General

2017/18 Federal Budget implications on the Property Industry

By Andrew Logan, Partner, Patrick Thaung, Partner and Mitchell Spurge, Senior Associate With the announcement of the 2017/18 Federal Budget, Mills Oakley has taken the opportunity to analyse and provide the following summary and commentary on the Federal Budget’s implications on the property industry. 1            Measures that take effect on and from 9 May 2017
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Third Dimension – Dispensing Justice Fairly – Is Your Disciplinary Policy Exposing Your Organisation?

By James Thomson, Associate The members of a not-for-profit or charitable organisation inevitably have one thing in common – they all support the objects of the organisation, and want to work towards bettering the organisation and its activities. However, most organisations will eventually come across a member whom despite their best intentions (or perhaps not),
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Third Dimension – Protecting Your Not-For-Profit Against Terrorism Financing

By Prianca Moodley, Law Graduate The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has identified not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) as one of the most significant terrorism financing channels in Australia. The consequences of being either knowingly or unknowingly involved in terrorism financing are significant, both in terms of the NFP’s reputation and status, as well as
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Business Advisory

New Similar Business Test to Incentivise Innovation by Increasing Access to Carry Forward Loss Rules

On 6 April 2016 the Federal Government released exposure draft legislation to allow businesses that have changed ownership to access past year tax losses if they satisfy a similar business test. The draft legislation follows the Government’s announcement on 7 December 2015 of a raft of measures proposed to incentivise and reward innovation as part
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Martin Checketts in ‘The Transformation Series’

Proactively advocating for your own personal growth, as well as that of your business is incredibly important for generating lasting success. But first you must decide where you want to grow and pinpointing those growth opportunities to generate future profit can be a challenge. Watch our own Martin Checketts (Private Advisory, Melbourne) coach and mentor
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The Transformation Series: 30 Day Business Challenge

By Martin Checketts This year, I had the opportunity to participate in the latest wealth education initiative by No More Practice, the Transformation Series. Broadcast nationally on SkyNews Business and Channel 74, the Transformation Series brings to life the stories of three business owners as they undergo intensive coaching to transform their business and compete
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Building, Construction & Infrastructure

BREAKING NEWS: High Court today delivers landmark first decision on Security of Payment legislation – A win for respondents and reference dates

By Vlad Vishney, Senior Associate, Scott Higgins, Partner and Ziv Ben-Arie, Partner The High Court’s judgment today in Southern Han Breakfast Point Pty Ltd (in Liquidation) v Lewence Constructions Pty Ltd [2016] HCA 52 marks the final chapter in the judicial process dealing with an adjudicator’s determination of a builder’s claim under the Building and
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‘Fair Play’ – New contract laws to impact procurement from small business

By Sacha Janczuk, Associate and Scott Higgins, Partner The ‘Treasury Legislation Amendment (Small Business and Unfair Contract Terms) Act 2015’ (Cth) (“the Act”) commenced on 13 November 2016.  It will have implications for any company that engages directly with small businesses.   Procurement teams and in-house legal counsel in the property and construction sectors should
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“I don’t need you…or do I?”

By Ziv Ben-Arie, Partner and Alec Brown, Lawyer Adrigan v Owners Corporation SP83475 [2016] NSWCATAP 58 Summary An owner builder recently failed in his defence against an Owner’s Corporation claim for defects, primarily because he was not adequately prepared and unrepresented. At the hearing, the builder sought an adjournment but the Tribunal refused that application. The
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Charity & Not-For-Profit

In Light of Recent Events, is Your Member Register Safe?

By John Vaughan-Williams, Lawyer CPA Australia’s recent, legally mandated, release of its member register has gained significant news coverage. As a result, your not-for-profit organisation may be wondering what its obligations are regarding the release of its member register. If your not-for-profit organisation is a public company limited by guarantee, then it has specific obligations
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New study investigates not-for-profit mergers as a strategy for success

By Clement Ngai, Paralegal  “In 88% of the mergers, participants felt that the post-merger organisation was better off than the acquiring or acquired organisation”  Mergers can be a powerful strategy for not-for-profit organisations in achieving growth and scaling impact. The Metropolitan Chicago Nonprofit Merger Research Project, a partnership between Mission Plus Strategy Consulting and the
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Building a not-for-profit board – Australian Institute of Company Directors

Are you looking to be a director? Do you require guidance as a would-be director of a Not For Profit board? A handy guide published in Company Director February 2017 edition by Vera Visevic of Mills Oakley clearly sets out the priorities of what a diligent would-be director would look for when joining a Not
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Commercial Disputes & Insolvency

Are Non-refund Cancellation and Force Majeure Clauses “Unfair”?

By Stuart Walter, Partner It is becoming increasingly apparent that the onus is now on the party denying the refund to prove the clause is necessary to protect its legitimate interests.  If it can’t then the clause may well be deemed void, with potentially significant commercial ramifications. Non-refunds on cancellations or force majeure events have
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The rise of the “Non-Participating Group Member” creating degrees of discomfort when it comes to settling Group Proceedings in Australia

By Stuart Walter, Partner The inclusion of a sub-class of “non-participating” group members and how that group is dealt with has arisen as a key consideration in whether to approve a number of settlements in recent Australian group proceedings.  It arises at a time when the High Court has also given consideration to the true
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Industry Focus – Turning choice into opportunity

Joining the likes of Uber, Airbnb and Deliveroo in fiercely competitive service industries is an unlikely new sector. Due to reforms that came into effect on 27 February 2017, the aged care sector in Australia just got a whole lot more competitive. What will be the difference between service providers that barely survive, and those
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Corporate Advisory

MOving Ahead May 2017

By Luke Hooper, Special Counsel Welcome to the May edition of MOving Ahead! This publication is filled with legal and regulatory developments designed to help super fund trustees meet the challenge of minimising the impact and maximising strategic opportunities arising from regulatory change. In this edition… Treasury releases draft legislation for consultation in respect of ASIC’s costs recovery
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Foreign Investment Changes Announced in the 2017-18 Australian Federal Budget

By Robin Lonergan, Special Counsel Changes to foreign investment in real estate were announced in the 2017-18 Australian Federal Budget.  The most significant changes for foreign investors being reduced capital gains tax benefits, the introduction of an annual levy for unoccupied or under-utilised residential real estate and a cap on the number of residences in
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MOving Ahead April 2017

By Luke Hooper, Special Counsel Welcome to the April edition of MOving Ahead! This publication is filled with legal and regulatory developments designed to help super trustees meet the challenge of minimising the impact and maximising strategic opportunities arising from regulatory change. In this edition… ASIC releases consultation papers in respect of self-reporting of contraventions by financial services
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Doing Business in Australia

Doing Business in Australia – 25 August 2015

In The Media Agribusiness Towns lock horns in abattoir funding bid – Townsville Bulletin [05.08.2015] Hughenden and Charters Towers are continuing their battle to see who can secure an abattoir investor first. The towns have previously put forward plans to establish an abattoir in the North to boost the beef industry, with international investors to
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Doing Business in Australia – 2nd July 2015

In the media Agriculture Perich kicks off dairy wars – The Australian [23.06.2015] Freedom Foods, majority-owned by the billionaire Perich family, has moved to increase its foothold in the Australian dairy industry. Freedom has made an indicative, non-binding and conditional bid with a view to undertaking due diligence on listed milk company, a2 Milk. It
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Doing Business in Australia: 23 April 2015

Drop in $A stokes interest in IPOs – The Australian Initial Public Offerings (“IPOs”) are set to increase as global investors invest in the IPO sector following a drop in the Australian dollar, and lower interest rates resulting in favourable share market conditions. The lower Australian dollar means that stocks which were initially considered too
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Estate Agency Industry

The new “Underquoting” law comes into effect on 1 May 2017 – are you ready?

By Jason Maletic, Senior Advisor, and John Turnbull, Partner Most licensed estate agents in Victoria will be aware that Consumer Affairs Victoria (“CAV”) has been particularly busy over the last 12 months, having conducted investigations into the selling practices of over 100 estate agencies across the state. Most licensed estate agents in Victoria will also
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FIRB and “Off-the-plan” sales

By Tom Hedditch, Seasonal Clerk and John Turnbull, Partner On Monday this week, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) altered how foreign buyers will be allowed to purchase an off-the-plan property when another foreign buyer has failed to reach settlement. Prior to the introduction of the FIRB recommendations, foreign investors were restricted to only buying
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The new “Underquoting” law – the changing landscape for Victorian estate agents

By John Turnbull, Partner and Jason Maletic, Senior Advisor On Tuesday of last week the much-anticipated new “Underquoting” Bill was read for a second time in the Victorian State Parliament following its introduction earlier last month. The Bill seeks to amend the Estate Agents Act [1] by introducing several measures designed to, in the words
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Estates and Succession

Queensland Government extends family primary production transfer duty concession to transfers to first cousins

By Stuart O’Neil, Special Counsel The Queensland Government has offered further assistance to Queensland farming families who wish to implement succession planning arrangements by allowing the family primary production transfer duty concession to apply to transfers to first cousins. Under the Queensland Duties Act, the concession is only available for transfers to defined family members
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Step Children of De facto Couples Entitled to Make Claims on Estates

By Troy Palmer, Special Counsel, Scott Colvin, Law Graduate Last week, the Victorian Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against a 2016 decision of the Supreme Court concerning the ability of stepchildren to make claims against the estates of their deceased step parents. The Court of Appeal confirmed that the children of de facto spouses
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Farm Management Grants are now available for Succession Planning Advice

Farm Management Grants to assist eligible Queensland primary producers or their relatives with succession planning advice are available from 23 March 2017. The grants provide a rebate of 50% of the amount paid for the advice, up to a maximum of $2,500 per financial year, to offset the costs of the advice. This is an
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Financial Services

Spotlight on Super – May 2016

Welcome to the May edition of Spotlight on Super! This publication is filled with legal and regulatory developments designed to help super trustees meet the challenge of minimising the impact and maximising strategic opportunities arising from regulatory change. In this edition… The ATO and APRA remind trustees of their upcoming SuperStream obligations. ASIC releases updated regulatory guidance
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The Budget 2016-17: How it affects Financial Services

By Christopher Lim, Lawyer, and Luke Hooper, Special Counsel Released on 3 May 2016, the Budget contains some interesting announcements affecting the financial services industry. The Australian managed funds industry has been given an international push with the announcement of Collective Investment Vehicle initiatives and support for the Asia Region Funds Passport. The Government has
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Lenders beware: when is a farm a farm?

By Dan Mackay, Partner, Ariel Borland, Partner, and Michael Chapman, Associate A recent decision of the New South Wales Supreme Court confirms that failure to comply with the mediation notice requirements of the Farm Debt Mediation Act 1994 (NSW) prior to taking action to repossess property will be fatal.  More interestingly, in a decision relevant
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Franchising

Franchising Update – ACCC releases industry-specific report for unfair contracts legislation

By Cassandra Taylor, Lawyer and Warren Scott, Partner From 12 November 2016, the unfair contracts law contained in the Australian Consumer Law and Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) was extended to apply to business-to-business standard form contracts to protect small businesses. Until the law is tested, its full scope will not be known. 
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Government and Administrative Law

Privacy remedies: When emotional harm can lead to financial pain

By Christina Graves, Senior Associate and Sharon Sangha, Lawyer Determinations made under the Privacy Act 1988 demonstrate that the Privacy Commissioner will likely award compensation for non-economic loss where an individual suffers emotional harm, humiliation or inconvenience as a result of a privacy breach. However, responding to privacy incidents in an efficient and conciliatory way
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Government Ships – Hands Off!

By Maurice Lynch, Senior Associate A Government owned ship is Teflon and cannot be the subject of in rem proceedings to secure a claimant’s proprietary or general maritime claim under the Admiralty Act 1988 (Cth). What constitutes a Government owned ship for the purposes of the Admiralty Act is likely to be broader than you
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The application of s 140(2)(c) of the Evidence Act to matters not in dispute

Key lesson: It is erroneous for a court to rely on s 140(2)(c) find that a party to the proceedings has failed to prove a matter which is not in dispute and for which the evidence is one way. The ordinary standard of proof required of a party who bears the onus in civil litigation
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Health & Life Sciences

One Nation and the Xenophon Team prioritise political interests at the expense of terminally ill patients

A motion moved by Richard Di Natale of the Greens to disallow legislation which blocks immediate access to medicinal cannabis by terminally ill patients was recently voted down in the Senate due to unexpected votes by One Nation and the Nick Xenophon Team. Paralegal, Helaena Short and Partner, Dr Teresa Nicoletti discuss. In February this
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Voluntary Euthanasia in New South Wales: Draft legislation to be considered in 2017

Prompted by the draft Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 (NSW), New South Wales is preparing to tackle growing community demands for end-of-life legislation in the coming months. Partner, Dr Teresa Nicoletti and Paralegal, Helaena Short discuss. A draft of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 (NSW) (Bill) was recently released for public consultation by a
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Hemp-based foods to be legalised in Australia

Ministers have approved a decision by the food regulator to permit the sale in Australia of foods made from low-THC hemp seeds and hemp seed oil – however, other legal hurdles remain. Partner, Dr Teresa Nicoletti and Lawyer, Sebastian Tonkin discuss. The Australian and New Zealand ministers responsible for food regulation have approved a recommendation
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Insurance

Fiaese Tuimaseve v Wesfarmers Ltd – Melbourne Magistrates Court – 7 September 2016

By Stuart Eustice, Partner Hot on the heels of Jarvis v Salvation Army [2016] VSCA 175, Magistrate Ginnane has been asked to apply the Court of Appeals reasoning from Jarvis in determining the application of s.114(2A) Accident Compensation Act 1985. This decision illustrates further the Courts likely pathway in future decisions. Background Tuimaseve was a
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Hanjin Shipping – What Should I do with my Container?

Last week’s application by Hanjin Shipping for receivership and bankruptcy protection will create a number of headaches for cargo interests who have consignments either booked for shipment or already shipped on Hanjin Shipping’s vessels. To read the complete article, click here. Contact Mills Oakley   Frazer Hunt | Partner T: +61 2 8035 7972 E:  fhunt@millsoakley.com.au
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Right of Stoppage – It Sounds Simple, Right? Not for Freight Forwarders

By Maurice Lynch, Senior Associate A right of stoppage is the right of an unpaid seller to stop goods in transit that they have sold to a purchaser, and retain them until payment of the purchase price. For an unpaid seller to exercise a right of stoppage it must, prior to possession of the goods
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In MOtion Interviews

In MOtion – Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a Lawyer in the Sydney Property team. In this interview, she talks about the many facets of property law, synergies with other practice areas….and running a puppy day care centre. What is the best thing about being a lawyer and, in particular, a property lawyer? All careers have ups and downs, but
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In MOtion – Isabella Kelly

Isabella Kelly is a Lawyer in the Melbourne Planning & Environment Team.  In this interview, she talks about creativity, perfectionism and how a certain American sportswear company may provide some inspiration. What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most? I love the fact that planning law can be surprising!  You can come across
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In MOtion – Paul Jurdeczka

Paul Jurdeczka, better known as PJ to his colleagues, is an Insurance and Strata specialist in our Sydney office. In this interview, he talks about life in practice at Mills Oakley and how the profession may evolve down the track. What do you love most about your practice? Every matter is different. In construction insurance and strata
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Intellectual Property

Voluntary Euthanasia in New South Wales: Draft legislation to be considered in 2017

Prompted by the draft Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 (NSW), New South Wales is preparing to tackle growing community demands for end-of-life legislation in the coming months. Partner, Dr Teresa Nicoletti and Paralegal, Helaena Short discuss. A draft of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 (NSW) (Bill) was recently released for public consultation by a
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Dr Teresa Nicoletti named Health Partner of the Year

Mills Oakley partner Dr Teresa Nicoletti has been named Health Partner of the Year at the 2017 Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards, held in Sydney last Friday. To read more, click here.

Hemp-based foods to be legalised in Australia

Ministers have approved a decision by the food regulator to permit the sale in Australia of foods made from low-THC hemp seeds and hemp seed oil – however, other legal hurdles remain. Partner, Dr Teresa Nicoletti and Lawyer, Sebastian Tonkin discuss. The Australian and New Zealand ministers responsible for food regulation have approved a recommendation
Read more…

Planning and Environment

Local councils to win new powers to reject development applications

By Aaron Gadiel, Partner, and Anthony Whealy, Partner The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has released draft regulations that will make it easier for local councils to ‘reject’ development applications before they are assessed on their merits. The changes are set out in a draft Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (ePlanning) Regulation 2017.  It
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More convoluted, expensive and risky planning laws for NSW? Mills Oakley’s review of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2017

By Aaron Gadiel, Partner, Anthony Whealy, Partner, and Ashleigh Cowper, Senior Associate The NSW Government has released proposed changes to the state’s planning laws that it says will ‘boost housing supply’. The proposed changes, which are currently on public exhibition,  are in the form of a draft bill which would amend the Environmental Planning and
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The Better Apartments Design Standards

By Jenelle Cramer, Senior Associate and Isabella Kelly, Lawyer The final Better Apartments Design Standards (Standards) were released by the Victorian government in December 2016.  For background, please see our August 2016 update on the draft Standards. The Standards will apply to all apartment development applications in Victoria.  Depending on the number of storeys in
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Private Advisory

Queensland Government extends family primary production transfer duty concession to transfers to first cousins

By Stuart O’Neil, Special Counsel The Queensland Government has offered further assistance to Queensland farming families who wish to implement succession planning arrangements by allowing the family primary production transfer duty concession to apply to transfers to first cousins. Under the Queensland Duties Act, the concession is only available for transfers to defined family members
Read more…

Step Children of De facto Couples Entitled to Make Claims on Estates

By Troy Palmer, Special Counsel, Scott Colvin, Law Graduate Last week, the Victorian Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against a 2016 decision of the Supreme Court concerning the ability of stepchildren to make claims against the estates of their deceased step parents. The Court of Appeal confirmed that the children of de facto spouses
Read more…

Farm Management Grants are now available for Succession Planning Advice

Farm Management Grants to assist eligible Queensland primary producers or their relatives with succession planning advice are available from 23 March 2017. The grants provide a rebate of 50% of the amount paid for the advice, up to a maximum of $2,500 per financial year, to offset the costs of the advice. This is an
Read more…

Property

2017/18 Federal Budget implications on the Property Industry

By Andrew Logan, Partner, Patrick Thaung, Partner and Mitchell Spurge, Senior Associate With the announcement of the 2017/18 Federal Budget, Mills Oakley has taken the opportunity to analyse and provide the following summary and commentary on the Federal Budget’s implications on the property industry. 1            Measures that take effect on and from 9 May 2017
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Federal Budget Measures

By Tom Cantwell, Partner GST and residential property transactions 1 July 2018 GST is currently payable on newly constructed residential properties.  This is ordinarily paid by the purchaser to the developer, and the developer is required to remit the GST to the ATO. Government has stated that some developers are currently failing to remit the
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2017 Victorian Budget Property Tax Announcements

The current government has made more changes to property taxes than any other in recent history. The headline figures are of a massively increasing property tax take. To read more, click here.

Strata

Identifying Defects Early – Now Even More Relevant!

By Paul Jurdeczka, Partner A recent decision of Justice Stevenson of the Supreme Court has reinforced the need to identify and include all claimed defects in court proceedings, even more so than used to be the case. Various court decisions had previously made clear that suing on the underlying “cause of action”, or legal right,
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The new Strata Schemes Management Act: Major Impact on Developers and Contractors

By Scott Laycock, Partner, Sarah Sattout, Consultant, and Caitlin Cook, Lawyer New South Wales Fair Trading recently announced that the new Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) (Act) will come into effect in November 2016. The Act replaces the existing Strata Schemes Management Act 1996. The Act will apply to construction contracts entered into after
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Victorian Decision follows NSW Cases on Section 80D

A decision of the Victorian Supreme court earlier this year followed the approach of the NSW Court of Appeal in the 2014 decision of 2 Elizabeth Bay Road (which necessarily has to be read with Bakkante), in dealing with the equivalent legislation and requirements in Victoria. Justice McDonald in Burbank Australia Pty Ltd v Owners
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Taxation

NSW Budget 2016-17

By Jennifer Yeo, Special Counsel, and Isobel Feben, Lawyer. NSW introduces Foreign Investor Duty and Land Tax Surcharges and abolishes off-the-plan concession for foreign persons The NSW Budget 2016-17 handed down on 21 June 2016 introduces new measures affecting foreign persons who own or purchase residential property in NSW on and after that day. The
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New Withholding Tax Regime – What Do Real Estate Agents Need To Know?

By Jennifer Yeo, Special Counsel From 1 July 2016, purchasers of certain ‘taxable Australian property’ from foreign tax residents will be required to pay 10% of the total purchase price to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). As a successful agent, it is vital you inform both the vendor and purchaser of their obligations under the
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New foreign resident capital gains tax withholding regime

The Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2015 Measures No. 6) Act was enacted on 25 February 2016. All purchasers of Australian real property, interests in entities that predominantly hold Australian real property or options over these will be affected by the new foreign resident capital gains tax withholding regime.  The new regime will apply to
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Technology & Communications

Hey you, with the fixed network – not so superfast!

By Mick Coleman, Partner An extension to the Superfast Broadband rules beyond 1 January 2017 will impose further obligations on the (very few) superfast fixed networks competing with NBN Co.  But the real competitive threat will come from less-regulated fixed wireless operators that bypass fixed networks altogether.    In December 2014, Malcolm Turnbull (as Minister for
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The Telstra – ACCC regulatory game – the longest running show in town, back for a new season

By Mick Coleman, Partner NBN Co’s purpose in life, since it was a twinkle in Minister Conroy’s eye in 2007, was always the (re)nationalisation of the last, greatest monopoly in Australian telecommunications. Telstra shareholders bought from the government a bunch of nationally significant infrastructure assets.  But in a free market, things change, and most of
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Mandatory Notification of Data Breaches – Proposed to be introduced in 2015

By Mick Coleman This paper discusses the severity of data breaches and the movement to make reporting these breaches mandatory in Australia. This paper outlines the background of the movement, how data breaches happen, the current Australian position, a discussion on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) Report, the United States’ position
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Workplace Relations, Employment & Safety

The Fair Work Ombudsman is pursuing directors, HR managers, contractors and franchisors

By Lisa Anaf, Partner In the last 12 months we have seen an significant increase in the Fair Work Ombudsman’s efforts to pursue directors and managers (including HR and payroll managers) for their involvement in contraventions of the Fair Work Act’s accessorial liability provisions. The full article available here, will provide you with a summary of
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The Fair Work Commission cuts penalty rates: What it means for your business

By Lisa Anaf, Partner and Eleanor Downie, Lawyer  In a historic ruling, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (the FWC) has decided to reduce penalty rates across a number of Awards in the hospitality and retail industries. The awards affected by the FWC’s decision are as follows: Fast Food Industry Award 2010 (Fast
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Workers Narrowly Escape Death as Gate Spears Motor Vehicle at Entrance to Mine Site

This Information Release produced last week by the NSW Department of Industry Resources Regulator is a timely reminder that poor and wet weather conditions are a well-known risk to the mining and construction industries, as well as to the general public. It demonstrates the risks associated with driving a motor-vehicle in bad weather, and the
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