Australia: Inside track: Property and Real Estate – media releases, in practice, in courts, cases

In the media

Auction rates will decline further: Corelogic
Auction clearance rates continue to slide for a fourth consecutive week further highlighting poor market conditions and current negative sentiment (25 October 2018). More...

Melbourne house prices fell faster than Sydney over the quarter: Domain
Rising mortgage rates, a credit crackdown and a decrease in overseas buyers has seen capital city house prices decrease 2.9 per cent over the year, in what could be good news for would-be home buyers entering the property market (25 October 2018). More...


Mordialloc Freeway
The Victorian Government's Mordialloc Freeway will take thousands of trucks off local roads in the south east, slash travel times and give local residents safer and quieter streets. An Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the $375 million Mordialloc Freeway has been released, showing that the project will deliver massive benefits for drivers, walkers, cyclists and the environment (25 October 2018). More... More...

Loose litter leads to fine for remitter
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined a Hampton Park landfill more than $8000 after a significant volume of plastic litter blew into a neighbouring property (25 October 2018). More...

Build Aware inspections in Shepparton
Joint teams from five government agencies have conducted 167 inspections on building sites around Shepparton as part of the Build Aware campaign (25 October 2018). More...

Apple global flagship store design refinement
The Minister for Planning has endorsed Apple's revised concept plans for a global flagship Apple store in Federation Square, subject to a small number of modifications (to the landscape plan, upper level terrace, screen façades and profile of the structural steelwork) (25 October 2018). More...

Federation Square put up for heritage listing, threatening Apple store plans
Heritage Victoria recommends Melbourne's Federation Square for heritage listing, in a move that could jeopardise tech giant Apple's flagship store plans (18 October 2018). More...

La Trobe University unveils 'City of the Future'
La Trobe University has unveiled plans to develop its 235-hectare campus at Bundoora in Melbourne's north. The campus is set to be transformed, as part of the University City of the Future plan, into a 'multi-precinct' (24 October 2018). More...

e-waste program
The Victorian Government has awarded 76 councils with $16.5 million to help them manage Victoria's e-waste and keep it out of landfill (23 October 2018). More...

Melbourne's eight cities: Mini-CBDs to transform Victoria's capital
The idea of one single city centre is being challenged in Melbourne, where the population has surged beyond 5 million people. There are now plans for another seven CBDs, to stop the city being choked by growth — but not everyone is convinced it will work (16 October 2018). More...

New South Wales

Closing loopholes for certifiers
Building and development certifiers are facing the toughest penalties to date, under laws that aim to clean up the industry and give confidence to the community and homebuyers. Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said the reforms passed in Parliament this would allow the NSW Government to come down hard on dodgy operators (26 October 2018). More...

Greater City Commission: Why Sydney needs to keep its sheds and industrial lands
The Property Council of Australia has expressed concern that the land currently available across Greater Sydney represents less than two year's forward supply. Managing and supporting valuable industrial and urban services lands requires a precautionary approach and, where appropriate, protection from competing land uses such as residential redevelopment (25 October 2018). More...


Childcare centre proposed for Brisbane's tallest tower
A childcare centre has been proposed to be built within Brisbane's tallest residential tower. A design plan submitted as part of the development application showed the floor broken into seven different group areas which had varying capacities of 10 to 22 children (25 October 2018). More...

Brisbane developer delivers inner-city West End park
A Brisbane developer has delivered on its promise to deliver an inner-city public park the size of Brisbane's Post Office Square (19 October 2018). More...

Brisbane City Council forces sale of homes to recover overdue rates
Brisbane City Council is looking to recover more than $130,000 in unpaid rates by forcibly selling nine homes across the city. If a property has outstanding rates for more than three years the council can move to sell it (16 October 2018). More...

In practice & courts

SRO: Declaring properties that are vacant in 2018
Homes left unoccupied for more than six months a year, which are located in 16 specified council areas, attract vacant residential land tax. If you own a property in one of these council areas and it will be unoccupied for six months or more in 2018, you can notify us via our online portal. Notifications are due by 15 January 2019.
When using the portal to notify us about property that has been vacant in 2018, you should select 2019 as the tax year (22 October 2018).

Water Grid Partnership established
The Water Grid Partnership continues our delivery of Water for Victoria's Action 9.1: Develop a grid oversight function and Action 9.2: Plan for future grid augmentations. Enhancing the grid: Victoria's Water Grid Partnership in 2018 outlines the challenges to water security. The report explains the rationale for the partnership and how it will operate (16 October 2018). More... More...

VC152 establishes planning policy for the management of land for major hazard facilities and their respective buffer distances; Implements a new particular provision to support a simpler and straightforward development assessment process for residential aged care facilities. Introduces permit exemptions for community care accommodation to enable the streamlined renewal and development of these facilities, and provides clarity on the extent of permit exemptions for rooming houses. More...

VC154 implements initiatives from Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 and Water for Victoria – Water Plan by modifying the Planning Policy Framework to reflect integrated water management objectives and by introducing a new particular provision for stormwater management in urban development. More...

VC155 amends the Planning Policy Framework at Clause 15.03 Heritage to introduce a new strategy to consider the restoration or reconstruction of a heritage building that has been unlawfully or unintentionally demolished, and inserts 'The Burra Charter: The Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance, 2013' as a policy guideline; Makes minor changes to the wording of the residential rooftop solar energy facility provisions recently introduced by Amendment VC149 to ensure that they are clear and unambiguous with respect to their intended operation. More...

GC110 introduces a new Environmentally Sustainable Development Local Planning Policy into the Brimbank, Greater Bendigo, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Kingston, Whittlesea and Wyndham Planning Schemes. More...


Shah v Vega & Anor [2018] VSC 562
JUDICIAL REVIEW AND APPEALS – Application pursuant to Order 56 of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 for judicial review of a VCAT decision in respect to a tenancy dispute – Landlord applied to VCAT for compensation for alleged damage to premises by tenant – Procedural fairness – Whether landlord was denied a fair hearing – Landlord not provided with an interpreter at VCAT hearing – Non-English speaking background – Landlord self-represented and made extensive submissions at VCAT and in this Court – Yahome Pty Ltd v Delic [2013] VSC 52, referred to – Landlord's difficulties with English were not so severe or so obvious as to warrant an adjournment to secure an interpreter – Landlord not materially disadvantaged by the absence of an interpreter – Whether Member failed to have regard to relevant evidence – No basis for judicial review insofar as landlord's claim concerns Member's factual findings – Whether landlord given proper opportunity to present her evidence – Whether Member erred in calculation of depreciation – Member not bound to follow ATO guidelines – No error of law arises from any ground of review – Proceeding constituted an attempt to relitigate the Member's factual findings – Application dismissed.

Waterfront Place Pty Ltd v Minister for Planning [2018] VSC 621
PLANNING – Call in of proceedings in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal by the Minister for Planning – Calculation of time – Meaning of cl 58(3)(b) in sch 1 to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic) – Application of s 44(1)–(4) of the Interpretation of Legislation Act 1984 (Vic).

Sentinel Citilink Pty Ltd v PS Citilink Pty Ltd [2018] QSC 239
REAL PROPERTY – TORRENS TITLE – TRANSFERS – OTHER MATTERS – where the seller and the buyer entered into a contract for the sale of certain commercial property – where the contract was a standard REIQ contract for the sale of commercial property with additional special conditions – where the contract recorded a purchase price of $81,200,000 – where the buyer paid a deposit pursuant to the contract – where the buyer was obliged to pay 'the balance of the Purchase Price' on the settlement date – where a special condition provided that the seller must pay to the buyer, by way of an adjustment to 'the balance Purchase Price payable on settlement', an amount equivalent to the value of extant incentive arrangements affecting leases on the property – where the value of outstanding incentives was $2,037,364.45 as at the date of contract and $2,003,050.67 as at the date of settlement – where the adjustment resulted in an amount of $79,196,949.34 required to be transferred at settlement – where the seller and the buyer disagreed on the amount of consideration to be shown on the relevant transfer forms (form 1 and form 24) – where the parties have an obligation to complete the forms in accordance with the applicable instructions and otherwise consistently with the law – where the parties each produced different versions of form 1 and form 24 displaying different amounts for consideration – where the contract failed to settle – whether the seller was correct in insisting upon completion of a form 1 and a form 24 which recorded consideration of $81,200,000, not the adjusted figure of $79,196,949.34 – whether the seller breached its obligation under the contract to do all acts and execute all documents necessary for the purpose of completing the sale.

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Chris Brodrick
Katie Miller
Gerard Timbs
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