In the media

Commonwealth

CSIRO opens up new housing portal
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has launched a new data portal to centralise information relating to Australian homes as part of a program to make them more energy efficient (26 April 2019). More…

Few mortgage surprises as fixed rate demand falls
Demand for fixed rate home loans fell in March as borrowers react to uncertain housing market conditions, new mortgage data reveals (26 April 2019). More…

How can Australian commercial real estate defend its number one rank for global sustainability?
While Australian real estate is making impressive inroads in green recruitment, office design and data lake adoption, further investment in building performance analytics is necessary to ensure we remain number one in commercial real estate sustainability (24 April 2019). More…

ATO to scrutinise property investor claims
The Tax Office has warned that it will be scrutinising claims by property investors in the upcoming tax season. As part of its crackdown, the Tax Office’s focus will be on “over-claimed interest, capital works claimed as repairs, incorrect apportionment of expenses for holiday homes let out to others, and omitted income from accommodation sharing” (24 April 2019). More…

Debugging Watergate: Interpreting official responses
The Australia Institute has released analysis of official responses to the Watergate scandal surrounding Murray Darling water purchases, covered by The Project, Guardian and other outlets. The analysis finds that official responses are misleading and in some cases incorrect (21 April 2019). More…

Australia’s current building compliance issues
With the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne, the Opal Tower scenario in Sydney, along with other fires and building safety and defect issues in buildings in Australia and overseas, it is increasingly becoming clear that prior to the drama occurring, the problems or potential problems with the building were known (18 April 2019). More…

Tax office to double audits of dodgy rental deductions
Rental property owners are being warned to ensure their claims are correct this tax time, as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announces it will double the number of audits scrutinising rental deductions (18 April 2019). More…

Energy efficient social and affordable homes for Hoxton Park Road
The CEFC is pleased to have financed SGCH’s latest 7-star NatHERS apartment complex which demonstrates how clean energy initiatives can have long-term benefits for social housing tenants (17 April 2019). More…

Built environment can drive energy efficiency gains
Greater energy efficiency gains in the built environment is the big opportunity hiding in plain sight to help Australia meet its emissions reduction targets and cut energy costs for households and businesses. The Property Council of Australia has called for an affordable and sustainable energy road map as part of its 2019 federal election platform (17 April 2019). More…

Queensland’s property developer donation ban is valid
The High Court has ruled Queensland laws banning property developers from donating to political parties and candidates are valid. The Palaszczuk Labor government passed laws last year, backdated until before the 2017 Queensland election, banning property developers from donating money to state and local government politicians, candidates and parties (17 April 2019). More…

NSW

‘This changes everything’: System displays new DAs in real-time
The public will now be able to view a development application less than a day after it is lodged with a local council, rather than having to wait six to 18 months. The government has been trialling a new online tool called ePlanning, which requires homeowners and developers to submit DAs online (22 April 2019). More…

The only way is up for retailing in the city fringe
The limited space for sprawling retail sites in Sydney’s fringe suburbs has led developers to offer vertical retailing alternatives (20 April 2019). More…

Victoria

New deal to reduce emissions and keep water affordable
Thirteen of Victoria’s water corporations have partnered to purchase clean energy from the Kiamal Solar Farm in north-west Victoria. The innovative venture is the first of its kind for Australia’s water sector and will operate under a new organisation called Zero Emissions Water Ltd (ZEW) (23 April 2019). More…

Charter Hall lodges plans for $1.5bn Collins Street development
Charter Hall has lodged plans for its mammoth development, a $1.5 billion twin tower premium office project in Melbourne’s CBD (19 April 2019). More…

Coolaroo glass recovery company ordered to stop accepting combustible recyclable waste
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has issued a Coolaroo company with a notice that requires it to cease accepting combustible recyclable waste at its site until its stockpiles comply with the Victorian Waste Management Policy (15 April 2019). More…

Queensland

Seymour Group wins approval for Broadbeach project
Private developer Seymour Group has unveiled its debut into the Gold Coast market with a $32 million residential development in Broadbeach (24 April 2019). More…

EAA purchases
The Queensland Government expressed its support of a potential purchase of EAA properties in 2015, acknowledging that it represented a significant opportunity to make substantial progress towards achieving water recovery targets (24 April 2019). More…

Now law: Landholders to be reimbursed during negotiations
Queensland landholders can be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses incurred in negotiating conduct and compensation agreements with a resource company – as of 19 April 19 – regardless of whether or not an agreement is reached (19 April 2019). More…

Developer reduces Gold Coast skyscraper by 17-storeys
Changing market conditions has prompted a Gold Coast developer to slash 46 apartments from its permit-approved Main Beach skyscraper (17 April 2019). More…

Published – articles, papers, reports

NABERS strategic plan
NABERS five-year strategic plan following a successful consultation period and endorsement by the NABERS Steering Committee (18 April 2019). More…

In practice and courts

Commonwealth

ABA Code and Clause 90 update
The ABA has committed to getting the planned amendments approved ahead of commencement of the Code on 1 July and will now seek ASIC’s approval of the changes to paragraph 90 and Chapter 24 of the Code. In relation to the proposed changes to wording in Valuation Reports going forward, the API recommendations have been outlined here (17 April 2019).

API Member alert: Update to the CoreLogic ‘Valuer Data Processing and Security Terms’ – Do not sign advice
This alert is directed to those Valuer Members and their Corporate Employers who undertake mortgage valuations via the ValEx/CoreLogic system. It is an update to previous alerts on this topic releases by the API on 11 March and 28 March 2019 (April 2019). More…

Victoria
Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2019

Complex land transfer transactions to be managed online
Land Use Victoria has mandated that complex land transfer transactions, currently managed via paper settlement, must be lodged and managed online from August 2019. This applies to conveyancers and lawyers acting for a party or for themselves.

Duties Online enhancements, which are scheduled to take effect from 17 June 2019, will: lower administration costs; improve settlement completion rates; mean duty is calculated prior to settlement; increase data security; ensure information is viewed and agreed to by all parties before settlement.

DELWP / EPA Council planner forums – Geelong 8 May 2019
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) are holding a series of professional development forums for statutory and strategic planners and other local government staff to provide an update on the delivery of the Government’s environment protection reform agenda, to demonstrate new data tools and to seek feedback on key planning reform projects. More…

Queensland

Land title practice manual updates 2019
The land title practice manual is updated periodically. More…

Land title practice manual reminder: Paper certificates of title are changing
The way in which the Titles Registry deals with paper certificates of title (paper CTs) is changing. As of 1st October 2019, paper CTs will no longer have any legal effect. From 1st October 2019, there will no longer be the option to lodge a Form 19 – Application for certificate of title.
Similarly, a Form 17 – Request to Dispense (with production of a CT) will become redundant as of 1st October 2019. More…

Safer Buildings combustible cladding checklist ticks over to Part 2
The Part 1 deadline elapsed on 29 March 2019, with some buildings required to continue to Part 2.
Buildings that need further assessment following the conclusion of Part 1 will have until 29 May 2019 to file a building industry professional report to the QBCC. More…

Consultation: Yeronga proposed development scheme for a mixed-use precinct in the Yeronga Priority Development Area (PDA).
The scheme establishes a planning framework to transform the site and sets out intended land uses, development criteria and infrastructure envisaged for the PDA. Submissions can be made between 1 April and 17 May. More…

Cases

Victoria

The Edge Development Group Pty Ltd v Jack Road Investments Pty Ltd [2019] VSCA 91
CONTRACT – Formation – Sale of land – Letter of offer signed by parties – Parties agreed to adopt vendor’s standard contract of sale – 1 per cent of contract price payable on signing offer, balance of 20 per cent deposit on execution of contracts – Purchaser to have access to premises under licence on execution of contract – Terms confidential until execution of contract – No vendor’s statement provided – Condition in letter of offer that ‘offer is subject to the contract being executed’ – Whether offer subject to letter being signed or to future contract of sale – Whether signed letter of offer binding – Masters v Cameron [1954] HCA 72; (1954) 91 CLR 353, applied – Molonglo Group (Aust) Pty Ltd v Cahill [2018] VSCA 147, considered – Sale of Land Act 1962, s 32 – Relevance of post-signature conduct or negotiations – Nurisvan Investment Ltd v Anyoption Holdings Ltd[2017] VSCA 141, applied.

Keo Waleta Property Pty Ltd v 1693 Malvern Road Pty Ltd [2019] VSC 239
CONTRACTS – Construction and Interpretation – Joint venture relationship in respect of the development of a property – Parties entered into an agreement to end relationship – Construction of payment mechanism under the agreement – Principles in Ecosse Property Holdings Pty Ltd v Gee Dee Nominees Pty Ltd [2017] HCA 12; (2017) 261 CLR 544 for interpretation of a commercial contract applied.

Plunkett v Roads Corporation (No 2) [2019] VSC 230
COSTS – Determination of separate question under r 47.04, Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 – Whether s 91, Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 creates a presumption as to costs – Respondent the successful party on the separate question – Whether costs should follow the event – Where parties consented to hearing and determination of separate question for case management purposes – Appropriate order is costs in the proceeding – Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (Vic), s 91.

Moneta Finance Pty Ltd v Pakenham Racing Club Inc [2019] VSC 207
CONTRACT – Sale of properties – Real estate agent – Sale authorities – Estate Agents Act 1980 – Justice Legislation Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2018 – No agreed commission or commission rate for price below threshold – Whether a Binding Offer or Sale – Whether individuals acting as agent’s representatives – Contracts subject to purchaser being acceptable to the vendor’s banker – Condition subsequent not satisfied – No admission of indebtedness – Electricity Generation Corporation v Woodside Energy Ltd (2014) 251 CLR 640 – Estate Agents Act 1980 ss 47, 48A, 49A, 50, 104.

Okil and Rajput v Lu and Turner (Building and Property) [2019] VCAT 525
Retail lease – landlord terminated lease and re-entered possession – breach of lease – misrepresentation, unconscionable conduct – claim for outstanding rent and outgoings – s77 of the Retail Leases Act 2003 – s18 and s236 of Australian Consumer Law. Jing Lu and Brett Turner must pay Arif Okil and Raheel Ahmed Rajput the sum of $37,123.

Brondolino v Surf Coast Smash Masters Pty Ltd (Building and Property) [2019] VCAT 538 
Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic) – Notice of Termination of Lease, whether tenant in breach – whether landlord entitled to possession – premises not fit for the permitted use following flooding – landlord’s obligation to maintain premises – whether tenant entitled to reimbursement of rent and outgoings paid. Anthony Paul Brondolino must pay Surf Coast Smash Masters Pty Ltd $37,196.39.

Queensland

Lennium Group Pty Ltd v Brisbane City Council & Ors [2019] QPEC 17
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPEAL – where the appellant seeks approval for a three storey unit complex with 30 units on part of the Yeronga Bowls Club – where the land is in the sport and recreation zone – where the land is protected as a local heritage place – where the Council refused the development application – whether the impact of the proposed development on the cultural heritage significance of Yeronga Bowls Club is acceptable – whether the land is still required for sport and recreation uses or community facilities – whether the proposed development will have an unacceptable stormwater impact – whether there are grounds that justify approval of the development application despite conflict with City Plan 2014.

A & GC Lee Pty Ltd v Collier & Anor (No. 2) [2019] QCAT 96
PROCEDURE – CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN STATE AND TERRITORY COURTS – COSTS – where costs to be awarded under the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) – where tribunal had no jurisdiction to hear and decide dispute as a result of applicant’s failure to comply with the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (Qld) – consideration of s 102(1) of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) – whether interests of justice require an order for costs to be paid – where parties self-represented – consideration of recoverable outlays – whether travel expenses recoverable.

Cases to 23 April 2019

Spoor & Ors v Price & Ors [2019] QSC 53
PROCEDURE – CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN STATE AND TERRITORY COURTS – LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – MORTGAGES – RECOVERY OF POSSESSION BY MORTGAGEE – where the defendants mortgaged land as security for a loan from the plaintiff – where the defendants failed to repay monies owing under the mortgages – where the plaintiff claimed monies due and recovery of possession under mortgages – where defendants pleaded ss 10, 13 and 26 of Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) – where the plaintiff in reply to the defences relied on a clause of the mortgage as excluding the operation of the Limitation of Actions Act – whether it is possible to contract out of the Limitation of Actions Act – whether s 24 of the Limitation of Actions Act does more than bar a remedy but extinguishes title
CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES – CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF CONTRACTS – whether the relevant clause was ambiguous – where regard can be properly had to the contra proferentum rule – whether the plaintiffs are entitled for recovery of possession.
Land Title Act 1994 Qld s 74; Limitation of Actions Act 1974 Qld s 5, s 10, s 13, s 24 and s 26
Property Law Act 1974 Qld s 84; Real Property Act 1861 Qld s 60.

Deimel v Phelps & Anor (No 2) [2019] QLC 21
PROCEDURE – COSTS – JURISDICTION – where the Land Court made determinations as to compensation for resource tenures – where s 34 of the Land Court Act 2000 applies – where s 281(7) of the Mineral Resources Act 1989 applies – where the considerations under both statutes are essentially the same – where the Land Court has a discretion – where the respondents claim costs of professional fees as outlays.

Legislation

Victoria

Owners Corporations and Other Acts Amendment Bill – Exposure draft
The Bill represents an opportunity to update and modernise the Owners Corporations Act 2006, which has not been substantially reformed since it commenced in 2007. Public submissions are open until 10 May 2019.
Victorian legislation can be accessed here.

Queensland

Bills updated in the last week

Natural Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019
Stage reached: Report from Committee on 18/04/2019

Mineral Resources (Galilee Basin) Amendment Bill 2018
Stage reached: Report from Committee on 18/04/2019

Subordinate legislation as made – 19 April 2019