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

Country of Origin food labelling

Overview The Federal Government has recently issued new requirements for labelling food with country of origin information. The Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 (Standard) will replace existing requirements under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (Code). These new rules will require changes to the appearance and content of country of origin … Read more

HWL Ebsworth advises the South Australian government on the launch of the South Australian Venture Capital Fund

HWL Ebsworth is pleased to have advised the South Australian government on the exciting launch of the $50 million South Australian Venture Capital Fund, of which Blue Sky Venture Capital was recently announced as the manager. Please click here for the South Australian government’s news release and further details. Note to editors: HWL Ebsworth is … Read more

HWL Ebsworth advises Eagle Health on IPO

HWL Ebsworth has advised Eagle Health Holdings Limited (ASX:EHH) on its initial public offering and listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), raising a total of $25 million. Shares in EHH began trading on 3 July 2017 under the ASX code EHH. At listing EHH had a market capitalisation of $125 million based on its … Read more

HWL Ebsworth advises G-LINK International on SSX listing

HWL Ebsworth has advised G-LINK International Limited (SSX:899) on its compliance listing on the Sydney Stock Exchange (SSX). Shares in G-LINK began trading on 26 June 2017 under the SSX code 899. Melbourne-based corporate lawyers Thomas Kim (Partner) and David Woodford (Special Counsel) led the capital markets transaction, supported by Liselle Fernandes (Associate) and Kenneth … Read more

New employment related thresholds

A number of employment related financial thresholds are indexed annually each 1 July. Below is a summary of some important changes effective 1 July 2017. Why is the high income threshold important? For employees covered by a modern award, where the employer can guarantee they will earn more than the high income threshold, the employer … Read more

Our guide to the new Planning Act and the key changes you need to be aware of

The new Planning Act 2016 will take effect this coming Monday, 3 July 2017 and along with the Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 and the Planning Regulation 2017 will replace the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 as the legislation governing planning and development in Queensland. The new legislation is the result of bipartisan reforms implemented … Read more

Update on Changes to the Seacare Scheme

Comcare and Seacare Legislation Amendment (Pension Age and Catastrophic Injury) Act 2017 On 15 June 2017 the Australian Parliament made the following minor, though important, changes to the Seacare compensation scheme for Australian seafarers: payments of incapacity payments will continue until an employee’s pension age (which increases from July 2017 to 65½ years, and then … Read more

South Australian State Tax Changes – Budget 2017/2018

The South Australian Budget was handed down late last week. The table below summarises the key changes that you should be aware of. Measure Legislation Commencement Date A levy of 0.015% on South Australia’s share of the total value of bank liabilities subject to the Commonwealth Government levy on major banks offering services in South … Read more

Automotive Regulatory Update – June 2017

Welcome to the June 2017 HWL Ebsworth Automotive Industry Group Regulatory Update. HWL Ebsworth seeks to keep you updated with the changing automotive industry environment across new legislation, developing policy and pertinent case law developments. This Update provides essential information for those wanting to stay abreast of the challenges and issues facing the automotive industry. … Read more

Proposed new labour hire laws in Queensland

On 25 May 2017, Industrial Relations Minister, the Honourable Grace Grace, introduced the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 (the Bill) to Queensland Parliament. The Bill was drafted in response to findings of alleged exploitation and undermining of labour hire workers’ rights in Queensland, and it seeks to create a mandatory licensing scheme which will affect … Read more

Online Trade Mark Infringement and Metatags

Summary Website operators will often embed hidden keywords known as ‘metatags’ into webpages in an effort to improve their rankings in searches for those terms. Until recently Australian courts had not deemed use of a competitor’s trade mark as a metatag to be infringement, but the recent Federal Court decision of Accor Australia & New … Read more

Alternative Dispute Resolution clause again upheld as a mandatory procedure in Queensland

Following a new emphasis placed on alternative dispute resolution by the Building Code 2016 introduced in December last year, as raised by HWL Ebsworth in a recent alert, the Queensland Supreme Court1 has also further recognised the importance and enforceability of alternative dispute resolution clauses in a recent case, as discussed by Michael Hollingdale and … Read more

Proposed changes to the payment of GST on newly constructed residential properties and subdivisions

The Federal Government has proposed a significant change to the usual process of paying GST in new property sales in the Budget released on Tuesday, 16 May. Starting 1 July 2018, the government will require the purchasers of ‘newly constructed residential properties or new subdivisions’ to make payment of the GST component of their sale price … Read more

ACCC appeal to seek massive increase in penalties against Yazaki Corporation

Today the ACCC announced that it has appealed the Federal Court of Australia’s decision to fine Yazaki Corporation $9.5 million for collusive conduct. The ACCC’s appeal is to increase the amount of the fine significantly. In a media release today, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims stated that in the ACCC’s view, Yazaki should be fined between … Read more

Federal Budget 2017-18: The Australian Banking Sector In The Spotlight

On 9 May 2017, the Federal Treasurer – the Honourable Scott Morrison MP, handed down the 2017-18 Federal Budget. In doing so, the Australian banking sector has been presented with new financial, regulatory and dispute resolution measures. What you need to know: Improving dispute resolution Australian Financial Complaints Authority A new Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) … Read more

HWL Ebsworth Lawyers successful in landmark Melbourne CBD hotel development case

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal recently granted a planning permit for the development of a 32 storey, 100 metre high hotel at 274-278 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. The HWL Esbworth Lawyers successfully advised the applicant, instructing Adrian Finanzio SC and Rupert Watters. The Tribunal considered the definition of ‘building services’ in the context of exemptions … Read more

Yazaki Corporation Orders to Pay Millions in Penalties for Collusive Conduct

The Federal Court has today ordered Yazaki Corporation (Yazaki), one of the world’s largest makers of automotive electronics and wiring harnesses, to pay $9.5 million in penalties for engaging in collusive conduct with a competitor in the supply of wiring harnesses to Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota). Yazaki is the parent company of Australian Arrows Pty … Read more

Changes to Victorian State Taxes – State Budget 2017/18

The Victorian Treasurer has announced a number of significant changes to stamp duty, land tax, payroll tax and the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) in the State Budget for 2017/18. A summary of the key changes most relevant to our property clients are outlined below. Stamp Duty – Changes effective on or after 1 July … Read more

App Store ‘Search Ads’ launches in Australia, New Zealand and the UK – How does this affect trade mark owners?

In our August 2016 newsletter we mentioned that Apple had announced plans for its iOS 10 operating system to allow developers to pay to promote their apps. This would occur at the top of relevant search results in the app store. On 25 April 2017 ‘Search Ads’ launched in Australia, New Zealand and the United … Read more

Shipping and Trade Bulletin

Welcome to HWL Ebsworth’s Shipping and Trade Bulletin, keeping you up to date with the latest developments in the maritime industry. Rise in ship detentions by AMSA We wish to draw your attention to the most recent Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Port State Control 2016 Report which noted an increase in ship detentions since … Read more

Productivity commission Delivers Enforcement & Reform report and Australian Consumer Law Review Recommends Significant Changes

Australian Consumer Law Review recommends significant changes Consumer Affairs Australia New Zealand (CAANZ) has today published its final report on its review of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL Review). The purpose of the ACL Review was to assess the effectiveness of the ACL (including its administration and enforcement) in establishing and making accessible a common … Read more

Warning: When s267 of the PPSA bites….588FM of the Corporations Act cannot save you!

A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Western Australia has provided further confirmation in relation to perfection, priority and vesting rules under the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA). Importantly, the decision also clarifies the interaction between section 267 of the PPSA and section 558FM of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act). The case in question is … Read more

Examine away – The power to conduct examinations pursuant to section 596a of the Corporations Act is confirmed after Mr Palmer’s constitutional challenge

As mainstream media have widely reported, following the winding up of Queensland Nickel, Mr Clive Palmer sought declarations and orders from the High Court that the examination power conferred under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) was invalid. The hearing was held on 10 November 2016. The following morning, the High Court made orders dismissing the appeal … Read more

The Sakr nominees appeal: clarification of the assessment of reasonable remuneration

Since September 2014, Justice Brereton in the Supreme Court of New South Wales has delivered a number of judgments approving the applicant practitioner’s reasonable remuneration significantly below what was being sought, on the basis of a percentage of the realisations in the administration rather than a time-costed basis. The rationale for doing so lies in … Read more