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On Monday 15 December the Australian Government announced its 'Efficiency through Contestability Programme', as part of the Mid-Year Economic and Financial Outlook. Under the Programme the current functions of all Commonwealth entities will be reviewed, and some may be subjected to 'contestability' with a view to achieving better value for money.
The federal government has confirmed that there will be 'single-sided' reporting for Phase 3B entities. While the exact details are yet to be provided, this is clearly a significant development, and follows extensive lobbying by ourselves and a number of other parties.
The Final Report of the Financial System Inquiry chaired by Mr David Murray was released on 7 December 2014. Here, we discuss key points arising from the Report and Mr Murray's speech to CEDA.
Following the Wein Review and considerable public consultation since early 2013, the new Franchising Code of Conduct has been released and, assuming it is enacted, will take effect on 1 January 2015. The New Code contains a number of significant regulatory changes which franchisors will need to understand, in order to determine what changes they will need to make prior to the commencement date.
ASIC has now delivered an updated regulatory guide (new RG49) and two new class orders – one for listed bodies (CO 14/1000) and one for non-listed bodies (CO 14/1001).
The Australian Government announced an independent review of the integrity of the Subclass 457 programme on 25 February, 2014. The review report, 'Robust New Foundations – A Streamlined, Transparent and Responsive System for the 457 Programme' was released in September 2014 with 22 recommendations. On 14 October 2014 the government further announced that the following reforms will be adopted from the review.
The Australian Government has released its interim report, the Agriculture Competitiveness Green Paper, which reflects the wishes and suggestions from almost 700 stakeholder submissions. The Green Paper is the first major output of the comprehensive analysis of the Australian agricultural industry commissioned last year; it outlines nine key policy principles and dozens of ideas aiming which if implementedwill change the face of Australian agriculture forever.
On 16 September 2014 the OECD issued its paper on BEPS Action 15: Developing a Multilateral Instrument to Modify Bilateral Tax Treaties. This Alert outlines the OECD's proposal to develop a multilateral treaty as part of the OECD's response to BEPS issues.
On 16 September 2014, the OECD issued its Hybrid Recommendations to ensure the coherence of corporate income taxation at the international level in a document entitled, 'Neutralising the Effects of Hybrid Mismatch Arrangements' (Hybrid Recommendations). The Hybrid Recommendations deal with Action 2 of the OECD's wider, 15 point, Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Action Plan.
On 16 September 2014 the OECD issued its paper on BEPS Action 6: Preventing the Granting of Treaty Benefits in Inappropriate Circumstances. This Alert summarises the main BEPS issues identified by the OECD and the way forward for taxation reform identified in the OECD paper.
On 16 September 2014 the OECD released an interim report on countering harmful tax practices in connection with Action 5 of its Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. This Alert summarises the key issues highlighted in the OECD's report.
On 16 September 2014 the OECD issued its paper on BEPS Action 1: Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy. This Alert summarises the main BEPS issues identified by the OECD and the way forward for taxation reform identified in the OECD paper.
This week, the High Court handed down its decision in Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Barker  HCA 32 – unanimously ruling that the implied term of trust and confidence (Implied Term) is not part of Australian law and overruling the Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Barker  FCAFC 83 (Federal Court Decision).
The Queensland government has released consultation drafts of the Planning and Development Bill 2014 and the Planning and Environment Court Bill 2014, proposing to replace the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld). The Bills seek to implement a new land-use planning and development assessment system to promote prosperity across the state.
This week the Full Federal Court unanimously overturned the decision to refuse ASICS's application to remove the liquidators of Walton Construction Pty Ltd, which had been appointed though a referral by the Mawson Group. The case presents a warning to insolvency practitioners who may find themselves overly dependent on a single source of referral work.
China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange has announced reforms to its foreign exchange administration in order to make it easier for Chinese individuals and companies to invest abroad.
After launching the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone nine months ago, the Shanghai government has released the Special Administrative Measures on Foreign Investment Access to the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (Negative List) (the 2014 Revision). The list seeks to reinforce the requirements set out in 2013 and to further relax controls on foreign investments into China.
The People's Bank of China has released the Administrative Measures for the Foreign Exchange Purchase and Sale Business Provided by Banks which will come into force on 1 August 2014. The Measures will clarify the definition of Business and adjust the supervision and management model to provide banks with greater autonomy and a simplified process to market entry and exit.
Last month the Chinese Ministry of Commerce published the Notice of Improvements on Foreign Investment Examination Management, introducing the capital subscription system into the registration of foreign invested enterprises. The Notice is specifically targeted at eliminating the statutory registered capital requirements previously imposed on FIEs.
Following legislation being introduced and passed over the past two weeks, the much anticipated Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 comes into effect today. Commonwealth entities, be they corporate or non corporate, need to comply with the new PGPA regime.