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Inside track: Local Government

11 August 2021

#Local Government

Inside track: Local Government

In the media

Commonwealth

OLG model social media policy – consultation draft
The Office of Local Government has released a model social media policy for consultation across the industry. They say it has been developed using “best practice from social media policies of a diverse range of NSW councils, as well as from Commonwealth and state government agencies” (28 July 2021).  More...

MDB community projects get $28m Commonwealth funding boost
Projects in 34 local government areas have secured funding through the third round of the federal government’s Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program. The 51 projects were selected to help Basin communities address challenges onset by drought, demographic change, and commodity price change. Click here to see a list of approved projects (23 July 2021).  More...

$50m local job-creation fund open for applications
A Commonwealth initiative supporting local job-creation has opened for applications, with up to $1 million available for innovative projects (23 July 2021).  More...

Council resourcing on regional telco review’s radar
Many local governments and communities lack the resources to identify appropriate solutions to local telecommunications problems, a new issues paper published as a prelude to the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review says (23 July 2021).  More...

Redesigned national fire danger rating system put to the test
Testing of Australia’s redesigned fire danger forecasting system has begun in north Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory. The operational trial of the Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) program began on 1 July and will be extended to southern Australia in October when the fire season begins. The Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council website has more information about the AFDRS (23 July 2021).  More...

Building resilient telecommunications infrastructure
Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, and Optus have released findings of a joint nationwide project to improve bushfire resilience of critical telecommunications. The research analysed where there is risk of damage to the network and where upgrades could reduce vulnerability to future bushfire events (21 July 2021).  More...

Victoria

Ombudsman takes complaints to Councils
The Victorian Ombudsman has released a new guide for Councils to help them deal with complaints and reminded them to look through a human rights lens when managing complaints. The Ombudsman’s Guide can be accessed here (29 July 2021).  More...

Councils and complaints – a good practice guide 2nd edition
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The Guide offers guidance on developing key performance indicators and recording complaint data and complaint handling processes,” and incorporates the new provisions of the Local Government Act 2020 which followed her recommendations from sector-wide inquiries into councils’ complaints practices and procedures.  More...

City of Melbourne to pilot community battery network
The Power Melbourne project aims to eventually install a city-wide network starting with a pilot around existing council infrastructure. Future battery locations will be proposed for areas where network demand is constrained or expected to increase over the coming decades (29 July 2021).  More...

Queensland

RADF funding flows for regional arts and culture
Hundreds of community-led arts and cultural experiences will be activated across regional Queensland through $4.38 million from the Regional Arts Development Fund 2021 – 2022 (RADF). For more information about RADF, applicants are encouraged to visit their local council’s website or www.arts.qld.gov.aue (30 July 2021).  More...

Fears for koalas as council removes land clearing restrictions
Hundreds of trees in areas where koalas have been sighted are being cleared around Gympie amid a housing boom in the region, an environment council claims (29 July 2021).  More...

Queensland trials mobility as a service
The 12-month Brisbane trial will test the ability to plan, book and pay for multi-modal trips using a smartphone app. UQ CEO Andrew Flannery says the trial demonstrates how collaboration between government, research institutions, business and the community can help find better transport options (29 July 2021).  More...

Greater council integrity for Queenslanders
The Office of the Independent Assessor will receive more funding and Queensland communities will see improved clarity for councillors around their decision-making, announced the Deputy Premier and Minister for Local Government (28 July 2021).  More...

Revitalisation of Ipswich's 'ghost town' CBD restores confidence after years of council waste
It was known as the "never never" project, taking more than 10 years of false starts to get off the ground. Now, a multi-million-dollar CBD redevelopment promises to breathe new life into a city once plagued with corruption scandals (27 July 2021).  More...

In practice and courts

2021 Regional Telecommunications Review
Published as a prelude to the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review, the paper canvasses issues around adequacy, opportunity, and awareness of telco services in both rural, regional and remote areas of Australia. The issues paper, consultation dates, and details on how to make a submission can be found here. Written submissions should be lodged by Thursday, 30 September 2021.

NBN Co releases guidelines for regional co-investment fund
Local governments are being invited to apply to take part in NBN Co’s $300 million regional co-investment fund. Several activities will not be eligible under the fund, including projects that target fewer than 50 premises or are under $500K total build cost. Please review the guidelines to determine eligibility. The closing date for applications is 18 February 2022, with first build estimate requests required no later than 1 October 2021.

Guidelines released for Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants program
The guidelines for the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants are available on the business grants hub website. The grants program supports the recovery efforts of communities in eligible Local Government Areas affected by the 2019–20 bushfires. Applications for the program will be open for submission closing on 2 September 2021. View more information on the BSBR grants at the National Recovery and Resilience Agency’s website.

Victoria

Bellarine Peninsula distinctive area and landscape: Draft statement of planning policy
DELWP invites written submissions on the draft Bellarine Peninsula statement of planning policy (SPP). The draft SPP has been prepared by DELWP in collaboration with Traditional Owners the Wadawurrung, the Borough of Queenscliffe, the City of Greater Geelong and relevant government agencies. The draft SPP will guide the future of land use and development on the Bellarine Peninsula for the next 50 years. For further information please visit Engage Victoria. Submissions must be lodged by 20 August 2021.

Determination of allowances for Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councillors
The Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal would like to hear your views about allowances payable to Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councillors and allowance categories. The Determination will take effect from 18 December 2021. Make a written submission to the Tribunal in relation to the Determination, please email the Tribunal Secretariat before 16 August 2021. Submissions open 5 July 2021. Click here for more information.

Twenty-eight councils collaborate on joint ESD project
The Elevating Targets Working Group, comprising officers from CASBE, Yarra, Moreland and Port Phillip City Councils and Mitchell Shire Council will manage the project on behalf of the twenty-eight participating councils. The MAV will run the tender process, anticipated to start July 2021. More information about the project can be found here.

Supporting more regional Victorian events and festivals
A new fund to support regional Victoria’s vibrant and diverse calendar of events and festivals has been launched by the State Government. The $1 million Regional Community Events Fund will support regional events that attract up to 1000 people. Eligible applicants will include all local regional and rural councils, public event organisers, and direct venue operators. More information can be found here.

Queensland

Works for Queensland projects across the region
The Works for Queensland program supports regional councils to undertake job-creating maintenance and minor infrastructure projects such as parks and playgrounds, community and sports facilities, swimming pools and water play areas, renewable energy initiatives, footpaths, roads and water infrastructure. A further $200 million committed for 2024–27. For more information visit Works for Queensland.

Cases

Clarence City Council [2021] FWCA 4303
Fair Work Act 2009 s.185 – enterprise agreement – application for approval of the Rosny Early Learning Enterprise Agreement #7/2021.

Diaz v Ruddock; Attie v Ruddock [2021] NSWSC 881
ASSOCIATIONS AND CLUBS – particular bodies – political organisations – preselection disputes – construction of Constitution of Liberal Party of Australia NSW Division – no issue of principle.
Commonwealth Constitution; Constitution Act 1902 (NSW); COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (No 1) (NSW); Electoral Funding Act 2018 (NSW); Local Government Act 1993 (NSW); Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 (NSW).

Zaiter v Ruddock [2021] NSWSC 880
ASSOCIATIONS AND CLUBS – particular bodies – political organisations – preselection disputes – construction of Constitution of Liberal Party of Australia NSW Division – no issue of principle.
COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (No 1) (NSW); Electoral Funding Act 2018 (NSW); Local Government Act 1993 (NSW); Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 (NSW).

Dubow v Mid-Western Regional Council [2021] NSWSC 922
COSTS – application for gross sum costs order pursuant to s 98(4) Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW) – plaintiff unsuccessful at final hearing and various pre-trial applications – need for several directions hearings and notices of motion prior to final hearing arose because of plaintiff’s conduct – reduction of gross sum to ensure plaintiff is not prejudiced by the application.

EMF v Cessnock City Council [2021] NSWCATAD 219
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – privacy – review of conduct of agency and if in contravention of IPP 3 and/or IPP 10 – reasonable steps to notify an IPP 3 compliant notice before or after collection – impact of contrary statement in Privacy Statement and collecting information in confidence on right given to Councils under clause 4.11(1) of the Privacy Code of Practice for Local Government to use information for other purposes – assessing causation and amount of damages for psychological harm under s 54 PPIP Act. Local Government Act 1993 (NSW); Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW).

Allen Price & Scarratts Pty Ltd v Shoalhaven City Council [2021] NSWLEC 1362
APPEAL – development application – subdivision – community title – threatened species – assessment guidelines – green and golden bell frog – endangered ecological communities – hollow bearing trees – water sensitive urban design (WSUD) – impacts on oyster leases – PFAS contamination – remediation – containment cell – adaptive management – community management statement.

Blues Point Hotel Property Pty Ltd v North Sydney Council (No 2) [2021] NSWLEC 79
COSTS – discretion to award costs pursuant to r 42.1 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules – whether costs should be apportioned – applicant successful on first of three issues for determination – first issue for determination not clearly discrete issue in proceedings – usual order made.

Doimo v Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council [2021] NSWLEC 1417
APPEAL – development control order – stop works order – restore works order – earthworks – conciliation conference – agreement between the parties – orders.

Pont v Hawkesbury City Council [2021] NSWSC 876
COSTS – proceedings for nuisance – settlement reached involving dismissal of proceedings – whether circumstances warrant departure from usual position stated in Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW) r 42.20 – where both parties acted reasonably – where Court could not be confident that if matter had gone to trial plaintiffs would almost certainly have succeeded – no order made as to costs.

GG Propco No 3 Pty Ltd v Sunshine Coast Regional Council & Ors [2021] QPEC 38
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPLICATION – COSTS – where appellant and first co-respondent by election sought costs – where costs concerned application filed on behalf of appellant seeking discharge of disclosure obligations by first co-respondent by election among other ancillary relief – where application for disclosure unnecessary in the circumstances – where first co-respondent by election acted inappropriately as commercial competitor – where each party to bear their own costs of the application Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 Qld s 60.

Upan Company Pty Ltd v Gold Coast City Council [2021] QPEC 37
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPEAL AGAINST REFUSAL OF OTHER CHANGE APPLICATION – where original application concerned stepped form high rise residential development – where appellant seeks approval of other change application for built form residential development – where proposed other change concerns reductions of storeys, increase of building height.
WHERE PROPOSED OTHER CHANGE RAISED NUMEROUS ISSUES – whether proposed other change application complied with provisions of planning scheme concerning bulk, height, and form – density – character and streetscape – landscaping and deep planting – shadowing, privacy and views.
CONFLICT WITH PLANNING SCHEME – whether proposed development results in unacceptable impacts in respect of setbacks and site cover – landscaping, de-planting and streetscape outcome – loss of stepped design – building height transition – density – wind – whether proposed development can be appropriately conditioned to achieve compliance.
Planning Act 2016 Qld s 45, 60, 78, 82; Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 Qld s 43.

Habermann v Cook Shire Council [2021] QSC 172
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION – MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS – INTERLOCUTORY APPLICATION – COSTS – where the applicant is a worker to whom chapter 5 part 12 division 2 Worker’s Compensation Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) applies – where section 316(1) of division 2 precludes an order about costs by the court “in the claimant’s proceeding” other than allowed under s 316 – where s 318C exists as an exception to s 316 where there is an interlocutory application – whether the “interlocutory application” referred to in s 318C is one brought in the claimant’s proceeding – whether costs should be ordered with respect to an interlocutory application for disclosure of comparative wages documents and opposing counsel’s advice – whether the application was concerned with the progression of a filed claim rather than events prior thereto – whether the application was brought because of unreasonable delay by the respondent.

Kelsey v Logan City Council & Ors [2021] ICQ 11
PROCEDURE – CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN STATE AND TERRITORY COURTS – COSTS – GENERAL RULE: COST FOLLOW EVENT – INDEMNITY COSTS – PARTICULAR CASES – HOPELESS CASES – UNREASONABLE CONDUCT – OR DELINQUENCY RELATING TO PROCEEDINGS – where the appellant was unsuccessful in proceedings against the respondents brought in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission – where the appellant filed an appeal without articulating grounds – where the appellant then abandoned the appeal against the second respondent – where the second respondent then applied for costs of the appeal – where the Industrial Relations Act 2016 abrogates the general rule that costs follow the event – whether costs should be ordered in favour of the second respondent – whether costs should be awarded on an indemnity basis.
INDUSTRIAL LAW – QUEENSLAND – APPEALS – APPEAL TO INDUSTRIAL COURT – where the appellant brought proceedings against the respondents in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission – where those proceedings were dismissed – where the appellant appealed and then discontinued the appeal against the second respondent – where the second respondent seeks costs on an indemnity basis – where the Industrial Relations Act 2016 abrogates the usual rule that costs follow the event – whether indemnity costs should be ordered – whether the principles established for awarding indemnity costs apply in the Industrial Court where costs do not follow the event.
Concerns were expressed to Ms Kelsey about her performance. [6], Ms Kelsey made a public interest disclosure to the Council, the Minister for Local Government and the Crime and Corruption Commission. That disclosure alleged possible misconduct by Mayor Smith.

CFMEU (Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union) v Melbourne CC [2021] VCAT 791
Section 77 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987; Melbourne Planning Scheme;Signage – heritage impact.

Legislation

Commonwealth

Water Amendment (Authorised Compliance Officers–Fit and Proper Requirements) Regulations 2021
28/07/2021 – these regulations amend the Water Regulations 2008 by prescribing certain matters relating to the appointment of authorised compliance officers for the purpose of supporting amendments to the Water Act 2007.

Victoria

Statutory rules

No 92 Environment Protection Amendment (Wind Turbine Noise) Regulations 2021
27 July 2021. These Regulations come into operation on 1 August 2021.

Acts commencements
Local Government Act 2020 (Vic)
Date of commencement: 1 July 2021.
Sections 44–46, 48–51, 71–86, 102–105, 107–122, 330, 362, Schedule 1 (items 1.2, 6, 8.2,8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6, 13.5, 13.6, 18.2, 21.5,28.2, 28.3, 30.2, 39.1(b), 40.4, 40.6,43.3, 54.2, 57, 58, 66, 69.2, 69.3, 69.4,70.2, 73, 90.1, 90.3, 90.4, 101, 103) of this Act came in by forced commencement on 1 July 2021 s.2 (4) Act Number: 9/2020.

Disclaimer
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

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