Australia: Property & Projects - What's News - 24 February 2015

Last Updated: 1 March 2015
Article by Steve Aitchison, Lisa Cody and Lou Farinotti

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

What's News in Property & Projects? - 24 February 2015

In the media – National

Government tightens rules on foreign purchases of agricultural land
The Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture announce that the Commonwealth Government is putting in place better scrutiny and reporting of foreign purchases of agricultural land, with the reduction of the screening threshold from $252 million to $15 million from 1 March 2015. The new $15 million screening threshold will apply to the cumulative value of agricultural land owned by the foreign investor, including the purposed purchase (11 February 2015). More...

Origin Companies ordered to pay penalties of $325,000 for misleading consumers about discounts under energy plans
The Federal Court of Australia has ordered by consent that Origin Energy Limited and two of its subsidiaries (Origin) pay penalties totalling $325,000 for contravening the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by making false or misleading representations concerning the level of discount that residential consumers in South Australia would receive under a DailySaver energy plan (10 February 2015). More...

In the media – Victoria

PEXA has Launched Full Online Property Transfer Functionality in Victoria
In June 2014, with the support of the big four banks, Victorian property lawyers and conveyancers were able to lodge and remove caveats but now, for the first time ever Victorian practitioners are able to sign on to PEXA to complete online property transfers (03 February 2015). More...

In the media – New South Wales

Development Industry working with pro-growth Western Sydney Councils
A forum with eight Western Sydney Councils and representatives of the major development companies demonstrated a common commitment to growth, says the Urban Taskforce (12 February 2015). More...

NSW Government considers feedback to draft residential parks regs
More than 250 public submissions and comments have been received as part of the NSW Government's reforms to the residential parks industry, since the passing the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 in November 2013 (09 February 2015). More...

NSW Housing approvals moving upwards- A good time for development
The December 2014 housing approvals from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that NSW is moving upwards on housing approvals and combined with reduced interest rates the development industry has good times ahead says, the Urban Taskforce (03 February 2015). More...

National Construction Code Now Free for NSW Builders
NSW builders now have free access to the National Construction Code, as part of a joint Federal Government initiative aimed at reducing shoddy work in the building industry. From 1 February, all NSW Builders will have access to the National Construction Code (NCC) through a free online service (02 February 2015). More...

In the media – Queensland

Brisbane CBD and Fringe Office Vacancy increases: renewal needed
The vacancy rate in Brisbane's CBD office market has climbed to a new record high of 15.6 per cent over the past six months according to the Property Council of Australia's latest Office Market Report (05 February 2015). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports - National

ABS Residential property price indexes: eight capital cities Dec 2014
Australian Bureau of Statistics: 10 February 2015
Provides estimates of changes in residential property prices in each of the eight capital cities of Australia and related statistics (10 February 2015). More...

ABS Housing Finance, Australia, Dec 2014
The trend estimate for the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions rose 1.0%. Investment housing commitments rose 1.2% and owner occupied housing commitments rose 0.9%. In seasonally adjusted terms, the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions rose 4.7% (11 February 2015). More...

NAB Quarterly Australian Commercial Property Survey – Q4, 2014
Sentiment in commercial property markets softened in Q4 after September's promising gains. Retail sentiment (and to a lesser extent industrial) buck the trend, offset by falls in CBD hotels and office (11 February 2015). More...

In Practice and Courts - National

New rules on agricultural land purchases
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in a statement released announces:

  • the screening threshold for purchases by foreign investors of agricultural land will be reduced from A$252 million to A$15 million from 1 March 2015
  • the $15 million threshold applies to the cumulative value of agricultural land owned by the foreign investor, including the proposed purchase
  • will establish a foreign ownership register of agricultural land. From 1 July 2015, the Australian Tax Office will collect information on new and existing foreign investment in agricultural land, regardless of value. More...

ALRC: Simplifying Native Title – response
Identifying and assessing the evidence for proving native title is an involved process that can often result in lengthy timeframes for determinations. The Law Council has responded to the second consultation document, a Discussion Paper released by the ALRC, where the ALRC made a number of proposals (03 February 2015). More...

In Practice and Courts - Brisbane

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2014

PCA submission: Body corporate governance issues addressed
The Property Council has lodged a submission on the Queensland Government Property Law Review Options Paper – Body corporate governance issues: By-laws, debt recovery and scheme termination. More...

Cases - Victoria

Perpetual Trustees Victoria Ltd v Xiao & Anor [2015] VSC 21
REAL PROPERTY – Whether registered mortgage secures amount owing under forged loan agreement – Held: on proper construction of the mortgage the amount owing under the forged loan agreement was not secured. TRUSTS – Transfer of land by husband to wife for love and affection – Resulting trust – Whether presumption of advancement rebutted – Held: presumption rebutted on the facts. AGENCY – Whether husband authorised to sign wife's name on mortgage and related loan agreements – Agency not established on the facts. More...

Cases - Queensland

Karamist Pty Ltd v Meridien Airlie Beach Pty Ltd (Receivers and Managers Appointed) (in liq) & anor [2014] QSC 317 [released 12/02/15]
LANDLORD AND TENANT – TERMINATION OF THE TENANCY – FORFEITURE – RELIEF AGAINST FORFEITURE – EQUITABLE RELIEF – where rental arrears was repaid in full – whether the applicant wilfully defaulted. More...

Bamford & Ors v Investments Solutions (Aust) Pty Ltd & Ors [2015] QDC 012
CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES – FORMATION OF CONTRACTUAL RELATIONS – AGREEMENTS CONTEMPLATING EXECUTION OF FORMAL DOCUMENT - Oral Contract – existence of an oral contract to provide services – oral contract collateral to written contract for sale of business – where buyer denies existence of oral contract – where seller alleges breach of oral contract. CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES — DISCHARGE, BREACH AND DEFENCES TO ACTION FOR BREACH — PERFORMANCE — where contract for sale of business — where buyer alleges that telephone lease liability was not disclosed – whether telephone lease was adequately disclosed. CONTRACTS — DAMAGES – BREACH OF CONTRACT – breach of oral contract to provide services – loss of future commission. TRADE AND COMMERCE - COMPETITION, FAIR TRADING AND CONSUMER PROTECTION LEGISLATION - CONSUMER PROTECTION - MISLEADING OR DECEPTIVE CONDUCT OR FALSE REPRESENTATIONS - MISLEADING OR DECEPTIVE CONDUCT GENERALLY – whether statements made were misleading or deceptive – where statements made on reasonable grounds. More...

Cambridge & Ors v Christina Burcher Real Estate Pty Ltd t/a Remax Profile Real Estate & Ors [2015] QCAT 018
PROPERTY AGENTS AND MOTOR DEALERS ACT – CLAIM AGAINST THE CLAIM FUND – where purchasers of land bought a house at auction – where the respondents were the real estate agents engaged on the sale – where the house was advertised as suitable for student/homestay accommodation – where the purchasers had legal representation – where no evidence of independent investigation conducted by the purchasers – where the Real Estate Agent relied on signed lease agreements provided by the vendors – whether an entitlement to claim against the fund. National Australia Bank Limited v McGill [2010] QCAT 478. More...

Sojitz Coal Resources Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue [2015] QSC 009
TAXES AND DUTIES – STAMP DUTIES – TRANSACTIONS CONCERNING DUTIABLE PROPERTY – LAND RICH ENTITIES – LIABILITY TO PAY DUTY – DUTIABLE PROPERTY – where the Commissioner issued the appellant with an assessment calculating land rich duty and imposing unpaid tax interest and penalty tax – where the appellant paid these amounts whilst it objected against the assessment pursuant to s 63 of theTaxation Administration Act 2001 (Qld) – where the Commissioner gave notice of its decision to disallow that objection against which this appeal is brought – whether a corporation's land-holdings included its interest in a mining lease granted under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) – whether the appellant's transaction was subject to land rich duty. More...

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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