Our latest news and insights
A collection of case studies and articles highlighting the latest in legal news.
On Tuesday 6 October 2020, the Federal Government released its proposed budget for 2020-21, together with forward estimates of future receipts and expenses. As usual, most of the details had previously been formally announced or “leaked” previously but it is worth paying attention to a few issues. In doing so I have borrowed shamelessly from the exact words from the relevant budget text to ensure accuracy and only added additional commentary when the issue warrants that additional attention.
The Treasurer handed down the Federal Budget 2020-21 on 6 October 2020. Detailed below is an overview of the significant tax measures announced, followed by further information regarding each of these measures.
The pandemic period has been an extreme burden on the hospitality industry. The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) in conjunction with the Victorian Government has, in addition to its previous leniency on certain liquor regulations, agreed to support licensees with the opportunity to extend their trading footprint by seeking a temporary licence to trade outdoors for the duration of the COVID-19 period.
During these difficult times, it is important that all members of the supply chain remember their obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and, in particular, their primary duty under the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions. The potential financial and legal ramifications of failing to comply with those obligations can be significant as seen in a recent case in Queensland.
Late yesterday, the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (JobKeeper Payments) Amendments Bill 2020 (Bill) to extend the JobKeeper Payment scheme (JobKeeper) announced by the Federal Government in July 2020 was passed by Parliament after Labor and the Greens failed to win support for amendments.
This article was first published in August 2020 by Daily Cargo News.
Following the announcement made by Treasurer Tim Pallas on 20 August 2020, the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund (Fund) has been created in recognition of small, private landlords who may not have the capacity to provide rent reductions to their tenants under the requirements of the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (CTRS).
Today, Treasurer Tim Pallas announced that the Victorian Government will extend its moratorium on evictions and rental increases for both residential and commercial tenancies in Victoria until 31 December 2020. There will be some specific exceptions to this rule, the details of which are yet to be identified.
This article was first published in August 2020 by AMT Magazine.
Since 1 April 2020, in a significant extension to the director penalty regime, company directors are now personally liable for unpaid Goods and Services Tax (GST) (including luxury car tax and wine equalisation tax). The expansion of the regime was introduced as part of the Government’s broader reform of Australia’s corporate insolvency regime.
As an island nation, Australia has always relied heavily on its ports, their wharves and other facilities as well as the associated land–side infrastructure including rail and road access, stevedore operations and empty container parks. Much of the national and international supply chain relies on the efficient operation of the sector.
This article was first published in July 2020 by The Daily Cargo News.
The Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is a positive development for the global free trade agenda writes Customs and Trade Partner, Andrew Hudson.
The Government has announced proposed changes to the foreign investment review framework to take effect 1 January 2021 following the temporary measures imposed in March 2020.
This article was first published in June 2020 by Thompson Reuters.
One of the fundamental roles of governments during the COVID–19 Pandemic has been to assist the movement of goods through the international and domestic supply chain as well as to support those providing services in that supply chain. While there has been an understandable focus on movement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and related equipment and medication needed to assist in treatment of those affected by the Pandemic, that focus has not excluded the adoption of measures to assist trade in other goods adversely affected by the significant reduction in air and sea cargo options.
Due to the widespread economic impact of COVID-19 which has caused financial uncertainty for many businesses, contracts for the acquisition of goods or services may be cancelled in order to mitigate against further losses.
The JobKeeper payment scheme was announced on 30 March 2020 with the objective of providing financial support to entities to assist with the impact of COVID-19. Since that time, there has been a significant amount of information released to explain the complex operation of the scheme, including Treasury Rules, Australian Tax Office (ATO) rulings and guidelines, together with amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 to enable employers to temporarily vary work arrangements for eligible employees.
There have been a number of developments in recent weeks that all transport and logistics operators with employees need to be aware of.
Recently we discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the importance of having a Will and Powers of Attorney in place. It has also highlighted the challenges of arranging and executing these documents whilst in lockdown.
The worldwide impact of COVID-19, which has resulted in countries around the world shutting down their borders and international travel being banned, requires companies to operate online whenever possible.
One of the major tasks for government’s around the world are to adopt measures which may assist business to recover and thrive as they plan to move out of COVID– 9 restrictions. As much as national governments have committed to generally keep borders open, there remains the need to actively take action to ensure that commitments are met and that new initiatives are adopted to support further enhancements to the trade environment.
In further recognition of the difficulties faced by companies in meeting strict corporate compliance requirements in a COVID-19 environment, the Treasurer released yesterday a ministerial determination permitting company general meetings to be held virtually and modifying the way companies can execute documents.
The Victorian Government recently announced a range of tax relief measures in response to COVID-19 to assist landlords and businesses. The State Revenue Office (SRO) has now provided further guidance on these initiatives.
On 1 May 2020 the Victorian Government passed regulations for the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) giving substance to the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct (the Code).
During the current pandemic, the focus of many has been on the manufacture of the medical equipment required for the treatment of COVID -19 and their urgent movement through the international supply chain.
On 8 April 2020, the Parliament passed legislation to give effect to the Government’s JobKeeper scheme and to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) to give eligible employers greater flexibility to modify employees’ working hours, days, duties and location to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business and seek to preserve jobs.
- ASIC has recently announced a one month extension for the lodgement of corporate reports
- Extension is available to unlisted entities.
Following on from our previous article regarding leasing rights and obligations during the current COVID-19 pandemic (COVID-19), there have been further developments announced by the Federal Government. If you are after a definitive answer, we’re not quite there yet, but we are getting closer. Code
Landlords, take advantage of COVID-19 insolvency legislative reform: now is the time to register security interests in cash security deposits on the PPSR
- Landlords should register security interests on the PPSR in cash security deposits or cash bonds paid under a commercial or retail leases
Last night, the Parliament passed legislation to give effect to the Government’s JobKeeper scheme and to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) to give eligible employers greater flexibility to modify employees’ working hours, days, duties and location to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business and seek to preserve jobs. The legislation became law after receiving Royal Assent today.
Current as at 1.00pm 9 April 2020
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has raised a number of questions for employers. It is important to stay abreast of government regulation in this area as it will impact the decisions you make as a business and the currency and relevancy of our comments below.
Many employers seeking to take corrective action under the Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty (the Amnesty) may currently be so overwhelmed by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that they do not consider they have the financial resources to apply for the Amnesty.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions implemented by both Federal and State Governments to combat the pandemic have had a substantial impact on businesses and their employees.
On 1 April 2020, the Australian Federal Government announced a new financial package to support exports of seafood to overseas markets as well as to increase funding of the Export Market Development Grant scheme (EMDG). This is one of a series of financial support packages released as part of Australia’s response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
From 10:30 pm, 29 March 2020, the monetary thresholds for substantial interests attracting the obligation to obtain Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval have been reduced to $0.
On Saturday 28 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) full bench (presided by President Iain Ross, Deputy President Richard Clancy and Commissioner Michelle Bissett) granted a joint application made by the Ai Group and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 26 March 2020 to insert a COVID-19 flexibility schedule in the Clerks Private Sector Award (Award). The application was supported by the Australian Services Union and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
Further to our update last week, the government has now moved to impose export controls on COVID-19 goods during the present ‘human biosecurity period’.
In light of the ongoing and increasing impact of COVID 19, here we summarise a few relevant issues in the international supply chain, including at our national border.
The COVID-19 medical emergency highlights the importance of having a Will and Powers of Attorney in place. Now is the time to ensure you – and your loved ones – are protected by guaranteeing you have valid and effective medical and financial documents prepared.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread and both State and Federal Governments announcing changes to their response policies daily, there has been understandable concern about the continued operation of the supply chain domestically and internationally.
All Australian organisations are facing unfamiliar challenges and pressures as they manage and adapt their business operations in these unprecedented times. It is definitely not “business as usual”.
However, it is important for businesses not to lose sight of their privacy and data protection obligations during this time. This is particularly so as businesses are collecting more detailed and sensitive information about employees, contractors, visitors and other individuals that interact with their business to help manage the spread of COVID-19 and many workplaces have moved to remote working arrangements.
Today’s M&A deal environment is uncertain. Whilst it is still relatively early days, at the time of writing, COVID-19 has already significantly impacted the basic logistics of running the sale process as countries close borders and ban employees from travelling.
Last night, the Fair Work Commission granted a joint Australian Hotels Association and United Workers Union application to insert a COVID-19 flexibility schedule in the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 (Award), which will operate from 24 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, with a possible extension upon application.
To support the hospitality industry, the Victorian Commission for Liquor Licencing and Gambling Regulation (VCGLR) has announced a special temporary limited licence free of charge available to current liquor licensees that may be granted within 72 hours from application lodgement.
On Monday 23 March 2020, the federal parliament passed the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 (Cth) implementing a range of urgent measures announced by the government on Sunday 22 March 2020.
On 23 March 2020, the Federal Government urgently passed legislation to introduce economic stimulus measures to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The two packages of measures, worth $17.6 billion and $66 billion, combined with the relief provided by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Government’s support to smaller lenders, brings total support to $189 billion.
On 12 March 2020, the Government announced a stimulus package totalling $17.6 billion to address the economic impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak. Included in the package are tax incentives and cash flow assistance for businesses, in order to support investment and help small businesses manage short-term cash flow challenges.