Australian manufacturers have been a backbone of our firm for decades. We consistently fulfil our market leading reputation by providing our clients with high-quality advice that is backed by an understanding of the sector.
We deliver comprehensive legal guidance that covers the life cycle of a manufacturing business.
We can help you with
- Commercial contacts
- Intellectual property
- Privacy and data protection
- Competition and consumer law
- Personal property securities law
- Employment and workplace relations
- Occupational health and safety
- Importing and exporting
- Corporate governance
- Mergers, acquisitions and financing
- Tax structuring and litigation
- Property transactions and leasing
- Planning and construction
- Insolvency, asset protection and reconstruction
- Succession planning and family business
Our lawyers stay at the forefront of legislative and technological changes to ensure the advice we provide is accurate, appropriate and relevant to businesses operating within Australia's manufacturing sector.
It is critical to ensure the details of your commercial arrangements are properly documented from the beginning. This will clarify the rights and obligations of the parties involved and avoid disputes.
Our contract law experts can review, prepare and negotiate the full suite of commercial contracts necessary for the operation of your business.
We can also assist you with website terms and conditions and terms of sale for your digital sales interface as well as software agreements, including end user licence agreements, system integration agreements and Software as a Service Agreements.
Intellectual property (IP) assets are critical to the value of your enterprise and need to be identified, registered and protected in accordance with Australian law and potentially foreign laws if you trade overseas.
Our IP team can help you to conduct trade mark availability reports, then register, protect and manage your trade mark portfolio, digital IP protection including software and IT agreements, and copyright protection including publishing and licensing arrangements.
If you have been threatened with IP infringement or believe your IP has been infringed, we can represent you through legal proceedings including misleading and deceptive conduct, passing off issues and domain name disputes. We also assist with issues relating to parallel imports or 'grey' products.
If you are buying, selling, licensing, commercialising, assigning and distributing IP or domain names for your business or product, our IP team have the expertise to negotiate to achieve the terms that are best for your business and future.
IP also refers to confidential knowledge obtained by working for or with your business. We can assist you to identify and protect confidential business information through employee, supplier, business partner, funding or other commercial agreements.
Privacy and data protection
Privacy and data protection concerns the management of personal information. The definition of personal information is broad and it captures any information about an identified individual. This includes names, photographs, basic contact information, credit card details and information about a person’s location at a specific point in time.
We can assist manufacturers to navigate Australia's complex privacy law framework, including mandatory data breach notifications.
Our experts provide you with practical advice, including reviewing or drafting your corporate privacy policies and operational documents, such as collection notices. We can also assist with investigations, audits and compliance issues.
Competition and consumer law
Manufacturers are impacted by the operation of the competition and consumer law framework in Australia, which is regulated by the Competition and Consumer Law 2010 (Cth) (CCA) and the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
A manufacturer can be liable for a breach of certain consumer guarantees under the ACL, and consumers may have direct recourse to a manufacturer for loss and damage. In some circumstances, an importer may be deemed a manufacturer under the ACL even if the importer did not physically assemble or manufacture the goods in Australia. Manufacturers must all also be aware of their obligations under any applicable safety standards.
Speak with our lawyers about:
- understanding and mitigating your exposure under the ACL for breach of the consumer guarantees and safety standards
- ensuring your supplier and consumer contracts comply with the CCA and the ACL, including the Unfair Contracts Act regime
- product labelling requirements
- ensuring you do not breach excessive merchant fee laws
- competition law issues
- dealing with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and defending any ACCC actions
Personal property securities law
The Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA) applies to security interests in personal property located in Australia. If you have a security interest and it is not registered properly, you risk losing your security and in some cases, title to your own goods.
In certain circumstances, a lessor or hirer of goods has a registrable security interest. It is critical to understand whether your business has any registerable security interests to ensure your valuable assets are protected.
Our PPSA experts can help you to identify whether you have a security interest and register your security interest on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR), then draft and negotiate your security agreements.
If you find yourself in a dispute over ownership of property registered on the PPSR, we can assist you through the dispute resolution process, including in the context of default and insolvency.
Employment and workplace relations
Our workplace relations team has worked in partnership with Australian manufacturers for many years and have extensive industry-specific knowledge as a result. We also proudly have Victoria’s largest team of Accredited Workplace Relations Specialists, so our clients know they can trust us to give the right advice, while remaining responsive and cost-effective in managing their workplace relations needs.
We can help you with:
- contracts of employment including advice on independent contracting, intern and volunteer distinctions, employment policies, performance management, misconduct and termination of employment
- enterprise bargaining, industrial relations and industrial disputes
- unfair dismissal and general protections claims
- proceedings in the Fair Work Commission, other tribunals and the courts
- compliance with the National Employment Standards, modern awards and enterprise agreements
- award, record keeping and pay slip compliance
- discrimination, harassment and bullying claims
- managing ill and injured workers including WorkCover and workers compensation claims
- business migration services by our team of registered migration agents
Occupational health and safety
The safety of your workers is more than just a compliance requirement, it is an investment in the productivity of your business. A safe workplace means lower operational costs as a result of unnecessary WorkCover claims and litigation, absenteeism, and back-to-work processes. It also protects your brand image and business reputation.
We can help you with defending companies and Directors in OH&S prosecutions, advising on statutory obligations under Commonwealth and state OH&S legislation and managing statutory investigations, and developing and implementing OH&S policies and procedures throughout your business.
Importing and exporting
Import and export are key drivers of growth within the manufacturing sector. With expertise across trade, international financing and investment, commercial, property, workforce and migration, we consider your specific situation from all viewpoints and provide you with holistic procedural and legal advice on how to best utilise inter-state and global opportunities.
We can help you with understanding and complying with international trade regulations, customs and tariffs, dumping and subsidy investigations, Therapeutic Goods Administration enquiries, advertising and labelling, and working with government bodies and international border agencies.
Having the right governance structure in place is vital for the compliance obligations of your business.
We can help you with a full suite of corporate governance services, including providing advice on choosing the best board structure and controls to suit your business operations.
If your business is going through significant change, including through a merger or acquisition, we can guide you through the process of an organisational restructure.
In addition, we can draft and review your constitutions and rules, prepare notices of meetings, and mange any required transfer of registration.
Mergers, acquisitions and financing
Exploring investment, restructure and exit opportunities requires solid, commercially focused legal advice and assistance. We can help you explore the viability of an opportunity, and once you have decided to proceed we can assist with making the transaction as smooth as possible.
Tax structuring and litigation
A range of options exist for structuring a business. Each structure has unique features that impact upon the rights and obligations of the entity and how it is used to pursue the objectives for which it was established. Choosing an appropriate structure, and understanding your tax offsets, liabilities and credit opportunities is critical to success and efficiency.
Our tax group is a full service generalist tax practice able to provide upfront advisory services or dispute resolution and litigation advice and advocacy in dealings with the ATO and State Revenue Office.
We can assist you with general tax-effective structuring to, for example, quarantine risk associated with certain items of plant and equipment, or choosing the most appropriate and beneficial professional practice structure.
There are a number of local and federal government grants and concessions available to manufacturers. We can assist you to identify and claim any available R&D tax incentives and tax concessions.
Whether trading locally or internationally, we can guide you through the complexities of company taxes, including GST issues on acquisitions, sales, imports and exports, as well as transfer pricing.
Where you are reliant on employing contractors v employees, we can assist you with the tax obligations that can occur as a result of your chosen workforce structure.
Property transactions and leasing
Our firm’s expertise is grounded in commercial property and we can assist you with your property requirements during any stage of your business lifecycle.
We can help you with the sale and purchase of property or land, including industrial sites for manufacturing plants or major sites for large-scale facility development. This includes compliance with factory location rules and licensing. Our services include robust due diligence, negotiation, all required documentation, transactions and settlement.
In addition, we are highly-experienced in project financing and partnerships and can negotiate any arrangements to ensure you achieve your desired result. We can also assist you with leasing, management and licensing agreements.
Planning and construction
If you are planning to develop a factory, plant, facility or office, we can help you to navigate the complexities of planning permits, objections and appeals. We also give you the assurance that you are protected throughout all design and construction phases by providing iron-clad contractual arrangements.
We can help you with:
- planning permit approvals through VCAT (and Supreme Court appeals) and Planning Panels Victoria
- interpretation and effect of planning schemes and related legislation for companies, government departments and statutory authorities
- environmental issues including land contamination, environmental audits, waste disposal, EPA works approvals and licences
- varying and removing restrictive covenants
- land subdivisions
- road/freeway closures and access
- policy, compliance, regulations and related issues
- Heritage Act controls and appearances before Heritage Victoria
- enforcement proceedings
- resumption/acquisition and compensation rights
We can help you with:
- developing project procurement and delivery strategies
- negotiating and drafting contracts, including tripartite/multi party deeds where the project is financed
- strategically administering and managing contracts to optimise outcomes and avoid disputes
- security of payment remedies, including preparing payment claims and payment schedules
- alternative dispute resolution, arbitration, litigation and pre-litigation negotiations
Insolvency, asset protection and reconstruction
It is crucial that individuals or companies facing or experiencing insolvency obtain specialist advice to navigate the legal minefield and regain control of their situation and destiny.
First, we can help you with asset and business protection to ensure your personal liability is limited. We also assist with corporate and debt structuring to protect critical business assets including your intellectual property, plant and equipment. If required, we guide you through the process of business insolvency including creditors’ claims and defending bankruptcy claims.
We can also provide advice on the acquisition of insolvent businesses.
Succession planning and family business
All businesses, particularly those that are family-run or privately held, require effective business succession strategies to ensure longevity. We can provide advice to ensure that your business is structured to ensure minimal disruption (including to your personal finances), in the event of a threat such as litigation, illness or an accident.
We can help owners and stakeholders with:
- complex estate planning
- asset establishing and managing public and private ancillary funds
- drafting trust deeds for inter vivos
- drafting Wills and powers of attorney
- complex estate planning
- drafting of testamentary charitable trusts incorporated in a Will