Australia: Inside track: Local Government - In the media, reports, cases and legislation

Last Updated: 9 July 2019
Article by Gerard Timbs
Most Read Contributor in Australia, July 2019

In the media

ALGA: Road managers now risk penalties for level crossings from 1 July 2019
The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator says it is expanding to road managers new penalties for not complying with requirements for interface agreements at level crossings or road/rail interfaces (21 June 2019). More...

Councils vote down affordable housing motion
The housing crisis is forcing local councils to confront the issue of affordable housing, a conference has heard. A motion that would have made it mandatory for development approvals to include affordable housing has been voted down at ALGA's National General Assembly (20 June 2019). More...

Public wants more health leadership from government
A growing number of Australians believe governments should take on a bigger health leadership role in areas like smoking, healthy eating and immunisation, new research shows (20 June 2019). More...

Loss of local media is bad news
The availability of local news in Australia has undergone a "sharp and worrying decline", a report commissioned by Australia's peak local government body says. The survey of local government media managers by the Public Interest Journalism Initiative this year found that 68 per cent of metropolitan LGAs and 45 per cent of regional and rural LGAs reported a "very sharp" decline in local news (16 June 2019). More...

Recycling, drought, climate change and electric vehicles dominate local government's national conference
More than a dozen motions to urge Federal Government declare a climate emergency and other motions to demand critical action on waste and mandate product stewardship (17 June 2019). More...

Comments wanted on Heavy Vehicle National Law
The National Transport Commission on 13 June released an issues paper which summarises current access arrangements under the national law, and in WA and the NT, analyses those arrangements outside the law, and seeks preliminary views (14 June 2019). More...

NGA Exhibitor profile – Working with local government on asbestos
Local governments across Australia are on the front line in dealing with asbestos in our communities. They deal with the historical legacy asbestos problem in housing, manage waste facilities where asbestos is disposed of, clean up illegal asbestos waste dumping and other incidents and deal with asbestos-containing materials following natural disasters (14 June 2019). More...

Victoria

Improving the Local Government Act
The Local Government Act is being overhauled for the first time in nearly 30 years to pave the way for a more modern, robust and contemporary set of guidelines. It provides a clear legislative framework to support councils to provide essential infrastructure and services in their areas (20 June 2019). More...

Victorian council sacked after damning report
A regional Victorian council has been sacked by the state government after a Commission of Inquiry found widespread governance failures. South Gippsland Council was on Wednesday morning stood down by the Victorian Government after the commission handed down its report (19 June 2019). More...

Delivering a newLocal Government Act For Victoria
The Andrews Labor Government is seeking community feedback on its plan to improve democracy, accountability and service delivery in Victoria's 79 Councils outlined in a proposed new Local Government Act (17 June 2019). More...

In Practice and Courts

Population, Productivity and Purchasing Power
ALGA's annual State of the Regions report, 13 June 2019. Released at the Regional Cooperation and Development forum in Canberra, contains concerning new findings on the availability of local news and information. More...

Productivity Commission: National Transport Regulatory Reform paper
This seeks feedback as it assesses transport reforms since an agreement was reached at the Council of Australian Governments in 2009. National laws and regulations would replace state-specific laws, regulations and regulators and intergovernmental agreements about these were signed in 2011. Submissions close 28 June. More...

Help Shape the National Disability Strategy Beyond 2020
Australian governments are asking people to help shape the future of Australian disability policy for 2020 and beyond. The first stage of consultation is from April to June 2019. Councils are encouraged to promote engagement in these consultations within their local communities. More information and registration for a community workshop is More....

The 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayors' Forum
The 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayors' Forum returns to Brisbane from 7-10 July. For Mayors, city leaders, policy makers, CEOs, urban planners, and other business, industry and emerging leaders. More...

National General Assembly 2019
This year's National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA), which will be held from 16 to 19 June in Canberra. This assembly will consider what councils can do today to get ready for the challenges, opportunities and changes that lie ahead. More...

National Local Roads and Transport Congress, 18-20 November 2019
This year's theme is 'breaking through for modern transport'. Topics to be covered include the future of transport and how local government can benefit, and an update on the state of the country's infrastructure by Infrastructure Australia CEO, Romily Madew. More...

Queensland

Water and Sewerage Infrastructure Program 2019: Expressions of Interest
Eligible local governments can also submit expressions of interest to restore infrastructure damaged as a result of the monsoon trough. The Queensland Reconstruction Authority is now calling for expressions of interest from eligible councils and state agencies to identify priority projects within their communities. Deadline for expressions of interest is 19 July 2019 (19 June 2019) More...

Draft Resource Recovery Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan
The draft Resource Recovery Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan has been developed to accelerate this transition and develop our state's resource recovery industries. The draft roadmap sets out a path to: increase resource recovery rates, improve adoption of modern technologies and divert landfill waste toward more valuable uses updated on 19 June 2019. More...

Brisbane City Plan Amendments
Brisbane City Council has adopted amendments to the Brisbane City Plan 2014. These include:
Retirement and Aged Care Amendments and The Gap Neighbourhood Plan (14 June 2019). More...

Sunshine Coast Incentives
Sunshine Coast Council has announced a three-year extension to its Infill Development Incentives Policy which offers incentives for infill development on the Sunshine Coast. All applications for an incentive must be submitted to Council between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2022 (14 June 2019). More...

LGAQ: Review of Queensland's Cultural Heritage Acts – Have your say
DATSIP is undertaking a review of the?Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act [2003]?and?Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act [2003] (17 June 2019). More...

Draft North West Queensland Economic Diversification Strategy: Consultation
The draft outlines a number of diversification initiatives to create jobs across the key economic drivers of resources, agriculture, tourism, and broader business and industry - consultation closes 26 July 2019. More...

Local Government Bulletins 2019
The purpose of this bulletin is to inform local governments that: the value of a penalty unit for most offences under state legislation will increase to $133.45 effective from 1 July 2019, and the value of a local law penalty unit for most local governments will also increase to $133.45 effective from 1 July 2019. More...

Latest round of Nature Refuge Landholder grants now open
Queensland's Nature Refuge landholders will be able to apply for grants of up to $10,000 to support their invaluable work maintaining nature refuges on their properties (24 May 2019). More...

Current Programs
The 2019–21 Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program aims to support Local Governments to deliver priority infrastructure and essential services that meet the identified needs of their communities. 2019–21 Works for Queensland Program (W4Q). As part of the 2019–21 funding round, a further $200 million has been approved for allocations to 65 Councils, with the initial payment of $100 million to be released by 30 June 2019 as part of the early program release to ensure job continuity and thriving communities. The rest of the $100 million W4Q funding will be released post June 2019 for Council projects to be completed by June 2021 in line with the Funding Deed of Agreement. More...

Waste Levy legislation
The Queensland Government is developing a new waste management and resource recovery strategy and will be underpinned by the waste levy. The provisions will be added to the existing Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 on commencement on 1 July 2019. The provisions will be added to the existing Waste Reduction and Recycling Regulation 2011 on commencement on 1 July 2019. The new levy laws allow eligible organisations to apply for exemptions and discounts from the levy, as well as require other administrative notifications and declarations. More...

Important changes to waste-related ERAs
The Environmental Protection (Waste ERA Framework) Amendment Regulation 2018 introduces a number of changes to waste-related environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) in the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008. One of these changes is the introduction of a new schedule of waste-related ERAs. Existing waste ERAs will be transitioned to the new waste ERAs after July 2019. The department has developed an online tool to assist holders of waste-related ERAs transition to the new schedule of ERAs.
Note: Safer Buildings: Parts 2 and 3a deadlines extended
Bodies corporate and building owners across Queensland have been given additional time to complete Parts 2 and 3a of the Safer Buildings combustible cladding checklist. The new deadlines will be as follows:
Part 2: extended from 29 May 2019 to 31 July 2019
Part 3a: extended from 27 August 2019 to 31 October 2019. More...

LGAQ: Information sessions - Changes to Queensland's plumbing and drainage laws
Queensland's new plumbing and drainage laws will commence on 1 July 2019, including the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018. The Department of Housing and Public Works will be holding information sessions across Queensland during April-June 2019 about the upcoming changes and local government staff are encouraged to attend. More...

Cases

Queensland

Gold Coast City Council v Sunland Group Limited & Anor [2019] QCA 118
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – COURTS AND TRIBUNALS WITH ENVIRONMENT JURISDICTION – QUEENSLAND – PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT COURT AND ITS PREDECESSORS – OTHER MATTERS – where the applicant had issued infrastructure charge notices to the respondent – where the respondent appealed the applicant's decision to issue the infrastructure charge notices to the Planning and Environment Court – where the Planning and Environment Court made declarations overturning the imposition of the infrastructure charge notices – whether the Planning and Environment Court erred in their decision
APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL - GENERAL PRINCIPLES – RIGHT OF APPEAL – WHEN APPEAL LIES – OTHER CASES – where the applicant issued notices to the respondent each under s 635 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) in order to levy charges on the respondent for trunk infrastructure – where the respondent filed an appeal against the appellant's decision to issue the notices – where the learned primary judge held that the notices were not in accordance with s 637(2) of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) and were not infrastructure charge notices under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) – where the applicant has sought leave to appeal against the declarations of the learned primary judge – whether the learned primary judge erred in declaring that the notices did not comply with the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) and were not infrastructure charge notices under the Act
STATUTES – ACTS OF PARLIAMENT – INTERPRETATION – INTERPRETATION ACTS AND PROVISIONS – where it is contended the questions raised on appeal are of specific importance to the applicant as the entity responsible for issuing infrastructure charge notices in its local government area – where it is contended that the questions raised on appeal are of importance to other local governments throughout Queensland – where the resolution of the issues are relevant to the applicant's budgeting and financial resources – where it is submitted that the appeal raises critical questions about proper statutory construction – where is its contended that the Planning and Environment Court erred in holding that a failure to comply with s 637(2) of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) rendered the notices invalid – where it is submitted that the Planning and Environment Court erred by not refusing the declarations sought by the respondent – whether s 637(2) of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) was correctly interpreted by the learned primary judge
STATUTES – ACTS OF PARLIAMENT – OPERATION AND EFFECT OF ACTS – RETROSPECTIVE OPERATION – where the Court granted the parties leave to make supplementary submissions as to the impact of s 344 of the Planning Act 2016 (Qld) on the appeal – where the applicant contends that s 344 of the Planning Act 2016 (Qld) has a retrospective effect, applying to infrastructure charge notices issued on or after 4 July 2014 – where the respondent contends that the appeal must be determined upon the law as it stood at the hearing below – where it is submitted that as s 344 of the Planning Act 2016 (Qld) was not in existence at the time of the notice and therefore cannot apply – whether s 344 of the Planning Act 2016 (Qld) operates in a retrospective sense or not.

Legislation

Victoria

Local Government (South Gippsland Shire Council) Bill 2019
Passed 19 June 2019 - provides for the dismissal of the council and appointment of administrators, who will act as the council in the best interests of ratepayers until October 2021, when elections will he held.

Local Government Bill 2019 Consultation
The Local Government Bill 2019 will introduce a new, contemporary framework to support Victoria's councils and the communities they serve. The Local Government Bill Reform Paper describes why the new reforms are being proposed and how they will work. To provide feedback on the proposed reforms, email local.government@delwp.vic.gov.au using the subject line Local Government Bill 2019 by 17 July 2019.

Queensland

Bills Progress
Electoral Legislation (Political Donations) Amendment Bill 2018
Stage reached: 2nd reading adjourned on 14/05/2019 Status: Resumption of second reading debate 11 June 2019 - Part 3 Amendment of Local Government Electoral Act 2011- Amendment of s 106 (Definitions for part )Section 106—insert—political donation- prohibited corporate donor, for division 1A, see section 113A

Local Government Electoral (Implementing Stage 2 of Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019
Economics and Governance Committee. Report by 21 June 2019
An Act to amend the City of Brisbane Act 2010, the Local Government Act 2009, the Local Government Electoral Act 2011,the Referendums Act 1997 and the Right to Information Act 2009
The Bill requires all candidates at Local Government elections, including sitting Councillors, to undertake training as a condition of their nomination and mandates full preferential voting for mayoral and single councillor elections, to be effective for the 2020 local government election

Electoral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019
Economics and Governance Committee. Report by 21 June 2019
Implements recommendations from the Crime and Corruption Commission's Operation Belcarra: A blueprint for integrity and addressing corruption risk in local government and makes operational improvements to the State's electoral system by implementing the Government's response to A review of the conduct of the 2016 local government elections, the referendum and the Toowoomba South by-election (Soorley report)

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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