Allens

Environment & Planning

Our experienced Environment & Planning legal team regularly publishes articles and updates - the full list of publications appears below. These publications will keep you abreast of changes to requirements or standards, and inform you of relevant legal and non-legal news and how it affects your industry. If you'd like to be notified when we add new environment & planning publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

Victorian Environmental Reform

Victoria's environmental protection legislation is being reformed for the first time in nearly 50 years. A new era of environmental regulation in Victoria will commence in 2020, with a suite of positive duties to proactively address and minimise impacts on the environment and human health, supported by increased enforcement powers and a broad range of compliance tools.

Download our one page practical guide to the reforms and their implications (PDF).

Our environmental specialists provide their insights on key elements of the reforms in the articles below. We will continue to update you about the new regime as draft regulations and EPA guidance material is released for comment.

If you have any queries about the reforms or the implications for your business, please contact Jillian Button.

Read about our track record in environment & planning.

Environment & Planning Publications

  • Focus: New port zone for Geelong, Hastings and Portland

    17 October 2014

    A new 'Port Zone' has been applied to three major Victorian ports, at Geelong, Hastings and Portland, with announcements that it will make it easier for port operations to expand. The Port of Melbourne, however, is not included in the new zone, consistent with the State Government's intention to develop the site for alternative commercial uses in the medium term. Managing Associate Meg Lee and Lawyer Emily Johnstone report.

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  • Client Update: Major changes proposed to environmental regulation in Queensland

    24 September 2014

    The Queensland Government has introduced amending legislation that will result in new flexibility, new obligations and higher penalties in relation to environmental regulation in Queensland. Partner Bill McCredie and Senior Associate Gobind Kalsi report.

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  • Focus: New stormwater licencing in the pipeline

    22 September 2014

    New legislation that seeks to establish a statutory framework for the access to and use of stormwater in Victoria is an attempt to increase the use of stormwater in urban areas and furthers the Victorian Government's policy of limiting the diversion of water from rural areas for urban use. The process to access this alternative water source appears, at first glance, to be straightforward. However, uncertainty still exists. Partner Kate Axup and Lawyer Danielle Atkin report.

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  • Client Update: Employment area expanded to cater for demand associated with Badgerys Creek airport

    5 September 2014

    The NSW Government has released for comment a draft amendment to its Statement Environmental Planning Policy for the Western Sydney Employment Area. The amendment will provide for the expansion of the Western Sydney Employment Area to meet the expected demands of economic growth in Western Sydney generated by the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek. Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March report.

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  • Focus: Amendments to Federal environmental regulation

    28 August 2014

    The Federal Government has implemented a variety of policy and legislative reforms to its environmental approvals regime. Partner Chris Schulz, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Associate Katherine Kirby report on two legislative amendments that facilitate recent reforms: the introduction of a 'user pays' system for environmental assessments and the Federal Government's proposed 'one stop shop' environmental approvals.

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  • Focus: New planning legislation for Queensland's development

    18 August 2014

    The latest component of the Queensland Government's planning reform package has been released. The draft Planning and Development Bill aims to facilitate Queensland's development by balancing economic growth, environmental protection and community wellbeing. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Senior Associate Anna Vella report.

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  • Client Update: New infrastructure charges, environmental offsets and regional planning regimes commence in Queensland

    17 July 2014

    New frameworks for infrastructure planning and charging, environmental offsets and regulating activities in 'areas of regional interest' have now commenced in Queensland. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling, Senior Associate Michael Zissis and Associate Julieane Bull report on how the reforms may affect you.

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  • Focus: Final version of Metropolitan Planning Strategy released

    23 May 2014

    Following consultation and feedback, a final version of the Metropolitan Planning Strategy, known as Plan Melbourne, has been launched. While the focus of Plan Melbourne continues to be on employment cluster locations and urban renewal opportunities, there is also a renewed focus in the final document on key Government infrastructure projects - the East-West road project and the Melbourne Rail Link project. Special Counsel Meg Lee reports.

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  • Client Update: 'One stop shop' environmental approvals a step closer in Queensland and NSW

    19 May 2014

    A 'one stop shop' for Commonwealth and state environmental approvals in Queensland and New South Wales is a step closer with the release of draft Approval Bilateral Agreements. If implemented as planned, Queensland and New South Wales will each become responsible for assessing and approving projects for the purposes of both state and Commonwealth environmental legislation. Partner Bill McCredie, Special Counsel Philip Murray and Senior Associate Gobind Kalsi report.

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  • Focus: Changes to infrastructure planning and charging in Queensland

    14 May 2014

    A new infrastructure planning and charging framework for Queensland has been proposed by the State Government. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Senior Associate Michael Zissis report on the changes to be introduced by the new framework.

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  • Client Update: Changes for developing wind farms in Queensland

    9 May 2014

    The Queensland Government has released a draft code and guideline that empowers the State to assess and decide any future wind farm projects in Queensland. Partner Bill McCredie and Senior Associate Anna Vella look at the Queensland Government's new role and consider the draft code and guideline.

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  • Focus: Warkworth mine - another victim of over-regulation

    29 April 2014

    The NSW Court of Appeal has upheld the Land and Environment Court's refusal of the proposed Warkworth mine expansion. This case highlights the complexity and onerous nature of the environmental assessment regime for major projects in NSW, which empowers the courts to overturn a project approval despite a project having already undergone three levels of environmental assessment. Partner Jim Parker and Lawyer Naomi Bergman report.

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  • Focus: Draft NSW Biodiversity Offsets Policy for Major Projects

    16 April 2014

    The NSW Government has released a draft Biodiversity Offsets Policy for Major Projects that will apply to the assessment of State Significant Development and State Significant Infrastructure. Partner Paul Lalich, Senior Associate Trent March and Lawyer Dennis Smith consider the implications of the draft policy in the context of the State Government's ongoing planning reforms.

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  • Client Update: Queensland Government proposes land access reforms

    15 April 2014

    The Queensland Government has released a discussion paper setting out proposed reforms to the State's land access regime for public and private land. The paper closely follows other discussion papers released recently in respect of proposed reforms to restricted land and the process for notifying and lodging objections to an application for a mining lease or environmental authority. Partner Ben Zillmann and Lawyer Giselle Kilvert comment on the latest proposed reforms.

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  • Focus: Draft planning policy framework for Victoria - open for comment

    11 April 2014

    The Ministerial Advisory Committee appointed to review the Victorian State Planning Policy Framework has released a draft version of a new Planning Policy Framework that reorganises the policy framework into themes and updates the policy content to include new policies to support Plan Melbourne and the Regional Growth Plans. Special Counsel Meg Lee summarises the key changes.

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  • Focus: New Regional Planning Interests regime adopted for resources activities in Queensland

    28 March 2014

    Queensland has a new planning approval process for resources activities and 'regulated activities' in areas of regional interest, following the passage of landmark legislation. The new approvals regime may have implications for existing and future resource projects. Partner Bill McCredie and Senior Associates Michael Zissis and Gobind Kalsi review the new legislation and the next steps.

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  • Focus: Significant changes to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal powers

    26 March 2014

    New legislation will implement significant changes to the administration of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in a bid to improve efficiencies. Special Counsel Meg Lee and Lawyer Katherine Kirby discuss the key changes to VCAT's powers in the context of its planning jurisdiction.

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  • Focus: Queensland reviews mining lease objection process and land access regime

    26 March 2014

    As part of its ongoing initiative to reduce red tape and streamline application and approval processes for the resources industry, the Queensland Government has released two discussion papers simultaneously proposing amendments to the objection regime for mining leases and also to the regulation of 'restricted land' as it affects all resource authorities (including petroleum tenements). If all of the changes proposed in the discussion paper are implemented, it will affect who can object to mining leases in the future. The changes would also standardise the restricted land provisions across all resources authorities, but, at the same time, introduce advantages for some tenement holders in relation to land access. Partners Ben Zillmann and Bill McCredie consider the issues and the changes that might be made.

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  • Client Update: Changes recommended to the Regional Planning Interests Bill

    19 March 2014

    The Queensland State Development, Infrastructure and Industry Committee has recommended aspects of the Regional Planning Interests Bill 2013 be amended. Partner Bill McCredie and Senior Associate Michael Zissis outline the committee's key recommendations and the next steps towards the implementation of the new approvals regime for resource activities in 'areas of regional interest' in Queensland.

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  • Client Update: Streamlining environmental approvals for offshore petroleum projects

    6 March 2014

    A new regime that streamlines the environmental approvals process for petroleum activities in Commonwealth waters will place a greater responsibility on the titleholder of a tenement rather than the operator. Partner Chris Schulz and Senior Associate Eve Lynch provide an overview of the changes.

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  • Client Update: Streamlining the regulation of environmental offsets in Queensland

    25 February 2014

    Legislation recently introduced into the Queensland Parliament will establish a new regime for the provision and regulation of environmental offsets in Queensland. Partner Bill McCredie, Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Lawyer Julieane Bull report on the key changes and identify some matters yet to be addressed.

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  • Client Update: Update on the new costs rules in the Queensland Planning and Environment Court

    12 February 2014

    A recent Queensland Planning and Environment Court decision sheds light on the application of the new rules for awarding costs following a trial. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Lawyer David Thorpe consider the recent judgment and provide an update regarding the implications for parties to proceedings.

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  • Focus: Victoria implements new planning regime for native vegetation clearing

    24 January 2014

    Following on from our report in June 2013, reforms to the Victorian planning scheme provisions controlling clearance of native vegetation have now been implemented, through Planning Scheme Amendment VC105. Special Counsel Meg Lee and Lawyer Katherine Kirby outline the new regime.

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  • Client Update: Queensland releases a draft of its 30-year vision

    20 January 2014

    The Queensland Government has released a working draft of its 30-year vision for the state. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling looks at those aspects of the plan that are relevant to development.

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  • Client Update: Queensland consolidates state interests in land use planning and development

    3 December 2013

    The release of the State planning policy is another milestone in Queensland's planning reform agenda. It consolidates ten existing policies into a single document, which presents a consistent and coherent statement of the State's interest in land use planning and development. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Senior Associate Michael Zissis look at the detail of the new policy.

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  • Client Update: NSW Planning Bill 2013 - Amended Bill stalls in Parliament

    28 November 2013

    Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March have been monitoring the progress of the Planning Bill 2013 through Parliament and report that the NSW Government has today deferred the debate until early March 2014.

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  • Client Update: One year on ... the new costs rules in the Queensland Planning and Environment Court

    27 November 2013

    One year has passed since the rules for awarding costs in the Queensland Planning and Environment Court were fundamentally changed. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling, Senior Associate Michael Zissis and Lawyer David Thorpe discuss how the court has applied the new rules and the implications for parties to proceedings.

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  • Focus: Increased regulation for resource activities in Queensland regions

    25 November 2013

    Legislation that will add another level of regulation and a new approval requirement for resource activities in areas of regional interest has been introduced into the Queensland Parliament. Partner Bill McCredie, Special Counsel Philip Murray and Lawyer Gobind Kalsi report.

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  • Focus: The NSW Planning Bill 2013 - Part IV - appeals and enforcement

    19 November 2013

    In this fourth and final article in our series providing commentary on the NSW Planning Bill 2013, Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March discuss the appeals and enforcement provisions in the Bill that was recently introduced into Parliament.

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  • Client Update: New changes confirm validity of mining leases

    14 November 2013

    As a result of recent legal challenges to the validity of mining leases, the NSW Parliament has passed amendments that mean a development for 'mining purposes' can be sufficient to support the grant of a mining lease for minerals. However, this does not change the requirement that, in order to undertake mining on any part of a mining lease, the leaseholder must have a development consent that permits mineral extraction from that area. Partners Paul Lalich and Jim Parker and Lawyer Patricia Abordo report.

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  • Client Update: Resource significance the new focus in assessment of NSW mining proposals

    8 November 2013

    The NSW Government has amended the State policy governing the assessment of mining proposals, to place economic benefits and resource significance at the centre of the assessment process, and establish clear environmental and amenity criteria for mining projects. Partner Bill McCredie, Senior Associate Michael Zissis and Lawyer Naomi Bergman report on the amendments, which have been introduced following the controversial Land and Environment Court decision on the Warkworth mine extension in the Hunter Valley.

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  • Focus: New traditional owner negotiation requirements for central Victoria

    1 November 2013

    The Dja Dja Wurrung Land Use Activity Agreement has commenced operation, creating a new negotiation framework for activities on public land in central Victoria. Partner Chris Schulz and Senior Associates Emily Gerrard and Penny Creswell explore the implications.

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  • Focus: The NSW Planning Bill - Part III - infrastructure and development contributions

    30 October 2013

    In this third of our four-part series of articles providing commentary on the anticipated future direction of the NSW Planning Bill 2013, Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March discuss the infrastructure and development contributions regime proposed under the Bill.

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  • Client Update: Mining v agriculture - new regional plans and strategic cropping land review report released

    25 October 2013

    The first regional plans for Central Queensland and the Darling Downs have been made, 'to resolve competing state interests relating to the agricultural and resources sectors'. The Queensland Government has also released a report on its review of the State's 'strategic cropping land' framework. Partner Bill McCredie, Special Counsel Philip Murray and Senior Associate Michael Zissis review the regional plans and SCL review report, what detail is still to come and the implications, particularly for the resources sector.

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  • Focus: New authority launched and draft metropolitan planning strategy released

    22 October 2013

    The Victorian Minister for Planning has released a draft of the State Government's 40-year plan for Melbourne and, at the same time, has launched the new Metropolitan Planning Authority that is charged with implementing the plan. Special Counsel Meg Lee and Lawyer Will Duffy review the key features of the plan and the authority.

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  • Focus: The NSW Planning Bill - Part II - development assessment

    14 October 2013

    We recently published the first of four articles providing commentary on the current and anticipated future direction of the NSW Planning Bill 2013. In this Focus, Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March discuss the proposed development assessment procedures provided for in the Bill.

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  • Focus: The NSW Planning Bill - Part I - strategic planning

    3 October 2013

    In response to more than 4500 submissions to its new planning regime, as delineated in the White Paper - A New Planning System for NSW - and an exposure draft of new legislation, the NSW Government has deferred the introduction of the Planning Bill 2013. In the first of four articles that will look at various aspects of the Bill, Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March discuss the response of the public and industry on the current and likely future composition of the strategic planning framework provided for in the Bill.

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  • Client Update: Changes to draft NSW Planning Bill

    26 September 2013

    The anticipated introduction of the draft Planning Bill 2013 to the New South Wales Parliament has been deferred. Instead, the Government has outlined a range of anticipated amendments to the exposure draft. Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March report.

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  • Client Update: Victoria gets smarter with fast-tracked VicSmart planning process

    11 July 2013

    Planning Minister Matthew Guy has released a discussion paper, together with draft regulations and planning scheme clauses, that sets up a proposed new assessment process for simple, straightforward planning applications. VicSmart applications will be exempt from notice, referral and appeal processes and require that a decision is made by the local Council Chief Executive Officer within 10 days from the application being lodged. Special Counsel Meg Lee takes a closer look at the details of the proposal.

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  • Focus: Victoria trims red tape for native vegetation clearing

    17 June 2013

    Reforms to the Victorian rules on clearance of native vegetation, intended to clarify and improve the approval process for councils, developers and landholders, have been announced. Partner Chris Schulz, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Lawyer Suzanne Vale report.

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  • Focus: Zone reform offers new opportunities in Victoria

    10 May 2013

    Sweeping changes to the Victorian Industrial and Commercial zones present opportunities to developers, who will be able to seek out suitable new sites on a broader range of land. Special Counsel Meg Lee looks at the detail of the new controls.

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  • Client Update: Draft State Planning Policy released for comment

    30 April 2013

    As part of its planning reform agenda, the Queensland Government has released for consultation its draft State Planning Policy. Once finalised, the new policy will replace the existing ones with a single, consolidated document that identifies the state's interests in planning and development assessment. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Senior Associate Michael Zissis look at the draft policy, how it is broader in scope than the existing policies and how it could impact a range of development proposals in the future.

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  • Client Update: The recommended framework for uranium mining in Queensland

    19 March 2013

    The recommencement of uranium mining in Queensland is one step closer with the release of recommendations by the state's uranium mining implementation committee. Partner Ben Zillmann and Senior Associates John Hedge and Anna Vella report on the recommendations.

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  • Client Update: New trigger will impact environmental approvals for large coal mines and coal seam gas projects

    15 March 2013

    Proponents of large coal mines and coal seam gas projects currently undergoing, or requiring Commonwealth environmental approval in the future, should be aware of the proposal to add 'water resources' as a new trigger for Commonwealth environmental approval. If passed, the proposed changes have the potential to add to the timeframe for and scope of impact assessment for large coal mines and coal seam gas projects. Partner Bill McCredie, Senior Associate Anna Vella and Lawyer Gobind Kalsi report.

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  • Client Update: Land holding review and planning reform in Queensland

    28 February 2013

    The Queensland Government is undertaking a review of its current land holdings, ahead of an expected land divestment program later this year. This review complements ongoing reform of the planning processes and the management of land use. Partner Tony Davies and Senior Associate Anna Vella reports on changes that should see greater opportunities for the State and for developers.

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  • Focus: Queensland Government opens door to oil shale industry

    18 February 2013

    The Newman Government has just introduced a new oil shale policy that encourages private sector research and investment in oil shale extraction, by removing restrictions on the development of an oil shale industry. Partner Ben Zillmann and Lawyer Faheem Anwar look at the new policy.

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  • Focus: Planning legislation shake up

    18 February 2013

    Following proposed zoning reforms announced last year, the Victorian Minister for Planning has put forward a raft of statutory reforms in amending legislation designed to improve the operation of the Victorian planning system. Special Counsel Meg Lee and Lawyer Will Duffy discuss the proposed changes.

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  • Client Update: Industrial operators - are you ready for the Greentape Reduction Act?

    14 February 2013

    Industrial operators should be planning for the start of a new approval regime for 'environmentally relevant activities' in Queensland. The new regime will transition most existing approvals and change the processes for applications and future amendments. It will also remove the requirement for certain approvals and provide opportunities for companies to amalgamate approvals for operations on multiple sites. Partner Bill McCredie, Senior Associate Michael Zissis and Lawyer Gobind Kalsi report.

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  • Focus: Victoria's new metropolitan planning strategy

    12 December 2012

    In brief: Employment locations will be the basis of new urban development, under the Victorian Government's long-term planning strategy for the greater Melbourne area. Special Counsel Meg Lee and Lawyer Will Duffy review the main points of the strategy.

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  • Focus: New framework for proposed priority development areas in Queensland

    14 November 2012

    A new planning and development framework aimed at facilitating economic development in priority development areas and provisional priority development areas in Queensland has been introduced into Parliament. While its obvious use will be the establishment of venues for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, the new framework has much broader application, offering an alternative to the complications and delays associated with the current process. Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling and Senior Associate Michael Zissis review the framework, and its implications for existing and future development projects.

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