1 July 2019 – What’s new in the law?

There are many changes to the laws and regulations commencing over the next 6 months. Here we summarise some of those key changes:

PROPERTY

Some lucky buyers will no longer have to pay stamp duty on properties purchased in the ACT.

Stamp duty has been abolished on properties sold in the ACT from 1 July 2019, if:

  1. the total gross income of all home buyers for the previous financial year was less than $160,000;
  2. neither buyer has owned any other property in the last two years; and
  3. the buyers intend to live in the property continuously for 1 year.

The new regime applies to newly built and existing homes, with no cap on the property value.

SPORTS

Controlled Sports Act

From 11 October 2019, the Controlled Sports Act 2011 (ACT) comes into force. The Act regulates the conduct of specified events involving combat sports, including boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, Judo, Taekwondo and other high-risk activities.

The main provisions of the Act distinguish between registerable, defined as ‘commercial, ticketed events’ and non-registerable events. Registerable events will attract added safety and medical requirements, including annual medical screenings for contestants, pre-event medical screenings, compulsory medical equipment at events, and a post-event medical screening. Additional powers are granted to a medical practitioner during the course of an event, including the ability to stop a contest. 

Other provisions in the Act include a requirement that events comply with a code of practice, an increase in administrative sanctions and offences, the establishment of an advisory committee and inspectorate powers.

COMMERCIAL

Unfair Contracts Act

The ‘intellectual property’ exemption in section 51(3) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) will be removed from 18 July 2019. The exemption currently applies to conditional licensing or assignment of IP rights such as patents, registered designs, copyright or eligible circuit layout rights. The exemption creates a carve out for certain IP agreements, that would otherwise breach restrictive trade practices, including cartel conduct, exclusive dealing and other arrangements, which may substantially lessen competition in the market.

The removal of the exemption will only apply to licences, contracts, arrangements or assignments made or entered into after 18 July 2019.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

Whistle-blower protection laws

The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) have been amended so that from 1 July 2019 there will be a new strengthened whistle-blower protection regime. The regime will apply to all entities regulated in the corporate, financial and creditor sectors. The type of conduct that falls within the regime, and therefore allows for disclosure, has been expanded from contraventions of the Corporations legislation to include ‘misconduct’ and an ‘improper state of affairs’. Additionally, disclosure no longer needs to be made in ‘good faith’.

Public companies and large propriety companies (as defined in section 45A of the Corporations Act) have until 1 January 2020 to implement a whistleblowing policy that complies with the new legislative requirements.

EMPLOYMENT

Single Touch Payroll

From 1 July 2019, Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting has been extended to include all employers. The ATO will allow reporting to start anytime up to 30 September 2019. Under STP, all employers must report their employee’s tax and superannuation details when employees are paid, i.e. weekly, monthly, etc. Employees will be able to see their payroll information by logging into their ATO online account through MyGov, which will be updated every time they are paid.

Award wages to increase by 3%

The Fair Work Commission has announced an increase to the minimum wage of 3%. Modern Awards will be updated to reflect this increase in the minimum wage.

CHARITY AND NOT-FOR-PROFIT

External Conduct Standards for charities that operate overseas

From 1 July 2019, all charities that operate overseas or work with a third party that operates overseas will be affected by the ACNC’s new External Conduct Standards. The standards are designed to provide a minimum level of assurance and confidence that charities meet an appropriate standard of governance when they operate overseas and funds that are sent overseas are reaching legitimate beneficiaries for legitimate purposes. 

The External Standards require charities to take steps relating to:

  1. the activities and control of resources (including funds);
  2. an annual review of overseas activities and record-keeping;
  3. anti-fraud and anti-corruption; and
  4. protection of vulnerable individuals.

Changes to the Associations Incorporation Act 1991 (ACT) take effect from 1 July 2019 as well which include:

  1. new mandatory items to be included in the Association rules;
  2. clarification of the duties of officers of the Association; and
  3. the removal of the requirement for a Common Seal.

We recommend Associations incorporated in the ACT review their governing documents to ensure they are in line with the changes.

If your organisation needs assistance with planning or strategy advice for this new financial year, contact us here

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