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What part of the Pasteurised Garden Organic Order and Exemption applies to Council and what requirements are expected from Council?

The Mulch Order 2016 applies to unpasteurised/raw mulch which by virtue of the nature and source of the plant material, poses minimal risk of the presence of physical and chemical contaminants and does not include plant material obtained from kerbside waste collection.  Whilst the need for pasteurisation may be dispensed with on the tree clippings obtained from Council’s tree maintenance operations and as such this mulch will only be subject to the provisions in the Mulch Order 2016 and Mulch Exemption 2016 [Click here to see our article:How do the new Mulch Order and Exemption 2016 impact on Councils’ tree maintenance operations?]. However, if the plant material used for mulch also contains kerbside waste collection or tree material that has a significant risk of contaminants, mulch processed from such a mixed source may pose a risk of the presence of contaminants and therefore falls outside the definition of mulch in the Mulch Order 2016. Mulch of this kind is regulated by Pasteurised Garden Organic Order 2016 (PGOO) and Pasteurised Garden Organic Exemption 2016 (PGOE).
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Resolving Issues with Local Councils

It is not uncommon for issues to arise between local councils and the residents or businesses who make up the local government area.  We have outlined a general process of dispute resolution that can be followed if such an issue were to arise.

Dispute Resolution Steps

Step One

The first step that should be taken in trying to resolve a dispute with a Local Council is to approach Council directly.  This is because Councils are autonomous bodies with rights and powers under law.  As such, many problems are able to be resolved directly with the Local Councils.

Step Two

If the first step fails to resolve the issue, you should write to the General Manager and request that they look into your complaint.  It is a good idea to allow the General Manager a reasonable time to respond to the complaint, so that they can liaise with the relevant department.  Usually, four weeks is a good time frame, however, if the problem is long or complex you should allow more time for a response.
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Amalgamated Local Councils – Stronger Communities Fund

The NSW Government created the ‘Stronger Communities Fund’ to assist amalgamated local councils begin the delivery of projects to improve community infrastructure and services.

Stronger Communities Fund Grants

Grants available are $10 Million for councils formed as a result of two Councils merging.  $15 Million is available where three or more Councils merged.

Up to $1 Million of the grant to is available to be allocated to incorporated not-for-profit Community Groups, while the rest of the money is to be spent on infrastructure and services.

Criteria & Assessment

The Stronger Communities Guidelines assist Councils to allocate grants by providing criteria to select community grants, criteria to assess projects and a list of ineligible projects.

Major Projects that are prioritised for funding must:

  • have been through a community consultation process;
  • demonstrate social and/or economic benefits to the community;
  • consider issues of sustainability and equity across the broader community;
  • demonstrate project feasibility and value for money, including full lifecycle costs;
  • did not have funds allocated by the former councils; and
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DA lodgement to move online

The Department of Planning and Environment (the Department) has announced plans to move submission of a Development Application (DA) online, potentially saving significant time for applicants.

On average, the time to prepare and submit a traditional DA can take up to ten (10) days, however, through the proposed online system this could be reduced to half an hour (30 mins).

The online lodgement of DAs will be through the Department’s Planning Portal.

Whilst some local Councils currently provide for the online submissions of a DA, the planning portal will be the “one stop shop” for DAs and complying development certificates in the future.  It is predicted that the system will connect any type of application to be lodged to any local council within New South Wales.

The Department will need to make amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 to allow for online applications and is currently seeking feedback from the community and councils in relation to those amendments.  The relevant documents in relation to the Environmental Planning and Assessment (eplanning) Amendment 2017 can be viewed and online submissions can be made here.
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Local Council Amalgamations – Potential Backflip

Muiltiple reports state that the new NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, may reverse the local Council amalgamation process set up by former Premier, Mike Baird.

The Premier is said to be considering a range of options including using plebiscites to allow merged Councils to unmerge, some reports saying by this year and others saying as late as 2020.  A plebescite is held by Governments to test whether people support or oppose a proposed course of action.  In practice this would allow rate payers of local council’s to vote on whether they want to de-amalgamate.

The Premier is also considering whether to dump plans to amalagamate the unmerged Councils currently fighting in Court.   Matthews Folbigg currently represents North Sydney Council in opposing the forced amalgamations.  Other Sydney Councils that are yet to be merged include Mosman, Willoughby, Woollhara, Randwick, Strathfield, Burwood, City of Canada Bay, Hunter’s Hill, Lane Cove and Waverley.

The catalyst for the backflip is said to be as a result of the impact of the deeply unpopular policy in regional areas.  The policy arguably caused the swing of more than 20 percent in the Orange by-election against the Nationals Party.  This caused the loss of a coalition seat held for almost 7 decades.
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