The Law Society of NSW Specialist Accredititation 


Any information contained in a blog on this website is general in nature only. The content of any blog posted below reflects information which is known to us as at the date of the posting of the blog. Please be aware that the law regularly changes. Please do not rely on the general information contained in the below blogs, instead we recommend that you contact us to obtain legal advice tailored to your own specific situation.



Loose-fill Asbestos

Amanda Quin - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Certain council areas in NSW are considered to be at a higher risk for the presence of loose-fill asbestos insulation.

Loose-fill asbestos is considered to be a significantly more serious health risk as compared to asbestos sheeting.

The NSW government has a buy back/demolition compensation scheme operating, BUT only if the person applying for the buy back/demolition compensation was the owner of the property as at 29 June 2015.

Existing home owners (ie who owned an at risk property as at 29 June 2015) have until 1 August 2016 to register for the free testing program (nb free testing is available if the house is in one of the council areas listed below).

Or if you are a concerned home owner and you live outside of the free testing area, you may choose to privately test your house at your cost, but such cost will be refunded if the test is positive.

If you are purchasing a house built before 1980 (particularly if the property is in any of the following local council areas), then you should consider requiring a clear asbestos test before completing your purchase:

  • Albury City Council
  • Bankstown City Council
  • Bega Valley Shire Council
  • Berrigan Shire Council
  • Bombala Council
  • Boorowa Council
  • Cooma Monaro Shire Council
  • Eurobodalla Shire Council
  • Goulburn Mulwaree Council
  • Greater Hume Shire Council
  • Hornsby Shire Council
  • Ku-ring-gai Shire Council
  • Lithgow City Council
  • Manly Council
  • Narrandera Shire Council
  • North Sydney Council
  • Orange City Council
  • Palerang Council
  • Parramatta City Council
  • Queanbeyan City Council
  • Snowy River Shire Council
  • The Hills Shire Council
  • Tumbarumba Council
  • Upper Lachlan Shire Council
  • Wagga Wagga City Council
  • Warringah Council
  • Yass Valley Shire Council
  • Young Shire Council



Abolition of Duties in NSW - Pitfalls

Amanda Quin - Friday, April 01, 2016

The NSW State Government has flagged that on 1 July 2016 it will be abolishing stamp duty on the following transactions:

  • Transfer of business assets
  • Transfer of marketable securities (eg shares in private companies and units in unit trusts)
  • Transfer of statutory licences and gaming machine entitlements
  • Mortgage Duty (to the extent it has not already been abolished)

You may recall that the NSW State Government has on a number of occasions flagged that these duties were being abolished and then delayed the abolition date. Hopefully, this time the abolition will proceed as planned.


However, there is a potential pitfall for companies and unit trusts which are landholders.

Despite the proposed abolition of stamp duty on the transfer of shares in a private company or units in a unit trust from 1 July 2016, it appears that landholder duty will still remain.

Landholder duty is payable on the acquisition of a significant interest in a private company or unit trust that owns land and meets certain other requirements.

As such, stamp duty may still be payable on the transfer of shares in a private company or units in a unit trust, where the transfer involves a significant interest and where the company or unit trust (or its linked entities) has land holdings in NSW with a value of $2 million or more.

There are some exemptions for companies which hold rural land. This can be a complex area of law and we recommend legal advice be obtained prior to any transfer occurring.


Where a lease is transferred with the business (which often happens with business premises that are rented), then although the goodwill of the Business will be exempt from stamp duty, nevertheless the plant and equipment and any consideration for the transfer of lease is liable for duty.

If the transaction were instead structured with a new lease being granted to the new owner of the business, then the plant and equipment would not be liable for stamp duty.

Accordingly when buying a business that operates from leased premises, you should consider whether the costs of the stamp duty that would be payable in relation to the plant and equipment and the transfer of the lease is likely to outweigh the costs of negotiating and entering into a new lease instead.


Where a sale of land and a sale of business takes place, then whilst the goodwill of the Business will not be liable to duty, nevertheless the land and the plant and equipment of the business will be liable to duty.