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Torrens Title Lot – What defines ‘land’?

Two decisions of the Land and Environment Court have recently considered what defines ‘land’ on which a heritage item is situated, and what defines the ‘land’ on which an extractive industry was being carried out. Both cases are a timely reminder that Courts will not consider ‘land’ by reference to just their Torrens title lot, but also consider the scope and purpose of any relevant statutory provisions involved in the determination of the DA.

‘Land’ involving heritage items – Mulpha Australia Limited v Central Sydney Planning Committee [2018] NSWLEC 179

In this case, the Court was considering an integrated development application seeking consent to conserve a heritage listed building (both the building and its curtilage being listed on the State Heritage Register), and construct a 16 storey residential apartment building on a differing part of the same Torrens Title Lot.  The Heritage Council provided general terms of approval regarding the conservation of the building, but also provided some comments regarding the construction of the residential building on the same site. The applicant began proceedings on the basis that the consent authority was unable to properly determine the DA without the Heritage Council indicating whether it would provide terms of approval in relation to the entire DA.
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A Compensation Claim relating to Resumption of Land in 1922

Compensation Claim Background

Recently, Moore J of the Land and Environment Court, determined two separate questions in an unusual matter that related to the 1922 resumption of land in far Western NSW, i.e. the resumption of land that occurred approximately 95 years ago (see Lawson v South Australian Minister for Water and the River Murray [2017] NSWLEC 62 (Lawson)).

In 1922, the New South Wales Government resumed all land at Lake Victoria in private possession, necessary for the purposes of the transfer of those lands to the representative for South Australia for future water storage uses.

Mrs Lawson’s possessory title in the land was originally held by her great grandfather, the possessory title was then transferred to her great grandmother (Mrs Mitchell) who held the title at the date of resumption. Mrs Mitchell died in 1956 and the possessory title transferred to Mrs Lawson.

An Extension of Time

Biscoe J in 2014 (see Lawson v South Australian Minister for Water and the River Murray No 2) [2014] NSWLEC 189) had allowed Mrs Lawson, the Applicant, an extension of time to lodge a claim for compensation for the resumption of land under the Public Works Act 1912 (Public Works Act).
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Proposed increases to penalties for offences under the Contaminated Land Management Act

The NSW Government is proposing changes to the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (NSW).

Some of the changes include increasing the maximum penalty for a company to $1M for some offences and the potential requirement of companies to provide financial assurance (such as bank guarantee) to cover environmental management orders.

If you are a company that develops land in NSW or you think the activities on your land may give rise to contamination, contact our Commercial and Business Lawyer Parramatta for further business legal advice.

Phillip Brophy – phillipb@matthewsfolbigg.com.au or 9635 7966