An investor's guide to the sector and its regulations.
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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.
The recent launch of Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (SHFTZ) is set to bring great business opportunities for both foreign and domestic investors in relation to their inbound and outbound investments.
On 7 November 2013, the Australian Taxation Office issued Practice Statement Law Administration 2013/5, outlining its policy on the collection of group tax liabilities from head companies of consolidated groups, subsidiary members and entities that have left the consolidated group.
On 6 November 2013 the government announced its position on 92 previously announced but unlegislated tax and superannuation measures. The announcement provides a timetable and process to implement (or abandon) previously announced reforms and will provide greater certainty for the business sector on the fate of some important tax measures.
The Full Federal Court handed down its appeal decision in MBI Properties Pty Limited v Commissioner of Taxation  FCAFC 112 on 18 October 2013, regarding the GST consequences arising from the sale of leased residential property as a going concern.
The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Amendment Bill 2013 had its second parliamentary reading on 24 October. If passed, the SOPA Amendments will change the way the NSW construction industry makes its payments.
The Queensland Parliament passed the Directors’ Liability Reform Amendment Bill 2012 (Amended Bill) on 16 October 2013, to reform Queensland's laws imposing personal liability on directors for corporate fault.
On Friday 18 October the Full Federal Court handed down the latest decision (MBI Properties Pty Limited v Commissioner of Taxation  FCAFC 112) in the long running GST saga associated with the South Steyne Development at Manly Beach. In a surprise move, the court allowed the taxpayer's appeal by accepting that the application of the going concern concession to the sale of a leased residential building did not trigger a Division 135 adjustment for the purchaser.
A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Western Australia reinforces the need for parties to clearly state what they mean when seeking to exclude liability for 'consequential loss'.
On 15 October 2013, a Bill to amend the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) was introduced into Parliament, outlining significant changes to the current scheme. In particular, the introduction of a threshold of more than a 5 per cent permanent impairment for an injured worker to be able to claim common law damages against their employer.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released class order relief for AQUA market exchange traded funds (ETFs) as proposed and described in its consultation paper (CP196) released in December 2012.
A report issued by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption outlines 11 corruption prevention recommendations, which government agencies should consider when undertaking their own procurement reviews. Because of their importance and broad application, this alert presents ICAC's recommendations in full.
In a move that will be welcomed by the managed funds industry, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has narrowed the definition of 'hedge fund' in Class Order 12/749 with effect from 3 October 2013. ASIC has also amended and re-issued Regulatory Guide 240 – Hedge Funds: Improving Disclosure (RG 240) to reflect the changed definition.
A recent decision by the Supreme Court of New South Wales in the matter of Dalma No 1 Pty Limited; Application of Bruce Gleeson and David Shannon, joint and several liquidators of Dalma No 1 Pty Limited and anor, has highlighted an important limitation to section 560 of the Corporations Act 2001. Funds must now be advanced to the company to enable the employees to be paid – not advanced directly to employees.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has issued for consultation the second of three tranches of draft Guidelines for the new Australian Privacy Principles. This tranche provides guidance on APPs 6 to 11.
The Queensland State Government has given the green light for uranium mining tenure applications to be processed as early as July 2014. The Government has confirmed that minimal changes are required to existing legislation in order to adapt the current mining tenure regime to apply to uranium mining.
One of the most anticipated outcomes of the change of government, by the financial advice sector, is the promise to amend the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) legislation. Fixing FOFA will involve the Coalition government making good on the 16 recommendations it made, while in opposition, as part of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services Report on FOFA in February 2012. We identify which of the proposed changes can be made by regulation and those that will require a Bill.
On August 22 2013, the Ministry of Commerce announced that the State Council of China had approved the establishment of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Area (SHFTA) with the intention of formally establishing the area by the end of September 2013. The SHFTA will create potential investment opportunities for foreign investors across industry sectors in China. International companies should monitor its evolution and consider taking advantage of favourable investment conditions as they arise.