Proposed Stamp Duty Overhaul

The NSW government has today announced its 2020-21 budget. A part of the budget announcement by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet was a proposal to reform the State’s archaic stamp duty regime.  In an effort to make housing more affordable, the Treasurer announced that the government is looking into a model that would allow home buyers the choice of either a one-off stamp duty payment or smaller annual property charges.  Rather than the initial average $34,000 lump sum payment of stamp duty at the time of completing the purchase of a property, buyer’s may choose to instead spread this cost over a number of years.  It is estimated that this scheme could reduce outlays by $20,000 over the first four years of homeownership. “We have a model that we think works and this is something we will consult on through until March,” Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said of the proposed reform. The proposal is open for public consultation until 15 March 2021.  Members of the public can have their say on this proposal thorough the below website: https://www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/nsw-property-tax-proposal   The team…

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A new era in data protection

We’re proud to be setting the benchmark in data protection by becoming the first law firm in Australia to partner with Secured Communications and sign up to their Mercury communication platform. The platform is an ultra-secure, encrypted videoconference, messaging, audio calling, and file transfer platform designed for business use. Unlike other companies, Mercury will never harvest and share user data or trade its clients’ privacy protection for a larger user base. Mercury allows users to host videoconference meetings privately and securely via a web browser or mobile device without disruptions or leaks of sensitive information. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force corporate companies to predominantly work from home, the reliance on technology has become perennial. This shift has underscored the need for secure, reliable communication. A recent survey conducted by Forcepoint revealed that 71% of global CEOs said they were losing sleep over the prospect of their company’s next security breach. The survey also revealed less than half (46%) regularly review their cyber security strategy – coupled with more and more companies relying on video technology for…

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Wills and Estates Planning

A Will is a legally binding document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the care of any dependents after you pass. A Will not only allows you to share what’s precious to you with your loved ones and leave gifts to charities, it can also help take the pressure off your family members during a difficult time. At Madison Marcus, we understand that each person’s circumstances are entirely unique, which is why we keep our clients at the centre of what we do, and each Estate Plan is carefully crafted to suit the unique individual’s needs and wishes. Some common reasons to create a Will include: To appoint a guardian for your children Your Will can provide detailed instructions on who you would like to take care of your dependents. Noting your wishes in your Will means that you can clearly articulate and provide valuable insight as to who you believe would be best suited to be their Guardian. You should appoint one or two people you trust for this responsibility, and…

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NSW extends rent relief for retail and commercial tenants impacted by Covid-19

Earlier this year, we reported on the New South Wales Government’s COVID-19 relief regulations for retail and other commercial tenants. Those regulations expired on 24 October 2020 but have been replaced by new but essentially identical regulations, extending the protections for retail and commercial tenants. The Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation (No 2) 2020 came into effect on 24 October 2020 and extends the “prescribed period” for the protections to 31 December 2020. Like the expired regulations, the new regulations adopt the National Cabinet’s Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles, created on 7 April 2020, which establishes guidelines for commercial landlords and tenants to negotiate for appropriate rent relief for “impacted lessees”, being essentially commercial tenants whose businesses qualify for the Federal Government’s JobKeeper payments. Like the expired regulations, the new regulations define certain “prescribed actions” by commercial landlords, which are prohibited during the prescribed period in relation to impacted lessees. The regulations also make available mediation with the NSW Small Business Commissioner for landlords and tenants who have difficulty in reaching agreement on the…

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Budget Overview

On Tuesday, 6 October 2020, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down the Federal Budget which was largely defined by the COVID-19 pandemic. At a glance A wide range of sectors and stakeholders are affected by the Budget. At a high level, the winners and losers of this Budget have been reported as follows: (Source: ABC News)   Key takeaways The economy Australia’s economy has taken one of its largest blows as a result of the pandemic. Since the July economic update, Australia’s debt and deficit have increased with the country headed toward a record debt of $1 trillion by June 2024. Our current net debt is $703 billion. Income tax cuts The Treasurer announced Stage 2 of the Government’s tax cuts will provide relief for more than 11 million Australians. The tax cuts will be brought forward and can be backdated to July 2020, affecting each income threshold differently. An additional $17.8 billion in personal income tax relief is being delivered to aid economic recovery with a further $12.5 billion over the next year. This will add to the…

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Big news for struggling small businesses
Small businesses during Covid-19

Big news for struggling small businesses

Last week, the Federal Government announced proposed changes to corporate insolvency laws designed to help boost the survival rate of small businesses. The proposed changes would take effect from 1 January 2021 and aim to reduce the complexity, time, and costs involved for small businesses dealing with financial distress. This reform is in response to the economic impact of COVID-19 and allows small businesses to either restructure or alternatively streamline the liquidation process. The new procedure is a ‘debtor in possession’ model which draws on features of the US-style chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure. Essentially this means that the director of a debtor company remains in place during the relevant moratorium period and does not have to hand over control of the business to an external insolvency accountant. The process is only available to incorporated entities with liabilities of less than $1 million. Debt restructuring The overhaul of the insolvency rules is to create a new debt restructuring procedure. The process involves: The director of a small business in financial distress appoints a small business restructuring practitioner to assess…

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Travel exemptions: navigating COVID-19 restrictions and what you need to know before you travel

Currently, nationwide travel restrictions remain in place, affecting thousands of people wishing to exit or enter Australia. A request for a 'travel exemption' is the only means by which some individuals and families can cross national borders and exit or re-enter the country. The following groups do not require a travel exemption to enter Australia: -Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members -New Zealand citizens usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members However, for non-citizens of Australia, including bridging and temporary visa holders on a wide range of visa classes, ongoing travel restrictions mean continued 'lockout' from international travel for a still undefined and uncertain period of time. The impact of these travel delays on individuals, their businesses, their families and on the economy are immeasurable. Applying for a travel exemption in the form prescribed by the Australian Government can be time-consuming and valid reasons for lodging an application are limited. The rates of successful travel exemptions in the various categories provide a snapshot of the current situation. Recent figures published by the Department…

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Visa updates: Victoria and NSW

VICTORIA Victoria’s 2020-21 Business and Investor Visa nomination program (subclass 188 and 132) opened on 8 September 2020. To help the state’s economic recovery and health response to the pandemic, the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs has provided the Victorian Government with a short-term allocation of visa nomination places for the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP). The limited number of BIIP places are only available until 6 October 2020. The Federal Budget will outline what additional state nomination visa places will be allocated to the Victorian Government for the remainder of the 2020-21 program year. Please note, to ensure that all applications received can be assessed within the timeframe, applications close at 5pm AEST, 21 September 2020. Changes to nomination criteria When applying for the BIIP program between 8 September 2020 and 21 September 2020 there is one additional requirement. All visa applications must demonstrate that the business and investment activity will contribute to Victoria’s economic recovery or health response. The new requirement must be addressed in the ‘Economic Recovery - Business and Investment Support Form’. To…

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Immigration Update: Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List and Enhanced Labour Market Testing

On 2 September 2020 the Australian Government announced two key changes to Australia’s immigration laws ­– a new priority skills list has been introduced and labour market testing requirements have been strengthened for employer-sponsored visas. These changes are designed to address critical skills shortages and ensure employers first attempt to recruit qualified and experienced Australian citizens or permanent residents. Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) Skilled migrants will be essential in helping Australia get through the pandemic and rebuild the economy. A new PMSOL will allow a small number of sponsored skilled workers to come to Australia to fill critical skill shortages. The 17 occupations on the PMSOL were identified based on advice from the National Skills Commission, and in consultation with other relevant Commonwealth agencies. These occupations are: Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111) Construction Project Manager (133111) Mechanical Engineer (233512) General Practitioner (253111) Resident Medical Officer (253112) Psychiatrist (253411) Medical Practitioners nec (253999) Midwife (254111) Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412) Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415) Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418) Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)…

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Building Industry Update: New Practice Standard for Registered Certifiers

The NSW Government has released a new practice standard for registered certifiers. The standard has been developed as part of the building regulation reforms spearheaded by the NSW Building Commissioner, David Chandler OAM, and is focussed on certifiers of residential apartment buildings. The standard is intended to achieve the following: Provide a clear, accessible and specified standard of what is expected of certifiers in undertaking their role and functions. Clarify the professional obligations and conduct of certifiers as public officials. Reinforce the difference in the role of the certifier from builders and other building practitioners. Enhance the accountability and responsibility of certifiers. The practice standard is a comprehensive guide for certifiers on their obligations and walks certifiers through the following topics: Certifiers as public officials Conflicts of interest Construction certificates for building work Inspections of building work Occupation certificates Documentary evidence Compliance The standard has been prepared pursuant to section 14 of the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018.  That section provides that a registered certifier’s conditions of registration may require the certifier to carry out their certification…

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