Another New Year
It’s 2023 and we are back in the office and ready for an exciting and rewarding year ahead!
We had a successful close to 2022 and were all able to take a break over the Christmas and New Year period. Summer time spent with family and friends in the sunshine (when it was around!) left us all feeling refreshed and ready to hit the ground running in 2023.
First off for the new year is moving to our new office space at Level 4, 289 Flinders Lane in Melbourne. We plan to be fully settled from early February. From there we look forward to a year of building our Alliance subscription service, building our team and helping our clients create and scale great businesses.
We hope 2023 is a fulfilling and rewarding year for you all and we look forward to supporting you.
Andrew, Roxie, Yee & Ash
We were pleased to represent our Alliance client Livewire Markets in their successful acquisition of the Market Index business, with the transaction finalised in December 2022. By joining forces, Livewire and Market Index are looking to become Australia’s number 1 dedicated platform for investment information reaching more than 700,000 investors each month.
We congratulate Livewire founders Tom and James onthe successful acquistion.
We would like to congratulate our Alliance client MGA Thermal winning of Translation Hero category at the 2022 InnovationAus Awards for Excellence.
We look forward to continuing our work with the MGA Thermal team in 2023.
Victorian CleanTech Expo
Elevate Legal was pleased to sponsor the Victorian CleanTech Expo in November 2022. We were able to provide a booth to our client Jupiter Ionics at the event, and we awarded winners of the CleanTech pitch competition, Bardee and Mantaray Climate, with prizes of legal support worth $10,000 each through our Alliance service.
We continue to grow our Alliance subscription service, to provide ‘business as usual’ legal support for a fixed monthly fee. If you are looking for a better model for commercial legal support, please contact us at email@example.com.
Reforms to Unfair Contract Terms Laws
On 9 November 2022 The Treasury Laws Amendment (More Competition, Better Prices) Act 2022 (Act) received Royal Assent (Act). This Act amends the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and results in new laws applying to unfair terms in consumer and small business contracts.
The Act (i) increases the maximum penalty for anti-competitive behaviour and certain breaches of competition and consumer law; and (ii) prohibits the use of unfair contract terms in standard form contracts. Penalties for breaching competition and consumer laws, including unfair contract term laws, will increase to:
For Companies – the greatest of:
- $50 million;
- if the court can determine the benefit obtained from a contravention – 3x the total value of the benefit; and
- if the court cannot determine the value of the benefit obtained – 30% of the adjusted turnover during the ‘breach turnover period’ (the greater of 12 months or the period of contravention).
- $2.5 million per contravention (which is a significant increase from $500,000 for civil contraventions or 2,000 penalty units).
The laws apply to standard form contracts for products or services sold to consumers and small businesses. A consumer is any person acquiring goods or services for $100,000 or less and the definition of ‘small business’ has expanded to be a business with fewer than 100 employees or that has an annual turnover of less than $10 million.
A term in a standard form contract is ‘unfair’ if it:
- causes significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations;
- is not reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate interests of the party being advantaged by the term; and
- would cause detriment to a party if the term was applied and relied on.
Businesses have until November 2023 to remove or amend any unfair contract terms in their standard form contracts before the new penalties begin to apply.
Increase to Privacy Breach Penalties
On 12 December 2022 the Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Bill 2022 passed into law.
The new laws will increase the penalty under section 13G of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) for serious or repeated interferences with the privacy of an individual or individuals to $2.5 million for a person (other than a body corporate) and a maximum of the greater of $50 million; three times the benefit obtained; or if the court cannot determine the value of the benefit, 30% of their adjusted turnover in the relevant period, for body corporates (i.e. the same as the new consumer laws mentioned above).
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has also been granted enhanced enforcement powers and information sharing powers under the new laws, including:
- Expansion of the types of declarations that the Commissioner can make in a determination at the end of an investigation.
- Amending the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the Privacy Act. This will ensure that foreign organisations that carry on business in Australia meet the obligations of the Privacy Act, even if they do not collect or hold information of Australians from a source in Australia.
- New powers to conduct assessments granted to the Commissioner.
- New infringement notice powers to penalise entities for failing to provide information without the need to engage in litigation.
Strengthening of the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme to ensure the Commissioner has comprehensive knowledge of any information compromised in an eligible data breach so they can assess the particular risk of harm to individuals.
Fair Work Act Changes
The Government has passed the new Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 which amends the Fair Work Act 2009 (Fair Work Act) to change a number of existing rules, and to introduce new workplace laws. It is important to note that these changes take place on different dates starting from December 2022.
The changes that have already begun are:
- Job security – including new workplace rights on disclosing pay and workplace conditions, prohibiting pay secrecy and unlawful job advertisements.
- Gender equality measures:
– New protected attributes in the Fair Work Act:
o Gender identity
o Intersex status
– New objects of the Fair Work Act, modern awards and minimum wages
– Equal remuneration principles and order
– Functions performed by the Fair Work Ombudsman including guidelines and community outreach in multiple languages
- Changes for enterprise agreements and enterprise bargaining
For further information on the current and upcoming changes visit the Fair Work Ombudsman.
A selection of things taking up time outside work:
- Time’s Up!: The Subscription Business Model for Professional Firms, by Paul Dunn and Ronald J. Baker. This book reinforces my view that a subscription model provides much more value and impact for our clients (and our team members) than traditional law firm models. While much of the book reflects our existing Alliance subscription service, I also got plenty of helpful insights and practical tips on how we can enhance our service. Stay tuned over the next few months. (Andrew)
- The Passenger and Stella Maris, by Cormac McCarthy – these two novels, which were released as a pair (Stella Maris is described as a ‘coda’ to the main book, The Passenger), were eagerly awaited as my beach reading. Unfortunately, I have to say they did not live up to my expectations. The Passenger starts off with an intriguing plotline, and has some colourful characters (it’s mainly set in New Orleans) but I ultimately found the writing unengaging and self-absorbed. (There’s a lot about advanced mathematics and physics, which seemed unnecessarily showy and, at least for me, a tiresome distraction. Maybe I’m just not erudite enough to get the point.) (Andrew)
- The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, by Emma Carey – This is an autobiography where Emma tells the story of how she was in a skydiving accident in Switzerland and survived. Her story is inspirational and will make you both laugh and cry and be amazed with how strong the human spirit can be when life doesn’t turn out the way you expected. (Roxie)
- Feekah Café, a delightful experience especially if you’re someone who loves pink! The decor is beautiful with pink flowers all over the Café. Their gold coffee and rainbow pancakes were divine and absolutely delicious. The kids’ eyes lit up when they saw the size of the fairy floss that accompanied the drinks. It is social bloggers delight! Feekah Café is located in Hawthorn, Doncaster and Moonee Ponds. https://feekah.com.au/ (Yee)