Compulsory Disaster Disclosures to Protect Queensland Property Buyers

Published 31 August 2022

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Moreton Bay wants all flood and disaster risks to be revealed to property buyers prior to purchase, and the Mayor is confident he’ll get the support of other Queensland Councils to push for this legislative change.

Mayor Peter Flannery said he’d put the idea to a vote at the 2022 LGAQ Conference in Cairns on 17-19 October.

“Obviously it should be compulsory in Queensland’s seller disclosure regime to provide all natural hazard information to prospective buyers, that’s just common sense,” Mayor Flannery said.

“Currently there are no mandatory or statutory requirements to disclose natural hazard information during the property conveyancing process or other due diligence searches - which blows my mind.

“While some of this information is publicly available, the mandatory disclosure scheme is aimed at raising awareness and ‘flagging’ the risk to prospective buyers. As is standard practice for building and pest conditions, buyers should be provided with information about a property to allow them to make an informed decision.

“I am proud that Moreton Bay is leading the way in making this information publicly available for prospective buyers who wish to inform themselves of natural hazard risks. Mandatory disclosure would ensure that all buyers right across Queensland are made aware of these risks prior to purchasing property.

“Our proposal is that Councils must disclose whether a property is subject to any natural hazards, including flood hazard, and whether the land is affected by a current planning scheme overlay map or, State IMS mapping or other reporting mechanism (e.g Flood Check Property Reports etc) that identifies the site as being within a natural hazard area, or constrains the use or development of the land because of the likelihood of a natural hazard.

“If further information is required, the person making the request could contact the Council to seek more detailed information on the hazard.

“We would ensure people are aware of natural hazards and empower them to consider all the risks and potential implications for the property of interest.

“The benefit of this isn’t just increased awareness of hazards and risks in an area, it would also help to increase community resilience and safety - an informed community can become a resilient community and mandatory disclosure is a mechanism by which that transition can be empowered.”

As of July 2022, Queensland has already experienced eight disaster events and it is very likely that Queensland communities will experience more disasters later this year during the summer months.

It is clear that disaster events are now a repeating trend across multiple natural hazards that are significantly affecting Queensland and Australia economically, environmentally and socially.

Mayor Flannery said major natural hazard events cannot be considered as a one off, particularly with the influence of climate change.

“This isn’t just about a safety risk we can’t afford, there’s a cost here that the nation can’t afford,” he said.

“In 2015, the annual cost of natural disasters to Australia’s economy was estimated at nine billion dollars.

“As of 2021, this figure now sits at 38 billion dollars and is expected to rise to at least 73 billion dollars by 2060.”

It is projected that two thirds of the costs from natural disasters will be incurred in Queensland and New South Wales over the next forty years as these states become more exposed to tropical cyclones and floods, as warming oceans enable tropical cyclones to move further south (Deloitte, 2021).

The introduction of a mandatory disclosure scheme would also support the Queensland Government’s Queensland Strategy for Disaster Resilience and its implementation plan, Resilient Queensland.

For more information on this year’s LGAQ conference: