Business and Finance

  • Waste

    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. ... more
  • ALP

    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 t... more
  • Mirabela Nickel

    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 relatio... more
  • National Electricity Guarantee

    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 rep... more

Navigating unlawful interview questions

An interview provides an employer with an opportunity to get to know prospective employees and assess their suitability for employment. Often, there are many questions an employer wants to ask a prospective employee – however care should be taken to avoid questions which can later be relied on by the interviewee to mount legal claims. Under both federal and state legislation, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a prospective employee based on a protected characteristic. A protected characteristic includes race, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, family responsibility, pregnancy, religion, ethnicity and political opinion. Where a prospective employee considers they have been discriminated against, they may bring legal claims asserting breaches of anti-discrimination legislation, or the general protections provisions of the Fair Work Act 20... more

Whistleblower protections to go ahead

South Australians who blow the whistle on corruption or maladministration in the public sector will have greater protections under reforms which have now passed State Parliament. The laws enable people to pass on confidential information to Members of Parliament, and importantly journalists, where it is in the public interest, relates to environmental or public health or involves public administration. Attorney General, Vickie Chapman said the new whistleblower protection laws would strengthen transparency and accountability in government. “If a public servant identifies an issue that should be investigated, they should be able to pass information on to the relevant authorities without fear of reprisal,” Ms Chapman said. “These laws will ensure that whistleblowers will not be subject to liability, as a result of their actions. “If an authority hasn’t responded to... more

Significant mine worker safety and health changes passed – and more to come

The Mines Legislation (Resources Safety) Amendment Bill 2018 (Bill) was passed by the Queensland Parliament on 31 October 2018. The Bill was supported by both the Government and the Opposition. As a result, significant changes to the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld) (CMSHA) and the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld) (MQSHA) will be made that will affect, among other things, duties of officers, reporting requirements for mine worker diseases, reporting defects and hazards affecting plant and substances, incorporating contractor and service provider plans and increasing penalties and inspector powers. The changes will come into effect on assent from the Governor, with some minor amendments about requirements for ventilation officers to commence on a date to be fixed by proclamation. Arising out of recommendations made by the Education, Employment and... more

FIFO worker engaged as a casual entitled to annual leave

A FIFO worker who was purportedly engaged as a ‘casual’ under an enterprise agreement has successfully claimed an entitlement to annual leave under both the National Employment Standards (NES) and the terms of the enterprise agreement. The full Federal Court decision in WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene [2018] FCAFC 131 opens the way for further claims by employees who are engaged as casuals but work regular and consistent hours.  Designation as a "casual" and payment of a casual loading are not determinative  In this case, the employee: was engaged by labour-hire company WorkPac as a ‘casual’ in the employment terms and conditions, which included an enterprise agreement; consistently worked 12 hour shifts over an approximately 2 year period on a '7 days on, 7 days off' roster that was set 12 months in advance; was provided with flights and accommodation at no cost un... more

The cost of coming back: a better deal for working mothers

More than 125,000 returning-to-work Australian mums are actually financially worse off by increasing their working days above three days a week, a new report from KPMG Australia, The cost of coming back: achieving a better deal for working mothers, has found. Others – particularly at the lower end of the income scale - gain hardly at all by working more days. KPMG Australia Chairman Alison Kitchen said the report has found that for a couple earning the minimum wage, the mother is effectively working for just $2.50 an hour on the additional days if she increases her working days beyond three a week. "This is a worrying situation." She said this outcome was due to the interaction between the Australian tax, family payments, and childcare subsidy systems creating punishing disincentives for working mothers at all income levels, and exacerbating the effects of wider social biases ... more

Large opportunities to come from Australia-India trade

Strong economic growth in India and increased demand for Australian mineral resources and mining equipment, technology and services (METS) are forecast to generate big opportunities for both countries while presenting significant challenges for doing business. The latest report in the Minerals Council of Australia's (MCA) New Frontiers project based on research by Trading Nation Consulting outlines good prospects for resources trade and solid engagement between Australia and India on mining-related investment - mostly based on METS. Within a decade, India will be the world’s most populous country and by mid-century it could be the world’s second-biggest economy. Australia already has close links with India in several other industries such as trade, tourism and sport, but mining and mining services are key sectors where this relationship can be expanded. According to the repo... more

Investment in Australian startups continues to hit new highs

Australia’s startup sector has yet again enjoyed a quarter of growth in venture capital, according to KPMG’s Venture Pulse Q3 2018. Q3 2018 totalled US$317 million across 27 deals, exceeding every other quarter in the dataset excepting Q2 2014. Key Australian deals involved Judo Capital, Airwallex, Culture Amp, Flare, Gilmour Space Technologies, Simple, AgriWebb and GO1. Software dominated investor interest, with five out of the top eight deals being business productivity, financial or educational software. "Most importantly, that rate of growth, despite sliding volume in terms of total deals closed, indicates the ongoing health of the Australian venture ecosystem," Amanda Price, KPMG Australia’s Head of High Growth Ventures. After a record-shattering Q2’18 led by the US$14 billion raise by Ant Financial, venture capital (VC) investment in Asia dropped back to a more nat... more

Mining SMEs positive about revenue growth

Mining SMEs are more positive about revenue growth, and growth percentage, than all other sectors – just over 56 per cent are expecting revenue increases over the coming six months, at an average of 5.8 per cent growth according to the latest Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index. More businesses are in growth mode than at any time since March 2016. Scottish Pacific senior executive Wayne Smith said one in two (51 per cent) are forecasting positive revenue growth for the next six months. “The average projected revenue increase of 4.5 per ccent is the most positive sentiment since 2016 and reflects a promising rebound in underlying business confidence within the SME sector,” Mr Smith said. In the mining sector, fewer than one-fifth think revenue will decline, by an average 4.2 per cent. "When asked how much additional revenue could have been generated if they had better cash... more

Trade war and global protectionism could risk recession

The escalating Trade War between the USA and China is already hurting Australian companies through restrictions in availability of key components, higher landed costs for Australian exports out of China and the USA, damage to business confidence, and delayed investment decisions, according to Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox. "The complexity of international supply chains means that the impact of either US or Chinese tariffs will be felt by all kinds of businesses and as expected Australia is becoming collateral damage. Trying to stay ahead of any changes will be a bit like playing whack-a-mole, but agile companies with good relationships with customers and suppliers are best placed to survive this trade conflict,” Mr Willox said. He said 10 years on from the Global Financial Crisis, it seems that protectionist-leaning governments are determined to snatch recession from the... more

Alternative energy M&A’s ramp up in the Asia-Pacific

A recently released report by Mergermarket, focusing on the Asia-Pacific’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market for alternative energy has found that 2017 showed a decline in total deal value for alternative energy deals, although the total number of deals remained flat. In the Asia-Pacific region (from the 2015-2018 reporting period), China completed the most alternative energy deals of all countries within the region and gained the most value (US$M 36,873) from their mergers and acquisitions over the reporting period. China finalised a total of 165 deals, with Solar (US$ 14,563M) and Hydro Energy (US$ 15,917M) being their most active sectors. Australia came in second on the list of top Asia-Pacific countries completing high-value alternative energy M&As. The total value came in at (US$ 10,671M) and was counted as having 36 deals, with the most active sectors being Wind... more

How to minimise risk in mining mergers and acquisitions

There’s been a flurry of merger and acquisition activity in the Australian mining sector recently. Notable examples include OZ Minerals’ proposed buyout of Avanco Resources and Hancock Prospecting’s bid for Atlas Iron. The acquisition strategies pursued by mining companies support strategic objectives such as diversifying into new commodities, winning a bigger share of an existing market or entering new geographic locations. While such strategies are an essential part of fuelling future growth, the risk implications are often extensive. The acquiring business must address these throughout the transaction and subsequent integration process. Investing in risk management  FM Global partners with mining businesses that want to improve the quality of risk management, often helping them undertake due diligence on potential acquisitions. As an example, our engineers will visi... more