EPA Act Amendments – VPA preconditions no longer a restriction on issuing of occupation certificates

A small but significant change to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (‘EPA Act‘) will take effect on 1 September 2018 removing a restriction on the issuing of occupation certificates where a precondition to the issuing of the certificate contained in a voluntary planning agreement (‘VPA‘) has not been met.

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Proposal to modernise retail premises land use definitions

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment (‘DPE‘) is calling for submissions on its proposed amendments to the Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Order 2006 (‘Standard Instrument‘).  The amendments proposed the  introduction of new definitions for retail uses of land.

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Amendment of Minimum Subdivision Lot Size clauses in the Standard Instrument

The Standard Instrument – Principle Local Environmental Plan (‘Standard Instrument‘) has been amended to clarify that the minimum lot size development standard does not apply to either the subdivision of land by the registration of strata or community plans, or the subdivision of lots within an existing strata or community scheme.

This changes the position back to what many councils thought the position was before the Court’s decision in DM & Longbow Pty Ltd v Willoughby City Council  [2017] NSWLEC 1358 (Longbow).

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Hypothetical proceedings no excuse for non-compliance with a notice

The Land and Environment Court (‘Court‘) recently considered whether the Environment Protection Authority (‘EPA‘) should be required to provide an undertaking that any information provided by a Company’s Director and Managers (‘Applicants‘) in response to a notice to answer questions under s203 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (‘Act‘) would not be used against the Applicants.

The Court also examined whether a person contravenes the Act if they fail to nominate a place and time to answer questions as required by a s203 notice.

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Can an unrepresented litigant claim costs for out of pocket expenses in legal proceedings?

In Profitability Consulting Pty Ltd v Thorpe [2018] NSWCATAP 41, the Appeal Panel of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘Appeal Panel‘) considered an application for costs brought by two unrepresented litigants (‘the Thorpes‘) to recoup their out of pocket expenses for childcare, accommodation and travel which they incurred to attend a hearing.  Continue reading

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Recovery of costs under the POEO Act by Public Authorities

The NSW Court of Appeal (‘Court‘) recently determined an appeal from the Land and Environment Court (‘LEC‘), where it was argued that Kempsey Shire Council (‘Council‘) was not entitled to recover its clean-up costs under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (‘Act‘) from the directors of a company that had caused pollution.

This case confirms that a Council will be entitled to recover its clean-up costs under the Act, in circumstances where it has not fully complied with a clean-up notice issued to it by the Environment Protection Authority (‘EPA‘) under s92 of the Act.

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State Government Expands Complying Development

During 2017 the State Government proposed 2 new codes to expand the range of development which could be carried out as complying development under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) .

The amendments to the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 (EPA Act) which commenced on 1 March 2018 made changes to the provisions of the EPA Act regarding complying development, suggesting that the Government would proceed with its plans to expand the scope of complying development.

Today the government made a state environmental planning policy which from 6 July 2018 will amend the Codes SEPP so that one and two storey dual occupancies, manor houses and terrace housing can be carried out as complying development.

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ALERT – The Coastal Management Act 2016 & Coastal Management SEPP have commenced

The Coastal Management Act 2016 (Act) and State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2018 (Coastal Management SEPP) commenced on 3 April 2018.

The Act has repealed the Coastal Protection Act 1979 (Former Act), and implements the coastal reforms first proposed by the NSW Government in 2015. In this post, we set out some of the key changes.

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