From office to bedroom – Romantic relationships in the workplace

There has recently been significant media attention concerning certain high profile executives having “inappropriate relationships” with employees within their organisations. These stories raise questions about the scope of an employer’s ability to regulate personal relationships in the workplace. So, when does a personal relationship become an employer’s business? Dating a colleague – Whose business is … Read more

Victoria to overhaul environmental regulation

The Victorian Government will overhaul its approach to environmental regulation, taking a more preventative approach. The Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) revealed the plans at a recent Australian Environment Business Network seminar hosted by HWL Ebsworth. The new approach is expected to be included in a draft Bill, due next year, which will rewrite the … Read more

Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 – Commences

The Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017 received Royal Assent on 14 September 2017. The amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 commenced today 15 September 2017. Importantly, responsible franchisor entities and holding companies can be held liable for contraventions of specified civil remedy provisions of the Fair Work Act by their franchisees … Read more

Tax Insight: Legislation introduced on foreign owner annual vacancy fee

As foreshadowed in the 2017-18 Federal Budget, on Thursday 7 September 2017 the Treasury Laws Amendment (Housing Tax Integrity) Bill 2017 was introduced in the House of Representatives to implement an annual vacancy fee on foreign owners of residential real estate. In this Tax Insight we explore this new cost on foreign investment. When will … Read more

Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017 (Bill) Passed

On Tuesday 5 September 2017 the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017 (Bill) was passed by the House of Representatives after a long period of debate and following a number of amendments which were made by the Senate. The Bill amends the Fair Work Act 2009 (Act) and introduces several new reforms that … Read more

Project Bank Accounts under the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Bill 2017

Building industry fairness (security of payment) bill 2017 The Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Bill 2017 (Bill) was introduced to the Queensland parliament on 22 August 2017. It’s main purpose is said to be1 “to help people working in the building and construction industry in being paid for the work they do.” The Bill primarily seeks to … Read more

Trends in sustainability reporting and carbon risk disclosure

Sustainability reporting is not mandatory in Australia but many companies report voluntarily on social and environmental performance to meet annual disclosure obligations, assist with stakeholder engagement and demonstrate a commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR). A recent survey conducted by the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR) found that 53% of the Australian respondents … Read more

Australia: SVC risk and regulation

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (‘AUSTRAC’) has recently published its first ‘Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Risk Assessment: Stored Value Cards’ (‘SVC Assessment’), which analyses the potential of stored value cards (‘SVCs’) to be used for money laundering or terrorism financing (‘ML/TF’) purposes. HWL Ebsworth Partner, Michael Anastas and Trainee Solicitor Elizabeth Singleton … Read more

Gig economy no safe haven against employment laws

The South Australian Employment Tribunal (Tribunal) has held that an Uber driver was in an employment relationship with the Company that provided him with his vehicle. In taking the common law approach to the ‘gig economy’ relationship, the Tribunal considered the following factors supported a finding that an employment relationship existed: The Company provided the … Read more

Queensland’s first conversion application heard in the Planning and Environment Court

Under the former Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) (SPA), and the current Planning Act 2016 (Qld) (PA), developers may apply to a local government to convert non-trunk infrastructure to trunk infrastructure.  Until last week, this new area of the law had been untested. A recent decision of her Honour Judge Kefford in The Avenues Highfields … Read more

Energy update – Victorian embedded networks

The Victorian Government has today released its final determination on exemptions for embedded networks, with the intention that there will be a new exemption order issued replacing the previous “General Exemption” order in council applicable to Victorian embedded networks and on-selling. The final paper contemplates adopting multiple “deemed / registrable / individual” classes along the … Read more

Eliminating unfair contract terms in small business lending contracts

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) has issued a joint media release (accessible here) welcoming the changes agreed to by the big four banks to eliminate unfair contract terms in small business lending contracts. The changes will be applied by the big four banks … Read more

Banking & Finance Disputes Monthly – August 2017

The use of cheques reached its peak in 1995 but since then has been in decline as we transition to electronic payment alternatives. Despite their decline, cheques are not extinct and are not immune to the potential chain of events that can adversely impact funds that are the subject of the cheque during the period … Read more

Planning, Environment and Government Newsletter – August 2017

Welcome to the August 2017 edition of HWL Ebsworth’s Planning, Environment and Government e’Newsletter for New South Wales. We trust that you will find the information in this edition useful, timely and practical. HWL Ebsworth’s Planning, Environment and Government Group offer strong planning advisory expertise and a forward thinking approach to planning and environmental law. … Read more

New Housing Code in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) allows home owners to develop property without lodging development applications with Council where the development is classified either as exempt, requiring no consent, or complying, requiring certification from an accredited certifier or Council. On Friday 16 June 2017, the NSW Department of … Read more

Intellectual Property, Technology and Media Newsletter

Welcome to our Newsletter, bringing you the latest in Intellectual Property, Technology and Media Law news. Recent accolades for our IP, Technology and Media team  Daniel Kiley (Senior Associate, Adelaide) was recently named by Doyle’s Guide as a ‘Rising Star’ for Intellectual Property and TMT in Australia. Nicholas Pullen was recommended for TMT in Victoria.Our … Read more

Merchant Surcharging Rules Commence 1 September 2017

From 1 September 2017, new merchant pricing standards will apply to all merchants that accept credit card, debit card and prepaid card payments (Eftpos, MasterCard and Visa cards and AMEX companion cards). 1. New ban takes effect for all merchants from 1 September 2017 New laws that ban excessive payment surcharges by merchants will apply … Read more

The new South East Queensland Regional Plan released

The Queensland Government has released the final South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017, also known as ‘ShapingSEQ’. ShapingSEQ took effect on Friday 11 August 2017, replacing the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009 – 2031. Click here to view the final version of ShapingSEQ. ShapingSEQ is supported by new Regulatory Provisions in the Planning Regulation … Read more

HWL Ebsworth advises the South Australian Government on the Lands Services commercialisation

HWL Ebsworth is pleased to be advising the South Australian government as the external legal adviser on the commercialisation of its transactional land services. HWL Ebsworth has worked under the leadership of the Crown Solicitor’s Office Chief Commercial Counsel, Chris Gray, since being appointed in August 2016. On Thursday it was announced that Land Services … Read more

ACCC puts new car industry on notice about alleged consumer law breaches

The Australian Competition and and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has today released a draft report of its market study into Australia’s new car retailing industry. The draft report makes three key findings and makes a number of draft recommendations to address those findings which include law reform and enforcement action. The draft findings and recommendations have … Read more

HWL Ebsworth Lawyers advises ResourceCo on clean energy funding

Leading national law firm HWL Ebsworth has assisted ResourceCo Pty Ltd in relation to its $30 million funding facility with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to build two new plants to transform waste materials into solid fuel, known as Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF). The first plant will be built at Wetherill Park in Sydney and … Read more

Holden gives ACCC enforceable undertaking for ACL guarantees

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has today announced that it has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from GM Holden Ltd (Holden) in relation to Holden’s consumer guarantee obligations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The ACCC can choose to accept an enforceable undertaking under section 87B of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) in order to settle or … Read more

WA Supreme Court decision may delay the clean up of toxic sites

In Western Australia, the Contaminated Sites Committee (CSC) determines responsibility for the clean up of contaminated sites. A recent WA Supreme Court decision1 has confirmed that the jurisdiction of the CSC to determine responsibility is limited to sites that are classified under the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (WA) (Act) as ‘contaminated – remediation required’. Implications for your business If you … Read more

20th Edition – National Insolvency & Reconstruction Quarterly Review

Welcome to the latest edition of our National Insolvency & Reconstruction Quarterly Review for the period 1 April 2017 to 30 June 2017. A large amount of activity has occurred in our space over the last quarter and we outline a few of those matters in this edition. In particular, our team: Examines the recent … Read more

Casual one day, permanent employment the next

The Fair Work Commission (Commission) will introduce a “casual conversion” clause into modern awards following a recent Full Bench decision. This clause will allow casual, award-covered employees to request permanent employment. This change will have a significant impact on employers as their ability to refuse a request for permanent employment will be limited. In summary, … Read more