In brief

12 July 2011

PWC advisesthat there has been more movement on the primary production exemption for land tax. The details of this latest court decision (available here) will be of interest to any developer who is relying on this exemption


The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Fibre Deployment) Bill 2011 has been passed by the House of Representatives and will shortly be considered by the Senate (information on the bill is here). We have been highlighting the development of this legislation in Member Alerts for some time, but you should be aware it is likely to become law in the near future. The bill, once it becomes law, will effectively make fibre-ready pit and pipe installation mandatory in a wide range of new developments (to pave the way for the ready deployment of fibre). These provisions will apply to infill and greenfield development.

The Australian Government has requested that the Productivity Commission undertake a benchmarking study into the role of local government as a regulator. An issues paper on the study is expected in September 2011 and a final report to Government by July 2012. This inquiry reflects issues that we have been campaigning on for some time. We will, of course, be participating. Further information is here.


The Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has announced a “proposed decision” to refuse a residential and tourist development in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The refusal would be another instance where the Federal Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act is used to block urban development. The proposed development at Hummock Hill would have included 790 residential allotments, two hotels and a retail centre. “Hummock Hill Island is one of a very small number of undeveloped islands remaining in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,” Mr Burke said. The Minister’s media release is here.  More detailed information is here.

The NSW Government has announced that legislation will be introduced to Parliament to establish the NSW Government’s infrastructure fund, Restart NSW. The fund will finance a range of NSW infrastructure projects with 30 per cent reserved for projects in regional areas. The Government says that Restart NSW will be funded from “windfall” state tax revenue allocated through the Budget process and other funds such as the proceeds of issuing “waratah bonds”. The Government’s media release is here.

The NSW Government has introduced regional relocation grants of $7,000 to Sydney families who relocated to regional NSW. The one-off grant will be payable after the settlement of the purchase of a home in regional NSW and sale of a home in metropolitan Sydney. The grant is eligible for properties in regional NSW valued up to $600,000. The scheme will operate for four years from 1 July 2011. The Government’s media release is here.

The Federal Government has released a National Rental Affordability Scheme monthly performance report, dated 20 June 2011. Apparently, this will be the first of a series ofmonthly reports. It contains detailed geographical information relating to scheme participation. According to the report 3,930 dwellings are tenanted or available for rent under the scheme, and a further 19,127 dwellings are in the pipeline. Of the 86 organisations participating, 34 are “for-profit” businesses. More information is available here.

The NSW Government has commenced consultation on the new convention centre in Sydney. The NSW Government has called for expressions of interest for the private sector to partner with government in delivering the new facilities. Further details are here. The Government’s media release is here.

The Liberal MP for Rockdale, John Flowers, has called for the introduction of appeal rights for rezoning proposals. Mr Flowers articulated his concerns with the lack of an appeal process in his inaugural speech to Parliament. He is of the view that an appeal right similar to that provided for development applications should be available for rezoning applications. His speech is here.  NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has said that “His proposal will be considered as part of the review of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, announced by the government”.  A media report is here.