Legal Practice

Australian Property Law

The Australian Property Law Group of the Legal Practice Section of the Law Council of Australia provides a forum for lawyers who work with real property to discuss issues at a national level, and reflects the interests of practitioners in major areas of property law.

While the primary source of real property law is State legislation, national issues are constantly emerging.

Role and Objectives

The primary objectives of the Australian Property Law Group are:

Sub-committees have been established in the States to foster discussion and help with the distribution and exchange of information. They have a good working relationship with State Law Society or Institute groups and industry bodies such as the Property Council of Australia, the Australian Property Institute and the Australian Registrars of Title. Constant liaison ensures that committees do not conflict with or duplicate activities at either State or Federal level.

What the Australian Property Law Group has done

The Group is a founding member of the Property Law Reform Alliance (PLRA) - a coalition of legal and industry organisations who are committed to the reform of property law and procedures in Australia. Members bodies of this alliance include: the Property Council of Australia; the Master Builders Association; the Australian Property Institute; the Law Society of NSW, and the Law Society of the ACT.

The Group is actively involved in promoting uniformity of property laws and procedures.

Two members of the Group were members of the Solicitors' working party established by the Australian Taxation Office which negotiated tax file number rulings and amendments to the legislation and the Tax Office procedures. Without those changes the tax file number regulation could have been unworkable and caused heavy administration costs to solicitors' practices.

The Group assisted the Australian Institute of Conveyancers in the development of competency standards for licensed conveyancers. One of its members sits on the Australian Property Institute Standards Board.

The Group has arranged lunches and speakers in numerous States.

On 3 May 2016 the Australian Property Law Group chaired by Gary Newton, through the Law Council President, together with counterparts in the Law Society of New South Wales and the Law Institute of Victoria, wrote to the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Small Business, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, urging that the implementation of the new foreign resident capital gains tax withholding payment regime (tax measure), be deferred for 12 months, or additional policy initiatives be introduced.

The Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2015 Measures No 6) Act 2015 applies to contracts made on or after 1 July 2016. It will have a broad impact across legal practice and the wider business community. The initiative applies to Australians who purchase Australian property from foreign interests and Australians who purchase real estate with a market value of $2 million or more.

The Treasurer’s Ministerial Communications Team replied on 10 May 2016 that as the Australian Government was in caretaker mode from 9 May 2016 until the election result is known or there is a change of government, the Government was unable to respond to correspondence that addresses policy issues.

Read a piece about the measure by Gary Newton and Henry Yuan here.

Benefits of Membership

Members of the Australian Property Law Group receive a periodic newsletter, providing updates on developments in property law in Australia and overseas. 

As a member of the Legal Practice Section, all Group members receive the Section's electronic journal, the Australasian Law Management Journal, and receive discounted registration to conferences seminars conducted by the Section.

Members of the Section have access to the members' section of the Law Council's website, including access to electronic newsletters, journals, and case flashes.

Members of the Section have access to a range of discounts and corporate plan agreements for domestic and international air travel and accommodation, and hire cars.

To find out more about the activities the Australian Property Law Group contact the Chairman or the Section Administrator.

Australian Property Law Group Chairman

Mr Gary Newton
Partner
TressCox Lawyers
Level 16, MLC Centre, 19 Martin Place
Sydney NSW 2000
T. (02) 9228 9211
F. (02) 9228 9299
E.  Gary_Newton@tresscox.com.au

Australian Property Law Group Deputy Chair

Mr Philip Page 
Mellor Olsson Lawyers
GPO Box 74
Adelaide SA 5001, DX 543 Adelaide
T. (08) 8414 3441
F. (08) 8414 3455
E. ppage@mellorolsson.com.au

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