News

Tasmanian Prison Services – Professional Contact Visits

Professional contact visits will be returning to normal practice soon and bookings can be made from 6 July 2020 via the Activities Coordination Unit. There are some changes to entry of Tasmania Prison Service (TPS) facilities in line with advice from the Department of Health. Visitors should expect to have their temperature taken (by way of non-contact device), and may be asked questions in relation to their health or recent travel. The TPS requests that you do not attend a prison facility if you are feeling unwell, or have a fever, cough or sore throat.

TasNetworks – Wayleave Price for 2020/21 Financial Year

Tasmanian Networks Pty Ltd (trading as TasNetworks)
Electricity Transmission Wayleave Search Fee Increase

Please note that from 1 July 2020 the fee payable to TasNetworks for an electricity transmission easement search will remain at its current price at $39.50 (inclusive of GST).

TasNetworks has produced a brochure on wayleave easements which may be of interest to you and your clients. These are:

• Transmission line easements: What do they mean for me?

For any enquires about wayleave searches please contact Lisa Saville on 6271 6595 or email wayleave.enquiry@tasnetworks.com.au

TasNetworks Wayleave Information Booklet

Change to TasWater’s Standard Easement Terms and Conditions

TasWater has recently revised its standard easement terms and conditions. 

Standards to be used for transfers and schedules of easements:

Easement Precedent – Transfer
Precedent Easement – Schedule of Easements

To provide the profession and its clients with the lowest cost transition to the new terms, TasWater will not expect exclusive use of the terms to occur before 1 September.

Updated easement terms https://www.taswater.com.au/Development/Technical-Standards

Until this time TasWater will continue to accept schedules and transfers associated with development approvals that are in accordance with the old precedents. However if a schedule or transfer is submitted for approval that requires amendment, TasWater will ask that the new precedent be used.

D            (03) 6237 8372
F            1300 862 066

ATO – Foreign Ownership of Water Entitlements Report

The second report of the Register of Foreign Ownership of Water Entitlements as at 30 June 2019 was released on 19 June 2020.   Key findings of the report show foreign ownership of Australian water entitlements at 10.5%, compared to 10.4% last year. Agriculture and mining being the main use for the water entitlements.   Under legislation, foreign persons who acquire an interest in registrable water entitlements or contractual water rights are required to register their interest on the Register of Foreign Ownership of Water Entitlements.   This means registration is required when:   your client is a foreign person who acquires a registrable water entitlement or contractual water right; or your client becomes a foreign person while holding a registrable water entitlement or contractual water right.   If either of these events occur, your client must update the Register of Foreign Ownership of Water Entitlements no later than 30 days after the end of the financial year.   We will also need to be notified if: your client is no longer a foreign person the volume of your client’s registrable water entitlement has changed your client has disposed of your interest.   To register or update us of changes to your client’s situation, complete the Land and water registration form. Your client can register at any time during the year but no later than 30 days after the end of the financial year.   Penalties may apply to your client for failing to register or inform us of changes to their situation.   For enquiries contact us between 8.00am and 5.00pm AEST Monday to Friday, on 1800 050 377 or +61 2 6216 1111 (if outside Australia).  

ATO – Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Report

The fourth report of the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land as at 30 June 2019 was released on the 19 June 2020 . Key findings of the report show foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land at 13.8%, compared to 13.4% last year. The majority continues to be in the form of leasehold interests. Under legislation, foreign persons who purchase Australian agricultural land are required to register their interest on the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land. This means your client must register if they are a foreign person and hold an interest in agricultural land. Your client will also need to notify us if: they are no longer a foreign person they became a foreign person while holding agricultural land they no longer hold agricultural land the land ceases to be agricultural land while your client is holding it. To register or update us of changes to your client’s situation, complete the Land and water registration form. Your client’s initial purchase must be recorded with us within 30 days of the date of purchase and any further events must also be recorded with us within 30 days of the event. Penalties may apply to your client for failing to register or inform us of changes to their situation. For enquiries contact us between 8.00am and 5.00pm AEST Monday to Friday, on 1800 050 377 or +61 2 6216 1111 (if outside Australia).      

Major Reforms to Australia’s Foreign Investment Framework

On 5 June 2020, the Government announced the most comprehensive reforms to Australia’s foreign investment review framework since the introduction of the Foreign Acquisitions Takeovers Act 1975.  

These reforms will ensure that our foreign investment framework keeps pace with emerging risks and global developments, including similar changes to foreign investment regimes in comparable countries.

The reforms will update the foreign investment review framework in three broad ways:

  • address national security risks
  • strengthen the existing system, and
  • streamline investment in non-sensitive businesses.

The Government will release exposure draft legislation to amend the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act in July 2020 for a six week consultation period. Following the consultation, the legislation will be introduced to Parliament with a scheduled commencement of 1 January 2021.

The announcement of the reform package does not immediately affect the temporary changes that the Government announced in March 2020 to safeguard the national interest during the coronavirus crisis. Those changes temporarily reduced to $0 the monetary screening thresholds for all foreign investments subject to the FATA. The Government said at the time the temporary $0 threshold would remain in place for the duration of the current crisis.

Treasury welcomes your feedback on the reform measures and the exposure draft legislation, and will keep you updated on how you can participate in the process. You can also contact Treasury on +61 2 6263 3795, or by email: FIRBEnquiries@treasury.gov.au. Additional details about the reforms will be available on the Treasury website

Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia – Updated Face-to-face in Court Protocol

I write to advise that the FCoA and the FCC are extending the face-to-face protocols currently in place to allow urgent trials and urgent hearings of applications that cannot be conducted by Microsoft Teams to be heard in face-to-face hearings commencing 15 June 2020.

Whilst the Courts have been able to conduct over 80% of their work via electronic hearings since March 2020, it is recognised that there are some proceedings that require a hearing in person. Given the health concerns and social distancing requirements, a full utilisation of courtrooms may take some months as restrictions are eased. However, the Courts will open 4 courtrooms in each major registry starting on Monday. This will be increased as soon as we are able to.

Strict social distancing and capacity requirements will have to be met not only in respect to space within courtrooms but also in respect to people queuing at security and waiting to use an elevator. An updated In Court Face-to-Face Protocol is attached and will be on each Court’s website.
The salient features of the protocol are:

  • Hearing times will be staggered;
  • There will be strict social distancing requirements implemented in all common areas and courtrooms;
  • In courtrooms, no written appearances are to be provided to Associates. Appearances are to be orally announced at the start of the hearing;
  • No hardcopy documents are to be passed up during the hearing; an electronic court book is to be used where possible;
  • No more than 8 people plus court staff and a judicial officer are allow in the courtroom at any one time without leave of the judge;
  • Witnesses who are not parties will be required to leave the courtroom after giving evidence;
  • All present are encouraged to download and activate the COVID-19 app. Those who choose not to will be requested (not required) to provide their names and contact details for contact tracing requirements only if the Courts are required to provide that information to the health authorities if an outbreak occurs;
  • Practitioners and parties will not be able to go to other floors in the Court Registry save for the entrance and the floor their courtroom is located on, and should exit the Registry building promptly after the conclusion of their hearing.
    This protocol will be updated from time to time and be sent to you prior to its implementation.

Thank you for your cooperation. Please note that the Courts are doing everything they can to continue the vital work they do for the Australian people and to assist the profession wherever possible.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact my chambers via email renee.corcoran@familycourt.gov.au.

Yours sincerely

The Honourable Justice Alstergren
Chief Justice
Family Court of Australia
Chief Judge
Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Media release – Gradual resumption of face-to-face hearings in the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Media release

Gradual resumption of face-to-face hearings in the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia

The gradual resumption of face-to-face hearings in the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia will commence from Monday 15 June 2020 for trials and hearings that cannot be conducted electronically.

Strict social distancing and capacity requirements that align with Government requirements and advice from specialist safety consultants, will be adhered to and are outlined in the Courts’ Face-to-Face Protocol.  The key points of the face-to-face protocol include:

Hearing times will be staggered; There will be strict social distancing requirements implemented in all common areas and courtrooms; In courtrooms, no written appearances are to be provided to Associates. Appearances are to be orally announced at the start of the hearing; No hardcopy documents are to be passed up during the hearing; an electronic court book is to be used where possible; No more than 8 people plus court staff and a judicial officer are allow in the courtroom at any one time without leave of the judge; Witnesses who are not parties will be required to leave the courtroom after giving evidence; All present are encouraged to download and activate the COVID-19 app. Those who choose not to will be requested (not required) to provide their names and contact details for contact tracing requirements only if the Courts are required to provide that information to the health authorities if an outbreak occurs; Practitioners and parties will not be able to go to other floors in the Court Registry save for the entrance and the floor their courtroom is located on, and should exit the Registry building promptly after the conclusion of their hearing.

The Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Hon Will Alstergren said, “Whilst the Courts have been able to conduct over 80% of their work via electronic hearings since March 2020, it is recognised that there are some proceedings that require a hearing in person. Given the health concerns and social distancing requirements, a full utilisation of courtrooms may take some months as restrictions are eased.

“I am grateful to the profession for their support in assisting people with their disputes and for quickly adapting to the Courts’ change of operations over the past few months.

“Most importantly, I reiterate statements previously made in which I assured the public that the Courts’ judges and staff will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that work can continue and Australian families are supported.”

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This media release is also available from the websites of the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia.