LJ Hooker Maryborough principal  has worries about the new sustainability declaration.
LJ Hooker Maryborough principal has worries about the new sustainability declaration.

An S is for sustainable and stupid

IT IS a move that is likely to see more environmentally friendly homes built on the Fraser Coast but it could also be a nightmare for sellers and real estate agents.

From January every home, unit or townhouse for sale in Queensland will have to come with a sustainability declaration.

It will state a property’s energy, water, safety and access features for prospective buyers and must be filled out before the house is listed and advertised.

The State Government hails the step as one that will increase awareness about sustainable housing features.

LJ Hooker Maryborough principal Alan Wetton, however, has described it as: “The silliest piece of legislation the government has ever brought through Parliament House.

“They’ve pushed it through. They gagged debate on it and then they used the guillotine to force the vote.”

Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Stirling Hinchliffe has defended its approval and said that in 2008 his department consulted the community for three months and around 70 per cent of Queenslanders surveyed strongly supported the declaration.

“In parliament on November 12, the Building and Other Legislation Amendments Bill was debated by 28 different members of parliament for more than eight hours,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“Sustainable houses and units are great for the environment as they can use less energy and water and help Queenslanders reduce their carbon footprint.”

Still, Mr Wetton has concerns: “I think it’s going to be difficult, especially for older people who have no access or knowledge of computers, the internet or the like.

“They’re overlooking the fact a lot of these Queenslanders (homes) are not requiring a lot of things that can cause global warming, if such a thing exists.”

Mr Wetton said investors living interstate or overseas would find it difficult to track down electricity statements showing usage while he also thought it ridiculous the declaration asked about smoke detectors, already listed on contracts.

Another of his worries is fines to home owners who incorrectly fill out forms and fines to agents who list a property without a declaration.

Mr Hinchliffe said a seller who did not understand a question and left a box blank would not be fined. But those who gave grossly inaccurate information in an attempt to be fraudulent faced a penalty up to $2000.

Agents who did the same or failed to provide a copy of a declaration when asked could face fines of up to $10,000. Mr Hinchliffe said the declaration was a simple tick checklist designed to be completed without any help needed.

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