Australia: Property & Real Estate News - 12 December 2017

In the media – National

Positive Outlook as Vacancy Declines in Australia's Office Markets
Commercial landlords are expected to get a lot tougher as office vacancy continues to drop in 2018 across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, according to the 2018 Office Leasing Trends and Market Outlook, compiled the sentiments of 135 people made up of a mixture of office tenants and landlords (30 November 2017). More...

Retirement villages approaching capacity – where will our seniors live?
Occupancy of retirement villages in Australia is close to capacity, highlighting the forthcoming shortage of age appropriate housing for senior Australians in their local communities, according to new data. The results of the annual PwC/Property Council Retirement Census show increasing numbers of older Australians are choosing to live in a retirement village (28 November 2017). More...

First stage financed for Lincoln Gap Wind Farm
Nexif Energy, an independent power producer in Australia and Southeast Asia, has reached financial close for the first stage of the Lincoln Gap Wind Farm — one of Australia's largest private sector-initiated and -owned grid battery systems not underwritten by a government contract or funded by government grants (20 November 2017). More...

PIA President calls for National Settlement Strategy, Chief Planner and Urban Design Protocol
Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) President, Brendan Nelson, has called on the Australian Government to play a more active and engaged role in the future development of Australian cities and adopt a 'strategic lens' in how it impacts urban and regional Australia (28 November 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

Making Councils More Accountable and Transparent
Minister for Local Government Marlene Kairouz today launched the latest data for the Know Your Council website, which provides information on a broad range of performance data – including planning permits, financial performance, roads, governance and waste collection – for Victoria's 79 Local Government Authorities (01 December 2017). More...

Dangerous cladding banned on buildings above two levels
Highly flammable polyethelene cladding – used on thousands of Australian skyscrapers in the past two decades – will be banned by the Victorian government from use in towers above two levels. A state building inspector will be appointed to look specifically at the issue of cladding on buildings (01 December 2017). More...

Planning decisions and good governance
The industry was rightly stunned last week when the Victorian Upper House utilised a rarely-used legislative clause to revoke two lawfully issued planning consents based completely on political considerations. Both had successfully navigated the planning process and were approved by the Minister (22 November 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

North West Sydney set for a vibrant future
The NSW Government has announced the rezoning of the Bella Vista and Kellyville Precincts to create vibrant communities with new town centres, facilities and green open space, along with 10,400 new jobs for Sydney's north-west (28 November 2017). More...

Legislative amendments to NSW planning system pass through Parliament
The Bill to change the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and deliver the biggest overhaul of the NSW planning system since the legislation's inception almost 40 years ago has passed through Parliament, the NSW Government announced last week (28 November 2017). More...

How we're planning for a growing Sydney
Sydney is a global city that continues to grow and mature. Current forecasts suggest more than 1.7 million additional people will be living in Sydney by 2036, requiring more than 725,000 new homes (24 November 2017). More...

In the media - Queensland

Brisbane apartment market has Bank of Queensland on alert
Bank of Queensland says moderating house prices across Australia's east coast are welcome but the institution is bracing for any collapse, especially in Brisbane's oversupplied apartment market (30 November 2017). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Quarterly Compliance Report: National Electricity and Gas Laws – September 2017
On 1 December 2017 the AER published its latest Quarterly Compliance Report: National Electricity and Gas Laws. More...

In Practice and Courts

HomesVica shared equity scheme
Applications will officially open next February and the pilot scheme will begin in early 2018 – with an initial allocation of $50 million over two years. Eligibility will target applicants with incomes of up to $75,000 for singles, or up to $95,000 for couples or families. Buyers will need to have a 5 per cent deposit. More...

Reminder: Vacant Residential Property Tax (VRPT)
The VRPT will start on 1 January next year and be levied on dwellings that are vacant for more than six months in a calendar year. It will only apply to properties in 16 inner Melbourne councils, and will apply annually at a rate of 1 per cent of the property's capital improved value. More...

Fishermans Bend Draft Framework Plan Consultation
Draft Planning Scheme Amendment GC81 to the Melbourne and Port Phillip Planning Schemes has been prepared to implement the vision for Fishermans Bend through a suite of permanent controls and a new Fishermans Bend Framework Plan. Submissions can be made until December 2017. A Directions Hearing will be held on 20 December 2017. A Public Hearing will be held the week commencing 12 February 2018. More...

West Gate Tunnel Project EES Inquiry and Advisory Committee: Construction of a second crossing over the Yarra River formerly known as the Western Distributor Project.

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2017

Brisbane City Plan
At its meeting on 21 November 2017, Brisbane City Council adopted major amendments to Brisbane City Plan 2014 to include amendments to the Pre-1911 building overlay. The amendments apply city-wide and will commence on 1 December 2017. More...

Settlement Notices to be replaced with Priority Notices from 1 January 2018
The Registrar of Titles has advised that from 1 January 2018, Settlement Notices can no longer be deposited in the Titles Registry. The current Queensland Settlement Notice mechanism will be replaced by a Priority Notice mechanism as part of a move toward national consistency in a range of titling processes to support national electronic conveyancing in Australia. There will be no transitional period. More...


Mann v Glen Eira CC [2017] VCAT 1838
Section 77 Planning and Environment Act 1987; Glen Eira Planning Scheme; Neighbourhood Residential Zone; Mice breeding and cell isolation for medical research; Land use. No permit.

Henwood v Solar Station Alpha Pty Ltd (Civil Claims) [2017] VCAT 1686
Solar power system; misleading and deceptive conduct; major failure of system; compensation for estimated lack of financial return; Australian Consumer Law sections 18, 54, 62, 259, 260 and 263; breach of contract; refusal to service solar power system due to incident with service person.

Valles v Mornington Peninsula SC [2017] VCAT 1738
Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme; Application under s.77 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to refuse a permit, C1Z; Clause 52.27; Mornington Activity Centre and Structure Plan; Application for late-night on-premises liquor licence; Tavern with intended operating characteristics of a wine bar and supper club; Cumulative impact; Amenity; Policing and enforcement of conditions. No permit.



Treasury Laws Amendment (Housing Tax Integrity) Bill 2017
Introduced with the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Fees Imposition Amendment (Vacancy Fees) Bill 2017, the bill amends the: Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to: provide that travel expenditure incurred in gaining or producing assessable income from residential premises is not deductible, and not recognised in the cost base of the property for capital gains tax purposes; and limit deductions for plant and equipment assets used for producing assessable income from residential premises to when the asset was first used for a taxable purpose; Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 to implement an annual vacancy fee on foreign owners of residential real estate where residential property is not occupied or genuinely available on the rental market for at least six months in a 12-month period; and Taxation Administration Act 1953 to make consequential amendments. Progress; Assent Act no: 126 Year: 2017 30 November 2017.

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
Gerard Timbs
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