Inside monitor: Native Authorities

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In the media

Commonwealth

New COVID support welcomed, now vaccinations must be expedited: ALGA

A federal government commitment to extend the support package to any other state or territory that experiences an extended lockdown has also been welcomed by ALGA. Cr Scott said other opportunities to expand local government’s role in administering vaccines were being overlooked because the sector has been excluded from National Cabinet (16 July 2021). More…

National asbestos management: What it means for LG

The National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management 2019-23 establishes a framework for all levels of government to work together to effectively deal with the harmful legacy of asbestos in homes, workplaces, and the environment (09 July 2021). More…

Strategic LG asset assessments project moving to phase 2

Local government road managers will be able to assess up to 1000 bridges, roads and culverts after a $12.1 million funding announcement this week. The new Commonwealth money will go to support a second phase of the Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project (09 July 2021). More…

Cth bushfires grants program open to disaster-declared LGAs

Communities in areas badly impacted by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires can apply for a share of a new $280 million federal grants program. The Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants program is prioritising recovery and resilience projects, and has been enabled by a lower-than-expected take-up of programs under the $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund (09 July 2021). More…

Feedback sought on draft Australia New Zealand digital twin blueprint

Moves to see a thriving digital twin marketplace across Australia and New Zealand were revealed with the release of a draft blueprint, stewarded by the Smart Cities Council, across all levels of government (09 July 2021). More…

Academics say education is key to designing better cities for the future

With the majority of Australia’s population now living in a capital city, the liveability and resilience of these communities depends on the technical and creative skills of today’s emerging urban planners and designers (05 July 2021). More…

Victoria

Cat owners might have to confine pets at all times as council overhauls animal laws

Domestic cats could be forced to live inside all the time as the City of Greater Bendigo overhauls its domestic animal laws (09 July 2021). More…

Council adopts amended community local law

Baw Baw Shire Council has adopted the amended Community Local Law 2016 in accordance with the Local Government Act 2020 (15 July 2021). More…

Council appoints Community Advisory Group

A representative group of 18 community members has been appointed to the Shaping Central Goldfields Community Advisory Group. The group has been established to help inform Shaping Central Goldfields – a project to deliver a series of strategic documents including the community vision, council plan and the financial plan (14 July 2021). More…

NSW

NSW councils to oppose rule changes to infrastructure contributions

Local Government NSW will oppose infrastructure contribution rule changes that threaten to defer and reduce critical developer payments to councils at a Parliamentary inquiry this week (16 July 2021). More…

Government promises $5 billion COVID funding following councils’ calls for support

NSW councils have welcomed this week’s state and federal government’s announcement of a $5.1 billion COVID economic support package following calls from Local Government NSW for urgent financial assistance for businesses and individuals during the latest lockdown (15 July 2021). More…

More funding support for coastal councils now open

The latest round of funding under the NSW Government’s Coastal and Estuary Grants Program is now open with more opportunities for councils to protect their local beaches and coastal wetlands (15 July 2021). More…

Building Commissioner audits high risk apartments

The UNSW City Futures Research centre two research projects, looking at building quality issues in the multi-unit housing sector, found 600 apartment blocks in City of Sydney, Parramatta and Canterbury Bankstown LGAs had an 83 per cent defect rate (15 July 2021). More…

Councils get $350k in trial to cut planning assessment times

Thirteen NSW councils have been selected to pilot a $4.5 million project to speed up large developments. As part of the trial, 13 NSW councils have been given $350,000 each to speed up assessment times for regionally significant developments (12 July 2021). More…

Local Government preparing for all contingencies for September elections

Councils are gearing up to help guarantee NSW voters have their say while staying COVID-safe in the September local government elections, Local Government NSW said this week (12 July 2021). More…

Queensland

‘300 trucks a day’: Residents say quarry traffic affecting their physical, mental health

Noosa Shire Council is considering legal action against a quarry operator after issuing the company with $160,000 in fines, as residents say truck traffic is ruining their lives (17 July 2021). More…

Have your say on the future of Queensland’s stock routes

Farmers, councils, industry groups and outback locals are invited to have their say on proposed changes to the use and management of Queensland’s vital stock routes, to ensure they are well maintained into the future (16 July 2021). More…

Extraordinary assistance for Southern Downs primary producers

The Australian Government is committed to providing support to the communities facing ongoing challenges as a result of the 2019 monsoon event. Minister for Emergency Management said the DRFA assistance was in addition to the freight subsidies and concessional loans support already available in the Southern Downs local government area (16 July 2021). More…

Queensland deputy mayor guilty of misconduct

A former deputy mayor of a far north Queensland council has been found to have engaged in misconduct during his time in office. Wayne Kimberly was investigated by the Councillor Conduct Tribunal, which found he failed to declare a conflict of interest when voting at a Cassowary Coast Regional Council meeting (16 July 2021). More…

Queensland and federal governments settle on their RMF commitments

The Federal and Queensland Governments have agreed to invest $20 million each in the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF). With Queensland industry set to match that $40 million amount, there will be combined $80 million available through the RMF to fund new plastic, glass and tyre recycling infrastructure upgrades across the state (15 July 2021). More…

Queensland resources communities to get $100 million infrastructure boost

Queensland’s resource communities can apply for funding for infrastructure projects that will benefit the community and the regional workers and their families that live in those communities. Not-for-profit organisations and local governments in resource communities are now able to apply for between $100,000 and $8 million for infrastructure projects that will benefit their communities. Note: The first funding announcements for the $100 million fund are expected to be made in late 2021. The Fund’s Applicant Guidelines are available here (13 July 2021). More…

Brisbane’s flood map updated, changing the flood levels of tens of thousands of properties

Independent councillor Nicole Johnston has questioned why the council updated flood mapping without citywide notification (06 July 2021). More…

In practice and courts

Commonwealth

State Statistical Bulletin 2020

Gregory O’Brien, Statistics and Mapping: 1 July 2021. This paper, a companion to the Monthly Statistical Bulletin published by the Parliamentary Library, provides tables and charts for a broad range of social, demographic and economic indicators across all Australian states and territories, and compares these with Australian averages. Read more here.

NBN Co releases guidelines for Regional Co-Investment Fund

Local governments are being invited to apply to take part in NBN Co’s $300 million Regional Co-investment Fund. Several activities will not be eligible under the fund, including projects that target fewer than 50 premises or are under $500K total build cost. Please review the guidelines to determine eligibility, and contact a local NBN representative for more information. The closing date for applications is 18 February 2022, with first build estimate requests required no later than 1 October 2021.

Guidelines released for Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program

The guidelines for the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants are available on the Business Grants Hub website. The Grants Program supports the recovery efforts of communities in eligible Local Government Areas affected by the 2019–20 bushfires. Applications for the program will be open for submission on 22 July 2021 and close on 2 September 2021. For more information on the BSBR grants and the applicant support workshops, head to the National Recovery and Resilience Agency’s website.

Victoria

Determination of allowances for Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councillors

The Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal would like to hear your views about allowances payable to Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councillors and allowance categories. The Determination will take effect from 18 December 2021. Make a written submission to the Tribunal in relation to the Determination, please email the Tribunal Secretariat at [email protected] before 16 August 2021. Submissions opened 5 July 2021 here.

Integrating environment protection reform into land use planning – amendment VC203

With the commencement of new environment protection legislation on 1 July 2021 the Victorian Planning System has been updated to integrate environment protection reforms into land use planning. Planning scheme amendment VC203 aligns the Victoria Planning Provisions with the Environment Protection Act 2017 to enable greater prevention and mitigation of risks to human health and the environment (01 July 2021).

Twenty-eight councils collaborate on joint ESD project

The Elevating Targets Working Group, comprising officers from CASBE, Yarra, Moreland and Port Phillip City Councils and Mitchell Shire Council will manage the project on behalf of the twenty-eight participating councils. The MAV will run the tender process, anticipated to start July 2021. More information about the project can be found here (01 July 2021).

Regional Jobs & Infrastructure Fund 2021

The second round is open until 30 July and enables councils to seek up to $3 million for projects important to their communities. Information and guidelines for the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund can be found here.

Supporting more regional Victorian events and festivals

A new fund to support regional Victoria’s vibrant and diverse calendar of events and festivals has been launched by the State Government. The $1 million Regional Community Events Fund will support regional events that attract up to 1000 people. Eligible applicants will include all local regional and rural councils, public event organisers, and direct venue operators. More information can be found here (15 July 2021).

TAC Local Government Grants

Guidelines for the Local Government Grants are now available. The grants round opened on June 21 at 9am and closes on July 28. The focus of this year’s program is on local road safety analysis and infrastructure projects that prioritise the safety of pedestrians and cyclists while considering the Safe System principles. For all application details including how to apply and who is eligible to apply, please follow the link.

Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants program

The grants will be open to people in local government areas that were disaster declared after the 2019–20 bushfires, with full details to be available as part of grant guidelines in mid-2021. Guidelines and funding criteria will be available in July 2021 with applications expected to open shortly after. Funding will go to successful applicants from December 2021. For more information, click here.

Investment Fast Track Fund 2021: Second round

Part of the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, the stimulus round aims to create jobs by funding priority community projects that can be activated quickly, helping regions to recover and thrive. Applications for the second round of the Regional Infrastructure Fund’s 2020/21 program opened on 16 June. Information and guidelines for the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund can be found here.

NSW

Digital mapping of EPIs to replace PDF maps

Work has begun with select councils to ensure the digital mapping solution meets the needs of stakeholders Read more here (05 July 2021).

Feedback sought on Regional Roads Transfer

LGNSW has been invited by the Independent Panel conducting the Road Classification and Regional Road Transfer Review to provide further feedback in relation to the Terms of Reference on behalf of councils. Please provide any feedback you may have to Sanjiv Sathiah, Senior Policy Officer, Infrastructure and Finance via email by COB 28 July 2021.

Review of the rate peg to include population growth

IPART is seeking feedback and submissions from the public on the review of the rate peg methodology to include population growth. Consultation ends September 2021. The rate peg is based on the annual change in the Local Government Cost Index. Read more here.

LGNSW submissions

Parliamentary inquiry into the Infrastructure Contributions Bill 2021 Portfolio Committee 7 of NSW Parliament – July 2021.

OLG circulars

21–17 Council decision-making prior to the September 2021 local government elections

7/8 July 2021/A755930. Previous Circular 21–12. “Electoral matter” and use of council resources prior to local government elections. Read more here.

Reminder: 21–01 transitioning back to in-person council and committee meetings and consultation on proposed changes allowing remote attendance at meetings

The Regulation will be amended while OLG consults on the proposed amendments to the Model Meeting Code to allow councils to give approval for individual (but not all) councillors to attend meetings remotely. The amendments will be temporary and will expire on 31 December 2021. Read more here.

Queensland

Insight

Insight is a quarterly report on the work of the Office of the Independent Assessor in the management and outcomes of councillor conduct complaints in Queensland. It contains complaints data, trends, issues and case studies and is published in the interests of transparency and accountability. Read the 09 July 2021 Insight Edition 8.

Works for Queensland projects across the region

The Works for Queensland program supports regional councils to undertake job-creating maintenance and minor infrastructure projects such as parks and playgrounds, community and sports facilities, swimming pools and water play areas, renewable energy initiatives, footpaths, roads and water infrastructure. A further $200 million committed for 2024–27. For more information visit Works for Queensland.

Cases

Sailor on behalf of the Wangkamahdla People v State of Queensland [2021] FCA 790

NATIVE TITLE – application for consent determination of native title in part of the claim area under s 87A of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) – whether the parties have satisfied the criteria set out in s 87A – whether it is appropriate for the Court to make an order in terms of the agreement reached by the parties – determination made.

Wollongong City Council v Williams [2021] NSWCA 140

TORTS – negligence – appellant injured as a result of falling on the first step on a stepped path in a park – whether the primary judge erred in finding that the appellant had breached the duty of care which it owed to the respondent – primary judge found the respondent to be a witness of credit who maintained that he was taking care and was not distracted – experts agreed that single steps presented a hazard – primary judge was not in error in finding that the appellant failed to take reasonable precautions against the risk of harm and was negligent – appeal dismissed. NEGLIGENCE – cross appeal – damages – challenged findings of contributory negligence and discount of damages for past economic loss – primary judge concluded that contributory negligence was established – finding of contributory negligence not contradicted by the finding of liability – no want of reasonable care on the part of the respondent that might have contributed to his failure to perceive the steps – primary judge reduced the appellant’s damages for past economic loss by 10% to allow for circumstances in the respondent’s circumstances that would have caused him to retire earlier – where primary judge made no express finding on the degree of probability that the respondent would have retired before 66 – evidence accepted by the primary judge contradicted the prospect of early retirement – the discount of 10% was inconsistent with the positive findings of the primary judge – cross-appeal allowed.

Greentree v Blacktown City Council [2021] NSWDC 318

CIVIL – trip and fall on footpath – absence of evidence as to where on footpath plaintiff fell – s5B CLA applied.

Coppock v Secretary, Department of Planning and Environment (No 3) [2021] NSWCATOD 96

APPEALS – local government councillor – disciplinary action by Chief Executive – finding of misconduct – appropriate disciplinary action.

Hooper v Willoughby City Council [2021] NSWCATAD 208

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – merits review – access to government information – adequacy of search – information for which there is a conclusive public interest against disclosure (excluded information and privileged information) – information for which there is an overriding public interest against disclosure (cl 1(d) and (f), cl 3(a) and (b) and cl 6(1) of the table to s 14(2) of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009) – processing charge.

Secretary of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment v Blacktown City Council [2021] NSWCA 145

CIVIL PROCEDURE – subpoenas – to produce documents or things – application to set aside – legitimate forensic purpose – test for determining the validity of a subpoena issued in civil proceedings – whether sufficient that the documents sought by a subpoena have “apparent relevance” to an issue in the proceedings – whether necessary to satisfy the court that the documents are likely materially to assist the case of the party issuing the subpoena – consideration of bases for setting aside subpoenas. CIVIL PROCEDURE – subpoenas – legitimate forensic purpose – origins of concept – converse of abuse of process – whether a party issuing a subpoena will lack a legitimate forensic purpose if unable to demonstrate that documents sought by subpoena likely to assist its case – legitimate forensic purpose may be presumed where documents sought have apparent relevance to matters in issue or are capable of assisting in cross examination. COURTS AND JUDGES – precedential value of decisions of Court of Appeal refusing leave to appeal.

Jeffrey v Canterbury Bankstown Council [2021] NSWLEC 73

(1) The appeal is dismissed. (2) The applicant is to pay the respondent’s costs of the appeal. APPEAL – appeal against Commissioner’s decision on a question of law – development contravened development standard – written request seeking to justify contravention – Commissioner not satisfied with written request or that development in public interest – whether misconstruction of objective of development standard – whether misconstruction of objective of the zone – whether constructive failure to consider written request – whether denial of procedural fairness by failure to warn that written request insufficient – only misconstruction of objective of zone established – error not vitiating. Canterbury Local Environmental Plan 2012 cll 4.6, 6.5.

Agostino v Penrith City Council [2021] NSWLEC 1399

DEVELOPMENT CONTROL ORDER – unauthorised addition to existing shop – consent required for the works – terms of amended order agreed between the parties – Court has power to modify order – circumstances required for the order exist – appeal upheld.

Dunland Property Pty Ltd v Brisbane City Council [2021] QPEC 34

The appeal is allowed. PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPEAL – appeal against a refusal of a change application to a preliminary approval – where the change application sought to include a condition of approval that specifies the minimum rate of on-site carparking for multiple dwelling use – where the effect would be to specify rates of on-site carparking corresponding with those that previously applied under the Transport, Access, Parking and Servicing Policy (TAPS Policy) at the time when the preliminary approval was granted and also at the time the change application was made and decided – where those rates have subsequently changed to higher rates – whether the proposed change is of a kind that can be considered – whether the change is a minor change because it would not result in substantially different development – whether the change removes an integral component of the development – whether the change ought be granted in the exercise of discretion – where the traffic engineering evidence called by the respondent did not consider the merits of the proposed on-site carparking provision – where the traffic engineering evidence called by the appellant was to the effect that the proposed rates would be sufficient in the circumstances – whether fairness requires the holder of a preliminary approval to be protected from subsequent changes to development standards – whether the rights of submitters would be unduly compromised – whether the appellant ought be left to justify its proposed on-site provision when it applies for later approvals – where change justified on its merits.

Davies & Ors v Gold Coast City Council [2021] QDC 135

There will be judgment for the plaintiffs. I will hear from the parties as to the form of the order and costs. REAL PROPERTY – EASEMENTS – PARTICULAR EASEMENTS AND RIGHTS – OTHER EASEMENTS – where the servient tenement is subject to a utility easement for a stormwater pipeline – which structures are within the purview of the easement agreement. TORTS – NUISANCE – PRIVATE NUISANCE – WHAT CONSTITUTES AND GENERALLY – where the plaintiffs have been unable to use their backyard as contemplated when purchasing the property – the obligations in nuisance which attach to the right of use and maintenance of a utility easement. TORTS – NUISANCE – PRIVATE NUISANCE – REMEDIES – INJUNCTION – where a faulty stormwater pipeline within an easement has caused damage to the servient tenement – where sinkholes and subsidence have damaged the plaintiffs’ landscaping and accompanying structures – whether the plaintiffs are entitled to an injunction to for repair, remediation and/or removal works – whether, in the alternative, the plaintiffs are entitled to damages for their loss. TORTS – NUISANCE – PARTIES – WHO MAY BE LIABLE – OCCUPIER, OR CONTROLLER OF PREMISES, NOT CREATING NUISANCE – where Council did not construct the faulty pipeline but entered into an easement instrument with the owners of the servient tenement – whether persons who did not create, but fail to stop, a nuisance are liable. Local Law 17 (Maintenance of Works in Waterway Areas) 2013 (Qld); Local Government Act 2009 (Qld).

Cardinia Shire Council [2021] FWCA 4091

Fair Work Act 2009 s.185 – enterprise agreement. CARDINIA SHIRE COUNCIL ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT 2021. Local government – administration. Application for approval of the Cardinia Shire Council Enterprise Agreement 2021.

Viva Energy Australia Pty Ltd v Glen Eira CC (Corrected) [2021] VCAT 701

Section 82 Planning and Environment Act 1987, Child Care Centre, Neighbourhood Residential Zone – Schedule 1, Western Port Altona Geelong Crude Oil Pipeline (WAG), safety, relevance of clauses 19.01-3S and clause 13.07 in assessing risks from nearby oil pipeline.

Legislation

Victoria

Acts Commencements

Local Government Act 2020 (Vic)

Date of commencement: 1 July 2021. Sections 44-46, 48-51, 71-86, 102-105, 107-122, 330, 362, Schedule 1 (items 1.2, 6, 8.2,8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6, 13.5, 13.6, 18.2, 21.5,28.2, 28.3, 30.2, 39.1(b), 40.4, 40.6,43.3, 54.2, 57, 58, 66, 69.2, 69.3, 69.4,70.2, 73, 90.1, 90.3, 90.4, 101, 103) of this Act came in by forced commencement on 1 July 2021 s.2 (4) Act Number: 9/2020.

NSW

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Local Government (General) Amendment Regulation 2021 (2021–371) – published LW 9 July 2021.

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Compliance Fees) Regulation 2021 (2021–383) – published LW 16 July 2021. Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Modifications) Regulation 2021 (2021–377) – published LW 14 July 2021.

Bills assented to

Building Legislation Amendment Act 2021 No 21 – assented to 05 July 2021.