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Legal Agents & Agency Work

Matthews Folbigg Lawyers provide agency work services and can act as your legal agents for all matters in Parramatta.

We are located within close proximity to the Parramatta Court Precinct and are able to act as your agent with short notice. We pride ourselves with the knowledge and extensive experience with the courts in Parramatta where we appear regularly. You can be confident that our solicitors will achieve the desired result for you at competitive rates. We also understand you need to report to your client in a timely manner, therefore we endeavour reporting to you on the same day of the court appearance either in writing or by phone.

We can attend the following Courts as your agent:

  • Local Court (Criminal and Civil)
  • District Court (Criminal and Civil)
  • Family Court

We can attend to the following:

  • Attendance at interlocutory hearings, Notice of Motions, Pre-trial Reviews, Call overs, Status Conference, Pre-trial Conference or Directions Hearings;
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Is the need for a neutral or better outcome a requirement for success with respect to clause 4.6?

In a recent decision in the Land and Environment Court, the Court has given further clarification to the type of consideration that needs to be given to clause 4.6 of a standard instrument LEP.

The significant decision was given in the case Initial Action Pty Ltd v Woollahra Municipal Council [2018] NSWLEC 118 where Preston CJ clarified the appropriate approach to the consideration of clause 4.6. The importance of this judgement is that the clause 4.6 submission does not require that developments that do not comply with the applicable development standard to have a neutral or better environmental planning outcome than a development that does not.

By way of background – a “Clause 4.6” is a standard instrument in a LEP that permits a consent authority to grant development consent for a development that would contravene a development standard where the consent authority is satisfied of the following two standards;

  1. A written request from the applicant adequately demonstrating that the compliance with the development standard is unreasonable or unnecessary and that there is sufficient environmental planning grounds to justify the contravention
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Deferred Commencement Consents

On 21 June 2018, the Land and Environment Court of NSW handed down a decision which reinforced the importance of time limits on deferred commencement conditions.

The decision of Commissioner Preston in Dennes v Port Macquarie-Hastings Council [2018] NSWLEC 95 found that the Court had no jurisdiction to grant the appeal on its merits regardless of whether the evidence submitted as part of the deferred commencement condition was satisfactory given the fact that Consent had lapsed.

Background

On 17 August 2016 the Applicant appealed against Council’s refusal of an application for development consent (Consent). Commissioner Fakes upheld this appeal and granted development consent subject to a deferred commencement condition which required the Applicant to submit to Council for approval a Flood Emergency Response Plan (‘FERP’) by 17 August 2017.

The deferred commencement condition had to be fulfilled to Council’s satisfaction by 17 August 2017. The applicant submitted its FERP to Council in April 2017. Following this submission, Council advised the applicant that the deferred commencement condition had not been satisfied to the requisite standard on 20 June 2017.
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Sentencing Principles for Water Pollution Offences

BACKGROUND

On 7 and 8 March 2018, judgment was delivered in Environment Protection Authority v Ardent Leisure Ltd (ACN 104 529 106) [2018] NSWLEC 36 (Ardent) to impose a fine totalling $157,950 on Ardent Leisure Ltd (AL) for polluting Sydney Harbour after approximately 6000L of diesel fuel escaped into the waters from a fuel storage system at Rushcutters Bay marina.

AL was convicted with the following offences and penalty imposed:

  1. Section 120(1) of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW) (POEO Act) for the pollution of waters in Rushcutters Bay (Water Pollution Offence) – Penalty $135,000.00;
  2. Clause 19(2) of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2014 (NSW) (UPSS Regulation) in relation to Ardent’s failure to include current ‘as-built’ drawing for the fuel storage system (UPSS Regulation Offence) – Penalty $22,950.00

A publication order for a notice of the offences was also made for the purposes of improving the effectiveness of general deterrence.
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Powers of a Sydney District or Regional Planning Panel to “direct and control” a Council under the new amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act in a Class 1 Appeal:

Recently the Land and Environment Court has considered the newly introduced provision of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which enables planning panels involved in application decisions to “direct and control” the Council involved.

In this landmark case, the Court found the Council was indeed subject to both the direction and control of the Planning Panel, but furthermore that when the application goes before the Court in order to enter into an agreement to solve proceedings, that the Panel also becomes joined as a party in this process.

The Decision in M.H Earthmoving Pty Ltd v Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (No 2) [2018] NSWLEC 101:

By way of a brief background, this case involved a Class 1 Development application to expand an existing landfill in the Cootamundra-Gundagai Local Government Area.

As per the old EPA Act, the development application was required to be heard at the time by the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel (the JRPP Panel), and at the time the panel determined the application by way of refusal.  Upon this decision, the Applicant then filed an appeal with the LEC and the Planning Panel was informed as per the requirements under the EPA Act.
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Bullying and Harassment Claims High in Local Government

Safe Work Australia have identified that local government employees are the third most represented group when it comes to compensation claims for Workplace Bullying and Harassment.

For the three years to 2016, approximately 190 local government employees received compensation for workplace bullying and harassment a year.

Bullying and harassment can take varying forms. It can be subtle or take the form of more overt behaviour.

What is Workplace Bullying and Harassment?

Bullying at work, as defined by the Fair Work Act 2009, occurs when:

  • a person or a group of people behaves unreasonably and repeatedly towards a worker or a group of workers while at work; and
  • the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

However, bullying does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.

Wollondilly Shire Council

David Wilson aged 61 years, plant operator, took his own life the same day that he was informed that his most recent complaint was found to be unsubstantiated.
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Commencement of the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code

On 6 July 2018, the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) will be amended to include the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code (Medium Density Code). The effect of the Medium Density Code is to expand the scope of what is considered ‘complying development’ under NSW legislation.

The amendments to the Codes SEPP are part of the NSW Government’s overall agenda to increase affordable housing within the State by streamlining the development consent process.

What is Complying Development?

Complying Development is development which can obtain development consent by having regard to and meeting specified predetermined development standards. The predetermined development standards include criteria such as minimum lot size, setbacks, building height and floor space ratio.

A development can only be complying development if it is permitted with consent within that zone. If it is permitted and meets the predetermined development standards, the proposed development can be approved by either Council or a qualified private certifier which issues a complying development certificate.
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The New South Wales Land and Environment Court exercises its ‘repeat waste offender’ powers in landmark gaol sentence

On 31 May 2018 Chief Justice Preston of the Land and Environment Court recently convicted serial offender Mr Dib Hanna Abdallah Hanna of five offences against the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 under its relatively new ‘repeat waste offenders’ powers, and sentenced Mr Hanna to a three year gaol sentence.

Introduction of repeat waste offender provisions:

The Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Illegal Waste Disposal) Bill 2013 introduced section 144AB(2) which stipulates the following:

144AB   Repeat waste offenders

(2)  A person commits an offence against this section if the person is an individual who:

(a)  has been convicted of a waste offence, and

(b)  commits a waste offence on a separate subsequent occasion within five years after that conviction.

Maximum penalty: The maximum monetary penalty provided by this Act for the commission of the waste offence by an individual or imprisonment for two years, or both.

(3)  A reference in this section to a conviction for a waste offence includes a conviction before or after the commencement of this section and a conviction for an offence against this section.
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