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Inside track: Local Government

25 March 2020

#Local Government

Published by:

Dr Joseph Monaghan, Vanessa Maruna

Inside track: Local Government

COVID-19 response - implications for local government

As the threat of COVID-19 continues to escalate, local governments across Australia have taken swift action to combat the virus, including recent legislative changes to elections and planning laws. In this article we examine some of those measures and other implications for Councils.

Restriction on movement powers

State governments have introduced urgent powers to assist in containing or responding to the spread of COVID-19 within communities. 


In Queensland, the Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) has been amended to provide additional powers to the Chief Health Officer and Emergency Officers to give directions restricting the movement of people, requiring people to stay in or at a specific place and to restrict contact between each other.

Emergency Officers include:

  • public service officers and employees
  • health service employees
  • local government employees.

Local governments in Cape York have already taken steps to restrict non-essential travel to and from their communities to protect at risk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.


In NSW, the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 was passed on 24 March 2020, and commenced on 25 March 2020 (NSW COVID-19 Act).

The NSW COVID-19 Act includes emergency laws introduced to Parliament to boost community safety. This includes empowering police to take immediate action on suspected breaches of COVID-19 public health orders, including returning those in breach to their residence or place of quarantine.


In Victoria, the exercise of public health risk powers and emergency powers are already provided for by the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic). This Act also allows for the State’s Chief Health Officer to authorise a specified class or classes of authorised officers of Councils to exercise these public health risk and emergency powers.

Pursuant to existing powers under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic), directions from the Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Disease) have been made in accordance with emergency powers arising from a declared state of emergency. Recent directions have been made in relation to mass gatherings, airport arrivals and self-quarantining following overseas travel.



The Queensland State Government has amended the Local Government Electoral Act 2011 to enable the suspension, or termination of the upcoming Queensland local government elections scheduled to take place on 28 March 2020.

The State Government identified the potential risk of COVID-19 spread to the public as a result of attending polling booths and has introduced mechanisms empowering the Minister for Local Government to suspend the election and re-schedule, or terminate and re-announce the election if considered necessary.

As an initial measure, the Electoral Commission Queensland has extended pre-voting and increased pre-voting sites across the State this week in a bid to limit large crowd numbers on the official voting day. Whether the election will take place however remains to be seen and could potentially be suspended or terminated at any point in the lead-up to Saturday’s election.


The NSW COVID-19 Act amends the Local Government Act 1993 (LG Act) to allow councils to hold official meetings electronically, rather than physically.

The LG Act has also been amended to give the Minister for Local Government the power to postpone the September council elections for 12 months, with a possible further extension to 31 December 2021.

Planning changes


In Queensland, the Planning Act 2016 (Planning Act) has been amended to:

  • introduce the concept of an ‘applicable event’. For example, an applicable event may be notified for the public health emergency of COVID-19
  • introduce the concept of a ‘declared use’, which during the applicable event period, may extend operating hours to operate 24 hours, seven days or week
  • provide for the Planning Minister to affect the statutory timeframes including, for example, the decision making period for development applications.

On 20 March 2020 the Minister declared an applicable event for the entire State of Queensland.

During the period of a declared applicable event, a person may apply to the chief executive for a licence (‘temporary use licence’) in relation to premises within a part of the State to which the applicable event declaration applies

A temporary use licence can do any of the following things:

    • change a condition of a development approval for a material change of use of premises
    • change the existing lawful use of the premises by:
      • increasing the intensity or scale of an existing lawful use
      • adding a new use; or
      • replacing the existing lawful use with a new use
    • provide that the use of premises (if the premises is the designated premises) is not required to comply with a requirement about the use stated in the designation
    • exempt activities or use of premises conducted in accordance with a temporary use licence from the regular application of the offences and enforcement provisions of the Planning Act.


Similar changes have been introduced in NSW.

For example, the NSW COVID-19 Act amends the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) to allow the Minister to make an order that authorises development to be carried out on land without the need for approval under the Act or consent. The Minister must be reasonably satisfied that the making of the order is necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of members of the public.

The NSW COVID-19 Act also amends the EP&A Act to provide that a requirement to make a document available at a physical location, such as an office, is satisfied if the document is made available on NSW planning portal or other websites approved by the Planning Secretary.

The provisions apply for a minimum period of six months and may apply for a total of 12 months if the regulations prescribe a longer period.

In addition, a new State Environmental Planning Policy (COVID-19 Response) 2020 (COVID-19 SEPP) is now in effect.

The SEPP amends the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 and allows the use of “retail supply chain premises” at any time for the purpose of supplying goods directly or indirectly to retail premises to be undertaken as exempt development. Retail supply chain premises include port facilities, warehouse or distribution centres and retail premises.

Development standards have been imposed for such development, being that the development:

  • must be for the operation of premises that are the subject of a development consent
  • must comply with all conditions of the consent for the use of the premises (other than any condition that restricts the hours of operation of the premises or the frequency or movement of vehicles)
  • must have taken steps to reduce noise when operating outside the operation hours of the premises.

The COVID-19 SEPP provisions will be in place until 1 October 2020.


To date, no changes have been made to the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic), nor to Victorian planning schemes.

Impact on Council leases

COVID 19 has had a massive impact on business conditions and is radically affecting the use of premises.  This raises key issues for local governments as landlords.

Everyone expects that tenants will be looking for relief and support and therefore, landlords will need to have a clear plan on how to respond.

There will most likely be some clauses in Council lease documents that are relevant to the rights and obligations of Council and its tenants. If Councils have not done so, it is a good idea to have lease documents reviewed for relevant clauses.

Other issues relevant to landlords include introducing measures to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 or infected people entering a building. There is also a reasonable likelihood that there is an obligation implied into leases for buildings with multiple tenancies and some degree of active management by the landlord that the landlord has a duty to notify tenants of a person in the building who has tested positive for the COVID-19.

How to deal with tenants in financial distress is ultimately a commercial question. What is certain is that this issue will arise and landlords will need to consider rent waivers and suspensions. It is important to make sure any arrangements are clearly documented so that there is no doubt about:

  • whether the waiver is a deferral or absolute for the period it applies
  • what notice is required to cancel the waiver
  • whether interest applies
  • if it is a deferral, what are the repayment terms?

Accepting possession of premises from tenants and certain other acts might give rise to a surrender by operation of law, which could cancel claims for lost future rent. Legal advice should be obtained whenever dealing with a vacating tenant.

Health & Safety in a pandemic

Even in pandemic conditions, local government employers must continue to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of their staff and others at their workplace.

The situation and directions from the Government are changing day-to-day. It is very important that local governments keep themselves informed and up-to-date on the risks of the COVID-19 virus and obtain information and advice from experts.

Your Council should by now have established a business continuity team or a designated risk officer or crisis manager who will assume responsibility for sourcing and distributing information.

In terms of health risks, the factors that will influence the level and gravity of risk your organisation faces will include:

  • size, geographic location and demographics of your workforce
  • nature of the work performed by your employees
  • frequency of interaction with other organisations
  • likelihood of exposure of staff to the virus outside of your workplace
  • culture of reporting safety issues
  • adequacy of current systems of work to prevent the spread of viruses.

Once you have formed a view as to the level of risk your organisation faces, and where that risk is greatest, you can then develop a plan of action to control those risks.

Shut down: Do we have to pay our workers?

If an employer decides to voluntarily close their office or site, it is important to appreciate that an employer may still have to pay employees. This is because an employer can only stand down an employee without pay under the Fair Work Act if the employee cannot usefully be employed because there has been a stoppage at work for which the employer cannot be reasonably held responsible. 

Other options include:

  • directing staff to work from home or other locations
  • requesting unwell employees who have been asked to self-isolate to stay home until their test results clear them
  • utilising teleconferences, Skype and cancelling face-to-face meetings or seminars.

Where there are no viable options for workers to continue working, employers may consider stand down options, however great care must be taken before issuing any stand down direction. 

Stand down can be affected by terms of your enterprise bargaining agreement, terms of your employment contracts or even your by-laws. 

Ensure you are providing lawful and reasonable directions by obtaining advice on your specific situation before issuing any announcement to your workforce.

Authors: Jenny Humphris, Gerard Timbs, Rachel Drew, Joseph Monaghan, Breellen Warry & Vanessa Maruna

In the media

Share your experiences with the Land Acquisition Act
The Commonwealth Department of Finance is reviewing the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA), which is the key legislation used by the Commonwealth to acquire and dispose of interests in land for public purposes. The LAA also regulates the disposal of Commonwealth land to local government and the acquisition of local government land by the Commonwealth (13 March 2020).  More...

New report assesses the human, environmental and economic costs of the summer’s extreme weather events
A new report produced by the Climate Council has looked at the devastating climate impacts Australians experienced this summer (13 March 2020).  More...

United front in battle to retain Remote Area Tax Concessions
Three key local government bodies representing more than 230 councils across the country have joined forces to urge the Federal Government to not abolish vital remote area tax concessions and payments (09 March 2020).  More...


New chapter for Federation Square
The City of Melbourne wants to invest $22 million to make Federation Square a premier civic space. The funding is contingent on Council being given management responsibilities for the site. Under the arrangement, City of Melbourne would manage the site, including tenancies, maintenance and activation (07 March 2020).  More...

IBAC Operation Sandon public hearings resume
The second round of the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission's (IBAC) public hearings into allegations of serious corrupt conduct in relation to planning and property development decisions at the Casey City Council resumes (06 March 2020).  More...

A more accessible and inclusive Enterprize Park
The City of Melbourne will soon begin improvements at Enterprize Park, located on the north bank of the Yarra River, between the Melbourne Aquarium and Queens Bridge Street (04 March 2020).  More...

Recycling Victoria – a welcome announcement for the circular economy
Sustainability Victoria welcomes the announcement of Recycling Victoria, a bold and transformative 10-year plan to shift Victoria to a circular economy that wastes less and recycles more (04 March 2020).  More...


Queensland council elections to go ahead despite coronavirus worries
Queensland's electoral commissioner has reassured voters that polling will go ahead "as normal" in the upcoming local government elections, despite community concerns over coronavirus (11 March 2020).  More...

OIA addresses public statements by election candidate Paul Tully
The OIA has addressed statements made by the former Ipswich City Councillor Paul Tully, who is now seeking re-election. In line with its media policy the OIA has, to date, consistently declined to identify Mr Tully as the subject of any unresolved misconduct matters. Given the misleading nature of the public comments by Mr Tully in the lead-up to the March election, the OIA has acted to address the statements (10 March 2020).  More...

Suspended mayor says 'factions and corridor talk' added to turbulent final term
Allan Sutherland, the long-time mayor of Moreton Bay Regional Council, speaks publicly for the first time since misconduct charges were laid against him by Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission (10 March 2020).  More...

Qld Govt puts a lid on mountain water
No new groundwater bores can be sunk on Mount Tamborine and Springbrook for at least a year – except for farmers and households – under a Palaszczuk Government plan (05 March 2020).  More...

Making 2020 local government elections
The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ), the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA), the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) and the Queensland Integrity Commissioner will be closely monitoring the election to ensure all relevant laws are adhered to during this important time (04 March 2020).  More...

Annual land valuations for 2020 released
Queenslanders in 21 of the state’s local government areas have awoken to new land valuations (04 March 2020).  Annual land valuations for 2020 released

In practice and courts

National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife
New National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife including Marine Turtles, Seabirds and Migratory Shorebirds aim to raise awareness of the potential impacts of artificial light on wildlife and provide a framework for assessing and managing these impacts around susceptible listed wildlife. The guidelines were developed in consultation with local, state and territory governments (13 March 2020).  More...

ALGA: Building Resilient Regions
The 2020 Regional Cooperation and Development Forum returns to Canberra on 14 June and this year focuses on building resilient regions. Our provisional program includes speakers who’ll lead sessions on regional Australia’s economic challenges and opportunities, and creating connected communities (13 March 2020).  More...

ALGA: 2020 Resilient Awards open
Local Governments are invited to apply for the 2020 Resilient Australia Awards, before entries close on 18 May. The awards recognise outstanding contributions in six categories: community, business, local government, government, school and photography.  More...

AUSkey ends 27 March 2020
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is reminding councils that after Friday 27 March 2020, they will no longer be able to use AUSkey or Manage Australian Business Number (ABN) Connections to access the Australian Government’s online services.  More...

Administration of financial disclosure requirements under the Commonwealth Electoral Act
The objective of this audit is to examine the effectiveness of the Australian Electoral Commission’s (AEC's) management of financial disclosures required under Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, including the extent to which the AEC is achieving accurate and complete financial disclosures.  More...

Commonwealth Department of Communications and the Arts: Telecommunications in new developments review
In light of recent and upcoming changes in the provision of telecommunications in new developments, the Department is undertaking a review of the Telecommunications in New Developments (TIND) Policy, and has released a discussion paper Review of the 2015 TIND Policy, The Department is aiming to complete the review of the 2015 TIND Policy and make any necessary changes before 1 July 2020. 

Have your say: Bushfire Inquiries
House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Energy has announced an Inquiry into the efficacy of past and current vegetation and land management policy, practice and legislation and their effect on the intensity and frequency of bushfires and subsequent risk to property, life and the environment.  Submissions close on 31 March. A Senate Inquiry has also been established


Telstra phone booth screens 
The Federal Court of Australia has ruled Telstra can build 1800 phone booths with digital advertising screens across Australia without permission from city councils. Melbourne City Council originally knocked back Telstra's application to display advertising on 81 new payphones. However, the Court ruled Telstra was within its power to build phone booths without requiring council approval, as long as they are defined as "low-impact facilities." (10 March 2020).

MAV Submissions
March 2020 Submission to RIS Electricity Safety (Electric Line Clearance) Regulations

Local Government Bill
The Legislative Council passed the Local Government Bill 2019 on 6 March which affects all 79 councils in Victoria. The Bill will return to the Legislative Assembly and receive Royal Assent before it becomes a law on 17 March.  More...

Draft Yarra Strategic Plan and Land Use Framework
The Victorian Government is seeking feedback on the draft Yarra Strategic Plan prepared under the Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017. Following a panel process (to commence in April-May 2020) the Yarra Strategic Plan and Land Use Framework will be finalised and given effect in relevant state planning policy and local planning schemes.  More...

Bushfire Recovery Funding
The Victorian Government launched its special Bushfire Recovery round of the Regional Events Fund. Grants of up to $20,000 are available for eligible events in 15 local government areas declared under Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. Applications close, 27 March 2020. 

Tackling climate change in municipal public health & wellbeing planning
Council health planners, environment and sustainability officers are encouraged to attend one of the council consultation forums listed below. Participants will help shape the new guidance and contribute to case studies for inclusion. Updates will be provided on recent climate change and health initiatives, and the new climate projections and regional climate change adaptation work occurring across Victoria. Councils are also invited to provide a written submission until 27 March. A discussion paper has been developed to help inform written submissions and discussion at the forums.  More...

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning: Local Government Rating System Review
An independent panel is now reviewing all aspects of Victoria’s local government rating system. Their report will be submitted to the Minister for Local Government by 31 March 2020.  More...

IBAC: Operation Sandon public hearings will continue in 2020
IBAC's public hearings into allegations of serious corrupt conduct concerning the transparency and integrity of planning and property development decision making, including donations to candidates in local and state government elections, will continue in early 2020.  More...

Significant Sporting Events Program
 Councils may apply for grants in this funding program to support the assistance, management or strategic planning of sports events. Applications are open until 30 June 2022 in various rounds. 

s.186 exemption for council recycling contracts
The Victorian Local Government Minister has announced a state-wide s.186 exemption for local councils to extend their recycling collection contracts to 30 June 2021. Attached is a copy of the letter sent to all councils co-signed by Minister Somyurek and the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP.

Living Heritage Grants Program – Round 5 – Safeguarding and Reactivating our Heritage
Applications close on 9 April 2020. Round 5 and subsequent rounds include priority consideration for the conservation of Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) listed places and objects located in Victorian communities impacted by bushfire.  More... 
E-Waste Grants
Round two of Sustainability Victoria’s E-waste Infrastructure Grants is offering up to $2 million to build Victoria’s e-waste resource recovery sector. Grants of up to $500,000 are available for industry and local government and Waste and Resource Recovery Groups seeking to invest in projects that increase recovery of e-waste materials and/or ensure the safe collection and storage of e-waste. Applications close 30 March.

Improving access to Planning Schemes Online
From early 2020, the Victoria Planning Provisions and all online planning schemes (including ordinance, maps, histories, amendments and incorporated documents) will be accessible only via Planning Schemes found on the Victorian Planning Portal. Please update any links or bookmarks you may have to the old site, in readiness for its closure.

Boroondara C328boro extends the expiry date of interim Heritage Overlays affecting properties and precincts in the Hawthorn Heritage Gap Study, Kew Heritage Gap Study, Kew East and Mont Albert Heritage Gap Study and Hawthorn East Heritage Gap Study areas until 12 March 2021.
Melton C211melt rezones part of the land at Palm Springs Road and the Western Highway, Ravenhall from Urban Floodway Zone to Industrial 3 Zone and removes the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay.
VC177 changes the VPP and all planning schemes in Victoria by inserting a new particular provision at Clause 52.07 to facilitate and support recovery from bushfire.
Bayside C161bayspt1 corrects a number of anomalies and updates the incorporated document Temporary Advertising Signs on Recreation Reserves, July 2004 (Revised 2018).
Cardinia C232card implements the Officer Town Centre review by incorporating the amended Officer Precinct Structure Plan (September 2011, Amended November 2019).
Glen Eira C182glen applies the Heritage Overlay to part of 8 Gordon Street, Elsternwick on a permanent basis.
Golden Plains C85gpla implements the Northern Settlement Strategy (Golden Plains Shire Council, October 2019) by amending the Municipal Strategic Statement.
Latrobe C101latr implements recommendations from the Latrobe Planning Scheme Review Report (2014), along with addressing other anomalies.
Moorabool C088moor implements the Ballan Strategic Directions (June 2018). 
Mornington Peninsula C258morn applies the Specific Controls Overlay to various properties listed under the schedule to Clause 51.01 (Specific Sites and Exclusions) and other related consequential changes, as part of the Smart Planning Program to improve the transparency of site specific controls.
Mornington Peninsula C231morn extends the interim Heritage Overlay to the property at 12 Graydens Road, Tyabb for a period of three months, until 28 May 2020.

Glen Eira C155glen Provision of a framework for the redevelopment of the East Village precinct in East Bentleigh.
Yarra Ranges C176yran and Permit Application YR-2018/358 48 lot residential subdivision of Lot 3 LP403716 Holloway Road, Wonga Park

Baw Baw C131bawb proposes to introduce three new Design and Development Overlays to implement urban design directions from the Longwarry Urban Design Framework (2019), Trafalgar Urban Design Framework (2018) and Neerim South Urban Design Framework (2018).
Greater Bendigo C243gben proposes to implement the findings of the Heathcote Flood Study (2016).
Melton C198melt proposes to implement the findings of the City of Melton Heritage Assessments Project 2018.
Moorabool C91moor proposes to implement the findings of the three flood studies (Report for Bacchus Marsh Area Floodplain Mapping, Ballan Township Flood Study Final Report, Lower Lerderderg Catchments Flood Mapping Report) and the Melbourne Water Planning Investigations Models.

Greater Dandenong C201gdan proposed to introduce Clause 22.06 Environmentally Sustainable Development Local Planning Policy into the Scheme
Horsham C072hors proposed to apply the Public Acquisition Overlay (PAO3) over land for the future acquisition by VicRoads associated with the realignment of the Western Highway around Horsham and amends Clause 45.01 to make VicRoads the acquiring authority for PAO3.


Annual Statutory Land Valuations 2020
The Valuer-General issued approximately 825,000 new land valuations to landowners across Queensland on 4 March 2020. The land valuations assist in the determination of council rates, state land tax, and rentals for leasehold land. Landowners who believe their valuation was incorrect and can provide supporting information should lodge their objection online or at the address shown at the top of their valuation notice by 5 May 2020.  More...

LGAQ: The Delegations Register Service has been updated
A complete review of the Delegations Register Service has been undertaken and is now available for members in LG Online (13 March 2020).  More...

LGAQ: Still Time to Apply - FNQ & NQ Monsoon Trough Funding Round 2 Grants
Grants of up to $150,000 each are now available to help FNQ & NQ communities recover from the 2019 Monsoon Trough. Applications close on 6 April 2020. (13 March 2020).  More...

LGAQ: Have your say: Walking tracks Standards revisions
The walking tracks standards under revision are important to councils as they are fundamental to the design and development of council-controlled walking tracks including pathways, tracks and trails.  More...

CCC Investigations
Man from Annandale (Townsville) was charged with further fraud and stealing offences (06 March 2020).  More...

North Queensland Regional Plan
The first North Queensland Regional Plan has been finalised and will come into effect in March 2020. You can read an overview of the plan which includes five initial catalytic projects that have also been identified including renewable hydrogen, defence, agribusiness, advanced manufacturing and tourism. The region includes five local government areas: Burdekin, Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook, Palm Island and Townsville (February 2020).

Brisbane City Council: Draft Central Park Masterplan
The draft plan is now out for public consultation following the release of five creative concepts from architecture and planning firms last year. The Victoria Park concept plan is now open to the public until April 28 on the Brisbane City Council’s website.

LGAQ: Review of the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act 2017
The Office of the Coordinator-General is leading the review and will be engaging with councils and key stakeholders from the end of January to May 2020.  More...

LGAQ: Key events for Queensland councils in 2020
Events for March – October 2020 are outlined here. Keep an eye on the events page which will be updates as more events are confirmed in the calendar



Rizzo v Head, Transport for Victoria [2020] VSC 89 AND COMPENSATION – Amendment to Hume Planning Scheme – Imposition of Public Acquisition Overlay for Outer Metropolitan Ring/E6 Transport Corridor – Referral of disputed claim for compensation for loss on sale under Pt 5, Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic) – Claim made before completion of contract for sale of land – Proceeding held to have no real prospect of success as presently framed – Whether applicants can amend notice of claim – Whether applicants can amend referral notice – Court’s jurisdiction limited to determining ‘disputed claim’ under Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (Vic) – Application for leave to amend notice of claim and referral notice refused – Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic) ss 98(1), 99(b), 105, 106(1) – Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (Vic), ss 37, 80, 89 – Plunkett v Roads Corporation [2019] VSC 39.

Morrison v Stonnington CC [2020] VCAT 316
Section 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; Stonnington Planning Scheme; General Residential Zone; Heritage Overlay; Existing dwelling; Partial demolition & construction of buildings and works; Restrictive covenant; Impact on significance of heritage place 

Yue Shu v Maroondah CC [2020] VCAT 313
Maroondah Planning Scheme; comparison with the preferred neighbourhood character; impact of three storey built form on a streetscape; retention of existing trees. No permit

Proctor v Mornington Peninsula SC [2020] VCAT 312
Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme; planning framework applying to land within the Green Wedge Zone; land use of Horse husbandry; proposal to use and develop land in the Green Wedge Zone for a dwelling; Mornington Peninsula Localised Planning Statement (Victorian Government, 2014); Mornington Peninsula Green Wedge Management Plan (Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, 1 April 2019). No permit

Stonnington Developments Pty Ltd v Stonnington CC [2020] VCAT 296
Section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; Stonnington Planning Scheme; General Residential Zone Schedule 10, construction of a three storey apartment building; planning policy, neighbourhood character, amenity impacts, traffic impacts 

Preston Hotel (Operations) Pty Ltd v Darebin CC [2020] VCAT 308
Pursuant to section 149B of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, VCAT declares that, as at the date of this order: (a) the land at 635 High Street, Preston enjoys existing use rights which allow the use of the land for the purpose of a hotel; and (b) by virtue of those existing use rights, a planning permit is not required to use the land for accommodation as part of the hotel use.

Sparks v Nillumbik SC [2020] VCAT 305
Use and development of the land for a restaurant, sale of liquor, buildings and works to construct external alterations of the existing building, construct two outbuildings Application under section 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – to review the decision to grant a permit.

Carone v Darebin CC [2020] VCAT 294
Darebin Planning Scheme; Incremental Change Area; single dwelling replacing existing semi-detached dwelling; neighbourhood character; amenity. No permit

Renoco Homes Pty Ltd v Whitehorse CC [2020] VCAT 285 77 Planning and Environment Act 1987; Whitehorse Planning Scheme; General Residential Zone Schedule 4; Significant Landscape Overlay Schedule 9; Neighbourhood Character; Landscaping; Built Form; On-site amenity; Traffic and Car Parking. No permit

Hunter v East Gippsland SC [2020] VCAT 257
Application for fee reimbursement; Section 115B of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998; Racing Dog Husbandry; Decision to grant planning permit varied by Tribunal; Application for reimbursement of fees refused. 

Kumar v Kingston CC [2020] VCAT 291
Section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Kingston Planning Scheme. General Residential Zone. Three double storey dwellings. Incremental housing change. Neighbourhood character. Amenity. No permit

Pace of Sunshine North Pty Ltd v Brimbank CC [2020] VCAT 286
Application under s.80 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987; review of condition; Brimbank Planning Scheme; General Residential Zone; Development Plan Overlay and public open space contribution. No changes made

Grima v Banyule CC [2020] VCAT 277
Section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, amenity impacts, neighbourhood character
The permit allows: Construction of three, two storey dwellings on a lot in the General Residential Zone – Schedule 2. 

John Douglas Group Pty Ltd v Moreland CC [2020] VCAT 275
Section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; Moreland Planning Scheme, Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ1); proposed two double storey dwellings at the rear of existing single storey dwelling; issue of neighbourhood character against zoning and policies.

Lakeside Building Consultants v Mornington Peninsula SC [2020] VCAT 268
Section 80 Review Planning and Environment Act 1987; Mornington Planning Scheme, General Residential Zone (GRZ1), Design and Development Overlay (DDO3), Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO), Vegetation Protection Overlay (VOP1); proposed outbuilding and retrospective approvals for earthworks.

Planning & Design v Moreland CC [2020] VCAT 254
Moreland Planning Scheme; section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; proposal for the construction of three double storey dwellings on a residential lot; proposal otherwise uncontentious, but Council is opposed to the intended removal of a large tree in the backyard of the subject land; Tribunal hearing; proposal approved.

Altunas v Yarra CC [2020] VCAT 272
Section 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; Yarra Planning Scheme; Neighbourhood Residential Zone; Heritage Overlay HO327 North Fitzroy; Second Dwelling; Response to Heritage Policy; Off-Site Amenity Impacts; Parking Reduction. 

Clark v Mornington Peninsula SC [2020] VCAT 282
Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme; General Residential Zone Schedule 1; Design and Development Overlay, Schedule 2; Vegetation Protection Overlay, Schedule 1; Neighbourhood character; Clause 55 objectives; Overlooking. 

Bunnings Group Limited v Boroondara CC [2020] VCAT 247
Condition restricting hours of delivery and waste collection, compliance with SEPP N-1, site context and existing construction conditions, existing road noise

BWK Properties Pty Ltd v Pyrenees SC [2020] VCAT 232
Section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – Farming Zone – use and development of a service station – need to balance policy outcomes – protection of agricultural land – rural character, freeway service centre functions within existing township. No permit

Tutic v Monash CC [2020] VCAT 270
Application under section 81(1) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – to review the refusal of the responsible authority to extend the time within which any development or use is to be started or any development completed. Clause 32.08-6 – Construct two or more dwellings on a lot

Sloman v Hobsons Bay CC [2020] VCAT 264
Section 82 Planning and Environment Act 1987; Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme; General Residential Zone; Road Zone- Category 1; Medical centre; Traffic

Ben Snow on behalf of Moomba Park Primary School v Moreland CC [2020] VCAT 241
Use of land for a mosque. Application under section 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – to review the decision to grant a permit. 

Mitrev v Hobsons Bay CC [2020] VCAT 141
Section 77 Planning and Environment Act 1987; Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme; General Residential Zone; Dwellings; Neighbourhood character; Amenity; Potential contamination.

Choi v Bayside CC [2020] VCAT 266
This proposal is the construction of a dwelling; Alterations and additions is not a term used in the planning scheme; Car parking design and access; Visual bulk; Design response to neighbourhood character.

Mildura RCC v Purple Goose Investment Pty Ltd [2020] VCAT 255
Planning and Environment Act 1987; enforcement order; Industrial 3 Zone of Mildura Planning Scheme; Design and Development Overlay Schedule 9. Enforcement order allowed

Brown v Stonnington CC [2020] VCAT 214
Section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; Stonnington Planning Scheme; Construction of Three Storey Apartment Building plus Basement; Neighbourhood Character; Building Scale and Form.

Multiple Design Pty Ltd v Knox CC [2020] VCAT 246
Section 77 Planning and Environment Act 1987, Knox Planning Scheme, General Residential Zone – Schedule 3, access, Neighbourhood Character, Reverse living, local living area, clause 21.06.

Corker v Surf Coast SC [2020] VCAT 245
Construction of a detached dwelling split over three levels with associated works and removal of vegetation. Application under section 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – to review the decision to grant a permit.

Zhou v Monash CC [2020] VCAT 242
Construction of six double-storey dwellings. Application under section 80 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 – to review the conditions contained in the permit.

Zappone v Banyule CC [2020] VCAT 243
Section 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; Banyule Planning Scheme, General Residential Zone, Vegetation Protection Overlay, Development Contribution Overlay; one additional double storey dwelling at rear of a large lot; design response to neighbourhood character and amenity impact.

Baltovski v Whittlesea CC [2020] VCAT 276
Section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; Whittlesea Planning Scheme; Restructure Overlay; Green Wedge Zone; Dwelling and outbuilding; Whether permit to construct dwelling may be granted before land is restructured; Whether application responds to objectives of the restructure plan No permit

Leone v Mount Alexander SC [2020] VCAT 240
Existing service station and workshop; Proposed building and works and use of a convenience shop; Amenity concerns; Car parking design and location; Adjacent creek and prohibition on works within 30 metres; Access restrictions; Noise and lighting impacts. No permit

Daly v Banyule CC [2020] VCAT 236
Application under Section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act) to review a decision to refuse a permit. The permit allows The removal of one (1) Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Fung v Knox CC [2020] VCAT 256
Section 77 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987; Knox Planning Scheme; General Residential Zone 3; Three Double Storey Dwellings, Neighbourhood Character, Scale and Siting, Landscaping, Impacts on Vegetation, Internal Amenity, Dwelling Entry, Design Detail


Logan City Council v Brookes [2020] QDC 24
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING – PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROSECUTIONS – GENERALLY – where the respondent, without a permit, moved seven shipping containers onto his property – where the appellant commenced proceedings by way of seven complaints charging the respondent with carrying on assessable development without a permit contrary to s 578 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 – where the complaints were particularised as carrying on “building work” as defined in s 10 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 – where the learned magistrate found that each shipping container was not a “fixed structure” and as such did not amount to carrying on building work – whether the learned magistrate erred in finding that the movement of the shipping containers was not “building work”
EVIDENCE – GENERAL PRINCIPLES – EVIDENCE LAW – RULINGS AND FINDINGS – where the learned magistrate admitted into evidence an agreed statement of facts containing purported admissions pursuant to s 148A of the Justices Act 1886 – where the respondent was self-represented at trial – where the respondent argues on appeal that he did not consent to the agreed statement of facts – where the agreed statement of facts was tendered by the appellant without objection from the respondent – where the respondent later stated in the trial that some facts were agreed but others were not – whether the respondent should be allowed to resile from the agreed statement of facts
MAGISTRATES – APPEAL AND REVIEW – QUEENSLAND – APPEAL – PROCEDURE – where the appellant applied for leave to adduce new evidence – where the appellant seeks to adduce evidence of correspondence between the parties in relation to the agreed statement of facts tendered at trial so as to answer the respondent’s argument on appeal – the test in Pavlovic v Commissioner of Police [2007] 1 Qd R 344 – whether the appellant should be granted leave to adduce new evidence
Justices Act 1886 Qld s 148A, s 222, s 223; Sustainable Planning Act 2009 Qld s 7, s 10, s 578

Re Application filed by Local Government Association of Queensland Ltd [2020] QIRC 35
INDUSTRIAL LAW – QUEENSLAND – INDUSTRIAL ORGANISATIONS – APPLICATION TO AMEND ELIGIBILITY RULES – Where the applicant is an employer organisation - Where the application was validly made under the organisation's rules



North East Link Bill 2020
Date of second reading speech: 5 March 2020
Establishes the North East Link State Tolling Corporation and specifies its objects, functions and powers

Victorian legislation can be accessed here


Subordinate legislation as made - 06 March 2020
No 25 Proclamation No. 2—Personalised Transport Ombudsman Act 2019 (commencing certain provisions)
No 26 Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) (Ticketing) and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation 2020

Subordinate legislation as made – reminder
No 228 Proclamation—Local Government Electoral (Implementing Stage 2 of Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (commencing remaining provisions)
This Proclamation fixes the following dates for the commencement of a number of remaining provisions: 30 March 2020. To improve transparency and public accountability of local government elections in line with State and Commonwealth electoral and governance frameworks 

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.

Published by:

Dr Joseph Monaghan, Vanessa Maruna

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