Australia: Property & Real Estate News – 12 July 2017

In the media – National

Commercial Building Disclosure Program Extension
From 1 July all commercial building spaces of 1,000m˛ or more must have their energy efficiency rating disclosed when selling, leasing or subleasing. The extension to the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program from 2,000m˛ to 1,000m˛ means that another 1,000 commercial office buildings are affected by the CBD requirements. More information is here (30 June 2017). More...

Census reveals the consequences of a growing housing affordability crisis
The 2016 Census has revealed more people are renting, mortgage debt is growing and the number of large households is increasing, as housing affordability crises grip multiple cities across the country. Housing owned outright fell from 41.4 per cent in 1991 to 31 per cent in 2016. Homes with mortgages, meanwhile, rose to 34.5 per cent in 2016 from 27.5 per cent in 1991, and renting went from 26.9 per cent in 1991 to 30.9 per cent in 2016 (27 June 2017). More...

What the 2016 census reveals about property
The latest snapshot from the 2016 census has been unveiled, revealing details of Australia's overall property market, and how much we're paying in rent and mortgages (28 June 2017). More...

Melbourne drives increases in national median house price: REIA
The median house price across Australian capital cities has continued to increase with the weighted average median prices rising by 2.9 per cent for houses and 2.5 per cent for other dwellings, according to the latest research from the Real Estate Institute of Australia (19 June 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

Ararat Commission of Inquiry commences
The Commission of Inquiry into the Rural City of Ararat has begun with the appointment of three Commissioners. The Commissioners will report on the consultative process carried out in the development of the budget and rating strategy, and on the administrative capacity of the City, by 1 August (29 June 2017). More...

Planning for success at Flemington Estate
The Andrews Labor Government's renewal of the Flemington public housing estate reached an important milestone today with the release of the proposed Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) after seven months of planning and community engagement (26 June 2017). More...

Landmark legislation to protect the Yarra River
To underline the importance of the public parklands and open spaces along the Yarra River within metropolitan Melbourne, they will be known collectively as the Greater Yarra Urban Parklands. It is also the first Bill in Victoria to use the language of Traditional Owners in its title, and one of the first in Australia to include Traditional Owner language in the Bill's body (26 June 2017). More...

Committee for Melbourne calls for review of local government system in Victoria in order to keep pace with rest of world
Ratepayers have shown strong support for the idea of a single metropolitan council to ensure Melbourne's future prosperity and liveability. It comes after influential lobby group, the Committee for Melbourne, proposed a review of local government system in Victoria (20 June 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

Revitalisation for Sydenham to Bankstown corridor
A plan by the NSW Government to renew and reinvigorate the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor has the potential to deliver more than 35,000 new homes and 8,500 jobs along the new Sydney Metro train line (25 June 2017). More...

Parramatta Road begins urban transformation
Neighbourhoods around the Parramatta Road corridor will start to see urban amenity improvements in the next 12 months (19 June 2017). More...

In the media – Queensland

Queensland's worst and best performing resale suburbs About 9.2 per cent of Brisbane homes were sold by their owners at a loss in the first three months of the year, the worst result in almost two years, a new report reveals (24 June 2017). More...

Construction begins on Australia's tallest timber tower
Construction has begun on Impact Investment Group's 25 King development, set to become Australia's tallest cross-laminated timber building and one of the tallest in the world. The 10-storey, 45-metre building at Brisbane's Showgrounds, designed by Bates Smart, will provide 15,000 square metres of net lettable area, including three ground level retail tenancies (22 June 2017). More...

Land clearing rates in Queensland on par with Brazil: study
Land clearing in Queensland is the highest it has been in the last 10 years, researchers say, with the issue set to be a major battleground in the state election (19 June 2017). Land clearing rates in Queensland on par with Brazil: study

Published – articles, papers, reports

Foreign investor tax changes — get ready for 1 July 2017
Conveyancers and practitioners need to be ready for the newly introduced Federal and NSW State changes to foreign investor taxes which simultaneously commence on 1 July 2017. The table here presents the key changes to the relevant rates for the purposes of preparing and finalising contract documents and settlement statements for property acquisitions that occur on or after 1 July 2017. More...

Announcements, draft policies and plans released 2017

Updated REIQ contracts now available
Queensland Law Society and the Real Estate Institute of Queensland have updated the standard joint contracts following amendments to the Federal Government's foreign resident CGT withholding framework which will take effect on 1 July 2017 (26 June 2017). More...

Changes to recovery of land tax by lessors
Amendments have been made to the Land Tax Act 2010 in the Government's Budget bills in response to the Vikpro Pty Ltd v Wyuna Court Pty Ltd decision. The changes will have the effect of restoring the prohibition on landlords directly passing on the cost of land tax to tenants under commercial leases entered into after 1 January 1992 and before 30 June 2009. The Government has made this change in response to the Court of Appeal decision which had the effect of repealing the previous prohibition.
The Vikpro decision does not affect residential leases under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 or any retail leases under the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (23 June 2017). On 16 June, the Queensland Parliament passed the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 as part of the Budget. Practitioners should be aware that the legislation introduces a range of changes. More...

Titles Registry Alert: Revised Titles Registry Fees - commencing 1 July 2017
The revised Queensland Titles Registry fees will take effect from 1 July 2017. The new fees for the 2017-2018 financial year are prescribed in the Natural Resources and Mines Legislation(Fees) Amendment Regulation 2017 which is available on the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website. Attached for your information is a summary listing the revised Titles Registry fees ( click here) that will apply during the 2017-2018 financial year.

The New Planning Act 2016: A Four Part Session Series SPA to Planning Act 2016 - An Overview
From 3 July 2017, Queensland will operate under new planning legislation, with the new Planning Act 2016 (Planning Act) replacing the current Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA). To assist navigate the new Planning Act, QELA is hosting a series of sessions that address key changes in legislation and some of the implications for practice. More...

Queensland Fair Trading: Buying property at auction
There is no cooling-off period for buying at auction. If you are the successful bidder at the auction, you will have to settle the contract even if: the house doesn't pass inspections, you change your mind and you can't afford it. The cooling-off period also does not apply to a private treaty contract (June 2017). More...

Value of Fee and Penalty Units for 2017-18
For the financial year 2017-18, the value of a fee unit is $14.22 and the value of a penalty unit is $158.57. The planning and subdivision fees at will be updated to reflect the change. Other fees and penalties, including building and heritage, can be viewed on the Fees and charges page at

Changes to state taxes June 2017
The State Taxation Acts Amendment Act 2017 received Royal Assent on 27 June 2017 and introduces changes to various Acts. It includes revenue initiatives announced as part of the Homes for Victorians housing package and in the 2017-18 Victorian Budget. The Duties Act 2000, First Home Owner Grant Act 2000, Land Tax Act 2005, Payroll Tax Act 2007, Planning and Environment Act 1987, Taxation Administration Act 1997, and Unclaimed Money Act 2008 have all been amended (27 June 2017). More...

In practice and courts

Foreign investor tax changes — get ready for 1 July 2017
Conveyancers and practitioners need to be ready for the newly introduced Federal and NSW State changes to foreign investor taxes which simultaneously commence on 1 July 2017. The table here presents the key changes to the relevant rates for the purposes of preparing and finalising contract documents and settlement statements for property acquisitions that occur on or after 1 July 2017. More...

Have your say on the West Gate Tunnel
An Environment Effects Statement, works approval application, and draft planning scheme amendment for the West Gate Tunnel Project are on public exhibition. Submissions are open until 10 July 2017. More...

Have your say on retirement village reforms NSW Fair Trading is inviting public comment on draft reforms affecting the state's retirement villages. Among the proposed changes to the regulation is a requirement for greater transparency in contracts. The reforms follow consultation with residents and industry stakeholders, and are available for feedback at Submissions close 20 July 2017 (23 June 2017). More...

Cases – Victoria

Riverman Orchards Pty Ltd v Hayden [2017] VSC 379
TORTS — Nuisance – Private – Spray drift damage to neighbouring vineyard because of herbicide spraying – Unreasonable and substantial interference with use and enjoyment of land.
TORTS — Negligence – Pure economic loss arising from herbicide spray drift – Reasonable foreseeability – Scope of duty of care – Risk of harm significant – Causation – Breach established.
DAMAGES — Quantum – Whether cost of total replacement of vineyard and consequential losses necessary and reasonable – No claim for diminution in value of plaintiff's interest in land – Costs of remediation – Costs of rehabilitation and mitigation – Need for replacement of trellis and irrigation infrastructure – Proper replanting timeline – Hypothetical yields and prices in counterfactual scenario – Past and future income losses – Discount rate.

Court v Greater Shepparton CC [2017] VCAT 884 Section 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987; Greater Shepparton Planning Scheme; Industrial 1 Zone; Depot and Garden Supplies; Relationship with Land in a General Residential Zone; Relationship with Land in a Public Park and Recreation Zone; Cussen Park; Existing Dwelling; Future Dwelling.

Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria v Bill Kaye & Co Pty Ltd (Review and Regulation) [2017] VCAT 942
Review and Regulation – conduct of corporate estate agent and officer in effective control – 21 properties leased over a period of 14 months to one tenant –tenant later convicted of cultivating and trafficking a commercial quantity of cannabis from the 21 properties – five properties found to be damaged in police raid – whether due skill care and diligence in the performance of the functions of an estate agent – whether conduct unprofessional or detrimental to the interests of the estate agency business – Estate Agents Act 1980 (Vic) ss25, 29B(2)(d), Estate Agents (Professional Conduct) Regulations 2008 (Vic) rr 11, 13(2).

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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Chris Brodrick
Katie Miller
Gerard Timbs
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