Australia: Local Government News - 14 March 2018

Last Updated: 15 March 2018
Article by Jenny Humphris, Joseph Monaghan and Peter Holt

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2018

In the media – National

Key points for councils in infrastructure report
The recently released report from Infrastructure Australia, Future Cities: Planning for our growing population contains some key recommendations which are of considerable interest to Local Government. The full report can be downloaded at the Infrastructure Australia website here (02 March 2018). More...

Communications claim more space
The size of some telecommunications facilities will be allowed to increase, under changes announced by the Federal Government on Thursday. Ten proposed changes will proceed. ALGA argued against two of the first three of these proposals and said shrouds should require Local Government approval, as the addition of these could affect structural integrity (02 March 2018). More...

Cities urged to work with scientists on climate change
An urban environment expert at ANU has warned that city councils acting alone to address climate change, in the absence of an evidence-based systems approach, can have unintended consequences (01 March 2018). More...

Thinxtra empowers Australian councils with IoT solutions
With CEFC support Thinxtra is supercharging its Smart Council Program which helps local government save with Internet of Things technology efficiencies (28 February 2018). More...

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...

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...

In the media – Queensland

CCC to investigate allegations of corruption relating to Gold Coast City Council decision-making
The Crime & Corruption Commission (CCC) has determined it is in the public interest to advise it has commenced an investigation into allegations of corrupt conduct relating to decision-making by some Gold Coast City Council councillors. The allegations broadly involve possible conflicts of interests relating to decisions on a range of development matters on the Gold Coast (02 March 2018). More...

Fired Queensland mayor Chris Loft confident of comeback
The former mayor of the Fraser Coast, Chris Loft, is confident he will win a legal challenge to overturn his recent dismissal and be back in the top job soon (02 March 2018). More...

New retrospective Queensland law validates council rates
A law has been introduced in the Queensland Parliament which retrospectively validates council rates that may have been improperly issued. The new Local Government Legislation (Validation of Rates and Charges) Amendment Bill 2018 has been formulated as a response to a Queensland Supreme Court ruling in November 2017 (22 February 2018). More...

Anti-Adani doco screening axed for safety reasons, not politics, council says
Townsville City Council has dismissed environmentalists' claims that the screening of a documentary on the Stop Adani protest movement was cancelled for political reasons, insisting public safety concerns were the real concern (21 February 2018). More...

In the media – Victoria

Former City of Ballarat Council manager sentenced to jail following IBAC investigation
A former manager at the City of Ballarat Council has been convicted and sentenced following an IBAC investigation into allegations of corrupt procurement transactions at the Council. IBAC investigated allegations that Mr Carey subverted procurement processes and failed to fully declare and manage conflicts of interest when engaging suppliers on behalf of the council (22 February 2018). More...

Burning rubbish to generate energy, cut landfill has 'broad support'
Burning waste and using it to generate energy is being touted as a viable alternative to landfill for Victoria under a proposal put before the State Government, but some locals in Melbourne's west are concerned how the pollution would be managed (26 February 2018). More...

Stepping in to support industry and councils with recycling
The Labor Government will provide a $13 million package for councils and industry to support the ongoing kerbside collection of household recyclable waste. The assistance will support all councils impacted by China's decision to restrict the import of recyclable materials – giving them and their contractors time to develop longer-term solutions, including renegotiating contracts (23 February 2018). More...

"It's a mess": Victoria calls in Fishermans Bend developments
The Victorian Government has put a pause on 26 development applications for high-rise towers in the Fishermans Bend urban renewal site, a move which could potentially see $4.5 billion of development knocked back. Under Victorian planning law, the planning minister has the right to call in appeals being reviewed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) as well as permit applications from responsible authorities (usually local councils) under a number of circumstances (22 February 2018). More...

Robert Doyle sexual harassment investigation no closer to completion
No progress has been made in the past fortnight towards finalising a Melbourne City Council investigation into sexual harassment allegations against former lord mayor, a council meeting hears (20 February 2018). More...

In the media – New South Wales

Biodiversity Offset Scheme
The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme commenced in most NSW local government areas on 25 February 2018. Additional interim designated areas have been declared for some local government areas where transition arrangements will be extended until 24 November 2018. A recent Office of Local Government circular provides an explanation of the changes.

Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel Chairs appointed
Local communities are a step closer to benefiting from the newly legislated Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAPs), with Chairs now allocated to each Council and the expert talent pool established (21 February 2018). More...

In Practice and Courts

National Landcare Grants
Applications are open for groups to share in $5 million worth of grants, under the federal government's National Landcare Program, closing on 19 March 2018. One-off grants between $5,000 and $50,000 are available. More...

National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation Draft Investment Mandate 2018
Provides directions about the two core functions of the NHFIC which will support investment in Australian housing: the establishment and operation of an Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator and the National Housing Infrastructure Facility. The draft Investment Mandate provides other detail on the NHFIC including eligible projects and project proponents, the financing mechanisms and lending criteria related to its activities. Submissions from interested stakeholders closed on 9 March 2018. More...

Extreme weather conference 2018
The impact of climate change on infrastructure and government will be one of the key themes of Australia's first Xtreme Weather Conference, to be held at the Sofitel Brisbane on 20 March 2018. The conference brings together climate change experts with local government planners, academics and emergency services to share information on climate change. More...

National General Assembly (NGA) of Local Government 2018
The National General Assembly (NGA) of Local Government is the peak annual event for local government, attracting in excess of 800 mayors and councillors each year. This year's event takes place at the National Convention Centre in Canberra from 17 – 20 June. Registrations are available online. Motions are open and need to be lodged by 30 March using the online form. More...

LG Professionals Australia's National Congress and Business Expo 2018
The LG Professionals Australia National Congress 2018 will be held in Canberra, 22-24 August, at the Canberra Rex Hotel. More...

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 31 March. More...

Applying for Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program funding: Proposals
The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, has 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...

Queensland

LGAQ: EOI Councillor Complaints Reference Group
The LGAQ is seeking nominations to support its efforts in reviewing the documentation relating to the implementation of the Councillor Complaints Bill. The main objective of these legislative changes is to provide for a simpler, more streamlined system for making, investigating and determining complaints about councillor conduct in Queensland (01 March 2018). More...

LGAQ: Spotlight on: Energy

The Queensland government has a target to reach at least 50 per cent renewable energy generation in Queensland by 2030. The LGAQ via Peak Services has several tailored services on offer for councils to help reduce overheads and streamline major renewable energy projects (02 March 2018).

LGAQ: submission on the draft Investment Mandate
The LGAQ is seeking input from councils wishing to contribute to the LGAQ submission. Interested councils are encouraged to email their feedback to LGAQ's Principal Advisor by 2 March 2018. An exposure draft of the NHFIC Investment Mandate Direction 2018, and the associated Explanatory Statement is available from the Commonwealth Treasury website.

New South Wales

2018 Waste Conference
Registrations are open for the 2018 Waste Conference (Coffs Harbour, 8-10 May). This annual conference is the premier event for the waste management industry in Australia. LGNSW supports this conference as it is particularly relevant to the local government sector. More...

Reminder: New Code of Meeting Practice Model for Councils
The NSW Office of Local Government is seeking feedback on its new draft model code of meeting practice for councils. LGNSW is preparing a sector-wide submission and councils are invited to make comments or submissions to be included in this. Submissions close on 16 March 2018. The draft Model Code of Meeting Practice proposes a uniform set of meeting rules for councils across the state to ensure more accessible, orderly, effective and efficient meetings.

Stronger Country Communities Grants
A second round of funding under the NSW Government's Stronger Country Communities Fund opens on 12 March. The Stronger Country Communities Fund – part of the NSW Government's overall $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund – provides support for infrastructure projects in regional NSW including parks, community halls, playgrounds and amenity blocks.

Cases

Amos v Brisbane City Council [2018] QCA 11
Allow the appeal. LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – LIMITATION OF PARTICULAR ACTIONS – ACTIONS TO RECOVER MONEY RECOVERABLE BY VIRTUE OF AN ENACTMENT – where the respondent brought an action to recover overdue rates and charges – where the rates and charges were a charge on the land – whether the primary judge erred in holding that the 12 year limitation in s26(1) Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) applied to the exclusion of the six year limitation period in s10(1)(d) and s26(5).
REAL PROPERTY – RATES AND CHARGES – WATER SEWERAGE AND DRAINAGE RATES AND CHARGES – RATEABLE LAND – where the service was provided to a structure – where the primary judge found the appellant implicitly asked for the service to be provided – whether the primary judge erred in finding the appellant liable for utility charges levied by the respondent on rateable land owned by the appellant.
Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld), s32A; City of Brisbane Act 2010 (Qld), s93(1), s93(2), s94(1), s97(2), s257.

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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