Employment contracts in the spotlight following recent court case

A recent case before the High Court of Australia has highlighted the complexity of Australian employment law, even as the result will be welcomed by business owners.

The case related to the dismissal of a worker at a major Australian bank. At the time of the redundancy, the plaintiff was informed that the company would attempt to provide alternative employment for the man, however in the meantime he was asked to turn over his work phone and email. Because of this, the company had no way to contact the man when an alternative position came up and he was subsequently made redundant.

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Buyers can now more easily waive the cooling-off period for residential property purchases

Property buyers face a number of different hoops to jump through to purchase property, however a reform earlier in the year will remove one of these for new buyers.

The Property Occupations Bill 2013 (QLD) was passed by the Queensland government earlier in the year and is anticipated to come into effect before the end of the year. While the document eases a number of restrictions on the conveyancing process, one of the most important changes for buyers will be around the cooling-off period.

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More homes coming to Queensland

Queensland is demonstrating strong growth in residential housing construction, with the state one of the strongest performers in the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest figures on building approvals, released on October 2.

Among the larger Australian states, Queensland was a top performer, achieving a 2.7 per cent increase in approvals in the month of August. Although the Northern Territories and the ACT both recorded stronger gains, none of the other major states came close. In fact, none of the other states recorded more than a 1 per cent increase, with many declining in trend terms.

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Property prices growing in South East Queensland

Property in south-east Queensland is recording the strongest sales growth in the state, according to recent figures released by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) on September 13.

These figures reveal that the Brisbane area has seen the highest growth in property sales seen across the state during the June quarter. The REIQ recorded a 19 per cent increase in the number of properties being sold, with Logan also reaching 18 per cent growth.

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Many companies risking insolvency

Last year, many Australian companies faced the risk of financial insolvency, according to a recent report from Certified Practising Accountants Australia (CPA).

The study found that close to a third of companies listed on the ASX were issued with going concern warnings in 2013, indicating a significant level of stress among Australian businesses. 

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Insolvencies continue to affect Australian businesses

Recent statistics from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) point to the many different ways that companies can experience insolvency in Australia. 

The study of over 10,000 insolvency proceedings within Australia found that in 2013-2014 the most common industry for insolvencies was in the business and personal services sector. Companies in this space made up over a quarter (26 per cent) of overall insolvencies in the last year.

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PwC: Family businesses struggle with succession planning

A recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has revealed the significant challenge that family businesses face when it comes to succession planning and the commercial agreements that accompany this process.

Among the more than 2,000 family businesses that were surveyed as part of the report, only 16 per cent reported having a robust succession plan in place. What’s more, only 53 per cent have a succession plan for some senior positions, highlighting the gap in capabilities that affects many workers in this space.

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Commercial construction and company investment driving QLD growth

Queensland’s economy is being increasingly driven by non-residential construction and investments from businesses, according to the latest figures from CommSec.

Commsec’s quarterly report highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the country as a whole, as well as each of the states. In Queensland, non-residential building is a stand-out area, recording the third-highest ranking across the country.

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Australia faces new competition rules

Small businesses play an essential role in Australia’s economy, with these businesses often relying on a range of legal supports when it comes to their commercial contracts and activity.

This feature has been recently highlighted in a draft report on new competition laws for Australia. The Competition Policy Review’s draft report was released on September 22 and contained a number of recommendations for how small businesses in Australia might be further supported.

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