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- An Update on Insolvency in the Australian Construction Industry
The construction sector in Australia has long been affected by insolvency and broader liquidity issues. In the last year, construction companies accounted for 26% of businesses that entered into insolvency, and insolvencies in the construction sector more than doubled. This year, contractors have been further squeezed by inflation, supply chain issues and labour market shortages. As the federal government has wound back its COVID-19 economic stimulus packages, further collapses seem inevitable. Please see full Publication below for more information.
- Greater Penalties for Competition Breaches & Unfair Terms, Responsiveness to Super Complaints: The Labor Government's Approach to Competition & Consumer Laws
As the new Parliament prepares to sit, it is useful to consider the new Labor Government’s key focus areas for competition policy. These changes are intended to further strengthen consumer and small business rights and deter competition law breaches. Labor’s appointment of an economics professor, Dr Andrew Leigh, to Assistant Treasurer (with responsibilities for competition policy) signals its resolve to implement significant reforms to competition and consumer laws. The Labor Government has not yet commented specifically on its appetite for merger reforms. However, in line with its view that Australia has a “competition problem”, it may well support a stricter, mandatory merger clearance regime as was advocated by former ACCC Chair, Rod Sims. Only time will tell whether this is indeed the case. Please see full Publication below for more information.
- Greenwashing, Digital Advertising & Platform Issues, Financial Services & Consumer Guarantees: What the ACCC's 2022/23 Priorities Mean for Your Business
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has just published its compliance and enforcement priorities for FY 2022/23. For the first time, the ACCC has aligned its annual priorities to the financial year. It promises to be a significant year with the ACCC's leadership changing, with the baton soon to be passed from the outgoing Chair, Rod Sims (who has been at the ACCC's helm for over a decade), to the incoming and first female Chair, Gina Cass-Gottlieb, in late March 2022. To help businesses digest the implication of the ACCC's priorities quickly and efficiently in this unique paradigm, we have prepared a one page summary that highlights the ACCC's most pressing consumer and competition law priorities and key 'to do's' for businesses. The ACCC also continues to focus on enduring issues including cartel enforcement. Please see full Summary below for more information.
- Vaccine Requirements – Australia
Australia has a high uptake of vaccination to COVID-19, partly due to enforceable public health orders at State level which require classes of workers to be vaccinated if they are to work outside of their home. As at the date of writing, the position is summarised below. Commonwealth - The Federal Government has not mandated vaccination but has endorsed state mandates for vaccination of workers in aged care settings. Please see full Chapter below for more information.
- Foreign Investment in Australia: what you need to know
What you need to know Under Australia’s foreign investment regime, certain types of investments by foreign private investors or foreign government investors need to be notified to, and reviewed and a statement of no objection is issued by the Australian Treasurer (“Treasurer”). This process is referred to as “obtaining FIRB approval”. The Foreign Investment Review Board (“FIRB”) reviews foreign investment proposals on a case by -case basis and advises the Treasurer on the national interest implications of the proposed transaction. The decision to grant or refuse FIRB approval is made by the Treasurer. Please see Publication below for more information.
- Australia's Pathway to a Hydrogen Energy Future: Hydrogen Projects Update 2022
There has been significant progress in the Commonwealth and State Governments’ plans to develop a hydrogen industry in Australia since our original Australian Hydrogen Projects Paper that was published in 2020. Alongside and in collaboration with domestic and foreign developers, investors and energy buyers, the Commonwealth and State Governments have continued to support the development of existing and new hydrogen-focused research programs and project plans across Australia throughout 2021. We have summarised these developments and changes in this latest 2022 version of our Australian Hydrogen Projects Paper. Please see full publication below for more information.
- Changes to the Franchising Code Now Apply
On 1 June 2021, the Australian Government released amendments to the Franchising Code of Conduct and a number of these have already begun to apply. A summary of when various key changes take effect is set out below.
- A Novel Duty of Care? Recent Developments in Australian and International Climate Change Law
In the past month, a number of landmark developments have occurred in climate change law in Australia and overseas, which have the potential to materially impact emissions intensive corporations and projects. These reflect the ongoing willingness of courts to intervene and regulate carbon dioxide emissions based on actions founded in tort and negligence.
- Australian Financial Services Regulatory Update - May 2021
This edition of the Update covers: 1. Recent legal and regulatory developments, including the release of ASIC's immunity policy for market misconduct offences, a FATF consultation on proliferation of financial risk and digital currency, and ASIC and APRA's focus on the management of cyber risk and climate risk; 2. A recent decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia upholding an order compelling compliance with a s 33 notice by an authorised representative of an AFS licensee; 3. The continuing fallout of the Financial Services Royal Commission and the recent cases demonstrating ASIC and APRA's continuing commitment to enforcement action in relation to matters referred by the Commissioner; and 4.Other regulatory enforcement action, including the Federal Court finding that the Mayfair 101 Group made misleading or deceptive statements in its advertisements and the imposition of AFS licence conditions on a retail OTC derivatives issuer.
- ASIC signals its approach on new breach reporting obligations
New breach reporting obligations for Australian financial services and credit licensees come into effect on 1 October 2021. This post considers ASIC’s draft guidance on some of the key features of these reporting obligations.
- New Equal Opportunity Act for Victoria
Employers in Victoria are reminded that the new Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) (Act) started to operate from 1 August 2011. Details of the changes which arose as a result of the Act starting to operate are set out in our previous update. Please see full article below for more information. ...
- Vioxx appeal successful
On 12 October 2011 the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia, constituted by Chief Justice Keane and Justices Bennett and Gordon JJ (their Honours) allowed an appeal of the Federal Court decision to award compensation to a claimant who claimed consumption of Vioxx caused him to have a heart...
- Franchising Update - Febuary, 2013
This edition of our Franchising Update includes the following articles: - The recently announced review of the Franchising Code. - The Pie Face dispute – misleading information or inadequate due diligence. - Australian Consumer Law and hints for franchisors to minimise risks of ...
- Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 Enters Parliament
As discussed in our previous Legal Insight on 18 February 2013, the Commonwealth Government has followed through on its promise to move quickly in amending the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) with the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 (Bill) being introduced in to Parliament on 21 March 2013. The...
- Mandatory Data Breach Notification Coming to Australia
Privacy law is once again on the Government’s legislation reform agenda with the introduction recently of the Privacy Amendment (Privacy Alerts) Bill 2013. The Bill if passed will amend the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) to introduce a new mandatory data breach notification scheme for entities regulated...
- Curating an Investment Menu – Investment Governance Challenges for Super Trustees
Investment governance expectations on superannuation trustees have risen markedly since the introduction of the StongerSuper reforms....
- Take it Personally - Courts Provide Insight into the Value and Implications of Moral Rights
Since moral rights were introduced by amendments to the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) in 2000, there have been only a handful of decisions which have considered their application. However, two recent decisions highlight that it is important for users of copyright material be aware of moral rights and...
- No Fair Work Act for Foreign Rig Workers
Earlier this month, the Federal Court in Western Australia dismissed an application made by the Fair Work Ombudsman, alleging contravention of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Fair Work Act) by several foreign and Australian-based corporations involved in the employment of four Filipino workers at an...
- Australian Government Releases Further Details of its Direct Action Plan to Reduce Australian Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The Australian Federal Government (Government) released a Green Paper on Friday 20 December as part of its Direct Action Plan on climate change policy. The Green Paper outlines the Government's preferred design for an Emissions Reduction Fund (Fund) and invites further input from business and the...
- Workplace Gender Equality – Are You Aware of Your Reporting Obligations for the 2013–2014 Reporting Period?
As we mentioned in our previous Legal Insight, the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cth) (WGE Act) has now replaced the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Cth) and established the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). The role of the WGEA is to ensure that employers...