FirstPoint owes its unparalleled browse-by-subject capability to the classification scheme that it shares with the Australian Digest, the venerable paper product from which it sprung.
In its tenth year, the Australian Digest cumulative supplement for Environment and Planning has undergone major revision. The body of reported case law that it addresses has burgeoned in both volume and diversity, reflecting many major legislative reforms. Not all of this was adequately comprehended by the existing classification scheme.
A scheme classification cannot exist without a case note to which it answers, drawn from a reported decision. Due to the lag between enactment of legislative changes and the reporting of decisions addressing them, the scheme was, in important respects, unavoidably obsolescent even from its total reissue in 2001, and much else has taken place since.
The updated classification scheme issued with the supplement and now live on FirstPoint is not a total revision of the kind undertaken when a Digest title is reissued (with a merger of the yellow pages into the white pages) but it is the basis of the most far-reaching revision of an Australian Digest cumulative supplement ever undertaken:
- 67 new classifications have been added, expanding the scheme by over 10%.
- 18 existing classifications have been renamed, either to broaden or to split into more specific classifications.
- Further content has been drawn from the ADMINISTRATIVE LAW and LOCAL GOVERNMENT titles.
Here are some of the more significant changes to the classification scheme, with Digest Key Numbers (DKNs) familiar to paper product users in [brackets]:
- New DKN: CERTIFICATION [264.1]. This responds to the change in NSW and elsewhere from building approval by local councils to certification by accredited certifiers. This DKN is embryonic, containing only 13 notes on reported decisions. It is placed outside of BUILDING CONTROL [270-354] which has been rendered largely obsolete by the move to accredited certification.
- New DKN: NOTICES AND ORDERS [264.5]. This caters for notes on notices and orders issued by local authorities. There was no obvious home in the initial scheme.
- Expansion of PLANNING OFFENCES [265-269] into PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROSECUTIONS [265-269.2]. This range now caters for cases previously split between DEVELOPMENT CONTROL [63-264] and BUILDING CONTROL [270-354]. It is no longer an unsuitable home for notes that now dwell happily under NOTICES AND ORDERS [264.5].
- Major revision of ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT AND APPROVAL GENERALLY [426-440.6]. The range within it for Commonwealth jurisdiction has undergone significant refinement in response to a healthy crop of decisions under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), many of which had been classified under ADMINISTRATIVE LAW. COMMONWEALTH [426-429.3] is now an appropriate place for any notes about that Act apart from those belonging under HERITAGE CONSERVATION [441-451].
- WETLAND AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION [453.5] has been deleted. Its former content now resides in either COMMONWEALTH [426-429.3] (see immediately above) or in [452-453.2] which has been broadened into TREES, VEGETATION AND HABITAT PROTECTION.