Staged development applications or concept approvals?

On 30 June 2017, the NSW Government released a Bill to amend the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 (EPA Act) to replace the idea of a ‘staged development application’ with a ‘concept development application’. The Bill is a swift response to a decision of the NSW Court of Appeal in Bay Simmer Investments Pty Ltd v State…

When ‘liabilities’ do not include all liabilities: A pollution prosecution ‘ended’ by a council amalgamation

The NSW Land and Environment Court has held that the Proclamation which merged Dubbo Council with Wellington Council, to become Dubbo Regional Council, ‘ended’ the prosecution proceedings that had been commenced by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) but not determined by the Court. The reason the prosecution ended was because the Proclamation did not have…

Balancing flexibility and fairness: a review of the policy framework for Voluntary Planning Agreements

The NSW Government has responded to growing concern that the development industry is ‘being held to ransom’ by some Councils when negotiating VPAs by releasing a revised Practice Note and draft Direction and circular regarding the use of Voluntary Planning Agreements (VPAs) under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). On 4 November…

When do State government decisions, undertakings and works require referral to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment?

Tasmania appears to be a focal point for Federal Court decisions with respect to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act). A recent decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court has considered the definition of an ‘action’ as it relates to State Government decisions regarding works where it is…