Australia: Inside track: Planning, Environment & Sustainability - In the media, In practice and courts, Cases and Legislation

Last Updated: 25 July 2019
Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2019

In the media


Immediate reforms: Triguboff's Meriton wants building industry change
The perception of a crisis in Sydney's residential apartment market snowballed after the Herald revealed another evacuation of a unit block at Zetland (12 July 2019). More...

Why NSW needs a revised medium density housing code
The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code has attracted criticism from those concerned with suburban over-development, amenity and the role of state government in local planning (09 July 2019). More...

NSW planning boss defends process on apartment checks but won't give 'false assurance'
The state's planning boss has acknowledged community concern about apartment defects but warned he is not in a position to give assurances about the standard of residential buildings (09July 2019). More...

Urban Taskforce: Federal housing minister raises concerns about NSW's slow planning system
Minister Sukkar in a wide ranging interview with the Financial Review has raised concerns about credit restrictions on banks as well as concerns about slow planning systems particularly in NSW (04 July 2019). More...

How watering down of building codes two decades ago to fast-track development is now causing high-rise buildings to fall apart
Watered-down building laws from the late 1990s have been blamed for Australia's apartment safety crisis with brand-new residential towers having an 80 per cent chance of being faulty (30 June 2019). More...


Have your say on the new Energy-from-Waste policy for Queensland
Queenslanders are being invited to have their say on an Energy-from-Waste policy discussion paper that has been released (08 July 2019). More...

Long term vision in focus for Cairns and Mourilyan ports
Ports North's Port Master Planning Project has taken an important step forward with the appointment of GHD Advisory (06 July 2019). More...

Doubts cast over Brisbane City Council's townhouse ban
Experts have warned a planned ban on townhouse developments in Brisbane's low-density suburbs, designed to protect the city's character, could have unintended consequences. But Brisbane City Council said it wanted the ban because residents made it clear they had had enough of townhouse developments changing the city's character (04 July 2019). More...


Cashed-up sky rail managers on $200k allegedly ordered sophisticated rorts
High-ranking sky rail building managers on salaries of about $200,000 allegedly orchestrated a sophisticated copper and wage theft racket that bred a "toxic work culture" on Labor's signature project, a court has heard (10 July 2019). More...

EPA requires SKM to cease accepting new materials at Laverton North site
An alleged failure by recycler SKM Services Pty Ltd to meet the requirements of the Victorian Waste Management Policy has seen Environment Protection Authority Victoria issue the company a notice that requires it to stop accepting recyclable waste materials at its Gilbertson Road, Laverton North site (10 July 2019). More...

Protecting Victoria's marine and coastal environment
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio invited Victorians to have their say on a new draft marine and coastal policy. The policy is a key action under the Marine and Coastal Act 2018 and will guide decision makers in the planning, management and sustainable use of our coastal and marine environments (08 July 2019). More...

Australia's largest recycling plant for plastics opens in Victoria
A new $20 million, state-of-the art plastics recycling plant has opened in Somerton, Victoria and will process mixed plastics collected from kerbside recycling (01 July 2019). More...

In Practice and Courts

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2019


NSW Land and Environment Court

Fees Schedule
The Civil Procedure Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2019 and Criminal Procedure Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2019 has increased the Court's fees by 1.75% effective from 12 July 2019. The fee schedule is now available (09 July 2019)

The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code has been deferred to allow for an independent review
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


Sunshine Coast incentives
Sunshine Coast Council has announced a three-year extension to its Infill Development Incentives Policy which offers incentives for infill development on the Sunshine Coast. All applications for an incentive must be submitted to council between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2022. More...

Important changes to waste-related ERAs
The Environmental Protection (Waste ERA Framework) Amendment Regulation 2018 introduces a number of changes to waste-related environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) in the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008. One of these changes is the introduction of a new schedule of waste-related ERAs. Existing waste ERAs will be transitioned to the new waste ERAs after July 2019.


CER: Public consultation open for changes to solar postcode zones
The Clean Energy Regulator is proposing updates to postcode zones for small-scale technologies under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. The changes will affect the number of small-scale technology certificates (STCs) for eligible systems in certain postcodes. If agreed, the changes will come into effect from 1 October 2019) Public consultation open for changes to solar postcode zones

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2019


E-waste compliance switched on
Environment Protection Authority Victoria has this week begun its compliance program for e-waste collectors and reprocessors (03 July 2019). More...
From July 1, e-waste should not be put in your household bin, but taken to a council or business collection point. E-waste is anything with a plug, battery or power cord that is no longer working or wanted.

Planning Panels Victoria expressions of interest
Planning Panels Victoria is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified people to be appointed as a sessional member by the Minister for Planning. Planning Panels Victoria comprises a core of senior members and a pool of sessional members who are appointed to carry out tasks under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, the Environment Effects Act 1978 and the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009.Further information is available here. Expressions of Interest close Friday 12 July 2019.

Enforcement Law for Planners - This course prepares the planner to understand and apply the enforcement process including exploration of enforcement techniques and how planners should assist enforcement officers (24 July 2019).
Planning and Delivering Community Infrastructure in an Urban Renewal Setting - This course equips attendees with a toolkit that will improve their ability to integrate community infrastructure into sites currently in stages of renewal (30 July 2019).
Smart City Strategy Delivery and Successful Implementation - A session designed to help attendees develop town planning, urban design and infrastructure solutions through smart city thinking and application (7 August 2019).

VPELA Events - ESD - Not just living it, smashing it!
This seminar which will look at the latest sustainability initiatives in residential design, with case studies from Aquarevo (Villawood Properties and South East Water) and The Cape (Australian Ecosystems). It will examine how to integrate new and existing technology to reduce mains water usage and energy bills; use the design itself as an element of sustainability; make green living low effort (30 July 2019). More...



Kidd v Georges River Council [2019] NSWLEC 1296
Development Application – subdivision of land – one lot into two Torrens title lots – is the Applicant's written request under cl 4.6 of Kogarah LEP well founded – is compliance with the standard unreasonable or unnecessary – whether the Applicant's environmental planning grounds are sufficient

Antoine Street Holdings Pty Ltd v Parramatta City Council [2019] NSWLEC 1317
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION – childcare centre – retro fit of partly constructed shop top housing development – suitability of the site for a childcare centre – acoustic impacts on adjoining residential uses – location of childcare playroom above existing subfloor OSD system

Kennard v Fite [2019] NSWLEC 1327
TREES (DISPUTES BETWEEN NEIGHBOURS) – high hedges – views and privacy

Micro Nest No 1 Pty Ltd on behalf of Micro Nest Ashfield Trust v Inner West Council [2019] NSWLEC 1320
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – consent - boarding house – modification application – power to grant modification – change in occupancy numbers – whether a correction of a minor error, misdescription or miscalculation – removal of a condition requiring a covenant limiting occupants by their income and limiting rent to be charged – whether removal of condition results in substantially the same development – whether condition required to be imposed by the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 - whether removal will have adverse impact on access to affordable housing – whether removal will reduce social inclusion – whether there is an impact on car parking.

Georges River Council v WK Strong Pty Limited; Georges River Council v Awada [2019] NSWLEC 97
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES – sentence – cutting trees without development consent – breaching condition of development consent to retain and protect trees – individual offender and his company – objective seriousness – low environmental harm – foreseeable risk of harm – practical measures to prevent harm – control over causes – offences of low objective seriousness – subjective circumstances of offenders – no prior convictions – prior good character – early guilty pleas – genuine remorse – assistance to authority – totality principle – adjustment of fines for multiple offences – s 10 order dismissing charge against individual offender – costs ordered

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


Maroochydore Sands Pty Ltd v Sunshine Coast Regional Council & Ors [2019] QPEC 30
It is declared that: 1.The proposed changes to the development application the subject of this appeal ("The Changed Development Application") constitute a minor change for the purposes of sections 350 and 495(2)(b) of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009

Dickson Properties Pty Ltd v Brisbane City Council & Ors [2019] QPEC 29
Sustainable Planning Act 2009 Qld; Planning Act 2016 Qld


Jasbe Petroleum v Baw Baw SC [2019] VCAT 392
Baw Baw Planning Scheme; Sections 77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; proposed 'fuel bowser and food' use and development on land on the edge of a rural town; zoned Farming Zone; legal issue about 'characterisation'; consideration of the validity of a proposed permit condition which would require the deletion of the proposed food offering from the proposal; planning merits issues.

Clauscen v Yarra CC [2019] VCAT 990
Section 77 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987. Yarra Planning Scheme. Neighbourhood Residential Zone. Heritage Overlay Schedule 332. First floor and roof terrace additions to a dwelling. Heritage and neighbourhood character impacts.

Quinn v Yarra CC [2019] VCAT 988
Part demolition, alterations and additions to single fronted house in heritage precinct; Impact on heritage significance; Visual bulk; Acoustic impact; Overshadowing. No permit.

Nelson v Hobsons Bay CC [2019] VCAT 650
Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme; s.87A of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; GRZ2; DDO4; HO228; Dwelling under construction; Quality of plans; Role of Tribunal. No amendments.



Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Civil and Administrative Tribunal Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2019 (2019-326) — published LW 11 July 2019
Includes lodgment of application for a decision under the Retail Leases Act 1994; section 62 of the Community Land Management Act 1989; strata proceedings; residential proceedings
Civil Procedure Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2019 (2019-327) — published LW 11 July 2019
Includes Land and Environment Court Fees
Criminal Procedure Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2019 (2019-328) — published LW 11 July 2019
Protection of the Environment Operations Legislation Amendment (Scheduled Activities) Regulation 2019 (2019-319) — published LW 5 July 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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