Australian businesses prepare for the new privacy regime
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The government's formal response to the recommendations contained in the review of the Franchising Code of Conduct (Wein Report) confirmed that it, unconditionally, in part or in principle, accepts the vast majority of the recommended changes to the Code.
On 19 July 2013 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development released its much anticipated Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. The BEPS Action Plan sets out the actions required to counteract the methods of base erosion and profit shifting used by multinational companies, initially identified in its February 2013 report Addressing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.
On 30 June 2012, the 11th Standing Committee of the National People's Congress issued a new law, the Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People's Republic of China. Effective from 1 July 2013, the law is a response to the drastic increase in personnel entering and exiting the country, and will aim to improve the enforcement of related administrative requirements.
The Australian Taxation Office has issued its annual compliance program, 'Compliance in focus 2013-14', setting out the areas it will focus on in its investigations and reviews throughout the coming year. The compliance program can help you determine the likelihood of being subject to scrutiny by the Australian Taxation Office.
ASIC has announced that this reporting season it will appraise the quality of analysis and information in operating and financial reviews. This is unsurprising given the regulator's increased emphasis over the past 12 months on improving the usefulness of OFRs to investors, which culminated in its March 2013 release of ASIC Regulatory Guide 247 Effective disclosure in an operating and financial review.
In a recent decision concerning the collapsed Great Southern Group, the New South Wales Court of Appeal has provided further guidance in relation to the operation of section 6 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1946. While the court's decision is useful for insurers and lawyers, section 6 remains problematic and ripe for change.
On 20 June 2013, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security issued Implementing Measures for Administrative License for Labour Dispatch to standardise and formalise the labour dispatch licensing regime in China. The measures came into effect on 1 July 2013 following a discussion draft issued on 19 May 2013.
The recently-passed Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth) will significantly change the existing governance and financial framework for around 195 Commonwealth entities and the approximately 300,000 individuals who work for them. Unless proclaimed earlier, its main provisions will commence on 1 July 2014.
On 27 June 2013, Justice Brereton of the Supreme Court of New South Wales handed down his decision in the matter of Maiden Civil (P&E) Pty Ltd; Richard Albarran and Blair Alexander Pleash as receivers and managers of Maiden Civil (P&E) Pty Ltd & Ors v Queensland Excavation Services Pty Ltd & Ors. This is the first Australian case to give substantial consideration to the priority of competing security interests under the Personal Property Securities Act 2009. The decision is a seminal one for insolvency practitioners and financiers, clarifying key provisions and rules under the PPSA.
Car parks located in inner city Melbourne currently subject to a levy under the Congestion Levy Act 2005 (VIC) will from 1 January 2013 be subject to a higher levy which will apply to a greater number of car spaces.
Last week, the Queensland Supreme Court decided the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 does not apply to construction work on mining leases. Construction companies performing work on sites subject to a mining lease can no longer rely on the payment process under the Act and will need to seek relief through alternative processes.
On 21 June 2013, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) was amended to include a new matter of national environmental significance in relation to coal seam gas (CSG) and large coal mining development - the 'water trigger'. As a result, more CSG and coal mining developments will require EPBC Act approval.
The Not-for-profit Sector Freedom to Advocate Act 2013 commenced on 14 June 2013. The Act prevents agencies from including in agreements between the Commonwealth and not-for-profit entities clauses that restrict or prevent the NFP from commenting on, advocating support for or opposing a change to any matter established by law, policy or practice of the Commonwealth. The Act also invalidates any such clauses contained in existing Commonwealth agreements.
The government has recently released its National Food Plan, a roadmap for the future development of Australia's food and agriculture industry. Its key focus is on ensuring that Australia has 'a sustainable, globally competitive, resilient food supply, supporting access to nutritious and affordable food'. We review how the National Food Plan responds to the trends, opportunities and challenges facing Australia's food and agriculture industry in the 21st Century.
The Australian Government yesterday released a consultation paper responding to the recommendations made in the Wein Review. The independent Review of the Franchising Code of Conduct was conducted by Mr Alan Wein on 17 May of this year.
The Victorian Government has introduced legislation into Parliament to streamline the approvals processes for major projects and reduce project delays and costs.
Employers should be aware that the due date for reporting employee share scheme interests is fast approaching. Where required by the tax laws, ESS Statements must be given to employees by 14 July and ESS Annual Reports must be given to the Australian Taxation Office by 14 August.
On 12 June 2013, Senator Stephen Conroy and Ministers Greg Combet and David Bradbury issued a joint media release announcing two reviews to support Australia's burgeoning capabilities in cutting edge digital innovation. As part of these reviews, the Government will undertake consultation on Australian crowd-sourced equity funding that will consider 'whether Australia’s corporations law properly regulates and facilitates [equity crowd funding]'.
The Commonwealth Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus QC, yesterday issued Terms of Reference requiring the Australian Law Reform Commission to conduct an inquiry into the prevention of, and remedies for, serious invasions of privacy in the digital era. This latest development is part of the government's second stage response to the recommendations in the ALRC's 2008 Report into reforming the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), together with the recent proposed compulsory data breach notification scheme and the removal of certain exceptions to the Privacy Act.
The Standing Council on Energy and Resources has announced reforms to the regime for limited merits review of decisions affecting prices for electricity networks and gas pipelines under the National Gas Law and National Electricity Law. These reforms will place greater emphasis on the need to prove that varying the regulator's decision will produce an overall outcome that is ‘materially preferable’ in promoting the long term interests of consumers.