Inaugural ASEAN Cooling Summit
The first ASEAN Cooling Summit was held in Bangkok this month and leaders from business, government, and academia met to discuss sustainable cooling solutions for Southeast Asia. Experts say that demand for air-conditioning in emerging economies, including ASEAN, could cause a 64% increase in household energy use and produce 23 million tons of carbon emissions by 2040. Current air conditioning technology also relies on climate damaging refrigerants. The summit explored sustainable development for cooling and identified solutions to increase the adoption of energy-efficient technology, remove financial barriers, and raise awareness of the critical need for climate-friendly cooling systems.
Inaugural ASEAN Cooling Summit
Transfer of interest in land-owning partnership not liable for stamp duty
In Commissioner of State Revenue v Danvest Pty Ltd & Anor  VSCA 382, the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the Commissioner of State Revenue’s (Commissioner) appeal and held that the sale and purchase of a partner’s interest in a land-owning partnership was not a “transfer of dutiable property” under section 7(1)(a) of the Duties Act 2000 (Duties Act) on the basis that it is not an interest in an estate in fee simple in the land owned by the partnership.
Over the last 18 months or so each notification to Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) of a proposed acquisition of agricultural land by a foreign person has been met with requests from FIRB for increasing levels of detail regarding the marketing campaign undertaken in relation to the land, the extent to which potential Australian purchasers had an opportunity to bid for the land, and how the proposed foreign investor was chosen as the successful bidder.
Leading independent business law firm, Hall & Wilcox, has added public sector and property expertise with Rory O’Connor joining the Property and projects team as a partner in the firm’s Melbourne office.
January 2018 saw further updates being released by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). Many of the updates are in line with the planned changes to the work visa from the current 457 program to the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. We set out below a summary of the latest updates.
Updated Skilled Migration List
Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) in consultation with the Department of Jobs and Small Business (DJSB) have updated the list of eligible occupations for sponsorship. In November, DJSB introduced a traffic light management system to give businesses an opportunity to present submissions on the proposed changes to the sponsorship list.
The legal status of Uber drivers in Australia has been questioned since the ride service commenced here at the end of 2012. With Uber facing legal challenges from drivers in the US and the UK it was only a matter of time before the issue came before the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
On 4 January 2018, the FWC published its decision in Kaseris v Rasier Pacific V.O.F1 in which it found that an Uber driver could not claim that he had been unfairly dismissed by Uber because he was an independent contractor and not an employee.
With bitcoin and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) dominating the news (see our previous article on ICOs) and backyard BBQ conversation, AUSTRAC is also set to get more involved with Parliament recently passing the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Act 2017 (Amendment Act).
The Amendment Act will impose significant obligations on digital currency exchange providers (Providers) including an obligation to register with AUSTRAC as well as maintaining a compliant Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Program (AML Program). An AML/CTF program establishes the operational framework for reporting entities (such as Providers) to meet their compliance obligations under the AML/CTF Act. An AML/CTF program must specify how the reporting entity identifies, mitigates and manages the risk of its products or services being misused to facilitate money laundering or terrorism financing.
The release of the proposed tax rules for the new corporate collective investment vehicle (CCIV) is a welcome development for fund managers considering the structuring options for future funds or future conversion of existing funds into CCIVs.
There is a certain familiarity with the proposed tax regime for CCIVs. Unsurprising, given the regime substantially imports and adopts the managed investment trust (MIT) and attribution MIT (AMIT) regimes.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has released Consultation Paper 176: Review of ASIC policy on platforms: Update to RG 148 (CP 176) and announced that it is reviewing its regulatory approach to platforms as part of broader efforts to promote investor confidence in the sector.
ASIC states in CP 176 that it is reviewing its regulatory approach to platforms due to the trend towards new forms of vertical integration between parties in the product–distribution chain, with dealer groups increasingly restructuring their operations to become platform operators. ASIC considers there is a risk to investors associated with the emergence of less mature and less experienced platform operators, particularly through ‘private labelling’ arrangements in response to the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms.