Australian businesses prepare for the new privacy regime
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ASIC has released a new consultation paper in relation to the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) legislation. This paper focuses on approval of codes of conduct for the exemption to the opt-in requirement for ongoing fee arrangements. Consultation paper 191 (CP 191) invites public feedback with submissions due by 4 December 2012. At the same time, the Financial Planning Association (FPA) has released a consultation paper on changes to its code which in part seek to address the opt-in requirement.
The release of the Australia in the Asian Century white paper signals a sharp focus on agribusiness as a key strategic industry for Australia. The Australian Government has identified this sector playing a leading role in shaping our economic and political relationships in Asia in the coming years. This report cements our view that Australian agribusiness is a highly significant national industry with major growth potential, especially in the Asian export market. The sector is likely to experience a changing and fast paced legislative and policy environment in the coming years, as the government implements the objectives outlined in the White Paper.
Legislation to establish the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission has today been passed by the Senate with 34 government amendments, which have now been referred back to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
The Retirement Villages Amendment Bill 2012 (Bill) was passed by the Western Australian Parliament on 23 October 2012 and is awaiting assent.
On 11 October 2012 the Government introduced the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Bill. If passed, this Act will replace the current General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS), an administrative arrangement which provides advances to employees to cover unpaid entitlements where their employer becomes insolvent or bankrupt. The Fair Entitlements Guarantee Act will enshrine this right to payment in legislation, and strengthen it in certain respects.
The Queensland Court of Appeal has endorsed a narrow interpretation of the 'mining exclusion' under the Building and Construction Industry Payment Act 2004 (Qld), particularly in the context of open cut mining.
The differing views expressed by the court on whether certain works are 'construction works' creates significant uncertainty for the industry.
The Federal Attorney-General has released a Discussion Paper seeking comment on whether to introduce laws to make notification of data breaches by government agencies and large private sector entities mandatory in Australia. The Government is calling for submissions by 23 November 2012, asking what the triggers should be and what penalties should apply for failure to comply. The Federal Privacy Commissioner has given his support to the Discussion Paper and a mandatory notification scheme.
Today, the ASX published a substantially revised and expanded consultation draft of Guidance Note 8, Continuous Disclosure: Listing Rules 3.1-3.1B (GN 8). It also published draft amendments (mostly minor) to the continuous disclosure Listing Rules themselves.
In determining that a litigation funding agreement between International Litigation Partners Pte (ILP) and Chameleon Mining NL (receivers and managers appointed) (Chameleon) is a credit facility under Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act), the High Court has taken a very broad interpretation of 'credit facility', which could, in turn, bring the regulatory treatment of a number of financial instruments, including swaps and other derivatives, into doubt.
The Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT), Mr Ali Noroozi, recently announced his new work program (for 2012/2013 and beyond) for improving tax administration in Australia. This follows an extensive community consultation process.
The Australian Taxation Office has issued its compliance program for 2012-13. The compliance program is produced annually and sets out the areas the Australian Taxation Office will focus on in the year ahead.
On 4 October 2012 the Victorian Court of Appeal handed down its appeal decision in 360 Capital RE Limited v James Watts & Ors  VSCA 234 regarding the ability of responsible entities to unilaterally amend scheme constitutions in accordance with section 601GC(1)(b) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
New tax rules for living away from home (LAFH) benefits, including living away from home allowances (LAFHA), received Royal Assent last week, and apply from Monday 1 October 2012. The Australian Taxation Office has released a draft Taxation Determination TD 2012/D8 which sets out how it will determine the 'reasonable' gross cost of food for employees on assignment and transitional rules for the FBT year ended 31 March 2013.
ASIC has released a consultation paper on the conflicted remuneration provisions under the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) legislation. Consultation Paper 189 (CP 189) invites public feedback with submissions due by 9 November 2012.
The Government has also finally released grandfathering regulations for payments by platforms. It has also indicated that it will not be making the draft grandfathering regulation released in May 2012.
The High Court of Australia has unanimously allowed an appeal by Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) and Andrew Forrest from last year's decision of the Full Federal Court. The High Court found that FMG's market announcements, that it had entered binding agreements with Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to build, transfer and finance its massive Pilbara infrastructure project, did not amount to misleading conduct.
The High Court's reasoning demands careful consideration, to assess the implications for market announcements and continuous disclosure. This analytical Alert supersedes our "stop press" Alert dated 2 October 2012.
Earlier today the High Court handed down its decision in the Fortescue Metals (FMG) and Andrew Forrest appeals against ASIC. The Court allowed the appeals, finding in favour of FMG and Mr Forrest.
The High Court has issued its much anticipated judgment as to whether Qantas is liable to pay GST on forfeited fares and on fares where the customer failed to claim an available refund for an unused ticket.
ASX has released a new Consultation Paper setting out draft amendments to the Listing Rules and new Guidance Notes regarding disclosure by mining and oil and gas companies listed on ASX of information regarding reserves and resources. In this Alert we provide an overview of the proposed new Listing Rules.
Now that it has finished 'raising the bar', the Federal government proposes to amend the Patents Act 1990 (Cth) to 'raise the step' required to meet the patentability standard for innovation patents.
On 16 July 2009, the Australian and New Zealand Governments entered into the Trans-Tasman Retirement Savings Portability Arrangement (Arrangement).
The Arrangement was stated as having the intention of enhancing a seamless trans-Tasman labour market by providing the ability for retirement savings to be transferred between an Australian complying superannuation fund and a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme, with minimal compliance and administration costs. The Arrangement is subject to a number of restrictions, as outlined in the Arrangement document.