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Planning and Environment

  1. 31 May 17 UPDATE - Amendments have commenced! Legislating a path through the building approval maze The Local Government Electoral (Transparency and Accountability in Local Government) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (Qld) was assented to on 19 May 2017, and the majority of the provisions commenced on that date.
  2. 15 Feb 17 Court of Appeal overturns Planning and Environment Court decision On 20 June 2016, we issued a focus alert about the decision of the Planning and Environment Court in Pike & Anor v Tighe & Ors1. In that case His Honour Judge Durward SC DCJ decided that a purchaser of land, by doing nothing, had committed a development offence on the basis that the previous owner had registered an easement only for access over the land but the development approval for reconfiguration of a lot required an easement be provided to allow both access and connection of services/utilities. The Court of Appeal has recently overturned that decision2.
  3. 19 Dec 16 Biodiversity Conservation Act in NSW - impact of changes to laws governing biodiversity conservation and management On 22 November 2016, the NSW Parliament passed the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW) (BC Act). This alert discusses the impact of changes to laws governing biodiversity conservation and management
  4. 16 Dec 16 Legislating a path through the building approval maze The Local Government Electoral (Transparency and Accountability in Local Government) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (Bill) was introduced to Parliament on 1 December 2016 and has been referred to the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee for consideration.
  5. 7 Dec 16 Compulsory land acquisition reforms: a more 'caring' approach On 14 November 2016 the NSW Government amended the Land Acquisition (Just Terms) Compensation Act 1991 (NSW) to make the process of compulsory land acquisition fairer, more transparent and customer-friendly for land owners.
  6. 9 Nov 16 Remaining EPOLAA 2014 provisions commence by default The previous State Government passed the Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (Qld) which received assent on 7 November 2014. The remaining provisions of EPOLAA 2014 took effect on 8 November 2016.
  7. 17 Jun 16 Purchasers beware - development approvals for existing development may bite In a recent case (Pike & Anor v Tighe & Ors [2016] QPEC 30), His Honour Judge Durward SC DCJ decided that a purchaser of land, by doing nothing, has committed a development offence.
  8. 21 Apr 16 Consistency in sentencing to be restored in Queensland - Amendment bill address the 'Barbaro effect' On 19 April 2016 the Queensland Parliament passed laws to reinstate the abilty of courts in criminal proceedings to receive submissions from both the prosecution and defence on an appropriate sentence or range of appropriate sentences to be imposed on an offender. This amendment is a positive step in levelling the ‘playing field’ with respect to penalties imposed in relation to unlawful development and environmental harm.
  9. 18 Mar 16 New Bill to reinstate vegetation clearing restrictions in Queensland The Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 was introduced to Parliament on 17 March 2016, and has been referred to the Agriculture and Environment Committee. The Committee is to examine and report on the Bill by 30 June 2016.
  10. 22 Sep 15 Authorisation meeting for Native Title claim, Hunter Valley Region An authorisation meeting of the Wonnarua Traditional Custodians will be held on Wednesday 23 September 2015. The meeting is being held for the Wonnarua people to authorise the filing of two Native Title Determination Applications over the Wonnarua Traditional Custodians claimed areas 3 and 4.
  11. 23 Jul 15 Proposed reforms to water regulation and pricing in NSW The NSW Office of Water is currently reviewing water sharing plans for six inland alluvial aquifers and the plan for the Paterson Regulated River Water Source. The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal is also undertaking a review of prices charged by the NSW Office of Water for various water management services.
  12. 9 Jul 15 High Court finds apprehended bias existed for a Council officer in dual role of investigator and decision maker A recent High Court decision reiterates the importance of minimising the risk of apprehended bias in local government decision making processes. The case concerned a decision by the Knox Domestic Animals Act Committee of the Knox City Council (Council) that a dog owned by the Appellant, Ms Isbester, be destroyed.
  13. 24 Jun 15 Updates to SEPP 65 - promoting better apartment design in NSW Updates have been made for SEPP 65, and a new Apartment Design Guide will take effect on 17 July 2015.
  14. 29 May 15 Breaching development consent conditions could attract toughest on-the-spot fines in Australia The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is set to issue the toughest on-the-spot fines in Australia for companies who breach their development consents.
  15. 26 May 15 Queensland Government announces continuing planning reform strategy On 25 May 2015 the Queensland Government ended months of speculation, announcing their objectives for continuing planning reform across the State. Importantly, reform includes introducing a suite of new legislation into Parliament by October 2015.
  16. 15 May 15 'Public recreation' land must not be developed for a purpose that excludes the public The NSW Land and Environment Court this week handed down its decision of Friends of King Edward Park Inc v Newcastle City Council (No 2) [2015] NSWLEC 76, finding against the proposed development of the King Edward Headland Reserve Newcastle as a function centre.
  17. 25 Mar 15 Approvals for environmentally relevant activities If an entity intends to carry out an environmentally relevant activity (ERA), it must hold an environmental authority for the activity and be registered as a suitable operator with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP).
  18. 11 Feb 15 EPBC Act Koala guidelines released The Commonwealth Government has released finalised referral guidelines to assist proponents and decision makers in navigating the requirements of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999, as it relates to koala conservation.
  19. 19 Jun 14 Land and Environment Court decision clarifies the authority of NSWALC A recent decision made by the NSW Land and Environment Court has identified that irrespective of whether a Local Aboriginal Land Council has given permission for a third person to lodge a development application over its land, the NSWALC must also provide consent.
  20. 30 May 14 Risk-based scheme for NSW Environment Protection Licences Holders of environment protection licences could see their administration fees increase in the 2016/17 financial year following the introduction of a new risk-based licensing scheme.
  21. 20 Mar 14 Reporting of pollution incidents in NSW In a reminder that not all pollution incidents need to be notified, Bulga Coal Management Pty Limited (Bulga) has successfully defended a charge brought by the EPA that Bulga failed to notify the EPA of a pollution incident at the Bulga Coal Mine as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the incident.
  22. 25 Nov 13 D-day for Council de-amalgamation is fast approaching The changeover day for the newly de-amalgamating Douglas, Livingstone, Mareeba and Noosa Shire Councils is 1 January 2014. Developers should be aware of what this means for development applications (DAs) or appeals going forward.
  23. 15 Jan 13 Onus of proof shifts for environmental offences Onus of proof is no longer always on directors and managers for environmental offences in NSW.
  24. 22 Nov 12 Changes to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) Significant changes have been introduced into Queensland’s planning system based on six recommendations made by the State Development, Infrastructure and Industry Committee. Read more on how these recommendations address stakeholder concerns and improve clarity of the bill.
  25. 22 Nov 12 Changes to the Local Government Act 2009 Changes to Queensland’s local government system, particularly in relation to the elevation of the role of a Mayor and Councillors have now taken effect. McCullough Robertson’s local government specialists outline the changes and the effects they may have.
  26. 15 Oct 12 New Draft State Planning Regulatory Provision - Queensland Coastal Protection On 8 October 2012, the Draft Coastal Protection State Planning Regulatory Provision (Draft SPRP) came into effect. The Draft SPRP cuts (albeit temporarily) some of the ‘green tape’ constraining development on Queensland’s coast.
  27. 17 Sep 12 Sustainable Planning and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 On 13 September 2012, the Sustainable Planning and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 (SPOLAB 2012) was introduced into parliament. The SPOLAB 2012 proposes to make seven significant changes to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA).
  28. 17 Sep 12 Strategic Regional Land Use Policy: Upper Hunter and New England North West Last week the NSW Government released the final Strategic Regional Land Use Policy (Policy). The Policy includes 27 new measures designed to identify, map and protect the State’s agricultural land and critical water resources.
  29. 12 Apr 12 The Flood Commission calls for a uniform approach to planning for floods The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry (Flood Commission) final report is out and planning schemes across Queensland are set for some change. Planning and Environment specialists Stuart Macnaughton, Troy Webb and Jaclyn Rolfe explore the report findings and implications for planning.
  30. 3 Apr 12 New flood standards for the QDC - a sleeping giant for building compliance costs? Proposed introductions to the Queensland Development Code (the Code) could bring about significant rises in building application costs in areas of flood risk. Planning and Environment specialists Stuart Macnaughton, Troy Webb and Jaclyn Rolfe explore the proposed changes, response from industry and potential consequences to Councils and developers of all sizes.
  31. 16 Jun 11 Infrastructure charges reform How the proposed amendments to the sustainable Planning Act will affect infrastructure charges and the impact on local government and the development industry.

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