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A message from our host

I am delighted to invite you to Cooper Grace Ward's Annual Workplace Law Masterclass, to be held on 20 August 2024 at Sofitel Brisbane Central.

This past year, we’ve seen some huge changes to workplace law that are having impacts across every Australian business.

Our full-day program is specifically designed for senior managers and HR professionals, with all the latest updates and practical tips for you to take back into your workplace.
Join our team of leading experts as they equip you with practical insights, strategies and real-world case examples, with clear and informative takeaways to help you implement the latest requirements within your organisation. 
We look forward to seeing you there! 

Belinda Winter


Learn more about our masterclass highlights and our schedule for the day.

About the conference

The Annual Workplace Law Masterclass is a comprehensive full-day event featuring expert insights from our firm’s leading legal professionals. The event will address the latest legal changes and challenges in the workplace covering a range of hot topics.

Key employment topics for the day include: 

  • recent and upcoming significant changes to workplace laws under the ‘Closing Loopholes’ legislation, including the right to disconnect, casual employees and employee vs contractor relationships
  • assessing the new psychosocial risk legislation and planning a clear a way forward for compliance and mitigation of risk
  • limiting your organisation’s exposure to common law claims for pure psychiatric injuries
  • tax and superannuation considerations for businesses engaging contractors
  • changes to the Work Health and Safety Act (Qld) to increase the role of workers and their representatives in managing workplace safety 
  • an update on workplace privacy and data collection requirements and considerations for compliance under the whistleblower protection regime
  • dealing with employee theft and fraud.

In the final session for the day there will be a panel discussion with all speakers, followed by the opportunity for networking with conference attendees and speakers.

Who is the conference for?

The Annual Workplace Law Masterclass is tailored to suit the needs of:

  • leaders
  • senior managers
  • HR managers and directors
  • other HR professionals. 

Tuesday 20 August

8.00 am - 8.30 am | Registration

Speaker: Fletch Heinemann, Partner 

So, your business engages genuine contractors?

In this session, Fletch will work through case studies to examine when your business will need to contribute superannuation for different contractors, and why there are different considerations for payroll tax.

Fletch will also look at key audit targets, risk areas and options to help manage those risks.

Speaker: Belinda Winter, Partner

Most workers face many psychosocial hazards in their daily work, from high workloads and pressure to perform in the face of tight deadlines, to under-resourcing.

There have been recent changes to workplace health and safety laws regarding the management of psychosocial hazards across multiple jurisdictions, including the introduction of new Codes of Practice in some states.

This requires adopting a risk management approach to psychological safety in the workplace, similar to that adopted for physical safety. However, it is not always clear what this means for employers and what practical steps they can take to ensure the psychological safety of workers.

This session will examine recent case law and literature to provide practical guidance to employers on ensuring, so far as reasonably practicable, the psychological safety of their workers.

10.00 am - 10.30 am | Morning tea

Speaker: Gemma Sharp, Senior Counsel

There have been significant changes to the Work Health and Safety Act that impact the roles and responsibilities of workers and their representatives in managing safety in the workplace.

These changes impose further obligations on employers in relation to creating WHS committees, establishing workgroups, appointing Health and Safety Representatives and providing relevant unions access to the workplace to discuss safety matters.

In this session, Gemma will discuss the impending changes and the steps you need to take to ensure that your business is complying with the law.

Speaker: Kim Villis, Senior Associate 

WorkCover claims for pure psychological injuries are challenging for employers and costly to the scheme. They are also increasing in number at an exponential rate.

It is also not always easy to identify when a duty of care arises at law.

This session will focus on the usual critical elements of the common law process of a foreseeable risk and an employer’s appropriate response to those risks.

We will discuss how these issues specifically apply to claims where injured workers suffer psychiatric harm only. We will review a number of recent cases and provide take-home suggestions to apply in your workplace to assist you in responding to various scenarios.

12.00 pm - 12.45 pm | Lunch

Speaker: Tom Jury, Associate 

Two critical and changing aspects of compliance for employers are privacy regulations and the whistleblower protection regime.

Australian privacy law is poised to undergo the most significant changes since the Privacy Act was first introduced. These may include the removal of the current exemptions for small business and the removal of private sector employer exemptions for employee records, with privacy and data protection now high on the corporate agenda for most Australian businesses.

Join Tom Jury as he explores the impacts of these changes and what employers need to cover in their internal policies and systems to protect their organisations from breaches of the Privacy Act.

Following this, Tom will shift his focus to the Australian whistleblower protection regime, examining the legal safeguards in place for individuals who report misconduct and the responsibilities of organisations in supporting whistleblowers.

Speaker: Annie Smeaton, Partner

All employers need to be aware of the significant changes to workplace laws that have been made to the Fair Work Act under the ‘Closing Loopholes’ legislation.

Annie will provide an overview of the changes already implemented in December 2023, together with an update on the changes taking effect from 26 August 2024 and beyond. Annie will also discuss how to ensure your business is and remains compliant with the new legislative requirements.

2.15 pm - 2.30 pm | Afternoon tea

Speaker: Graham Roberts, Partner

How secure is your business? What happens when a trusted team member steals or causes fraudulent activity within your business? Join Graham as he discusses:

  • preventing workplace theft through policies, procedures, training and ethos
  • identifying when further investigation is required
  • formalising the complaint and allowing the employee to show cause
  • considerations for determining whether an internal or external investigation is required
  • reporting requirements and record keeping
  • dealing with the outcome of the theft, fraud or misappropriation
  • whether you should have insurance cover
  • whether you should make a complaint to the police
  • how you can recover the money.

Belinda Winter, Partner

Annie Smeaton, Partner

Fletch Heinemann, Partner

Graham Roberts, Partner

Kim Villis, Senior Associate

Gemma Sharp, Special Counsel

Tom Jury, Associate

4.00 pm - 5.00 pm | Networking and drinks


Guests who participate in the masterclass can expect to: 

  • hear from leading legal experts on the latest workplace changes
  • get practical tips to help you and your organisation 
  • access networking opportunities with your peers and our speakers.

Our speakers

Workplace relations and safety
Workplace relations and safety
Tax and tax disputes
Litigation and dispute resolution
Special Counsel
Workplace relations and safety
Senior Associate
Corporate advisory