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  • 21-Apr-2020 13:14 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Article by Matthews Folbigg Lawyers

    Commercial Leases

    National Cabinet has released the Mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Leases. The Code applies to tenants with a turnover of less than $50 million who are eligible for the JobKeeper programme and it is planned that state and territory governments will legislate the Code to give it legal effect.

    Key aspects of the Code:

    • landlords must not terminate leases due to non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 period (i.e. 6 months commencing from 1 March 2020 during which the JobKeeper programme is operational)
    • landlords must offer proportionate rent reductions (up to 100%) through rent deferrals or waivers based on the reduction in the tenant’s trade – waivers must be no less than 50% of the rent reduction
    • any deferred rent must be repaid over the balance of the lease term or 24 months (whichever is greater)
    • the landlord must not draw on the tenant’s security bond or bank guarantee during this period
    • any reduction in outgoings must be passed on to the tenant, and the rent must not be increased during this period
    • as at the time of writing of this article (20 April 2020), the Code has not yet been implemented as law by the NSW government
    • the Code requires landlords and tenant to negotiate “in good faith” and where the parties cannot agree, either party may refer the dispute to “binding mediation

    Takeaway

    Landlords should consider what financial information it is reasonable to expect a tenant to provide in support of any request for rental reduction or waiver and tenants should compile relevant information urgently if they are entering into negotiations with their landlord.

    Contracts

    If you are seeking to terminate a contract or alternatively to enforce it, force majeure and frustration are relevant.

    • for force majeure to operate there must be an express clause in the contract, whereas frustration does not require an express term to give it effect
    • both concepts apply to similar situations – a supervening event occurs which prevents or delays performance of the contract through no fault of the parties and in circumstances outside of their control
    • a force majeure clause will usually contain an exhaustive list of defined events, often including “acts or restraints of government authorities”
    • frustration requires the circumstances to be “radically different” from those contemplated when the parties entered into the contract
    • the consequences of force majeure and frustration differ – force majeure usually allows the parties to suspend performance and terminate the contract (without penalty) if the force majeure event continues for a certain period of time, whereas upon frustration occurring the contract comes to an end and the parties are discharged from further performance

    Takeaway

    It is vital that you seek legal advice before varying or terminating a contract or lease or walking away from your obligations under a contract or lease at any time and particularly if your business is affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Unlawful termination could amount to repudiation and may expose you to damages.


    Disclaimer: This article is provided to readers for their general information and on a complimentary basis. It contains a brief summary only and should not be relied upon or used as a definitive or complete statement of the relevant law. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. 

  • 21-Apr-2020 11:05 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    If anyone is like me, they are most probably sick of hearing the word Coronavirus. However, our journey through the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Whilst we are seeing positive signs of the spread slowing and the possible relaxing of restrictions, we still need a vaccine to provide certainty that work will return to some form of normality.

    Leading into Easter I found myself feeling very low on energy and now having time to reflect, regroup and refocus I am now ready to manage through the pandemic and come out stronger on the other side.

    • But what does the other side look like?
    • How can we be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that may present themselves?

    The last few weeks we have spent time helping our clients design strategies for every known situation that we could think of:

    • Plan a) Nothing changes – Hold steady and do what we do and weather the storm
    • Plan b) Restrictions in place – How do we adapt to the changes and continue to operate?
    • Plan c) Total shut down – How do I stop my business from bleeding to death?
    • Plan d) I need a new plan - None of the above will work for me. What should I do next?

    From changes that were happening daily to a more considered approach, people are now feeling less overwhelmed and are starting to look at options more rationally and calmly.

    One of the great things is that we have readily available volumes of information in addition to a number of Government assistance packages for employees and employers. However, this information is not easy to digest, then using it to form a strategy to help you and your employees manage through the pandemic and come out the other side.

    The recent changes to work have got me thinking about the parallels between the current situation and the GFC. Prior to the GFC the unemployment rate in Australia was 5.1% the lowest since 1976 and in November 2019 the unemployment rate was just 5.2%. Prior to the GFC and COVID-19 the economy was in great shape, but as the history books have documented the GFC was tough and took us a long time to recover. Some may argue that we never did really fully recover and as a result our workplaces were changed forever. It is highly likely we are again facing the same situation of reviewing how we work.

    Remember the” War for Talent” prior to the GFC where this is all we talked about. We put strategies in place to ensure that companies had a sustained pipeline of talent, then after the GFC investment in these initiatives disappeared. Was the “War for Talent” won or simply put on the back burner and as technologies changed it became too hard to keep up with? Prior to COVID-19 we spoke a lot about ‘the Future of Work” which has been thrust upon us much quicker than we had planned. Learning from the GFC how did companies manage through and continue to grow and be successful through times of crisis?

    At ChandlerWoods we use a contextualised version of Dr Robert Cooke’s Human Synergistics model on Organisational Culture to assess organisational effectiveness. The model highlights the drivers for organisational culture stemming from Cause to Effect. The model highlights the need to assess and address the causal factors first before you can achieve your desired outcomes. For example, to become more innovative, we need to ensure the environment is created to support and sustain an innovative culture. Simply attending a course on innovation will not drive a prolonged innovative culture.

    In 2010 Dr Robert Cooke studied financial data on earnings/sales ratios of 69 publicly traded corporations in various industries over a preceding three-year period. The results as documented in the book “In Great Company” 2011 (Jones, Dunphy, Fishman et al) showed a positive correlation between constructive cultures and profitability. They also found that there was a high correlation between companies with predominantly Aggressive/Defensive cultures and high levels of sales volitivity. This was predominantly due to Aggressive/Defensive cultures tending to focus on short-term transactions and relationships to drive earnings. Constructive cultures on the other hand tend to be in contrast focused on long-term strategies and relationships with sustainable revenue growth.

    Relationship between Earnings/Sales ratios and culture (Dr Robert Cooke’s findings)

    Strengths of culture Earnings Sales Ratios (n=69)
    Constructive   .217
    Passive/Defensive   .094
    Aggressive/Defensive   -.074

    Furthermore, Dr Cooke describes constructive cultures as being mission oriented, inclusive with a real emphasis on cooperation. A result of these behaviours was greater levels of engagement and cooperation by employees and most importantly in today’s environment, the ‘increased capacity to adapt to the changing market place through innovation and productivity. Does this look like a logical place to start for businesses wanting to push through the storm rather than trying to ride it out?

    Due to COVID-19 we are now adapting to the new normal of working remotely, businesses are thinking about what the future of work looks like in order to ensure they can be best placed to operate their businesses successfully and sustainably.

    Many businesses have been forced to accept the new normal and this has created some challenges as organisations can no longer look at their traditional ways of how they manage their people. Examples such as how to foster teamwork with a remotely dispersed team, setting credible and achievable goals, remotely managing staff performance and keeping them engaged requires a different approach to leadership.

    To be able to navigate in the new world of business, organisations need to be able to have answers on how to best manage their most critical resource, their people. This raises two questions:

    1. What’s your plan?

    2. Do you have the right talent for your business to take advantage of the opportunities that may come out of this crisis?

    Forbes recently published an article called ‘The bright side of COVID-19: Seven Opportunities of the current pandemic” in which they state:

    1. More time – to do the things we have been putting off

    2. Reflect and reconsider – how we do things and why?

    3. Speed and innovation – breaking through rigid systems and complex bureaucracies

    4. Better meetings – outcome based and no time wasters

    5. Reconnect and help - social bonding “we are all in this together”

    6. Cleaner Environment – significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions

    7. Modesty and acceptance – no matter how well we plan we are not in control of the crisis

    If we are to manage through the pandemic and come out stronger on the other side and have a successful and sustainable business, all the supporting research certainly helps, but ultimately, it’s up to you.

    There is quote which I think is very appropriate to the situation we are now facing:

    “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” — Theodore Roosevelt, 26th U.S. president.

    In summary:

    1. What’s your plan?

    2. Do you have the right talent for your business to take advantage of the opportunities that may come out of this crisis?

    You can be sure our method works….

    Our contextualised organisational effectiveness model assesses both the Drivers for Change, such as your current environment, innovation and what are your competitors doing differently as well as the Casual Factors, the way you do things in your organisation.

    Contact ChandlerWoods today to see how we can help you manage through the pandemic and come out stronger on the other side.

    https://www.chandlerwoods.com.au/contact-us/

    Or call:

    Melissa Powick – 0412 606 552

    Richard Brincat - 0418 485 876


  • 21-Apr-2020 10:42 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    In response to COVID-19, the Federal and State Governments have introduced a range of relief measures for individuals and businesses to lessen the effects that the pandemic will have on the economy.

    Click here for the latest news and updates on COVID-19.

    Click here to view the latest webinars on topics including Understanding JobKeeper – how the rules apply to your business, calculating GST turnover under JobKeeper, financial modelling in a dynamic environment and working remotely with Microsoft teams.

    For further information please contact your Pitcher Partners representative:

    Raelene Berryman

    Partner | Private Business and Family Advisory

    raelene.berryman@pitcher.com.au

    +61 2 8236 7875

    View LinkedIn Profile


    Grant Parish

    Partner | Private Business and Family Advisory

    grant.parish@pitcher.com.au

    +61 2 9220 9105

    View LinkedIn Profile


  • 20-Apr-2020 17:13 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    There is tremendous uncertainty in people’s lives at the moment due to the Coronavirus.

    Some people in your team will be coping, while others are not coping at all. They will be feeling anxious, highly stressed and their productivity will suffer significantly as a result. What can you do as a leader to help these people and maintain your momentum?

    Watch the 2-minute video below, to discover two top tips you can start implementing with your team today to help create certainty in a time of crisis.


    To discover exclusive ways WSBC members can rapidly upskill the leadership and management capabilities of their teams, get in touch with World Class Teams today by visiting www.worldclassteams.com.au or calling 1300 085 248.


  • 20-Apr-2020 10:58 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    About now a Salvo’s Officer would normally be knocking on your door asking you to make a gift to support people in need.

    But this year is very different. They cannot knock on your door.

    As a result, hundreds of thousands of Australians on the edge are now in desperate trouble. They need you now, more than ever.

    Please make your online donation at www.salvationarmy.org.au/rsaws2 

    For further information or to get involved go to www.salvationarmy.org.au/doorknock


    If you are struggling financially, emotionally or psychologically because of the COVID-19 outbreak, please call 13 SALVOS.


  • 16-Apr-2020 16:16 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Australia has been through so much in the past few months – drought, fires, and now COVID-19, all of which have had a devastating impact on the community and the economy. Throughout it all, Westmead healthcare workers have been on the frontline, treating and caring for our community when they are at their most vulnerable.

    Westmead Hospital Foundation would like your support in thanking the work of our Doctors, Nurses, Researchers, and Allied Health teams.

    In the last few days, we have received so many messages of support and good wishes for those on the frontline during the pandemic. And despite many community members and donors finding themselves doing it tough, they still want to help our healthcare heroes. As one of our donors put it:

    “I just wish I could buy all your nurses and doctors a cup of coffee, and let them know how fantastic they are.”

    Your donation will enable the Foundation to provide our Doctors, nurses and other frontline staff with a cup of coffee made fresh in the Hospital’s food court.

    Westmead Hospital Foundation, CEO Joe Conneely said, “In the current climate, we thought it important to support our healthcare professional’s health and wellbeing, and what goes down better that a free coffee or tea?”

    All donations to the Westmead Hospital Foundation go directly to our frontline staff. You can be assured that 100% of your donation will directly support Westmead Hospital Healthcare staff.

    You can make your donation by visiting https://westmeadhf.org.au/coffee/


  • 16-Apr-2020 16:11 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Minister for Transport Andrew Constance recently announced the start of the tender process to build almost 50km of new metro railway tunnels between Greater Parramatta and the Sydney CBD on the Sydney Metro West project.

    The NSW Government has called for expressions of interest for the mega project’s first two major infrastructure packages – the delivery of twin tunnels between Westmead and The Bays.

    “Now more than ever, infrastructure projects like Sydney Metro West support jobs, communities and the economy – Sydney Metro West will create more than 10,000 direct new jobs and 70,000 indirect jobs, with thousands of these jobs being generated by these new tunnelling contracts,” Mr Constance said.

    “These contracts will require tunnellers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, concrete workers, truck drivers, labourers and security guards.”

    The first of four mega tunnel boring machines are expected to be in the ground before the end of 2022.

    Expressions of interest have been called for the first two tunnelling contracts from Westmead to Sydney Olympic Park and from Sydney Olympic Park to The Bays.

    “Sydney Metro West is a truly once-in-a-century city shaping project that will forever change how we get around Sydney,” Mr Constance said.

    “Just as importantly, the construction of this mega project will create many thousands of new jobs and support families across Sydney.”

    The Sydney Metro West project will deliver a new underground driverless metro railway from Westmead to the city, doubling the rail capacity of this corridor and cutting travel times to around 20 minutes between Parramatta and the city.

  • 14-Apr-2020 14:51 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    “Perspective will get us through this chapter.” Ben Crowe, mindset coach and director of Mojo Crowe, explores the challenges he has seen those he’s coached overcome when confronted with events that are out of their control.

    In this wide-ranging interview, he provides actionable insights on how to find perspective, adapt to ever-changing circumstances and grow through adversity.

    Watch the full interview here.


    Macquarie has been providing Business Banking solutions for over 30 years and provides SME clients with tools and strategies to grow and develop their business. You can get regular updates by subscribing to the monthly newsletter, Strictly Business by visiting macquarie.com.au/businessbanking. If you would like to find out more about how Macquarie can support you to take your business further, call Sam McCarthy at our Parramatta office on 0417 518 724 and be connected with one of our banking specialists.

    This information has been prepared by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 237502 (“Macquarie”) for general information purposes only. This information does not constitute advice. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice. No member of Macquarie accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct, indirect, consequential or other loss arising from any use of this information.


  • 14-Apr-2020 14:39 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Infrastructure NSW are currently seeking feedback during the design and planning of the new Powerhouse, to ensure the Museum benefits and enhances the local community. The feedback shared during this early phase of planning will help shape the future of the Museum.

    Engaging with key stakeholders and local community is an integral part of the planning process, however given the current circumstances of COVID-19 Infrastructure NSW will not be holding public meetings.

    The community's feedback is important so Infrastructure NSW have created other ways to share feedback and talk to the project team:

    Email: powerhouse.parramatta@infrastructure.nsw.gov.au

    Phone: 1800 679 121

    Complete their online survey

    For more information on the planning process, view the presentation Infrastructure NSW have been delivering throughout the engagement process or visit their website


  • 14-Apr-2020 14:18 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Western Sydney’s leading business news service is growing its international reach.

    Statistics from the international publishing platform, ISSUU, shows that Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) is growing its international readership base.

    WSBA is published by Access News Australia Pty Ltd (ANA), which also publishes Central Coast Business Access (CCBA).

    ISSUU statistics show readership of WSBA come from the following countries: USA, Canada, UK, India, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Ireland and New Zealand. Outside of Australia, WSBA is most read in the USA and Canada.

    WSBA publisher Michael Walls said the readership results where pleasing and demonstrated the value of publishing strong original content.

    “Access is fortunate to have among our contributors some very talented journalists with many years’ experience and this enables us to serve our markets well in terms of publishing relevant and interesting content,” Mr Walls said.

    In these challenging times of Coronavirus Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) is taking steps to ensure readers and clients continue to have easy access to Western Sydney’s leading business news service.

    “We are mindful of following the Government's social distancing guidelines, while maintaining our relationship with the regional business community and our loyal reader base,” said Mr Walls.

    From the April edition and until further notice the distribution of printed copies of WSBA will be reduced and WSBA will be primarily distributed to readers digitally.

    This means that WSBA will be created as usual and posted as a downloadable PDF at www.accessnews.com.au for easy viewing 24/7, as has always been the case.

    Further, each edition will be broadcasted to more than 50,000 carefully targeted Western Sydney residents and business people via Facebook, LinkedIn and direct email links.

    WSBA has engaged the services of respected media agency Happy Hippo Media to develop the social media campaigns for WSBA.

    “We are confident that our new online distribution model will result in even more readers of WSBA,” Mr Walls said.

    “As the global pandemic eases, we will resume normal distribution of our newspaper. We wish all Western Sydney residents the very best in these challenging times.”

    Feel free to contact WSBA at any time at info@accessnews.com.au. To view the online edition go to www.accessnews.com.au.


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