In the media

'Transformative or transient' – will the COVID-driven 'great migration' to regional Australia last? Migration from capital cities to regional Australia has been at record levels during the pandemic. Economists and demographers say many regional economies are exposed to cycles in mining and agriculture sectors. There are calls to reform the federal government's Fringe Benefits Tax to provide financial incentives to move to regional areas (18 November 2021). More...

Councils to receive $1b for infrastructure projects Local councils across Australia will soon receive funding from the Federal Government for their priority community infrastructure projects. The government is allocating $1 billion to be shared between the councils and is the third phase of its Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program (15 November 2021). More...

ALGA welcomes $150m for local disaster mitigation projects The ALGA has welcomed the release of guidelines for the $150 million community infrastructure component of the Commonwealth’s $600 million Preparing Australia Program. The Program is focused on disaster preparedness and responds to recommendations of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements (09 November 2021). More...

Local government considered cybersafe When it comes to cyberthreats, local government is one of the most trusted industries in Australia, and is the least targeted industry in Australia for cyber attacks, according to a new report. The inaugural Brand Trust Report from Mimecast, an email security and cyber resilience company, shows the impact of cyber attacks on consumer trust (08 November 2021). More...

NSW

Tough new laws to protect public spaces Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said new tough new laws provide councils, other public land managers and police with stronger powers and penalties to rid our footpaths, streets, parks, bushland and waterways of abandoned and unattended property,” (19 November 2021). More...

$3 million boost for bush and border communities hit hard by pandemic The NSW Government announced $3 million in funding to boost COVID-19 response efforts for small rural and border councils to support their communities. The NSW Partnerships: Local Councils Program – Stage 2 would provide grants of $90,000 each for 33 bush and border councils (16 November 2021). More...

$75 million Resources for Regions round eight delivering projects for mining towns Mining communities across regional NSW are set to benefit from infrastructure and programs that will improve economic opportunities, local amenity and create positive social outcomes, thanks to Round Eight of Resources for Regions (08 November 2021). More...

Queensland

Disaster assistance for floooded Queensland Communities Disaster assistance is now available to five flood-impacted local councils following heavy rainfall and flooding across Western and Southern Queensland from 10-13 November 2021 (18 November 2021). More...

Statement by the Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian – Gladstone councillor complaint The OIA is not investigating Gladstone Regional Councillor Natalia Muszkat. The OIA has asked the councillor for her side of the story after it received a complaint two weeks ago. The OIA is required by law to assess every complaint (16 November 2021). More....

Council releases West End green bridges designs for public comment Designs for two green bridges linking West End to Toowong and St Lucia have been released by Brisbane City Council for public consultation (15 November 2021). More...

Pressure on Queensland council over mounting legal costs involving former CEO There is growing anger over the use of ratepayers’ money to fund a court case with no end in sight, as the council admits to misleading the public (15 November 2021). More...

LGAQ welcomes new program to cut NQ insurance costs Under the program, $10 million will be made available to councils in cyclone-prone areas with population centres within 50 kilometres of the coastline. This includes 33 councils from Bundaberg to the Northern Territory border, as well as Weipa Town Authority (11 November 2021). More...

Planning minister to give community a say on Clive Palmer's coal-fired power station proposal Clive Palmer's Waratah Coal wants to build a coal-fired power station near the town of Alpha in central western Queensland. The plan is before Barcaldine Regional Council, but Deputy Premier and Planning Minister Steven Miles might take over the assessment process (09 November 2021). More...

Top cop loses legal bid to appeal ex-mayor’s fraud acquittal Former Ipswich mayor Andrew Antoniolli was charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission in 2018 with 13 offences (10 November 2021). More...

Ipswich council set to trial shared e-scooter scheme The six-month pilot will take place in Springfield Central, which has newer infrastructure and will need less investment to support an e-scooter trial (09 November 2021). More...

In Practice and Courts

NSW

IPART review of infrastructure contributions system - deadline extended 15 November 2021 IPART has extended the deadline for submissions on the draft report Essential Works List, Nexus, Efficient Design and Benchmark Costs for local infrastructure. More...

Remanufacture NSW – round 2 open 12 November 2021 The next round of Remanufacture NSW round of funding for regional and remote organisations in NSW is now open. More...

Regional and remote councils urged to seek recycling grants 10 November 2021 An ongoing campaign to boost recycling and build a circular economy is paying dividends across NSW, with local councils urged to apply for funding under Round Two of the Remanufacture NSW Program. More...

State Wage Case 2021 8 November 2021 Rates of pay and work-related allowances in NSW awards have been increased by 2.5 per cent. More...

Infrastructure Contributions Reforms The NSW Government is exhibiting a proposed framework for reforms to the infrastructure contributions system. This includes a new framework for Regional Infrastructure Contributions and changes to local infrastructure contributions. Submissions on the proposed changes are due by 10 December 2021. Further information is available from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Model Code of Meeting Practice The Model Code of Meeting Practice provides a uniform set of meeting rules for councils across the State to help ensure more accessible, orderly, effective and efficient meetings. The code applies to all meetings of councils and committees of councils of which all the members are councillors (committees of council). Council committees whose members include persons other than councillors may adopt their own rules for meetings unless the council determines otherwise. The new Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW can be found here.

OLG NSW

Local Government Risk and Internal Audit Consultation period from: 24 August 2021 - 26 November 2021 The Office of Local Government is seeking feedback on the draft Guidelines for Risk Management and Internal Audit for local council in NSW. More...

Creative Capital grant program opens Create NSW has opened applications for Round 1 of Minor Works and Equipment Projects through the Creative Capital program. Expressions of interest for grants over $250,000 will open on 5 October 2021. More...

OLG Circulars

21-35 2021 Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW Circular Details 21-35 / 29 October 2021 / A796782 Previous Circular21-02 Temporary exemption from the requirement for councillors to attend meetings in. More...

21-34 Updated guidance on COVID-19 restrictions and council meetings Circular Details21-34 / 27 October 2021 / A793785 Previous Circular21-14 COVID-19 restrictions and council meetings Who should read this Councillors / General Managers. More...

Fixing Country Bridges Round 2 Applications Open Round 2 of the Fixing Country Bridges Program is now open for applications. Councils can apply for funding to replace ageing timber bridges in their local areas. Applications close 10 November 2021.For more information on Fixing Country Bridges, visit nswroads.work/fixingcountrybridges.

Cases

Sunland Group Limited v Gold Coast City Council [2021] HCA 35Appeal dismissed with costs Local government – Town planning – Development approvals – where second appellant purchased undeveloped parcel of land in 2015 – where preliminary approval granted in 2007 for development project pursuant to Integrated Planning Act 1997 (Qld) – Where preliminary approval contained "conditions" regarding payment of infrastructure contributions by developers to respondent Council – where development permits granted in 2016 – where Integrated Planning Act introduced new regime permitting local governments to levy infrastructure charges by notice – where s 6.1.31(2)(c) of Integrated Planning Act preserved as interim measure existing regime of imposing condition on development approval requiring infrastructure contributions – where new regime maintained by Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) and Planning Act 2016 (Qld) – where respondent Council issued infrastructure charges notices in accordance with new regime following issue of development permits – whether conditions in preliminary approval imposed liability to pay infrastructure contributions – whether conditions proper exercise of power in s 6.1.31(2)(c) of Integrated Planning Act Words and phrases – "conditions", "development approval", "development permit", "future liability", "infrastructure charges", "infrastructure contributions", "notice alerting the developer to the Council's future intentions", "preliminary approval".

Dubow v Mid-Western Regional Council (No 3) [2021] NSWCA 279APPEAL – application for leave to appeal – judicial review of conduct of local council – whether local council an impounding authority – powers of council officers to impound stock straying on public road – whether alpacas are stock or animals PROCEDURE – costs – availability of gross costs order – notice of intention to make gross costs order – whether procedural unfairness.

Club Marconi Limited v Fairfield City Council [2021] NSWLEC 132CIVIL PROCEEDINGS – declarations – development for the purpose of seniors housing comprising in-fill self-care housing– whether site is zoned primarily for urban use under cl 4(1) of State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004 – whether most of the land that adjoins site is land zoned for urban purposes under cl 4(5) of SEPP – land zoned RE2 Private Recreation under Fairfield Local Environmental Plan 2013 – site is zoned primarily for urban purposes – most of the site adjoins land zoned for urban purposes.

Australian Golf Management Corporation Pty Ltd v Logan City Council [2021] QSC 291LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – GENERAL MATTERS – AMENDMENT OF ORIGINATING PROCESSES AND PLEADINGS OUTSIDE LIMITATION PERIOD – AMENDMENTS INTRODUCING NEW CAUSE OF ACTION OR PARTICULARISING CAUSE OF ACTION – where the plaintiff seeks leave to amend its claim and statement of claim to include new causes of action in respect of which the relevant period of limitation has now ended, being claims of non-parties to the proceeding which were assigned to the plaintiff prior to the proceeding being commenced – whether the new causes of action arise out of the same or substantially the same facts as the causes of action for which relief has already been claimed in the proceeding by the plaintiff and whether it is appropriate to give leave to make the amendment under r 376(4) of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) – whether other proposed amendments are merely elaborations of the existing causes of action, or relevant only to, or comprise, new causes of action Council formed an alliance of engineering service providers to plan, design and deliver capital works projects to meet the demand for water services within its Council area. One of the projects was a major sewerage upgrade in an area near the golf course which involved the construction of about 6.4 km of pipeline.

Allen-Co Holdings Pty Ltd v Gympie Regional Council [2021] QPEC 64PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPEAL – appeal against an infrastructure charges notice (ICN) – where there was an error in the calculation of the charge and the ICN should be set aside and replaced – where debate as to the terms of the replacement ICN – where a charge may be levied because the development will place extra demand on trunk infrastructure – where the adopted charge in the charges resolution must be used to calculate the levied charge – where the adopted charge rate for the development is $13,330 – where the Council asserts this rate should be the basis for the replacement ICN – where the appellant contends that the rate of $13,330 should be discounted on the basis that the development will generate extra demand on some forms of trunk infrastructure, but not others – whether the charges resolution should be so construed as to justify the application of a proportional discount Planning Act 2016 QLD ss 112(1), (3), 113(1), 119, 120, 130 229(a), Sch 1 Table 1 Item 4, Sch 2 Planning Regulation 2017 QLD s 52(3)(a), Sch 16.

G Santalucia Investment Pty Ltd v Bundaberg Regional Council [2021] QPEC 63PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPEAL – APPEAL AGAINST ENFORCEMENT NOTICE – where the appellant was given an enforcement notice under s 168 of the Planning Act 2016 in relation to earthworks – where the appellant appealed against the decision to give the enforcement notice – whether the Planning Regulation 2017 prohibits the Planning Scheme from categorising the operational works as assessable development – whether the enforcement notice should be set aside in the exercise of the discretion Planning Act 2016 QLD s 43, s 44, s 163, s 168; Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 QLD s 43, s 45; Planning Regulation 2017 QLD s 16, sch 6; Sustainable Planning Act 2009 QLD s 232; Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 QLD s 16, sch 6.

Redland City Council v Canaipa Developments Pty Ltd & Ors [2021] QPEC 62ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – APPLICATION – COSTS – final enforcement orders compelling compliance with a lawful and functioning on-site sewage and wastewater treatment system – whether the first and/or second respondents ought pay the applicant council’s costs of the enforcement proceeding pursuant to s 60(1)(b) and/or 61(1) of the Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 – whether respondents’ conduct in the proceeding frivolous or vexatious – whether costs be assessed on the standard or indemnity basis Environment Protection Act 1994 Qld; Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 Qld ss 59, 60, 60(1)(b), 61(1).

R v Samarasekera [2021] QCA 239CRIMINAL LAW – APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL AGAINST SENTENCE – GROUNDS FOR INTERFERENCE – SENTENCE MANIFESTLY EXCESSIVE OR INADEQUATE – where the applicant was Director of Engineering at a regional council – where the applicant, using his position, ensured the council entered into a contract with an associate’s business – where the applicant, over approximately three years received, via his wife, secret commissions totally approximately $120,000 – where the applicant was convicted on his own plea of guilty of 79 counts of receipt of secret commission by an agent – where the applicant was sentenced to five years imprisonment to be suspended after having served 20 months, with an operational period of five years – where the applicant applies for leave to appeal against his sentence on the grounds that it is manifestly excessive – whether the sentence ought to have been wholly suspended, or if a suspension was warranted, whether a lesser term of imprisonment prior to suspension should have been imposed instead.

Commissioner of Police v Antoniolli [2021] QCA 237APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL – GENERAL PRINCIPLES – INTERFERENCE WITH JUDGE’S FINDING OF FACT – FUNCTIONS OF APPELLATE COURT – WHERE INFERENCES OF FACT INVOLVED – GENERALLY – where the respondent, in his capacity as a councillor of the Ipswich City Council (‘the Council’), had on 13 occasions bid at or authorised payments for bidding at charity auctions by way of a donation from the Council’s community donations fund (‘the Fund’) – where the respondent was convicted by a magistrate of 12 charges of fraud and one charge of attempted fraud – where the respondent appealed those convictions to the District Court – where the District Court judge found that the respondent’s use of the Fund to pay for charity auction items was neither outside nor prohibited by Council policy and that the respondent nevertheless believed that the practice was within Council policy provided that he did not benefit personally – where the District Court judge allowed the appeal and set aside the convictions – where the applicant appeals that decision pursuant to s 118(3) of the District Court of Queensland Act 1967 on grounds that, inter alia, the District Court judge erred in finding that use of the Fund to pay for charity auction items was outside or prohibited by Council policy – where leave to this Court is granted only where necessary to correct a substantial injustice – whether the District Court judge erred in finding that use of the Fund to pay for charity auction items was outside or prohibited by Council policy – whether such an error bears significantly on the District Court judge’s finding that the respondent held an honest belief that use of the Fund to pay for charity auction items was not outside policy – whether the applicant has identified a proper basis for interference by this Court in the District Court judge’s factual finding as to the state of the respondent’s belief Criminal Code 1899 Qld s 408C(1); District Court of Queensland Act 1967 Qld s 118(3); Sale of Goods Act 1896 Qld s 29, s 30, s 41, s 59.

Legislation

NSW

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments Community Land Management Amendment (Meetings of Associations) Regulation 2021 (2021-657) – published LW 12 November 2021 Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Norwest Innovation Precinct) Regulation 2021 (2021-660) – published LW 12 November 2021 Local Government (General) Amendment (Model Code of Meeting Practice) Regulation 2021 (2021-661) – published LW 12 November 2021