Business and Finance

  • Federal Election

    SMEs delay business decisions until after the Federal Election

    Australian small businesses are concerned about the impact of the impending Federal Election and are delaying critical business decisions, which could impact job growth and investment, according to new survey r... more
  • exploitation

    ​Serious worker exploitation becomes criminalised

    The Federal Government has confirmed that it has accepted in principle all 22 recommendations of the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce Report, including criminalisation of serious worker exploitation and establishin... more
  • climate change

    Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change contribute to coal mine refusal

    In an Australian first, development consent for a new coal mine was refused by the Land and Environment Court of NSW (the Court) for reasons that included its material greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and contrib... more
  • joint ventures

    Seven deadly sins of joint ventures under competition law in the resources sector

    This article identifies seven competition law pitfalls in joint ventures in energy and resources sectors. It is very common for businesses to seek to coordinate or collaborate for the purposes of exploration... more

Further exploration land released in Queensland

While announcing the recent round of successful tenders for the exploration of coal and minerals in Queensland, Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, declared more land open for exploration across the State. The move to unlock further land for exploration follows a recent geological report commissioned by the Queensland Government that substantially upgraded coal reserve estimates across the State’s coal provinces. Coal reserves upgrade  The announcements were said by Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane, to evidence the opportunities for investm... more

SA Royal Commission finds Murray-Darling Basin Plan partly unlawful

On 29 January 2019 the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission (Royal Commission), constituted by Bret Walker SC as Commissioner, delivered its almost 800 page report to the South Australian Government. The Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission Report (Report) was promptly released to the public. Climate change The Commissioner's findings in relation to climate change were that climate change had not been considered by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) in relation to the setting of the Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs) under the Basin Plan. This was a fundamental problem from a le... more

Critical infrastucture: Reporting starts now

From 11 January 2019, owners and operators of Australia's critical infrastructure (ports, electricity, water and gas infrastructure) will have their assets more closely scrutinised by the Commonwealth Government. Entities will be required to disclose information about their corporate structure and asset operations, and may be subject to direction by the Minister. The Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 (Cth) (Act) seeks to improve the Commonwealth's understanding of the ownership and operational control of critical infrastructure in Australia. The Act complements the Critical Infrastructure Centre... more

Australian CEOs say trade war is a threat to business growth

One in three Australian CEOs are projecting a decline in global GDP growth this year, up from just 7 per cent a year ago, according to PwC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey. The survey, which interviewed approximately 3,200 CEOs from 91 countries, including 131 respondents from Australia, also shows a dip in the confidence of Australian CEOs when looking at their own organisation’s revenue growth for 2019 and over the next three years, with 61 percent pointing to trade conflicts as a threat. Australian CEOs are also looking inward for growth, with 71 per cent relying on operational efficiencies and 80 pe... more

OECD report highlights low taxes are key to competitiveness

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)'s recently released Corporate Tax Statistics report details that Australia’s marginal effective corporate tax rate is on the upper end in comparison to other OECD countries and that lower taxes are important for competitiveness. The report follows the OECD’s Economic Survey in Australia, released in December 2018, which states that Australia’s economy is ‘projected to continue at a robust pace’ and that the country's debt-to-GDP ratio ‘remains relatively low’, providing ‘sufficient room to support activity… in the event of a... more

Expanding opportunities for New Energy Minerals in Australia

The era of electric vehicles (EVs) and other battery-powered technology has also ushered in the age of 'new energy minerals'. The International Energy Agency's 2018 World Energy Outlook, in its core scenario, suggests that one-in-five cars sold in the world will be electric by 2040 (but in China it could be and one-in–three cars). This shift to EVs presents an exciting opportunity for mineral resource exploration companies as we observe a recent spike in demand across the mineral industry. While Australia is a top global producer and exporter of minerals such as copper, nickel and zinc; this article explore... more

Report shows non-compliant employers continue to offend

The Fair Work Ombudsman's October 2018 Report (Report) into National compliance reinforces one or two truisms that are unfortunately part of the baggage that continues to burden our industrial relations system. In addition to shining a light on those areas of our economy where non-compliance remains a huge problem, the Report tells us that almost 40 per cent of previously non-compliant employers continue to offend. Methodology The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) via the National Compliance Monitoring program (NCM), re-audits previously non-compliant employers, the aim being to: assess the status of previous... more

Trash to treasure: Waste to energy opportunities abound

A perfect storm of factors has culminated in a tipping point for the waste to energy (WtE) sector in Australia giving it a chance to emerge as a key part of the country's energy and waste management future. These factors include the significant ongoing growth of the Australian population, the long-term absence of a cohesive Federal energy policy, the dramatic shift in the global recycling sector following China's 'ban' on importing foreign recyclables, as well as the increased economic and social cost of landfill reliance in Australia. As challenges associated with waste collection and landfill increase, i... more

ALP alternative renewables policies to the National Energy Guarantee

The Australian Labor Party (ALP) recently confirmed that, should it win the 2019 Federal election, the ALP will adopt the National Electricity Guarantee (NEG) and increase the NEG's emissions reduction target to 45 per cent by 2030. With the Coalition no longer officially pursuing the NEG, bipartisan agreement to the NEG with an increased emissions reduction target appears doubtful. Accordingly the ALP announced last week a series of alternative renewables policies to sit beside the NEG, including: injecting a further $10 billion in capital over five years into the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (estab... more

Sale campaign for assets of Mirabela Nickel is successful

The receivers and managers (the Receivers) of Mirabela Nickel Ltd (In Liquidation) (Receivers and Managers Appointed) (MBN) provide an overview and update of the sale process that they have conducted in relation to the assets of MBN. In late 2015, the Receivers commenced an extensive international sale process for the assets of MBN including MBN's shareholding in Mirabela Mineração do Brasil Ltda (MMB) and its related assets, The sale campaign did not result in any offers for the Assets that were capable of acceptance. Following this, the Receivers engaged in extensive negotiations with an ad hoc group of n... more

The National Electricity Guarantee – dead or deadish?

The last few months have been a tumultuous time for the renewables sector. The federal government has recently moved away from the proposed National Electricity Guarantee (NEG) and it is not clear what will replace it in the near future. What was the NEG? The Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) is intended to incentivise the development of renewable energy though the creation and sale of large-scale generation certificates (LGCs). Recent predictions indicate that, at the current rate of investment, a sufficient number of LGCs will exist to meet the requirements of the LRET by around 2020. The NEG wa... more