It has been almost a year since the Victorian Parliament passed the Owners Corporations and other Acts Amendment 2021. On December 1, 2021, eleven amendments came into effect, which were designed to enhance the governance of, and liveability of buildings overseen by Owners Corporations (OC). These changes are important for property developers, OC managers and those who own a property covered by an OC. This article outlines what the changes mean for Public Liability (PL) insurance policies and the next steps for those impacted.
WHAT HAS CHANGED AND WHY?
One key change is the new minimum requirement for PL insurance. PL insurance is designed to protect the Owners Corporations’ legal liability in the event that a third party becomes injured, or their property is damaged within the vicinity of common areas of the Owners Corporations. A common PL claim within the strata space includes slip and fall claims e.g., a third party slips and falls on a cracked step causing them to break a limb. The PL policy is designed to protect the interests of the Owners Corporation, which can include cover for compensation to a third party (medical bills, and/or compensation for loss of income as a result of time off work to recover from the injury), or legal fees to defend a claim.
We have reached out to our specialist strata insurer partners to understand their positions on the rollout of the mandatory regulations of the Owners Corporation and other Act Amendment 2021. Currently, insurers hold different positions as to how they will enact the mandatory increase to the minimum PL cover held and the impact on premiums and coverage. Therefore, please contact us and we can inform you about your insurer’s position.
It is with great pleasure that we announce the promotion of Rebecca Taitto the position of Head of Client Service (Victoria).
Joining Honan earlier this year as a Client Manager, Rebecca has demonstrated exceptional technical broking skills and natural leadership abilities. Drawing on these capabilities, Rebecca has assumed the position in Corporate Insurance and Risk Solutions (CIRS), with responsibility for all Corporate and Commercial Operations.
Reflecting on her appointment and the opportunities ahead, Rebecca told us:
“I’m excited to be leading our growing team of talent in Victoria and assisting in both providing the best of Honan servicing to our clients as well as strengthening our market relationships.”Rebecca Tait – Head of Client Service (VIC).
BASE PREMIUM– You may be familiar with the term “base premium” and have seen it on an invoice but never actually given it much thought. Base premium is the starting point for any insurance quote or renewal. Your insurer will calculate this amount based on various rating factors such as geographic location, building materials, age, claims history, and so on. Base premium should reflect the potential risk associated with the property and, when aggregated, should cover the cost to the insurer of claims relating to the property and the insurer’s operating expenses.
LOSS RATIOS – A high Loss Ratio for an individual property is often cited as an explanation for a rate increase. This ratio is calculated as total claims divided by the base premium only (not total payable as is sometimes the assumption). It is this loss ratio that determines the insurer’s profitability. This means that on average, the insurer is only retaining 72.5% of the total insurance payable, so they may not be as profitable as they sometimes appear.
SO, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE REMAINING AMOUNT?
INSURANCE STAMP DUTY – Insurance Stamp Duty is a tax on insurance transactions. It is calculated as a percentage of base premium plus GST. This point is important because it is not commonly known that the GST charged on the base premium is included in the stamp duty calculation. This practice is sometimes referred to as “stacking taxation”. Stamp Duty is charged at between 9-11% depending on your location (and does not apply in the ACT).
EMERGENCY SERVICES LEVY – In NSW there is an additional levy applied to insurance called the Emergency Services Levy (ESL). The ESL helps to fund services that keep the community safe, such as Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, and NSW State Emergency Services.
GST – As with most things in life, there is GST and insurance is no different. You will see GST on your invoices.
We are pleased to announce that within his role as Head of Global & Networks, Steve Pappaswill take on the additional responsibility of leading the strategic growth for our thriving New Zealand business.
Reflecting on the evolving needs of its global customer base, our New Zealand business, previously within Corporate, now forms an integral part of our Global portfolio.
“Steve has an outstanding track record in building our Global offering and working with our valued Global Insurance partners over the last three years. The New Zealand business has established a strong and sustainable foundation within our global network and Steve has the ideal skillset and experience to take it to the next level.” Andrew Fluitsma – CEO, Honan.
“New Zealand is a real growth area for Honan, and I am excited to work with General Manager – James Baxter and the team. We are focusing on our key verticals in the region which is consistent with the broader strategic goals of the company.” Steve Pappas – Head of Global & Networks.
Congratulations Steve, and we look forward to sharing highlights of the continued growth and success of the team in this exciting region.
With the holiday season tantalisingly close, it won’t be long before many of us flock to the beach, regional Australia…or even overseas for a well-earned break! Unfortunately, Australia’s summer months mark the height of natural disaster season. Adding another layer of complexity, the Bureau of Meteorology has announced La Niña weather conditions are already underway, signalling the potential for higher-than-average rainfall over the months ahead.
While the potential wrath of Mother Nature can leave us feeling powerless at times, whether you are an owner-occupier, an investment property, or holiday home owner, there are simple things you can do now to help minimise risk and key steps to take in the event of damage.
BASIC MAINTENANCE IS VITAL
Whether you live in the suburbs or in regional areas, removing imposing risks near your home or permanent structures (such as sheds and fencing) is important. Here are some considerations:
Trim back any trees or vegetation that may be too close or hanging over your home and structures. Also check for dead or diseased trees – strong winds can uproot trees and cause branches to fall, leading to property damage and injury.
Remove debris that may be a fire or stormwater ingress risk (including guttering and roofing. If you live in a leafy area, gutter guards are a great option to consider.
Ensure propane tanks, propane BBQs and household combustibles are stored away from structures and do not store flammable items outside.
Test your smoke alarms. Smoke alarms can save your life and they may reduce the risk of further damage if the fire can be extinguished before it spreads.
Check your roof and windows are in good condition on a regular basis. Your home’s roof and windows are the only barriers between you and the elements. Small holes, cracks, and deterioration in roofing or windows can lead to stormwater ingress over time (which can cause mould) or during heavy rainfall events.
Identify any dark or wet spots, cracking, bubbling, or flaking of paint or plaster on your property. A damp, musty, or mouldy smell can indicate a problem. Inspect the foundations – check for any cracks or gaps.
Store outdoor furniture and other items (e.g., BBQs) in a safe place, such as an undercover area or pack them away if not in regular use.
Ensure there is adequate drainage and flood protection measures (dual sump pumps, adequate waterproofing) in low-lying areas of your property, such as basements and cellars. Check all contents in low-lying areas are stored off the ground.
Store sandbags in your garage for a worst-case scenario flooding situation.
If you live in a cyclone-prone area, ensure you have an emergency plan in place and familiarise your household with the plan. Regularly monitor weather and associated alerts.
PROTECT YOUR VEHICLE
It might make for great viewing on the news but do not attempt to drive through flood waters. If you live in an apartment or complex with car stackers, consider moving your car to a covered multilevel carpark above ground.
IF YOU’RE GOING AWAY
Don’t forget to ensure gas appliances, heaters, and stoves are switched off and turn gas off at the mains if you’re away for an extended period.
Disconnect non-essential electrical appliances & IT equipment – check power boards too.
IN THE EVENT OF DAMAGE TO YOUR PROPERTY
Despite having minimised all physical risks, damage incurred by natural catastrophes is unavoidable. If your property requires an ‘emergency make-safe’, please contact the Honan Helpdesk. A make-safe involves temporary repairs to ensure the property is watertight and to minimise or prevent further damage.
If the emergency occurs outside business hours, please contact a contractor to undertake an ‘emergency make-safe’. You can contact the SES for emergency assistance or one of our make-safe Partners and Emergency Repairers below:
TIPS TO MINIMISE LOSSES IF YOUR PROPERTY HAS BEEN DAMAGED
In the aftermath of a bushfire, cyclone, storm, or flooding, we encourage you to call the Honan Helpdesk (+61 3 9947 4333) or the above make-safe Partners and Emergency Repairers ASAP, and take the following steps:
BE VIGILANT and if in doubt, wait for emergency services to attend the property.
IF WATER HAS ENTERED THE PROPERTY do not switch on the electricity until an electrician has undertaken checks.
AVOID BLACK WATER – this is unsafe, contaminated water and must be left to experts.
DO NOT MOVE FALLEN TREES/BRANCHES – fallen branches or trees could be hiding live wires.
LIVE WIRES – if live wires are present, maintain a safe distance and wait for an electrician or your power company to attend and make safe.
IF YOU BELIEVE YOU MAY HAVE AN INSURANCE CLAIM
CONTACT US– please contact the Honan Helpdesk on +61 3 9947 4333.
PREPARE AN ITEMISED LIST of damage and take photographs to support your claims process.
DISPOSE OF SPOILT AND DESTROYED ITEMS – again, it’s important to take photographs.
KEEP ANY ITEMS THAT CAN BE REPAIRED. If in doubt, speak to your broker.
In August 2021, a record 4.3 million Americans voluntarily resigned. The mass movement of talent in the US has business leaders anticipating a similar shift in the Australian workforce. So how ready is your organisation and what can you do to limit the loss of top talent?
A recent national survey by PwC found 38% of Australian workers plan to leave their current employer within the next 12 months. Fuelled by various factors, including restlessness following the prolonged effects of the pandemic and employees seeking greater control over their lives, the most likely employees to leave are Gen Zs and Senior Executives (often the most costly to replace).
REMUNERATION & REWARD
Remuneration and Reward consistently rank in the top reasons employees join or leave an employer. At the same time, remuneration is often considered a hygiene factor and does not necessarily drive engagement or job satisfaction. In fact, employees rarely understand the true financial value of their total rewards package which includes their pay and other benefits because the organisation has failed to articulate this properly.
WHAT CAN BUSINESSES DO?
1. ENSURE REMUNERATION IS COMPETITIVE
Remuneration data is widely available through recruiters, on job websites, and via social media. Not only should remuneration be market competitive, but businesses should be transparent in communicating the reasoning behind their offering.
2. COMMUNICATE THE TOTAL VALUE OF YOUR BENEFITS PACKAGE
Many organisations struggle to communicate the true financial value of their rewards packages. Honan has partnered with benefits platform Zest to deliver a market-leading experience that helps organisations showcase the true value of their pay and benefits. Get in touch with Honan to book a Zest demonstration.
Wellbeing (22%) is the second most important factor for employees deciding to join or leave an employer (PWC, 2021). 85% of workers reported their wellbeing has deteriorated during the pandemic, with 1 in 2 workers experiencing mental health challenges over this time.
WHAT CAN BUSINESSES DO?
INVEST IN EMPLOYEES’ MENTAL AND FINANCIAL WELLBEING
Beyond physical health, employees now expect employers to support their holistic wellbeing. Financial anxiety is a leading cause of stress among Australian employees (Metlife EBTS, 2021), meaning organisations that prioritise this support will be best positioned to attract and retain talent. Core support areas include:
Structured Group Life and Income Protectionpolicies offer financial security and peace of mind in the event of death or inability to work due to injury or illness.
Financial Wellbeing Programs such as educational webinars, budgeting tools, and information give employees greater control of their finances.
Holistic Wellbeing Programs can build resilience and enhance mental wellbeing and physical health. Common examples include Private Health Insurance Plans, Employee Assistance Programs, mental resilience workshops, skin checks, and gym sessions.
Closed borders and reduced migration have led to a shortage of talent in the local market and proactive organisations with structured and holistic employee benefits propositions are more likely to win and retain the best talent.
Reach out to the Honan Employee Benefits Team for a complimentary review of your organisation’s employee benefits strategy.
We exist to provide tailored insurance solutions and the protection of assets to property owners and businesses operating across the Real Estate sector.
2. A QUOTE TO CAPTURE YOUR TEAM’S ETHOS?
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work” Vince Lombardi.
3. IF WE WERE A SPORTS TEAM, WE’D BE CALLED …
The Honan Heroes.
4. GIVE A SHOUT-OUT TO A COMPANY/PLATFORM YOUR TEAM IS PARTICULARLY INSPIRED BY RIGHT NOW, AND WHY?
The First National Group.
Honan and The First National Group have a relationship that goes back more than 19 years. The support and “can do” attitude within the Group and its members has seen First National continue to achieve exceptional success during a difficult 18 months for business owners.
5. REFLECTING ON THE YEAR TO DATE, HIT US WITH YOUR TEAM’S TOP 3 HEADLINES.
Client relationships – nurturing existing relationships and building new client relationships to ensure our clients feel supported, despite the challenges the pandemic has presented.
Successful placements on difficult risks in a hardening market – together, we have sourced cover for high hazard industrial properties through to Real Estate professional risks with prior claims and hazardous business activities.
Evolving our service proposition – we have restructured our team and added some expert personnel to optimise our client service offering.
6. HONAN’S ‘WITH YOU ALL THE WAY’ BRAND PROMISE IS ONE WE’RE PROUD TO HONOUR IN BOTH OUR DEALINGS WITH CLIENTS, BUT INTERNALLY ACROSS THE BUSINESS TOO. WHAT DOES ‘WITH YOU ALL THE WAY’ LOOK LIKE WITHIN YOUR TEAM?
For our team, the “with you all the way” spirit shows up in different ways. We work together on the placement of challenging risks and optimise the unique skillsets in our team to develop market-leading submissions. We have such a dedicated team, and we make a conscious effort to share the stories and hard work behind the wins with the broader business.
7. IF YOU COULD PICK ONE BRILLIANT PERSON – DEAD OR ALIVE – TO JOIN YOUR TEAM, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Kobe Bryant. If you have read his book Mamba Mentality, you will know he explores five characteristics: Honesty, Detachment, Optimism, Passion, and Fearlessness. Living by this mantra helped Bryant become a great leader and more importantly, an amazing team player.
He would be a fantastic addition to our team with these qualities!
8. LOOKING AHEAD, WHAT IS YOUR TEAM MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO OVER THE NEXT 6-12 MONTHS?
Client engagement is an essential part of our team’s DNA and we are really looking forward to reconnecting with our clients face to face.
We’re also looking forward to the coming months when we will be announcing the expansion of our existing product and service offering to better serve our clients.
In the current hardening insurance market where demand outstrips supply, we are seeing premium increases of 10-15% on residential properties. These increases are trending even higher at 20% or more for commercial properties. With insurers restricting their underwriting appetite and or increasing their premiums to help recover large losses over recent years, property owners with “medium-high risk occupants” have limited options. In this article, we outline some of the highest-rated commercial occupants, key information insurers want to know, and crucially, how owners can reduce their risk exposures.
VACANT OR UNOCCUPIED PROPERTIES
During COVID-19 we have seen an increase in vacancy rates within commercial lots and these pose a high risk to insurers, including:
Increased likelihood of damage caused by vandalism
In the event of water or fire damage, no one is present to respond quickly and mitigate the loss
Possibility of squatters moving in, refusing to move out, and potentially causing damage
These risk factors mean insurers are less inclined to offer cover and if they do, they are more likely to apply higher premiums and impose additional excesses.
WHAT OWNERS CAN DO
Install security protection –install back to base alarms, key-operated deadlocks on doors, key locks or bars on windows and consider employing security guards or a full-time caretaker
Mitigate property damage– drain or disconnect water tanks and pipes, disconnect electricity and gas
Visit the property every week and keep a log/photo of the visits
Advise your Strata/Property Manager as soon as the vacant lots become tenanted
TYPICAL QUESTIONS FROM UNDERWRITERS
How often is the property inspected – internally and externally?
What fire mitigation and security protection services are installed at the property? Are these maintained regularly?
Are you actively looking for new tenants? Is it professionally managed by an agent?
Are all services going into the premises maintained (e.g. power and water)?
CAFES OR RESTAURANTS
Occupants with cooking facilities represent a higher fire risk for insurers. Insurers will usually question if deep fryers are being used, how often the flues are cleaned, and what fire protection measures are in place.
WHAT OWNERS CAN DO
To help mitigate the extreme fire hazard if filters are not correctly maintained, insurers will sometimes specify how often they are to be professionally cleaned. Having this done professionally can take the responsibility off the Tenant should a claim arise.
If a claim was to occur and it was found the filters were not maintained, the tenant would likely be found responsible, and face the possibility of the insurer attempting to recover claims costs from them. If a professional is contracted to clean the filters bi-annually (at a minimum), and a claim was to occur, insurers would attempt to recover funds from the contractor, who may be able to claim on their Public Liability insurance.
Note – the occupant’s liability would be unlikely to respond to a claim for property damage from failure to regularly and correctly clean the filters.
TYPICAL QUESTIONS FROM UNDERWRITERS
Is this restaurant/cafe licensed to sell alcohol?
Housekeeping of ducting/vents/filters – specification on how often this is done
Fire protection in place (e.g., hose reels, fire blankets, fire extinguishers)
Total litres of oil capacity within the deep fryer
Are there automatic cut-out switches and thermotactic controls for deep frying?
Is there any Expanded Polystyrene Sandwich Panels (EPS) – within the unit? Either within the wall linings, cool rooms, or refrigeration units.
Underwriters are generally reluctant to take on manufacturing risks. One of the reasons this type of occupant poses such a high risk is due to the hazardous materials being stored and used on-site (e.g., chemicals, timber, plastic, and paper). Other common queries are based around the machinery items in use by the occupants and the general housekeeping undertaken to minimise risks.
WHAT OWNERS CAN DO
Owners can encourage manufacturing tenants to use protective dust coverings for machinery and to accurately list the items they manufacture on their website.
TYPICAL QUESTIONS FROM UNDERWRITERS
Description of items being manufactured – taken from tenants’ website, if available*.
What housekeeping/risk management does the tenant have in place?
Are there any flammable products kept on-site? How are these stored and how high?
What Machinery items are being used?
Are protective dust coverings in place for machinery items?
There is considerable variability in the willingness of insurers to provide cover for storage risks. Insurers typically see this as a high-risk exposure because there is a chance that anything could be stored on the property (e.g., flammable materials and dangerous goods).
TYPICAL QUESTIONS FROM UNDERWRITERS
What is being stored? (e.g., cars, household goods, trade tools, or building materials)
Are flammable liquids, hazardous materials, or dangerous goods kept on the site? If so, what are the quantities and how are they stored?
Photos of property including photos showing how items are stored
What is the maximum height storage?
DRY CLEANERS / LAUNDROMATS
Currently, there are very few insurance companies willing to take on the risks associated with these tenancies which are commonly known to be a highly flammable and injury risk for insurers. This is mostly because of the exposure to textiles/fabrics, lint from the dry cleaners, and chemicals that may be in use and stored on the premises, along with an increased risk of slips and falls on wet floors.
TYPICAL QUESTIONS FROM UNDERWRITERS
Tenants’ trading hours – is this a 24/7 operation?
Is a staff member always on-site?
How often is the lint cleaned from dry cleaners?
Any storage/use of dangerous chemicals/combustible liquids?
Maximum temperature of machines – is all the machinery fitted with automatic overheating safety protection?
What fire protection measures are in place on the premises? E.g., fire extinguishers, fire blankets.
Due to many historical prejudices, tattooist tenancies and businesses are considered a hard-to-place risk, meaning the occupation is outside underwriting guidelines for almost every underwriter in the Australian market. Tattooists also face a higher risk of malicious damage claims, making this a much more difficult risk to cover.
In most cases, a moral hazard declaration form will need to be completed for insurers to ensure the tenancy/business is not associated/affiliated with any criminal organisation.
Insurers will also question whether the building has adequate protection in the event a claim was to occur (e.g., security cameras, security alarms, deadlocks on doors, window locks, etc. )
WITH YOU ALL THE WAY
While the above is not an exhaustive list, knowing the answers to the ‘typical’ underwriting queries outlined here will help your broker present a more attractive risk profile to the market when sourcing quotations/coverage on your behalf. Insurers appreciate when owners are cooperative in providing the required information, as this builds a stronger case when assessing and making final decisions. At Honan, we are always happy to review your risks and discuss your options.
Community sport is a wonderful way to connect, develop and grow – both on and off the field. At Honan, we are proud to partner with clubs around the country in AFL, rugby, and soccer – championing adults and juniors, and women’s and men’s teams alike. As a long-time supporter of the Old Xavier Football Club, Honan recently became the principal partner of their women’s teams, we caught up with two of the leadership group, Gabby Henderson and Cristina Sgarbossa to hear about the club and the growing popularity of Women’s AFL (AFLW).
THE OLD XAVIER FOOTBALL CLUB (OXFC) HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED FOR SOME TIME, BUT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT ITS AFL WOMEN’S (AFLW) PROGRAM?
The OXFC women’s program (affectionately known as the WOX program) began in 2017. The inaugural team qualified for the Women’s William Buck Premier Division, which was a particularly proud moment and reflective of the fantastic coach that we had in Rohenna Young. We were relegated to Premier B at the end of the 2018 season but were incredibly motivated to make it back into the Premier Division. Murray Brown came on board as senior coach and, with the support of the fantastic Dylan Barker and Fran Moodie, led both WOX squads to the grand final. While we didn’t win, we secured our position in Premier for the following season in 2021. Season 2021 was challenging but saw tremendous growth in our skills under the coaching leadership of Scott Gowans with a huge panel of support in Paul Newton, Kristi Jenkins, and Brad Cronin.
We see the program’s core objective as creating a safe and supportive environment where we can make friends and improve on an individual and team level. Over the five years since the program’s inception, we think we are achieving this objective!
WHAT DREW YOU TO AFL AND WHAT KEEPS YOUR PASSION FOR THE GAME STRONG, DESPITE THE CHALLENGES?
CRISTINA:I’ve always loved watching footy and wanted to give it a go. When close friend Grace Knox said that Old Xavs were establishing a women’s team and suggested that we sign up, it didn’t take much convincing to get me on board! I’ve always loved team sports and making social connections through sport, and this is certainly what keeps my passion for the game strong. Nothing motivates me more than the girls around me – they make me want to improve, overcome any challenge, and strive to be the best that I can be.
GABBY: To be honest, I never saw myself playing footy. I grew up playing netball and never had much interest in venturing off the court. It was at the Genazzano (2012) 5-year reunion that I was persuaded by Cristina, Grace, and Gabby Golds (WOX captain 2019, 20,21) to ‘come and try’ footy at Old Xavs. I instantly fell in love with the sport and the WOX culture. I’m constantly in awe of the girls and couldn’t ask for a better support network. My passion for the game (both playing and watching the mighty Dees) continues to grow as I develop my skills and understand team dynamics with the guidance of Scott and the coaching team.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE BEST THINGS ABOUT THE OLD XAVIER AFLW PROGRAM AND COMMUNITY?
The WOX program and community have created a culture that is inclusive, competitive, and, most importantly, fun! We have established a safe space where women of all levels of skill and fitness can come together and try football and make friends – an opportunity that for many of us, was not available when we were growing up. We strive to improve as a team and as individuals. We’re supported in this endeavour by our amazing group of coaches, staff, and trainers.
THE WOMEN’S TEAMS HAVE JUST FINISHED UP FOR THE SEASON, WHAT HAVE BEEN THE TOP 3MILESTONES OR TAKEAWAYS FROM THE SEASON?
Cementing our position in the Women’s William Buck Premier Division!
The WOX Reserves team playing in the final series.
Seeing each other’s skills develop and progress after a year off, despite the season being disrupted by lockdowns.
HOW DO THE WOMEN’S TEAMS MAINTAIN CONNECTION AND MOTIVATION DURING THE OFF-SEASON?
Having established such strong bonds, maintaining these and motivating each other during the off-season has been quite easy and natural. Our group WhatsApp has been an important platform for us to reach out and check in with each other. We have also used it to keep each other motivated through additional activities like the step challenge in October and the Melbourne Marathon Festival Fun Run in December.
INNOVATIVE CULTURES AND A COMMITMENT TO ONGOING IMPROVEMENT ARE COMMON HALLMARKS OF GREAT TEAMS.WHAT SETS THE OLD XAVIER AFLW PROGRAM APART?
The unbelievably inclusive and supportive culture we have created, both on and off the field. Footy is a safe space and we know our teammates will always be there for us and have our backs.
MAINTAINING QUALITY CONNECTIONS WITH OUR PEOPLE, PARTNERS, AND THE COMMUNITY SITS AT THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO AT HONAN. WHAT RELATIONSHIPS & CONNECTIONS HAVE BEEN CRITICAL TO THE OXFC WOMEN’S PROGRAM’S SUCCESS?
The relationship and team-building amongst the playing group and coaches have been critical, including the steady increase in the number of women who want to play at Old Xavs from season to season. The support we receive from the Club, trainers, and administrative staff allows the program to run smoothly and ensure we are adequately resourced. We are also incredibly excited to build our relationship with exclusive WOX partner Honan Insurance, which will allow our program to continue to grow and achieve success in the future.
AFLW PARTICIPATION AND ITS FOLLOWING IS GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH IN AUSTRALIA – WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR AFLW OVER THE NEXT DECADE?
We have so much in the works for KIC in the next year, and we are so excited to share it. There is so much new value coming to our product, including new workouts, recipes, and plenty more.
In response to the growing number of cyber-attacks against Australia’s critical infrastructure, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has introduced the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2020 which expands Government powers to assist, intervene, and direct critical sectors (e.g. healthcare, transport, financial services, and defence) in respect to cyber threats and risk management.
WHAT ARE THE PROPOSED CHANGES?
The Joint Committee has recommended the Bill be separated into two Bills. The first Bill would implement the Government’s extended powers, whilst the second would impose risk management obligations on critical sectors. If passed, Bill One would grant three additional powers to the Government to intervene in the event critical infrastructure is under threat. It would:
require a business to disclose information that may assist in responding to an incident;
necessitate a business take certain action in circumstances where the business is unwilling or unable to resolve the incident itself; and
authorise the Australian Signals Directorate to step in to act where the business is unwilling or unable to act, or directing the business to act would not be practical or effective.
Bill One would also mandate oral notification of a cyber-attack to the Government body within 12 hours, with possible removal of the written notification requirement or at least an extension from 48 to 84 hours. Bill One will also identify and define the critical infrastructure sectors and the relevant critical assets affected. This is important because it has the potential to widen the scope of “national security business” under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act, resulting in more transactions being subject to approval under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act.
Bill Two will likely be deferred to enable industry consultation and to deal with the more critical areas covered under Bill One. However, Bill Two will propose to establish an obligation on national security businesses to adopt and maintain a critical infrastructure risk management program, including physical security, personnel security, and supply chain security. The risk management program will have commonalities across all industries but will also be specifically tailored to certain sectors. Particular sectors may be nominated by the Minister as having the highest criticality, meaning these assets are required to cooperate closely with the Government on cyber security matters through the ‘enhanced cyber security obligations’.
NEXT STEPS FOR YOUR ORGANISATION
Businesses or entities in critical infrastructure should prepare to comply with the new measures. A full review of current risk management programs, particularly cyber-attack response plans, business continuity planning, and contractual obligations regarding the supply chain should be reviewed and updated. We encourage you to consult your broker about your insurance program to ensure your coverage is adequate. You may also consider undertaking a cyber pre-loss review through an industry specialist.