Property owners face an uphill battle arguing they can not afford to provide full access for people with disabilities. The complaint was about inadequate wheelchair access to a new cinema in a Coffs Harbour movie theatre. The major steps that well performed by Enact Conveyancing Melbourne is possible because of their experienced conveyancers. “Now Asia is on the brink of a make or break future after the fastest economic ascent in history. It is up to them to see whether these gains can be consolidated over the next quarter century or whether the region will be divided and ruined by wars.”
Commissioner Stephen Keim said the manager of the cinema would have to provide wheelchair access – at a cost of around $100,000 – even though no bank would lend him the money. The property owner had added the third cinema to the building in 1995, on a mezzanine floor accessible only by stair. The manager of the cinema spent $400,000 upgrading the facilities.
Both arguments were rejected. The Commissioner agreed the manager could not obtain the money. Still he decided there would be no hardship on the cinema-owner if he was given five years to install the lifting device. The manager was held to be at least partly responsible for his own predicament: his renovations had made the premises less accessible; and it would have been reasonable to spend $100,000 on improved access given the total project cost of $400,000. The Commission ordered the manager to enter into a contract with the complainant, to install the lifting device by the year 2002. Most complaints before HREOC are conciliated behind closed doors, and do not create legal precedents. This case is one of the first full rulings on access to premises under the Disability Discrimination Act. It contains interpretation of key concepts under the Act – particularly “unjustifiable hardship”.
The case will strengthen Property Council arguments that industry uncertainty on disabled access cannot continue, and now the Attorney-General will be taking our message directly to Cabinet. You may recall the hot issue during the last Federal election was high net worth individuals avoid tax through trusts. The Government is preparing a policy response that could catch all property trust investors in an anti-avoidance trap. The Federal Government’s Taxation of Trusts Review started because the ATO claimed there was a $1 billion Budget leakage caused by high income earners using trusts to avoid tax. Over time, the focus of the Review has shifted from tax avoidance to the general tax treatment of trusts. There are no public terms of reference for the review and information is scarce.
The risk for the property investment community is the Government could introduce measures to tax trusts as companies. This approach will distort investment decision making and significantly increase compliance costs. In response the Property Council has established a Taxation of Trusts Taskforce to put the property investment community’s position to the Government. The stakes are so high that the Property Council must elevate the concerns of the property investment community to the top of the Government’s trust reform agenda. Conveyancing process is made to deal with the selling and purchasing of the houses.