Permanent reform allows virtual meetings and electronic signing for companies

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The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) has been amended to permanently allow companies to hold virtual meetings and electronically execute documents, including deeds. Introduction The Corporations Amendment (Meetings and Documents) Act 2021 (Cth) received assent on 22 February 2022. The Act makes permanent the previously temporary measures allowing companies to hold meetings using virtual technology and… Read more »

Koala conservation status elevated

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On 10 February 2022, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley made the decision to elevate the status of koalas under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act). Effective from 12 February 2022, the conservation status of koalas in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory was lifted from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’…. Read more »

New Franchise Disclosure Register expected to increase disclosure obligations for franchisors

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Draft legislation released by the Federal Government proposes new obligations on franchisors to publish disclosure documents and other materials on a publicly available register. Franchise Disclosure Register The Federal Government has published exposure draft legislation that seeks to amend the Franchising Code of Conduct to introduce a publicly available Franchise Disclosure Register. The Register aims… Read more »

Can a Public Benevolent Institution provide relief indirectly?

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A decision of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission that a not-for‑profit entity was not entitled to public benevolent institution status has been set aside. Background The case of Global Citizen Ltd v Commissioner of ACNC [2021] AATA 3313, involved an appeal by a not‑for‑profit entity to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Global Citizen Limited (GCL)… Read more »

Employee vs contractor – High Court crucial clarification provides guidance for employers

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The High Court has confirmed the primacy of contractual terms and the importance of contractual interpretation in two crucial decisions handed down on 9 February 2022 regarding the distinction between employees and independent contractors. In Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union v Personnel Contracting Pty Ltd [2022] HCA 1, the High Court held that… Read more »

Should Queensland have an independent Environmental Protection Agency? It’s time for you to have your say

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The Queensland Government has commenced consultation regarding the possible establishment of an independent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Queensland. Responsible for environmental protection and regulation (a role currently undertaken by the Department of Environment and Science), it is proposed that an independent EPA may improve accountability, efficiency, objectivity and integrity in decision-making. Research is currently… Read more »

When is it reasonable to decline an employee’s request for flexible working arrangements?

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The QIRC has confirmed that it was reasonable for Queensland Health to decline a HR advisor’s request to move interstate and work from home, despite permitting her to work remotely full-time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past two years, we have seen an increase in flexible working arrangements in workplaces across Australia, especially the… Read more »

Employer fined $124,000 for injuries sustained by teenager on 14-day work trial who repeatedly failed to follow instructions

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In an important lesson for employers, this case demonstrates that a worker’s disobedience or failure to follow instructions does not excuse inadequate safe work procedures and training. Following burn injuries sustained by a ‘disobedient’ 16 year old worker during a workplace explosion, the District Court of NSW has clarified the distinction between the health and… Read more »

Repeated instances of unreasonable behaviour do not necessarily constitute workplace bullying

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To constitute bullying in the workplace, the test of ‘repeatedly behaving unreasonably towards an employee’ requires more than a mere finding that unreasonable behaviour has occurred repeatedly. While this appears confusing, it was confirmed and explained by the Industrial Court of Queensland in the recent case of Greenall v State of Queensland (Queensland Corrective Services)… Read more »