Australia: Inside track: Local Government - In the media, in practice and courts, cases and legislation

Last Updated: 19 July 2019
Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2019

In the media


Police hit out at 'deceitful' operation flying beggars from China to Melbourne
Police charge seven people over an alleged "professional begging" operation in which people are flown from China to Melbourne on tourist visas to target passers-by in the CBD (05 July 2019). More...

Information leaks concern watchdog
Council staff need to be aware of laws regarding confidential information, the Local Government Inspectorate has warned. The Inspectorate says recent complaints data has shown "disturbing" cases of councillors leaking information for personal or political reasons without considering the effect this could have on both the business of council and community confidence (01 July 2019). More...

Victorian Greenhouse Alliances conference 19 July 2019
More than 250 local government councilors, executive leaders and officers are next month expected to attend the highest profile local government climate change conference in Australia (28 June 2019). More...

Cleaning Up Council Recycling Contracts
Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek has issued a state-wide exemption for local councils to remove the administrative barriers to extend their recycling collection contracts to June 2021 (28 June 2019). More...

IBAC: Victorian state government agencies exploring new ways to detect and prevent corruption
A review released by the state's anti-corruption commission, IBAC, has found Victorian state government agencies are increasingly aware of corruption risks and exploring new ways to detect and prevent corrupt conduct, such as use of data analytics and the appointment of risk champions (27 June 2019). More...

David McAuliffe spared jail as Lara residents face long battle to clean up waste stockpile
For the past six years, the Geelong council and local residents have been fighting, and failing, to get a massive waste stockpile cleaned up. The State Government will have to fund the $100 million clean-up. The site's former operator, David McAuliffe, had his three-month jail term overturned on appeal (27 June 2019). More...


Medium Density Planning Pause Extended
A further three-months planning pause for medium density housing is a sensible step in helping ensuring measured, future-focused planning which will determine neighbourhoods for decades to come, Local Government NSW said. Councils strongly support the need for sufficient housing stock to accommodate our growing population (28 June 2019). More...

'Ticking time bomb' fire risk for 340 Sydney buildings
The Queen Victoria Building, Sydney University student housing and the Central Park development are among hundreds of Sydney sites identified as being at risk of fire from combustible cladding. Councils are now in an impossible position being given lists with dozens or hundreds of at-risk properties, with no details about the nature of the risk and no resources to undertake the analysis themselves (26 June 2019). More...

In Practice and Courts


MAV Submissions July 2019
Submission to Productivity Commission inquiry on National Transport Regulatory Reform
Submission to Caravan Park Sunset Review Team

Victoria Parliament Consultations

Inquiry into the Conduct of the 2018 Victorian State Election
The Committee is inviting people to submit their views on how the election was conducted and suggestions on how things could be improved. Issues to be examined include enrolling, being a candidate and voting. Submissions close on 30 August 2019. More...

Recycled Material in Roads
To assist councils in achieving sustainability in road design, the Office of Projects Victoria, NATSPEC, Sustainability Victoria, IPWEA Victoria, and the Civil Contractors Federation are reviewing engineering standards to increase the use of recycled materials in the construction of local roads. This Project Report provides a summary of council responses. Councils are encouraged to complete this survey by, 26 July 2019.

Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian Agriculture
The Legislative Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee has commenced a public inquiry into the impact of animal rights activism on Victorian agriculture. The Committee is inviting written submissions by 2 August 2019 and will then conduct public hearings More...

Understanding Victoria's Integrity System
A new video and council resources from the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (04 July 2019). More...

Preventing domestic and family violence action
Action research reports from five Australian local government councils (04 July 2019). More...

Development contribution plans: community infrastructure levy
The 2019-20 maximum dwelling amount for a community infrastructure levy is now available here.

Standard levy rates and public land index for Infrastructure contribution plan
The 2019-20 standard levy rates for metropolitan greenfield growth areas and the public land index prepared by the Valuer-General Victoria (for indexing land credit amounts and land equalisation amounts on 1 July 2019) are now available. More...

Local Government Bill 2019 Consultation
The Local Government Bill 2019 will introduce a new, contemporary framework to support Victoria's councils and the communities they serve. The Local Government Bill Reform Paper describes why the new reforms are being proposed and how they will work. More...

Victorian Local Government Rating System Review
The Victorian Government is conducting a full review into the Victorian Local Government Rating System.
The review will conclude in March 2020, when the Panel provides their recommendations to the Minister (12 June 2019). More...

City of Melbourne: New Local Laws commenced on 1 July 2019
The Council has made three new local laws pursuant to the Local Government Act 1989. These new local laws will commence on 1 July 2019 and will supersede the Council's current local laws. More...

Activities Local Law 2019
The objective of the Activities Local Law is to the Council's long-term and responsible approach to the ongoing health, vitality, prosperity, security and welfare of the city's residents, businesses and environment. More...

Incorporated document
The Activities Local Law refers to the Design and Construction Standards for Public Infrastructure Works in the Docklands Area ('Standards'), clause 7.2. More...

Homelessness protocol
Council and Victoria Police have a formal operating protocol to address rough sleeping in the city. More...

Environment Local Law 2019
The objective of the Environment Local Law is to promote a safe, cleaner and more pleasant environment for all people living in, working in or visiting the City of Melbourne. More...

Grants Programs

Children's Facilities Capital Program
Funding is available to build, expand and improve early years infrastructure across Victoria, with three major grant categories: integrated children's centre grants (up to $2 million); new early learning facility grants (up to $1 million); and early learning facility upgrade grants (up to $500,000). Applications close 9 August. 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.


EPA Practice Note: Managing forecourt run-off from service stations
The guide provides recommendations on planning and design, managing risks, and approaches for collecting and treating forecourt run-off at service stations. This Practice Note will help both councils and service station operators to assess potential risks and impacts (25 June 2019). More...

The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code has been deferred to allow for an independent review.
The existing one-year deferral of the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code in 49 council areas is due to expire on 1 July 2019. The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) has been amended to extend this deferral for 45 councils for a further short period, until 31 October 2019, to allow for an independent review to be undertaken of the Code. More...

New dates for Environmental Planning & Assessment Act Updates
Councils, certifiers and other industry practitioners have more time to implement some of the recent EP&A Act updates. Changes affect new provisions for building and subdivision certification, Local Strategic Planning Statements for councils in the Greater Sydney Region and Community Participation Plans. CPPs must be finalised and published on the ePlanning portal by 1 December 2019


Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Woolworths Limited [2019] FCA 1039
CONSUMER LAW – representations of "biodegradable and compostable" made on labelling of disposable dish and cutlery products sold by respondent – identification of nature of representations – whether representations were as to "future matters" within meaning of s 4 of the Australian Consumer Law – consideration of meanings of "future matter" and "reasonable grounds" in s 4 – whether respondent had reasonable grounds for representations – application dismissed
CONSUMER LAW – misleading or deceptive conduct – whether representations of "biodegradable and compostable" contravened ss 18, 29 or 33 of the Australian Consumer Law – consideration of factors relevant to identifying "ordinary and reasonable" consumer – application dismissed
Held: do accept that phrase as used on the labels (like the word "recyclable") conveyed the representation that the Products were capable of biodegrading if sent to landfill or a "rubbish dump", and could be composted by one or more of the composting methods that are likely to be broadly familiar to consumers, such as some form of home or community composting, or organic waste collection by local councils

Morrison Government delivers to protect farmers
The Morrison Government has introduced legislation to protect them from the unlawful actions of animal activists. The Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019 introduces new offences for the incitement of trespass, property damage, or theft on agricultural land (04 July 2019)


Council of the City of Sydney v Bishop [2019] NSWCA 157
(1) Appeal allowed.TORTS – negligence – personal injury – respondent tripped on kerb in pedestrian precinct – duty of care to warn pedestrians of height differential – whether risk obvious – whether failure to use yellow highlighting constituted breach of a duty to warn – whether absence of warning causative of harm to person aware of hazard and not looking down
Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW), ss 5B, 5C, 5D, 5F, 5H

RBFI Pty Limited v Wollongong City Council [2019] NSWLEC 1312
DEVELOPMENT APPEAL – subdivision – flood planning level – rainfall and runoff – Allans Creek catchment – variation to section 88B instrument

Tasman Property Holdings Pty Ltd v Canterbury-Bankstown Council [2019] NSWLEC 1310
MODIFICATION APPLICATION – mixed use development – addition of a further storey – height breach – impacts – streetscape character – area in transition – whether substantially the same

Hamilton v Woollahra Municipal Council [2019] NSWLEC 1313
DEVELOPMENT APPEAL – proposed demolition of heritage item – Watsons Bay heritage conservation area – adaptive reuse – statement of heritage significance

Arcidiacono as Trustees for the Arcidiacono Family Trust v Blacktown City Council [2019] NSWLEC 1264
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION – subdivision service station and car wash – vegetation buffer as visual impact to place of State Heritage

Benmill Pty Ltd v Council of the City of Sydney [2019] NSWLEC 1291
MODIFICATION APPLICATION – impact of the addition of an awning to an approved development on the heritage significance of the heritage conservation area

K Capital Pty Ltd v City of Parramatta Council [2019] NSWLEC 1292
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION – concept development proposal – extent of demolition and impact on the heritage significance of the Roxy Theatre

Oboodi v Hornsby Shire Council [2019] NSWLEC 1287
APPEAL – development application – construction of two dwellings on new lots created by subdivision – heritage – engineering – adequacy of right of way over adjacent property – scale of the proposed dwellings –amenity of private open space – visual impact – replacement plantings – whether Vegetation Management Plan for subdivision can be considered in determining whether there is a net improvement in indigenous vegetation – directions made concerning landscape plan



Local Government (South Gippsland Shire Council) Act 2019
Date of assent: 21 June 2019 Act Number: 18/2019
Provides for the dismissal of the council and appointment of administrators, who will act as the council in the best interests of ratepayers until October 2021, when elections will he held.

Local Government Bill 2019 Consultation
The Local Government Bill 2019 will introduce a new, contemporary framework to support Victoria's councils and the communities they serve. The Local Government Bill Reform Paper describes why the new reforms are being proposed and how they will work. To provide feedback on the proposed reforms, email using the subject line Local Government Bill 2019 by 17 July 2019.


Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Protection of the Environment Operations Legislation Amendment (Scheduled Activities) Regulation 2019 (2019-319) — published LW 5 July 2019
Road Amendment (Dangerous Goods) Rule 2019 (2019-316) — published LW 5 July 2019
Environmental Planning and Assessment (Savings, Transitional and Other Provisions) Amendment (Local Strategic Planning Statements) Regulation 2019 (2019-282) — published LW 28 June 2019

Environmental Planning Instruments
State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) Amendment (Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code) 2019 (2019-291) — published LW 28 June 2019

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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