Legal Writers Wrap Up: December 2017

Legal Writers Wrap up

It might be the holiday season, but Australia’s laws continue apace. Here are the major developments from December 2017 that we think your clients might like to hear about. If you’d like to write an article or share further with your clients, let us know and we’ll be happy to help.


The Federal Government is consulting on a possible extension of the Director Penalty Regime that would make directors personally liable for unpaid GST.

Relevant to: Company directors


Earlier in 2017, the Government announced changes to 457 Visa holders due to come into effect in March 2018. A recent announcement has offered some relief to affected people: grandfathering provisions will apply to anyone who held or applied for a 457 Visa before 18 April 2017.

Relevant to: Anyone on a 457 Visa

Financial Services

The Government is reviewing the rules governing early release of superannuation funds, possibly making them available on grounds of severe financial hardship or compassionate grounds. The review will make recommendations early in 2018.

Relevant to: Individuals seeking financial advice

Real Estate

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Housing Tax Integrity) Bill 2017 was assented to on 30 November 2017. The bill amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 and the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 to do away with travel expense deductions for landlords and impose an annual vacancy fee on foreign owners of unoccupied residential real estate.

Relevant to: Landlords, including foreign investors

Technology, Media and Communications

The Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Bill 2017 (Cth) (Bill) was introduced into Parliament on 6 December 2017. It proposes to extend the Copyright Act’s ‘safe harbour’ provisions that apply to carriage service providers so that it will broaden the definition of a CSP. Currently it applies only to telecommunications providers: the new bill will apply to educational, cultural and library institutions in certain circumstances. It does not extend to online platforms.

Relevant to: Educational and cultural institutions and libraries