Australia: Inside track: Local Government - 24 October 2018

Last Updated: 29 October 2018
Article by Gerard Timbs, Jenny Humphris, Joseph Monaghan and Peter Holt
Most Read Contributor in Australia, October 2018

In the media

Commonwealth

Outlook conference: local government wants a place at COAG table
Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said cities should be given a seat at the Council of Australian Governments table because they were at the "coalface" of dealing with growth and planning (12 October 2018). More...

Additional $75m available for drought-hit communities
The Drought Communities Programme extension grant hub recently opened and drought-impacted councils have already begun submitting their applications. Nearly one third of eligible councils have started the process since the guidelines were released on 28 September (12 October 2018). More...

$163m funding to support newly arrived migrants and refugees
A total of $163.4 million in Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) grants have been announced - funding which will assist newly arrived migrants and refugees (12 October 2018). More...

Federal Government invests in new driver fatigue testing field trials
The Federal Government and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) are investing in new field trials to test driver fatigue monitoring technologies, which can enhance heavy vehicle safety outcomes (12 October 2018). More...

Review to tackle road toll
The Commonwealth has announced a road safety governance review, implementing one of the recommendations from a recent major inquiry. Professor Woolley has called for co-ordinated action by all three levels of government to combat the road toll, saying that current government actions were "simply not good enough (11 October 2018). More...

Local councils outstrip Federal climate action
Local councils are outstripping the Federal Government on policies to tackle climate change, committing to hundreds of projects to cut greenhouse gas pollution, according to a report released by the Climate Council's Cities Power Partnership (09 October 2018). More...

Warning for councils on CCTV data risks
A privacy expert is calling for a national review by councils of the public safety benefits of CCTV cameras after a recent audit found surveillance data were vulnerable to privacy breaches (05 October 2018). More...

ALGA federal election advocacy focus: Boost safety on local roads
Inadequately-maintained roads and bridges can have serious road safety outcomes. The 2015 State of the Assets report, commissioned by ALGA, estimates that around 11% of local government transport assets, with a replacement value of around $20 billion, are in poor or very poor condition and in need of urgent maintenance and/or renewal. More...

Queensland

Burnett Heads town centre $6.6 million facelift complete
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the Building our Regions has funded four other infrastructure projects in the Bundaberg local government area which, collectively with the town centre project, have a total capital expenditure of more than $99 million (12 October 2018). More...

It's being called 'the Maldives of Australia', but don't pack your bags yet
A decade since Great Keppel Island's resort closed, a potential foreign buyer is promising to restore the island to its former glory. But the deal is far from done and dusted (11 October 2018). More...

Australian-first development tracker launches in Sunshine Coast
An Australian-first application tracking system has been launched by Sunshine Coast Council, giving the community easier and quicker access to development information (11 October 2018). More...

The facts on energy from waste
Contrary to the statements of those pushing their own political agendas, the LGAQ does not promote, nor has it ever promoted, incineration of waste as a preferred Energy from Waste (EfW) option (10 October 2018). More...

Council knew of 'unfair and unlawful' treatment of workers for three years, emails reveal

Emails provided to the ABC reveal Brisbane City Council (BCC) knew about allegations of unfair and unlawful treatment relating to its sub-contracted IT workers almost three years ago — despite Lord Mayor Graham Quirk's assertion the Council only recently became aware of the issue (10 October 2018). More...

Brisbane City Council's $100 million creek project takes shape
The $100 million transformation of the Oxley Creek corridor into a gigantic 20-kilometre parkland is starting to take shape - at least on paper - with a bird sanctuary, adventure park and shaded walking paths identified in Brisbane City Council's master plan (10 October 2018). More...

Up to 900 jobs at risk at Jewel construction site, union warns
Workers strike for a second day on the $1 billion Jewel resort development in Surfers Paradise, with the CFMEU saying the situation is "unprecedented" and it fears for all 900 construction jobs (04 October 2018). More...

Victoria

Melbourne City Council kept in dark about Apple's plan for Fed Square
Melbourne City Council was kept in the dark about a plan to demolish part of Federation Square for Apple in order to protect the tech giant's interests. Due to the commercial-in-confidence status of this project, Melbourne City Council was not engaged, one report to Mr Wynne says (10 October 2018). More...

Call for political parties to support stronger communities
The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has called on all political parties contesting the November state election to support initiatives that make local communities stronger, more resilient and better connected (08 October 2018). More...

Councils call for clarity amid solar frustration
A number of local councils in Victoria say they are ill-equipped when it comes to solar plans, and are calling on the State Government for guidance (02 October 2018). More...

New South Wales

Funding to support local infrastructure for 25000 new homes in NSW
The NSW Government is investing more than $10 million to help local councils deliver more than $165 million worth of essential infrastructure to support growing communities across metropolitan and regional NSW (05 October 2018). More...

Bush powers the city as councils sign deal with rural solar farm
A coalition of 18 urban councils in New South Wales signs a renewable energy deal to buy electricity from a solar farm around 600 kilometres away (04 October 2018). More...

Council push for drought support structure
A structured system that better assists farmers and communities ravaged by drought tops almost 100 issues scheduled for debate by NSW councils at the sector's annual policy-setting conference in Albury this month (04 October 2018). More...

TCorp loan rules for unrated investments upset NSW councils
NSW councils that borrow at reduced rates from the NSW Treasury Corporation fear new exposure limits on unrated investments could affect future borrowings and local services (02 October 2018). More...

Local council declares war on abandoned shopping trolleys
A local Sydney council has declared war on abandoned shopping trolleys, just months after share bikes finally rode their way out of town (02 October 2018). More...

In practice and courts

Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018
The Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018 will apply from 1 November 2018 in respect of eligible events that occur on or after that date. All eligible events occurring up to and including 31 October 2018 will be governed by the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) Determination 2017. Under these arrangements, the state or territory government determines which areas receive assistance and what assistance is available to individuals and communities. More...

ALGA federal election advocacy focus: Advocacy kits
ALGA and state/territory local government associations have made it simple for councils to pitch in to the federal election advocacy happening at the national level by preparing a federal election advocacy kit, which is available here (12 October 2018).

Waiting for the green light: Sustainable transport solutions for local government
Petra Stock; Climate Council of Australia: 26 September 2018
Transport pollution is one of the major drivers of climate change in Australia's towns and cities. More...

Building Better Regions Fund: Round 3
Regional tourism and local jobs are front and centre of the latest round of the Building Better Regions Fund, with regional Australia set to share in $200 million for local infrastructure and community-building projects. Applications will close on 15 November 2018. For further information on eligibility and how to lodge an application, please click here.

National Local Roads and Transport Congress, 20-22 November 2018, Alice Springs, NT
The theme for the 2018 Congress is Connecting Transport Networks Now and into the Future. The key benefit of improved transport connectivity is its transformational effects - making cities and regions more accessible, more liveable and creating opportunities for economic development that could not otherwise exist. Registration is now open.

Queensland

Building our Regions Queensland
Building our Regions is a $445 million targeted regional infrastructure program for local government projects. To date, Building our Regions has allocated $225 million across 174 projects. Round 4: From the expressions of interest received, 53 projects have been shortlisted. Business case applications have now closed. Successful projects are expected to be announced in late 2018 (10 October 2018).

Guidelines: Queensland Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Breeding Dogs and their Progeny
The new regulations, effective from 1 October 2018, outline the appropriate care, management, shelter, socialisation and housing of breeding dogs. The Standards are mandatory requirements and the Guidelines are advice on recommended practices to achieve desirable welfare outcomes. More...

Local Government Act 2009 [Gazetted 28/09/2018]
Notice of Making Moreton Bay Regional Council Subordinate Local Law No. 3 (Advertising Devices) 2018.
The interim local law referred to in paragraph 1 amends Moreton Bay Regional Council Subordinate Local Law No. 1(Administration) 2011. The interim local law referred to in paragraph 1 repeals Moreton Bay Regional Council Interim Local Law No. 2 (Advertising Devices) 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. By COB 30 October 2018 - For complete borrowing applications not subject to a detailed QTC review, the Department will approve or not approve the request within 10 business days of the program closing date. More...

Proposed changes to the Economic Development Act
The Economic Development and Other Legislation Amendment (EDOLA) Bill 2018 was introduced into the Queensland Parliament on 19 September 2018 and has been referred to the State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee for detailed consideration. Amendments are proposed for more than eight Acts through the EDOLA Bill. A copy of the Bill and the Explanatory Notes is available from the Queensland Parliament website. Submissions closed on 12 October 2018.

LGAQ: Have your say on vegetation management
As part of the review of vegetation management legislation in Queensland, the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy have reviewed the following codes: Managing weeds, Managing encroachment, Necessary environmental clearing. The three codes can be found here. Consultation on the codes closed on the 19th October 2018. The LGAQ will be providing comment.

PCA: Combustible Cladding Update
The Queensland Government has launched a new website providing further information on the new obligations on owners of private and local government buildings to undertake a mandatory 'combustible cladding checklist'. 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.

Building regulation for cladding reminder
From 1 October 2018 new regulation will come into force requiring building owners to take action to address combustible cladding. The regulation applies to privately-owned buildings that are Class 2-9, are either Type A or Type B construction and approved since 1994. Class 1 and Class 10 buildings are excluded. More...

Reminder: New Councillor Code of Conduct
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.

QRA ready for disaster funding reform
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
The 2018-19 Local Government Levy Ready Grant Program was 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 came into effect. These changes apply a direct duty of care on local government and more and more closely align the laws with Work Health & Safety laws. More...

New South Wales

Have Your Say: Short-term Rental Accommodation Amendments
The NSW Department of Environment and Planning (DPE) is seeking feedback on proposed changes to the planning system for short-term rental accommodation (STRA). For further information see the Explanation of Intended Effects. Submissions are due by 16 November 2018 (12 October 2018).

Draft Practice Note – Managing run-off from service station forecourts
The NSW EPA has released a draft Practice Note – Managing forecourt run-off from service stations to provide guidance on preventing pollution from service station forecourts for consultation. The note encourages service stations to take action to improve the quality of run-off from service station forecourts, recommending councils take a risk-based approach to assessing the impacts of new or upgraded service stations (12 October 2018).

Inland code released
The NSW Government has released an inland code, allowing one and two storey homes, home renovations and some farm buildings to be treated as complying development. The inland code applies to 69 local government areas and will commence on 1 January 2019, giving councils and industry time to understand the new requirements. Visit the DP&E website for more information (11 October 2018).

Draft Urban Design for Regional NSW
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has released a Draft Urban Design Guide for Regional NSW for comment. The guide outlines how the Government Architect of NSW's Better Placed integrated design policy can be applied to the state's regions. Submissions close on 31 October 2018. For further information visit the department's website.

Cases

Queensland

Mount Isa City Council v The Mount Isa Irish Association Friendly Society Ltd [2018] QCA 269
APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – PROCEDURE – QUEENSLAND – APPEAL COSTS FUND – POWER TO GRANT INDEMNITY CERTIFICATE – WHEN GRANTED – where the unsuccessful respondent applied for an indemnity certificate pursuant to s 15 of the Appeal Costs Fund Act 1973 (Qld) – where the appeal succeeded on a question of law, namely, the correct interpretation of provisions in s 101 of the Local Government Regulation 2012 (Qld) – where the construction advanced by the respondent had prevailed at first instance and is apt to be categorised as "fairly arguable" – where there was no judicial authority on point – where construction of the provisions was hindered by a defective example – whether the respondent should be granted an indemnity certificate.

Blows v Townsville City Council [2018] QSC 234
LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – EXTENSION OR POSTPONEMENT OF LIMITATION PERIODS – EXTENSION OF TIME IN PERSONAL INJURIES MATTERS – EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH RIGHT OF ACTION – Where the applicant was an employee of the respondent – where the applicant's employment was terminated – where the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission found that the applicant's termination was invalid – where the applicant alleges that he suffered psychiatric injury as a result of the invalid termination of his employment – where a statutory scheme prevented the applicant from being entitled to seek damages from his employer until he obtained a notice from his employer – where the applicant obtained the notice after the limitation period expired – where the applicant sought an extension under s 31(2) of the Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) – whether there was evidence to establish a right of action in accordance with s 31(2)(b) – whether the respondent owed the applicant a duty of care.
LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – EXTENSION OR POSTPONEMENT OF LIMITATION PERIODS – EXTENSION OF TIME IN PERSONAL INJURIES MATTERS – KNOWLEDGE OF MATERIAL FACTS OF DECISIVE CHARACTER – GENERALLY – Whether the issuing of the notice outside the limitation period was a "material fact of a decisive character" for the purposes of s 31(2)(a) of the Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld).

New South Wales

Deng v Burwood Council [2018] NSWLEC 1536
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: Residential flat building – SEPP affordable rental housing – visual privacy – amenity.

Peric v Randwick City Council [2018] NSWLEC 1509
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: Torrens title subdivision of land – minimum subdivision lot area development standard – whether the Applicants' environmental planning grounds are sufficient to uphold a cl 4.6 written request under RLEP.

Boustany v Canterbury-Bankstown Council [2018] NSWLEC 1531
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: Dual occupancy – basement parking.

Ahmad Corp Pty Ltd v Fairfield City Council [2018] NSWLEC 1526
MODIFICATION APPLICATION: Development consent granted by the Court following conciliation – modification seeks an additional storey for the proposed development – whether substantially the same development – weight to be given to an urban design study and a planning proposal – whether intended character of the area should be taken from current controls or planning proposal – whether proposed modified development consistent with future desired character – whether proposed modified development minimises overshadowing.

Ikus Pty Ltd t/as U+I Building Studio v Northern Beaches Council [2018] NSWLEC 1534
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: Alterations and additions to dwelling – garage, workshop and storage area in front setback and forward of the established building line – variations to DCP controls sought but not justified – adequacy of landscaping – neighbour objections.

The Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (NSW) v Parramatta City Council [2018] NSWLEC 158
APPEAL: Appeal against Commissioner's decision on questions of law – refusal of development consent to concept development application – design excellence clause – whether applies to concept proposals – whether Commissioner misconstrued or misapplied design excellence clause – whether Commissioner misconstrued or misapplied FSR development standard – whether Commissioner failed to consider relevant consideration – potential social benefits of concept proposals as an aspect of public interest – whether denial of procedural fairness – no grounds of appeal established.

Oboodi v Hornsby Shire Council [2018] NSWLEC 1512
MODIFICATION APPLICATION: Layout and detailed design of driveway crossover and modification of part of the approved driveway – impact of the driveway construction on trees in the road reserve identified as a heritage item – access requirements of the Rural Fire Service – no issues pressed by the respondent following the amendment of the application – no power to impose a new condition on an aspect of the development which is unaffected by the modification sought in the application.

Turland v Wingercarribee Shire Council [2018] NSWLEC 1511
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: Construction of a three storey residential flat building over a basement – exceedance of the height of buildings development standard in the Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan 2010 – high flood hazard affected land – no issues pressed by the respondent following the amendment of the application – whether conditions should be imposed on the development consent as deferred commencement conditions.

One Funds Management Ltd ATF Kingsgrove Property Trust v Georges River Council [2018] NSWLEC 1508
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: Appeal of refusal of consent – alterations to existing industrial unit to provide new dock and loading – tree removal – streetscape impact – impacts balanced against aim to maximise functional industrial space – appeal refused.

Legislation

Queensland

Bills
Revenue and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018
Stage reached: 2nd reading to be moved on 5/10/2018 amends acts including An Act to amend the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities (Justice, Land and Other Matters) Act 1984 , the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003, the Acquisition of Land Act 1967, the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority Act 2016, the Duties Act 2001, the Duties Regulation 2013, the Land Tax Act 2010, the Payroll Tax Act 1971, the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, the State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999, the State Penalties Enforcement Amendment Act 2017, the Taxation Administration Act 2001, the Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act 2003 and the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 for particular purposes.

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
Peter Holt
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