Australian businesses prepare for the new privacy regime
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The Corporations Amendment (Proxy Voting) Bill 2012 (Bill) passed the Senate on 18 June 2012 and is now awaiting Royal Assent. The Bill is intended to correct an anomaly in the voting restrictions introduced by the Corporations Amendment (Improving Accountability on Executive Remuneration) Act 2011 (Cth).
The PRC's Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court on Application of Laws in the Trial of Cases Involving Sale and Purchase Contracts will take effect from 1 July 2012. Widely regarded as a judicial milestone the promulgation of the Interpretation is expected to contribute to the development of jurisprudence and commerce in China.
The Insurance Contracts Amendment Regulation 2012 (No.1) (Cth) was made on 14 June 2012 and registered on 18 June 2012.
On 1 October 2012 the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission will assume responsibility for determining charitable status from the Australian Taxation Office. We summarise the key findings of the progress report issued by the ACNC Implementation Taskforce arising from the community consultations and public submissions.
In prior years trustees had until 31 August to complete distribution resolutions for the year ended 30 June. In the wake of recent court decisions the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has scrapped this concession. This year resolutions must be completed by 30 June, which is less than 14 business days time!
In the NSW Budget handed down today, Treasurer Mr Mike Baird announced a range of revenue measures that are expected to increase state revenue by $392 million in the four years to 2015-16. He also announced that the planned abolition of certain duties had been deferred for 12 months arising from a steep fall in GST revenue.
On Friday 1 June, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon Bernie Ripoll MP, announced the release of the second tranche exposure draft of the Personal Liability for Corporate Fault Reform Bill 2012 (Liability Reform Bill). This release is the next step in the Government's response to the Directors' Liability Reform Project, a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) initiative. In this Alert, we look at the amendments proposed in the second tranche exposure draft, and the Government's timetable for introduction of a consolidated Bill to effect the legislative reforms.
The long-anticipated law against 'price signalling' under the Competition and Consumer Act comes into force today, Wednesday 6 June 2012. The laws apply to the deposit taking and advance activities of authorised deposit taking institutions and prohibit certain disclosures of information that substantially lessen competition.
In May 2011, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) decided in Re The Retirement Village Company and FCT  AATA 298, that a retirement village operator could claim a tax deduction for exit payments (which included a 'capital appreciation sharing payment') made under resident contracts (and which had been acquired as part of the acquisition of the retirement village). The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has now issued a Decision Impact Statement on the AAT decision, which broadly seeks to limit the application of the AAT decision to the particular facts. Given the ATO does not appear to accept that the AAT decision has precedential value, we recommend the ATO seek a test case to provide the retirement village sector with some certainty on these important tax and commercial issues.
On Friday 25 May 2012, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced the approval of the first Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA) for Hancock Prospecting’s Roy Hill Project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. This alert explains the implications for project owners, prime contractors and subcontractors of major resource projects, and how to obtain approval for an EMA or a template labour agreement.
A new Division 815 – Cross-border transfer pricing is to be inserted into the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997). The new Division :
The Australian Government has released draft regulations under the yet-to-be-passed Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) legislation. The regulations have been released in two tranches, and cover:
The ATO has warned taxpayers that input tax credits for importation GST will be denied if the importation arrangements are not managed in accordance with the statutory requirements. It is likely the ATO will now focus on this area and taxpayers will have no excuse if they fail to comply with the criteria necessary to claim credits.
In Rafferty v Madgwicks  FCAFC 37, the Full Federal Court recently held that a trade mark licence 'heads of agreement' was caught by the Franchising Code of Conduct (Code).
The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill 2012 (Cth) (the Bill) amends the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Act) to implement the first tranche of responses to the Australian Law Reform Commission's (ALRC) report called 'For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice' (the ALRC report).
The report by Mr Richard St John into compensation arrangements for consumers of financial services, released on 8 May 2012, has recommended the consideration of key reforms which could have a significant impact on the financial sector. We analyse the report and discuss its key recommendations and their implications for licensees, product issuers and consumers.
The Federal Court (Micro Focus (US) Inc v State of New South Wales  FCA 787) recently explained why provisions to protect public servants from legal action are limited to certain circumstances. This has raised the question of how effective immunity provisions are and what can be done about them.
On 28 April 2012, the China State Council released the Special Provisions on Labour Protection for Female Employees ('the New Provisions'). The New Provisions came into force on that same date, and superseded the Provisions on Labour Protection for Female Employees promulgated on 21 July 1988. The New Provisions provide better protection to female employees and cover prohibited work, maternity leave, maternity insurance and sexual harassment.
The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade recently published the CIETAC Rules 2012, which came into effect on 1 May 2012. Then CIETAC Shanghai abruptly released its own Shanghai Rules, which came into effect at the same time as the 2012 Rules. We discuss the main changes included in the 2012 Rules, compare them with the new Shanghai Rules and consider the potential risks and impacts of these clashing Rules.
Minter Ellison's Anthony Oxley and Tony Dhar provide comment on ASIC's new regulatory guidance in relation to advertising financial products and advice services.