Insights

In brief: The case of Telstra Corporation Limited v Brisbane City Council [2017] QPEC 32 concerned an application  by an applicant appellant seeking a declaration that proposed changes to a development application were a minor change under section 350 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.


The proposal involved the demolition of an existing monopole and the replacement of a new monopole approximately 30 metres to the north-east of the existing monopole. The changes to the development application involved moving the location of the new monopole and changing its form.

The Court was satisfied that the proposed changes would not result in a substantially different development and declared that the changes to the development application were a minor change under section 350 of the SPA.

Proposed changes to the development application

The appeal to which the application related was an appeal against the Council's decision to refuse a development application for a telecommunications facility, comprising a monopole and associated antennas to provide mobile telephone and data coverage.

In the course of the appeal, the Applicant sought to change the proposed development as follows:
  • locate the new monopole 30 metres to the south-west of the existing monopole rather than 30 metres to the north-east of the existing monopole;
  • reduce the overall height of the monopole and antenna structure from 21.3 metres to 19.1 metres above ground level;
  • remove the triangular headframe and replace it with slim line panel antennas;
  • reduce the width of the antennas from 4 metres to 1.73 metres;
  • enhance the capacity of the monopole by adding more radio frequency.
The Court noted that despite the changes allegedly benefitting visual impact and increasing capacity, the change in location of the monopole would result in an increase of the overall height of the monopole from 53.88 metres AHD to 55.84 metres AHD due to the higher elevation in the new location.

The Court found that the proposed changes would not result in a substantially different development

The Court referred to the definition of minor change under section 350 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and identified that the only relevant consideration was whether the changes would result in a substantially different development.

The Court noted the matters set out in Statutory Guideline 06/09 and determined that nothing in the guideline suggested that the proposed changes would result in a substantially different development.

The Court was ultimately satisfied that the proposed changes would not result in a substantially different development and declared that the changes to the development application were a minor change.
 

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