Environment, Town Planning and Local Government

2018/19 Annual Report

The Environment, Town Planning & Local Government Committee had a number of key areas of priority in the 2018/19 reporting period.

These key priority areas included:

  • Preparation of a ‘rule of law’ response by the Law Society to the perceived attempts of Ministers to interfere with the Environmental Protection Authority’s processes in the announcement of its Environmental Factor Guideline – Greenhouse Gas Emissions; and
  • Consideration of, and recommendation to the Law Society Council that it support the transfer of environmental appeals to independent adjudication in the State Administrative Tribunal. The position taken was consistent with the Committee’s long-term advocacy aimed at ensuring Western Australia environmental appeals are referred to a Court or Tribunal independent of the Minister.

The Committee also continued to monitor the progress of legislative amendments relating to:

  • The review of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (WA);
  • State Planning Policy 2.8 and the impact on landowners of provisions for uncompensated setting aside of land for conservation purposes;
  • The Western Australian Planning Commission approach of denying compensation to landowners affected by regional reserves but precluded from claiming compensation for injurious affection under principles recognised by the High Court in the Southregal case;
  • State Planning Policy 3.6 and issues relevant to development cost contributions under local planning schemes and development contribution plans;
  • The possibility of third party planning appeals; and
  • Local Government Act review.

The Committee has attempted dialogue on the Main Roads WA asserted independence from the planning approval processes, and in State Administrative Tribunal appeals, of Main Roads WA decision-making on the major roads under its care, control and management.

The Committee continued its participation in the activities of the Australian Environment and Planning Law Group.

The Committee was sorry to lose but was pleased to congratulate its valued members Dr Stephen Willey and Charmian Barton, who resigned from the Committee during the year following their appointment to the State Administrative Tribunal.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au