 the Planning and Environment Act 1987; former Pentridge Prison site; Permit already granted for a 19-storey tower in the general location in question; Incremental redevelopment of the former prison site; Proposal for development of a 19-storey tower containing hotel and apartment uses, The lower level hotel use includes the adaptive reuse of the B Division and B Division Annexe heritage buildings; Proposal includes the display of internally illuminated business identification signs at the top of the building; Part-oral decision at the end of the hearing; Interim decision.

New South Wales

City of Ryde Council v Principal Healthcare Finance Pty Ltd (No 3) [2018] NSWLEC 12
APPEAL: Appeal from the making of consent orders by a Commissioner to conclude a Class 1 appeal – whether such orders can or should be set aside – whether appellant is estopped from appealing orders to which it consented – statutory interpretation – conditions of consent – whether key issue was raised at first instance – consideration of objector concerns.

Slade v Kempsey Shire Council [2018] NSWCA 25
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – Environment Protection Agency (EPA) issued a clean-up notice to the appellants in respect of a metal recycling site – appellants failed to comply with the notice – EPA then issued a notice to the respondent council to clean up the site – whether any non-compliance by the respondent with the EPA's notice to it affected the respondent's right to recover its costs and expenses of the clean-up from the appellants.

Leroma Pty Ltd v Randwick City Council [2018] NSWLEC 1073
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: residential flat building; component of affordable rental housing; whether proposal is compatible with the character of the locality; setbacks; wall height; and visitor parking.


Lock the Gate Alliance Ltd v Chief Executive under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 [2018] QSC 022 ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – REVIEWABLE DECISIONS AND CONDUCT – REFUSAL OF REQUESTS FOR REASONS – where the applicant environmental organisation seeks a statement of reasons for a decision made under s.295 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 determining the amount and form of financial assurance to be provided by the holder of a mining lease in respect of the Blair Athol coal mine, as a condition of, and as security for the performance of its obligations under, an environmental authority – whether the applicant is a person whose interests are adversely affected by the decision, such that it is entitled to request a statement of reasons for the decision.

Lock the Gate Alliance Ltd v The Minister for Natural Resources and Mines [2018] QSC 021
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – REVIEWABLE DECISIONS AND CONDUCT – REFUSAL OF REQUESTS FOR REASONS – where the applicant environmental organisation seeks a statement of reasons for a decision made under s.318AAV of the Mineral Resources Act 1989 giving indicative approval for the transfer of a mining lease relating to the Blair Athol coal mine – whether the decision to give indicative approval is a decision to which the Judicial Review Act 1991 applies – whether the applicant is a person whose interests are adversely affected by the decision such that it is entitled to request a statement of reasons for the decision.

Spraybuilt Investments (1) Pty Ltd v Brisbane City Council [2018] QPEC 003
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING – Whether changes to a development application are a minor change – Whether changes to a development application result in a substantially different development.



Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment (Authority Governance and Other Matters) Bill 2017
Amends the: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 to: replace the existing full-time Chairperson of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority position with a part-time Chairperson and full-time Chief Executive Officer; establish an additional part-time member position; specify the skills required for the appointment of members; limit the number of consecutive terms able to be served by an individual member; provide for termination of members by the Governor-General for underperformance; require that any other paid work undertaken by a part-time member does not conflict with the proper performance of their duties as a member of the authority; and make a minor technical amendment; and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to make consequential amendments - House of Representatives: Introduced and read a first time 08 February 2018.

New South Wales

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Biodiversity Conservation (Savings and Transitional) Amendment Regulation 2018
(2018-60) — published LW 23 February 2018.

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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