Happy New Year from the team at Complete Legal & Conveyancing.
To kick off our series of columns this year, read below to find out a few legal and policy changes that will take place that may affect your day to day life:
- Increases for a range of social security payments are set to take effect this year. For example, Youth Allowance recipients will receive an additional $4.60 per fortnight, students receiving a Social Security allowance will receive an additional $8.30 per fortnight and there are also some changes to Aged Care Pension eligibility due to take place mid‑year, such as a minimum requirement of 10 years residence in Australia (five of which included gainful employment) to qualify.
- The Australian Tax Office last year announced that it will shift its focus from big corporate tax dodgers to individuals, particularly those who overstate work related tax deductions. The basis for this is that the Australian Tax Office believes there is more revenue to be recovered from individuals than businesses.
- In the health sector, you will now require a prescription to obtain pain killers containing codeine, such as Panadeine, Nurofen Plus, Mersyndol and Codral. Pharmacists will be able to provide some of these medications without a prescription in limited circumstances.
- Mid‑2018 is also expected to see some significant reforms to the real estate sector. This includes reducing the six real estate licence types to three, being “Real Estate”, “Strata” and “Stock and Station”. There will also be some changes to competency requirements for issue of these licenses with applicants being required to complete additional competency units before their licenses are approved.
- There is also a push to reform current trust accounting regulations so that only a licensee in charge can authorise transactions for trust accounts, potentially a response to the number of trust account breaches that occur in the industry. Real estate agents’ failure to account for money held in trust is currently considered a major risk area for the industry by New South Wales Fair Trading, with nearly half a million dollars paid out by the Property & Services Compensation Fund in the 2016/2017 financial year as a result of consumer claims.
Every year thousands of new laws are made across the country on a State and Federal level. The above is a bit of a snapshot of some of the changes that might affect you. We will keep you updated throughout the year as other topical legal issues come to light.