In the space of a fortnight, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced two sets of proceedings in the Federal Court against large Australian businesses, claiming breaches of the unfair contract provisions applicable to standard form small business contracts contained in the Australian Consumer Law.
On 06 December 2016, the Commissioner of Taxation issued the Discussion Paper TDP 2016/1 on issues concerning electronic distribution platforms (EDPs). The discussion paper seeks feedback in relation to the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) rules for digital suppliers and services affecting EDPs from 1 July 2017.
Justice Gleeson of the Federal Court of Australia has provided further clarification surrounding the power of the Registrar to correct errors on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) in the case of SFS Projects Australia Pty Ltd v Registrar of Personal Property Securities  FCA 846.
In this case, SFS Projects Australia Pty Ltd (SFS Projects) was assigned three security interests that were already registered on the PPSR. A mistake was made by the assignor who incorrectly changed the end date of the registrations, instead of changing the name of the secured party, to SFS Projects. If the error was not corrected, SFS Projects would be deprived of the benefits of a continuously perfected security interest under the Personal Property Securities Act 2010 (PPSA).
There is no requirement to file the underlying agreement that gives rise to a security interest on the Personal Property Securities Register (Register). This has the potential to give rise to fake or sham registrations because the Register cannot determine if a registration is in fact a genuine security interest. This creates a situation where the Register can be compromised by the lodgement of sham registrations.
The Australian Government has released a consultation paper which seeks to protect small businesses from the burden of unfair contract terms in standard form contracts.
Unfair contract terms go beyond what is necessary to protect the legitimate interests of the party seeking to include the terms in the contract (for example a large corporate business). These terms create a significant imbalance in the rights and obligations of the parties to the contract. Similar provisions currently exist to protect consumers in dealing with businesses.
Just as everyone has gotten their heads around the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Act) and implemented the necessary policies and procedures, the Act is now being reviewed by the Australian Government to assess its operation and effect on businesses with particular attention being paid to how the Act has impacted small businesses.