• A new era of water industry competition in NSW has begun - Significant changes to the water industry market scheme in NSW occurred on 1 March 2024, with the long-awaited commencement of the Water Industry Competition Amendment Act 2021. The changes are intended to provide more clarity and confidence for utility providers, developers, customers and other stakeholders in this industry.
  • Accelerating foreign investment in Australia’s energy transition: a snapshot - A new report explores the emergence of a new attitude of exceptionalism in Australian policy, regulatory and investment settings, which aim to facilitate the speedy development of energy transition infrastructure. It focuses on the perspectives of global investors and businesses assessing these opportunities in the Australian market.
  • ASIC puts the brakes on defective PDS - Issuers of financial products should not underestimate the importance of clear, concise and effective disclosure to investors in PDSs.
  • Biggest boost to NSW Environmental Regulation since 1991 - The New South Wales Government has introduced the Environment Protection Legislation Amendment (Stronger Regulation and Penalties) Bill 2024 to strengthen environmental legislation and enhance protections for the State's natural resources and public health. This significant Bill represents the most substantial overhaul of environment protection laws since the inception of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in 1991.The Bill seeks to expand the EPA's investigation and enforcement capabilities, strengthen penalties for environmental offending, and better protect the public from poor environmental practices.
  • Can ACCC investigations access offshore documents? Recent UK decision suggests "yes" - While there may yet be further appeals in the UK case, the decision is likely to encourage regulators and other agencies to use these investigative powers to seek to compel persons and corporations outside Australia to produce information to Australian agencies.
  • Corporate 5 Minute Fix 09: financial sector oversight, greenwashing crackdown, ASX Compliance Updates, climate-related financial disclosure - Get your 5 Minute Fix on the latest legal trends in corporate law. Designed for busy NEDS, GCS, members of the C-Suite and corporate law enthusiasts. In this edition, we have a roundup of the fortnight's top topics, everything from regulatory changes to emerging best practices, giving you a comprehensive overview of what's happening in the world of corporate law. If you want to dig deeper into any of the issues we cover, we're always here to help. So, don't hesitate to contact us for more information, and our team will be happy to provide additional resources and assistance.
  • COVID-19 directives unlawful: the side effects of not properly considering human rights - Queensland Government decision-makers who do not keep accurate records of their human rights considerations risk their decisions being declared "unlawful".
  • Delay as a bar to interlocutory injunctive relief: The need to act quickly to protect your rights - An otherwise good case for urgent injunctive relief can be defeated by delay in approaching the court. If you are concerned that your rights have been infringed, or you are facing a threat of such infringement, you should take urgent advice and action to avoid potentially being shut out of injunctive relief.
  • Do you have a licence for that? ASIC claims victory over crypto-asset Fintech's unlicensed conduct - ASIC's successful claim against Block Earner's crypto-backed product "Earner" is a warning for crypto-asset product and service providers that ASIC is actively reviewing whether innovative products fall under the Australian financial services licensing regime.
  • Don't you forget about me – mandatory COVID-19 vaccination directions - The implications of the Johnston, Witthahn and Sutton case may be useful to private sector employers facing a challenge to a reasonable and lawful COVID-19 mandatory vaccination direction or for that matter, a direction about any number of things, particularly those made in emergent situations with identified health and safety ramifications.
  • Drafting contracts containing unfair terms and the risk of pecuniary penalties - For several years, an "unfair" term in a "standard form" "consumer contract" or "small business contract" has been void. The regulation of unfair terms was taken a step further on 9 November 2023 when pecuniary penalties were introduced for the use of unfair terms in standard form consumer contracts and small business contracts. The primary target of these pecuniary penalties is likely to be the entity that is a party to the contract and advanced the unfair term. But is there a risk to inhouse lawyers who draft the contract of being exposed to pecuniary penalties?
  • Environment and Sustainable Development 5 Minute Fix 47: asbestos, renewable energy, sea bed mining, environmental penalties - The Environment and Sustainable Development 5 Minute Fix is a snapshot of need-to-know news on a range of ESD issues nationally. This edition focuses on the latest in asbestos taskforce and regulation in NSW, guiding engagement with First Nations Peoples on renewable energy projects, a standalone hydrogen act in Queensland, prohibition of sea bed mining and exploration in NSW, implementing national reforms for hazardous chemicals in NSW and new environmental powers and penalties proposed in Queensland.
  • Financial Accountability Regime: Final rules and guidance before FAR commencement - Three Ministerial Rules cover three core components to operationalise the Financial Accountability Regime.
  • Further changes to the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax Assessment Act on the way - The Petroleum Resources Rent Tax (PRRT) is clearly on the Albanese Government's agenda in FY24 with a number of legislative amendments recently announced. In a 15 January press release, the Albanese Government noted the new amendments are designed to modernise the PRRT and to strengthen anti-avoidance laws
  • Implied term(ination): how long does an indefinite contract last? - If there is no written agreement, a court will consider the parties' conduct in giving effect to the terms of any agreement, meaning a more unpredictable outcome for the parties.
  • Major Projects & Construction 5 Minute Fix 124: security of payment, prior negotiations, interest rate or penalty - In this edition, we look at the rare case of a quashed security of payment determination, whether the courts will rectify your agreements, when conversations become contracts, and whether an interest rate can be a penalty.
  • Mandatory Domestic Builders Insurance in Victoria: what you need to know - On 22 February 2024, the Victorian Government passed the Building Legislation Amendment (Domestic Building Insurance New Offences) Act 2024 (Vic) (the Act) into law. The Act commenced operation on 28 February 2024. The Act amends the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (Vic) (DBC Act) and the Building Act 1993 (Vic) to improve consumer protection for homeowners by further regulating builders and mandating domestic building insurance (DBI).
  • Queensland opens consultation period for new Anti-Discrimination Bill - Queensland companies will need to think proactively about reviewing and updating relevant policies and training materials, re-training staff and considering what measures are needed to comply and demonstrate compliance with the new positive duties, if a new Bill passes.
  • Same Job, What Pay? Guidance on new labour hire laws - The "same job, same pay" framework introduced by the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Act 2023 (Cth) amends the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to empower the Fair Work Commission to order that labour hire workers engaged by a host company receive the same pay as the company's employees if certain requirements are met. We encourage labour hire agencies and companies who use labour hire workers to familiarise themselves with these new rules so they understand and can comply with their obligations and be prepared to deal with disputes as they arise.
  • Take two: Victoria's turn to reform stamp duty - Following New South Wales dipping its toes into the water, Victoria pushes ahead with tax reform with a bold plan to impose a new tax on commercial and industrial property in lieu of stamp duty. The Commercial and Industrial Property Tax Reform Bill 2024 was introduced to the Victorian Parliament on 20 March 2024. The Bill proposes transitioning certain interests in commercial and industrial land over a period of 10 years to a new tax reform scheme in which an upfront payment of stamp duty is ultimately replaced with a Commercial and Industrial Property Tax (CIPT).
  • The statutory disregard, stamp duty and just compensation: the NSW Court of Appeal clarifies - The NSW Court of Appeal in Sydney Metro v G&J Drivas Pty Ltd [2024] NSWCA 5 has continued the recent trend of narrowing the circumstances in which owners whose land is acquired in accordance with the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (NSW) (Act) are entitled to be compensated for the cost of purchasing a replacement property.
  • Watch your words: The admissibility of evidence from Royal Commissions in civil and criminal proceedings - Evidence given by a witness during a Victorian Royal Commission can be used to cross-examine that witness in a proceeding in which they are not a party.
  • What the new "right to disconnect" means for employers, and how they can prepare - The "right to disconnect" was recently introduced as part of the second tranche of the "Closing Loopholes" reforms and has attracted a considerable amount of public attention and commentary since its introduction. In this article, we take a look at how the new right may operate in practice.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.