Brisbane’s property market continues to thrive with continued development approvals and major construction activity. We also look at a new Supreme Court decision regarding land tax recovery from commercial tenants.

Brisbane city skyline

Brisbane’s property market continues to be buoyed by new development approvals and major construction activity, with expansion set to continue well into 2016.

The public release of the proposed Queens Wharf Development Scheme in early August has been at the centre of recent hype after the Queensland Government named the ‘Destination Brisbane Consortium’ the preferred tenderer for the integrated resort development. The precinct is set to connect the CBD and riverfront providing economic growth for Queensland with the creation of around 8,000 new jobs.

This project, alongside the much-awaited revitalisation of the Howard Smith Wharves will provide mixed use, commercial and community facilities. Together, these developments will help to shape Brisbane’s inner city and will support several new, multi-story apartment complexes that have settled or are currently being constructed around the CBD and surrounding suburbs.

The future challenge will be to ensure that development does not outstrip demand. No doubt much of the increase in development has been spurred on by Asian (and particularly Chinese) investment, of which long-term sustainability looks promising.

New Catalyst Infrastructure Program announced for Queensland

Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Jackie Trad has announced $59 million in new funding to invest in infrastructure to unlock development opportunities, create jobs and drive economic growth. The new Catalyst Infrastructure Program will allow councils and private proponents to apply for co-investment funding to build road, water, sewerage and other infrastructure.

The Deputy Premier said the key criteria for eligibility for the program is that the proposed infrastructure must generate, facilitate or accelerate economic benefit. The recipient must also co-invest between 10% and 50% of the total direct costs, and be ready to commence construction within 12 months. They are looking for “shovel-ready projects which demonstrate significant flow-on economic benefits for the community”

Successful projects will receive funding on an interest-free basis to be repaid over time. The $59 million Catalyst Infrastructure Program will be delivered by Economic Development Queensland.

Supreme Court of Queensland decision could allow landlords to recover land tax from commercial tenants

The recovery of land taxes on commercial rental premises has been subject to much debate and legislative change over the past five years.  A decision in the Supreme Court of Queensland (Wyuna Court Pty Ltd v Vikpro Pty Ltd) was handed down in August which may result in land tax being recoverable from tenants on leases entered into pre-30 June 2009. 

Tenants and landlords should be mindful that as a result of this ruling in instances where a commercial lease was entered into pre 30 June 2009; and the lease requires the tenant to pay land tax as the tenant may be required to pay land tax imposed on or after 30 June 2010.

It should be noted however that the decision will have no impact on retail or residential leases which both have legislation which expressly prohibits the recoverability of land tax from tenants.

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