Legal Writers Wrap Up: May 2018

Legal Writers Wrap up

We’re almost halfway through the year, and we know a lot of our clients are gearing up for the end of financial year crunch. There’s a lot happening out there across the practice areas, though – we’ve rounded the biggest news up for your convenience in the Legal Writers Wrap Up.

If your clients would like to know more, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help get the word out.

Family Law

There’s a huge shakeup in the family law courts, with the Government’s announcement that the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit of Australia will be amalgamated from 1 January 2019. A new Family Law Appeals Division will also be added to the Federal Court of Australia. It’s hoped that the changes will make family law matters faster and cheaper for the affected parties.

Relevant to: Parties intending to institute family law actions.


The Fair Work Commission announced a 3.5% raise to the national minimum wage on 1 June 2018. This means that the national minimum wage will be $719.20 per week or $18.93 per hour. Minimum award wages will also be raised by 3.5%.

Relevant to: All employers and any potentially affected employees.


The Federal Government announced its budget this month. Some of the highlights from a taxation perspective include:

  • Some immediate tax relief for low and middle-income earners
  • The $20,000 instant asset write-off has been extended to 30 June 2019
  • A range of integrity measures that may impact the taxation of online businesses, significant global entities, and consolidated groups.
  • Partners assigning their interests will not be able to benefit from the small business CGT exemption anymore
  • Adding GST into the Director Penalty Regime to combat illegal phoenixing
  • Removing tax deductions where a business has not withheld PAYG

Relevant for: Most individuals, small and large businesses.

Financial Services

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) was authorised on 1 May. From 1 November 2018, it will be the only external dispute resolution body for financial firms, replacing the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit, and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal. Leading up to its commencement all financial service organisations should prepare to join AFCA by 21 September 2018.

Relevant for: All financial service organisations

APRA will start offering a restricted licence soon. The restricted ADI licence will allow new businesses to carry on some banking services for up to two years while they build their capabilities and resources. In the interim period, APRA has indicated that it’s open to potential licensees speaking to them to obtain guidance on the new licensing process.

Relevant for: Any new business or startup that may need to hold and ADI licence.

Competition and Consumer Law

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been given the task of establishing a Consumer Data Right. This will empower consumers who want to access and share data held by businesses so that they can compare similar services with competitors. It is anticipated that this will begin from July 2019, with the ACCC indicating financial services will be their initial target industry.

Relevant to: Businesses in most industries, although this will be phased in with financial services first.