Reporting to go fully digital with new portal
All Commonwealth bodies will have to publish their annual reports on a public website from the end of this year following the launch of the new Transparency Portal. The portal will eventually contain the budgets and audited expenditure of all Commonwealth bodies (16 March 2019). More...
Court challenge shows Coalition's changes open way to developer donations
With the federal election due in May, a high court case will determine whether prohibited donors have been given immunity by changes proposed and passed by the Coalition government. The finance minister, Mathias Cormann, offered one rationale for the change: to clarify whether state or federal laws applied to donations (16 March 2019). More...
Era of disasters’ poses challenge for governments
Experts are urging governments to act swiftly in response to the growing threat of coastal inundation to prevent damage in excess of $7 trillion and and protect themselves from liability. The OECD report, released on March 6, says in most OECD countries, local government is responsible for managing coastal risks, but this must be resourced at a national level (16 March 2019). More...
A landline that works and is reliable
Minister for Regional Services and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Bridget McKenzie has welcomed Telstra’s new communications investments, which will make landlines more reliable across regional and rural Australia (15 March 2019). More...
Report rings alarm bells on local government workforce
A national survey of local government raises concerns about the sector’s rapidly ageing and poorly skilled workforce. The survey of the nation’s 242 councils, published by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), lifts the lid on challenges facing the sector (15 March 2019). More...
'Grossly unfair': Council rates review likely after High Court refusal
Low-income pensioners Suzanne and Martin find the money each year to pay their share of council rates — but ask why some others are exempt, which remains the case in Tasmania after a High Court decision (14 March 2019). More...
Councils on track for gender parity by 2026
Local councils across Australia are set to become the first level of government to smash through the gender divide and reach equality in senior positions in less than ten years, according to a public policy expert (14 March 2019). More...
New farming era: More ag red tape to be cut
Local councils are urged to get on board with a shake-up for the movement of agricultural machinery across the road network, which will be a game-changer for the nation's farm businesses. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is seeking agreement from councils and road managers on the new draft National Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle and Combination Notice (5 March 2019). More...
New website unearths Victoria’s past to protect our future
The Andrews Labor Government has launched a new online tool to help Victorians identify and investigate the quality of land and groundwater on their properties (14 March 2019). More...
City of Melbourne launches Climate Change Mitigation Strategy
ASEBC welcomes the City of Melbourne’s Climate Change Mitigation Strategy, which recognises the significant capacity of the built environment to contribute to emissions reductions and plans to transition the municipality to 100 percent renewable energy (11 March 2019). More...
Landfill levy waived for bushfire victims
Local landfills will be able to apply for the exemption for bushfire waste through the EPA and will not charge the fee to people who drop off eligible waste. The waiver covers bushfire waste only and applies to the levy component of the gate price (11 March 2019). More...
Rescue Our Recycling Action Plan launched
The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has launched a Rescue Our Recycling Action Plan, which sets out five key actions each level of government should take to help solve our recycling crisis (7 March 2019). More...
Planning for renewable energy transformation
The Andrews Labor Government is putting the planning mechanisms in place to ensure Victoria’s rapid uptake of large-scale renewable energy is well-planned and receptive to the needs of the local community. Changes to state planning rules ensure planning permits will now be required for the power lines that connect new large-scale electricity generators to the energy network (5 March 2019). More...
New South Wales
200,000 social and affordable homes can be provided for Sydney by the private sector through planning incentives
The report by the City Futures Research Centre that Sydney needs 200,000 low income homes over 20 years assumes these will be funded by government says the Urban Taskforce. The City Futures report identifies a big shortfall in the supply of social and affordable housing in Sydney (14 March 2019). More...
Sydney Football Stadium demolition imminent after appeal dismissed
The Land and Environment Court finds the State Government complied with planning requirements over the $730 million demolition and rebuilding plan, dismissing a challenge by Waverley Council and the community group Local Democracy Matters (6 March 2019). More...
ALGA: New agricultural notice
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has commenced a process seeking consent to a new National Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle and Combination Mass and Dimension Exemption Notice. Councils should have received an email outlining the consent process along with an information pack. Due to this being a formal consent process, a 28 day period exits for consent, ending on 5 April 2019. Further info can be found here (15 March 2019).
ALGA submissions: Submission on the Australia Fund Bill 2018
This submission provides the views of the ALGA regarding the Australia Fund Bill 2018. The Bill proposes to establish a Joint Parliamentary Committee to investigate establishing an Australia Fund to assist in the support and reconstruction of Australian rural and manufacturing industries in times of crises, including natural disasters (15 March 2019). More...
Government’s housing infrastructure body seeks local government interest
The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC), established by the Australian Government last year to improve housing affordability, is seeking greater engagement from councils which want to access its National Housing Infrastructure Facility. More...
Local Government Workforce Development Group (LGWDG): Local Government Workforce and Future Skills Report Australia
Analyses data from the ABS Census and a Local Government Skills Shortage Survey completed by almost half of Australia’s councils. The data set is one of the first comprehensive profiles of the Australian local government workforce to date (15 March 2019). More...
NGA19 preliminary program now available
The NGA19 preliminary program is now available online. This year, NGA19 is Future Focused celebrating past achievements while firmly focused on the future. The preliminary program outlines an exciting agenda. Get ‘future focused’ by registering here (22 February 2019).
National General Assembly 2019 motions
ALGA seeks motions to be submitted for the National General Assembly taking place from 16 June 2019 on the theme ‘Future Focused’. A discussion paper is available with more details on the theme and submission guidelines.
Office of State Revenue Land Valuation notices – 7 March 2019
The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy has recently commenced issuing the 2019 land valuations. Depending on the ownership and use of the land, land owners may be eligible for a land tax exemption. The new valuations will be used to determine council rates, state land tax and rental pricing for leasehold land. More...
Corruption in focus: A guide to dealing with corrupt conduct in the Queensland public sector
Corruption in focus has been updated to reflect some major changes to the Crime and Corruption Act 2001. Two key amendments relevant to UPAs are: a new section 40A, which includes an additional record-keeping requirement (effective 9 November 2018), and a new definition of corrupt conduct in section 15 (effective 1 March 2019). More...
QAO advice: How to prepare for a performance audit
Are you a public sector entity or local government about to participate in a performance audit? Read on to understand more about what a performance audit is and how to prepare for one (1 March 2019). More...
QAO advice: Beware fraudulent emails
Do you have internal controls in place to protect your entity or council against fraudulent email attempts (14 March 2019). More...
QLS practice note
Guidance Statement No.12 – Conflicts of interest in criminal and Crime and Corruption Commission proceedings (11 March 2019).
LGAQ reminder: Have your say energy pricing proposals
Have your say on regulatory proposals submitted by Ergon energy and Energex. The AER invites interested parties to make submissions on Energex's regulatory proposal by the close of business on 16 May 2019. More...
LGAQ reminder: Changes to the Crime and Corruption Act 2001
From 1 March 2019, the Act will change and some of the major changes will affect councils in their role as units of public administration (UPAs). See factsheets on new definitions and record-keeping requirements. More...
LGAQ: Have your say - Draft waste strategy
Provide your input for the LGAQ submission on the Draft Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy, needed by Wednesday 27 March 2019. More...
Environmental offsets framework discussion paper released
A discussion paper on Queensland’s environmental offsets framework has been released by the State Government, aimed at seeking community and industry feedback on the policy’s effectiveness. Consultation on the discussion paper closes on 15 April 2019. More...
The Premier’s Outback Events Program: Funding rounds 2019
Each application must be for unique submissions and events must be delivered on or before 31 December 2020. The deadline for round one applications is 1 April 2019, with applicants notified in May 2019. More...
Combustible Cladding Checklist: Registrations close 29 March
Relevant building owners have one month remaining to complete the first stage of the Queensland Government's mandatory ‘combustible cladding checklist’. The online checklist is part of the Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018, which is aimed at identifying buildings in Queensland that may have potentially combustible cladding, built, or had the cladding altered, after 1 January 1994 but before 1 October 2018. Building owners must register and begin the new statutory three stage process through the 'Safer Buildings' website.
City plan amendments
Brisbane City Council has passed amendments to the Brisbane City Plan 2014, applying to land in Bald Hills, Bracken Ridge, Doolandella, Eight Mile Plains, Ferny Grove, Gumdale, Indooroopilly, Nudgee, Rochedale, Salisbury, Upper Kedron and Woolloongabba. Amendments include zoning changes to reflect current development approvals and supporting updates to overlay maps to reflect zoning changes. The current amendments came into effect on Friday 15 February 2019. More...
New South Wales
Local Character & Place guideline
The Department of Planning and Environment has recently released additional resources for Local Character which is aimed at providing support and assistance to communities, governments and the property industry by providing tools to enhance the local character of neighbourhoods, including a guideline and discussion paper. The Discussion Paper being released for public comment is open until 20 April 2019. Read more at the Local Character page here.
Changes to Seniors Housing SEPPs
Seniors Housing State Environmental Planning Policy – the SEPP will not apply in heritage conservation areas in Greater Sydney until 1 July 2020.
Community Participation Plan Updated FAQs
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 has been updated to make community participation central to the planning system. Supporting this objective is a new measure requiring all public authorities that have planning functions under the EP&A Act, including councils, to develop a community participation plan (CPP). CPPs must be finalised and published on the ePlanning portal by 1 December 2019. The link to the FAQs is here.
In the making of the Banana Shire Council Certified Agreement 2018  QIRC 41
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Application for certification of an agreement – requirements for certification – agreement certified going.
In the termination of the Banana Shire Council Certified Agreement 2012  QIRC 40
INDUSTRIAL LAW – COLLECTIVE BARGAINING – Application for termination of agreement after nominal expiry date – Requirements for termination – Agreement terminated. Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld) s 228.
New South Wales
Chen v Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council  NSWLEC 1095
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION – Subdivision into two Torrens Title lots – minor alterations and addition to the existing dwelling identified as contributory to the heritage significance of the heritage conservation area – impact on the heritage significance of the heritage conservation area – impact on the heritage significance of adjoining heritage items.
Burwood Council v Jardine Lloyd Thompson Pty Ltd  NSWSC 268
CIVIL PROCEDURE – Summary dismissal – strike out – unincorporated association – mutual self-insurance scheme – indemnity under contracts of insurance – whether cause of action pleaded – proper person to sue – principal under the self-insurance scheme – parties to the self-insurance scheme – membership of the self-insurance scheme – join association by deed with moving party – contract with many parties – whether moving party has management and control of the self-insurance scheme – defects in pleadings – whether cure by legitimate amendment – action not untenable that cannot succeed – debatable questions of law – mixed questions of fact and law – costs – orders.
Local Government Act 1993 (NSW); Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW); Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW).
Initial Action Pty Ltd v Woollahra Municipal Council  NSWLEC 1097
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION – Residential apartment building – contravention of the height of buildings development standard – volume of excavation – height of front fence.
Mod Urban Pty Ltd v Mid-Western Regional Council  NSWLEC 1087
JOINDER – Application for joinder – statutory tests.
Group HIS Pty Ltd v Inner West Council  NSWLEC 1089
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION – Private hospital – risk associated with flooding – loading dock – transition between zones – and bulk and scale.
Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd v North Sydney Council  NSWLEC 1081
MODIFICATION – Whether substantially the same as the development – building identification signage – tower – night lighting – balancing competing objectives for CBD and low density residential – whether essence and materiality can be distinguished from the particulars of impact.
Local Democracy Matters Incorporated v Infrastructure NSW; Waverley Council v Infrastructure NSW  NSWLEC 20
Judicial review – challenge to Minister for Planning’s grant of development consent to concept development application including Stage 1 demolition of Sydney Football Stadium – no failure to comply with mandatory public exhibition period – no failure to comply with Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 concerning design excellence – no failure to comply with State Environmental Planning Policy 55 Remediation of Land.
Subordinate legislation as made
No 17 Cross River Rail Delivery Authority Regulation 2019 01/03/2019
No 19 Environmental Protection (Financial Provisioning) and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation 2019 01/03/2019
No 26 Rural and Regional Adjustment (Extension of Funding for North and Far North Queensland Flood Disaster) Amendment Regulation 2019 15/03/2019
Gerard Timbs, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0644
Jenny Humphris, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0690
Joseph Monaghan, Partner
T: +61 3 9321 9857
Peter Holt, Special Counsel
T: +61 2 8083 0421
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.