Australian businesses prepare for the new privacy regime
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The Queensland Government will set up a new independent Queensland Building & Construction Commission (QBCC) to replace the Queensland Building Services Authority (BSA). The change is in response to an independent review, in consultation with key industry stakeholders, to determine how to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of the BSA.
On 5 May 2013 the High Court unanimously dismissed an appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria, which held that Crown Melbourne Limited did not act unconscionably in respect of, and was not liable to, a patron who lost large sums of money at the Casino. Minter Ellison acted for the Respondents in the proceedings. In this update we review the facts of the case, its progress through the lower courts and explain the High Court's reasoning in dismissing the appeal.
Comprehensive legislative changes to enhance and expand Hong Kong's unfair business practices and consumer protection framework, passed in 2012, will come into effect on 19 July 2013. We provide an overview of these major changes and explain how the new expanded consumer protection regime will operate in Hong Kong.
The Migration Amendment (Reforms of Employer Sanctions) Act 2013 took effect on 1 June 2013. It tightens the criminal offence and civil penalty provisions of the Migration Act 1954 that apply to Australian employers who employ overseas nationals in Australia without a visa or working in breach of their visa conditions.
The State Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 introduced into the New South Wales Parliament on 29 May 2013, proposes to amend the Duties Act 1997 (NSW) to clarify the position that duty will be imposed on the transfer of a mining tenement or land subject to a mining tenement. The amendments proposed by the Bill will provide that the rights under all mining tenements are interests in land for stamp duty purposes.
Can the liquidator of a landlord disclaim a lease so that the tenant no longer has any interest in the land? This important question may be answered soon with the High Court granting special leave to appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria In the Matter of Willmott Forests Ltd (in liquidation).
The State Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 inserts new provisions into the Duties Act 1997 (NSW) which are designed to ensure that certain transactions involving nominations under options to purchase land are subject to duty in the same way as transfers of options to purchase land. The new provisions will have a retrospective effect and apply to nominations made on or after 1 July 2013 under existing option agreements.
The Privacy Amendment (Privacy Alerts) Bill 2013 was introduced into parliament yesterday, making amendments to the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988. The Bill follows the ALRC's recommendations in its 2008 report into the Privacy Act and a discussion paper released in October 2012 which sought comment on whether to make notification of data breaches mandatory and lessen the potential adverse impacts arising from a data breach. If passed, the laws will come into effect in March 2014 to coincide with the extensive amendments to the Privacy Act that the government has already passed in response to the ALRC report.
On Thursday, the Finance and Administration Parliamentary Committee tabled its report following its inquiry into the operation of the Queensland Workers' Compensation Scheme. This follows the Queensland Government's announcement in June 2012 of an inquiry into the operation of the Queensland Workers' Compensation Scheme. We explain the most significant recommendations including changes to journey claims, psychological injuries, return to work programs, impairment thresholds and self-insurance arrangements.
AUSTRAC, in association with the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department, has released a discussion paper that sets out proposed amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing customer due diligence regime. The proposed changes are a response to the revision of international AML/CTF CDD standards by the Financial Action Task Force, and consider whether the Australian AML/CTF regime could benefit from the adoption of the revised FATF standards.
On 9 May 2013 the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority released draft Prudential Standard CPS 220 – Risk Management, draft updated Prudential Standard CPS 510 – Governance and accompanying Discussion Paper – Harmonising Cross-Industry Risk Management Requirements, for public consultation. The standards affect ADIs and life and general insurers. APRA has proposed the cross-industry standards as part of its broader harmonisation and consolidation process, which has already seen the implementation of harmonised prudential standards on outsourcing, business continuity management, governance and fitness and propriety. However, in addition to harmonisation, the standards also include significant new risk management governance requirements.
Yesterday the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General released an options paper in connection with the government's statutory review of the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (Qld). The options paper is the latest step in an ongoing consultation process, originally commenced by the previous government.
On 28 April 2013, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange in China together with its local counterparts, issued the Measures for Administration of Foreign Debt and the Operating Guidelines for Administration of Foreign Debt Registration. The Measures and Guidelines are designed to simplify approval processes for and strengthen monitoring of foreign debts in China.
Although not involving stamp duty, the recent case of Resource Capital Fund III LP v Commissioner of Taxation  FCA 363 is a good reminder that the proper valuation of land interests held by mining entities is an important exercise in correctly determining the amount of any landholder or land rich duty payable on acquisitions of interests in the entity. The case also provides some guidance regarding the proper valuation of mining information.
Today the Minister for Small Business, Gary Gray, released a report into the efficacy of the Franchising Code of Conduct by Mr Alan Wein. The federal government commissioned the report as part of a commitment made earlier this year to undertake a review of amendments made to the Code in 2008 and 2010. On the whole, the report recommends a series of sweeping amendments to the current franchise regulatory framework.
The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Bill 2013 (Cth) was introduced earlier today into Parliament. If passed, the Bill will replace both the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth) and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (Cth).
On 6 May 2013, the Australian Securities Exchange issued proposed amendments to the Listing Rules to facilitate rights issues. The Exposure Draft includes amendments to shorten the timetables for entitlement offers and to reduce the number of circumstances in which issuers would need to apply to the ASX for waivers. The amendments intend to facilitate capital raisings by addressing recent market developments and regulatory innovations.
In Matthew Maxwell v Highway Hauliers Pty Ltd  WASCA 115 delivered on 6 May 2013, the Western Australian Court of Appeal considered the appropriate statutory construction of s54(1) of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 and arrived at a different result to the Queensland Court of Appeal when applying it to a similar scenario. The Western Australian Court of Appeal took a broader view of the nature and type of insurance in issue.
As part of the federal government's 'Stronger Super' package of reforms, new portfolio holdings disclosure obligations will be imposed on trustees of registrable superannuation entities (RSEs). The federal government has now released draft regulations which set out the manner in which portfolio holdings will need to be disclosed.
On 1 May 2013 the Queensland government announced the details for the repeal of the gas electricity certificate (GEC) scheme, and published draft legislation to make 2013 the last liability year of the scheme. Any GECs must be created prior to 30 April 2014.