In the media – National

Commonwealth

New safety stipulation on R2R funding Federal Transport Minister Darren Chester says councils upgrading local roads under the Roads to Recovery program must focus more on improved road safety outcomes. More...

Country towns buffeted by bank branch closures Continuing bank branch closures in rural and regional Australia are putting the future of small towns at risk, local councils claim. About 38 regional branches operated by the Commonwealth, ANZ, Westpac and NAB Banks have closed this year – including 24 in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania (10 November 2017). More...

LGAs only halfway there on digital The new ANZ Local Government Digital Maturity Index (DMI) contains a number of interesting findings. One of the most intriguing is the fact that most Local Government Authorities do a reasonable job at delivering services digitally, but that behind-the-scenes there are still many manual processes (06 November 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

Pretty vacant: 20,000 properties empty across inner Melbourne The Melbourne areas with the most number of unoccupied properties have been revealed, as the Andrews government sets to reap in tens of millions of dollars from its new vacant property tax. The new tax is expected to bite hardest in the Melbourne City Council area, where more than 2,500 properties - namely high-rise apartments - are vacant (10 November 2017). More...

Valuer-General to take over Victorian land valuations The Victorian State Government will assume responsibility for land valuations presently carried out by councils under new legislation introduced in state Parliament. Existing arrangements see local councils conduct valuations every two years. Under the new legislation, however, valuations will be conducted annually by the State’s Valuer-General (10 November 2017). More...

Building permits: The fastest and slowest Victorian councils for processing Victorians’ building permits are being delayed for months on end as processing times balloon in some local councils, government data shows (10 November 2017). More...

Local government: Victorian councils in farmer sights Victorian Farmers Federation wants a state government inquiry into the sustainability of Local Government, with a focus on funding streams, service delivery and council administration. A Victorian parliamentary committee is inquiring into the sustainability and operational challenges of Victoria’s rural and regional councils, and is due to report its findings by 30 March 2018 (07 November 2017). More...

Protecting Victoria’s heritage to preserve our history The Andrews Labor Government is cracking down on developers that flout Victoria’s heritage protection, with new laws coming into effect this week. New compliance and enforcement powers are now in force, which double the maximum penalties for unauthorised works to heritage places. The Act also gives local councils new powers to assess permits for works that may impact heritage assets (02 November 2017). More...

Centralised property valuations to save council costs The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) believes the Victorian Government has listened to the many concerns of councils in reformulating its annual land valuation proposal, and has come up with a sensible solution to a complex problem (02 November 2017). More...

Melbourne bowls club behind viral Beyonce clip won't give up after losing council battle The Chadstone Lawn Bowls Club, which made headlines after releasing a viral video to tune of Beyonce's hit song Single Ladies, loses a fight with the local council to keep their club in its current form, but say they're not going to give up (30 October 2017). More...

Odour complaints lead to Mitchell Shire tip fine Mitchell Shire Council has been fined after complaints from the public about the smell from its landfill on the Seymour-Tooborac Road, Hilldene (30 October 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

Update on Aluminium Cladding and Fire Safety Issues LGNSW met with the NSW Government’s Cladding Taskforce this week for an update on its ‘10-point plan’ for fire safety and external aluminium cladding (10 November 2017). More...

‘Critical’ need for Muslim burial plots across Sydney’s southwest Sydney is fast running out of burial space and figures show there could be only 310,000 plots left in metropolitan Sydney (06 November 2017). More...

Joint Organisations to bolster Regional Councils Regional NSW councils will be able to voluntarily create new Joint Organisations from next July under legislation passed by State Parliament last week. Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said Joint Organisations would enable the State Government and local councils to collaborate more effectively in planning and delivering projects across regional NSW (03 November 2017). More...

In the media – Queensland

Calls for probe into travel donations to Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate Gold Coast community groups call for an investigation into international flights and accommodation donated to the city's Mayor Tom Tate (11 November 2017). More...

Council rejects high-rise aged care development Brisbane City Council has rejected an aged-care providers proposal to build a three-tower development in Brisbane’s south-west after the developer refused to scale back its plans (10 November 2017). More...

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate received flights, accommodation for 'private' China trip The Gold Coast Mayor received international flights and accommodation from a development business linked to a $1.3 billion Chinese high-rise project in Surfers Paradise (10 November 2017). More...

Pisasale allegedly took $60k from charities and community groups, had unlawful Viagra Paul Pisasale is accused of taking about $60,000 worth of cheques and equipment destined for charities and community groups while he was Ipswich mayor, court documents reveal (07 November 2017). More...

'It doesn't make sense': Council under fire for pumping $19m into Adani airstrip Townsville's Mayor says ratepayers will get value for money when the council funds an airstrip for the proposed Adani coal mine. But the decision has come under fire from locals, who say the company could "afford at least two dozen of them and then gold plate them" (01 November 2017). More...

Adani bought India flights for mayors funding $30m company airstrip Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow received more than $1,600 in hospitality gifts from Adani during an official trip to India earlier this year, the council's register reveals (30 October 2017). More...

In Practice and Courts

Commonwealth

Election funding and disclosure in Australian states and territories: a quick guide Damon Muller; Parliamentary Research Paper Series 2017 - 18 November 2017 This Quick Guide summarises the often complex funding and disclosure laws in each Australian state and territory for the purpose of comparison. More...

Consultation: Regulation Impact Statement on options to phase out PFOS chemicals The Department of the Environment and Energy has released a consultation Regulation Impact Statement on options to phase out PFOS chemicals nationwide. The Defence Department has admitted to allowing residues of another chemical used in fire-fighting foams (FPAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) to pollute drains, creeks, drains and underground waterways in and around bases in the NT, Queensland, Victoria, NSW and WA. The Department is holding a number of public sessions from 10 November. The public comment period closes on 26 February 2018. Details will be updated and confirmed on the website.

Queensland

Round Two: Commonwealth’s Building Better Regions Fund Applications from councils and not-for-profit organisations are now being accepted for Round Two of the Commonwealth’s Building Better Regions Fund. Those interested can find out more about the program guidelines by clicking here.

Inland Rail Community Consultative Committees Nominations for four Inland Rail Community Consultative Committees in south-east Queensland are now being accepted. The committees, which will comprise between 10 to 15 members and be overseen by an independent chairman, will cover the Southern Darling Downs, Inner Darling Downs, the Lockyer Valley and the Scenic Rim regions. Work began on the Inland Rail project this year, and is expected to be completed and operational by 2024-25. People interested in serving on the committees can find more information here.

Queensland Government's Disaster management funding 2017 Additional disaster funding is being provided to communities and primary producers affected by recent heavy rains in the Bundaberg, Gladstone and North Burnett regions of coastal Queensland. Federal funding will also be provided to help the Queensland state government and local councils manage disaster operations and restore damaged community infrastructure. Information on disaster assistance can be found on the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website and the Queensland Government's Disaster management website.

Cases

Mailey v Sutherland Shire Council [2017] NSWLEC 145 (1) The Applicants’ amended summons dated 14 August 2017 is dismissed. JUDICIAL REVIEW – challenge to emergency order issued under Local Government Act 1993 requiring replacement of failing retaining wall – order not beyond power or uncertain – order not issued for improper purpose - Local Government Act 1993 ss 124, 129, 136, 180, 628. Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 s 193.

Goldberg v Waverley Council [2017] NSWLEC 1613 (3) The appeal is upheld. (c) The Respondent Council is to file the appropriate extinguishment of restrictive covenant form, extinguishing instrument number D22280 with the Land and Property information office within 63 days of judgment in this matter. Development Application – dual occupancy residential development with basement garage – negative easement for one main dwelling – appurtenant right of way on adjoining land – calculation of floor space ratio. State Environmental Policy (building sustainability index –BASIX) 2004; State Environmental Policy No. 71 – coastal protection; Waverley Development Control Plan 2012 Amendment No 5 (WDCP); Waverley Local and Environmental Planning 2012 (WLEP).

Linville Holdings Pty Ltd v Fraser Coast Regional Council [2017] QSC 252The order of the court is that: It is declared that for each of the financial years ending 30 June 2014, 30 June 2015 and 30 June 2016 the respondent failed to validly make and levy rates and charges within its local government area because it did not decide by resolution at its budget meeting for that year what rates and charges were to be levied as required by section 94(2) of the Local Government Act 2009. LOCAL GOVERNMENT – ORDINANCES, REGULATIONS, BY-LAWS AND LOCAL LAWS – VALIDITY – POWER TO MAKE – PARTICULAR ORDINANCES, REGULATIONS, BY-LAWS AND LOCAL LAWS – where the councillors of the respondent at a special meeting resolved to adopt the 2014/15 budget – where the budget was described as being presented in a variety of documents, including a revenue statement and a schedule of rates and charges – where similar resolutions were carried adopting the 2015/16 budget and 2016/17 budget – where section 94 of the Local Government Act 2009 (Qld) provided that a local government must decide, by resolution at the local government ’s budget meeting for a financial year, what rates and charges are to be levied for that financial year – whether the respondent’s general differential rates, special rates and charges for the 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years were made invalidly - Local Government Act 2009 (Qld), s 92, 94; Local Government Regulation 2012 (Qld), r 81, r 94, r 107A, 169, r 172.

Legislation

Queensland

Subordinate legislation as made No 226 Queensland Building and Construction Commission (Non-Conforming Building Products Code of Practice) Notice 2017 – 06 November 2017 - The document called ‘Non-conforming building products code of practice—October 2017’ has been made as a code of practice under section 74ADA of the Act.

Bills updated

Honourable Angelo Vasta (Reversal of Removal) Bill 2017Stage reached: Lapsed on 29/10/2017.

Crime and Corruption and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017Stage reached: Lapsed on 29/10/2017.

Local Government (Councillor Complaints) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017Stage reached: Lapsed on 29/10/2017.

Local Government Electoral (Implementing Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017Stage reached: Lapsed on 29/10/2017.

Vegetation Management (Clearing for Relevant Purposes) Amendment Bill 2017Stage reached: Lapsed on 29/10/2017.