1 January 2019 deadline for Casual Conversion Notification - Further to our previous Alert, the Fair Work Commission has now inserted casual conversion clauses into a number of modern awards. It is important to be aware that if a modern award applies to your casual employees, you may be required to notify them of their conversion rights by 1 January 2019. A Guide to Buying Commercial Property - Buying commercial property (such as a warehouse, office building or retail space) is more complicated than buying a residential property. There are complex contract terms, detailed planning information and additional legal and commercial implications if the premises are leased. A New Direction for Victorian Government Public Construction - With effect from 1 July 2018, when procuring public construction works and services, Victorian government departments and public bodies must adhere to mandatory Ministerial Directions for Public Construction Procurement in Victoria (Directions) and Instructions for Public Construction Procurement in Victoria (Instructions). ACCC continues to press big business to cut unfair contract terms - Stevedore companies DP World Australia, Hutchison Ports Australia and Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT) have agreed to remove or amend terms in their standard form contracts that the ACCC considered were likely to be “unfair” within the meaning of the Australian Consumer Law. ACCC Crackdown on Unfair Contract Terms - Are Your Contracts Fair? - ACCC Crackdown on Unfair Contract Terms - Are Your Contracts Fair? ACL unfair contract terms provisions start to bite: JJ Richards contract terms declared unfair and void - The Federal Court of Australia has made orders by consent declaring unfair and void eight terms in JJ Richards & Sons’ standard form contract. Advance Care Directives and Medical Treatment Decision Makers - 4 things for health practitioners and facilities to be aware of - The new Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 has now been operable for almost two months. The new Act introduced legal Advance Care Directives and changed the mechanism for appointing a person to make decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity. AGM Report Card from ASIC: "Significantly less tumultuous" - On 29 January 2018, ASIC published its overview of the 2017 annual general meeting (AGM) season, concluding that the latest AGM season was “significantly less tumultuous” than previous years. Alternative law on the calculation of solatium for compulsory acquisition of land - When an interest in land is compulsorily acquired, a claimant can be entitled to solatium pursuant to s.44 of the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986. Solatium is compensation for the intangible and non-pecuniary disadvantages resulting from the acquisition. Amendments to the Building Act 1993 on 16 August 2017 - The Building Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Act 2017 (“Amendment Act”) which received royal assent on 23 May 2017, proposes amendments to the Building Act 1993 (“Act”). Amends to the Insolvency Law Reform Act - On 1 March 2017 the Insolvency Law Reform Act 2016 (ILRA), came into effect, significantly changing the rights of creditors to access information from Trustees and Liquidators. The Insolvency Law Reform Act amended the Bankruptcy Act 1996 (Cth) and the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) by adding what have been called the “Insolvency Practice Schedules” (IPS). Are Guarantees in Aged Care Unenforceable? - RK have recently become aware of an article making some questionable claims about third party guarantees in residential aged care. Are you being watched? The risks of "nanny-cams" in residential aged care - There has been commentary advocating the increased use of hidden cameras in the aged care industry. Are you paying superannuation on annual leave loading? ATO clarifies position - Superannuation contributions are calculated on an employee’s ‘ordinary time earnings’ (OTE). The ATO has recently confirmed that OTE may include annual leave loading. ASIC introduces e-lodgement - ASIC now facilitates the electronic lodgement of fundraising and takeover documents that have historically been provided in hard copy at ASIC offices. Further, as of 4 July 2018, the fees for a number of document lodgements and applications have increased. ASIC Report on the Regulation of Corporate Finance - ASIC has published its latest report on corporate finance regulation in Australia, recently releasing Report 567 ASIC Regulation of Corporate Finance: July to December 2017 ("Report"). ASIC Report on the Regulation of Corporate Finance - Update - ASIC has published its latest report on corporate finance regulation in Australia, recently releasing Report 589 ASIC Regulation of Corporate Finance: January to June 2018 ("Report"). ASIC Report on the Regulation of Corporate Finance - Update 28 March 2019 - ASIC has published its latest report on corporate finance regulation in Australia, recently releasing Report 612 ASIC Regulation of Corporate Finance: July to December 2018 ("Report"). Australia Still Attracting Foreign Investment - On 29 May 2018, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) released its Annual Report for the year ending 30 June 2017, finding that Australia remains an attractive destination for foreign investment despite a significant reduction in the number and value of residential real estate applications. Banking Royal Commission – Key lessons for company directors - The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has concluded with the Honourable Justice Hayne submitting his final report on 1 February 2019. Better, but not best - new intestacy laws - Do you have a valid Will? Do you know what would happen to your assets if you died without a Will tomorrow? Bill Kills Sunset Clauses - If the Victorian government’s Sale of Land Amendment Bill 2018 (Bill) is passed, property developers will have to obtain the purchaser’s consent to rescind the contract under a ‘sunset clause’ in a residential off-the-plan contract of sale for land (Contract). Brand Protection - Put yourself in these shoes… Brodie’s Law – Workplace Bullying - On 31 May, 2011 the Victorian Parliament passed the Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Act 2011, referred to in the media as “Brodie’s Law”, amending the Crimes Act 1958. The purpose of the law was to alter the crime of stalking to include behaviour that is generally characterised as bullying. Bullying by management: How to get it wrong and then get it right - A recent Fair Work Commission decision demonstrates the hurdles for employees seeking orders to stop bullying. Buyers of New Homes to pay GST to ATO - Buyers of New Homes to pay GST to ATO Buying a Unit? Why Strata Inspections are Important - When purchasing a strata unit: - It is extremely important from a due diligence point of view to arrange for an independent strata books and records inspection of the Owners Corporation records to be carried out prior to entering into a Contract to purchase a strata unit (residential or commercial); and Can you “set and forget” your estate plan? - A well-crafted Estate plan can be flexible enough to work for a number of years. It can be drafted to have “one eye on the present” and “half an eye on the future”. But even the best laid plans can be undone by the unforeseeable. So what could prompt you to review your Estate plan? Changes to the Medical Power of Attorney Legislation - Is your estate plan complete? New laws provide for comprehensive appointment of medical treatment decision makers China’s restriction on import of recyclables - impact on Victorian Local Government - What has happened? On 1 January 2018 the People’s Republic of China (China) imposed restrictions on the import of recyclable materials into China. Choosing the Right Executor - Choosing the right executor isn’t necessarily difficult but in this blog we’ve put together some tips to make it easier. Claiming for Building Defects: A guide to limitation periods - Before contemplating litigation for building or strata defect claims the first thing that you need to ask yourself is “Am I out of time?” When claiming for building defects there are limitation periods. Classifying employees under an enterprise agreement or modern award - A recent Fair Work Commission decision highlights the importance of properly identifying and communicating an employee’s classification under an award or enterprise agreement. Climate change strategic litigation – a glimmer of hope from New Zealand - In November last year, law student Sarah Thomson lost her legal battle with New Zealand’s Minister for Climate Change Issues. While her application was unsuccessful, Justice Jillian Mallon’s judgment may give some hope to those in other common law countries when considering strategic litigation related to climate change. Consumer Directed Care & Self-Management in Home Care - As more consumers self-manage their home care packages - what are the risks for providers and how can those risks be minimised? Converting the (casual) masses: Fair Work Commission expands the rights of casual workers - Share Email Print As part of the Fair Work Commission’s four-yearly review of modern awards, on 5 July 2017 the Commission handed down a decision which will allow many more casuals to convert to permanent full-time or part-time employment. Corrupting benefits laws – what do employers need to know? - The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) has been amended to prohibit “sweetheart deals” between employers and unions by criminalising “corrupting benefits” passing between them. Could you be in a de facto relationship and not even know it? - The Family Law Act contains provisions which set out the requirements for a de facto relationship by law. De facto relationship laws in NSW cover a range of family law issues including the division of property, maintenance, financial agreements, and the superannuation of individuals in these relationships. The provisions of the Family Law Act apply to both heterosexual and LGBTQI relationships. Also, The Child Support (Assessment) Act applies to same-sex couples. Court considers the meaning of a 'bedroom' in a rooming house case - Magistrates’ Court affirms Improvement Notice issued under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act Crossing the boundaries: when can employers intervene in personal relationships in the workplace? - Workplace romances have recently been in the spotlight thanks to two highly publicised news stories. Crowd-Sourced Equity Funding Takes Off - Earlier this month, ASIC issued the first licences to crowd-sourced equity funding (CSF) intermediaries, enabling public unlisted companies to launch CSF campaigns via their platforms. Already, the first crowdfunds have begun to go live, with one raising $500,000 in less than a day. The next step is for CSF to be extended to private companies, which is expected to come into effect from the middle of this year. Crowd-Sourced Funding For Private Companies Finally Launches - Private companies can now access the Government’s equity crowd-funding reforms, after they were passed almost a year after being introduced. Dealing with bullying allegations against school principals - A recent Federal Court decision highlights the risks for school principals when disciplining staff who have made bullying complaints against them, and the importance of getting advice before commencing any disciplinary process. Dementia Fact Sheet - Dementia – a simple fact sheet. Did the aged care industry budget for the 2018-2019 Budget? - In the 2018-2019 Budget, aged care providers were informed that the government would be introducing a levy to fund the Accommodation Payment Security Scheme ("Scheme"). Directors - Is Your Financial Literacy Good Enough? - Directors - Is Your Financial Literacy Good Enough? Director's liabilities and phoenix activity targeted - The 2018 budget update for company directors. On 8 May 2018, Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered the 2018 Budget, new measures to increase director liabilities and compliance were revealed, specifically targeting illegal company ‘phoenix activity’. Disclosure Requirements Update: Retirement Living - Retirement Living Operators should note that the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) has released the updated form of Factsheets which must be used from 1 March 2018. Discrimination v Safety: Determining an Employee’s Capacity for Work - Our 8 March 2017 seminar raised a number of hot topics about dealing with employee injuries, illnesses and absences that are not work-related. In this Alert we explore one of those topics in more detail. DLW Health Services decision - Federal Court says Aged Care ACFI documents are “riddled with ambiguous, uncertain and inconsistent language” - The Full Court of the Federal Court has made a number of comments about the poor quality of the ACFI documents in a decision handed down on 23 August concerning an appeal from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Double trouble: Federal Circuit Court recognises that entitlements for two separate jobs worked by an employee within the same organisation must be calculated independently - The Federal Circuit Court has rejected a claim for unpaid overtime, rest relief and meal entitlements by an employee who worked in two separate part-time positions at Australia Post. Drawing the line: when "workplace banter" is unacceptable conduct - A recent Fair Work Commission decision has likened racial slurs made by an employee to incidents of sexual harassment called out in the #MeToo movement, distinguishing between crude conduct and fundamentally unacceptable conduct. Employers take note - Employment Law Changes from 1 July 2018 - Employers take note - Employment Law Changes from 1 July 2018 Enhancing the workplace or an intrusion of privacy? As surveillance technology continues to evolve, so too will the debate - Surveillance in the workplace is a topic which attracts controversy. Employers will argue that surveillance technology mitigates work health and safety risks and can optimise the workplace and productivity, for the ultimate benefit of employees. Equal Remuneration Decision - Our Employment team discuss equal remuneration. Expansion of the Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme – new employment screening obligations in effect - On 1 November 2017, the Victorian Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme was expanded to cover all disability services providers, including NDIS providers that are registered with the Department of Health and Human Services, with a 1 February 2018 deadline for completing all checks on existing disability workers. Fair Work Commission Approves 3.5% Increase to Minimum Wage - The Fair Work Commission has today released its annual wage review for the 2017-2018 financial year. Fair Work Commission confirms – right to a support person is not a right to an advocate - Share Email Print Employers are increasingly being frustrated by union representatives and lawyers seeking to speak on behalf of employees during meetings regarding disciplinary and dismissal processes. Last week the Fair Work Commission handed down a helpful decision confirming that there are limits on the role of support persons. Fair Work Commission decides municipal council is covered by anti-bullying jurisdiction - On 18 December 2018, the Fair Work Commission determined that the City of Port Phillip is a constitutional corporation, with the result that it is covered by the Commission’s anti-bullying jurisdiction. Fair Work Commission finds NDIS is not yet a reason to increase flexibility in the SCHDSI Award - In July 2017 the Fair Work Commission handed down a decision regarding part-time and casual employment as part of its review of modern awards. Fair Work Commission supports unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave - In March 2017, we published an alert about the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission’s consideration of the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ application for paid family and domestic violence leave to be included in modern awards. Family Violence Leave: Providing organisational support to employees experiencing family violence - In recent years a national dialogue about family violence has taken place in Australia. Fire Safety in High Rise Buildings – Proposed Amendments to the National Construction Code - Significant changes are on the horizon for building standards relating to fire safety, with draft amendments to all building codes expected to be adopted in March 2018. Building owners and professionals will need to keep up with the planned changes. Foreign Investment still strong - FIRB releases 2017-18 Annual Report - On 18 February 2019, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) released its Annual Report for the year ending 30 June 2018, finding that foreign investment remains strong despite a decline in proposed investment from China as Chinese authorities tighten capital controls. Get it right or pay the penalties – employers put on notice with changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 - In the aftermath of the 7-Eleven underpayments scandal, the Fair Work Act 2009 has been amended to better protect workers. Good Governance Principles and Guidance for Not-for-Profits update - In January 2019, the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) published a revised and developed version of its Good Governance Principles and Guidance for Not-for-Profits (the Principles). Government Compulsory Acquisition - It's Not Selling, It's Retrieving... - Government Compulsory Acquisition - It's Not Selling, It's Retrieving... Government’s proposed changes to Australian Citizenship Act 2007 defeated - On 18 October 2017, the Federal Government’s proposed changes to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 were defeated in the Senate when the deadline to vote on the associated Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 expired and Labor, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team refused to support the changes. Greater Long Service Leave flexibility in Victoria by 1 November 2018 - The Long Service Leave Act 2018 (Vic) has now been passed by parliament, with the new Act set to come into effect by 1 November 2018. Guess who’s back: Federal Court reinstates employees pending the outcome of their general protections claim - In most general protections claims under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), dismissed employees will seek reinstatement and/or compensation. Ordinarily, the Court will only order reinstatement if the employee is successful at the final hearing. However, a recent Federal Court decision (CFMEU v Anglo Coal (Capcoal Management) Pty Ltd  FCA 1582) provides a rare example of an employee achieving reinstatement at the start when making a general protections claim. Has your land tax skyrocketed? How to object to your land tax assessment - Land tax is a state-based tax levied on the land value component of each property you own. This value is traditionally based on the site value determined by council valuers. To determine your land tax liability, the State Revenue Office (SRO) will consider the properties you own and whether any exemptions apply to you as at 31 December each year. Have you considered the implications of the PPSR on your leases? - An update from our Property and Development team. Have you nominated a superannuation beneficiary? - Be warned... - Have you nominated a superannuation beneficiary? - Be warned... Health Bulletin (10 December 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (12 April 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (12 November 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (12 October 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (14 June 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (15 April 2019) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (17 August 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (18 December 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (2 April 2019) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (20 February 2019) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (20 March 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (23 May 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (25 June 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (25 March 2019) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (26 July 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team Health Bulletin (30 August 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (30 October 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (31 May 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (5 April 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (5 July 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (5 March 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (7 August 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (8 May 2018) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (11 February 2019) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health Bulletin (12 March 2019) - The latest insights from our Health Law team. Health sector most vulnerable to data breaches - In July 2018, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) released a report summarising about notifications received under the notifiable data breaches (NDB) scheme between 1 April-30 June 2018. High Court surprises in Commonwealth Bank v Barker - No implied mutual trust and confidence term in employment contracts. How a smoko before work led to a broken leg (and workers’ compensation) - A Queensland Court has held that a worker directed to arrive at work 10 minutes prior to her start time was covered by the WorkCover system during that period – despite the fact that she was not performing any duties. How does the Reform of the Marriage Act Benefit me? - How does the Reform of the Marriage Act Benefit me? How to get the most out of your Family Law Representation - Family Law Representation can be complicated enough without back and forth communication with your lawyer. You are entitled to high standards of legal advice and your solicitor must act in accordance with a range of legal duties to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. At the same time, a successful solicitor/client relationship requires cooperation on both sides. How to sell or merge your legal practice: a step-by-step guide - If you are thinking of selling or merging your legal practice, Rohan Harris Principal at Russell Kennedy Lawyers, has created a step by step guide to getting your legal practice ready. How will the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability affect independent schools? - On Friday 5 April 2019, the Prime Minister formally announced the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (the Royal Commission). Identity cards for authorised persons under the Building Act - Sections 228 and 228A of the Building Act 1993 (Building Act) operate to allow a municipal building surveyor (MBS) to authorise a person to exercise any or all of the powers of the MBS under Division 2 of Part 13 of the Building Act. Where a person has been so authorised by the MBS, the MBS must issue identification to that person. Importance of a properly signed resident agreement - Importance of a properly signed resident agreement In a rare injunction application, Court sends suspended employee back to work - A suspended Professor has been allowed to return to work, after claiming her University employer failed to comply with its enterprise agreement when standing her down with pay while investigating allegations of misconduct. Insight on Insight – Binding Financial Agreements - If you tuned into the Insight program on Binding Financial Agreements that aired last week you might be left with the same lingering questions and concerns that I have. Insolvency In The Construction Industry – Are You Covered? - Insolvency in the construction industry is a perennial concern for contractors who can be thinly capitalised and depend on reliable cash flow to meet obligations to staff and suppliers. Ipso Facto Reforms - Are your contracts affected? - Ipso Facto Reforms - Are your contracts affected? Is bird’s nest parenting the answer for divorcing parents? - Bird’s nest parenting is one option for parenting during separation and divorce. This concept gives children figurative custody of the family home. Rather than the children going from one parent’s home to another, the children stay put in the family home. The parents on the other hand each move into their own residence and split their time between that residence and the family home. In some families, the parents share the second home and move in and out of the family home due to economic concerns. Landlords beware - essential safety measures are your responsibility - Landlords and tenants should review the repair and maintenance provisions and outgoings provisions of leases in light of a very significant advisory opinion given by the President of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Justice Garde, on Friday, 1 May 2015. Large businesses with consolidated revenue of over $100m must consider Modern Slavery risks - The Modern Slavery Bill 2018 (Cth) (the Bill), which is currently before the Senate and is expected to become law, introduces new obligations for large businesses operating in or from Australia with a consolidated revenue of over $100 million AUD to provide annual reports on the actions they have taken to address the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. Law reform for charities and not-for-profit organisations - Over the last six months a number of proposals have been considered by the Australian Government, and a number of announcements have been made in relation to their policy directions. Legal Practice Management – Is it time to sell or merge? - Rohan Harris has contributed a practice management column for the Law Institute Journal (LIJ) June edition. Long Service Benefits Portability Scheme - What community service employers need to know - The Long Service Benefits Portability Bill 2018, if it is passed, will have significant implications for the long service entitlements of Victorian employees in a range of industries, including community services. Long service leave amendments in Victoria to target flexibility - The Victorian Government has introduced a Bill to amend the Long Service Leave Act 1992 (Vic), improving flexibility for employees and addressing some of the Act’s historical quirks. Look out for GST errors in land contracts - Property developers should pay careful attention to the treatment of GST in contracts for the sale of land. Recently, two developers in dispute incurred significant costs and delays simply over missing the word “Plus” in a contract of sale. Marsh v Baxter - The High Court has dismissed Stephen and Susan Marsh’s application for leave to appeal a decision from The Court of Appeal (WA). Three important issues/outcomes have emerged from this case. Medical certificates – when can an employer question them? - Our Employment team review medical certificates and when an employer can question them. More than six months of the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 (Vic) – what issues are aged care providers seeing? - It has been over six months since the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 (Vic) (Act) commenced. With the Royal Commission into Aged Care set to consider end of life care, it’s more important than ever that aged care providers ensure their policies are up to date and compliant with the changes. My Health Record Opt-Out Dates Announced by the Australian Government - Australians who do not want their medical records stored on a national electronic database can opt-out of the scheme from July 16 to October 15 this year. NDIS Service Agreement: Not worth the paper they're written on? - Russell Kennedy has become aware that some NDIS providers believe they are not required to enter into written Service Agreements with participants and are commencing supports without a written agreement. New Australian Consumer Law (ACL) laws released for comment - Direct selling businesses need to have a working knowledge and good risk management in place for ACL compliance. New Laws for Data Breach Reporting - Our checklist to help you prepare - As we previously wrote, on and from 22 February 2018, organisations regulated by the Privacy Act 1988 will be required to notify any individuals likely to be at risk of “serious harm” as a result of a data breach, together with the Privacy Commissioner. New mandatory wording for Notices of Employee Representational Rights: Get the wording right, or start again - Employers must provide employees who will be covered by a proposed enterprise agreement with a Notice of Employee Representational Rights when commencing the enterprise bargaining process. Notices must be in the precise form set out in the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth). New Model Contract Clauses for Recycling Industry – Implications for Local Government - Recycling Industry Support for Councils – Guidance Notes and Model Contract Clauses New modern awards for local government in Victoria - New modern awards for local government in Victoria New Obligation for Hospitals - Consultation Paper - The Victorian Government is considering legislative reforms arising from the Duckett Review. One of the recommendations was the introduction of a Statutory Duty of Candour for Victoria. New Owners Corporations Regulations 2018 - Change is on the horizon - The existing Owners Corporations Regulations 2007 (Vic) will be replaced by the Owners Corporations Regulations 2018 (Vic) (“2018 Regulations”) with effect from 2 December 2018. Owners Corporation managers and operators of strata titled retirement villages need to be aware of the key changes. More particularly: New report into aged care a sign of things to come - The regulation of aged care in Australia is set to undergo a major review, as the Royal Commission into Aged Care looks at how to evolve towards a safer, more consumer-driven system that delivers high quality outcomes. New reporting for charities - Charities must report advocacy/political expenditure to the Australian Electoral Commission. Read about the new thresholds and deadlines below. New Residential Property Sales – GST Withholding Regime - As we have previously highlighted, in the 2017 budget, the Federal government introduced a new regime to require home buyers of new properties to withhold 1/11th of the sale price and to remit it to the ATO as the developer’s GST. New retirement village regulations commenced over the weekend in Victoria - The Retirement Villages (Records and Notices) Regulations 2015 (Victoria) (“2015 Regulations”) commenced on Saturday 12 December 2015. New Retirement Villages Regulations released in South Australia - The Retirement Villages Act 2016 (SA) was introduced in November 2016 as the first part of the reform of retirement village laws in South Australia. The final piece of that reform, the Retirement Villages Regulations 2017, were released on 8 August 2017. The new Regulations and the new Act will commence from 1 January 2018. New Victorian Medical Treatment Laws - Health practitioners, hospitals, aged care and other health facilities will be affected by new medical treatment laws. Number of notified data breaches holds steady in September 2018 - We recently highlighted that the health sector appeared to be the most vulnerable to data breaches. On 30 October 2018, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) released statistics on data breaches notified to the OAIC during the September quarter. Offensive odour and annual performance statements - This Alert is relevant to licence holders declaring Annual Performance Statements. Outsourcing and Local Government: Fair Work Commission decision may open up new options - Last week, the Fair Work Commission ordered that a council’s enterprise agreement would not apply to former council employees who changed jobs due to an outsourcing arrangement. Owners Corporations must make reasonable adjustments for persons with a disability – but who should pay? - The Supreme Court of Victoria has found that Owners Corporations provide ‘services’ to Owners and Occupiers within the meaning of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. This means they cannot discriminate in the provision of these services, and must make reasonable adjustments for persons with a disability. Parliament set to follow Fair Work Commission’s casual conversion lead - The Federal Government is proposing to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 to ensure that all casual employees have a right to request to convert to full-time or part-time employment. Penalty shootout: Fair Work Commission decides to change penalty rates - Yesterday the Fair Work Commission handed down a decision to reduce Sunday, public holiday and late night/early morning penalty rates in various modern awards. Some of these changes will be effective from late March this year. Property Alert – Recent amendments to conveyancing legislation (Conveyancing Act) in NSW - The Conveyancing Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (NSW), assented to on 22 November 2018, introduces a number of changes to the Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW) (Conveyancing Act) and the Real Property Act 1900 (NSW) that will affect property transactions in NSW. Protecting small business from unfair contracts – ACCC issues first proceeding under the new unfair contracts regime - The ACCC has commenced its first Federal Court case under the November 2016 Australian Consumer Law unfair contracts provisions relating to small businesses. Purchasing Property for Others - You may fall foul of the foreign investment framework - Purchasing Property for Others - You may fall foul of the foreign investment framework Recent amendments to conveyancing legislation in NSW - The Conveyancing Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (NSW), assented to on 22 November 2018, introduces a number of changes to the Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW) (Conveyancing Act) and the Real Property Act 1900 (NSW) that will affect property transactions in NSW. Recent amendments to the Child Support (Assessment) Act are retrospective - On 1 July 2018, amendments to the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 were made via the enactment of the Family Assistance and Child Support Legislation Amendment (Protecting Children) Act 2018. Among those were a series of changes affecting Binding Child Support Agreements. Redundancy consultation processes: how much and when? - Two recent decisions highlight the importance of complying with redundancy consultation requirements. Reform of Victoria's Environment Legislation - Planning & Environment Alert - Reform of Victoria's Environment Legislation Renewable Energy Targets for Victoria Enshrined into Law - Victoria is the first State to enshrine its renewable energy targets into legislation, and the passing of the Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Act 2017 (Vic) will provide greater investment certainty for the renewable energy industry in Victoria. Responding to the Royal Commission’s Invitation: top tips - The first round of responses to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety were submitted on 7 January 2019. Retirement Village Operators - CAV Inspections and Complaints/Disputes Process - Retirement Village operators should note that Consumer Affairs Victoria (“CAV”) has changed its internal process in relation to assisting and dealing with complaints made by residents about management and resident disputes. Risks associated with fixed-term employment contracts - A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission highlights the risks in misusing fixed-term employment contracts. Roster Flexibility: Fitting Your Employees into New Care Models - As employers look for ways to implement more fluid work arrangements to respond to consumer demand, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has handed down a decision which may assist employers of part-time employees. In Bupa Care Services Pty Limited v New South Wales Nurses and Midwives' Association  FWCFB 1093 the Full Bench held that Bupa could change part-time employees’ rosters without their agreement, provided there were no changes to the employees’ minimum guaranteed hours. The issue The part-time employment and rostering clauses in Bupa’s enterprise agreement, which are almost identical to clauses in the Nurses Award 2010, provide that: 1.prior to commencement, an agreement must be reached with a part-time employee about the guaranteed minimum number of hours to be worked and the rostering arrangements which will apply to those hours; 2.the terms of a part-time employee’s agreement can be varied by agreement and recorded in writing; and 3.Bupa can change rosters by giving seven days’ notice to affected employees. Bupa decided to implement a new care model which resulted in changes to its roster. After a consultation process, it wrote to employees informing them of the new roster, providing requisite notice of the change. The NSWNMA took issue with this, arguing that employees had to agree to a change to their roster and Bupa could not change it unilaterally. The decision The Full Bench considered the words of the enterprise agreement, as well as other written contracts in place between Bupa and its employees. It held that the enterprise agreement did not require an employee’s agreement to implement changes to the employee’s rostered hours. Importantly, the written contracts in place between Bupa and its part-time employees contained wording making it clear that Bupa guaranteed minimum hours for part-time employees, but that the roster was subject to change by management. The Full Bench also held that displaying a ros Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety - Four Corners - The Governor-General has today released the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. We encourage providers to become familiar with the scope of the Commissioners’ inquiry. Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety - Terms of Reference explained - In anticipation of the Commissioners releasing a scoping document which defines more precisely the areas the Commission will cover, Russell Kennedy has reviewed the Terms of Reference. We have analysed each Term to assist providers understand from a high level, what the Commission is likely to enquire into. Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety - Terms of Reference released - The Governor-General has today released the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. We encourage providers to become familiar with the scope of the Commissioners’ inquiry. Royal Commission into Quality and Safety in Aged Care - As providers work through their data and documents for the Provider Survey, the Royal Commission’s office is engaging with select consumers and interviewing stakeholders across Australia to inform itself of the perceptions and experiences of the community. Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability - Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the establishment of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability on 5 April 2019. Safe Harbour - Protection from Liability for Insolvent Trading - Safe Harbour - Protection from Liability for Insolvent Trading Sexual harassment – is your Councillor Code of Conduct up to the task? - The ongoing process arising from the allegations against Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has highlighted the fact that many Councillor Codes of Conduct do not deal directly with sexual harassment. This gap can make it difficult for a councillor to make a complaint regarding another councillor, and equally for a Council to deal with sexual harassment allegations when they arise. Sham contracting in the home care industry - The Federal Circuit Court recently issued penalties of $216,000 against two labour hire companies and two of their senior employees for sham contracting and the consequential underpayment of personal care workers. Shareholders Agreement - Your Legal Relationship Document - Shareholders Agreement - Your Legal Relationship Document Significant increase to financial penalties under the Australian Consumer Law - The maximum financial penalties that can be imposed for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law have been considerably increased. Small claim win illustrates the big impact of changes to ACL - A VCAT small claims decision on 9 August 2017 demonstrates the Tribunal’s readiness to apply the unfair contract provisions in the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to standard form contracts entered into by small businesses. Stop right now – investigation put on hold - Some employees use various tactics to resist ‘facing the music’ when they are required to participate in a disciplinary process. A recent decision by the Fair Work Commission creates a precedent for another avenue for delay. Storage of Combustible Recyclables and Waste - This alert is relevant to the Waste Industry, Councils and Water Corporations. Strategic Planning – Minister for Planning directs that Environment Protection Authority to be consulted where significant impact on environment, amenity and human health - On 10 October 2018 the Minister for Planning directed planning authorities to engage the Environment Protection Authority (“EPA”) during the preparation of an amendment or in reviewing a scheme, and to obtain the EPA’s written views. The Minister’s direction codifies sound strategic planning practice and prioritises allocation of resources to ensure the EPA’s contribution is taken into account. Subpoenaed Medical Records - What should Practitioners do? - Medical practitioners are often requested to release their patients’ medical records to courts under subpoenas. However some medical organisations have concerns that some subpoenas issued for improper purposes have the potential to stigmatise vulnerable people and damage patient–practitioner relationships. Supreme Court of Victoria provides guidance with regard to the interpretation of Regulation 414 of the Building Regulations - Anderson v Building Appeals Board  VSC 415 (21 July 2017) Background The plaintiffs filed two appeals with the Building Appeals Board (“Board”) against Stonnington City Council’s refusal to give its consent to requests for report and consent in respect of Regulation 414 of the Building Regulations 2006 (“Regulations”) to proposed alterations and additions to a dwelling. Take Note – Capital Gains Tax Changes re: Main Residence - Buying a home to live in is part of the Australian dream and has historically been supported by the government by allowing any principal place of residence held by an Australian to be capital gains tax (CGT) free. That allowance historically continued for a period of up to six years from the date the property is no longer a person’s principal place of residence, provided the person did not claim another property as their principal place of residence. The new Medical Treatment Act - what do Victorian aged care providers need to know? - On 2 February 2018 Russell Kennedy published an article on the introduction of the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 (Vic) (“Act”) which commences on 12 March 2018. The new Retirement Villages Regulations commence on 30 July 2017 - From 30 July 2017, the Retirement Villages (Contractual Arrangements) Regulations 2017 (Vic) (“New Regulations”) will take effect. The New Regulations will repeal and replace the Retirement Villages (Contractual Arrangements) Regulations 2006 (Vic) (“Old Regulations”). The new Retirement Villages Regulations commenced on 30 July 2017 - From 30 July 2017, the Retirement Villages (Contractual Arrangements) Regulations 2017 (Vic) (“New Regulations”) have taken effect. The New Regulations repeal and replace the Retirement Villages (Contractual Arrangements) Regulations 2006 (Vic) (“Old Regulations”). The Supreme Court of Victoria breathes new life into the statutory cap to compensation for financial loss - New law in relation to claims for financial loss as a consequence of a reservation of land under section 98 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 - The Supreme Court of Victoria departs from Gobbo J’s judgment in Mario Piraino. The top 10 common mistakes to avoid when selling or merging your legal practice - Share Email Print Many of my clients have achieved great satisfaction in building profitable practices from humble beginnings, often dealing with challenging circumstances along the way. The top 10 frequently asked questions about divorce part 1 - The top 10 frequently asked questions about divorce Thinking of building or renovating? Beware the builder… - Thinking of building or renovating? Most complaints received by the Office of Fair Trading relate to residential building work. In our experience, the majority of the complaints relate to poor workmanship, substandard materials and unfinished work. Three strikes and you're out! Implications of the new short-stay accommodation provisions - The Owners Corporations Amendment (Short-stay Accommodation) Act 2018 (Vic) (Act) came into effect on 1 February 2019. The Act provides owners corporations with more discretion to self-regulate short-stay accommodation in their buildings and to better address the concerns of lot owners affected by any unruly short-stay occupants who enter into short stay accommodation arrangements of up to 6 nights. Till death do us part - Estate Planning for Same-sex Marriage - The recent legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia is certainly a cause for celebration, as are the weddings now following. Top 10 frequently asked questions about Divorce - Part 2 - Top 10 frequently asked questions about Divorce - Part 2 Unexpected Trap when Borrowing from an Overseas Lender for Second Hand Property - Be Wary if you are borrowing from an overseas lender to purchase an investment property which is not in the usual business of lending money. Unfit for work, but making money elsewhere - The NSW Industrial Relations Commission has upheld the dismissal of a support worker who lied about both her capacity for work, and her employment with another organisation, to support her workers’ compensation claim. Unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave for more employees - The Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 (Cth) was passed on 6 December 2018, and received Royal Assent on Tuesday 11 December 2018. Update: Long Service Benefits Portability Scheme Passes Parliament - On 4 September 2018, the Long Service Benefits Portability Bill 2018 (Bill) was debated in the Legislative Council Committee and approved by an absolute majority. The intention of the Bill is to create a scheme which enables employees’ long service leave to accrue despite a change in employment within the same sector. Vacant Residential Land Tax - Deadline Looming - As most property owners in Victoria are now aware, the new Victorian Vacant Residential Land Tax (“VRLT”) came into effect from 1 January 2018. All owners of property in Victoria who are liable to pay the VRLT must notify the State Revenue Office of the details of their properties by no later than 15 January 2018. Failure to do so may result in penalties being imposed on the property owner. Victoria on Target - Renewable Energy Update - On 11 September 2018, the State government announced the successful renewable energy project bidders from the Victorian Renewable Energy Auction Scheme (VREAS). Victorian Landfill Registry - This Alert is important to all entities responsible for (owner, occupier, committee of management) land impacted by a closed landfill, including municipal councils, State Government, water corporations and Commonwealth Government. Voluntary Assisted Dying update – Regulations introduced setting out some of the specifics - The Voluntary Assisted Dying Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) have now been finalised under the authority of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (the Act) and will commence on 19 June 2019. Warning - ATO and Airbnb Sharing Data - Be Aware of the Implications - Warning - ATO and Airbnb Sharing Data - Be Aware of the Implications What are the limits of a Director’s accessorial liability for wage claims? - A recent Federal Court decision suggests that directors may have a new but risky basis for avoiding personal liability under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). What are the limits of a Director's accessorial liability for wage claims? - What are the limits of a Director's accessorial liability for wage claims? What determines a casual employee? Casual just awarded 15 years of leave - What determines a casual employee? Casual just awarded 15 years of leave What happens to your pet if you pass away? - What happens to your pet if you pass away? What is an Independent Children’s Lawyer? - Many of our clients are unaware that Amy Jenkins is not only a Partner of the firm and the head of the Family Law team but she has also been appointed to the Legal Aid Panel of Independent Children’s Lawyers. What is involved in acting as an executor of an estate? - So your loved one or friend has passed away and you have just found out that you are appointed their executor. You have no idea what that means and what the role entails. Here is what you need to know about being an executor of an estate. What is it about Surgeons? - Surgeons are twice as likely to have claims made against them than physicians, according to the Medical Board of Australia data. What the Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety means for you - With the Prime Minister’s call to establish a Royal Commission into the aged care sector, many approved providers are seeking information about what they should be doing now. What’s in a name? It’s the duties, not the title, which determine award coverage - Employees who earn more than the high income threshold (currently $138,900 per annum) are not eligible to make an unfair dismissal application unless their role is covered by an enterprise agreement or award. When do you have to pay independent contractors superannuation? - Correctly determining whether or not an independent contractor is entitled to superannuation is important, because a failure to make the required superannuation contributions could result in you being required to pay the Superannuation Guarantee Charge and, potentially, penalties. When someone is lacking financial capacity, what does it mean? - When someone is lacking financial capacity, what does it mean? Whistleblower laws finally approved - The new whistleblower laws will apply from 1 July 2019, having now received Royal Assent after passing both Houses of Parliament last month. Whistleblower Reform - Put yourself in these shoes… You think your CFO boss is feeding false information to the company auditors to cover up accounting irregularities in the company financials. What would you do? Who should you tell? What protections are you entitled to receive? Whistleblower Regime Update - The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2017 has now been passed by the Senate – with a number of significant amendments – and is awaiting approval by the House of Representatives in order to finally take effect. WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene – Casuals are still casuals - The recent decision about casual employment in WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene has received a lot of publicity. The Full Court of the Federal Court confirmed a decision that an employee who was hired under a casual employment contract was in fact a permanent employee, based on the substance of the relationship and working arrangements.