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The beginning of a new year sees the introduction of new laws that may well affect you or your loved ones.  Read more to get the scoop.

 

Speed camera locations

From 1 January 2020 the WA government is no longer publishing the location of speed cameras!

Don’t get caught out – instead you will be able to wade through about 1,800 locations where speed cameras may be placed around the state.

 

Superannuation opt out

If you are one of the thousands of Australians with multiple employers you may be entitled to opt out of receiving the superannuation guarantee from some of your employers.

For more information or to see if the laws affect you go to the ATO’s website and search “superannuation guarantee”.

 

PBS changes for the better

The new year has seen the introduction of some changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) so that the threshold for the number of prescriptions per person is lowered to reach the free or further discounted prescription rate for pensioners (reduced by 12 prescriptions), concession card holders (reduced by 12 prescriptions) and non-concession card holders (reduced by two prescriptions).

 

Access to paid parental leave

2011 saw the introduction of government funded paid parental leave in Australia for leave after child-birth or adoption.  Since 2013 partners and fathers have been entitled to “Dad’s and partner pay”.

The good news for expecting parents is that if your child is born on or after 1 January 2020 the circumstances in which parents qualify for each of these types of payments are extended so that more parents can access the entitlements.

To see if the change in circumstances means you can now apply have a look at the Department of Human Services website.

 

Australian whistleblowers

2020 sees the introduction of better protection for whistleblowers in Australia, with the beginning of the year seeing a requirement for public companies, large proprietary companies and corporate trustees of APRA-regulated superannuation entities to have an appropriate whistleblower policy in place.

Companies affected by the legislation include companies where the number of employees was over 100 at the end of the 2018/19 financial year; companies where the consolidated revenue is $50 million or more; and companies where the consolidated gross assets of the company are over $25 million.

 

First home buyers

Whilst 2019 has arguably seen an improvement in the property markets in both Sydney and Melbourne, the buoyancy of markets elsewhere, as West Australians well know, is still undecided.

In an attempt to continue to stimulate the both the property market and the economy the federal government is again choosing to incentivise first time home buyers with support for up to 10,000 loans in 2020 on a first-in, best-dressed basis, so be quick if this relates to you.

To check if you or someone you know may fall within the criteria for the loan support go to the federal government National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation website at nhfic.gov.au.

 

Government to pay e-invoices within five days

In what is being hailed as a great move by the federal government to assist cashflow in small businesses the federal government is undertaking to pay contracts under a million dollars within five days as long as both the business and the government agency use electronic invoicing.

If payment takes longer then interest will be payable by the government agency.

 

Around Australia

In other areas of the country electricity prices are increasing (or have already increased within the last 6 months) in all states other than Western Australia; the ACT is on track to become only the 8th place in the world with a population of over 100,000 to achieve 100% renewable energy; Sydney is set to see the end of it’s controversial “lock out” laws on 14 January; and from 31 January 2020 the ACT will become the first Australian jurisdiction to legalise the possession, use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana.

 

For more information in relation to any of the new 2020 laws please don’t hesitate to contact Lynn & Brown Lawyers for friendly, expert advice.

 

About the author:

This article has been authored by Jacqueline Brown who is a Perth lawyer and director at Lynn & Brown Lawyers.  Jacqui has over 20 years’ experience in legal practice and practices in family law, mediation and estate planning.  Jacqui is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator and a Notary Public.

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