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Our experienced lawyers share their unique perspectives on the latest market news and trends. Moulis Legal and our lawyers are highly ranked by respected peer review agencies Chambers & Partners, Who’s Who Legal and Best Lawyers. Our recognitions include consistent Band 1 recognition by Chambers & Partners Asia Pacific, and as one of Australia’s top 20 law firms (Chambers & Partners, 2015).

Investor State Dispute Settlement – a critical tool in the international investment toolkit

Australia’s free trade agreement with China, the highly debated Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and Australia’s recent dispute with big tobacco in Singapore have drawn public and political attention to Investor State Dispute Settlement, or ISDS. Characterisations of ISDS have included it being an attack on democracy, a threat to national sovereignty or a panacea that protects all international investment. 

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Negotiating civil penalties with regulators – High Court changes stop to go

After a year of uncertainty, the High Court’s decision in CFMEU v Director, Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate & Anor (“the CFMEU case”) has restored and validated the long held practice in regulatory matters for parties to agree on a civil penalty to submit for approval by the Court. 

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NSW court holds directors liable for contamination clean-up costs

The NSW Land and Environment Court has handed down a decision with significant implications for directors and managers of companies that operate environmentally sensitive businesses, such as service stations, petroleum storage facilities and depots.

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Ethanol Mandate Act passed by Queensland Parliament

On 1 December 2015, the Liquid Fuel Supply (Ethanol and Other Biofuels Mandate) Amendment Act 2015 was passed by the Queensland Parliament (“the Ethanol Mandate Act”). The Ethanol Mandate Act imposes a biobased petrol and diesel mandate to commence on 1 January 2017.

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Business critical investment issue – can you get your money out of China?

Against the backdrop of the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (“CHAFTA”), an increasing number of Australian businesses are investing in the Chinese market, especially in the growing area of professional services. Traditionally one of the biggest challenges for foreign investors into China has been getting profits and payments past the labyrinth of China’s financial, taxation and exchange regulations. 

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Heritage approvals get modernised in Canberra

Owners and developers of heritage-listed properties in the Australian Capital Territory can now undertake minor development under a very much streamlined approval process. Changes to procedures introduced by the ACT Government in September, now in effect, allow owners of heritage sites to pursue minor developments without a development application (“DA”) if, in the opinion of the ACT Heritage Council, the development proposal is of no significance to the existing heritage values of the site. 

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ChAFTA and what it means for Canberra

If Canberra wants a slice of the money expected to flow from the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (“ChAFTA”) it will have to ramp up its efforts to sell its attractiveness as a place to invest, especially in the property market.

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Aggressive anti-dumping protection – the dark side of Australia’s FTA romance

Australia’s signing of recent free trade agreements (“FTAs”) with China, Japan and South Korea, and the reportedly concluded but as yet unseen Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (“the TPP”), have put trade back in the centre of Australia’s policy and economic dialogue. A major topic of that debate is trade protection. With tariffs being reduced to zero or next to zero across almost all goods from our major trading partners, the role of ordinary tariffs as an instrument of protection, or of long term adjustment, has disappeared. Australian industry, although being enhanced in an outgoing sense, is now more fully exposed to international price competition than it has ever been.

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Pretty vacant land and universities – Canberra land less “freehold” than before

The ACT has a Crown leasing system of land ownership. It has always had unique features, but the ACT Government has gone to great lengths to create and emphasise similarities with land title and land dealings in freehold jurisdictions.

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Australia has a new leader – will ChAFTA continue to be supported?

On 14 September 2015 the Australian Liberal Party voted to remove the Hon Tony Abbott as leader of the Australian Liberal Party and to replace him with the Hon Malcolm Turnbull. As a result, Malcolm Turnbull will today become the new Prime Minister of Australia.

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