background preloader

Regulatory issues

Facebook Twitter

Scott Morrison will revert to the tried and trusty electioneering playbook to fight the looming election. Otto von Bismarck, the man who unified Germany in the 19th century via a series of wars before becoming its first chancellor, once noted: "People never lie so much as, after a hunt, during a war, or before an election".

Scott Morrison will revert to the tried and trusty electioneering playbook to fight the looming election

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison has yet to name a date, and with the silly season looming, it would appear that for the next five or so months we will be subjected to the triannual festival of fantasy and fear from all quarters that leads up to polling day. In fact, it's already well underway. You have to feel some sympathy for Mr Morrison. With a revolving door of senior cabinet ministers calling it quits, scandals emerging by the day, defections on the floor of the House along with tensions between moderates and the right and the Liberals and the Nationals, he doesn't have a great deal to work with.

Homeowners in the lurch as red tape and buck-passing leave thousands of houses 'orphaned' Thousands of Victorian homeowners are being stranded with "orphaned" houses they cannot live in because of regulatory failures and bureaucratic dithering, according to industry experts.

Homeowners in the lurch as red tape and buck-passing leave thousands of houses 'orphaned'

Key points: One Victorian family have been kicked out of the house they built and have endured months in "limbo"The issue, driven in large part by insurance premiums, is in the too-hard basket for some authoritiesThe Victorian government says councils should be able to deal with the problem The Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS), which represents private construction inspectors, says there are up to 20,000 orphaned building permits across Victoria. The term refers to permits that cannot be completed because a project's building surveyor is no longer in business and no other surveyors are willing to take on the job due to crippling insurance liabilities.

Building horror stories prompt calls for tougher Australian laws to protect consumers. It's held up as the great Australian dream.

Building horror stories prompt calls for tougher Australian laws to protect consumers

And certainly for millions of Australians, owning a home is the biggest financial commitment they will make in their lives. Key points: A top construction lawyer says inadequate laws are failing thousands of homeowners a yearConsumers tell of building nightmares leaving them financially stricken and depressedThere were more than 200,000 housing starts approved last financial year. How Uber Australia fills a Dutch 'cash pool' and why it is fighting an $81.5m payroll tax bill. Uber Australia has continued its longstanding practice of sending revenue to its head company in the Netherlands.

How Uber Australia fills a Dutch 'cash pool' and why it is fighting an $81.5m payroll tax bill

Key points: Uber's financial accounts show that the directors of Uber Australia Holdings for the 2020 year were its own tax advisersThe company sends much of its locally earned revenue to its Netherlands parent, which it describes in its accounts as a Dutch "cash pooling arrangement"Experts say the company uses this model to minimise tax but the company says it pays all taxes it owes in each jurisdiction it operates The ridesharing and food delivery platform's latest financial accounts also reveal the Australian company has entered a stoush with the NSW government about whether it should remit payroll tax for drivers and has been hit with an $81.5 million tax bill, which it is disputing. In 2015, Uber told a Senate corporate tax avoidance inquiry that about 25 per cent of each transaction in Australia was routed to its head company in the Netherlands.

Key points: Superannuation rises could come at the cost of wages — workers may end up paying for their own super rise. Workers expecting a big jump in their superannuation payments could get a shock on July 1.

Superannuation rises could come at the cost of wages — workers may end up paying for their own super rise

Key points: The superannuation guarantee is the proportion of wages employers must contribute to workers' retirement savingsIt's set to rise from 9.5 per cent to 10 per cent from July 1But employment lawyers and others are warning some bosses may make workers pay for their own super rises Some employers are looking for ways to avoid passing on legislated super rises to their workers. Workers have employment contracts that either state their super should be paid on top of their base salary, or that is included as part of their total package. It's employees in the second category who face taking home less wages. Proxy adviser crackdown could censor activism on issues like executive pay, gender diversity and climate change. When Rio Tinto destroyed a culturally significant cave in Western Australia's Juukan Gorge containing 46,000 years of human history, its board initially didn't appear to understand the gravity of the situation.

Proxy adviser crackdown could censor activism on issues like executive pay, gender diversity and climate change

Even after the company held a review into the catastrophe, not one single person was sacked — at that stage — for the failures. The boss of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), whose members are mostly big superannuation funds in Australia and collectively own about 10 per cent of most of the big, listed companies, was livid. "It was just a terrible, terrible tragedy for both the local traditional owners but for all Australians," says ACSI CEO Louise Davidson, reflecting back on discussions she had with Rio more than a year ago. Subsequently, in September last year, the company announced its CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques would resign "by mutual agreement" and that two other senior executives would also be leaving.

Proxy advisers face new regulation. Financial regulator APRA to stress-test banks on climate change, to examine what would happen in a 3-degrees-hotter world. A key financial regulator is testing what would happen to Australia's economy if climate change creates a 'hot house world' with temperatures more than 3 degrees higher than the Earth's current average.

Financial regulator APRA to stress-test banks on climate change, to examine what would happen in a 3-degrees-hotter world

Key points: APRA will commission research to illustrate the financial risks of unchecked climate changeThe scenario maps more than 3 degrees of warming, but also the impact of 'tipping points' that may be triggered if the world surpasses 2 degreesSuch situations could create what some experts call "runaway temperature scenarios" A tender for the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is seeking "climate risk modelling" on behalf of major banks, by assessing the impact on the nation's 500-biggest listed companies.

"Climate change is a systemic threat that left unchecked will undercut Australian economic growth and long-term investment returns," said Erwin Jackson, director of policy at the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC). Check climate. NT Environmental Protection Authority lashes mining company TNG over ASX statements. The Northern Territory's environmental watchdog boss says he is surprised and furious with mining company TNG for publishing "incorrect and potentially misleading" statements to the ASX.

NT Environmental Protection Authority lashes mining company TNG over ASX statements

Mining company TNG has accused the NT EPA of "retrospectively" applying NT government guidelinesThe EPA's chairman Paul Vogel says changes to the company's proposal required answersHe says the law requires the EPA to look at cumulative environmental impacts of projects TNG is planning to build an iron ore processing facility on Darwin Harbour. The project is under assessment with the NT Environmental Protection Authority before a final ministerial decision is made. Reserve Bank and Treasury admit 'full employment' is not what they thought it was. And it's held the country back. When a glacier shifts a few inches, a gigantic movement has still occurred.

Reserve Bank and Treasury admit 'full employment' is not what they thought it was. And it's held the country back

What we've seen from Australia's economic officials in recent months is an admission that their analytical models have been letting the country down. Both the Reserve Bank and Treasury have admitted what they thought was "full employment" in Australia was not, in fact, full employment. That means the federal government's Budget strategy has also been based on numbers that haven't been correct.

The unemployment rate could have been lower in recent years Last week, Treasury released a mea culpa paper, of a kind, that boiled down to this. Why Australia isn't aiming for 'full employment' anymore. Is there a reason politicians wouldn't want as many people as possible to be employed?

Why Australia isn't aiming for 'full employment' anymore

It's a genuine question. In the 1930s and 1940s, there was a lively conversation among economists about the theoretical possibility of "full unemployment". After seeing the wastefulness of mass unemployment in the Great Depression, and how unemployment was eradicated when governments put their countries on a war-footing, it made economists wonder if it was possible to create full employment in peace time? The question inspired a wave of research.

Artist Cheryl Hodges has had work stolen countless times online, and she is on a mission to end the theft. For 16 years, Cheryl Hodges has seen her botanical illustration of a golden wattle flower spread across the internet without her permission. She has seen it "innocently" used in environmental brochures, and copied by other artists "for their own gain, selling it as their own on their websites". Torquay is having a property boom, but the Karaaf Wetlands on Victoria's Surf Coast is under threat. To the untrained eye, the Karaaf Wetlands on Victoria's Surf Coast looks like an untouched oasis. It's home to kangaroos, wallabies, and birds that make the journey from as far away as Japan and China. But it is under threat as the town of Torquay grapples with a population boom and seemingly endless hunger for development. As porous dirt has given way to roof tiles and concrete, urban stormwater is flooding into the once-pristine wetland, which needs salt water to survive.

And the one dam nearby that could offer some protection is at risk of being decommissioned within a week. NT Government shaves $120 million off McArthur River Mine environmental security bond. The NT Government has quietly reduced the environmental rehabilitation bond for a major Top End mine by more than $100 million after controversially approving a significant expansion of the site.

Key points: The McArthur River Mine's environmental security bond was reduced by $120 millionThe Environment Centre NT says taxpayers could become liable for environmental damageA proposal to double the size of the zinc and lead mine was approved on Thursday Glencore's McArthur River Mine, a lead and zinc mine near Borroloola in the Gulf of Carpentaria, now has a security bond of about $400 million instead of $520 million. Mining and Industry Minister Nicole Manison announced approval for a doubling of the size of the project's mine pit and waste rock dump earlier this week. Why closed borders mean you may finally get a bigger pay rise. Have a think about this. The size of Australia's "labour force" is roughly 13.8 million people.

That's the pool of workers in the economy. Senate inquiry into car dealerships prompts overhaul of franchising rules. A Senate inquiry has found there is an inherent power imbalance between car dealers and manufacturers in Australia. Key points: The federal government plans to increase fines for breaches of the franchising code to $10 millionA Senate committee has been critical of the government's reforms in the sectorCar dealers fear they will miss out on the new legal protections For the owners of Astoria Motors, that finding is nothing new. The Honda dealership in Melbourne was once one of the company's most successful dealers in Australia.

Why the Reserve Bank and the federal government don't see eye to eye on Australia's coronavirus recovery. These are unusual times. Despite an economy still in recovery from one of the worst recessions on record with elevated levels of Australians out of work, real estate is booming across the land, and all in the total absence of any immigration. Fears of a debt disaster as property market runs hot and changes to safe lending laws loom.

Jacob had big dreams before the global financial crisis. He wanted to develop his then property in the Tweed Valley into a tourist lodge. If you've been feeling poorer over the last decade, this graph explains why. Have a look at the graph below. Were JobKeeper payments supposed to flow to shareholders? It can be hard following a news story. If a story unfolds slowly over months, in increments, it's like watching a sand dune shifting around. Economics professor Ross Garnaut says Australia voluntarily keeps hundreds of thousands unemployed. Your superannuation is about to increase, but here's the catch. White spot virus killing wild Australian prawns and crabs, with some experts saying 'it is here to stay' The exotic white spot virus that devastated South-East Queensland prawn farms is now killing wild prawns and small crabs in the Logan river and has become widespread in Moreton Bay.

Gundjeihmi and ERA enter negotiations to extend Ranger Uranium Mine rehabilitation. An Aboriginal group in Kakadu National Park says the rehabilitation plan for a decommissioned uranium mine is "woefully inadequate", calling for a 26-year extension to the process. Mining at the Ranger Uranium Mine wound up yesterday after more than 40 yearsTraditional owners in Kakadu are now calling for an extension of the project's rehabilitation phaseThe company that runs the mine has signalled its support for the move Production at the Ranger Uranium Mine, on the outskirts of the national park, drew to a close yesterday after more than 40 years of operation. SA Government approves drilling on sacred Lake Torrens, despite opposition from Aboriginal groups. The South Australian Government has granted a minerals exploration company permission to "damage, disturb or interfere" with a sacred Aboriginal site in the state's outback.

Key points: Lake Torrens is a sacred site to the Kokatha, Barngarla, Adnyamathanha and Kuyani peopleThe South Australian Government has approved mineral exploration on the lake, with environmental guidelinesThe exploration proponent plans to use "mats" to protect the lake's surface during the operations. Contractors refusing to sign up for TasWater projects, citing contract risk concerns. TasWater is set to change how it manages its small dam, sewer and pipeline projects, after local contractors raised concerns about "unethical" contracts exposing them to unreasonable risk, and projects "burdened by bureaucracy". Competition watchdog says new rules are needed to ensure fair trading for 'vulnerable' farmers - ABC News.

Mine regulators refer bullying, fraud allegations to Northern Territory anti-corruption watchdog - ABC News. Australian dollar approaching a dangerous level, economists warn - ABC News. Australian Grape and Wine calls for a fast pivot to other markets as China export evaporates - ABC News. Unions lobby governments, Industrial Relations Minister to halve insecure work by 2030 - ABC News. Mining company Bravus, formerly Adani, fined for 'misinterpreting' environmental approval conditions - ABC News. Bank account shutdown hurting communities sending $10 billion a year to family overseas - ABC News.

Less than 10 per cent of mining companies in Australia mention Aboriginal engagement, study finds - ABC News. How gambling authorities missed Crown's criminal ties - ABC News. What the superannuation wars mean for you - ABC News. NT Government shaves $120 million off McArthur River Mine environmental security bond - ABC News. Peters prevented food distributor from engaging with other ice cream makers, ACCC alleges - ABC News. Why Australia isn't aiming for 'full employment' anymore - ABC News. Growers plead for fresh ideas after $150,000 worth of unpicked food ploughed back into paddocks - ABC News. How lessons from the past 40 years could show us the way out of the coronavirus recession - ABC News.

Modern Monetary Theory: How MMT is challenging the economic establishment - ABC News. Mining industry hid issues with dust monitoring in Port Hedland from regulator - ABC News. If you've never followed the Federal Budget before, now might be a good time to start - ABC News. Dark kitchens (or cloud kitchens) on track for a bright future in a post-coronavirus world - ABC News. Queensland Government investigates whether new trains use parts made by slave labour from Chinese Uyghur camps - ABC News. WA councils back Premier's push to wind back interstate FIFO work - ABC News. As Australia's 'fiscal cliff' becomes a 'fiscal slope', talk of a 'snap back' has all but disappeared - ABC News. RBA governor Philip Lowe says the Australian economy has 'turned the corner', but Government has more to do - ABC News. RBA governor Philip Lowe speaks this week, but does he have any good news to deliver? - ABC News.

Modern Monetary Theory: How MMT is challenging the economic establishment - ABC News. Unemployment figures from the ABS are hard to interpret because of how they are defined - ABC News. Hutt River Province celebrates its 50th anniversary as Western Australia's micronation. Clampdown on foreign investments to prevent international raids on Australian assets amid coronavirus pandemic. The steely women who launched a historic fight over the equal right to work — and won. Bob Brown Foundation forest protesters no longer face big fines after regulator withdraws ban. SA Government loses seven-month fight to keep combustible cladding documents secret.

Why not everyone who has their land compulsorily purchased gets compensation. Northern Territory building developers call for better standards amid high-rise concerns. Insurance premiums rising after long summer of bushfires, storms and floods. NSW Government proposes ratings scorecard for builders to prevent construction disasters. Tobacco giants lobby PM and key MPs with pro-vaping message - Science News - ABC News.

Reckon you're not involved in modern slavery? Think again - Hack - triple j. Centrelink robodebt raised against dead disability pensioner. Power prices would be lower under emissions trading scheme, outgoing public service head Martin Parkinson says. Australia's solar industry is booming, but so is the amount of valuable waste going to landfill. Combustible cladding removal will uncover 'litany' of problems, expert warns. Grape company's gripe with NT Government over water allocation - ABC Rural - ABC News. Google search data used by pharma giant to bombard users with ads for addictive opioids.

'Critical' breaches of Vietnam live export trade see more than 1,500 Australian cattle left unaccounted for - ABC Rural - ABC News. Cladding risks raised by Melbourne fire brigade before Neo200 blaze, but council deemed risk 'low' 'Obnoxious' drone noise to get national review as hobby pilots, Google face crackdown - Politics. Canberra's noise laws to face 'protest jam' as musicians band together to 'save' nightlife. Fears Canberra will become a 'silent city' if residential developments go ahead. Amazon announces 'Shazam for clothes' and drone deliveries in 30 minutes at AI conference. Illegal waste allegedly dumped on proposed Darwin water park site, NT EPA claims. Employers pocketing $6 billion of workers' super each year, say industry funds.

Land clearing laws to be bolstered if Labor wins government, so what do Queensland graziers think? - ABC Rural - ABC News. Fremantle shop owner Antonio Iraci wins 64-year legal fight to build a bike shed on his footpath. Music festival organisers say new regulations are 'an invasion of civil liberties' and 'a political move'

Property owner accused of putting lives at risk by denying Telstra access to landlocked tower. Google's drone delivery trial could be under threat from group of angry Australian residents. Coal ash has become one of Australia's biggest waste problems — and a solution is being ignored. Builder suspended by Victorian authority over substandard Melbourne developments. This retiree is happy to see the end of cash refunds on franking credits. Senators grill bureaucrats over $422m Paladin Holdings security contracts on Manus Island. Labor and the Greens are standing in the way of cheaper super. Former Australian of the Year Mick Dodson expected to be first NT treaty commissioner.

Carnegie Clean Energy's Albany wave farm win 'the only outcome' under tender process, MP says. Byron Bay Bluesfest director threatens to move festival from NSW after new government guidelines. Northern Territory ICAC's new general manager could face conflicts of interest, lawyer says. Thousands of Power and Water customers given deadline to deal with backflow risk.

Pill testing kits available over the counter at some pharmacies in NSW and the NT. The ACT Government used behavioural experiment to urge Canberrans to pay their bills. Darwin Turf Club provided $3.5m government guarantee to build drinking, gambling venue. Bank shareholders earning billions from our retirement savings. China's research in artificial intelligence 'far outranks' Huawei threat, expert says. Niall Blair singled out by Murray Darling Royal Commission over Menindee fish kill comments. Fired-up fishers demand answers over faulty tracking devices ahead of Gulf barramundi season - ABC Rural - ABC News. Cattle genome patent to be permitted following Federal Court ruling, after some amendments - ABC Rural - ABC News. Taxpayers foot $355k bill for Tasmanian Liberals legal fight over anti-protest laws.