10 September 2014
The assessment of risk is now that much harder for underwriters after the High Court on 10 September 2014 unanimously dismissed an appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Western Australia. If underwriters assess risk thinking that endorsements in a policy, for example as to age or qualifications or assess risk thinking an exclusion from cover relating to non-compliance with safety standards, will operate to limit the scope of cover, then their risk assessment is unlikely to be accurate.
Download PDF 39KB
Author: Stefan Sudweeks
28 August 2014
Why are so many PPSR registrations occurring after the security agreement is signed?
Many secured parties are still registering at the closing of a transaction despite the fact that the PPSA is designed to accommodate early registration. Section 161 confirms that a registration can be made in the PPSR before or after the security agreement is made or attaches to the property. A secured party is able to register even before the terms of the security agreement have been concluded as long as the registrant is mindful of section 151 and believes on reasonable grounds that the security interest eventually will be created.
LINK 10 KB
Author: Hilary Hunt
15 August 2014
The Western Australian government’s enactment of stage 1 of the reforms to the retirement village laws from 1 April 2014 has resulted in retirement village operators having to make a number of changes in managing retirement villages.
12 August 2014
AGM – Making sure shareholder votes count
The engagement of proxy advisers by institutional shareholders and the trend of smaller numbers of retail shareholders attending Annual General Meetings continue to challenge directors and boards seeking to engage shareholders.
The AGM is the traditional forum for retail shareholders to meet with directors and management, to ask questions and to raise issues. Nowadays it is common for only a small fraction of shareholders to attend an AGM and for absent shareholders to vote by way of proxy before the meeting. Proxy voting is therefore a key mechanism by which shareholders can be engaged by directors to have a say in the future direction of the company and in the governance of the company. Recent changes to the ASX Listing Rules seek to simplify the proxy voting process and should therefore assist companies to ensure all votes are counted at shareholder meetings.
To ensure the validity of proxy votes, it is important for ASX listed companies to ensure that the proxy form satisfies the new requirements.
Author: Will Moncrieff
6 August 2014
ACTU response to proposed budget: Employer to provide super increases, childcare allowances and reimburse $7 Medicare co-contribution The ACTU is providing its affiliates with a bargaining toolkit which includes proposed clauses for new enterprise agreements. The thrust of these clauses is to “claw back” amounts employees will either lose or be required to pay as a result of the proposed budget measures introduced by the Government.
The ACTU have made it clear the proposed clauses will not be pursued if the budgetary measures are not passed by Parliament.
5 August 2014
The Hon Joe Hockey announced the final terms of reference for a new financial system inquiry on 20 December 2013. The purpose is to examine how the financial system could be best positioned to meet Australia's evolving needs and support Australia's economic growth.
An interim report was released on 15 July 2014. Section 3 discusses potential changes to the current external administration regime in Australia.
Submissions were received that Australia should look to adopt a Chapter 11 style regime that is similar to the Chapter 11 provisions applying in the United States. A key difference between Chapter 11 and voluntary administration is that under Chapter 11 operational control remains with management, subject to Court supervision, rather than insolvency practitioners taking over the running of the business and company.
The Committee has come to the view that Chapter 11 has rarely enabled businesses to continue as going concerns in the long term. It considers that adopting such a regime would be costly and could leave control in the hands of those who are often the cause of a company’s financial distress.
The Committee seeks further comment on retaining the current external administration regime and instead, rather than widespread structural reform, implementing the proposals suggested by the Commonwealth Government in 2012 to reduce the complexity and the cost of external administration.
26 July 2014
The reporting regime for mining companies under the new Chapter 5 of the ASX Listing Rules and the JORC Code 2012 now includes requirements for annual reports of mining entities.
Earlier this year, a number of companies with a financial year end of 31 December 2013 were required by ASX to issue supplementary disclosure to the annual reports.
Listed companies with a financial year end of 30 June 2014 are now entering their annual reporting period and should ensure their annual reports address the new requirements.
LINK 66 KB
Author: Will Moncrieff
22 July 2014
The Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Act 2014 (Cth) (“Act”) received Royal Assent on 17 July 2014 and is now law with effect from 1 July 2014. In addition to abolishing the carbon tax, the Act amends the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (“CCA”) to:
- prohibit carbon tax-related price exploitation;
- ensure that all cost savings attributable to the carbon tax repeal are passed through the supply chain for regulated goods; and
- ensure that lower prices resulting from the repeal of the carbon tax are passed on to consumers of regulated goods.
LINK 42 KB
21 July 2014
In a press release dated 13 May 2014 and issued by the Acting Assistant Treasurer, the Government announced that it would not be implementing the previous government’s better targeting of not-for-profit tax concessions measures.
LINK 61 KB
8 July 2014
The Full Court of the Federal Court recently handed down its decision in Federal Commissioner of Taxation v Hunger Project Australia  FCAFC 69.
Dismissing the appeal of the Commissioner, the Full Court found that Hunger Project Australia (HPA) was a “public benevolent institution” (PBI) within the meaning of s 57A(1) of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 (Act). Accordingly, HPA was entitled to claim an exemption from fringe benefits tax (FBT).
LINK 43 KB