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Two recent judgments of the Federal Court have highlighted the potential for Australian competition law to impact on distribution arrangements between principals and their agents. The more recent judgment, in the ACCC's case against Flight Centre, means that such arrangements may need to be reviewed to ensure they do not fall foul of the prohibitions on price fixing under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
The High Court has confirmed that the liquidators of a landlord can disclaim a lease, with the effect of terminating the tenant's leasehold estate or interests in the land.
On 14 December 2013 the Assistant Treasurer announced the government's position in relation to the remaining 64 announced but unlegislated tax and superannuation reforms. Of the 64 measures that were subject to further consideration, the government has now announced that 16 measures will proceed and 48 measures will not proceed. Full details of the announcement are summarised in this Alert.
The Board of Taxation has released a Discussion Paper as part of its review and consultation on the arm’s length debt test (ALDT) in the thin capitalisation rules. The ALDT is one of three alternatives available to taxpayers to determine the maximum level of debt on which interest deductions may be claimed and is an alternative to the safe harbour threshold in the thin capitalisation rules.
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) is expected to commence operation on 1 January 2014. As the first 'super tribunal' in NSW, NCAT will take over the jurisdiction of 22 exiting state tribunals, including the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal, the Medical Tribunal and the Local Government Pecuniary Interest and Disciplinary Tribunal.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department, has released an Issues Paper as part of the 'seven-year post-implementation review' of Australia's Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing legislative and regulatory regime. Stakeholders are invited to provide input into the overall operation of the AML/CTF Act and to identify areas of deficiency or possible enhancement.
On 27 November 2013, the New South Wales Parliament passed the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 (NSW) (Act). The Act consolidates the Motor Dealers Act 1974 (NSW) and the Motor Vehicle Repairs Act 1980 (NSW) into one cohesive piece of legislation and introduces new provisions regulating the relationships between NSW motor dealers and motor vehicle manufacturers.
A recent case has underlined the importance of a regular review of founding documents to ensure that those documents continue to meet your not for profit organisation's objectives and accurately reflect the activities that the organisation is carrying out.
In mid-November, ASIC released a consultation paper in relation to the relief for employee share schemes from the disclosure (prospectus/PDS) and licensing requirements of the Corporations Act.
Today, the Treasurer announced an order under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) blocking Archer Daniels Midland's proposed acquisition of GrainCorp on the basis that it is contrary to Australia's national interest. The Treasurer could have allowed the proposed acquisition to proceed with or without conditions but chose not to do so.
The federal government today released a discussion paper seeking feedback on measures to improve super fund governance, finish outstanding Stronger Super transparency measures and enhance competition in the default super market.
The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) is due to replace the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 on 1 July 2014. Rules to support the new framework for Commonwealth agencies, authorities and companies will be made under the PGPA Act. The Department of Finance has released the first set of draft rules for consultation.
On 27 November 2013 ASIC released its updated Information Sheet 155: Complying with requirements for superannuation products and simple managed investment schemes (INFO 155) The updated INFO 155 follows an ASIC industry review of shorter PDSs issued since the commencement of the shorter PDS regime in June 2012 and provides some useful comments as to how ASIC interprets and intends to regulate some of the more technical requirements and lodgement protocols of this regime.
This month, the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance released the Intellectual Property Guidelines for the Victorian Public Sector.
Labour market testing was introduced on 23 November 2013 by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection as a mandatory requirement for all standard business sponsors who wish to nominate a position under the 457 visa program. Nominations that do not supply evidence of LMT and are not exempt from LMT will not be approved by the DIBP.
The government has released the draft Terms of Reference for the Financial System Inquiry and announced that it will be headed by David Murray, former CEO of the Commonwealth Bank. The Inquiry has one year to deal with a very large agenda covering all aspects of the Australian financial system.
While the majority of the Stronger Super reforms have now commenced, a number of changes are due to come into effect at the end of 2013. With this date now rapidly approaching, we wanted to provide you with the tools for a Stronger Super 'health check' to make ensure sure you are prepared to start the new year in strong form.
The federal government has announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into the funding of public infrastructure signalling its intention to lower costs and drive investment into the construction industry.
On 12 November 2013, the Minister for Education announced a review of the demand driven funding system for higher education to be completed by mid-February 2014. It will be spearheaded by former Howard Government education minister, the Hon Dr David Kemp, and notable tertiary education academic, Andrew Norton. The review will focus on legislative reforms which commenced in 2012 to deregulate the allocation of undergraduate student places at universities and move to a demand driven funding system.
The Queensland Government continues to implement its 10 Point Action Plan with the passing of legislation to amend the licensing requirements under the Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991 (QLD). This marks the next step in the plan aimed at overhauling the state's building regulations (Review Licensing and Compliance), and driven by the government's commitment to developing the construction industry as one of the 'four pillars' of the Queensland economy.