Will your business be impacted by the change to the definition of “consumer” under ACL?

Recent amendments to regulations expand the applicability of the consumer guarantees regime under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Under the current definition in section 3 of the ACL, a person is a “consumer” if the person acquires:

– goods or services that are priced at $40,000 or less;
– goods or services that are of a kind ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household use (regardless of the price of the goods or services); or
– a vehicle or trailer acquired for use principally in the transport of goods on public roads.

The consumer guarantees do not apply to goods acquired:

– for the purpose of re-supply;
– for using them or transforming them through processing, production or manufacture; or
– for repairing or treating other goods or fixtures on land.… Read More

Renewable Energy Projects – Part 3

What should be done during the Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Phase?

At the end of a renewable energy project’s operating life, the wind or solar farm will be decommissioned and all turbines, arrays and other infrastructure will be removed from the land. Following removal of all equipment and related infrastructure, the land will undergo a series of steps to ensure return to agricultural use. The obligations to ‘make good’ rests with the project owner.

Generally, the Development Approvals and the lease agreement contain provisions explicitly setting out the requirements for the decommissioning and the expectations around rehabilitating the land.

Further, the planning assessment process normally requires a Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Plan (DRP) to be prepared.… Read More

Renewable Energy Projects – Part 2 What Payments do Landowners Receive from the Developers?

Under an Option Deed and a Lease Agreement, the most common payments are the option fee and the rent. There are other types of payments such as reimbursement of legal costs and fees for grant of easements, but this article will only focus on the option fee and the rent.

Option Fee

In consideration of the landowner’s grant of an option to lease/purchase the land, the developer will pay an option fee to the landowner annually during the option period (e.g. 4 years). Typically, for the purpose of conducting investigations on the land, it is quite common that during the option period contractors for the developer will access the land with equipment to conduct different types of tests.… Read More

Renewable Energy Projects (Part 1) What Documents are Typically Entered into by Landowners and Developers?

Renewable energy is booming in Australia. Data recently released by the Clean Energy Regulator suggests 6.3 gigawatts of total renewable energy capacity is expected to be delivered in 2020 – roughly equivalent in capacity to four large coal plants.

Wind farms and solar farms are usually located on cleared primary production land. In addition to wind turbines or solar arrays, developers also require certain area of land for access roads, transmission line easements and electrical substations.

Typical Documents

If a landowner is approached by a developer, the landowner will be provided with an Initial Licence Agreement (optional) and an Option Deed during the early stages of development, leading to an eventual Lease Agreement and/or Contract for Sale of Land once the development is approved by the authority and the option is exercised by the developer.… Read More

Is the Redundancy “Genuine”?

Due to the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19, many employees’ positions have been made redundant throughout Australia. However, employers should note that if the redundancy is not “genuine”, the employer can be liable for unfair dismissal of employees.

According to section 389 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (the “Act”), to be a genuine redundancy all of the following requirements must be satisfied:

a. The employer no longer requires the employee’s job to be performed by anyone because of changes in the operational requirements of the employer’s enterprise.

The employer must consider whether the job is no longer required and will not be performed by anyone else.… Read More

Are your contractor payments subject to payroll tax?

Your payments to contractors may be subject to payroll tax if the worker is considered as an employee. The NSW Revenue considers a wide range of factors to determine whether a worker is an employee or contractor for payroll tax purposes. Even if a worker is identified as a contractor rather than an employee, your payments to the contractor may still be taxable for payroll tax purposes if a ‘relevant contract’ exists.

According to the Payroll Tax Act 2007 (“Act”), a ‘relevant contract’ is any kind of arrangement where you:
– supply services;
– are supplied with services; or
– give out goods for re-supply after work has been performed in relation to goods.… Read More

Special tax considerations needed if any of your beneficiaries are non-Australian residents

When making a Will you need to be aware of special rules that apply to gifts to non-resident beneficiaries. These rules can even apply to gifts to Australian citizens who have lived overseas for a long period.
The general rule is that the beneficiary is taken to have acquired the assets on the day the testator died, and any capital gain or loss relating to a Capital Gain Tax (CGT) asset owned by the deceased is disregarded. That means-
• no CGT is payable from the estate
• no CGT is potentially payable by the beneficiary until he or she actually sells it; and
• the beneficiary will usually have access to a range of CGT concessions when he or she actually sells.… Read More

Employ Skilled Migrants in Regional Areas

If your business need skilled workers that are in short supply, a good option for your business is to employ skilled migrants who are already in Australia on a skilled visa such as subclasses 189, 190 or 489/491. Many skilled migrants have high-level qualifications and years of work experience. You may find them valuable to the operation and development of your business.
In regional areas, the most common skilled visa held by migrants is 489 visa (to be replaced by 491 visa as from 16 November 2019). The 489 visa is also called Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa. Typically, under the invited pathway of 489 visa a skilled worker is nominated by an Australian state/territory or sponsored by an eligible relative and is then invited to apply for the visa.… Read More

What if a foreign person wants to buy your agricultural land?

Before answering this question, we should first understand what agricultural land is. Under the foreign investment framework, agricultural land means land in Australia that is used, or could reasonably be used, for a primary production business. The meaning and scope of a primary production business can be found in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. It includes, for example, cultivating or propagating plants, fungi or their products or parts, maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce, or manufacturing dairy produce from raw material that you produced.
If your land falls into the category of agricultural land, then the foreign buyer must get approval for the proposed acquisition from the Treasurer if the threshold of $15 million is exceeded.… Read More