Australia: Local Government News – 25 September 2018

Last Updated: 1 October 2018
Article by Gerard Timbs, Jenny Humphris, Joseph Monaghan and Peter Holt
Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2018

In the media

Call to nominate mobile black spots
The Federal Government is calling on mobile black spot nominations from local, territory and state governments, as well as Federal Members of Parliament, to identify locations for the next round of the $220 million Mobile Black Spot Program. The Government will soon call for applications from carriers to be selected through a competitive process. For more information on the program click here (14 September 2018). More...

Australian cities produce $127 billion at night
The Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM) has completed the 2016 and 2017 research measuring the Australian night time economy. The report, available here, provides analysis of each of the member-councils contributing to the report, including Australia's capital cities as well as the cities of Newcastle, Parramatta, Gold Coast, Port Phillip and Maroondah (14 September 2018). More...

Advancing sustainable purchasing in Australian local governments
A new study aims to better understand the barriers and facilitators of effective purchasing, procurement, and waste management for local governments, including the social, economic, and environmental implications. The team is inviting local government professionals (e.g. managers, directors, and officers) to participate in an anonymous and confidential 15-20 minutes online survey (14 September 2018). More...

Sensible water use and protecting your greenspaces
Local governments across the country have embraced the greenlife revolution in an effort to achieve a 20% increase in urban greenlife by 2020. But with concerns about the drought and water restrictions on the horizon for many states, there may be some uncertainty about the use of water for greenlife (14 September 2018). More...

ALGA: Australians agree, federal election focus should be local
Findings of a poll published in a federal election advocacy document have revealed that 81% of Australians agree that political candidates should focus on local issues and local communities at the next federal election (13 September 2018). More...

New waste policy to include targets, performance reporting
Australia would reduce its total waste by 10 per cent per capita by 2030 if proposals for a revised national waste policy are adopted. The updated national waste policy would be supported by the development of action plans by 2020 to outline priorities including landfill levies, research and regularly incentives (13 September 2018). More...

Bullying endemic in councils, Fair Work turns staff away
There are calls for reform of a legal loophole that sees council staff affected by bullying denied access to the Fair Work Commission. The local government sector ranks among the top of all sectors for worker compensation claims of bullying according to the federal watchdog Safe Work Australia (11 September 2018). More...

National waste plan out for discussion
The Department of the Environment and Energy has issued a Discussion Paper on plans to update the nation's policies on waste control. In April, the Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Governments committed to set a sustainable path for the nation's recyclable waste with an agreement to work together to better manage it, including updating the 2009 National Waste Policy by the end of the year (10 September 2018). More...

Australian Research Council's Local Government and Housing in the 21st Century Linkage Project
Late last year, councils were asked to complete a survey as part of the Australian Research Council's Local Government and Housing Project, led by Professor Andrew Beer of the University of South Australia. With the results of that survey now available, compiled in the recently-released report Housing Locally, the findings challenge many of the preconceptions of the federal and state governments around the role of local government and housing (7 September 2018). More...

Safer communities funding to combat anti-social behaviour available
Grants of up to $1 million for security measures to address crime and anti-social behaviour in community spaces are now available for local governments under a new Safer Communities Fund (3 September 2018). More...


Yeppoon heritage rail precinct steams ahead
There will soon be movement at the station when the Palaszczuk Government calls for expressions of interest in the renewal of Yeppoon's heritage rail precinct, to be known as Station Quarter, in the heart of Yeppoon. Livingston Shire Council Mayor Bill Ludwig says the development will greatly benefit the community and deliver a long-term economic boost. The invitation for expressions of interest will close Monday 29 October 2018 (14 September 2018). More...

Council orders changes to West End development after community backlash
A proposal for a 12-storey U-shaped building with 446 units in West End has been slammed by residents as "excessive" and called out by Brisbane City Council for not meeting planning guidelines. An application was submitted to the council on January 3 to demolish existing warehouse and office buildings at 117 Victoria Street to make way for a 12-storey residential tower (13 September 2018). More...

Queensland communities to benefit from improved grants model for councils
Communities right across Queensland are set to benefit from a simpler, more streamlined and more efficient approach to local government grants, following the Government's commitment to develop a new model for grant funding (12 September 2018). More...

A jungle of rooftop greenery: Council makes green roof push
Developers will be encouraged to include rooftop gardens and communal space on new apartment projects under proposed changes to Brisbane's City Plan. These changes will allow new developments to include a rooftop communal area, without listing it as an additional storey (11 September 2018). More...

Palaszczuk Government launches $100 million waste management revolution
A $100 million Palaszczuk Government program which is set to revolutionise Queensland's recycling, resource recovery and biofutures industries is now open. This funding will be available to support local governments and existing businesses and will attract new major projects to Queensland (10 September 2018). More...

Hotel fire sparks concerns Queensland heritage protection is failing
The fire that gutted Brisbane's historic Broadway Hotel prompts renewed concerns that Queensland's heritage protection laws are not being properly enforced (9 September 2018). More...

Waste levy: Does not clean up councils concerns
The Palaszczuk Government's unveiling of its waste levy legislation has local councils continuing to grapple with how they are expected to collect this new tax for the State (7 September 2018). More...

New Councillor Code of Conduct to enforce higher standards in Local Government
A new Councillor Code of Conduct spelling out the minimum behaviour required of Local Government elected representatives has been released (7 September 2018). More...

New charges laid against former Ipswich mayor Andrew Antoniolli
Prosecutors drop seven fraud charges against former Ipswich mayor Andrew Antoniolli and replace them with 14 new charges as prosecutors seek to have the six-day trial delayed (7 September 2018). More...

Rockets could launch from Queensland as push to become space hub takes off
The State Government sees Queensland playing a leading role in developing space technologies like rockets, satellites and even launch zones, with a new inquiry to examine how the state could become the country's space hub (6 September 2018). More...


Slashing red tape to boost local businesses and create jobs
By November this year, the Labor Government will have delivered on its 2014 election promise to reduce Victoria's gross regulatory burden by 25 per cent. More than 250 new initiatives have been put in place to meet this commitment. These include: simplifying and streamlining the way Councils require, access and collect developer contributions to pay for infrastructure (14 September 2018). More...

EPA continues to support recovery efforts in West Footscray
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) continues to support Maribyrnong City Council in its role as the lead agency of the recovery efforts following the West Footscray factory fire (14 September 2018). More...

Wind farm noise affecting residents' wellbeing, court-ordered investigation finds
Noise from a wind farm is adversely impacting on the comfort and wellbeing of residents living at surrounding properties, a new report commissioned by an eastern Victorian council has found (13 September 2018). More...

'I hope everyone knows your name': Magistrate blasts Corkman developers over asbestos dump
A magistrate says he would have jailed two Melbourne developers if he had the power to, after they pleaded guilty to dumping asbestos from an illegally demolished historic pub near homes and a childcare centre (12 September 2018). More...

Building communities in the Yarra Ranges
The Minister for Local Government Marlene Kairouz announced $50 million in grants that will go towards 45 new projects in growing suburbs, as part of the 2018/19 Growing Suburbs Fund (12 September 2018). More...

Million-dollar revamp for Morwell's CBD
Grants announced will allow work to get underway on the Future Morwell Streetscape Upgrade Project. The Labor Government project is being led by Latrobe City Council and a steering group of community members (12 September 2018). More...

Population plan needed to improve regional liveability
Local government collectively shares the concern that our rapid population boom is far from equal in its impact on the whole state. The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has called on all political parties contesting the November state election to develop a Victorian Population Strategy 2050 to better manage growth and opportunities, and improve the long-term outcomes for our rural and regional areas (10 September 2018). More...

New South Wales

Rate cap meets increased costs, but that's it
The 2.7% cap on council rates for 2019-20 reflects some of the rising costs faced by councils – but it's still just a political sleight of hand, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) said , after the IPART announced rate rises in 2019 would be capped at 2.7%, reflecting an equal rise in a range of costs borne by local government (11 September 2018). More...

Councils share in $150m program as part of Western Sydney City Deal
Eight local councils across the future Western Parkland City will share in a $150 million Liveability Program to provide high quality community infrastructure and public spaces, as part of the Western Sydney City Deal (7 September 2018). More...

Tough new behaviour code for councillors
Tough new codes of conduct for local councillors are coming into force that crack down on gifts and benefits and require formal training for councillors and Mayors. Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton said the reforms are needed to ensure the conduct of local councillors meets the expectations of the community (03 September 2018). More...

In practice and courts

Australian Tourism Data Warehouse
Councils can subscribe to the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) to market local accommodation and tourism attractions on council destination websites. The ATDW hosts more than 40,000 listings of places to stay, attractions, events and tourism services across Australia. The disability inclusion data is available to councils and other ATDW subscribers. More...

Discussion paper: Updating the 2009 National Waste Policy - Less waste, more resources
This paper is intended to inform discussion and does not represent official positions of the contributors. Feedback closes on 5 October 2018. Feedback may be submitted through an online survey available here.

Safer Communities Fund round three - Infrastructure grants
Provides local councils and community organisations with grants of up to $1 million for security infrastructure activities to address crime and anti-social behaviour in public or community spaces. Applications closed on 25 September 2018. More...

Free assessment tool for road managers
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and the Australian Road Research Board have launched an updated version of the Restricted Access Vehicle Route Assessment Tool (RAVRAT). RAVRAT 2.0 provides local governments with a consistent assessment methodology for assessing heavy vehicle access requests. The tool has been integrated with the NVHR Portal - Road Manager Module. It currently incorporates three main route assessment modules with more to be developed in the future. Register online for RAVRAT services.

My Health Record information for councils - Your health record in your hands
Councils can provide their support for the My Health Record by displaying brochures and posters in Immunisation Clinics, within newsletters or any mail outs. For more information visit your local Primary Health Network or click here.

Reminder: Australian Digital Health Agency three month "opt-out period" for My Health Record
As announced by the Australian Digital Health Agency, every Australian will be offered a My Health Record unless they choose not to have one during the three-month opt out period which has been extended to 15 November 2018.


Local Government Bulletin No 09/18: Local Government Borrowings and Working Capital Facilities 2018–19
This Bulletin is to advise Local Governments of the procedure for submitting loan borrowing and/or Working Capital Facility (WCF) applications for the 2018-19 financial year. An updated LGFM needs to be attached to the borrowing application where a Local Government's long-term financial forecast has changed significantly since its initial submission to QTC and the Department on or before 14 September 2018, in line with Bulletin 8/18.

New Councillor Code of Conduct
All Councillors must declare that they will abide by this Code of Conduct when they are elected. It applies to all Councils, except Brisbane City Council which has a separate Code. The Code of Conduct can be viewed here. Note: From 3 December 2018 the Independent Assessor and the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) will assess and investigate councillor conduct complaints. The Code of Conduct will take effect on 3 December.

Reminder: Safer Buildings Website
The 'Safer Buildings' website will be the portal through which building owners register and begin the new statutory three stage process, aimed at identifying buildings in Queensland that may have potentially combustible cladding. The regulation come into effect on 1 October 2018. The website also includes the relevant forms.

LGAQ: Protecting our animals
The way in which we protect the places where native animals are mostly likely to breed is currently under the microscope in Queensland. Have your say by 2 October 2018. More...

QRA ready for disaster funding reform
The new Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) will apply to disaster events from 1 November 2018, with the existing NDRRA Determination 2017 applying to natural disasters between now and 31 October 2018. To assist with the implementation, QRA has developed Management and Reporting System (MARS), an online application designed to streamline the disaster funding submission process. MARS will be used for events occurring after 1 November 2018, in line with the implementation of DRFA. More...

Queensland waste disposal levy
From 31 August 2018, local governments can apply for funding under the 2018-19 Local Government Levy Ready Grant Program, which supports infrastructure improvements at waste disposal facilities. The 2018-19 Local Government Levy Ready Grant Program will be open for local government submissions between 31 August and 12 October 2018. More...

LGAQ: Heavy vehicle update: Chain of responsibility laws
On 1 October 2018, amendments to the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws will come into effect. These changes will apply a direct duty of care on local government and more and more closely align the laws with Work Health & Safety laws. More...


VAGO Report follow-up
A follow-up report from VAGO on an audit tabled in 2014 on Oversight and Accountability of Committees of Management found that the governance of Committees of Management required significant improvement. This follow-up audit report looks at the progress DELWP has made in responding to the 11 recommendations made (5 September 2018).

New South Wales

Privacy Code of Practice for Local Government
The NSW Office of Local Government (OLG) is reviewing the Privacy Code of Practice for Local Government. The code modifies the Information Protection Principles applicable to local government and the public register provisions in Part 6 of the Act. The closing date for submissions to OLG is 30 September 2018. More...

New rate peg announced
Councils will be able to increase the revenue they can collect from rates by a maximum of 2.7 per cent in 2019-20 under the new rate peg announced by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). The LGCI increased by 2.7 per cent in the year to June 2018, exceeding the Australian consumer price index (CPI) June 2018 of 2.1 per cent and the Reserve Bank forecast CPI for 2018/19 of 2.25 per cent (11 September 2018). More...



Balens v Moreton Bay Regional Council [2018] QCAT 297
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS – QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL – where dog declared dangerous dog – where history of non-compliance with requirements of declaration – where dog seized – whether discretion to issue destruction order in respect of dog should be exercised.

Waugh v Goondiwindi Regional Council [2018] QCAT 296
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS – QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL – dog destruction order – where one animal was killed and another mortally injured as a result of an attack by dogs.

New South Wales

Roads and Maritime Services v Desane Properties Pty Ltd [2018] NSWCA 196
(1) Appeal allowed.
PUBLIC LAW – compulsory acquisition of property – issue of proposed acquisition notice – whether proposed acquisition notice complied with legislative requirements – Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (NSW) – whether compliance with procedural requirements an essential pre-condition to the validity of acquisition – whether proposed acquisition notice was non-compliant with form approved by Minister – whether substantial compliance with approved form was sufficient – Interpretation Act 1987 (NSW), s 80(1) – whether approved form was consistent with empowering Act – whether Act required proposed acquisition notice to state the public purpose of acquisition.
PUBLIC LAW – compulsory acquisition of property – whether land was sought to be acquired for an improper purpose – Roads Act 1993 (NSW), s 177(1) – whether purpose assessed at time of acquisition or time of notice.
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (NSW), ss 11, 15, 33, 39, 69.
CIVIL PROCEDURE – court of appeal – cross-appeals – whether to grant injunction restraining issue of proposed acquisition notice in circumstances where notice not invalid.
Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Amendment Act 2016 (NSW); Local Government Act 1993 (NSW).

McEwan v Port Stephens Council [2018] NSWCATAP 211
APPEAL – ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – access to objections to development application – balancing of interests for and against disclosure where information sought is open access information – public interest considerations against disclosure – application of appeal right where part of reasons not disclosed to appellant – adequacy of reasons – need to address material evidence against existence of factor relied upon to refuse disclosure.

Scott-Brydges v Lismore City Council [2018] NSWCATAD 215
HEALTH – food safety – improvement notice – prohibition order – compensation claim – whether no grounds for making the order – layers of protection analysis.
WORDS AND PHRASES – "ensure" – "reasonable grounds" –"no grounds for making the order".

Whittaker v Northern Beaches Council (No 3) [2018] NSWLEC 143
SEPARATE QUESTION - whether proposed development is permissible with consent or is prohibited – applicable principles of construction of an environmental planning instrument – meaning of "geotechnical hazard" and "natural hazard" – whether the term "geotechnical hazard" is a "like description" for "natural hazard" – held it is not – development permissible with consent.

Wirrabara Village Pty Limited v The Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment [2018] NSWLEC 138
JUDICIAL REVIEW - validity of the decision of a delegate to revoke a site compatibility certificate – failure to reach a necessary state of satisfaction – precondition to the exercise of power not met – jurisdictional error resulting in invalidity.



Bills Updated

Waste Reduction and Recycling (Waste Levy) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018
Introduced by: Hon L Enoch MP on 6/09/2018
Stage reached: Referred to Committee on 6/09/2018

Plumbing and Drainage Bill 2018
Introduced by: Hon M de Brenni MP on 15/02/2018
Passed with amendment on 5/09/2018
Assent Date: 11/09/2018
Act No: 17 of 2018
Commences: see Act for details
Includes enforcement by Local Governments

Subordinate legislation as made

Reminder: No 110 Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018
The Regulation is made under the Building Act 1975, and the State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999. The policy objectives of the Regulation are to determine the extent of the use of potentially combustible cladding on existing private buildings in Queensland and raise awareness with building owners of the risks associated with potentially combustible cladding. The Regulation commences on 1 October 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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Gerard Timbs
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