Native Title Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

The Native Title Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (‘Bill’) is currently being considered by the Australian Parliament. The Bill was read for a second time in the House of Representatives on 21 February 2019 by the Attorney-General following which debate was adjourned. The next sitting of the House of Representatives will be from 2-4 April 2019.

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New Practice Note for Class 3 Compensation Claims in NSW Land and Environment Court

The Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales has issued a new Practice Note for Class 3 Compensation Claims proceedings relating to the acquisition of land (‘Practice Note‘).

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Cyber Security and Local Government: Managing IT Providers

The use of  information technology  systems for internal management functions, to provide services and information to their communities and to exercise regulatory functions is integral to the day to day operation of governmental organisations. External providers are commonly used to manage these IT systems (‘Providers’).

The recent hacking of the Australian Parliament House network is a timely reminder of the need for government to be vigilant in protecting its own information, third party personal information and IT systems.  The NSW Auditor-General’s Report on Local Government 2018 (‘Report‘) indicates that there is scope for local councils to improve the management of Providers.

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How much is native title worth? – landmark High Court case

Yesterday, in a landmark decision, the High Court of Australia determined the amount of compensation payable to a native title group for both economic and cultural loss.

The Northern Territory of Australia was ordered to pay a total of $2,530,350 to the Ngaliwurru and Nungali Peoples for loss, diminution, impairment or other effects of certain acts by the Government that had an impact on the group’s native title rights and interests over Timber Creek, in the north west of the Northern Territory.

The question is, what does this mean for governments, and will this case set off further compensation claims?

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The importance of proper investigation technique – A Council’s investigation process challenged in the LEC

A recent decision of the Land and Environment Court examined the way in which a Council investigating officer interviewed witnesses, and how the conduct of that officer ultimately affected the evidence relied on by the prosecutor. The decision provides useful guidance on the correct approach to interviewing witnesses and the importance of proper investigation techniques.

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Expansion of types of leases and licences that Council managers can grant over pre-POM Crown land

Local councils who are Crown land managers can now grant more types of leases and licences over Crown land that they manage pending the adoption of a plan of management (‘POM’) for that land under the Local Government Act 1993 (‘LG Act‘).  Continue reading

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Councils’ use of EPA Act Investigative Powers clarified by the Court of Criminal Appeal

In a significant judgment, the Court of Criminal Appeal (Court) has clarified the use of local councils’ investigative powers under s9.22 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (Act). The Court ruled on when notices to answer questions and produce records will have been validly issued ‘for an investigative purpose‘.

The Court’s judgment set aside a previous decision by the Land and Environment Court that had broad implications for the ability of local councils to obtain information during investigations that could later be used in criminal prosecutions.

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Shrub Removal Saves a Consent from Lapsing

It has long been the case that reasonably minimal preparatory works are sufficient to prevent a development consent from lapsing. A recent case has held that a consent was prevented from lapsing as the result of removal of shrubs, thus making it even easier for landowners and developers to protect their development rights.

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Joint procurement of waste management services by councils

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently issued determinations under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (the CC Act) authorising certain councils to jointly procure waste management services.

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The Changing Face of the GIPA Act and the Power to Refuse to Deal

The power in s 60 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) to refuse to deal with an access application is a power often under-utilised by public sector agencies. In this blog, we consider whether recent amendments to the GIPA Act inhibit the broader use of the power.

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