Australia: Property & Projects - What's News - 27 July 2015

In the media – National

Reserve Bank calls for negative gearing, capital gains tax review
The Reserve Bank says there is a case for reviewing negative gearing, especially its interaction with the capital gains tax discount as a tax minimisation tool (16 July 2015).  More...

Revised coastal mapping released
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has advised the Property Council of changes to its coastal hazard mapping to reflect projected impacts of climate change to 2100. This includes 0.8 metre sea level rise incorporated into erosion prone area and storm tide inundation area mapping. The revised mapping became effective on 8 July (16 July 2015).  More...

Burgeoning retail investment is pushing a similar uptick in transport and logistics real estate
Part of the increase has come from a number of international retail brands investing in new operations in Australia – each with their own requirements for logistics services. Over the 12 months to the end of May, transport and logistics-focused tenants signed 42 per cent of the all new industrial leases around Australia (15 July 2015).  More...

Hockey's call for proper debate on state taxes welcome
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey's call for a proper debate on state taxes and the state governments' over-reliance on inefficient state taxes including stamp duty is welcome and completely in line with community attitudes (15 July 2015).  More...

Reforms can help home ownership dream
Improving banking competition, making it easier to save for a deposit and mortgage broker reforms can help more Australians achieve their home ownership dream (15 July 2015).  More...

Property taxes could raise $7b, boost economy by $9b: Grattan
A leading think tank is calling for a new property tax that would raise around $7 billion a year for state governments and might also boost economic efficiency (15 July 2015).  More...

Australia a magnet for Chinese capital
Australia attracted over one-quarter of the Chinese capital that flowed into global real estate in Q1, 2015 – with Sydney and Melbourne the primary targets, according to a new report from CBRE (14 July 2015).  More...

ARENA announces new priorities
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced five priorities for new investment and a new, streamlined funding programme structure (14 July 2015).  More...

Hesitation when it comes to applying for carbon farming funding
While the Federal Government's Emissions Reduction Fund (ERS) is associated with much uncertainty and confusion, many primary producers are nutting out how they might take part, as a second round of carbon farming contracts come up (13 July 2015).  More...

HIA: Dwelling Construction Lending Declines in May
The total value of lending to owner occupiers and investors for the new home construction eased back by 3.2 per cent during the month of May to a level that is still some 11.5 per cent higher than a year earlier (10 July 2015).  More...

Ag White Paper heralds a better business environment for farmers
The Australian Government has released a series of measures designed to strengthen the contribution of agriculture to the national economy by providing a better business environment for farmers (05 July 2015).  More...

Securing Australia's water supply for the future
The Australian Government has set up a National Water Infrastructure Development Fund with $500 million for water infrastructure, including dams, through the Ag White Paper. $50 million would be allocated to support the planning necessary to decide on viable projects for investment, and $450 million was available to construct water infrastructure in partnership with states and territories (05 July 2015).  More...

In the media – Victoria

Public hearing into new planning Bill
On Friday 10 July, a Victorian parliamentary committee is holding a public hearing in Melbourne in relation to the Planning and Environment Amendment (Recognising Objectors) Bill 2015. The Committee is examining how the proposed change will impact on future planning decisions (09 July 2015).  More...  More...

In the media – New South Wales

NSW eyes old apartment redevelopment in new strata legislation
Old strata apartments could be knocked down for redevelopment with just 75 per cent of owners' approval under long-awaited draft legislation released by the NSW government for comment today. The changes could be among the most controversial to hit property owners since strata laws were developed (15 July 2015).  More...

Strata law reform bills released
The state government has announced apartment owners who are forced to sell their homes under proposed laws will be compensated. The state government has locked in controversial plans to make it possible for a majority of 75 per cent of owners to sell their unit blocks for redevelopment, regardless of the wishes of the minority (15 July 2015).  More...

In the media – Queensland

James Packer v Echo: The Chinese investors bankrolling Brisbane's casino
The Queensland government is expected to decide in the next two weeks whether it will award the massive Queen's Wharf casino development project, the  state's biggest ever development, to James Packer's Crown Resorts and its Chinese partners, or Echo Entertainment and its Chinese backers (17 July 2015).  More...

Portal for maket-led proposals
The Queensland Government has established a process for accepting and assessing market-led proposals. These types of frameworks have been used successfully interstate to harness the expertise and ingenuity of the private sector (16 July 2015).  More...

Treasurer commits extra $400,000 a year for asbestos clean up
The Palaszczuk Government has created a new asbestos repair fund worth $400,000 a year to carry out urgent rectification works at hazardous properties (16 July 2015).  More...

Govt restores landholder, community rights on mining
Landholders and communities will regain their right to object to mining developments under legislation (the State Development and Public Works Organisation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015). Introduced to Parliament today (15 July 2015).  More...

Pastoral giant goes cotton pickin' North
Queensland's independent Coordinator-General has declared Stanbroke's $200 million Three Rivers Irrigation Project in the Gulf region of North Queensland a coordinated project. The government is currently finalising amendments to the Gulf Water Resource Plan and Resource Operations Plan which contemplates an unallocated water reserve of more than a quarter of a million megalitres of water in the Flinders River catchment (10 July 2015).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports – National

ARENA: General Funding Strategy and Investment Plan 2015
The five priorities are: integrating renewables and grids; renewables for use in industrial processes; off grid areas; fringe of grid and constrained sections of the grid; large scale solar photovoltaics (PV).(July 2015).  More...

Grattan Institute: Property taxes
A levy of just $2 for every $1000 of unimproved land value would raise $7 billion a year with an annual charge of $772 on the median-priced Sydney home, $560 on the median-priced Melbourne home, and lower average rates in other cities and the regions, according to this report (14 July 2015).  More...

In Practice and Courts – New South Wales

Draft Strata Schemes Management and Strata Schemes Development Bills
Where a whole strata building is to be sold collectively to a developer the settlement price will be divided between the lot owners based on their unit entitlement to ensure the distribution is equitable. The Land & Environment Court will not make an order approving a renewal plan unless the price paid for each lot is at least the compensation value of the lot.  The draft is available on www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au, and will be open for feedback until 12 August. Final Bills will be introduced to Parliament later this year (15 July 2015).  More...

Cases - Victoria

Grenville Trading Pty Ltd v Braszell (Building and Property) [2015] VCAT 985
RETAIL LEASES–Surrender of lease by operation of law–by re-taking possession of premises, landlord purported to accept the tenant's alleged abandonment of the premises–consideration of factors alleged to have constituted an abandonment of the premises by the tenant–facts found not to be sufficient to warrant a finding that, prior to re-taking possession, the tenant had abandoned the premises.  Whether in the circumstances, the landlord complied with its express obligation under the lease, in respect of a claim for increased rent due to CPI increases, to give "the same notice that it would be required to give under section 146(1) Property Law Act 1958 (Vic)"–found that the landlord failed to comply.  Whether, if the landlord had complied with the notice requirements, the lease ended by resumption of possession by landlord following alleged failure by tenant to pay rent–alleged failure by landlord to render rent invoices for CPI increases allegedly payable from 1 June 2010 that were compliant with A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999–whether that alleged failure entitled tenant to withhold payment of the whole of the rent invoices–whether, in any event, the tenant was entitled to suspend paying the whole of the rent invoices in reliance on the express term of the lease, on the ground that the premises could not be used or accessed for the permitted use–found to be not so entitled.  Whether the alleged failure by the tenant to pay rent in accordance with the lease, the alleged abandonment and the alleged discontinuation of the business by the tenant, contrary to its obligations under the lease, amounted to a repudiation of the lease by the tenant–found no repudiation and, in any event, notice required to be given by the landlord under the lease was not given.  More...

Cases - Queensland

Grepo & Anor v Jam-Cal Bundaberg Pty Ltd [2015] QCA 131
LANDLORD AND TENANT – RENT – PROVISIONS AS TO RENT IN AGREEMENT FOR LEASE OR LEASE – RENT REVIEW CLAUSES – where the lease provided for rent review after the first year, either by way of market review or review based on the consumer price index – where the lessee paid rent at the base rate for the whole of the three year term – where the lessor argued that the lessee was required to calculate the rent payable in accordance with the consumer price index – where the lessee argued that the obligation to pay any increase was dependent on a determination being made by the lessors – whether the terms of the lease required a determination to be made – whether the trial judge erred in failing to find that the lessee was in breach of its obligation to pay rent.  LANDLORD AND TENANT – COVENANTS – OTHER COVENANTS – where the lease prohibited the accumulation of rubbish on the premises – where the lessors argued that there was photographic evidence of an unacceptable accumulation of tyres – where there was no evidence as to when the photographs were taken – whether the trial judge erred in failing to find that the lessee was in breach of the lease.  LANDLORD AND TENANT – COVENANTS – NOT TO ASSIGN OR SUBLET – LESSOR'S CONSENT – where the lease prohibited the lessee from underletting the premises without the lessors' prior consent – where the permitted use of the premises was as a wrecking business – where the lessee rented a granny flat which was part of the premises to an employee without the lessors' permission – where the lessee argued that the tenant was a caretaker and that his occupation of the flat was ancillary to the permitted use of the premises – whether the trial judge erred in failing to find that the lessee's underletting of the premises was in breach of the lease.  LANDLORD AND TENANT – COVENANTS – OTHER COVENANTS – where the lease required the tenant to keep the premises free and clear of rodents, termites, cockroaches and vermin – where a pest inspector found active termites in parts of the premises – where the lessee had not undertaken any termite treatment during the term of the lease – where the trial judge construed the obligation under the lease as an obligation to address any evident termite problem – whether the trial judge erred in construing the obligation – whether the trial judge erred in failing to find that the lessee was in breach of the lease.  LANDLORD AND TENANT – RENEWALS AND OPTIONS – EXERCISE OF OPTION – RELIEF AGAINST LOSS OF OPTION FOR RENEWAL – where the lessee gave notice of its intention to exercise an option to renew – where the lessor did not give notice of the lessee's breaches under s 128 of the Property Law Act 1974 (Qld) – where the lessee argued that the protective effect of the section endured for the entire term of the lease – where the lessor argued that the section did not apply after the lessee purported to exercise the option by giving notice – whether the purported exercise of the option to renew for the purposes of s 128 occurred at the time of the giving of notice, or at the expiration of the lease – whether s 128 applied to the lessee's breaches which occurred after the giving of notice but before the expiration of the term of the lease.  LANDLORD AND TENANT – RENEWALS AND OPTIONS – NATURE OF OPTION – where the lessee argued that the giving of notice of intention to exercise the option to renew created an agreement for a lease, entitling it to seek relief from forfeiture under s 124 of the Property Law Act 1974 (Qld) – where the lessor argued that the option to renew was an irrevocable offer with conditions precedent to its acceptance, namely the giving of notice and compliance with obligations under the lease – where the lessee argued that the conditions precedent were not met and there was no entitlement to a lease, and no entitlement to seek relief from forfeiture – where there were breaches of covenants up to and at the date of the lease's expiry – whether there was an agreement for a lease – whether the lessee could claim relief from forfeiture under s 124 of the Property Law Act 1974 (Qld).  More...

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