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Court Invalidates Minister’s Decision

On 30 July 2016, the Minister for Heritage (Minister) made a decision not to direct that the Sirius Apartment Building (Sirius) at Millers Point, Sydney be listed on the State Heritage Register. This decision was made despite a recommendation from the Heritage Council of New South Wales (Heritage Council) that Sirius be listed on the Register.

Sirius was built in the 1980s and since then has become a well-known and significant building in Sydney. It has been used predominantly as social housing up until the NSW Government announced in March 2014 that it intends to sell Sirius and then re-invest the proceeds of sale into social housing across the state.

Minister’s Determination

On 14 March 2016, the Heritage Council made its recommendation that it be listed on the Register under section 33 of the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW) (the Act). Once the Heritage Council makes a recommendation, the Minister can direct listing on the Register in accordance with section 32 of the Act.
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Pollution Licences under the POEO Act

The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW) (the Act) provides an environmental regulatory framework in NSW.  Regulatory authorities are able to issue environment protection licences under the Act to control the impact of pollution.  These licences are sometimes referred to as ‘pollution licences’.  The relevant regulatory authorities are the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), local councils, the Roads and Maritime Service and the Marine Parks Authority.

The pollution licences that are issued are subject to conditions.  For premises that do not hold an pollution licence, the local Council regulates pollution from the premises.  The activities that require a licence are listed in Schedule 1 of the Act. The activities that are listed are generally activities that have the potential to have significant environmental impacts.  Licences are issued for:

  • scheduled development work;
  • premises based activities;
  • non-premises based activities; and
  • to regulate water pollution for activities not listed in the Schedule.

It is an offence to carry out an activity on scheduled premises without a pollution licence.
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