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Recent Ministerial decisions on trade measures investigations and the consequences for industry

15 July 2019

This article was published in the July print edition of Daily Cargo News and updated for recent events

In the week leading to the recent Federal election, the Minister for Industry Science and Technology (Minister) released her decisions as to the imposition of interim dumping and countervailing duties on steel pallet racking and PVC covered electrical cabling

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Ministerial decisions on dumping duty investigations released in the shadow of the Australian Federal election

08 July 2019

In the week leading to the Federal election, the Minister for Industry Science and Technology (Minister) released her decisions as to the imposition of interim dumping and countervailing duties on steel pallet racking and PVC covered electrical cabling.

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Transport

A separate Australian response to the global trade impasse?

26 June 2019

This article was first published in AirCargo magazine, June 2019.

Those in industry (let alone anyone with an interest in world news) would be painfully aware that global trade is under massive pressure at the moment. Examples of these threats are everywhere and if they come to pass, the consequences will be uniformly bad. Trade and global integration has been a driver of financial and social improvement with the World Bank estimating that more than a billion people have been lifted out of poverty over the last 25 years.

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Duties Trap for Property Developers – Economic entitlement rules now law

20 June 2019

Property developers who enter into agreements to develop Victorian land with an unencumbered value of over $1 million are at significant risk of incurring a duty liability, under new legislation that received Royal Assent on 18 June 2019.

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New Parliament could expedite FTAs and other trade initiatives

21 May 2019

Now that the Australian Federal election has been run and won, attention will turn to the priorities of the Coalition Government once Parliament resumes, whether in relation to the introduction of new initiatives or pursuit of the agenda which had been on hold pending the election outcome.

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Tougher penalties to be introduced under the Privacy Act

17 May 2019

Businesses operating in Australia are subject to a kaleidoscope of constantly evolving privacy obligations. As privacy week draws to a close, it is an opportune time to look forward to how the privacy landscape might change in the future, subject to the outcome of tomorrow’s federal election.

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Recognition for Rigby Cooke Lawyers Planning and Environment team

15 May 2019

Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Planning and Environment team continues to be recognised for their outstanding work in the planning space in Victoria.

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Mondaq Comparative Guide to Trademarks 2019

14 May 2019

Rigby Cooke Lawyers partner and Intellectual Property expert, Ian Rosenfeld, has been selected by Mondaq Ltd as its Exclusive Australian Contributor and author of the Australian chapter of the Mondaq Comparative Guide to Trademarks 2019.

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What happens next for pending FTAs and our trade agenda after the election?

08 May 2019

This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.

I write this article on 12 April 2019, shortly after the announcement of the federal budget and the announcement of the date for the federal election. As expected, this period encompassed the usual claim and counter-claim between the major political parties and the usual cynicism that even after the election, the political landscape may not change significantly.

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Brexit is deferred but still alive – and the fun’s certainly not over

30 April 2019

This article was first published by AirCargo Magazine.

Faced with the prospect of a no deal Brexit on 12 April 2019, the EU and the UK put into place a compromise that is referred to as a ‘flextension’ because it delays Brexit until 31 October 2019, subject to a number of conditions. 

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Video didn’t kill the Will

29 April 2019

What is a Will? Almost all of us would answer that question by mentioning that it’s a written document setting out who receives our assets when we die.

However, recent court cases have taken a more expansive view as to what they are prepared to accept is a valid Will. The 2017 decision of the Supreme Court of Queensland (QSC) in Re Nichol; Nichol v Nichol & Anor [2017] QSC 220 held that an unsent SMS message was sufficient to constitute a Will.

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Proposed developments in digital transformation and enhancement of trade to assist the position of SMEs

17 April 2019

This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.

Technology has contributed to improvements in trade and is seen as one means to facilitate improvements. For example, many parties are looking to Blockchain as a means to enhance both the speed and safety in the movement of goods. Most contemporary Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) include provisions to facilitate customs procedures and trade as well as chapters on assisting e-commerce. In one excellent example, the FTA Portal by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) comprises up to date information on the terms of our FTAs in a way which makes it easier for parties to understand the FTAs and take advantage of them.

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‘Fairness in Franchising’ – Unfair Contract Terms in Franchising Agreements

09 April 2019

Last month, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services published its ‘Fairness in Franchising report’ (Report). The terms of reference for the Report were released over 12 months ago and more than 400 submissions were received, mostly from franchisees.

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Australian Federal Budget 2019 – Released. Sort of.

03 April 2019

The Federal Budget 2019 was formally released by the Federal Government last night (2 April 2019). However, in an election year, the Federal Government took the unusual path of confirming that the government would not be seeking to pass new legislation implementing that Budget in the remaining Parliamentary sitting days. Instead, the Budget legislation would be left only to pass if the government is re-elected in the next Federal Election which is likely to take place in May 2019.

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Court made Wills

28 March 2019

The freedom to make a Will and to leave your estate to whomever you choose (called testamentary freedom) is one of the most fundamental principles of succession law in Australia.

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NZ Customs opens the Infringement Notice Scheme for business

27 March 2019

As many readers would be aware, when the New Zealand Customs Act 2018 (Act) commenced on 10 October 2018, not all of its provisions come into force on the same day.

I had been working with Custom Brokers & Freight Forwarders Federation of New Zealand (CBAFF) and other members of the Stakeholders Reference Group (Group) established by New Zealand Customs (Customs) in reviewing the proposed terms of the Act including changes to powers to Customs and the enforcement regime in the Act.

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Please sir, a dog ate my Brexit

11 March 2019

This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.

The term “Brexit” has well and truly entered into regular use and represents one of the top topics for news and current affairs at the moment. The world is transfixed by developments in the UK including close attention to the (non) passage of legislation to implement the Exit Agreement brokered by the UK Government with the EU and the associated pressure on the UK Conservative Government. As the day of departure from the EU approaches (29 March 2019), the absence of a clear exit process gives rise to more concerns on how the world will cope if no deal (or a bad deal) is struck.

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Contracting with liquidators and administrators: how to do so effectively and the need to take care

11 March 2019

Key points:

  • When contracting with administrators or liquidators, counterparties need to be careful to ensure such contracts will give them enforceable rights.
  • An administrator can enter into almost any contract and is personally liable for numerous categories of debts they may incur.
  • A liquidator has only limited powers to enter into contracts on behalf of a company, and generally has no personal liability under such contacts.
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Can a liquidator obtain or enforce a judgment under the Security of Payments Act?

11 March 2019

Key points:

  • A liquidator is unable to apply for a judgment under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Vic) (SOPA).
  • Where judgment under the SOPA was obtained by the contractor before it went into liquidation, and the principal asserts an offsetting claim, the Court will stay enforcement of the judgment pending a taking of accounts pursuant to section 553C of the Corporations Act.
  • Ultimately, a liquidator will only be able to enforce payment of an amount actually shown to be owed under the construction contract, after a final reconciliation has occurred.
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When can a liquidator sell a cause of action?

11 March 2019

Key points:

  • Liquidators have the power to sell causes of action belonging to the company, or conferred on the liquidator by the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act).
  • Selling instead of litigating causes of action can be a safer, surer and quicker path for a liquidator to realise value for creditors.
  • However, there are certain important limitations on a liquidator’s power to sell causes of action.
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Stevedore infrastructure charges remain a concern for industry and government

01 March 2019

Australia depends heavily on sea cargo and the efficient movement of goods through the supply chain both for exports and imports. The benefits of the proliferation of free trade agreements (FTAs) and other initiatives aimed at facilitating trade and reducing barriers and costs, can be compromised when access to the infrastructure is limited, delayed or made more expensive, especially where there is little recourse against those practices.

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The High Court confirms real and present financial danger for those handling goods under customs control

01 March 2019

When most goods enter the country, the completion of customs formalities usually includes the payment of customs and excise duty. However in a number of cases, the duties are not paid on import and the goods are moved under “customs control” to “licensed premises” which are secured facilities, whether bonds or warehouses where goods are held pending payment of the duties and release into “home consumption” for wider use, often for retail sale.

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Financing your assets – The taxation issues

01 March 2019

One of the fundamental questions any business owner needs to address is how to finance their assets. On commercial grounds, the various options have important implications.

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Transport & Logistics Contracts – Common but Fatal Traps

01 March 2019

Contracts to provide transport or logistics services are vital to business success, but if not well negotiated, can have serious or even fatal consequences for the transport or logistics provider.

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Australia looks to decryption of communications and competition reform in the operation of digital platforms

26 February 2019

For a variety of reasons Australians have wholeheartedly embraced the various means of electronic communication and social media platforms.

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The High Court finally rules on liability

18 February 2019

This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.

Beware those working in licensed premises – you can be liable for amounts equal to duty owing on goods stolen from those premises.

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The Productivity Commission weighs in on regulation of Australian airports

15 February 2019

This article was first published by AirCargo Magazine.

The Australian Productivity Commission (PC) website describes its main role as:

“Providing independent research and advice to government on economic, social and environmental issues affecting the welfare of Australians”

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Putting an injured employee’s health and well-being first – a valid reason for dismissal?

14 February 2019

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has recently considered whether a dismissal for incapacity was harsh, unjust or unreasonable, in circumstances where the employee was unable to return safely to her substantive position and had declined to accept alternative employment due to her personal circumstances.

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An incident happens at work – do you have to tell WorkSafe?

14 February 2019

Following a health and safety related incident in the workplace, there are several actions that employers may need to take depending on the type of incident.

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Can the National Heavy Vehicle Law get any heavier?

04 February 2019

Readers will be aware that significant changes to the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) came into effect on 1 October 2018.

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There was (legislative) movement at the border of 2019 for tobacco and asbestos imports and FTA rule

01 February 2019

The Australian border is a busy place, not just in terms of the movement of goods and people and not just in terms of the many free trade agreements (FTAs) and other trade developments.

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Don’t get caught out – Changes to how documents are to be certified commences 1 March 2019

29 January 2019

The new Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 (Vic) (the Act) is set to come into operation on 1 March 2019. The Act updates the processes and requirements regarding oaths, affirmations, affidavits, statutory declarations and certification of documents.

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Risks of transporting goods by sea: loss of containers in transit & the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

25 January 2019

While there has recently been significant commentary on Chain of Responsibility under the Heavy Vehicle National Law and transport of goods by road the most common manner of importing and exporting goods to and from Australia is by sea.

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Maintaining a lawful camping and caravan park use under planning controls

25 January 2019

In early 2018, Greater Shepparton City Council (Council) initiated an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a declaration that a camping and caravan park in Shepparton East had transformed from a camping and caravan park to a residential village or retirement village as a result of four new high quality long term cabins being constructed within the park.

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Termination of employment was not on the employer’s initiative

22 January 2019

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently considered whether an employee’s employment was terminated on the employer’s initiative of whether the employee had resigned.

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Trade law: similar but different

15 January 2019

This article was first published by Daily Cargo News, January 2019.

It really should come as no surprise that Australia and New Zealand have a shared experience and agenda when it comes to customs and trade matters. After all, both countries started out as far-flung outposts of the British Empire, both started with a similar legal framework and both have some similar trade interests and challenges, as well as similar national security interests.

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New chain of responsibility provisions are biting

19 December 2018

Rigby Cooke Lawyers partner and litigation and dispute resolution specialist Elizabeth Guerra-Stolfa recently warned of the consequences to members of the supply chain for failing to be prepared to meet their obligations under the new Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) which came into effect on 1 October 2018.

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Could your Facebook account put the executor of your Will at risk?

19 December 2018

So much of what we do in our lives is now carried out online, so it’s not very surprising that we’re now including access to our digital assets if not in our Wills, in letters of instruction to our executors. However, you may find that by including such instructions, you could actually be putting your executor at risk.

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Load restraint provisions of the Heavy Vehicle National Law

01 October 2018

Readers will be aware from our previous articles (available herehere and here) that the new Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will come into force on 1 October 2018.

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Is your personal information protected?

01 October 2018

Privacy and data protection concerns the management of personal information. The definition of personal information is broad and captures most information about an identified or identifiable individual. This includes for example names, photographs, basic contact information, credit card details and information about a person’s location at a specific point in time.

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Australia presses ahead with its FTA agenda after its own regime changes

21 September 2018

This article was first published in AirCargo magazine, September 2018.

Notwithstanding the issues associated with changes in the Australian Federal Government (including a new prime minister and new ministers for both Foreign Affairs and Trade), the process of approval of new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and parliamentary reviews of FTAs before enabling legislation is introduced to Parliament has continued.

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Attorneys and Binding Death Benefit Nominations

20 September 2018

A recent Supreme Court decision has highlighted the importance of accurately implementing estate planning for individuals with Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs), together with preparing tailored Powers of Attorney.

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Private binding rulings

14 September 2018

Private binding rulings are a mechanism in the Australian tax administration system where a taxpayer may seek the ATO’s view on the treatment of a transaction without going through the formal objection or dispute process.

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Mixed use hotel developments – an alternative option for developers

10 September 2018

With tourism figures reaching new heights and migration to Melbourne soaring, developments that offer multi-purpose utility, provide a much-needed solution to accommodate the increasing influx of people in the nation’s cultural capital.

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Infringement Notices become ‘kind of a big thing’

08 September 2018

Infringement Notices (INs) were once a relatively minor nuisance in industry, largely associated with speeding or parking fines. However, since the introduction of the Infringement Notice Scheme (INS) to the Customs Act 1901 (Customs Act), INs have taken on much greater significance. That significance may escalate again following a recent media release by the Australian Border Force and the release by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources of its notice of intention to implement its broadly-based INS under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Biosecurity Act).

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ADC releases interim report identifying circumvention on certain aluminium extrusions

23 August 2018

There have long been allegations that importers and their service providers here and overseas have been engaged (knowingly or innocently) in “circumventing” existing measures otherwise payable on imported goods.

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Don’t fall victim to the unscrupulous management of some aged care providers

22 August 2018

Fleur came into see one of our lawyers on behalf of her friend, Norma, who was distressed and unhappy with her accommodation arrangements at an Aged Care Facility and wanted out. This was not a situation where the resident had lost the ability to make decisions for herself, but rather it was a situation where an elderly woman with no family was being taken advantage of.

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“We’re gonna need a bigger Org chart”

22 August 2018

Some readers will recall the final scenes of the original Jaws movie when the captain of the shark hunting vessel (Robert Shaw) finally sees the size of the monster shark and loudly announces “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” (and is then eaten by the shark).

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Step children and family provision claims

21 August 2018

In an increasingly diversified world, traditional notions of the definition of a “step-child” are being modified.

In earlier times, a step-child was understood to mean the child of a spouse by a previous marriage.

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New laws regulating provision and use of labour hire providers in Victoria

21 August 2018

On 26 June 2018 the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Act) was assented to after it passed the Victorian Parliament on 20 June 2018. The Act legislates a scheme to regulate labour hire providers and labour hire users in Victoria (Labour Hire Participants).

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Family and domestic violence leave – a new Award entitlement

21 August 2018

Every four years the Fair Work Commission (FWC) reviews the Modern Awards that apply to a significant portion of Australia’s workforce. In 2017, the ACTU made a submission to the FWC as part of that process proposing that Family and Domestic Violence leave (FDV leave) be included in the Awards. Research indicates that family or domestic violence had a negative impact on their work for nearly 60% of women experiencing family or domestic violence.

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Modern slavery and the Australian workplace

21 August 2018

This article was updated on 29 August 2018 and provides an update to our previous coverage on this matter.

Slavery is thought of as something from a past era. However, legislators across the world have passed laws this decade to combat modern slavery, for example, in 2010 California passed the Transparency in Supply Chains Act. In 2015, the UK followed with the Modern Slavery Act.

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Personal leave – how many hours in a day?

20 August 2018

The National Employment Standards (NES) in the Fair Work Act provide that employees are entitled to accrue 10 days of personal leave per 12 months of continuous service. Where employees regularly work a standard 7.6 hour day in a 76 hour fortnight, this is not problematic. However, problems can arise where an employee works a non-standard or varying work pattern.

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Chain of Responsibility

06 August 2018

From taking “reasonable steps” to manage risk, to the imposition of a Primary Duty.

The Chain of Responsibility (CoR) regime is intended to ensure that responsibility for preventing breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) are shared by each member of the supply chain.

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Overloading of Heavy Vehicles – recent prosecutions under the Heavy Vehicle National Law

03 August 2018

There has been a recent focus on breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) in the lead up to the implementation on 1 October 2018 of the primary duty obligations under the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions of the HVNL.

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How a Modern Slavery Bill would affect Australian exporters

28 July 2018

The Modern Slavery Bill was promoted to prompt businesses to consider how they do business on a global scale, including within their supply chain, and take steps to eradicate any risk of modern slavery.

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The role of the private sector in advancing trade facilitation and modernisation

17 July 2018

The idea of facilitating secure and compliant trade underpins many international agreements such as the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and WCO Safe Framework of Standards (SAFE) and is reflected in many “Authorised Economic Operator” programmes such as our own Australian Trusted Trader Programme (ATTP).

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Termination of employment for inability to perform inherent requirements of an employee’s position

16 July 2018

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently considered whether a dismissal for incapacity was “harsh, unjust or unreasonable” in the following decisions.

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Mitigating circumstances for misconduct results in employee’s reinstatement

16 July 2018

This is the story of a worker who sent an offensive text message to his co-workers, and the legal battle that ensued. The key message… context is key.

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Change in approach for fixed term contract unfair dismissal claims

04 June 2018

An employee’s contract reaches its expiry date and the employment ends. Can the employee claim that they were unfairly dismissed?

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Key changes to Chain of Responsibility Laws to be implemented from 1 October 2018

30 May 2018

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has announced that the new Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will be implemented from 1 October 2018.

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The Budget is released and details begin to emerge

29 May 2018

The Australian Federal Budget for the 2018/2019 year was announced in Parliament on 8 May 2018. Individual summaries for portfolios can be found at the relevant websites for the portfolio agencies.

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Important changes to the Real Estate Industry Award – is your agency compliant?

21 May 2018

On 2 April 2018 significant changes to the Real Estate Industry Award 2010 (Real Estate Award) made by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) came into effect.

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What your organisation needs to know about mandatory data breach notifications

16 May 2018

Mandatory data breach reporting requirements commenced on 22 February 2018. Organisations that are bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) need to report certain data breaches to the affected individual(s) and the Australian Information Commissioner.

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High Court opens the way to an appeal on liability for amounts equivalent to duty

14 May 2018

Those operating premises licensed for the handling and retention of goods ‘under customs control’ face a number of significant challenges:

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‘Best (act) Before’ Country of Origin food labelling deadlines are enforceable

09 May 2018

How to prepare to comply

From 1 July 2018 food businesses must comply with labelling requirements set out by the Australian Government which aim to provide consumers with greater transparency on the origin of their food.

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A trade ‘Letter from America’

03 May 2018

This article was first published by AirCargo Magazine.

The renowned journalist Alistair Cooke famously wrote and broadcast ‘Letter from America’ from the US for a period of 58 years. It was a concise and learned spoken piece, around 15 minutes in length in which Mr Cooke delivered observations on developments in the US over the preceding week to a BBC audience in a manner intended to educate the listener and remove some of the confusion usually associated with the US. 

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Victorian state taxation of foreign landowners

13 April 2018

Foreign investors in Victorian land are subject to complex State taxes, including foreign purchaser additional duty, absentee owner land tax surcharge and vacant residential land tax.

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GST withholding changes introduced to combat phoenixing practices in property development

10 April 2018

New laws have been passed affecting the GST obligations of property developers. These laws take effect from 1 July 2018, but may affect contracts entered into prior to this date.

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Development of Commercial Accommodation – Selected Issues

23 March 2018

The development and operation of commercial accommodation raises complex regulatory, contractual, commercial and taxation issues.

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Operators of warehouse found liable for amounts equal to duty on stolen cigarettes

02 March 2017

This article was originally published by the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia and Australian Federation of International Forwarders.

The decision of the AAT in Zaps Transport (Aust) Pty Ltd, Domenic Zappia and John Zappia ats the Comptroller – General of Customs continues the long line of judgments holding those operating licensed warehouse liable for amounts equivalent to customs duty.

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Notice of termination and leave – can they run concurrently?

31 August 2016

There is a range of scenarios in which the interaction between notice of termination and leave can arise and, unhelpfully for employers, neither the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) nor the Long Service Leave Act 1992 (Vic) (LSL Act) specifically address these issues.

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