In brief

New federal disability standards

From 1 May 2011 some new buildings, and existing buildings being modified, will have to comply with new federal disability standards. Concessions on its application are provided in certain circumstances, including in cases of “unjustifiable hardship”.

The NSW Government’s Building Professionals Board has released a discussion paper on options for determining “unjustifiable hardship”. The discussion paper considers how this should be dealt with as there is no existing mechanism or body to allow prior approval for non-compliance with any part of the new standards on unjustifiable hardship grounds. Submissions are due by 28 February 2011. Please contact us if you any views that you think we should raise in a submission. More detail is here.

Green upgrade tax concessions

From 1 July 2011 businesses that invest in eligible assets or capital works to improve the energy efficiency of an existing building may be eligible to apply for a one-off bonus tax deduction. The tax deduction will cover specified capital expenditure which is incurred as part of a qualifying retrofit of an existing office building, hotel or shopping centre. Eligible businesses will be able to claim a bonus tax deduction of 50 per cent of specified capital expenditure invested in energy efficiency improvements to the existing building. A consultation paper has been released on these matters. The closing date for submissions: 18 February 2011. More detail can be found here.

ICAC investigates council officer

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will be holding a public inquiry regarding allegations concerning the Manager of Community Services at Strathfield Council. Further details can be found here. The Strathfield Council media release is here.