Debt agreements in Queensland reach a new high

Insolvency in Queensland

What is a Debt Agreement ? A debt agreement (also called a Part IX agreement) is a binding agreement under Part IX of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 between a debtor and their creditors whereby creditors agree to accept a sum of money (which is usually less than the outstanding amount) but which the debtor can afford to pay.

Debt agreements in Queensland reached an all time high in the June quarter 2014, however the level of bankruptcies and personal insolvency agreements decreased over the quarter.  

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Employers can now opt-in to SuperStream

The federal government’s new standard for making superannuation payments, SuperStream, is now available for employers. 

SuperStream enables employers to make super contributions to employees’ super funds electronically by using linked data and payments. Employers were able to opt-in to the service from July 1 2014.

All payments towards employees’ super funds are to be treated the same way no matter what type of fund the employee has set up – a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), an Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) fund, a default fund or a super fund of their choice.

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More than 60,000 Queensland drivers lost their licence due to demerit points in 2012-13

Queensland police cancelled more than 60,000 driver licences in the 2012-2013 year, according to figures obtained by The Courier Mail under Right to Information laws. 

During the 2012-13 financial year 60,845 licences were cancelled due to an accumulation of demerit points, marking an increase from previous years. Individuals affected included 253 taxi drivers and 6,800 truck drivers.

Despite the rise in cancelled licences, magistrates are issuing fewer restricted licences, according to The Courier Mail.

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$100 million for reducing violence against women and children

The Federal Government has allocated more than $100 million to the Second Action Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children over a four-year period. 

The plan has the full support of all territories and states and will build on the work of the First Action Plan to address domestic and family violence, achieve better outcomes for women and children and reduce the stigma surrounding these issues. 

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New Property Occupations Act means less red tape for agents and consumers

Real estate and property reforms passed by the Queensland parliament last month will mean less red tape around property transactions.

The Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act (PAMDA) has been divided into industry-specific Acts that will make buying and selling real estate in Queensland a more straightforward process, according to Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) Chairman Roy Honeycombe.

“Previously, the real estate sector has long been legislatively bundled in with a variety of other occupations and the REIQ always felt that our profession deserved its own specific legislation,” Mr Honeycombe said in a May 7 statement.

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Is my intellectual property protected?

Whether you are buying a business, buying a franchise, acquiring a licence connected to goods and services, or entering into a commercial agreement it is important to consider intellectual property (IP) ownership. 

What is IP?

IP includes various intangible property rights including (among others), copyright, patents, trade marks and registered designs. Unlike common notions of property, IP is an intangible asset – but that makes it no less valuable. It is borne out of creative or innovative work undertaken by a business or an individual.

IP can be owned, leased, licenced, sold and transferred or given away just as physical property can. 

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New Office of the Public Guardian protects children and adults

As of July 1 2014, the functions of the adult guardian and child guardian will be in the scope of a new statutory body, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

The OPG is a new independent statutory body responsible for protecting the rights of young people in the child protection system as well as vulnerable adults found to have impaired decision making capacity. 

Previously, the responsibility for protecting vulnerable adults and children came under two different independent bodies, the Office of the Adult Guardian (OAG) and the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian (CCYPCG).

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Senate supports changes to financial advice laws

On July 15 2014 the Australian senate voted in support of amendments to financial advice laws legislated for in the Corporations Act 2001. 

The changes will remove “unnecessary and costly red tape” for small business advisers, while still maintaining protection for consumers, according to a statement from the Minister of Finance’s office. 

The statutory requirements that outline that financial advisers must act in the best interests of their clients and there must be no conflicted remuneration will remain in place. However, changes will be made regarding best interest duty, advice, fee disclosure and the resigning of contracts. 

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Understanding e-Conveyancing in Queensland

Lodgement of mortgages and discharges with the Queensland Land Registry can be completed electronically through Australia’s first national online e-Conveyancing platform, Property Exchange Australia (PEXA). 

E-Conveyancing is the process of completing property transactions online, this includes electronic lodgement of the transaction with Land Registries and settlement of funds. 

Over one million property transactions are completed in scope in Australia every year, according to PEXA. The aim of PEXA is to create an online business environment that provides users with time and cost benefits. This will be delivered through two releases.

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Estate planning should include superannuation

There are a lot of things to consider when completing estate planning and drafting your will. One of these elements is your superannuation benefits. 

In May the Queensland Supreme Court made a decision on the superannuation benefits of a person who died intestate. The deceased had superannuation benefits that entitled him to the amount of $453,748.69. This amount was from three different funds. The net worth of the deceased’s assets on the other hand was approximately $80,000.

The applicant and the respondent in this case were the mother and father of the deceased respectively. The mother applied for and was granted the Letters of Administration for the estate. She applied for the monies of each superannuation fund to be paid to her instead of to the estate.

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