An investor's guide to the sector and its regulations.
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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.
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.