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Matthews Folbigg – Proud to Sponsor Sam Tait

Sam Tait’s excited email on February 6th reads as follows . . . . . . .

I firstly want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I hope you are having a great start to the year and enjoying the Olympics.

I have some very exciting news!! I have officially been selected to compete and represent Australia at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing! We did it! 😊

I want to give a massive thank you to everyone who has donated to me, you have no idea how grateful I am for your support and how much it has helped get me to where I am today. Your support has helped me travel overseas for competitions and training, helped me keep my equipment to a professional level, and made it possible to focus on skiing. I thank you again. [...]  READ MORE →

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By Anica Cunanan, Solicitor at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Greater Sydney is currently in a lockdown and has remained in the dark with respect to whether, and when businesses would receive some relief.

Last year, the Federal Government introduced the JobKeeper scheme to assist with keeping businesses afloat (including employees within those businesses) through of the payment of wage subsidies subject to certain criteria.

The Morrison and Berejiklian Governments have announced that NSW businesses will finally receive some relief as we enter the fourth week of lockdown in NSW. It is evident that regardless of whether lockdown is in fact extended past 30 July 2021, businesses have already experienced a substantial hit. Should lockdown continue to be extended, we may see plenty of businesses struggling to make it through this lockdown. [...]  READ MORE →

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Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls – COVID-19 Safe Harbour is (still) not Safe

The temporary safe harbour protection from director liability for insolvent trading expires on 31 December 2020. However the Government has not corrected a critical timing issue which exists in the COVD-19 safe harbour legislation. This means directors must appoint an external administrator to their company on or before 31 December 2020, if they wish to take advantage of the COVID-19 safe harbour protection from insolvent trading .

The temporary protection is found in section 588GAAA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). There has been some recent debate about whether the words “before any appointment during that period” of an external administrator, mean what they appear to say, namely that any appointment must take place “during that period” of the temporary safe harbour expires. [...]  READ MORE →

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Danger – COVID-19 Safe Harbour STILL Requires Early External Administrator Appointment

The Government has recently extended COVID-19 business protection measures introduced in March, including the temporary safe harbour protection from director liability for insolvent trading. These protections will now expire on 31 December 2020. However the Government has not corrected a critical timing issue which exists in the COVD-19 safe harbour legislation. This means directors must appoint an external administrator to their company on or before 31 December 2020, if they wish to take advantage of the COVID-19 safe harbour protection from insolvent trading. [...]  READ MORE →

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New! Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List

New! Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List

A new Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) was announced on 2  September 2020.


This list aims to support Australia’s economic recovery after COVID-19 based on advice from the National Skills Commission and consultation with relevant Commonwealth agencies, and comprises:

  • 111111: Chief Executive or Managing Director
  • 133111: Construction Project Manager
  • 233512: Mechanical Engineer
  • 253111: General Practitioner
  • 253112: Resident Medical Officer
  • 253411: Psychiatrist
  • 253999: Medical Practitioner nec
  • 254111: Midwife
  • 254412: Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
  • 254415: Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
  • 254418: Registered Nurse (Medical)
  • 254422: Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
  • 254423: Registered Nurse (Perioperative)
  • 254499: Registered Nurses nec
  • 261312: Developer Programmer
  • 261313: Software Engineer
  • 312911: Maintenance Planner

The PMSOL will be reviewed and updated regularly depending upon its impact and changes in the economy.

Exemptions and Priority Cases

Offshore visa holders who have been sponsored by an Australian business in a PMSOL occupation can request an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions but will be subject to a strict 14 day quarantine period on arrival at their own expense. [...]  READ MORE →

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Tougher Labour Market Testing and Nomination requirements due to COVID

New! Tougher Labour Market Testing and Nomination requirements due to COVID

The Australian Government has recently taken steps to protect job opportunities for Australians in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and fill gaps in critical sectors.

New Rules

As a result, current labour market testing requirements(LMT) have been enhanced to ensure that Australian workers are prioritised for job opportunities in Australia.

Specifically, a new legislative instrument has been introduced and requires any future nominated positions to be advertised on the Government’s Jobactive website. [...]  READ MORE →

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New! Travel Exemptions

New! Travel Exemptions

Due to COVID-19, currently only Australian citizens and permanent residents are permitted to enter Australia. However, immediate families of Australian citizens or permanent residents with a temporary visa and skilled individuals in certain critical sectors can apply for an exemption from the current restrictions to enter the country.

Exemption Request

From 2 September 2020, visa applicants or current visa holders who are working and/or sponsored in a Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) may be eligible to request an exemption to enter Australia. There is no need to hold a current visa to lodge the exemption request. [...]  READ MORE →

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Insolvency Relief Extended until New Years!

By Hayley Hitch, an Associate of Matthews Folbigg Lawyers in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

The Morrison Government earlier this year introduced the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 (Cth) which came into effect on 25 March 2020 to provide relief to individuals and entities under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) and supporting legislation. These changes were due to expire on 25 September 2020, where the legislation was expected to revert back to its former position where, for example, statutory demands and bankruptcy notices required a 21 day response period. [...]  READ MORE →

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Danger – COVID-19 Safe Harbour Flaw Requires URGENT External Administrator Appointment

A fatal flaw exists in the government’s COVD-19 safe harbour legislation. This means directors must appoint an external administrator to their company on or before 24 September 2020, if they wish to take advantage of the COVID-19 safe harbour protection from insolvent trading.

At the beginning of the global pandemic the Australian Federal Government introduced temporary legislation to protect directors from liability for insolvent trading during the global COVID-19 pandemic. This safe harbour protection from insolvent trading will excuse directors for liabilty in respect of debts incurred in the ‘ordinary course of business’ during the operation of the temporary legislation, presently due to expire at the end of 24 September 2020. [...]  READ MORE →

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Simone Brew appointed Managing Director of Matthews Folbigg Lawyers

1 September 2020

Matthews Folbigg Lawyers is delighted to announce the appointment of our new Managing Director, Simone Brew. Simone is the head of the firm’s Litigation, Planning and Local Government groups.

Matthews Folbigg Lawyers is the premier medium sized firm in Western Sydney, based in Parramatta, with 8 practice groups and over 60 lawyers and legal service professionals. This is the first time in the firm’s 60 year history that the firm has had a female Managing Director. Even more notably the firm is owned 50% by our experienced female lawyers. [...]  READ MORE →

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Winter is Coming – COVID-19 Changes Insolvency Law

By Anica Cunanan, Law Clerk at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

The unprecedented financial impact of COVID-19 has forced the laws surrounding insolvencies to change – well at least temporarily.  Analogous to the process of containing the virus, the Government is currently deciding on temporary changes to also flatten the curve of the inevitable insolvencies following this pandemic.

The Treasurer has been given a temporary instrument-making power in the Corporations Act 2001, for a period of six months, in order to provide temporary relief to distressed businesses. This was announced by the Government on 12 March 2020. [...]  READ MORE →

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Adverse Action – Employee Wins Their Job Back and Back Pay!

Following an initial decision in 2018, the Federal Circuit Court has ordered that a company:

  • reinstate a senior executive
  • pay him almost $1,000,000 in back pay

after it had dismissed the executive for making complaints about a lower level employee.

The Court rejected the company’s arguments that:

  • it was inappropriate to reinstate the employee because his role had been filled
  • no other vacancies existed within the company’s organisation

The Facts

In essence:

  • the employee was a South Pacific and South-East Asia Regional Leader
  • the employee began experiencing difficulties with the region’s HR Manager who regularly disregarded his reasonable instructions and was uncooperative and hostile towards him
  • the employee complained to the company’s senior management who blamed him for his devolving relationship with the subordinate HR Manager
  • the HR Manager placed the employee on a performance improvement plan
  • the company subjected the employee to an ethics investigation and ultimately dismissed him on performance grounds
  • the employee alleged that the performance improvement plan, ethics investigation and dismissal were motivated by his complaints about the HR Manager
  • the company sided with the HR Manager

Court’s Comments

The Court:

  • heavily criticised the company for the way it failed to address the dispute
  • said the company allowed the HR Manager to believe she was superior to the employee and “abandoned support for the [employee], preferring instead to support his underling”
  • said the company “sloughed off [the employee’s] concerns in a perfunctory and dismissive manner” and showed “poor leadership by their disdain for his concerns”
  • found the company had been motivated to initiate the performance improvement plan, to commence disciplinary proceedings, and ultimately to dismiss the employee, because the employee had made complaints about the HR Manager’s behaviour
  • found such actions constituted adverse action taken because of the employee’s exercise of workplace rights in contravention of general protections laws

Lessons for Employers

The decision makes clear:

  • a Court can order reinstatement in response to a dismissal in contravention of the general protections laws (and not just in unfair dismissal proceedings)
  • the Court may not be swayed against making a reinstatement order simply because the order will be impractical or difficult for the employer
  • unlike unfair dismissal proceedings, the amount of compensation able to be ordered in the context of a general protections proceeding is not capped to the amount that applies in unfair dismissal matters
  • employers should seek legal advice prior to making the decision to dismiss any employee (especially if the employee has recently made complaints about their working conditions)

More Information

Please call the leading employment lawyers in Parramatta, the Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team on 9635 7966 to speak with one of our employment lawyers if you require any assistance or advice. [...]  READ MORE →