Environment & Planning

Environment & Planning

Environment & Planning

Investment in the energy and resources sector is undoubtedly growing and driving major infrastructure developments. Strong international investments, particularly in the coal seam gas and mining industries in Queensland and Western Australia, along with governments entering into public private partnerships, have fuelled a boom in new projects with environmental implications.

Approvals for these major projects and environmental risk allocation have become more complex than ever before. Environmental impact and assessment can often be protracted and opportunities to streamline approvals are not always available, or, in the case of Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW), have been withdrawn.

Corrs understands the way local planning systems have evolved and operate, and works closely and proactively with government to recognise and comprehend policy directions. We have an outstanding track record in managing planning and environmental approvals for infrastructure projects for both government and major corporations, and advise on many landmark Australian projects. 

Our Experts

LILLYWHITE Brent website grey SIZED TH

Brent Lillywhite

Partner Location Brisbane Profile
Christine Covington.jpg

Christine Covington

Partner Location Sydney Profile
Henry Prokuda.jpg

Henry Prokuda

Consultant Location Brisbane Profile
BUTTON Jillian website grey SIZED TH

Jillian Button

Partner Location Melbourne Profile
DAVIS Kirsty website grey TH

Kirsty Davis

Special Counsel Location Sydney Profile
OBRIEN Leanne website grey SIZED TH

Leanne O'Brien

Special Counsel Location Brisbane Profile
Louise Camenzuli.jpg

Louise Camenzuli

Partner Location Sydney Profile
Shea Lucy website grey SIZED TH

Lucy Shea

Special Counsel Location Perth Profile
LEONGMichael.jpg

Michael Leong

Partner Location Brisbane Profile
Sue Davidson.jpg

Sue Davidson

Special Counsel Location Melbourne Profile

Our Experience

Defending developers

When Huntlee wanted to put 7500 new dwellings in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, the rezoning and project application created a major environmental dispute which made front page news.

A local resident action group also declared invalid planning approvals and challenged the new town’s planning regime. The Corrs team successfully countered every objection.

More

From eco-resort to rehab centre

The Salvation Army met with strong objection for its plans to convert an eco-resort on the Central Coast of New South Wales into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. They relied on Corrs’ combination of planning and environmental skills to successfully dispute all 14 grounds, and the development proceeded.

Our Thinking

Playing catch up on Energy Security

How do we manage the balance between energy security and long-term economic development?

More

‘Ban the bag’ and ‘cash for trash’: Queensland’s new waste reduction and recycling laws

Amendments to Queensland’s waste reduction and recycling laws will introduce both a ban on lightweight plastic bags, and a new beverage container refund scheme.

More

Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017: A new era of regulation in Australia

Australia’s chemical industry is about to undergo widespread reform. Most notably the changes include the first move away from cosmetics testing on animals.

More

Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017: A new era of regulation in Australia

Australia’s chemical industry is about to undergo widespread reform. Most notably the changes include the first move away from cosmetics testing on animals.

More

Queensland Supreme Court dismisses challenge to differential rate

A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Queensland has reaffirmed the broad power of local governments to levy differential general rates.

More

Analysis: Discussion Draft of EPA Amendment Bill 2017

The Draft of the Environmental Planning Act Amendment Bill in New South Wales makes things clearer but does it go far enough?

More

The cost of an inaccurate planning certificate

Councils can be held liable for providing misleading planning information – even if an entity did not request that guidance.

More

Some useful “tweaks” proposed for the NSW planning system

A multitude of amendments have been proposed for Environmental Planning in New South Wales to simplify the planning system.

More

Section 180(1) of the Corporations Act: a backdoor means of prosecuting company directors for corporate contraventions of environmental law?

Could a ‘stepping stone’ approach to statutory duty of care see directors prosecuted for breaches of environmental law?

More

New Register of Foreign Ownership of Water Entitlements to be Established

‘Foreign persons’ will soon be required to notify the ATO of their interests in registrable water entitlements and contractual water rights, under a new bill to amend the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Act 2015 (Cth).

More

Queensland Planning and Environment Court provides guidance on when historical development approval conditions attach to land

A recent decision by the Queensland Planning and Environment Court has provided much-needed guidance on the vexed issue of when, and how, development conditions attach to land.

More

Why Biosecurity is now a planning, construction and procurement matter

Local governments, developers and contractors in South-East Queensland need to be aware of how the recently commenced Biosecurity Act 2014 has affected the way they should deal with pest issues and manage construction sites.

More

Environmental liability for lenders: the law in flux

The Environmental Protection (Chain of Responsibility) Amendment Act 2016 (Qld) puts lenders at risk of being in the firing line of the Queensland DEHP for environmental harm caused by their borrowers in Queensland.

More

When is a water treatment plant part of coal seam gas ‘prospecting’?

A recent decision by Justice Moore in People for the Plains v Santos [2016] has provided some clarity around the types of activities that fall under the definition of ‘prospecting’ and can therefore be carried out without development consent.

More

Can an enforcement notice be challenged during a prosecution?

Two recent decisions by the District Court and the Court of Appeal have helped to clarify whether a recipient of an enforcement notice has the right to challenge the validity of that notice at trial in Queensland.

More

Outcomes Focus: Environmental Impact Bonds are all about results

There is an alternative to Green Bonds – Environmental Impact Bonds tie financial returns to the success of a green project.

More

What you need to know about Victoria’s Draft Apartment Design Standards

The Victorian Government’s Better Apartments Draft Design Standards have been released with potentially significant implications for those in the development industry.

More Download

Winky Pop v Mobil: Lost Opportunities for Land Developers

A recent decision by the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal in Winky Pop Pty Ltd v Mobil Refining Australia Pty Ltd [2016] VSCA 187 has clarified the availability of loss of opportunity damages in land contamination cases.

More Download

Swept away – sea front erosion control in Queensland

Recent wild weather has highlighted the risks of storm erosion to beach front development. But regulation in Queensland is complex and the protection of private land is not guaranteed.

More

Challenging unlawful local government rates: What are the options for landowners?

WIth the end of the financial year approaching, Queensland’s local governments are finalising their 2016/2017 budgets, including setting rates for land. Landowners should be aware of their options for challenging unlawful rates.

More

Clean energy: ARENA’s grant funding and the new Clean Energy Innovation Fund

On 23 March 2016, the Turnbull Government announced the establishment of a $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF) to provide debt and equity funding for clean energy projects.

More

BioBanking 2.0 – The NSW Government’s Draft Biodiversity Conservation Laws

On 3 May 2016, the NSW Government proposed a major overhaul of the State’s biodiversity conservation laws. We outline the key proposed changes, and what these changes may mean for development and conservation in NSW.

More

Friends of Tumblebee Incorporated v ATB Morton Pty Limited (No 2) [2016] NSWLEC 16

This decision has important implications for developers undertaking developments in areas where endangered species and/or their habitats may be impacted

More

Recommended changes to Environmental Regulation in Victoria

On 16 May 2016, the report of the Independent Inquiry into the Environment Protection Agency was released to the public which proposes a comprehensive overhaul of Victoria’s environmental legislative framework.

More

DEHP’s new weapons to ensure clean-up of mining sites: are you in the firing line?

Recent amendments to Queensland’s environmental laws give the DEHP wide powers to ensure the clean-up of mining sites, and create new liabilities for ‘related persons’. Are you a related person? You might be surprised by the answer…

More

Are we nearly there yet? Yes we are!! The status of planning law reform in Queensland

On 11 May 2016 a milestone was reached in the reform of Queensland planning legislation with the passing of the Planning Bill 2015 and its associated legislation.

More

Executive officers - be warned – your right to silence under the Environmental Protection Act has been removed

Recent amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, assented to on 27 April 2016, now compel an individual to answer a question put to them under s476 of the Act even if answering might tend to incriminate the individual.

More

The Safeguard Mechanism commences on 1 July 2016: what does it mean for business?

The Safeguard Mechanism is the final, critical component of the Emissions Reduction Fund, the centrepiece of the current Government’s climate change and emissions reduction policy.

More Download

Significant changes to Victoria’s Aboriginal heritage legislation will commence soon – what you need to know

Earlier this year, the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Act 2016 (Vic) (Amending Act) was passed by the Victorian State Parliament. The Amending Act introduces a number of significant changes to the way that Aboriginal heritage is managed in Victoria.

More

Cutting red tape while ensuring quality control – rising to the challenge of export law reform

The Commonwealth Government is in the process of reforming Australia’s agricultural export legislation in recognition of the current regulatory complexity.

More

Key reforms to the South Australian planning system passed by Parliament

The Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (SA) (Act), which is designed to reform South Australia’s planning and development system and will repeal the Development Act 1993 (SA), has now been passed by both Houses of Parliament.

More

Victorian EPA seeks to clarify the framework for the reuse of prescribed industrial waste

The EPA has recognised a lack of clarity in the current provisions in the Regulations relating to beneficial reuse of prescribed industrial waste (PIW) - ie certain waste from industrial and commercial activities that has characteristics or contains

More

The resurrection of the ‘avoid, minimise, offset’ hierarchy: proposed reforms to tighten native vegetation controls in Victoria

The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has recently released a consultation paper setting out a number of proposed reforms to the Victoria Planning Provisions. These reforms would introduce a greater degree of rigour to th

More

One person’s waste is another person's treasure

The South Australian ERD Court again considers the complex question of how materials destined for reuse are to be characterised under the Environment Protection Act 1993.

More

Court of Appeal clarifies when development application material can be used in interpreting a development approval

A recent decision of the Queensland Court of Appeal has clarified when a development application can be referred to in order to resolve uncertainty around the scope of a development approval.

More

Is your State significant development likely to significantly affect threatened species or their habitats? The devil is not in the detail!

In Upper Mooki Landcare Inc v Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Ltd and Minister for Planning, the NSW Land and Environment Court has dismissed a challenge to the Watermark Coal Project, an open cut coal mining project south east of Gunnedah.

More

Paris Climate Change Agreement – a snapshot

On 12 December 2015, The United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris concluded with the release of the ‘Paris Agreement’ (‘Agreement’).

More

Local governments will have more confidence in differential rating after new Court decision

A decision of Queensland’s Supreme Court dismissing a landowner’s challenge to a differential rate has important implications for local governments and ratepayers.

More

Environmental regulation in Indonesia: Getting to green

The what and how of environmental approvals in Indonesia.

More

Regional Planning Interests Act - What does it mean for your resources project?

With the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 now passed, resources companies will need to take stock of how this Act will impact their operations.

More

Owning a former landfill - On the nose or a walk in the park?

Is the owner of land formerly used as a landfill required to notify the State if environmental harm is being caused?

More

Section 61 of the Just Terms Act: Relocation costs and the basis for the assessment of compensation for market value of land

On 28 February 2014, the NSW Court of Appeal handed down its decision in El Boustani v The Minister administering the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 [2014] NSWCA 33.

More

Federal Court upholds ban on “Super Trawler”, but warns of rough seas ahead

On 21 February 2014, the Federal Court of Australia delivered its decision in the matter of Seafish Tasmania Pelagic Pty Ltd v Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Water, Population and Communities.

More

The Land Access Review - Recommendations for change

Further changes to the Land Access regime in Queensland are foreshadowed in the Land Access Implementation Committee Report released on 4 March 2014.

More

Special rates - A bridge too far?

E Cocco & Sons Investments Pty Ltd v Gold Coast City Council [2014] QSC 10.

More

Access to developments from classified roads: Implications of Modern Motels Pty Ltd v Fairfield City Council [2013] NSWLEC 138

The has refused consent for a fast food development because access was proposed from a classified road where access via a local road was also available, although not considered desirable by the developer.

More

Mothballing a resources project - Landowner issues and compensation

While the decision to shut down a resources project is usually driven by economic and financial factors, implementing the closure requires compliance with a variety of legal measures.

More

Just Terms Act Update: Compensation for open space land in Willoughby found not to equate to residential land rates

On 10 February 2014, the Court handed down its decision in Willoughby City Council v Roads and Maritime Services. The decision is significant for a number of reasons.

More

Protection of the sea from pollution by oil from ships: Findings of recent sentencing judgments

Two judgments in December 2013 provide some useful current guidance on sentencing considerations for offences under the Marine Pollution Act 1987.

More

Failure to notify a pollution incident “as soon as practicable”: Environment Protection Authority v Bulga Coal Management

The NSW Land and Environment Court handed down its decision in Environment Protection Authority v Bulga Coal Management Pty Limited [2014] NSWLEC 5.

More

Proposed changes to BASIX targets

In December 2013, the NSW Government announced proposed changes to Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) targets.

More

Review of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (Western Australia) - Discussion paper

The Western Australian Government Department of Environmental Regulation has issued a Discussion Paper – Review of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 – for a final round of public discussions.

More

Compensation payable to reserve trusts: The first decision on Section 106A of the Crown Lands Act 1989 (NSW)

On 24 December 2013, the NSW Land and Environment Court handed down its decision in Tempe Recreation (D.500215 & D.1000502) Reserve Trust v Sydney Water Corporation [2013] NSWLEC 221.

More Download

Native title fishing rights - A recent High Court decision

A recent decision of the High Court has examined the extinguishment of native title rights at common law, in particular, the right to fish and has adopted a broad interpretation of section 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), a native title defenc

More Download

The “finalised” CSG reforms: What it means for the CSG and agricultural industries

On 28 January 2014, the NSW Government announced that it “has finalised landmark” coal seam gas reforms which aim to safeguard homes and high quality farmland in NSW.

More

The role of weighting when relying on “far from perfect” comparable sales

Recently, the NSW Land and Environment Court handed down its decision in Marrickville Council v Sydney Water Corporation [2013] NSWLEC 222.

More

Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper

On 20 December 2013, the Australian Government released the Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper, inviting public comment and written submissions until 21 February 2014.

More

Expanded categories of exempt and complying development

More development in NSW is to be code assessed or exempt from requiring approval, as the categories of exempt and complying development have been expanded through amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy.

More

CSG explorer convicted and fined: The first prosecution for breaches of conditions of an exploration licence

On 10 January 2014, the NSW Land and Environment Court convicted Santos NSW Pty Ltdof four offences for failing, without reasonable excuse, to comply with conditions of its petroleum exploration licence.

More

Manning v Bathurst Regional Council (No 2) [2013] NSWLEC 186: A consideration of Wednesbury unreasonableness in the context of notification requirements

The Court has been asked to consider whether the decision by a consent authority not to notify an adjoining land owner of two development applications was ‘manifestly unreasonable’.

More

The significance of mineral resources is now the principal consideration in determining mining proposals - But will this development be short lived?

On 4 November 2013, State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment 2013 came into force.

More

CSG update: Special areas zone, exclusion zones, Gateway Assessment Panel and one-stop shop for environmental approvals

Over the past two months, the NSW Government has introduced a raft of changes that affect the development of the coal seam gas industry in the State.

More

Impact of council de-amalgamation on development applications and legal proceedings - Practical advice

The de-amalgamation process will invariably present some practical challenges for councils. Two key issues are the impact of de-amalgamation on development applications and legal proceedings.

More

State Planning Policy 2 December 2013

The 2nd of December 2013 is a big day in Queensland for State planning.

More

Regional Planning Interests Bill is another hurdle for resource projects

Resources projects could be excluded from areas of regional interest.

More

Regional Planning Interests Bill 2013

The Regional Planning Interests Bill has been stated to be “an act to manage the impact of resource activities and other regulated activities on areas of the state that contribute to Queensland’s economic, social and environmental prosperity”.

More

More legislation and new approvals - How the Regional Planning Interests Bill 2013 will impact Queensland resource projects

On 20 November 2013, the Honourable Jeff Seeney MP introduced the Regional Planning Interests Bill 2013 (the Bill) into Queensland Parliament.

More

Mothballing a resources project - Regulatory approvals and overlapping tenure issues

Project owners need to manage statutory and contractual obligations as well as a range of environmental, employment and safety issues.

More

Planning reform program in Western Australia - Calls for submissions

The Department of Planning is progressing the State Government’s reform program for the planning system in Western Australia with the release of three documents for public submissions:

More

Discussion Paper on planning for affordable housing in Western Australia - Calls for submissions

The Department of Planning has issued a Discussion Paper – Planning Provisions for Affordable Housing – for public submissions.

More

First fine for non-disclosure of reportable political donations

Aston Coal 2 Pty Ltd has been fined because two of its directors had made reportable political donations which were not disclosed during the assessment of the Maules Creek planning application.

More Download

NSW releases draft Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy

The NSW State Government announced a funding package of $465.7 million for the waste and resource recovery sector over the next 5 years.

More Download

The future of the Clean Energy Future package

“Securing a clean energy future – The Australian Government’s climate change plan” was released by the Labor Government on 10 July 2011.

More Download

De Rose v South Australia - The first approved native title compensation determination

In October, the Court handed down its judgment in De Rose v State of SA, the first decision to order the payment of compensation for the extinguishment of native title rights and interests.

More

Amendments to the Planning and Environment Act might give rise to unexpected results

There’s a new streamlined process for amending or ending section 173 agreements, but it does have some quirks.

More

Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities [2013] FCAFC 111

The Full Court of the Federal Court recently handed down its decision in Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

More

Draft carbon tax repeal legislation released - What does it mean for your business?

Repeal of the carbon tax is underway but uncertainty for business continues.

More

Save Little Beach Manly Foreshore Incorporated v Manly Council [2013] NSWLEC 155

Save Little Manly Beach Foreshore Incorporated brought judicial review proceedings against Manly Council to prevent Council from disposing of its land on the Little Manly Beach foreshore.

More

Queensland’s de-amalgamating councils: Employment issues to consider

On 1 January 2014 up to 1,315 employees will transfer from continuing to new local governments.

More

Impact of de-amalgamation on contracts - How will it work?

The new local governments of Douglas, Livingstone, Noosa and Mareeba (and their respective “new local government areas”) will come into existence on 1 January 2014.

More

Concerning mining lease objections - How to deal with ‘free hit’ objections to mining lease applications

Objections to mining leases with no evidence or only unsubstantiated concerns carry little force but cost applicants both time and money.

More

Queensland’s de-amalgamating councils: Making the most of a fresh start

Four local councils in Queensland are separating from their regional councils following a March referendum in which their communities overwhelmingly voted for de-amalgamation.

More

Strategic cropping land review: Have your say

Now is the time to let government know what you think about Queensland’s strategic cropping land laws.

More

IGA loses test case against new Coles development

On 29 May 2013, the Western Australian Supreme Court handed down judgment in Aloi v Bertola [2013] WASC 214.

More

Productivity Commission caught between a rock and a hard place in finding ways to streamline project approvals

The Commission’s proposed framework for approvals processes will be controversial.

More

Who is an “occupier” under Queensland’s Petroleum & Gas Act?

The new “occupier” definition has broadened the scope of “who” is eligible to claim compensation from resource companies.

More

The economic benefits of mining proposals to be primary consideration

On 25 July 2013, the draft State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) Amendment (Resource Significance) 2013 was released for public comment.

More

Don’t kill the golden goose before it lays an egg - Time to review restrictions on the unconventional gas sector

As the resources boom recedes the opportunity cost of restrictions on shale and coal seam gas is mounting.

More

New clarity on compensation for landowner time

The Land Court has confirmed the current statutory position in relation to landowner time for resources compensation.

More

What constitutes a material change in circumstances under Queensland’s Petroleum & Gas Act?

Resources companies must understand the types of changes that are ‘material’ and could trigger a compensation review.

More

A summary of Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the Infrastructure Planning and Charging Framework Review discussion paper

In its March 2011 final report, the Infrastructure Charges Taskforce made ten recommendations to the former Queensland Labor government.

More

Court of appeal overturns land and environment court decision on meaning of residential buildings

In GrainCorp Operations Ltd v. Liverpool Plains Shire Council, the NSW Court of Appeal overturned a decision of the Court in relation to the proper characterisation of workforce accommodation for fly-in-fly-out workers.

More

Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Illegal Waste Disposal) Bill 2013

The Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment Bill 2013 was introduced into the State Legislative Assembly by the Minister for the Environment on 30 May 2013.

More

Federal Court overturns Commonwealth approval of Tarkine region iron ore mine

On 17 July 2013, the Federal Court of Australia (Court) delivered judgment in Tarkine National Coalition Incorporated v Minister for Sustainability, Water, Population and Communities [2013] FCA 694 (17 July 2013).

More

Cash bidding for exploration permits in Queensland - A losing game for junior explorers?

Smaller explorers could be squeezed out of the state’s most highly prospective acreage.

More

Reviewing compensation for resources tenures - What’s done isn’t necessarily dusted

What is a material change of circumstance for the purpose of reviewing compensation?

More

Court refuses expansion of Rio Tinto’s Warkworth Coal Mine

On 15 April 2013, the Court handed down judgment in Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association Inc v Minister for Planning and Infrastructure and Warkworth Mining Limited [2013] NSWLEC 48.

More

Proposed new framework for infrastructure contributions in NSW

The Planning Bill 2013 – Exposure Draft and A New Planning System for NSW – White Paper propose a new system governing the provision of infrastructure contributions.

More

Will a single state planning policy change anything in Queensland?

Queensland’s new state planning policy promises simplicity, but can it deliver?

More

Do resources companies have to compensate land owners for their time?

Do Queensland land owners have a right to compensation for the time they spend negotiating conduct and compensation agreements?

More

An update on environmental assessments, the precautionary principle and adaptive management regimes

On 27 February 2013, the NSW Land and Environment Court handed down judgment in SHCAG Pty Ltd v Minister for Planning and Infrastructure and Boral Cement Limited [2013] NSWLEC 1032.

More

A new planning system for New South Wales - White Paper

‘A New Planning System for New South Wales - White Paper’ represents the final stage of the comprehensive review of the state’s planning system which was initiated by the NSW Govt in July 2011.

More Download

Can the NSW planning system change its spots?

The NSW Government has released the White Paper on its proposed new planning system.

More

Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Paper Subdivisions) Regulation 2013

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Regulation 2013 and corresponding paper subdivision provisions now contained in the EPA Act commenced on 8 March 2013.

More

Environmental finance: A new way to finance your building retrofit

A new lending product is incentivising property owners to upgrade the environmental efficiency of their existing buildings.

More

Implementation of the Upper Hunter air quality monitoring network

On 15 February 2013, the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network) Regulation 2013 (NSW) commenced.

More

Section 82A Reviews and the time limitation for commencing a Class 1 appeal: Lakeman v Ku-ring-gai Council [2013] NSWLEC 14

The New South Wales Land and Environment Court has recently considered the preservation of appeal rights following a request for review under section 82A of the EPA Act made too late for the relevant Council.

More

Characterisation of development

On 21 February 2013, the Department of Planning and Infrastructure released a planning circular (PS 13-001) titled “How to characterise development”.

More

A seminal judgment on the operation of Part 5 of the EPA Act

Corrs acted for Dart Energy Ltd in the decision of Justice Pepper of the NSW Land and Environment Court handed down on 28 March 2013.

More

Proposed coal seam gas exclusion zones in NSW

On 21 March 2013, the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure released the draft State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment 2013 (NSW) for public comment.

More

Land access and compensation pitfalls: Who is an “occupier”?

Planned amendments to Queensland’s definition of "occupier" will not fix the current ambiguity and resources companies will still face land access risks.

More

Productivity Commission review a ray of hope for major projects

Could reform be on the way for Australia’s infamous major projects approval regime?

More

Changes in NSW to liability of directors and managers for environmental offences

The NSW Parliament passed the Miscellaneous Acts Amendment Bill 2012 which aims to reduce the circumstances in which directors and managers should face criminal sanctions for offences committed by their corporations.

More

Public interest litigants - Order made to provide security for costs

In the recent decision of Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining Inc v Gujarat NRE Coking Coal Ltd, the Court ordered a public interest litigant to provide security for costs of the respondent in the sum of $40,000.

More

Section 138 Roads Act Approvals and Judicial Review: The Northern Eruv Incorporated v Ku-ring-gai Council [2012] NSWLEC 249

The Land and Environment Court has given recent judicial consideration to the scope of the Court’s power under section 39(2) of the Land and Environment Court Act 1979 to review approvals under the Roads Act 1993.

More

Gas Fields Commission Bill 2012

The Queensland Government has introduced the Gas Fields Commission Bill 2012 into the Queensland Parliament.

More

NSW State Government seeks to clarify the status of Development Control Plans - An update

Following our In Brief on the Environmental Planning and Assessment Bill 2012, the NSW Government has passed the Bill subject to the amendments set out below.

More

New environmental assessment reforms are controversial, but ultimately sensible

Industry and environmental groups are polarised over reforms to streamline approvals for large projects. Who’s right?

More

Establishing the Gateway Panel and the verification process

In September 2012, the NSW Government released the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy to provide greater protection for valuable agricultural land and water resources from the impacts of mining and coal seam gas proposals.

More Download

The new independent expert scientific committee for CSG and large coal mining development

On 9 November 2012, the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development was established following the amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation.

More

The Sustainable Planning and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 has passed

The Gateway Process was introduced in July 2009 to reduce the time taken for the NSW government to produce Local Environment Plans.

More

The wheels are in motion - A single state planning policy in Queensland

In Queensland, the State has long had the ability to make policies regarding matters of ‘State significance’/’State interest’. The current government plans to replace these with one single State planning policy.

More

Parliament increases CSG royalties and mining penalties

On 25 October 2012, the NSW Parliament passed the Petroleum Amendment Bill 2012.

More Download

Economic Development Bill 2012 - Implications for resources and infrastructure projects

The State has introduced the Economic Development Bill 2012 involving significant changes.

More Download

The Economic Development Bill 2012 - Main issues for planning and development

The Economic Development Bill 2012 was introduced into the Queensland Parliament on Thursday 1 November 2012.

More Download

The meaning of waste - Environmental Protection Authority v Terrace Earthmoving Pty Ltd & Page [2012] NSW LEC 216

The Land and Environment Court has recently clarified the definition of ‘waste’ in the context of criminal proceedings for unlawfully transporting waste.

More Download

NSW State Govt seeks to clarify the status of development control

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2012 was recently introduced to the NSW Parliament. The Bill proposes amendments that clarify the status of development control plans as mere ‘guidelines’.

More Download

Proposed changes to planning code

The NSW Department for Planning and Infrastructure recently released an outline of proposed changes to code-based approvals for residential, commercial and industrial projects.

More

A new national environmental offsets policy

The Commonwealth Government has released its new Environmental Offsets Policy under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

More Download

Communities pay for polluters in Queensland

Queensland’s State Government is seeking to deregulate a raft of polluting industrial activities, leaving local councils to pay for the clean up.

More

Renewable Energy: Is 20% by 2020 really achievable?

The NSW Government is committed to 20% renewable energy by 2020 but are the State’s environmental and planning laws a roadblock to renewable energy development?

More Download

Green light for mining and CSG, but at what cost to developers and the environment?

The NSW Government’s Strategic Regional Land Use Policy offers little protection to farmers and the environment and manages to add costs and delays to coal and CSG projects.

More Download

Will justice be served if losers pay in Planning & Environment appeals?

Local governments and community groups may be the real losers under proposed reforms to Queensland’s Planning and Environment Court.

More Download

The Local Government and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012

The Local Government and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 was introduced by the Minister for Local Government on 13 September 2012.

More Download

Release of the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - What it means for coal and gas projects on strategic agricultural land

The NSW Govt released the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy which aims to provide greater protection for valuable agricultural land and water resources from the impacts of mining and coal seam gas proposals.

More Download

NSW Public Private Partnership Guidelines (2012)

The NSW Public Private Partnership Guidelines supersede the Working with Government Guidelines for Privately Financed Projects and complement the National Public Private Partnerships Policy and Guidelines.

More

Scope of conditions power under EPBC Act examined by Federal Court

In a recent case the Court considered a challenge to the approval granted under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for the proposed expansion of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam uranium mine in South Australia.

More

NSW Planning Reforms: Green Paper - Significant reform or more of the same?

The NSW Government’s Green Paper, ‘A new planning system for NSW’ released on 14 July 2012 lays out a blueprint for fundamental planning reform in NSW.

More Download

Land and Environment Court clarifies meaning of “residential” buildings

In a recent decision, the Court found that a proposed workforce accommodation development designed primarily for fly-in, fly-out (or similar) workers lacked the element of permanency required to be characterised as “residential buildings”.

More

Greentape Reduction Bill: Will it strip local governments’ power to regulate environmental impacts?

Queensland’s Greentape Reduction Bill may make it more difficult for local governments to regulate environmental impacts.

More

Foreign investment in Australian agriculture - Where to from here?

Foreign investment in Australian agricultural land has become a hot button political issue. But there are a number of different factors at play.

More

World Heritage Committee - State of conservation - Great Barrier Reef draft decision

In 1981, the Great Barrier Reef was inscribed on the World Heritage list for its Outstanding Universal Value.

More

Will the government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation really be a boon for green energy?

The government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation will commence investing in green energy projects next year. But is it really a cure for the renewable sector’s malaise?

More

Strict interpretation of Local Government Act will lead to practical difficulties for local government prosecutions - Recent important Court of Appeal Decision

This In Brief examines the recent case of Ipswich City Council v Dixonbuild [2012] QCA 98.

More Download

Changed requirements for hazardous chemicals and registration of plant in Queensland

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) is part of a national package of uniform work health and safety legislation. It repealed the Dangerous Goods Safety Management Act 2001 (Qld) and as of 1 January 2012 regulates dangerous goods in Queensland.

More

Recent environmental decisions concerning energy & resources projects

This In Brief addresses three recent cases of relevance to Energy & Resources Projects.

More

Orica pleads guilty to pollution incident at Kooragang Island plant

The leak of the chemical chromium VI at Orica’s ammonia plant on Kooragang Island led to Parliament establishing the Select Committee to examine the response to the leak by both the Government and Orica. Its findings were published in a report.

More Download

Simplification of procedure for making local environmental plans

On 27 March 2012, the NSW Department of Planning & Infrastructure exhibited Draft Policy Statement on Plan-making and Delegations. The Statement proposes to simplify the procedure for making local environmental plans “more local and accountable".

More Download

Carbon offset condition will only be imposed in limited circumstances

Recently, the Land and Environment Court handed down its decision in Hunter Environment Lobby Inc v Minister for Planning.

More Download

Delivery of the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - What it means for developments in regional areas

The NSW Government has released a number of draft plans, policies and guidelines that deliver on its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - but what impact will this have on developments in regional areas?

More Download

Delivery of the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - What it means for the large projects requiring dewatering

The NSW Government has released a number of draft plans, policies and guidelines that deliver on its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - but how will this impage large projects requiring dewatering?

More Download

Delivery of the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - What it means for coal and gas projects on or near strategic agricultural land

The NSW Government has released a number of draft plans, policies and guidelines that deliver on its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - but what impact will this have on coal and gas projects on or near strategic agricultural land?

More Download

EPA releases draft environmental guidelines on the publication of monitoring data

In January 2012, the NSW Environment Protection Authority released draft guidelines which set out the requirements for holders of environment protection licences to publish pollution monitoring data.

More Download

Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry Report and the resources industry - Releasing water from mine sites and dams without breaching Environmental Authority conditions

To anyone with experience of the impacts of the 2010/2011 heavy rain on water balance issues at mine sites, and the DERM response to those difficult circumstances, the Commission’s recommendations make perfect sense.

More

Are critical infrastructure declarations and approvals reviewable?

In the decision of Haughton v Minister for Planning and Macquarie Generation; Haughton v Minister for Planning and TRUenergy Pty Ltd, the Court held that critical infrastructure declarations and approvals are reviewable

More Download

Sustainable Planning and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2012 Amendments

This e-newsletter summarises recent changes to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, the Urban Land Development Authority Act 2007, the Local Government Act 2009 and the Building Act 1975.

More Download

New requirements for pollution incident response management plans

The Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011 (NSW) makes notable changes to the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW) and aims to improve the reporting and management of pollution incidents in New South Wales.

More Download

Coal seam gas versus other land uses: Has Queensland got it right?

The optimistically named Resources Legislation (Balance, Certainty and Efficiency) Bill 2011 is the Queensland government’s latest attempt at addressing the conflict between the coal seam gas industry and other land users.

More

Overhaul of planning legislation in NSW

The NSW State Government is undertaking the most significant overhaul of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (NSW) since its introduction in 1979.

More

Our Experience

Defending developers

When Huntlee wanted to put 7500 new dwellings in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, the rezoning and project application created a major environmental dispute which made front page news.

A local resident action group also declared invalid planning approvals and challenged the new town’s planning regime. The Corrs team successfully countered every objection.

From eco-resort to rehab centre

The Salvation Army met with strong objection for its plans to convert an eco-resort on the Central Coast of New South Wales into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. They relied on Corrs’ combination of planning and environmental skills to successfully dispute all 14 grounds, and the development proceeded.

Our Thinking

Playing catch up on Energy Security

How do we manage the balance between energy security and long-term economic development?

‘Ban the bag’ and ‘cash for trash’: Queensland’s new waste reduction and recycling laws

Amendments to Queensland’s waste reduction and recycling laws will introduce both a ban on lightweight plastic bags, and a new beverage container refund scheme.

Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017: A new era of regulation in Australia

Australia’s chemical industry is about to undergo widespread reform. Most notably the changes include the first move away from cosmetics testing on animals.

Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017: A new era of regulation in Australia

Australia’s chemical industry is about to undergo widespread reform. Most notably the changes include the first move away from cosmetics testing on animals.

Queensland Supreme Court dismisses challenge to differential rate

A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Queensland has reaffirmed the broad power of local governments to levy differential general rates.

Analysis: Discussion Draft of EPA Amendment Bill 2017

The Draft of the Environmental Planning Act Amendment Bill in New South Wales makes things clearer but does it go far enough?

The cost of an inaccurate planning certificate

Councils can be held liable for providing misleading planning information – even if an entity did not request that guidance.

Some useful “tweaks” proposed for the NSW planning system

A multitude of amendments have been proposed for Environmental Planning in New South Wales to simplify the planning system.

Section 180(1) of the Corporations Act: a backdoor means of prosecuting company directors for corporate contraventions of environmental law?

Could a ‘stepping stone’ approach to statutory duty of care see directors prosecuted for breaches of environmental law?

New Register of Foreign Ownership of Water Entitlements to be Established

‘Foreign persons’ will soon be required to notify the ATO of their interests in registrable water entitlements and contractual water rights, under a new bill to amend the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Act 2015 (Cth).

Queensland Planning and Environment Court provides guidance on when historical development approval conditions attach to land

A recent decision by the Queensland Planning and Environment Court has provided much-needed guidance on the vexed issue of when, and how, development conditions attach to land.

Why Biosecurity is now a planning, construction and procurement matter

Local governments, developers and contractors in South-East Queensland need to be aware of how the recently commenced Biosecurity Act 2014 has affected the way they should deal with pest issues and manage construction sites.

Environmental liability for lenders: the law in flux

The Environmental Protection (Chain of Responsibility) Amendment Act 2016 (Qld) puts lenders at risk of being in the firing line of the Queensland DEHP for environmental harm caused by their borrowers in Queensland.

When is a water treatment plant part of coal seam gas ‘prospecting’?

A recent decision by Justice Moore in People for the Plains v Santos [2016] has provided some clarity around the types of activities that fall under the definition of ‘prospecting’ and can therefore be carried out without development consent.

Can an enforcement notice be challenged during a prosecution?

Two recent decisions by the District Court and the Court of Appeal have helped to clarify whether a recipient of an enforcement notice has the right to challenge the validity of that notice at trial in Queensland.

Outcomes Focus: Environmental Impact Bonds are all about results

There is an alternative to Green Bonds – Environmental Impact Bonds tie financial returns to the success of a green project.

What you need to know about Victoria’s Draft Apartment Design Standards

The Victorian Government’s Better Apartments Draft Design Standards have been released with potentially significant implications for those in the development industry.

Winky Pop v Mobil: Lost Opportunities for Land Developers

A recent decision by the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal in Winky Pop Pty Ltd v Mobil Refining Australia Pty Ltd [2016] VSCA 187 has clarified the availability of loss of opportunity damages in land contamination cases.

Swept away – sea front erosion control in Queensland

Recent wild weather has highlighted the risks of storm erosion to beach front development. But regulation in Queensland is complex and the protection of private land is not guaranteed.

Challenging unlawful local government rates: What are the options for landowners?

WIth the end of the financial year approaching, Queensland’s local governments are finalising their 2016/2017 budgets, including setting rates for land. Landowners should be aware of their options for challenging unlawful rates.

Clean energy: ARENA’s grant funding and the new Clean Energy Innovation Fund

On 23 March 2016, the Turnbull Government announced the establishment of a $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF) to provide debt and equity funding for clean energy projects.

BioBanking 2.0 – The NSW Government’s Draft Biodiversity Conservation Laws

On 3 May 2016, the NSW Government proposed a major overhaul of the State’s biodiversity conservation laws. We outline the key proposed changes, and what these changes may mean for development and conservation in NSW.

Friends of Tumblebee Incorporated v ATB Morton Pty Limited (No 2) [2016] NSWLEC 16

This decision has important implications for developers undertaking developments in areas where endangered species and/or their habitats may be impacted

Recommended changes to Environmental Regulation in Victoria

On 16 May 2016, the report of the Independent Inquiry into the Environment Protection Agency was released to the public which proposes a comprehensive overhaul of Victoria’s environmental legislative framework.

DEHP’s new weapons to ensure clean-up of mining sites: are you in the firing line?

Recent amendments to Queensland’s environmental laws give the DEHP wide powers to ensure the clean-up of mining sites, and create new liabilities for ‘related persons’. Are you a related person? You might be surprised by the answer…

Are we nearly there yet? Yes we are!! The status of planning law reform in Queensland

On 11 May 2016 a milestone was reached in the reform of Queensland planning legislation with the passing of the Planning Bill 2015 and its associated legislation.

Executive officers - be warned – your right to silence under the Environmental Protection Act has been removed

Recent amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, assented to on 27 April 2016, now compel an individual to answer a question put to them under s476 of the Act even if answering might tend to incriminate the individual.

The Safeguard Mechanism commences on 1 July 2016: what does it mean for business?

The Safeguard Mechanism is the final, critical component of the Emissions Reduction Fund, the centrepiece of the current Government’s climate change and emissions reduction policy.

Significant changes to Victoria’s Aboriginal heritage legislation will commence soon – what you need to know

Earlier this year, the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Act 2016 (Vic) (Amending Act) was passed by the Victorian State Parliament. The Amending Act introduces a number of significant changes to the way that Aboriginal heritage is managed in Victoria.

Cutting red tape while ensuring quality control – rising to the challenge of export law reform

The Commonwealth Government is in the process of reforming Australia’s agricultural export legislation in recognition of the current regulatory complexity.

Key reforms to the South Australian planning system passed by Parliament

The Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (SA) (Act), which is designed to reform South Australia’s planning and development system and will repeal the Development Act 1993 (SA), has now been passed by both Houses of Parliament.

Victorian EPA seeks to clarify the framework for the reuse of prescribed industrial waste

The EPA has recognised a lack of clarity in the current provisions in the Regulations relating to beneficial reuse of prescribed industrial waste (PIW) - ie certain waste from industrial and commercial activities that has characteristics or contains

The resurrection of the ‘avoid, minimise, offset’ hierarchy: proposed reforms to tighten native vegetation controls in Victoria

The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has recently released a consultation paper setting out a number of proposed reforms to the Victoria Planning Provisions. These reforms would introduce a greater degree of rigour to th

One person’s waste is another person's treasure

The South Australian ERD Court again considers the complex question of how materials destined for reuse are to be characterised under the Environment Protection Act 1993.

Court of Appeal clarifies when development application material can be used in interpreting a development approval

A recent decision of the Queensland Court of Appeal has clarified when a development application can be referred to in order to resolve uncertainty around the scope of a development approval.

Is your State significant development likely to significantly affect threatened species or their habitats? The devil is not in the detail!

In Upper Mooki Landcare Inc v Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Ltd and Minister for Planning, the NSW Land and Environment Court has dismissed a challenge to the Watermark Coal Project, an open cut coal mining project south east of Gunnedah.

Paris Climate Change Agreement – a snapshot

On 12 December 2015, The United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris concluded with the release of the ‘Paris Agreement’ (‘Agreement’).

Local governments will have more confidence in differential rating after new Court decision

A decision of Queensland’s Supreme Court dismissing a landowner’s challenge to a differential rate has important implications for local governments and ratepayers.

Environmental regulation in Indonesia: Getting to green

The what and how of environmental approvals in Indonesia.

Regional Planning Interests Act - What does it mean for your resources project?

With the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 now passed, resources companies will need to take stock of how this Act will impact their operations.

Owning a former landfill - On the nose or a walk in the park?

Is the owner of land formerly used as a landfill required to notify the State if environmental harm is being caused?

Section 61 of the Just Terms Act: Relocation costs and the basis for the assessment of compensation for market value of land

On 28 February 2014, the NSW Court of Appeal handed down its decision in El Boustani v The Minister administering the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 [2014] NSWCA 33.

Federal Court upholds ban on “Super Trawler”, but warns of rough seas ahead

On 21 February 2014, the Federal Court of Australia delivered its decision in the matter of Seafish Tasmania Pelagic Pty Ltd v Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Water, Population and Communities.

The Land Access Review - Recommendations for change

Further changes to the Land Access regime in Queensland are foreshadowed in the Land Access Implementation Committee Report released on 4 March 2014.

Special rates - A bridge too far?

E Cocco & Sons Investments Pty Ltd v Gold Coast City Council [2014] QSC 10.

Access to developments from classified roads: Implications of Modern Motels Pty Ltd v Fairfield City Council [2013] NSWLEC 138

The has refused consent for a fast food development because access was proposed from a classified road where access via a local road was also available, although not considered desirable by the developer.

Mothballing a resources project - Landowner issues and compensation

While the decision to shut down a resources project is usually driven by economic and financial factors, implementing the closure requires compliance with a variety of legal measures.

Just Terms Act Update: Compensation for open space land in Willoughby found not to equate to residential land rates

On 10 February 2014, the Court handed down its decision in Willoughby City Council v Roads and Maritime Services. The decision is significant for a number of reasons.

Protection of the sea from pollution by oil from ships: Findings of recent sentencing judgments

Two judgments in December 2013 provide some useful current guidance on sentencing considerations for offences under the Marine Pollution Act 1987.

Failure to notify a pollution incident “as soon as practicable”: Environment Protection Authority v Bulga Coal Management

The NSW Land and Environment Court handed down its decision in Environment Protection Authority v Bulga Coal Management Pty Limited [2014] NSWLEC 5.

Proposed changes to BASIX targets

In December 2013, the NSW Government announced proposed changes to Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) targets.

Review of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (Western Australia) - Discussion paper

The Western Australian Government Department of Environmental Regulation has issued a Discussion Paper – Review of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 – for a final round of public discussions.

Compensation payable to reserve trusts: The first decision on Section 106A of the Crown Lands Act 1989 (NSW)

On 24 December 2013, the NSW Land and Environment Court handed down its decision in Tempe Recreation (D.500215 & D.1000502) Reserve Trust v Sydney Water Corporation [2013] NSWLEC 221.

Native title fishing rights - A recent High Court decision

A recent decision of the High Court has examined the extinguishment of native title rights at common law, in particular, the right to fish and has adopted a broad interpretation of section 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), a native title defenc

The “finalised” CSG reforms: What it means for the CSG and agricultural industries

On 28 January 2014, the NSW Government announced that it “has finalised landmark” coal seam gas reforms which aim to safeguard homes and high quality farmland in NSW.

The role of weighting when relying on “far from perfect” comparable sales

Recently, the NSW Land and Environment Court handed down its decision in Marrickville Council v Sydney Water Corporation [2013] NSWLEC 222.

Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper

On 20 December 2013, the Australian Government released the Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper, inviting public comment and written submissions until 21 February 2014.

Expanded categories of exempt and complying development

More development in NSW is to be code assessed or exempt from requiring approval, as the categories of exempt and complying development have been expanded through amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy.

CSG explorer convicted and fined: The first prosecution for breaches of conditions of an exploration licence

On 10 January 2014, the NSW Land and Environment Court convicted Santos NSW Pty Ltdof four offences for failing, without reasonable excuse, to comply with conditions of its petroleum exploration licence.

Manning v Bathurst Regional Council (No 2) [2013] NSWLEC 186: A consideration of Wednesbury unreasonableness in the context of notification requirements

The Court has been asked to consider whether the decision by a consent authority not to notify an adjoining land owner of two development applications was ‘manifestly unreasonable’.

The significance of mineral resources is now the principal consideration in determining mining proposals - But will this development be short lived?

On 4 November 2013, State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment 2013 came into force.

CSG update: Special areas zone, exclusion zones, Gateway Assessment Panel and one-stop shop for environmental approvals

Over the past two months, the NSW Government has introduced a raft of changes that affect the development of the coal seam gas industry in the State.

Impact of council de-amalgamation on development applications and legal proceedings - Practical advice

The de-amalgamation process will invariably present some practical challenges for councils. Two key issues are the impact of de-amalgamation on development applications and legal proceedings.

State Planning Policy 2 December 2013

The 2nd of December 2013 is a big day in Queensland for State planning.

Regional Planning Interests Bill is another hurdle for resource projects

Resources projects could be excluded from areas of regional interest.

Regional Planning Interests Bill 2013

The Regional Planning Interests Bill has been stated to be “an act to manage the impact of resource activities and other regulated activities on areas of the state that contribute to Queensland’s economic, social and environmental prosperity”.

More legislation and new approvals - How the Regional Planning Interests Bill 2013 will impact Queensland resource projects

On 20 November 2013, the Honourable Jeff Seeney MP introduced the Regional Planning Interests Bill 2013 (the Bill) into Queensland Parliament.

Mothballing a resources project - Regulatory approvals and overlapping tenure issues

Project owners need to manage statutory and contractual obligations as well as a range of environmental, employment and safety issues.

Planning reform program in Western Australia - Calls for submissions

The Department of Planning is progressing the State Government’s reform program for the planning system in Western Australia with the release of three documents for public submissions:

Discussion Paper on planning for affordable housing in Western Australia - Calls for submissions

The Department of Planning has issued a Discussion Paper – Planning Provisions for Affordable Housing – for public submissions.

First fine for non-disclosure of reportable political donations

Aston Coal 2 Pty Ltd has been fined because two of its directors had made reportable political donations which were not disclosed during the assessment of the Maules Creek planning application.

NSW releases draft Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy

The NSW State Government announced a funding package of $465.7 million for the waste and resource recovery sector over the next 5 years.

The future of the Clean Energy Future package

“Securing a clean energy future – The Australian Government’s climate change plan” was released by the Labor Government on 10 July 2011.

De Rose v South Australia - The first approved native title compensation determination

In October, the Court handed down its judgment in De Rose v State of SA, the first decision to order the payment of compensation for the extinguishment of native title rights and interests.

Amendments to the Planning and Environment Act might give rise to unexpected results

There’s a new streamlined process for amending or ending section 173 agreements, but it does have some quirks.

Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities [2013] FCAFC 111

The Full Court of the Federal Court recently handed down its decision in Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

Draft carbon tax repeal legislation released - What does it mean for your business?

Repeal of the carbon tax is underway but uncertainty for business continues.

Save Little Beach Manly Foreshore Incorporated v Manly Council [2013] NSWLEC 155

Save Little Manly Beach Foreshore Incorporated brought judicial review proceedings against Manly Council to prevent Council from disposing of its land on the Little Manly Beach foreshore.

Queensland’s de-amalgamating councils: Employment issues to consider

On 1 January 2014 up to 1,315 employees will transfer from continuing to new local governments.

Impact of de-amalgamation on contracts - How will it work?

The new local governments of Douglas, Livingstone, Noosa and Mareeba (and their respective “new local government areas”) will come into existence on 1 January 2014.

Concerning mining lease objections - How to deal with ‘free hit’ objections to mining lease applications

Objections to mining leases with no evidence or only unsubstantiated concerns carry little force but cost applicants both time and money.

Queensland’s de-amalgamating councils: Making the most of a fresh start

Four local councils in Queensland are separating from their regional councils following a March referendum in which their communities overwhelmingly voted for de-amalgamation.

Strategic cropping land review: Have your say

Now is the time to let government know what you think about Queensland’s strategic cropping land laws.

IGA loses test case against new Coles development

On 29 May 2013, the Western Australian Supreme Court handed down judgment in Aloi v Bertola [2013] WASC 214.

Productivity Commission caught between a rock and a hard place in finding ways to streamline project approvals

The Commission’s proposed framework for approvals processes will be controversial.

Who is an “occupier” under Queensland’s Petroleum & Gas Act?

The new “occupier” definition has broadened the scope of “who” is eligible to claim compensation from resource companies.

The economic benefits of mining proposals to be primary consideration

On 25 July 2013, the draft State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) Amendment (Resource Significance) 2013 was released for public comment.

Don’t kill the golden goose before it lays an egg - Time to review restrictions on the unconventional gas sector

As the resources boom recedes the opportunity cost of restrictions on shale and coal seam gas is mounting.

New clarity on compensation for landowner time

The Land Court has confirmed the current statutory position in relation to landowner time for resources compensation.

What constitutes a material change in circumstances under Queensland’s Petroleum & Gas Act?

Resources companies must understand the types of changes that are ‘material’ and could trigger a compensation review.

A summary of Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the Infrastructure Planning and Charging Framework Review discussion paper

In its March 2011 final report, the Infrastructure Charges Taskforce made ten recommendations to the former Queensland Labor government.

Court of appeal overturns land and environment court decision on meaning of residential buildings

In GrainCorp Operations Ltd v. Liverpool Plains Shire Council, the NSW Court of Appeal overturned a decision of the Court in relation to the proper characterisation of workforce accommodation for fly-in-fly-out workers.

Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Illegal Waste Disposal) Bill 2013

The Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment Bill 2013 was introduced into the State Legislative Assembly by the Minister for the Environment on 30 May 2013.

Federal Court overturns Commonwealth approval of Tarkine region iron ore mine

On 17 July 2013, the Federal Court of Australia (Court) delivered judgment in Tarkine National Coalition Incorporated v Minister for Sustainability, Water, Population and Communities [2013] FCA 694 (17 July 2013).

Cash bidding for exploration permits in Queensland - A losing game for junior explorers?

Smaller explorers could be squeezed out of the state’s most highly prospective acreage.

Reviewing compensation for resources tenures - What’s done isn’t necessarily dusted

What is a material change of circumstance for the purpose of reviewing compensation?

Court refuses expansion of Rio Tinto’s Warkworth Coal Mine

On 15 April 2013, the Court handed down judgment in Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association Inc v Minister for Planning and Infrastructure and Warkworth Mining Limited [2013] NSWLEC 48.

Proposed new framework for infrastructure contributions in NSW

The Planning Bill 2013 – Exposure Draft and A New Planning System for NSW – White Paper propose a new system governing the provision of infrastructure contributions.

Will a single state planning policy change anything in Queensland?

Queensland’s new state planning policy promises simplicity, but can it deliver?

Do resources companies have to compensate land owners for their time?

Do Queensland land owners have a right to compensation for the time they spend negotiating conduct and compensation agreements?

An update on environmental assessments, the precautionary principle and adaptive management regimes

On 27 February 2013, the NSW Land and Environment Court handed down judgment in SHCAG Pty Ltd v Minister for Planning and Infrastructure and Boral Cement Limited [2013] NSWLEC 1032.

A new planning system for New South Wales - White Paper

‘A New Planning System for New South Wales - White Paper’ represents the final stage of the comprehensive review of the state’s planning system which was initiated by the NSW Govt in July 2011.

Can the NSW planning system change its spots?

The NSW Government has released the White Paper on its proposed new planning system.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Paper Subdivisions) Regulation 2013

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Regulation 2013 and corresponding paper subdivision provisions now contained in the EPA Act commenced on 8 March 2013.

Environmental finance: A new way to finance your building retrofit

A new lending product is incentivising property owners to upgrade the environmental efficiency of their existing buildings.

Implementation of the Upper Hunter air quality monitoring network

On 15 February 2013, the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network) Regulation 2013 (NSW) commenced.

Section 82A Reviews and the time limitation for commencing a Class 1 appeal: Lakeman v Ku-ring-gai Council [2013] NSWLEC 14

The New South Wales Land and Environment Court has recently considered the preservation of appeal rights following a request for review under section 82A of the EPA Act made too late for the relevant Council.

Characterisation of development

On 21 February 2013, the Department of Planning and Infrastructure released a planning circular (PS 13-001) titled “How to characterise development”.

A seminal judgment on the operation of Part 5 of the EPA Act

Corrs acted for Dart Energy Ltd in the decision of Justice Pepper of the NSW Land and Environment Court handed down on 28 March 2013.

Proposed coal seam gas exclusion zones in NSW

On 21 March 2013, the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure released the draft State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment 2013 (NSW) for public comment.

Land access and compensation pitfalls: Who is an “occupier”?

Planned amendments to Queensland’s definition of "occupier" will not fix the current ambiguity and resources companies will still face land access risks.

Productivity Commission review a ray of hope for major projects

Could reform be on the way for Australia’s infamous major projects approval regime?

Changes in NSW to liability of directors and managers for environmental offences

The NSW Parliament passed the Miscellaneous Acts Amendment Bill 2012 which aims to reduce the circumstances in which directors and managers should face criminal sanctions for offences committed by their corporations.

Public interest litigants - Order made to provide security for costs

In the recent decision of Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining Inc v Gujarat NRE Coking Coal Ltd, the Court ordered a public interest litigant to provide security for costs of the respondent in the sum of $40,000.

Section 138 Roads Act Approvals and Judicial Review: The Northern Eruv Incorporated v Ku-ring-gai Council [2012] NSWLEC 249

The Land and Environment Court has given recent judicial consideration to the scope of the Court’s power under section 39(2) of the Land and Environment Court Act 1979 to review approvals under the Roads Act 1993.

Gas Fields Commission Bill 2012

The Queensland Government has introduced the Gas Fields Commission Bill 2012 into the Queensland Parliament.

NSW State Government seeks to clarify the status of Development Control Plans - An update

Following our In Brief on the Environmental Planning and Assessment Bill 2012, the NSW Government has passed the Bill subject to the amendments set out below.

New environmental assessment reforms are controversial, but ultimately sensible

Industry and environmental groups are polarised over reforms to streamline approvals for large projects. Who’s right?

Establishing the Gateway Panel and the verification process

In September 2012, the NSW Government released the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy to provide greater protection for valuable agricultural land and water resources from the impacts of mining and coal seam gas proposals.

The new independent expert scientific committee for CSG and large coal mining development

On 9 November 2012, the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development was established following the amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation.

The Sustainable Planning and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 has passed

The Gateway Process was introduced in July 2009 to reduce the time taken for the NSW government to produce Local Environment Plans.

The wheels are in motion - A single state planning policy in Queensland

In Queensland, the State has long had the ability to make policies regarding matters of ‘State significance’/’State interest’. The current government plans to replace these with one single State planning policy.

Parliament increases CSG royalties and mining penalties

On 25 October 2012, the NSW Parliament passed the Petroleum Amendment Bill 2012.

Economic Development Bill 2012 - Implications for resources and infrastructure projects

The State has introduced the Economic Development Bill 2012 involving significant changes.

The Economic Development Bill 2012 - Main issues for planning and development

The Economic Development Bill 2012 was introduced into the Queensland Parliament on Thursday 1 November 2012.

The meaning of waste - Environmental Protection Authority v Terrace Earthmoving Pty Ltd & Page [2012] NSW LEC 216

The Land and Environment Court has recently clarified the definition of ‘waste’ in the context of criminal proceedings for unlawfully transporting waste.

NSW State Govt seeks to clarify the status of development control

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2012 was recently introduced to the NSW Parliament. The Bill proposes amendments that clarify the status of development control plans as mere ‘guidelines’.

Proposed changes to planning code

The NSW Department for Planning and Infrastructure recently released an outline of proposed changes to code-based approvals for residential, commercial and industrial projects.

A new national environmental offsets policy

The Commonwealth Government has released its new Environmental Offsets Policy under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Communities pay for polluters in Queensland

Queensland’s State Government is seeking to deregulate a raft of polluting industrial activities, leaving local councils to pay for the clean up.

Renewable Energy: Is 20% by 2020 really achievable?

The NSW Government is committed to 20% renewable energy by 2020 but are the State’s environmental and planning laws a roadblock to renewable energy development?

Green light for mining and CSG, but at what cost to developers and the environment?

The NSW Government’s Strategic Regional Land Use Policy offers little protection to farmers and the environment and manages to add costs and delays to coal and CSG projects.

Will justice be served if losers pay in Planning & Environment appeals?

Local governments and community groups may be the real losers under proposed reforms to Queensland’s Planning and Environment Court.

The Local Government and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012

The Local Government and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 was introduced by the Minister for Local Government on 13 September 2012.

Release of the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - What it means for coal and gas projects on strategic agricultural land

The NSW Govt released the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy which aims to provide greater protection for valuable agricultural land and water resources from the impacts of mining and coal seam gas proposals.

NSW Public Private Partnership Guidelines (2012)

The NSW Public Private Partnership Guidelines supersede the Working with Government Guidelines for Privately Financed Projects and complement the National Public Private Partnerships Policy and Guidelines.

Scope of conditions power under EPBC Act examined by Federal Court

In a recent case the Court considered a challenge to the approval granted under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for the proposed expansion of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam uranium mine in South Australia.

NSW Planning Reforms: Green Paper - Significant reform or more of the same?

The NSW Government’s Green Paper, ‘A new planning system for NSW’ released on 14 July 2012 lays out a blueprint for fundamental planning reform in NSW.

Land and Environment Court clarifies meaning of “residential” buildings

In a recent decision, the Court found that a proposed workforce accommodation development designed primarily for fly-in, fly-out (or similar) workers lacked the element of permanency required to be characterised as “residential buildings”.

Greentape Reduction Bill: Will it strip local governments’ power to regulate environmental impacts?

Queensland’s Greentape Reduction Bill may make it more difficult for local governments to regulate environmental impacts.

Foreign investment in Australian agriculture - Where to from here?

Foreign investment in Australian agricultural land has become a hot button political issue. But there are a number of different factors at play.

World Heritage Committee - State of conservation - Great Barrier Reef draft decision

In 1981, the Great Barrier Reef was inscribed on the World Heritage list for its Outstanding Universal Value.

Will the government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation really be a boon for green energy?

The government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation will commence investing in green energy projects next year. But is it really a cure for the renewable sector’s malaise?

Strict interpretation of Local Government Act will lead to practical difficulties for local government prosecutions - Recent important Court of Appeal Decision

This In Brief examines the recent case of Ipswich City Council v Dixonbuild [2012] QCA 98.

Changed requirements for hazardous chemicals and registration of plant in Queensland

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) is part of a national package of uniform work health and safety legislation. It repealed the Dangerous Goods Safety Management Act 2001 (Qld) and as of 1 January 2012 regulates dangerous goods in Queensland.

Recent environmental decisions concerning energy & resources projects

This In Brief addresses three recent cases of relevance to Energy & Resources Projects.

Orica pleads guilty to pollution incident at Kooragang Island plant

The leak of the chemical chromium VI at Orica’s ammonia plant on Kooragang Island led to Parliament establishing the Select Committee to examine the response to the leak by both the Government and Orica. Its findings were published in a report.

Simplification of procedure for making local environmental plans

On 27 March 2012, the NSW Department of Planning & Infrastructure exhibited Draft Policy Statement on Plan-making and Delegations. The Statement proposes to simplify the procedure for making local environmental plans “more local and accountable".

Carbon offset condition will only be imposed in limited circumstances

Recently, the Land and Environment Court handed down its decision in Hunter Environment Lobby Inc v Minister for Planning.

Delivery of the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - What it means for developments in regional areas

The NSW Government has released a number of draft plans, policies and guidelines that deliver on its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - but what impact will this have on developments in regional areas?

Delivery of the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - What it means for the large projects requiring dewatering

The NSW Government has released a number of draft plans, policies and guidelines that deliver on its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - but how will this impage large projects requiring dewatering?

Delivery of the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - What it means for coal and gas projects on or near strategic agricultural land

The NSW Government has released a number of draft plans, policies and guidelines that deliver on its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy - but what impact will this have on coal and gas projects on or near strategic agricultural land?

EPA releases draft environmental guidelines on the publication of monitoring data

In January 2012, the NSW Environment Protection Authority released draft guidelines which set out the requirements for holders of environment protection licences to publish pollution monitoring data.

Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry Report and the resources industry - Releasing water from mine sites and dams without breaching Environmental Authority conditions

To anyone with experience of the impacts of the 2010/2011 heavy rain on water balance issues at mine sites, and the DERM response to those difficult circumstances, the Commission’s recommendations make perfect sense.

Are critical infrastructure declarations and approvals reviewable?

In the decision of Haughton v Minister for Planning and Macquarie Generation; Haughton v Minister for Planning and TRUenergy Pty Ltd, the Court held that critical infrastructure declarations and approvals are reviewable

Sustainable Planning and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2012 Amendments

This e-newsletter summarises recent changes to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, the Urban Land Development Authority Act 2007, the Local Government Act 2009 and the Building Act 1975.

New requirements for pollution incident response management plans

The Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011 (NSW) makes notable changes to the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW) and aims to improve the reporting and management of pollution incidents in New South Wales.

Coal seam gas versus other land uses: Has Queensland got it right?

The optimistically named Resources Legislation (Balance, Certainty and Efficiency) Bill 2011 is the Queensland government’s latest attempt at addressing the conflict between the coal seam gas industry and other land users.

Overhaul of planning legislation in NSW

The NSW State Government is undertaking the most significant overhaul of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (NSW) since its introduction in 1979.

Our Experts

LILLYWHITE Brent website grey SIZED TH

Brent Lillywhite

Partner Brisbane +61 7 3228 9420
Christine Covington.jpg

Christine Covington

Partner Sydney +61 2 9210 6428
Henry Prokuda.jpg

Henry Prokuda

Consultant Brisbane +61 7 3228 9791
BUTTON Jillian website grey SIZED TH

Jillian Button

Partner Melbourne +61 3 9672 3493
DAVIS Kirsty website grey TH

Kirsty Davis

Special Counsel Sydney +61 2 9210 6177
OBRIEN Leanne website grey SIZED TH

Leanne O'Brien

Special Counsel Brisbane +61 7 3228 9453
Louise Camenzuli.jpg

Louise Camenzuli

Partner Sydney +61 2 9210 6621
Shea Lucy website grey SIZED TH

Lucy Shea

Special Counsel Perth +61 8 9460 1810
LEONGMichael.jpg

Michael Leong

Partner Brisbane +61 7 3228 9474
Sue Davidson.jpg

Sue Davidson

Special Counsel Melbourne +61 3 9672 3209