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New Laws in 2018: A Small Business Guide

New Laws in 2018: A Small Business Guide

Your handy guide for navigating your business through the legals of 2018.

8th January 2018

2018 was launched by an impressive display of fireworks bringing hope and excitement for businesses around Australia. However, 2018 also signals changes in laws that impact your business operations. Here are several changes in 2018’s legal landscape to consider.

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New Laws in 2018: A Small Business Guide

Migration Visas

The Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (TSS) will replace the temporary work (skilled) visa, commonly known as subclass 457, from March 2018. The TSS visa is stricter than the previous 457 visa, and will only be issued if you cannot find a suitably skilled Australian worker.

LawPath can connect you with employer lawyers if you want specific advice on how these changes impact finding workers for your business. Check out our guide on the changes to 457 visas for more details on how migration visas will affect your business.

Reporting Data Breaches

Data breaches for your business from February 2018 can no longer be reported months after the fact from February 2018 under the Notifiable Data Protection (NDP) scheme. All businesses under the Australian Privacy Principles are now obligated to report data breaches within 30 days. Businesses also need to notify the people whose data was breached, or are in risk of being breached if there is an eligible data breach.

You also need to consider the impact of the EU General Data Protection Regulation initiative (GDPR) from May 2018. If your business:

  • Operates in the EU, or;
  • Offers goods/services to individuals in the EU (regardless if it is paid or free), or;
  • Monitor behaviour of individuals in the EU,

Your business falls under the GDPR. The GDPR is very similar to the NDP Scheme. You can see a full list of changes here. We’ve pulled out three main differences between the GDPR and the NDP:

  • Appointing a data protection officer;
  • The person’s right to be forgotten;
  • Right to data portability.

Create a privacy policy so your business complies with the new data breach laws. You can also check out our previous guide on how the NDP scheme can affect your business.

GST for low value imported goods

If you sell imported goods for less than $1,000, your items are affected by GST from 1 July 2018. You should ensure that your business is registered for GST if you meet the $75,000 threshold and sell imported goods for less than $1,000.

We recommend getting in touch with a business lawyer or an accountant if you are unsure whether any changes need to be made.

Tax Reports for Contractors in Cleaning and Courier Industries

Businesses are now required to report payments made to cleaner or courier contractors from 1 July 2018. You can view more information here.

Casual & Part Time Entitlements for Awards

These changes immediately affect your business if your employees fall under these awards:

  • Fast Food Award;
  • Hair and Beauty Award;
  • Hospitality Award;
  • Passenger Vehicle Award;
  • Pastoral Award;
  • Rail Award;
  • Registered Clubs Award;
  • Restaurant Award;
  • Retail Award;
  • Social and Community Services Award;
  • Wine Award.

Casual employees are now allowed overtime hours under most of these awards. Others change how part-time hours are now calculated.

For example, employees under the fast food award receive overtime hours when working over 38 hours per week. Additionally, part-time workers in hospitality now work between 8-38 hours per week.

You can read up on the changes here.

Developer Bonds

Developers for high-rise strata buildings in NSW are now required to pay a bond equalling 2% of the contract work. The bond covers the repair for any defective construction work if necessary.

We recommend getting in touch with a strata lawyer to guide you through your legal requirements. You can find further information here.

Heavy Vehicle Laws

Are heavy vehicles involved with your business under one of these roles?

  • Corporations, partnerships, unincorporated associations or other bodies corporate
  • Employers and company directors
  • Consignors/senders and consignees/receivers of the goods for transport
  • Exporters and importers
  • Primary producers
  • Drivers (including a bus driver or an owner driver)
  • Prime contractors of drivers
  • Operators of a transport company
  • Schedulers of goods or passengers for transport, and the schedulers or allocators of drivers
  • Loaders and unloaders of goods
  • Loading managers (loading/unloading supervisors) or managers of the premises where this occurs

If so, new laws are being introduced mid-2018 for the safety of heavy vehicle transport activities. More than one party may now be liable for any heavy vehicle offence. You may want to consult a business lawyer to see how the new laws will affect you, and read up on public liability and indemnity insurance.

You can find more information about the laws here.


The legal environment of your business is always rapidly changing. It is important to balance the hope and excitement of a new year with the knowledge of relevant laws to ensure your business continues to run smoothly during 2018.

Want to confidently keep your business ahead of 2018 legal changes? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our network of 750+ expert lawyers or to get answers to your legal questions.

Dhruv Saggar

Dhruv is a Legal Tech Intern working in the content team at Lawpath who is highly curious about how technology is changing the legal landscape.