Navigating Foreign Investment Changes: Impact on Queensland Investors in 2023

As of July 1, 2023, significant changes to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) (FATA) have come into effect, impacting the landscape for foreign investors in Queensland.

The introduction of the new Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets (the New Register) brings forth additional reporting obligations, ushering in a new era of compliance for foreign persons involved in property transactions.

In this article, we explore the key takeaways and implications of these changes, shedding light on the evolving regulatory framework.

Key Changes and Takeaways:

Replacement and Expansion of Reporting Framework

The New Register marks a departure from the existing reporting framework, replacing and expanding on the registers, information recipients, and sources of reporting obligations that were in place before.

Foreign investors need to be aware of these changes to ensure compliance.

Increased Compliance Burden

Foreign persons are now faced with a substantial increase in the compliance burden due to the New Register.

Unlike before, certain events, even those for which FIRB approval has been obtained, will now need to be notified.

This expansion of reporting obligations aims to provide more comprehensive oversight of foreign ownership in Australian assets.

Reporting via ATO’s Online Services

Foreign investors subject to the New Register regime must report their ownership of Australian assets through the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) ‘Online services for foreign investors’ functions on the ATO website.

Familiarising oneself with the online reporting process is crucial to meet the new obligations efficiently.

Timely Reporting is Essential

Failure to notify relevant events within 30 days may result in fines.

It is imperative for foreign investors to understand the time-sensitive nature of these reporting obligations to avoid potential penalties.

Delays in reporting could have financial implications, making timely compliance a top priority.

Expanded Scope of Notifiable Events

The New Register introduces a broader range of notifiable events beyond those requiring FIRB approval.

Foreign investors need to be vigilant and stay informed about the expanded scope to ensure they are fulfilling their reporting obligations comprehensively.

What does this mean for foreign investors?

 With the implementation of the New Register on July 1, 2023, foreign investors in Queensland must be proactive in understanding and complying with the revised regulatory landscape.

The increased compliance burden, expanded reporting obligations, and the introduction of fines for non-compliance underscore the importance of staying informed and seeking professional advice when navigating property transactions in Australia.

By embracing these changes and adhering to the new reporting requirements, foreign investors can continue to participate in Queensland’s real estate market with confidence and in accordance with the law.

Need legal assistance with your Queensland foreign investments?

If you need further assistance understanding the changes to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) and the new Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets (the New Register), book a free consultation today to learn more about how our conveyancing and property lawyers can help you navigate these legislation changes to ensure you’re not liable for fines due to non-compliance.

Legal Disclaimer: General Advice Without Liability

The information provided is general in nature and not intended as specific legal advice for individual circumstances. No solicitor-client relationship is established by this communication, and reliance on its content is at the reader’s own risk. While we aim for accuracy, laws may change, and we do not guarantee the timeliness or applicability of the information. For personalised advice tailored to your situation, consult a qualified solicitor at Arcuri Turnbull Law.

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Protecting Consumer and Small Business Rights

From 9 November 2023, Australia Consumer Law (“ACL”) will redefine the way consumer contracts are structured and enforced, with a primary focus on preventing unfair contract terms and promoting transparency.

“The changes to the unfair contract terms laws should motivate businesses to take steps to ensure their standard form contracts are fair, including by removing or amending concerning terms” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said

These pivotal changes to Australian contract law include:

Banning of Unfair Contract Terms

Currently, a court can only declare specific terms of a contract unfair and therefore void. After 9 November 2023, the court can impose substantial penalties on businesses and individuals who include unfair terms in their standard form contracts. The maximum financial penalties for businesses under the new unfair contract terms law are the greatest of:

  • $50,000,000;
  • three times the value of the “reasonably attributable” benefit obtained from the conduct, if the court can determine this; or
  • if a court cannot determine the benefit, 30 per cent of adjusted turnover during the breach period.

The maximum penalty for an individual is $2.5 million.

Small Business 

Previously, a small business was typically one with 20 or fewer employees and an upfront price under $300,000 or $1 million for contracts lasting more than 12 months.

However, on or after 9 November 2023, small businesses will be covered by the unfair contract terms protections for any new or varied standard form contract from that date if they:

  • employ up to 100 employees; or
  • annual turnovers less than $10 million

Standard Form Contract

New changes to the law give more guidance in determining whether a contract is a standard form contract:

  • Both parties’ bargaining power about the transaction;
  • Any discussions between the parties about the transaction before prepared the contract
  • Whether a party had little choice but to accept or reject the contract’s terms as presented
  • Any real opportunity to negotiate the terms of the contract
  • Any specific features of a party or the particular transaction
  • whether the party that prepared the contract has also made other contracts that are the same or very similar and the number of times this has been done
  • Any other factors the court thinks relevant

The legal amendment also clarifies that a contract may still be categorised as a standard form contract, even if:

  • The other party had some latitude to negotiate minor or inconsequential alterations to the contract terms.
  • The other party could select terms from a predefined range determined by the drafting party.
  • The drafting party allowed a third party to negotiate the terms of a separate contract.

As these changes come into effect, it is essential for both consumers and businesses to be aware of their rights and obligations under these revised regulations. Seeking legal advice from Arcuri Turnbull Law when entering into complex agreements can provide the necessary guidance to navigate the evolving contract landscape.

Author: Audrey Wang

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Child support is more than just a legal obligation; it’s a reflection of the shared responsibility parents have towards their children. For over 40 years, Arcuri Turnbull Law has been helping parents on the Gold Coast navigate this often complex aspect of family law. With clarity and trust at our core, we’re here to shed light on how child support works in Queensland.

How Does Child Support Work?

Child support comes from the idea that both parents, whether living together or apart, should contribute to the financial well-being of their children. It ensures that children receive adequate care and have the best chance at maintaining their lifestyle post their parents separation. In essence, child support is about the child’s right to receive support from both parents.

The Gold Coast, like the rest of Queensland, adheres to a structured system for child support. It’s determined based on a set of guidelines that consider the child’s needs and the parents’ capacity to pay.

Legal Responsibilities of Parents: Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 repealed the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when making parenting orders. Parents can continue to agree with joint decision-making about major long term issues of the children for the best interest of the child.

Factors Influencing Child Support: Several elements play a role in the child support arrangement. This includes the income of both parents, the child’s living arrangements, the child’s age, and special needs or considerations that might impact expenses.

Determining How Much Child Support You Will Pay

Wondering how much child support you will need to pay is a common question and concern. While there are online calculators that offer a ballpark figure, it’s essential to understand that these are general tools and don’t take into account special needs of the child like:

  • medical expenses
  • health insurance expenses
  • excursions and extracurricular activities costs
  • interstate and international travel expenses
  • any other special circumstances

When it comes to child support arrangements, parents have flexibility in choosing the approach that best suits their needs and circumstances. At Arcuri Turnbull Law, we are committed to guiding you through this process and ensuring that your child’s well-being remains a top priority.

Private Agreements

Parents who agree on the amount of financial support for their children can opt for private agreements. These agreements can be informal or formal and are typically documented in writing. There are two primary types of private agreements:

Binding Child Support Agreement:

This legally binding agreement can be established without the need for a child support assessment. It offers a high degree of flexibility and can accommodate various family situations.

Limited Child Support Agreement:

This agreement must be accompanied by a child support assessment. It is applicable when the agreed-upon child support amount is equal to or greater than the assessment.

Child Support Agency Assessment

Alternatively, parents who are unable to agree on child support terms or prefer a more structured approach can turn to the Child Support Agency. The agency assesses child support based on factors such as the number of days each parent cares for the child and their respective incomes. This assessment ensures an objective and fair determination of child support obligations.

What Does Child Support Actually Cover?

Child support isn’t limited to basic necessities. It is also there to cover things like:

  • Education: From school fees to uniforms and even extracurricular activities.
  • Healthcare: Medical appointments, medications, therapies, and more.
  • Living Expenses: Food, clothing, housing, and utilities.
  • Recreation: Costs associated with hobbies, sports, and other leisure activities.

It’s crucial to understand that child support money plays a holistic role in supporting a child’s overall well-being.

Seeking Child Support Clarity with Arcuri Turnbull Law

The intricacies of child support can be daunting, and navigating them alone can lead to unnecessary stress and tension between separating partners. With Arcuri Turnbull Law’s dedicated team by your side, you can be assured of precise, empathetic, and results-oriented guidance.

We’re more than just a law firm; we’re a partner in this journey. Whether you’re trying to understand your obligations or believe you’re not receiving the rightful amount for your child, our expertise is here to guide and assist.

Child support stands as a testament to a child’s right to a fair and fulfilling life. At Arcuri Turnbull Law, we’re here to ensure that commitment is honoured, understood, and facilitated, every step of the way.

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