Planning and Environment Court Update
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT COURT UPDATE notification of "ancillary facilities" whether description of use was sufficient to satisfy public notification requirements of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.
CQ Group brought an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court 1 against the Isaac Regional Council's refusal of part of a development application to facilitate the expansion of an extractive industry in Nebo. The part refused and appealed against, an on-site workers accommodation facility (30 staff), was described in the public notification material as "extractive industry (up to 1,000,000t per year) and ancillary facilities".
King & Company, acting on behalf of the Isaac Regional Council, successfully brought an application before the Court to strike out the appeal on the basis that the public notification requirements of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 had not been complied with. The court accepted Council's contention that the identification of workers accommodation as "ancillary facilities" in the public notices (on the land and in the newspaper) was deficient in that it failed to properly describe all components of the proposed development in such a manner which would cause an interested person to make further enquiries with Council 2. Of particular interest to the Court was that Council was able to produce evidence from a local operator who did not appreciate, from the notices, that the development application involved workers accommodation.
The case highlights the importance of developers being candid about the true nature of a proposed development by including, in sufficient detail, all aspects of the proposed development in the development application and the material that goes on display for public comment. This is particularly important for uses such as workers accommodation, which typically attracts a significant amount of community interest and opposition and is a matter to which Council ought to turn its mind in accepting, assessing (including accepting a notice of compliance with public notification requirements) and deciding a development application.
The decision is also a reminder to applicants that their conduct during the IDAS process can be scrutinised by the Court in determining how to exercise its discretion.
King & Company Solicitors can offer legal advice to Councils about whether a development has been appropriately or adequately described at the application and notification stages of the IDAS process and can provide legal representation in respect of any required litigation. For more information, please contact our Executive Partner using the details on our website.
1 CQ Group Australia Pty Ltd v Isaac Regional Council  QPEC 3.
2 The Court was not satisfied that the workers accommodation could be properly categorised as being "ancillary" to the extractive industry operation, having regard to the definition of "use" in Schedule 3 of the SPA, which requires the use to be "incidental to and necessarily associated with" the use of the premises.
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