In the media
All Australian councils need to know about this data
A month, without ceremony, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released some data that has the potential to transform the way councils plan and advocate.If agricultural data is collected according to local government areas, councils are granted clearer oversight about the state of agriculture in their region. The data is applicable to local government areas across the whole of Australia (20 November 2018). More...
Revealed: $30bn needed for ageing infrastructure
Ongoing under-investment in councils’ management of community assets is leading to increased risk and reduced safety, warns a major forthcoming report. While the Commonwealth and state governments have been focused on “nation building” infrastructure projects a new analysis shows that $30 billion of community assets is in poor condition and requires “significant renewal.” (19 November 2018). More...
Technology strategy to break down silos
The Commonwealth is bringing together federal departments and state and local governments along with relevant industry and community players to progress its new Digital Transformation Strategy. Minister for Digital Transformation Michael Keenan yesterday launched the strategy, which aims to have all government services available digitally by 2025, along with a roadmap of key initiatives for the next two years (22 November 2018). More...
Mixed response to ‘shared’ migration plan
Experts are divided over the Prime Minister’s plan for a bottom-up population policy involving state and local governments. The opinion of leading demographers is mixed over Scott Morrison’s plan for a new population plan “involving all levels of government,” which he says will likely lead to a cut in the current migrant intake (21 November 2018). More...
Councils the missing link in health planning
Less than half of Australia’s primary health networks are collaborating with local government to improve health outcomes, study shows. The PHNs, previously known as Medicare Locals, are the national network of 31 regional clusters that bring together GPs and other healthcare providers to provide more coordinated healthcare (19 November 2018). More...
Regional cities collaborate to lure new residents
A group of seven councils is stimulating population growth in NSW’s outer regions in a joint campaign, which promotes regional city living on the Evocities website where users can explore specific council areas including the lifestyle, jobs, properties and educational institutions. Participating councils use combined funds to market the benefits of regional life (22 November 2018). More...
NSW Government announces statewide audit of local council credit cards
The NSW Government has announced plans for a statewide audit of credit card use at local councils, after an ABC investigation revealed a bill of more than $500,000 at one outback shire. Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton announced a plan for a statewide audit and "sweeping" reforms to strengthen checks and balances around credit card use (20 November 2018). More...
EPA targets illegal waste transporters
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has joined forces with police, the ACT Government and local councils today, targeting rogue operators supplying waste soil from construction sites marketed as “clean fill” to unsuspecting property owners (19 November 2018). More...
Local government to lobby state on live streaming
Local government peak will seek exemptions to a new code that requires NSW’s councils to webcast proceedings. The new model code of practice, will require all NSW councils or committees to broadcast meetings, via video or audio, within 12 months of the meeting (19 November 2018). More...
Parking ticket just expired? NSW to give motorists 10-minute 'saving grace'
The NSW Government will introduce a "saving grace" period for motorists who are less than 10 minutes late to their car after their parking ticket expires, but it does not apply to all situations. Prescribed parking control signs such as in bus lanes or loading zones will also be excluded to avoid impacts on congestion and safety (17 November 2018). More...
Councils pry into residents' metadata to chase down fines
Sydney councils are asking telecommunications companies to provide them with customers’ phone records to help them chase down fines and enforce minor infringements, including littering. Communications Alliance has revealed local councils were among more than 80 agencies that have made requests for metadata in the three years since the federal government attempted to restrict access to such records to law enforcement agencies (15 November 2018). More...
Rural water and wastewater infrastructure
The LGAQ is pleased to report that the Palaszczuk Government has agreed to delay the introduction of its waste levy until 1 July 2019. Importantly, the LGAQ’s concerted lobbying has also won a moratorium on including road scrapings in waste levy net for certain rural and regional councils until 30 June 2022 (23 November 2018). More...
New funding to expand award-winning flood resilience system
The Palaszczuk Government has committed a further $880,000 to extend the reach and effectiveness of Logan City Council’s Flooded Road Smart Warning System (FRSWS), and to conduct a new flood impact study of the Logan and Albert Rivers (22 November 2018). More...
Central Queensland towns tap into better water security
Two Central Queensland towns now have greater water capacity and security off the back of more than $10.7 million in Queensland Government funding (22 November 2018). More...
Biosolid code an issue for councils
Currently 90% of all biosolids are beneficially reused – however a new code proposed by the State Government threatens this continued positive use. If approved in its current form the new code will force councils to send all biosolids to landfill (20 November 2018). More...
Should swimmers be required to wear specific swimwear at public pools?
Local councils are responsible for setting standards of dress in public pools. Many councils do specify that appropriate swimwear be worn at all times, but most operators apply this with broad discretion. Director of customer experience at Whitsunday Regional Council, Adam Hagy, said pool operators were generally lenient in enforcing the rule, but must ensure they are maintaining water quality and not introducing other things into our pool (17 November 2018). More...
Economic benefits to flow into Port Douglas after reservoir upgrade
Local businesses, residents and tourists in Port Douglas will benefit from a new 20 megalitre reservoir, thanks to a $13 million-plus funding partnership between the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments, and Douglas Shire Council (16 November 2018). More...
Looking for big wins on waste
The LGAQ continues its intense lobbying of the Palaszczuk Government to agree to defer the start of its waste levy until 1 July 2019, commencing at a fee $75 a tonne for municipal solid waste (16 November 2018). More...
'Big Brother': Brisbane City Council taps in to metadata
Brisbane City Council has joined the growing ranks of public agencies across Australia requesting consumers’ metadata from telecoms companies, prompting calls of "Big Brother" from the council's Labor opposition (14 November 2018). More...
Bike riders to get an easy ride from grant funding
Queensland bike riders can look forward to safer, more convenient journeys as applications open for a new round of the Palaszczuk Government’s grants for bicycle infrastructure projects. Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey is inviting 53 Queensland councils with an endorsed Principal Cycle Network Plan to apply for grants until 21 December (15 November 2018). More...
10 million containers returned through Containers for Change
Queensland is turning the tide on recycling, with figures revealing more than 10 million containers have now been returned through Containers for Change. Minister Enoch said this week – National Recycling Week – was a timely reminder for Queenslanders to consider how we can better manage waste. People can take advantage of their local council’s kerbside and community drop-off collection systems (12 November 2018). More...
Saanich councillor wants to stop ‘sign wars’ of past municipal elections
Coun. Colin Plant has proposed a number of measures to stop the proliferation of signs during municipal election campaign During and after the [last municipal] campaign Saanich residents, business operators and candidates alike remarked that there were too many campaign signs and that they had become a form of visual pollution (22 November 2018). More...
We can’t afford bill for Victoria’s cladding crisis, pensioners say
The South Yarra apartments are one of 153 residences and offices that a Victorian Building Authority report has revealed are dangerous because of highly flammable polyethylene cladding. In July 2018, Planning Minister Richard Wynne brought in new laws allowing owners of apartments with flammable cladding to pay off loans to repair them on their council rates (18 November 2018). More...
In practice and courts
Have your say on telecommunications services
A new consultation paper with proposals for modern reliability safeguards for telco services in Australia has been released as part of the Federal Government’s ongoing Consumer Safeguards Review. The full report and recommendations from Part A (redress and complaints handling), and the Part B discussion paper (service reliability) are available here. Feedback can be provided by 21 December 2018 through here.
Digital Transformation Strategy
The newly launched Digital Transformation Strategy (21 November 2018) aims to have all government services available digitally by 2025, along with a roadmap of key initiatives for the next two years. The strategy provides a direction for governments’ work on data and digital transformation and underpins the Commonwealth’s stated aim of remaining in the top three digital governments in the world by 2025.
2018 ALGA National State of the Assets Report
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) launched its 2018 National State of the Assets: Roads and Community Infrastructure Report during the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Alice Springs this week. The report finds the need for investment in local government infrastructure today exceeds $30 billion and is likely to continue to grow to meet productivity and safety requirements, which is beyond the funding capacity of the local government sector under current revenue arrangements (23 November 2018). More...
State of the AssetsReport and Congress Presentations
ALGA has released the latest edition of the State of the Assets Roads and Community Infrastructure Report at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress held in Darwin this week. The congress presentations are also available.
Heavy Vehicle Safety
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has published guidance material to assist councils in developing safety management systems. The materials will help businesses of all sizes and types to meet safety obligations under both the National Heavy Vehicle Law (NHVL) and work health and safety laws. They include an overview booklet, videos, quick guides, templates and worked examples available here. (November 2018)
2019 Local Government Roads and Transport Agenda
The latest roads agenda for local government has been launched at the recent Roads Congress held in Alice Springs (20-22 November 2018). The document, targeted at councils, highlights some of the challenges facing local governments in the transport arena and also outlines opportunities provided by these challenges. It is a guide that complements existing federal and state/territory government transport planning guides as well as relevant council local transport plans, but does not replace them. The 2019 Local Government Roads and Transport Agenda is available on the ALGA website here.
Round 4 of the Mobile Black Spot Program now open
The Australian Government released the guidelines for Round 4 of the Mobile Black Spot Program and called for applications from mobile network operators and infrastructure providers, including local government, to the Round 4 competitive assessment process. Applications will be open until 10 December 2018. To apply and for more information visit here.
Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW
A new Model Code of Meeting Practice has been released to provide a uniform set of meeting rules for councils across the State to help ensure more accessible, orderly, effective and efficient meetings. Following extensive consultation with the sector, the new Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW has been finalised and will soon be prescribed by the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005. More...
LGANSW: Model Code of Meeting Practice for Councils in NSW
The Office of Local Government has published the final Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW. Once prescribed by regulation, councils will have six months to adopt it. Before adopting the new code, councils are required to exhibit a draft code of meeting practice for at least 28 days and accept submissions for at least 42 days before finalising a new code. The model code contains mandatory and non-mandatory provisions (23 November 2018). More...
Climate Change Grants
Councils can apply for grants of up to $300,000 under the Increasing Resilience to Climate Change grants program, a partnership between LGNSW and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to address climate change risks and vulnerabilities facing NSW councils. Apply online by Friday 1 March 2019 (23 November 2018).
Biodiversity Values Map
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has updated the Biodiversity Values Map, which identifies land with high biodiversity value that is particularly sensitive to impacts from development and clearing. Updates to the map include coastal management mapping and addition of core koala habitat in some local government areas. Download a fact sheet outlining the changes here. OEH is preparing guidelines for councils on contributing land to the map, which are expected by mid-2019 (16 November 2018).
Review of Prices for Valuer General’s Services to Councils
The NSW Premier has asked the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to determine the maximum prices the Valuer General can charge councils for the provision of land valuation services for six years, from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2025. IPART has asked the Valuer General to submit its pricing proposal by 30 November 2018, for publication on IPART’s website. An issues paper on the review process is open for comment, with submissions due by 11 January 2019, available here (16 November 2018).
Inland Code commences 01 January 2019
The NSW Government has released an inland code, allowing one and two storey homes, home renovations and some farm buildings to be treated as complying development. The inland code applies to 69 local government areas and will commence on 1 January 2019, giving councils and industry time to understand the new requirements. Visit the DP&E website for more information.
Reminder: Code of Conduct (Queensland)
The Code of Conduct for councillors in Queensland sets out the standards of behaviour expected of councillors and mayors when carrying out their roles, responsibilities and obligations as elected representatives for their communities. All councillors must declare that they will abide by this Code of Conduct when they are elected and will apply to all councils, except Brisbane City Council which has a separate Code. The Code of Conduct will take effect on 3 December 2018.
Reminder: Office of the Independent Assessor
From 3 December 2018 the Independent Assessor and the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) will assess and investigate councillor conduct complaints. Previously, complaints about councillor conduct were assessed by the chief executive of the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs, or the council’s CEO. The Local Government (Councillor Complaints) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 established the Office of the Independent Assessor to investigate and assess councillor complaints, ensuring the process remained transparent and accountable.
To date, Building our Regions has allocated $225 million funding across 174 projects. The $70 million Round 4 of Building our Regions is currently underway with 53 shortlisted projects. Business case applications have now closed. Shortlisted project are outlined here (20 November 2018). More...
Grants for bicycle infrastructure projects: new round
The Palaszczuk Government is accelerating delivery of the Principal Cycle Network across the state as a part of the Queensland Cycling Strategy 2017-2027. Projects will be funded on a 50-50 basis. Applications close on 21 December 2018. For more information about grants, visit here (15 November 2018).
Regulated waste amendment approved
The Environmental Protection (Regulated Waste) Amendment Regulation 2018 will commence on 4 February 2019. The regulation establishes the types of waste for regulated waste categories 1 and 2. More...
MAV draft submission – Solar farm guidelines
We have prepared a draft submission in response to the State’s draft Solar Energy Facilities – Design and Development Guidelines. We invite councils to provide feedback on our submission by COB 15 January 2019. We also encourage councils to make their own submission to the State via Engage Victoria (22 November 2018).
Cladding Rectification Agreements – Guidance Material
The Building Amendment (Registration of Building Trades and Other Matters Bill) 2018 received Royal Assent and amends the Local Government Act 1989 to allow councils to enter Cladding Rectification Agreements (CRAs). DELWP has published guidance material for owners, owners’ corporations and councils. The Act requires that a council is satisfied that lot owners are financially eligible (22 November 2018).
SRO: Declaring properties that are vacant in 2018
Homes left unoccupied for more than six months a year, which are located in 16 specified council areas, attract vacant residential land tax. If you own a property in one of these council areas and it will be unoccupied for six months or more in 2018, you can notify us via our online portal here. Notifications are due by 15 January 2019. When using the portal to notify us about property that has been vacant in 2018, you should select 2019 as the tax year.
COSTS - general rule that parties pay their own costs – whether special circumstances – principles – whether “no grounds” for order – whether no tenable basis for application – whether responsibility for prolonging - case of first impression – ability to pay.
TORTS – negligence – plaintiff stepped on kerb and fell causing injury to foot TORTS – negligence – duty – risk of harm – foreseeability – risk not insignificant – precautions against risk of harm – burden of taking precautions – causation DAMAGES – non-economic loss – past out-of-pocket expenses – past economic loss and future loss of earning capacity.
LAND AND ENVIRONMENT – categorising rateable land – assessment of the rates payable by the owner of land during the period of development – whether the dominant use of land can be categorised as “for residential accommodation” when the relevant land is being developed for the purpose of the construction of residential apartments – s 516(1)(a) of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) considered.
UNFAIR DISMISSAL – Parking Ranger – previous Step: 3 Final Warning (Written) – acted in an aggressive, abrupt and rude manner towards a member of the public – misconduct – dismissal not harsh, unreasonable or unjust – application dismissed.
EVIDENCE – criminal trial – prosecutor seeks to adduce summary evidence of phone records obtained by subpoena – whether evidence properly categorised as summary evidence or expert evidence – whether expert evidence required – defendant objects to inclusion of location data – whether the Court can use location data in the absence of expert evidence.
DEVELOPMENT APPEAL - non-compliance with development standard (height restriction) - request pursuant to cl 4.6 of local environmental to permit breach of the standard - assessment of whether the request satisfies the mandated tests - satisfaction of mandated tests a jurisdictional prerequisite to consideration of merits - cl 4.6 request inadequate in several respects - request refused - appeal dismissed.
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: Boarding house – whether the floor space ratio control is exceeded – whether the maximum room size standard is exceeded - no variation to development standard sought - no power to consent to application – directions not warranted.
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: refusal of the application by the Local Planning Panel; no contentions raised by the respondent; contributory building in the Woollahra Heritage Conservation Area; demolition of existing dwelling house and construction of a new dwelling house, pool and landscaping works.
ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – development consent – where subject matter of consent “Internal alterations, enclosure of rear patio, awning over patio and part of beer garden and use of beer garden” of hotel – where works authorised by consent never undertaken – where appellant sought to enforce consent condition prohibiting the playing of music in hotel beer garden – whether consent lapsed – whether certain works undertaken before consent granted prevented its lapse – whether the “use” of beer garden after consent granted prevented its lapse – whether Court would decline to grant relief on basis that a later consent sufficiently regulated noise.
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: Concept Development application – demolition of MRC – approval of building envelopes for residential use and basement parking – impact on heritage item Bidura House and heritage conservation area – distribution of floor space and height on the site – building separation.
APPEAL – development application – existing prayer room within approved community facility – application for use as place of public worship – application to construct car parking spaces - traffic and parking concerns – management through Plan of Management – acoustic impact – BCA compliance – contamination – trial period.
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: seniors housing development – whether the development standards contained in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004 are capable of variation by way of clause 4.6 of the Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plan 2015 – non-compliance with development standards in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004.
LAND AND ENVIRONMENT – categorising rateable land – assessment of the rates payable by the owner of land during the period of development – whether the dominant use of land can be categorised as “for residential accommodation” when the relevant land is being developed for the purpose of the construction of residential apartments – s 516(1)(a) of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) considered
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION: Child care centre – to what extent current development consent is a matter for consideration – streetscape character – above ground outdoor space – large balconies and FSR controls – proportion of places for under two year old children.
APPEAL – conciliation – parties agreed to a decision being made on the basis of what occurred at conciliation – former Cockle Creek Smelter and Incitec site – site specific clause applies requiring Planning Secretary certification – no known date by which certification could be obtained – no power to grant development consent.
COSTS: Discontinued Class 1 appeal – application by Respondent Council for all of its costs of the appeal – principles to apply – costs on the motion.
JUDICIAL REVIEW – integrated development – whether permissible for approval authority Heritage Council to provide comments, rather than general terms of approval, with respect to portion of development application – general terms of approval with respect to development outside curtilage of heritage item required where there is a relevant nexus – relevant nexus apparent from Heritage Council decision – misconstruction of statutory power – jurisdictional error established WORDS AND PHRASES – “land” – definition of land in s 57(1)(e) not restricted to curtilage of item or to lot on which item sits – to be determined on a case by case basis WORDS AND PHRASES – “in relation to” – protective purpose of the Heritage Act 1977 – interpretation promoting that purpose preferred to interpretation not promoting that purpose
INDUSTRIAL LAW – APPLICATION FOR REINSTATEMENT – where employee was dismissed for damaging Council property – where employee was dishonest as to how the damage occurred – where employee failed to take appropriate care and attention – whether dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable.
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Application for Certification of an Agreement – Requirements for Certification – Agreement certified.
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Application for termination after nominal expiry date – Requirements for termination – Agreement terminated.
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS – QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL –dangerous dogs - whether destruction order of a dangerous dog should be set aside or confirmed – where risk of non-compliance – where dog declared dangerous dog
REAL PROPERTY – VALUATION OF LAND – METHOD OF ASSESSING – SALE OF SUBJECT – whether sale to appellant was bona fide – prudent purchaser – limited enquiries – motivation of purchaser – proposed use not feasible – purchase not for highest and best use – rural zoning – clearing permit not granted – sale not accepted as evidence of value – Spencer Test – Land Valuation Act s 18 REAL PROPERTY – VALUATION OF LAND – METHOD OF ASSESSING – VEGETATION PROTECTION ORDER – order imposed after sale – native vegetation on land at valuation date – highest and best use – vegetation clearing not permitted – mango orchard not feasible – rural home site – impact on unimproved value – no evidentiary basis to correct unimproved value REAL PROPERTY – VALUATION OF LAND ¬ METHOD OF ASSESSING ¬ unimproved value – availability of water, sewerage and stormwater to subject land – assumed unimproved state – no evidence of connection costs – use of comparable sale to correctly make valuation – no basis to correct unimproved value – Land Valuation Act s 170 REAL PROPERTY – VALUATION OF LAND – METHOD OF ASSESSING – unimproved value – drainage easement on subject land – valuation date – impact of easement use – no basis demonstrated to correct unimproved value. REAL PROPERTY – VALUATION OF LAND – METHOD OF ASSESSING – unimproved value—comparability – comparison of sales – whether similarly affected – impact of arterial road – impact of flooding – location and surrounding amenity – adjustment to sales – analysed unimproved value – issued value – speaking report and reasoning – lack of comparability – all sales superior to subject – reduction to issued value necessary to correctly make valuation REAL PROPERTY – VALUATION OF LAND – METHOD OF ASSESSING – unimproved value – impact of flooding – comparison of sales – basis of comparison – similar flooding issues – extent of flooding on subject – sales not comparable – inadequate allowance on subject – reduction necessary to correctly make valuation PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – FURTHER EVIDENCE hearing and submissions completed – no formal application to reopen hearing – generally inappropriate for Court to consider unless leave given – do interests of justice require further evidence to be received – would evidence affect outcome of appeals. Land Valuation Act 2010 Qld; Local Government Act 2009 Qld
Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Road Transport (General) Amendment (Parking Fine Flexibility and Grace Period) Regulation 2018 (2018-658) — published LW 23 November 2018
Protection of the Environment Operations Legislation Amendment (Waste) Regulation 2018 (2018-643) — published LW 16 November 2018
Environmental Planning Instruments
State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Region Growth Centres) Amendment (North Wilton Precinct) 2018 (2018-650) — published LW 20 November 2018
State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment (Miscellaneous) 2018 (2018-665) — published LW 23 November 2018
Bills revised following amendment in Committee – 23 November
Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament – 23 November
Act Number: 30/2018 Date of commencement: 25 November 2018 - Sections 46, 47(1), 48-67 of this Act came in by forced commencement on 25 November 2018 s.2(3).