News & Insights
Our latest news and insights
A collection of case studies and articles highlighting the latest in legal news.
On 24 June, we delivered a webinar to members of the CBFCA (now IFCBAA) which addressed, in part, the terms of the Indonesia Australia – Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (IA – CEPA) which is to commence on 5 July 2020, as well as the outcomes from the Australian Border Force (ABF) Goods Compliance Update from April 2020.
Tamara is a Tax Counsel in our Tax and Wealth group. Tamara has over 12 years of tax expertise and has represented a broad range of clients including Australian and foreign based corporates, entities in the financial services, high wealth individuals, and non-profit organisations.
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.
On 11 June 2020, the Brisbane’s District Court of Queensland convicted a scrap metal company of ‘industrial manslaughter’ following the death of a worker, and its two directors were each convicted of a less serious offence of ‘reckless conduct’.
Annual Wage Review Decision
On 19 June 2020, the Fair Work Commission handed down its 2020 Annual Wage Review Decision. The key elements of the decision are:
- the national minimum wage will increase by 1.75% from $19.49 to $19.84 per hour from 1 July 20201 ; and
- a 1.75% increase to full-time minimum wage rates in modern awards.
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.
A data breach occurs when personal information is subject to unauthorised access or disclosure or if information is lost in circumstances where unauthorised access or disclosure is likely. A breach must be notified to the Office of the Australian Privacy Commissioner (OAIC) and all affected individuals when one or more individuals are likely to suffer serious harm as a result of the breach.
Elizabeth Guerra-Stolfa is a Partner and the leader of our Litigation & Dispute Resolution group. With over 30 years of experience, she specialises in complex superior court, specialist tribunal litigation, Royal Commission hearings, mediation and alternative dispute resolution.
In the third of our Wills and Estates 101 series we speak with Rigby Cooke Lawyers Wills and Estates practice lead, Rachael Grabovic, to answer questions around Superannuation death benefits.
Important changes to employer superannuation guarantee obligations and salary sacrifice arrangements
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has recently released a Guidance Note (GN 2020/1) which contains information for employers, payroll software providers and intermediaries who may need to change the way they calculate their superannuation guarantee obligations.
Rhodie Anderson is a Partner and group leader in our Planning & Environment team, with expertise covering planning, environment and property. With more than 20 years of experience, Rhodie specialises in planning and environmental law issues for predominantly developer clients.
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.
In the second of our Wills and Estates 101 series we speak with Marcus Schivo, a lawyer in our Wills and Estates team, to answer common questions around Probate and what you need to do.
There have been a number of developments in recent weeks that all transport and logistics operators with employees need to be aware of.
In the first of our introductory series which looks into the world of Wills and Estates, we speak to Rosa Bazzanella a Senior Associate at Rigby Cooke Lawyers about some of the questions she frequently encounters in her work.
This article was first published on 12 May 2020 by Daily Cargo News.
I have previously written the effects of COVID-19 in the international supply chain as well as having presented at meetings and webinars. This included a recent webinar with the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia, which was attended by more than 300 members.
Julia Cameron is a Partner in Rigby Cooke’s Corporate & Commercial group and Practice Lead for the Privacy & Data Protection team with over 10 years of legal experience. Julia specialises in corporate and commercial advice, commercial agreements, transactions, intellectual property and information technology.
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.
- Many Australian businesses must disclose when they have been affected by a data breach
- While reputational damage is a critical risk for businesses, there is also the threat of monetary penalties of up to $2.1 million and orders of uncapped compensation
- A representative complaint – similar to a class action – has been made against Optus on behalf of a group of individuals affected by an alleged breach in 2019.
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.
On Wednesday 29 April 2020, the Australian Federal Government and the Queensland Government announced that works on 22 jointly funded projects would be brought forward under the Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative. The full announcement is available here.
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).
- Privacy Awareness Week – an opportunity for all organisations to ‘Reboot your privacy’
- Organisations are responsible for the actions of their employees – this calls for innovation when ensuring the security of personal and confidential information in the “home office”
- To be effective, privacy and security arrangements must include appropriate training, clear and documented policies and procedures and management oversight.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction Pty Ltd (Laing O’Rourke). This is the first enforceable undertaking of its kind to be accepted by the NHVR.
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.
Ian Rosenfeld is a Partner in our Corporate & Commercial team. Ian’s expertise also covers intellectual property, branding, information technology, e-commerce, commercial agreements, commercial disputes & negotiation, mergers & acquisitions, transport & logistics agreements, publishing, tenders and contracting.
Court of Appeal Superannuation Case
Managing your own self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) brings with it estate planning issues. In addition to contemplating who will be entitled to receive your superannuation death benefit on your death you must also consider who will take control of your fund if you were to lose capacity or die.
Rigby Cooke is pleased to announce that two of our Partners, Andrew Hudson and David McLoughlin have been included in the Best Lawyers in Australia rankings for 2021.
- 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
Meet Michael Gough, a Partner in our Property group with over 25 years of experience in commercial and residential property development. Michael has significant expertise in hotel acquisition, development and management agreements, transport infrastructure projects, structuring of significant property transactions and advising on property related taxation issues, property financing, planning and land use advice, and regulatory consents and approvals (including FIRB approvals).
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.
Meet Rachael Grabovic, a Partner in our Wills & Estates team. Rachael provides specialised legal advice on all aspects of wills and estates including; complex estate planning and succession law advice, wills, powers of attorney, personal trusts, personal wealth structuring, asset protection, superannuation, charitable foundations, probate, estate administration and estate litigation. Rachael is also an appointed and qualified notary public.
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.
This article was first published on 6 April 2020 by Daily Cargo News.
At last, the UK has finally started its process to depart the European Union (EU). However, there is still some real uncertainty about what will remain at the end of the departure process.
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.
Meet Darren Marx, a Partner in our Property team. Darren advises on all aspects of commercial property development, sales and acquisitions, and commercial and retail leasing. He has a particular focus on off-the-plan developments, hotels, resorts and tourism, retirement village developments and regulatory requirements, and liquor licensing and gaming law.
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.
Employer successfully appeals workplace defamation claim. Can an employer now say anything they want about an employee?
The news headlines often report on defamation claims filed by high profile celebrities and politicians.
However, a recent New South Wales decision concerning a child care worker and his ex-employer, a small private sector child care centre shows any Australian workplace is potentially at risk of a defamation claim.
Meet Rigby Cooke’s Property Partner Tim Kelly, who has over 35 years of experience in the sale and purchase of businesses, trusts and company structures, as well as estate and trusts law. Tim shares his career highlights and some thoughts for those just starting out in their legal career.
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.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Planning and Environment team continue to be recognised for their outstanding work in the planning space in Victoria.
Andrew Hudson has recently co-authored a white paper with the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia, alongside Scott Carson and Gerardo D’Angelo, with additional contributions from Adam Butler, Tim Gray and Taras Lubczyk.
With the recent introduction of the offence of workplace manslaughter in Victoria, it is important for organisations and their officers to understand the risks should they fail to maintain their health and safety obligations and how the consequences differ across the nation.
Meet Rigby Cooke’s Construction and Projects Partner Greg Bush, who has over 20 years of experience in providing advice on project delivery strategies, negotiating and drafting of contracts, the administration and management of contracts to maximise clients’ outcomes and avoid disputes, security of payment remedies, and litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. Greg shares his career highlights and some thoughts for those just starting out in their legal career.
On 6 March 2020, the legislation introducing the Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty (amnesty) received Royal Assent.
From 1 April 2020, in a significant extension to the director penalty regime, company directors will be personally liable for unpaid GST (including luxury car tax and wine equalisation tax).
Although short-stay accommodation is not a new concept, the introduction of AirBnB (also known as ‘AirBed and Breakfast’) and similar short term letting agencies created a worldwide phenomenon resulting in an upsurge in short-stay rentals.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Workplace Relations team continues to be recognised for their outstanding work in Employment Law and Workplace Health & Safety Law in Victoria.
I had previously published an article on 28 January 2020 with some early thoughts on the possible impacts of the coronavirus. However, as matters have progressed, I thought that it warranted an update.
Are you considering purchasing Victorian property through a discretionary trust? Think again, because from 1 March 2020 the State Revenue Office (SRO) will deem all discretionary trusts to constitute foreign purchasers.
This article was first published by AirCargo Magazine.
Well, it finally happened. 1,317 days, two elections and a number of pieces of legislation after the UK referendum voted to leave the European Union (EU), the departure procedures commenced.
Meet Rigby Cooke’s Corporate & Commercial Partner James Donoghue, who has over 30 years of experience in managing large corporate and project development transactions both within Australia and overseas. James shares his career highlights and some thoughts for those just starting out in their legal career.
This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.
As I write these words (8 January 2020), we are swaying on the precipice of escalation of warfare between the US and Iran. We are also stunned by the ongoing bushfire disaster which is taking the lives of animals and people as well as destroying properties and countryside.
The High Court decision on the tariff classification of ‘Vita gummies’ and ‘Garcinia weight-loss preparation’.
We have previously written at length on decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), or State or Federal Courts on the classification of goods for customs purposes. The classification of goods is a vital process as many things follow from that classification including rates of customs duty, the need to pay dumping or countervailing duty and whether the goods are prohibited or need permits or licences.
This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.
As I write this article, news of the spread of the ‘coronavirus’ becomes worse on a regular basis. According to today’s media, nearly 60 million people in China’s largest cities are in lockdown, there are 2700 confirmed cases and 80 people have died.
This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.
Only the beginning of the end of tension?
In much the same way that Australia welcomed rain this week, the release of ‘Phase One’ of the US and China Agreement had led to some degree of relief and confidence in the commercial and financial world.
The Australia – Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (A – HKFTA) starts today, 17 January 2020. This will include preferential rates of customs duty for certain classifications of goods along with more opportunities for investment and trade in services.
New hurdle to overcome in accessing the small business CGT concessions – Federal Court narrows the active asset test
The ‘active asset test’ for the purpose of accessing the small business capital gains tax (CGT) concessions has effectively been narrowed, due to a Federal Court decision which held that land used to store business assets and materials was not an active asset. The decision sets a new ‘direct functional relevance’ test, which will create difficulty for business owners in accessing the concessions.
This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.
While much debate surrounds the operation of our anti-dumping legislation in practice, it may be a surprise to some that we did not create the regime unilaterally. Our regime takes its origin from Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT).
Governments and, increasingly big companies, are using tender processes (including Request for Proposals and Request for Tenders) to award contracts to Australian manufacturers.
This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.
I have been in the fortunate position of being involved with the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia (CBFCA) for a number of years.
Legislative measures are currently before Parliament, which will operate to deny foreign residents the ability to access the capital gains tax (CGT) main residence exemption upon the disposal of their Australian dwelling.