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Inside track: Local Government

02 June 2021

#Local Government

Inside track: Local Government

In the media

New resource for building resilience into infrastructure and housing
A new guide to help local government infrastructure managers choose suitably climate-resilient building materials has been published. Though aimed primarily at NSW local governments and developers, the guide will have national application as well, according to Institution of Public Works Engineering Australasia CEO David Jenkins (21 May 2021).  More...

Delivery of Future Drought Fund programs now underway
Regional drought resilience planning programs financed by the Future Drought Fund have been launched in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, and the ACT. These will bring together local governments, regional organisations, communities, and industry to prepare for future drought risks by developing regional drought resilience plans (21 May 2021).  More...

Federal government backs release of ERF funding for mitigation
As well as recommending that funding from the ERF be released as a matter of priority, the committee also said the review into Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) should consider the need to streamline application processes for DRFA assistance and provide additional case management assistance for individuals, local and state and territory governments during and following natural disaster (11 May 2021).  More...

Budget invests in jobs and growth for Australia's north
The 2021–22 budget will build on the government’s strong support for northern Australia by investing in job creating projects, skills and infrastructure for the next phase of northern development. Programs available to northern Australians include $256 million for round six of the Building Better Regions Fund and $22.7 million for round seven of the Stronger Communities Program (12 May 2021).  More...

Budget measures a timely boost for local government’s key role in jobs recovery
The ALGA has welcomed the Federal Government’s endorsement of the key role councils are playing in creating jobs and supporting local communities by leading a locally led economic recovery from the COVID pandemic (12 May 2021).  More...

Other budget measures of interest for local governments
Local governments provide a vast array of services, functions, and amenities according to individual state government legislative frameworks. The federal budget contains measures of varying relevance to local governments, depending on their jurisdiction or location (11 May 2021).  More...

Budget 2021–22: What it means for the Local Government sector
This year’s federal budget further recognises local government’s essential role in supporting local communities, employment and businesses. It also addresses many of the priority issues that ALGA has been advocating and campaigning for over many years (11 May 2021).  More...

Budget pours $15b into infrastructure projects
ALGA said the budget addressed many of the issues it had been advocating for many years. Local Government Professionals Australia said the $1 billion injection under the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program would empower local councils to deliver local jobs and stimulus. Read the ALGA statement here (11 May 2021).  More...

Victoria

Councils ‘worse than banks’ in dealing with hardship
Ninety-seven per cent of Victorian councils use debt collectors to chase overdue rates. Under Victorian laws, councils have discretion to waive or defer rates in cases of hardship. However, the Local Government Act doesn’t define hardship, leaving it up to councils to decide who qualifies (20 May 2021).  More...

MAV opinion editorial – unprecedented opportunity to fix our building regulatory system
The release of the Framework for Reform discussion paper by the Victorian Government’s independent expert panel presents the opportunity for a huge win for local communities. Significant changes are required to the building regulatory system in Victoria to improve community safety, address conflicts of interest, and restore the capacity of local building departments (19 May 2021).  More...

Fears for future of Preston Market as apartment plan looms
Preston Market could be redeveloped to make room for 2200 apartments under draft planning rules that Darebin council says could wreck the 50-year-old “heartbeat of the local community” (17 May 2021).  More...

Delivering in Fishermans Bend
A $179.4 million funding package from the Victorian Government will kick-start the Fishermans Bend Innovation Precinct, with stage one being delivered by Development Victoria. This first step will involve remediation of the 32-hectare GMH site – an area equal to 15 MCGs – and the installation of crucial infrastructure and services to make an investment-ready precinct (17 May 2021).  More...

Review of Victorian councils aims for ‘cultural improvement’
The Victorian Government will look at the “behaviour and culture” of local councils with a view to strengthening respect, integrity, and trust across the sector. The review will be overseen by Local Government Victoria and will “be undertaken by a research institute, academic or person with appropriate skills and experience from the sector” (07 April 2021).  More...

How two wind farms will become crucial to Victoria's power plans
More than half of Victoria's local councils sign a bold plan to source 45 per cent of the state's council electricity from renewable energy (10 May 2021).  More...

Queensland

Tamborine Mountain residents ponder merger with Gold Coast
Tamborine Mountain residents will consider splitting from the Scenic Rim Regional Council in a postal survey funded by its local councillor (21 May 2021).  More...

Brisbane City Council moves on 'visual pollution' of unlimited election corflutes
The days of unlimited election corflutes festooning Brisbane's streets are over after the council passed laws reducing the number of signs permitted for electoral candidates. The decision reversed a 2015 easing of restrictions that meant candidates could have as many corflutes and signs on private property as they wanted (20 May 2021).  More...

Gold Coast Councillor Pauline Young resorts to personal alarm after 'tree planting' threats
Cr Young said tree planting was not designed to "destroy amenity" but to create shade for the entire city, not just "locals living along Marine Parade". Over the next financial year, council is expected to spend about $2.15 million on planting projects, with a further $1.45 million provided by the federal government (19 May 2021).  More...

More than half a million in grants to councils to support the SES
From Georgetown to the Gold Coast, more than $586,000 in grants have been provided by the Palaszczuk Government to councils across Queensland to help them support their local SES groups (19 May 2021).  More...

Come spend Friday in the city
The Property Council of Australia is delighted to announce Fridays in the City, a joint initiative between the private sector and Brisbane City Council. To attract city workers back to the office on Fridays, building owners, managers and retailers will be providing unique offerings, deals and activities in their buildings throughout the campaign (20 May 2021).  More...

Brisbane City Council reveals final locations of two West End green bridges
The locations of two West End bridges, one to Toowong and one to St Lucia, have been finalised (19 May 2021).  More...

Spit $93.6 million proposal means hundreds more jobs
Gold Coast will soon welcome an almost $94 million luxury development, that will support more than 400 new jobs at the iconic Southport Spit. The Deputy Premier and State Development Minister will be working with the proponent and the City of Gold Coast to ensure that this proposal adheres to the City of Gold Coast Planning Scheme (18 May 2021).  More...

Developer announced for $90m Gold Coast precinct
A $93.6-million mixed-use project for the centre of a masterplanned redevelopment of one of the Gold Coast’s most controversial locations has been approved by the Gold Coast City Council (18 May 2021).  More...

Old Burleigh Theatre Arcade project approved, last-minute requests rejected
A high-rise residential tower on the site of a historic building in Burleigh Heads has been given the green light by council, despite a late attempt to change the plans (18 May 2021).  More...

We’re not out to get you: Council watchdog
Queensland’s councillor conduct watchdog has responded to concerns that its powers are being weaponised by detractors and political opponents. Independent assessor Kathleen Florian acknowledged that politicised or otherwise improper complaints are sometimes lodged, but she said these get weeded out. Almost half of the 2,713 complaints received since 2018 were not taken any further, mainly because of lack of evidence, she said (17 May 2021).  More...

Call for ‘vulnerable’ LG to become cyber-aware and resilient
Local governments are being encouraged to partner with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) to improve cyber resilience across the national economy. The ACSC is the lead Commonwealth agency on efforts to enhance national cybersecurity (14 May 2021).  More...

Cth chips in $25m to build new repair facility at Rocky airport
Rockhampton Regional Council’s bid to lure Alliance Airlines to its regional airport has been boosted with a $25 million Community Development Program grant. Tuesday’s federal budget committed $25 million (under the Community Development Grants Program) towards the construction of a maintenance repair and overhaul facility at Rockhampton airport for Alliance’s use (14 May 2021).  More...

Cross River Rail requests more hours, more trucks for CBD sites
Organisers of the multi-billion-dollar project want to put up to 20 heavy trucks per hour through Brisbane's CBD on Sundays, but council isn't happy (13 May 2011).  More...

Budget investments welcomed by Queensland councils but financial sustainability issue remains
Queensland councils will welcome the Morrison Government’s 2021–2022 budget and its recognition of essential priorities, though long-term financial sustainability for councils has not been addressed (12 May 2021).  More...

Brisbane City Council gives derelict Lamb House site permanent protection from development
The Kangaroo Point riverfront site of derelict heritage-listed mansion Lamb House has been permanently protected from development, with Brisbane City Council formally approving planning legislation changes (11 May 2021).  More...

LGAQ welcomes call for clarification of the Crime and Corruption Commission’s role
The Local Government Association of Queensland has welcomed a call from the Clerk of the Queensland Parliament for the role and responsibilities of the Crime and Corruption Commission to be clarified, including whether it should be investigator, reporter and prosecutor (10 May 2021).  More...

In practice and courts

ALGA: Check out our policy team's analysis of the federal budget 2021–22 and what it means for local government. Read more here.

ALGA President’s column – 11 May 2021
In the federal budget, local governments welcome that the Morrison Federal Government has listened to ALGA’s advocacy, investing in local government in response to our calls for a locally-led economic recovery for Australia. The federal budget includes several wins for Australian councils and our communities, including items listed here. Click here to read more.

Requirements on local governments
From 10 March 2021, all local governments must notify the Minister for Foreign Affairs of a proposal to enter or negotiate a foreign arrangement. If the arrangement is entered into, the Minister must also be notified about the arrangement within 14 days. The Act requires all local governments to provide a comprehensive list of all their existing foreign arrangements (including non-binding arrangements) to DFAT by 10 June 2021. Registration of an arrangement is made via DFAT’s online portal accessible here. You can find more information on the Scheme and the arrangements to which it applies on the DFAT website.

LGs eligible for environmental safe havens funding
Councils have been advised that they can apply for Commonwealth grants to build safe havens for threatened native wildlife species. Local government agencies/bodies can apply for grants ranging from $500,000 up to $1.8 million. The cut-off for grant applications is 11 January 2021, and projects eligible for grants must be completed by 31 May 2023. Click here for more information.

ALGA National State of the Assets 2021
The online NSoA data collection form for your organisation is available on the NAMS+ platform and is ready for you to start entering your data for the NSoA report. ALGA is calling for councils to be part of the 2021 National State of the Assets report update.

Victoria

The 2021–22 Victorian state budget
Published: 20 May 2021 – the budget provides projections of government revenue and expenditure for the following year, and outlines services to be delivered. Note: $50 million for the Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF) to continue to deliver critical local infrastructure projects and community facilities that support economic participation and recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic across Melbourne’s interface councils and regional Victoria’s peri-urban shires, which are experiencing population growth and changing demographics. Since 2015 the GSF has provided more than $325 million towards 253 projects, creating more than 8,880 jobs. Learn more here.

Investigation into how local councils respond to ratepayers in financial hardship
17 May 2021: Victorian Ombudsman. In recent years, the Victorian Ombudsman has heard concerns from ratepayers, financial counsellors and community lawyers about the way local councils treat people who cannot afford their council rates. This investigation focused on council hardship relief for homeowners (ratepayers who cannot pay rates on their primary residence). Read more here.

Victoria’s draft 30-year infrastructure strategy
We have released Victoria’s draft 30-year infrastructure strategy. Community consultation ended on February 26, 2021. The final 30-year infrastructure strategy will be presented to the Victorian Government in mid-2021. To read the draft strategy, or participate in community consultation opportunities click here.

Gender impact assessments
It is important that councils are already thinking about and preparing to meet their obligations under The Gender Equality Act 2020 which came into effect from 31 March 2021. Other key dates in 2021 are 30 June when councils must conduct a workplace gender audit, and 31 October when councils must submit a Gender Equality Action Plan, based on the findings from their workplace gender audit. CGEPS is also planning tailored sector-based workshops to be delivered by their panel of providers and is available to answer your questions sent.

Living Libraries 2021
Councils can apply for grants of up to $1 million to expand and modernise existing libraries, build new libraries or buy new mobile library vans. For more information on Living Libraries and this year’s application guidelines click here.

Container deposit scheme
The MAV has welcomed the release of the Victorian Government’s consultation paper on the design of the container deposit scheme (CDS). Following significant advocacy from the MAV, councils, environment groups and others, the state committed to introducing a CDS by 2023 as part of its Recycling Victoria policy.

Smart Planning PPF translation update
Smart Planning continues to work with councils on their Planning Policy Framework (PPF) translations. To date, PPF translations have been gazetted for Murrindindi, French Island and Sandstone Island, Glenelg, Moonee Valley, Golden Plains, Southern Grampians and Colac-Otway. The PPF translation project is time bound and all planning schemes must be translated by 30 June 2021. Information on preparing for your PPF translation is available on the Smart Planning website.

Queensland

Insight: Office of the Independent Assessor quarterly report
May 17, 2021 – figures in the latest insight report show no action was required for 1331 of the 2,713 complaints lodged between the OIA’s establishment in December 2018 and 31 March 2021, while 805 matters became subject to an OIA investigation. More on the OIA’s example policy and councillor complaint statistics can be found in Insight 9.

OIA Qld: Engagement with property developers
A comprehensive suite of documents is available to help guide councillors’ interactions with property developers and others who submit their views on development matters (submitters). They explain if, when, and how councillors can engage with developers and submitters by stepping through the council approval process. These include:
Example council policy councillor roles in development matters
Guidance: Councillor roles in development matters. A framework to accompany the example policy or be used as a standalone guide.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs). The FAQs explore some specific situations involving councillors and property developers/submitters.
Click here to find out more.

City of the Gold Coast: Express DA service
As part of the City’s economic support during COVID-19, the City is offering a 50 per cent discount on express DAs for 12 months (from 27 October 2020 to 27 October 2021). Read more here.

Moreton Says survey
Moreton Bay Regional Council has released a series of surveys to get insights about things that matter to the community. This is an opportunity for those who live, work and play in the Moreton Bay Region to share their views and experiences. The Moreton Says survey, known as the Anchor survey, is now open and will close 13 June 2021.

PCA: New Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme
The changes are expected to align with newer state and local planning policies including the South-East Queensland Regional Plan which is set to be renewed next year. The new planning scheme is expected to be delivered in 2024. The Sunshine Coast Council has provided the following timeline for delivery of the new scheme.

Rockhampton Regional Council expands development incentives policy
Rockhampton Regional Council has expanded its development incentives policy to include multi-residential unit developments within close proximity to the CBD. The policy will apply to DA’s lodged between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021. For more information, please click here.

Cases

Victoria

Launch No 7 Pty Ltd v Bayside CC [2021] VCAT 499
Section 123 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 – injunction – tribunal’s own initiative – serious question to be tried – balance of convenience – lower risk of injustice.
The ‘invitation’ by the Bayside City Council for the tribunal to make an injunction on its own initiative preventing the demolition of dwellings and removal of vegetation on 28 and 30 Service Street, Hampton is refused.

Save The Dandenongs League Inc & Ors v Yarra Ranges SC [2021] VCAT 478
Buildings and works to replace a single dwelling on a lot. Application under section 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – to review the decision to grant a permit.

Tsourounakis v Wyndham CC [2021] VCAT 483
Section 77 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987 – Wyndham Planning Scheme – industrial three zone – design and development overlay schedule three – visual clutter – floodlit signage – effectiveness of business identification signage. No permit.

Citizen Outdoor Pty Ltd v Moonee Valley CC [2021] VCAT 469
Application under section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – to review the refusal to grant a permit. Electronic major promotion sign.

Oakleigh One Pty Ltd v Monash CC [2021] VCAT 475
Section 149 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – condition on subdivision permit requiring entry into agreement for provision of water services – whether the tribunal has jurisdiction to consider dispute in respect of the entry into a water services agreement for stage 2 of the subdivision.

Bernzerk Productions Pty Ltd v Yarra CC [2021] VCAT 481
Section 80 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987 – Yarra Planning Scheme – commercial one zone – conditions eight and 18, hours of operation – hours for consumption of liquor – place of assembly – noise – Swan Street – residential interface – traffic generation.

Gersch v Mount Alexander SC [2021] VCAT 463
Mount Alexander Planning Scheme – section 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – public park and recreation zone – telecommunications facility – monopole – visual impacts – social effects.

ALH Group Pty Ltd v Kingston CC [2021] VCAT 459
Application under s77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Kingston Planning Scheme. Commercial two zone. Out-of-centre proposal for supermarket and retail premises. Activity centre policy. Impact on other activity centres. Net community benefit.

Wilcox v Port Phillip CC [2021] VCAT 456
The application for an enforcement order pursuant to section 114 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 is refused. The applicant seeks an enforcement order by the tribunal in respect to breaches of Planning Permit PLN1168/2015 issued by the responsible authority on 4 August 2016 that allowed for the redevelopment of the Sacred Heart Mission site in St Kilda.

Lucarano Pty Ltd v Monash CC [2021] VCAT 443
Section 87 and 89 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – cancellation of planning permit – section 64 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – section 57 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – section 145 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – giving of notice – presumption of regularity.

Foundry Company Pty Ltd v Yarra CC [2021] VCAT 426
Section 79 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – Yarra Planning Scheme – commercial two zone – heritage overlay HO317 – design and development overlay DDO2 – offices – supermarket – food and drink premises – building scale and massing – traffic and parking impacts – views to Landmark Shot Tower – residential amenity – impact on neighbouring low-rise residential area.

Newmarket Tavern Pty Ltd v Moonee Valley CC [2021] VCAT 423
Section 80 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; Moonee Valley Planning Scheme; expansion of tavern and multi-level new residential hotel; conditions in relation to hours of operation and patron numbers.

Queensland

Williams v Brisbane City Council [2021] QPEC 26
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPEAL – appeal against refusal of a code assessable development application for a preliminary approval for building work to facilitate demolition of a pre-1947 house – whether the subject house contributed to the traditional building character of the part of the street within the traditional building character overlay – whether demolition would result in loss of traditional building character – where building set further back from the street and at a lower elevation relative to the street than the other buildings of traditional building character – where main design features expressed to the river frontage, rather than the street frontage – where potential views from the street to the house limited and affected by long standing vegetation. Planning Act 2016 Qld s 60.

Legislation

Bills

Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Amendment (Extension and Other Measures) Bill 2021
Senate 13/05/2021 – amends the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act 2016 to: Extend the investment time period of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) by five years to 30 June 2026; expand the functions of the NAIF to include the provision of financial assistance to projects that contribute to Northern Australia's economic and population growth; and amend certain governance and administrative processes of the NAIF.

Victoria

Statutory Rules
No 44 Forests (Recreation) (Temporary) Regulations 2021
18 May 2021 – these regulations came into operation on 24 May 2021.

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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