COVID-19: Implications for Business

Rightfully labelled as a human tragedy, the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced us to think and act differently. Beyond the human response, now is the time to think about what the consequences may be for your business, and how best you can prepare for those.

Corporate and M&A - View Our Insights

Raising capital in the time of COVID-19 – ASIC and ASX grant temporary capital raising relief

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) and the Australian Securities Exchange (“ASX”) have each granted temporary capital raising relief to facilitate emergency capital raisings for ASX-listed entities.

COVID-19 capital raising – Getting your disclosure and diligence right

Raising capital in the COVID-19 environment presents a number of challenges, including ensuring that raising-related disclosure is timely and accurate. This article focuses on some of the key disclosure issues and associated due diligence considerations that we have encountered working on a range of recent COVID-19 capital raisings.

Impacts of FIRB changes on ECM deals during COVID-19

Much has been made of the temporary changes to Australia’s foreign investment regime in response to COVID-19, which reduce the relevant monetary thresholds to $0 and extend the statutory deadlines from 30 days to up to 6 months.

Fintech start-ups in the wake of COVID-19

High growth start-ups are dealing with numerous issues in the wake of COVID-19. In addition to the disruption of their business models, start-ups are having to think through their capital raising/management strategies and navigate complex employment and workplace health and safety regimes as their employees return to work.

ASIC publishes information on variable Executive Remuneration

On 12 June, ASIC released an information sheet entitled “Board oversight of executive variable pay decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic”.

New COVID-19 continuous disclosure rules: Restoring balance

The Federal Treasurer has made a welcome and significant change to Australia’s continuous disclosure laws using his COVID-19 powers under section 1362A of the Corporations Act (the Act).

Extension of deadlines to submit modern slavery statements – What you need to know

For businesses who are required to submit their first modern slavery statement in Australia this year, there has been an extension of time to submit these statements by three months due to disruptions caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Insurance just got more interesting in a COVID-19 world

Two relevant developments are worth watching on the insurance front. In this alert, we summarise recent litigation/actions in the US insurer market, and what inquiry Australian insurers are currently facing.

Pulling the trigger to terminate your bid? Make sure you have all the right ammunition

In the wake of the coronavirus, many businesses are now having employees work from home. This raises the question of how contracts can be signed when signatories may be working remotely and may not be able to print documents.

Shareholder meetings in the time of COVID-19: An update

A lot has changed since our last “unhappy bedfellows” alert on shareholder meetings. This note summarises the key takeaways that we have been discussing with clients.

ASX clarifies corporate governance obligations during the COVID-19 outbreak

The ASX has provided welcome guidance on their 31 March compliance update on the obligations of listed entities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Our experts outline what ASX has said regarding continuous disclosure, financial reporting and AGMs

Australian Investment Funds – Monitoring COVID-19 Impacts9

COVID-19 will have a significant impact on investment funds and their trustees and manager. While there is uncertainty about how the pandemic will develop, many relevant legal issues can be anticipated and planned for now. Our experts have outlined key considerations for trustees and managers.

Raising capital in the time of corona – ASIC and ASX grant temporary capital raising relief

On 31 March 2020, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) and the Australian Securities Exchange (“ASX”) announced that they would each grant temporary capital raising relief to facilitate emergency capital raisings for ASX-listed entities.

Competition & consumer law amid the pandemic – Your guide to avoiding viral confusion

Our experts examine the key competition and consumer laws that businesses may encounter during this time, discuss how the ACCC, the Courts and the Government may approach the unfolding situation, and provide suggestions on how to navigate unexpected challenges

Navigating Boards through the impacts of COVID-19

Identifying the key matters to consider will enable Boards to get ahead of the actions they will need to take. In particular, those matters that may be important considering a Board’s role in managing risk and overseeing the strategic direction of the company as a whole.

M&A in an uncertain COVID-19 world

The unprecedented uncertainty and volatility resulting from COVID-19 obviously has significant impacts for M&A transactions – both those currently under negotiation and those signed but yet to complete.

Not business as usual – does COVID-19 trigger an insurance recovery?

The present economic climate is challenging for all businesses. Businesses suffering interruption and financial loss as a result of COVID-19 (including due to supply chain interruptions), may have insurance recoveries available.

The evolution of ASX disclosure in a COVID-19 environment

As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, there is unsurprisingly an increased focus on the continuous disclosure obligations of Australian listed entities.

Shareholder meetings and COVID-19: Unhappy bed-fellows

What impact will COVID-19 have on complying with statutory requirements to hold AGMs or EGMs within required timeframes? As expected, the answer is not necessarily straightforward.

Consumer and Health - View Our Insights

Door starting to open for the hospitality industry: Your national guide

As states and territories in Australia move to ease some of the COVID-19 restrictions, doors are starting to re-open for the hospitality industry. Our expert team have helpfully summarised the restriction changes impacting the hospitality industry across each state and territory.

COVID-19 and the advertising of goods and services to the public in Australia: regulatory frameworks and usual rules continue to apply during public health crisis

Our experts cover the basics of the framework regulating advertisement of therapeutic goods to the public and the general prohibition on misleading or deceptive conduct under the Australian Consumer Law and confirm that strict conditions still apply to advertising goods that have a therapeutic use.

COVID-19: Public Health Orders

This table provides an overall summary, followed by a state by state timeline, of the material restrictions on businesses, venues and movement that have been imposed by the Australian, State and Territory Governments in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Patent rights during COVID-19 – can the Government step in?

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, new and critical needs for medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and other medical tools will continue to arise. Many of these products are patented and so can only be manufactured by the patent owner and any authorised licensees.

COVID-19: What businesses need to know about the Australian Government’s plan

Companies around Australia are developing contingency plans for the spread of the novel coronavirus. What should they expect in the way of Government action? Our experts bring you what you need to know.

Novel coronavirus: Opportunities for companies in the health sector

A number of governments are considering implementing special measures. Some present companies that produce medical supplies with new opportunities to fast-track delivery of such supplies to virus affected countries.

Contract and Supply Chain - View Our Insights

COVID 19 – Procurement Policy Note: Coming together (while staying apart)

The Department of Finance has issued the COVID-19 – Procurement Policy Note (PPN) to provide guidance to Commonwealth entities (1) preparing to approach the market and (2) managing existing contracts during the pandemic.

Signing contracts electronically just got easier for companies

The Federal Treasurer has issued a legislative instrument to allow company officers to sign documents electronically.

An update: More practical tips on signing contracts electronically

Our experts set out further tips on how to navigate execution requirements for deeds and section 127 of the Corporations Act.

Lock-down your rights: practical tips for administering construction contracts during COVID-19

IWhere does current uncertainty leave bidders in public control transactions? Our experts outline key statutory and contractual rights that bidders need to be aware of, in the event they may need to walk away.

COVID-19: Practical tips on how to sign contracts electronically

In this short update, we summarise how this risk may be allocated under construction contracts and provide some practical tips on the administration of those construction contracts in light of the impact of COVID-19.

Impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on Chinese commodity sale contracts

The impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on international commodity contracts with Chinese buyers raises challenging and important questions of whether it constitutes ground for buyers to be relieved from their performance and the procedure for claiming such relief.

Out of the ‘Safe Harbour’ and into the ‘Dry Dock’

As part of its economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, yesterday the Government passed a ‘temporary safe harbour’ insolvency measure. This alert explains the key considerations for directors.

Finance and Insolvency - View Our Insights

Fintech start-ups in the wake of COVID-19

In the wake of COVID-19, high growth start-ups are dealing with disruption to their business models, rethinking capital management strategies and navigating complex employment regimes. In this seminar, our experts explore these issues and offer practical guidance for fintech start-ups.

Raising capital in the time of corona – ASX issues revised temporary capital raising relief

On 31 March 2020, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) and the Australian Securities Exchange (“ASX”) announced that they would each grant temporary capital raising relief to facilitate emergency capital raisings for ASX-listed entities.

Viewpoints on the FinTech sector in Southeast Asia during, and following, the COVID-19 pandemic

As COVID-19 rages on globally, we share our thoughts on the outlook for the Fintech sector in Southeast Asia post COVID-19, including the general trends we are seeing, how the Fintech sector is adapting, and how we see it emerging stronger following the pandemic.

What Financial Sponsors need to know about the COVID-19 changes to Australia’s Foreign Investment Laws

On 29 March 2020, the Australian Treasurer announced significant, but temporary, changes to the foreign investment approval regime in Australia, reducing the monetary threshold for all foreign investment in Australia to zero and extending the processing times for applications.

COVID-19 Second Stimulus Package announced

Today, the Government has announced a range of initiatives as part of their economic response to the Coronavirus. Legislation will be considered, and we anticipate this will be passed on Monday 23 March 2020, or shortly after.

Impact of coronavirus on finance transactions

The impact of COVID-19 on financing transactions has come into focus given the effect of the virus on the world’s economy. Our experts look at certain key aspects of existing and future finance transactions under which we are discussing with clients.

Out of the ‘Safe Harbour’ and into the ‘Dry Dock’

As part of its economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, yesterday the Government passed a ‘temporary safe harbour’ insolvency measure. This alert explains the key considerations for directors.

Labour and Employment - View Our Insights

Permanent confusion about casuals

Uncertainty continues to haunt casual employment after WorkPac lost its bid to have the Federal Court reconsider the Court’s earlier Skene decision.

South Australia introduces Regulations giving effect to the National Code for commercial leases

South Australia has recently joined New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT in enacting Regulations to give effect to the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles During COVID-19 (National Code).

Returning to the Workplace: Becoming a COVID-Safe Workplace

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has emphasised the need for workplaces to become "COVID-safe" as part of winding back restrictions.

Help is coming: Fair Work amendments announced

The Federal Government is introducing urgent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), to deliver JobKeeper benefits by way of wage subsidies and increased employment flexibility, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19: Variation of modern awards at the initiative of the Fair Work Commission

The Fair Work Commission has proposed to vary 103 modern awards by inserting a new Schedule: Schedule X – Additional measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Schedule introduces two measures - unpaid pandemic leave, and annual leave at half pay. Our experts unpack the proposed changes and what they might mean for you.

COVID-19 - Issues from an Australian employment law perspective

There will be a fine balance to be struck over the coming period as workplaces are forced to adjust to external forces on an unprecedented scale at an unprecedented speed. Our experts update the top employment related legal implications.

COVID-19 Guidance – health and safety aspects of the new home workplace

One of the biggest questions many businesses are now facing in the constantly changing COVID-19 environment is how to effectively manage a workforce that’s wholly or partly working away from the office? Our experts bring you what you need to consider in addressing the challenge and to meet occupational safety and health duties.

Data and Technology - View Our Insights

5G inquiry report released (no, it’s not about 5G’s responsibility for COVID!...)

As COVID-19 continues to heighten focus on 5G – and the opportunities and challenges it represents – the Government this week released its report on the first parliamentary inquiry into the deployment, adoption and application of 5G in Australia.

Stopping the outbreak of coronavirus trade marks

While some were frantically stocking up on toilet paper and hand sanitiser when the news of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 broke, others were busy trying to capitalise on the outbreak. As of Monday 23 March 2020, over 20 applications have been filed by opportunistic applicants to register trade marks containing “COVID” or “CORONAVIRUS” in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Digitally safe while socially distant – the importance of cyber-security awareness in the COVID-19 climate

It is important that both employers and employees maintain awareness of cyber-security risks while adapting to and operating in the home workplace environment. Our experts bring you what you need to know amidst the uncertainty surrounding the standard of care the management and private and confidential client information.

Tax - View Our Insights

Key tax issues for distressed entities in a COVID-19 world

Our Tax Team has deep experience in advising on all tax aspects of corporate insolvency and restructuring and has been closely following the recent administrative and legislative action.

JobKeeper: a step forward in the detail but still much to resolve

The JobKeeper program legislation, the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Bill 2020, was introduced into the Australian Federal Parliament. The key question that is being asked is “am I eligible?”, noting that this is a threshold issue for the survival of many businesses.

COVID-19 Federal and States Government Stimulus Measure

As part of the economic stimulus response to COVID-19, the State and Federal governments, and regulators, have announced a number of measures. To help you stay on top of these announcements, the KWM Tax Team has prepared the following summary table. This table is being progressively updated as further measures are introduced and detailed.

Real Estate - View Our Insights

New COVID-19 reforms to the development application process in WA.

The Planning and Development Amendment Act 2020 (WA) (Act) was passed by the Western Australian Parliament on 24 June 2020.

Western Australia implements its version of the national code for commercial leases

We now have much-needed clarity on how a number of aspects of the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct are to be implemented in Western Australia. WA has now given effect to the National Code through its release of the long-awaited Commercial Tenancies Regulations 2020.

Queensland implements its version of the national code for commercial leases

Queensland has now joined the remainder of Australia’s Eastern Seaboard by giving effect to the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct (National Code) for COVID-19 impacted landlords and tenants through the Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 (Regulations).

Queensland implements its version of the national code for commercial leases

Queensland has now joined the remainder of Australia’s Eastern Seaboard by giving effect to the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct (National Code) for COVID-19 impacted landlords and tenants through the Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 (Regulations).

South Australia introduces Regulations giving effect to the National Code for commercial leases

South Australia has recently joined New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT in enacting Regulations to give effect to the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles During COVID-19 (National Code).

Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce to shovel away COVID-19 gloom

As part of its plan to stimulate the Victorian economy through the building and development industry following the devastating effect of COVID-19 on the Victorian economy, the Victorian government has established the Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce.

National Code of Conduct for commercial leases The ACT scheme arrives

The National Cabinet announced on 7 April the Mandatory Code of Conduct (National Code) for leases to COVID-19 impacted small and medium sized commercial tenants.

Victoria implements its version of the National Code for commercial leases

Regulations to implement the National Cabinet’s Mandatory Code of Conduct (National Code) for COVID-19 impacted landlords and tenants have now been made by the Victorian Governor in Council under the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (Vic) (Act).

National Code of Conduct for commercial leases – New South Wales’ mandatory regime comes into force

This alert sets out the key details of the New South Wales regulations, and what is now clear and unclear for affected lessees and lessors.

Planning and development during COVID-19 – States respond with emergency planning legislation and changes to planning controls

Emergency legislative changes have been passed through the Queensland and New South Wales Parliaments giving new planning powers in response to physical distancing and other COVID-19 related requirements. The other states either have or are set to follow suit. Our experts have outlined the legislative requirements for each state

Mandatory Code of Conduct for commercial leases: what does it mean for you?

Our experts set out the changes to existing commercial leasing arrangements required by the Code, and considers the implications and opportunities for landlords and tenants.

Considerations for landlords, tenants and financiers

Our experts have put together an easy to use checklist of things you might like to consider to protect your business.

WA Commercial Tenancies COVID-19 Response Legislation

The WA government has introduced 2 pieces of legislation designed to provide relief to commercial tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emergency measures for commercial leases take shape

Governments and banks are putting in place emergency measures to provide relief for tenants who are struggling to meet their rental obligations and landlords trapped between their mortgage obligations to financiers, ongoing rates and property taxes and reduced income streams from tenants.

Foreign Investment - View Our Insights

COVID-19 responses across Asia: An essential guide

From local movement orders to restrictions on foreign investments, find out what are some of the key national responses in each of the ASEAN jurisdictions, India, China and China Hong Kong SAR.

COVID-19 and foreign investment into Australia - what you need to know

The Australian Treasurer has announced temporary changes to foreign investment in Australia, reducing the monetary threshold which applies to foreign investment in Australia to $0. Our experts unpack the changes and what they mean for foreign investors.

Emergency measures for commercial leases take shape

Governments and banks are putting in place emergency measures to provide relief for tenants who are struggling to meet their rental obligations and landlords trapped between their mortgage obligations to financiers, ongoing rates and property taxes and reduced income streams from tenants.

Dispute Resolution - View Our Insights

High Court rules disappointed cruise passengers can recover for distress

In a case with potential implications for class actions arising from Covid-19 travel disruptions, the High Court ruled on Friday that plaintiffs can recover damages for ‘disappointment and distress’ resulting from the disruption of their cruising holidays.

Planning and development during COVID-19 – States respond with emergency planning legislation and changes to planning controls

Emergency legislative changes have been passed through the Queensland and New South Wales Parliaments giving new planning powers in response to physical distancing and other COVID-19 related requirements. The other states either have or are set to follow suit. Our experts have outlined the legislative requirements for each state

To speak with our experts, contact Renae Lattey

COVID-19 Weekly Wrap-Up

From the substantial stimulus measures announced to the impact of COVID-19 on foreign investment in Australia. This is what we have covered this week.

KWM's response to COVID-19

To ensure we continue to provide high levels of service to our clients during the COVID-19 outbreak, we have set out a business continuity plan.

Checklist: Issues for business

Our experts have highlighted key considerations to help you navigate the challenges caused by the spread of COVID-19.



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Resources for NFPs and social enterprises

Dealing with COVID-19 challenges 

Partner Justin McDonnell shares advice on how to navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19. Watch now >

NFP relief table

Our experts provide an overview of guidance for NFPs and social enterprises. Learn more >

Digitally safe while socially distant 

Our experts discuss the importance of cyber-security awareness in the COVID-19 climate. Learn more >

Health and safety aspects of the new home workplace

Our experts how to manage work health and safety when your workforce is working away from the organisation's premises. Learn more >

Managing your contractual arrangements in the midst of COVID-19

It's an important time to test for vulnerabilities in your organisation’s contractual arrangements and devise a way forward. Our experts are here to help. Learn more >

Governance changes for CATSI Act organisations

Companies registered under the CATSI Act have been granted specific relief to help them manage some issues brought about by the spread of COVID-19. Learn more >

COVID-19 and Managing Employees

KWM Partner Philip Willox provides practical guidance on managing employees. Learn more >

Insurance and not-for-profits

Our experts set out some of the matters you might like to consider and some steps you may need to take where a loss has been suffered. Learn more >

NFP Governance and Tax Concessions

Our experts provide practical guidance on governance and tax concessions for not-for-profit organisations. Learn more >

Event cancellation – key considerations for not-for-profits and charities

What does this mean for the fundraising events that you had locked in this year, for the events that you may have even started selling tickets for, or services that you have committed to provide to members or supporters? Learn more >

Providing client services during COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous pressure on the not-for-profit sector. Organisations must balance the requirements of social distancing rules, necessary to curb the virus’ spread, with the need to assist vulnerable members of the community. Learn more >

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