On 9 May 2018 we reported to you new initiatives regarding proposed laws targeting illegal phoenix activity (https://sladen.com.au/news/2018/5/9/sladen-snippet-proposed-laws-targeting-illegal-phoenix-activity) announced by the Federal Government in the 2018/2019 Budget. Consistent with the proposed measures announced under the budget, the Federal Government has now:
The Federal Government has released draft versions of legislation and regulations to strengthen consumer protection laws. The changes would give effect to proposals contained in the 2017 Australian Consumer Law (ACL) Review Final Report agreed to by Commonwealth, State and Territory Consumer Affairs Ministers last year. The public has until the end of February to submit views on the draft changes.
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.
The Corporations Amendment (Crowd-sourced Funding for Proprietary Companies) Bill 2017 was introduced into Parliament on 14 September 2017. If passed, as is expected, the Bill will extend the reach of the Crowd-sourced Equity Funding (CSEF) legislation that will at this stage apply only to public companies from 29 September 2017.
The enforceability of vendor restraint clauses contained in sale of business agreements is currently under review in the Supreme Court of Victoria in the case of Southern Cross Computer Systems P/L (ACN 005 770 598) and Ingenio Group P/L (ACN 610 396 748) v Palmer, Christopher Anthony; Faithfull, Jamie and Jakimoski, Zoran  VSC 412.
On 6 May 2015, the Honourable Joe Hockey with the Honourable Bruce Billson disseminated a media release on Supporting start-ups and entrepreneurship.
The media release announces new measures which will apply to small business and start-ups proposed to take effect from 1 July 2016. These new measures will provide much needed relief for small business and start-ups and are another step towards ensuring that Australia provides the right environment for small business, start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Charities have a number of ongoing reporting obligations, including the requirement to submit an Annual Information Statement (AIS) and annual financial report to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
The reporting requirements depend on the size of the charity:
- A small charity (which has annual revenue of less than $250,000) must submit an AIS and can choose to submit a financial report.
- A medium charity (which has annual revenue of $250,000 or more, but less than $1 million) must submit an AIS and a financial report that is either reviewed or audited.
- A large charity (which has annual revenue of $1 million or more) must submit an AIS and an audited financial report.
The end of 2014 is fast approaching and as we don our dancing shoes and toast to the successes of the year that was, employers need to remain mindful of the legal and HR risks that work parties can pose.
Whilst the end-of-year work party is a great way to reward staff and promote team bonding, the combination of alcohol and festive cheer can be a recipe for disaster. There are some precautions that employers can take to minimise the risk of a post-party ‘HR hangover’.
In a recent speech to the Australian Institute of Directors, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) chairman Greg Medcraft outlined ASIC’s expectations for directors. Previous speeches focused on the director’s role as a gatekeeper, and Mr Medcraft has said this will continue to be a focus for ASIC.
The chairman stated that directors should ensure their company has strong internal and audit compliance functions. He stated these functions are worthless unless the directors back it up with supervision and review, and that these processes are ingrained in the company’s culture. He considered culture a very important point and stressed directors should drive the right compliance culture in the workplace.
Proposed amendments to the employee share scheme provisions for start-ups.
On 14 October 2014, the Honourable Bruce Billson, the Honourable Tony Abbott and the Honourable Joe Hockey issued a media release titled "Encouraging employee share ownership and entrepreneurship".
The position of the Government in respect of the application of the employee share scheme (ESS) provisions to start ups has been long awaited, with it being seen as fundamental to the innovative nature of start-up companies, and the need to ensure that they retain a work environment that fosters new ideas.
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).
Sladen Legal Principal, Meagan O’Connor, was recently interviewed as part of a discussion with Business Chicks about why you need a mentor, and how it might be the best thing for your career.
In this article (published in “Latte” - the Business Chicks magazine), Meagan discusses her outlook on mentoring in the workplace, and how the corporate world is becoming better structured to mentor women through their careers.
The Options Paper, Australia’s Charities and Not-for-profits has been released to seek feedback on proposed arrangements for charities in Australia following the Government’s planned repeal of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). The Government’s proposed arrangements attempt to balance reducing the administrative burden of reporting obligations with the need for public accountability.
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.