Stronger protections for Queensland buyers

Published Wednesday, 19 April, 2023 at 10:16 AM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

  • In 2022, the Queensland Government committed to examining the issue of termination of ‘off the plan’ contracts via sunset clauses.
  • A sunset clause in an ‘off the plan’ sales contract provides a party with the right to terminate if the contract is not settled within a particular time frame.

The Queensland Government has begun work on amendments to land sales legislation to strengthen consumer protections for ‘off the plan’ residential property contracts for the sale of land.

Since the pandemic, Queensland’s building industry has faced difficulties with supply chain issues, labour shortages and increased costs for building supplies. This is combined with increasing interest rates and soaring property prices.

Following these challenging market conditions, there have been a number of reports of developers invoking a sunset clause to terminate an ‘off the plan’ contract, allegedly in order to re-list and sell the proposed lot for a much higher price.

That’s why changes will be made to legislation to make sure property developers can only invoke a ‘sunset clause’ to terminate ‘off the plan’ contracts for land in specific situations.

This includes:

  • with the written consent of the buyer; or
  • under an order of the Supreme Court; or
  • in another situation prescribed by regulation.

Last year, consumers and property developers were invited to complete an online survey on the issue, and peak bodies were invited to provide written submissions.

If any buyers are concerned their ‘off the plan’ residential property contract may be terminated in the future, they are strongly encouraged to seek independent legal advice about the particular terms of the contract, and any legal remedies that may be available to them in the event of termination of the contract.

Quotes attributable to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman:

“While property development is a vital part of the Queensland economy – we also need to make sure Queensland buyers are protected when they purchase land off-the-plan.

“We know property law is a complex and technical area that differs between states and territories, and we have listened to home buyers and property developers to ensure these changes reflect both party’s needs.

“Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions and investments a Queenslander will make in their lifetime, and we want to ensure they are protected, and the process is fair.

“I am pleased to announce that work has started on law reforms that will better protect Queenslanders when entering a contract for the ‘off the plan’ sale of land.”


Media contact: Phoenix Campbell 0439 949 719