Public Law – Issue 16


In our summer holiday edition of Public Law, there is something for everyone. We share our best holiday entertainment recommendations, our top tips to stay cyber safe over the break, explore how barriers are being broken down for First Nations people in the fashion industry, catch up with MP James Griffin on the environment, heritage and reducing plastic waste. Hear too about a WA coastal eco destination, and take five with our new innovation lead. Of course, there are all the favourites too with our book review, holiday recipe and legal updates. Happy holidays!

Kathryn Howard

Kathryn Howard

Head of Hall & Wilcox Public Sector Industry Group
and Editor of the Public Law newsletter    

Kathryn Howard

Partner, Head of Hall & Wilcox Public Sector group
and Editor of the Public Law newsletter

It is hard to believe this year is already drawing to a close, and that we find ourselves looking forward to 2023. I write this in front of my Christmas tree, with the fairy lights twinkling. Tired but grateful for a year well lived.

Over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on the highlights of this year, and chatting with others about their highlights.

The consistent theme throughout everyone’s highlights? People.

Moments shared with friends, family, colleagues, clients, strangers.

The trust that we share with those around us, the support through challenging times, the laughter, the tears, the gentle kindnesses from strangers.

And so as we enter this holiday season, I hope each of you experience the joy of being with those you love, of being appreciated for who you are, of being at ease.

And for those who can’t be with their loved ones, may the memories of happy times bring comfort amidst the sorrow.

To all our contributors and readers this year, thank you for your support, for sharing your insights and for inspiring us. Let’s journey on, #bettertogether in 2023.

Hall & Wilcox are deeply proud to announce the appointment of its first female Chair of Partners, Emma Woolley.

Emma will take on the role in January 2023, replacing Mark Dunphy who has served as Chair since 2015.

Emma is a specialist in private clients and wills and estates and has been with the firm since 2005. She made Partner in 2012 and has held various other leadership roles at Hall & Wilcox, including pro bono partner and board member.

“I am delighted to be appointed as chair of Hall & Wilcox, a firm with a long history of inclusion and with such a great culture”.

We are grateful to Mark Dunphy, who has served wonderfully as Chair since 2015. He remains a valued senior partner and counsel, in addition to his new role as the first Asia-Pacific-based lawyer to serve as chair of global legal organisation SCG Legal.

Managing Partner, Tony Macvean remarked that “Emma is admired in the firm and the market for her quality, judgment and gravitas. I can’t wait to work with Emma as we embark on the next stage of the firm’s growth and evolution”.

Please join us in congratulating Emma on this landmark appointment.

By Eden Winokur

Cyber attacks continue to devastate Australian organisations and individuals, targeting all industries, including the public sector. And the summer break is no time to relax when it comes to managing cyber security risk.

It is important to be on high alert over the holiday period, as opportunistic cyber criminals often target the shut-down days and weeks to launch attacks. It is generally believed this occurs due to reduced workforces, and cyber criminals believing their actions are less likely to go detected when accessing third party networks.

Key stats snapshot – 76,000 reasons to remain vigilant

In November 2022, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) released its annual report covering the 12-month period up to 30 June 2022 (FY22). Alarmingly, the ACSC received 76,000 reports of cyber crime in the FY22 period. That amounts to one report every seven minutes, or more than 200 reports per day. This is an increase of 13% compared to the previous financial year.

Reporting cyber crime to the ACSC is voluntary, so the true number of cyber attacks is likely to be substantially higher. For example, during the FY22 period, the ACSC received 447 reports of ransomware, which it considers is ‘significantly underreported’. Of those, the highest sector reporting ransomware incidents was education and training (11%), with government fourth highest (8%).

Business email compromise (BEC), or invoice scams, featured in the FY22 period. Losses totalling $98 million were reported, with an average of $64,000 per loss. This equates to 1,500 reported instances of BEC per year, or nearly five per day.

Holiday cyber checklist

There are various steps Australian organisations and individuals can take over the holiday period to reduce the risk of being the victim of cyber crime. As a basic checklist, all organisations should:

  • Be alert, be careful – as we shut down for the year, everyone should be alert and careful about the methods used by cyber criminals to gain access to networks and perpetrate Do not click suspicious links whether in emails, SMS or other forms. Deals that look too good to be true probably are.
  • Stay up to date – familiarise yourself with the current ways cyber criminals are targeting individuals by visiting the ACCC’s Scamwatch website.
  • Enable MFA make sure that you have multi-factor authentication enabled on as many systems as This may  include your email, applications and social media. If you do not have MFA enabled for work systems, discuss this with your organisation and IT team. It should be enabled, especially when remotely logging in to a network.
  • Have a plan – things do go wrong. All organisations should have a plan in place about who to contact if they experience or suspect that they may be experiencing a cyber incident. This should include escalating the incident internally and then contacting specialists who can assist or respond to an incident.

Every organisation’s cyber risk is unique, and the response plans you put in place are dependent on your structures, systems, roles and the data you hold.

To discuss your cyber risk and incident response process for the holiday period and the New Year, please get in touch.

Chloe Taylor is a dispute resolution lawyer with a strong interest in fashion, and she recently caught up with fashion industry veteran, Peter Naughton. Peter is Program Director at Kinaway – the Victorian Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce, which supports Collingwood-based KIN Fashion, a First Nations studio where culture, creativity and collaboration come together.

Tell us a bit about Kin Fashion

KIN Fashion is a First Nations Fashion Accelerator Project, supported by Kinaway, which breaks barriers and opens pathways for creatives and entrepreneurs in Victoria. Following a feasibility study in 2020, KIN Fashion was given support through Creative Victoria and Global Victoria to start up in 2021. We took a cohort of nine individuals through the accelerator project, which was cultivated for Melbourne Fashion Week in March.

Some of KIN’s designers were also featured in the Ganbu Marra Runway, a First Nations runway at the Meat Market in North Melbourne. Its designers are currently at RMIT doing a textile workshop with a group of our artists learning more about screen printing.

What sort of fashion, design and styles are coming out of Kin's studio?

An interesting, diverse assortment of streetwear, homeware, textile art and interest in activist design such as Clothing the Gaps, which came through our program. There has been more off-the-rack women’s wear, resort and contemporary. There is a list of KIN’s designers on the website.

How can we learn more about the creatives you work with, and can we start shopping from them now?

A challenge KIN has is that the mechanics of the fashion industry are cumbersome for product development. We’re currently exploring circular business methods for investing into startups. We have a progressive idea for a fashion fund that helps these emerging creatives put their toe in the water without burning cash. A margin for the costs can come back to the fund and the artists take the profit. The challenge is making this viable and, of course, getting the investors to come on board.

Kin recently started operating out of Collingwood in Peel Street. How did this arrangement come about?

There was an EOI through the City of Yarra, and we put in a solid application and were successful with a two-year tenure. KIN has been there for eight months, after previously working out of the Kinaway corporate premises. We were looking at shop fronts for KIN, we thought about having a shop top and retail, but the City of Yarra opportunity has been great.

The space is as adaptive as possible – used for photography, styling workshops, meetings and creative workshops. We have a pattern cutting table, two sewing machines, and an overlocker. Lots of different uses which we can adapt for the space.

The Wurundjeri Wurrung people are the traditional owners and true sovereigns of Collingwood. Does a place like Collingwood itself make an impact on Kin and its creatives?

Absolutely. It has been a real game changer to have a physical home. KIN’s people can stand in a space that is not only a creative space but a First Nations home and generational area.

How important is the support from Governments at all levels to an organisation like Kin?

Fundamental. We have been very fortunate in the relationships we have created with all government organisations, such as Creative Victoria. There’s more to be done for brokering a strategy and long-term planning work. Australian Council for the Arts has funded two programs for KIN, including a textile program with RMIT and a weaving workshop later in the year.

What are some other ways organisations like Kin can be supported by Governments across Australia?

The calendar timing of submissions and grants, and the short-term nature of these things, can be cumbersome for momentum. We had great response for program one and the Melbourne Fashion Festival, but the challenge is keeping the momentum of the program going. When we came to the financial year, we didn’t know what the next budget would look like.

If there can be a shared value proposition for a longer term commitment, such as three or five years, that would be a big step forward and allow a more aligned, longer term vision. The Australian Council of the Arts has put together a five-year plan, which is great as KIN can see a five-year strategy. That’s the only negative with the grants, they create a ‘stop-start’ impact.

There is a lot we want to do over the longer term. Much of the leadership in this sector is Indigenous women, and KIN want to develop a committee of Indigenous women in positions of influence and use it as a way of developing a five-year strategy to link back with government some visibility of what the sector really needs.

Part of the conversation is that the fashion industry is having its own issues with sustainability, transparency and fast fashion. It’s a really interesting point in time where First Nations culture and integrity is being listened to and represented in a fashion context. The two worlds work on two different systems, and we want to bring the values together.

One of the dangers is that collaborations are great, but we don’t make systemic change. KIN want to make sure this movement of First Nation fashion isn’t just a short burst corporate box tick, but create systems that make systematic changes intergenerationally.

Kin's residency has brought life back into a long-time vacant building. What's it like now?

It is a great space that has a lot of character. There was originally a community hall and a caretaker’s residence built in 1873. They demolished the community hall in the 1970s and kept the caretaker’s residence. KIN is in the caretaker’s residence. The hall has been converted into a park. It’s a really nice space. Yarra City Council project Aboriginal art onto the wall opposite the park every night. The walls of the building are all enclosed with a mural on the building. It is a really special place.

Chief Operating Officer, Sumith Perera is delighted to introduce Lisa Ziegert, Director – Client Solutions. Lisa leads the firm’s Smarter Law strategy and other client-focused innovations and technology. Lisa has worked with many government clients and is an expert in process improvement and practice efficiency.

You have spent much of your career practising as a lawyer, so what made you change to a corporate role?

While working as a lawyer at a commercial firm, I had the opportunity to join the Knowledge Management team on secondment. I soon discovered it was a perfect role to combine my knowledge of legal processes with my enthusiasm for creating practice efficiencies. As I became more involved in various process improvement projects, I was really drawn to the technical aspects of implementing solutions and have been working in the legal innovation space ever since.

What do you like most about working with lawyers?

I am fortunate to work with such bright, talented and committed people. Lawyers (myself included!) can be perfectionists, but my colleagues’ dedication and striving for excellence is inspiring.

What excites you most about what you’re seeing in technology?

Just the last few years alone, improvements in technology have accelerated digital transformations across all sectors – especially in law. I love seeing how technology can drive efficiencies and improve productivity, while providing real value to our clients. There are so many possibilities in the sector with automation, like what we are seeing now with our documents, processes and workflows. Emerging technology is growing rapidly as tech proficiency becomes expected within the legal industry, so that really excites me and I love being part of it.

What are some of the challenges of implementing large-scale process improvement projects?

A big initial learning curve for me was realising major change management projects are a journey – even if the technology is there. It can be hard convincing people to adopt new ways of doing things when they can't see the efficiencies immediately. They need to understand the benefits, as a core step in the program. Another challenge can be the organisational culture and the support required to drive the change. Having buy-in from key stakeholders at an early stage is critical for success.

Innovation and process improvement is a big part of what you do. Does this innovative spirit translate into your personal life?

I try to improve everything I do so that I am as efficient as possible and avoid any double handling (although I am sure all working parents would agree that is a necessity!).

In terms of how continuous improvement translates into my personal life, I would say that experimentation is a key feature of my approach to cooking. I find having a sense of curiosity, and a passion for learning and problem-solving also comes in handy.

We hear you aspired to be a pastry chef in another life. What is your favourite thing to bake, and will we see you on a future episode of Nailed It!?

I enjoy baking all types of cakes, biscuits and desserts, and I especially love baking for special occasions. I would need to work on my decoration skills before signing up for Nailed It! but I like the idea of the challenge!

What are two of your favourite apps – one for efficiency and one for fun?

Microsoft Lens allows you to take photos of documents or whiteboards on your mobile, save your scanned image as a PDF and email it. You can also markup the document or convert it to editable text using OCR (Optical Character Recognition). I also recommend read-it-later app Rocket, which saves links to articles, and you can tag them or search to find them – great for recipes too!

This tart is based on my German grandmother’s Zwiebelkuchen recipe, with my own tweaks added. It can be served warm or room temperature and to save time, use frozen shortcrust pastry.



2 cups (300g) plain flour 150g butter

1 egg

1 pinch of salt

2 tbsp cold water


50g butter

2 large (400g) brown onions diced

1/2 (250g) butternut pumpkin chopped 250g fresh beetroot chopped

3 eggs

300g crème fraiche or sour cream 150g fetta, crumbled

1/2 tsp salt and pepper, nutmeg to taste 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (if desired)


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

To make the pastry, cut the cold butter in small pieces and knead into the combined flour, salt and egg. Add cold water, or combine in a food processor. Roll the dough into a ball and cover in cling wrap, chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Add chopped pumpkin and beetroot to tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast (turn midway) for 20 minutes or until tender.

Heat the butter in a pan and sauté onions over medium heat for around 10 minutes until caramelised.

Use two sheets of baking paper to roll out the dough the size of a 28-30cm diameter quiche, tart or springform pan, including to cover the sides. Remove the top baking sheet and transfer into the greased pan.

Prick the base using a fork and blind bake the pastry for 10-12 minutes until golden.

Whisk eggs and sour cream, and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix in onions and pour into pastry case. Cover with the roasted beetroot and pumpkin and bake for 35-40 mins (cover with foil for the last 10 mins). Add a splash of balsamic vinegar when serving, if desired.

By Melinda Woledge

As part of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) commitment to learning about First Nations people and culture, and the full history of Australia, we have set up a RAP library. It is comprised of both fiction and non-fiction works by Indigenous writers. Our people share monthly book, film, or TV reviews and what they have learnt. For this edition of Public Law, we review a work of fiction by Yuwaalaraay1 writer, musician and composer, Nardi Simpson.

'...this lyrical novel, with a musician’s ear for voice and rhythm, offers another layer to our history: one of dispossession, injustice

and survival.'

In the fictional rural town of Darnmoor, white families live in neat houses with gardens that flourish thanks to endless watering. Indigenous families live at the Campgrounds, on the edge of the mighty Mangamanga River, at the end of Old Black Road, near the town tip.

Although the brutal violence of early settlement, hinted at throughout the story, has been replaced with threats and soft power, the town is no more welcoming to the original inhabitants than it ever was.

Three generations of the Billymil family live at the Campgrounds. Time marches on, the rhythm of their life dictated both by Country and by Darnmoor residents, particularly the mayor Mick Murphy. The town progresses, according to white notions, but no thought is given to the impact on the Indigenous community. The damage caused by casual racism and violence echoes through the generations.

There is a sad inevitability as the story builds towards a fierce climax. Garriya (the crocodile) is awakened, resulting in a violent act that will shatter Darnmoor and challenge the silence and blind complicity of its white inhabitants.

The Billymil family are both victims and perpetrators of violence and trauma. With Yuwaalaraay language and stories of ancestral spirits woven throughout, this lyrical novel, with a musician’s ear for voice and rhythm, offers another layer to our history: one of dispossession, injustice and survival.

1The Yuwaalaraay are a First Nations people of the north-western NSW freshwater plains. The Yuwaalaraay traditional lands include Walgett, Brewarrina, Angledool (near the Queensland border) and the Narran River. The opal town of Lightning Ridge is also on Yuwaalaraay Country.

By Julian Hammond and Alexandra Lane

The National Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2022 (Bill) was introduced into Parliament on 28 September 2022, seeking to establish the National Anti- Corruption Commission (NACC) as an independent federal agency with broad powers to investigate corruption allegations within the public and private sectors.

NACC powers

The Bill grants the NACC the power to investigate serious or systemic corrupt conduct of any person that adversely influences (or could adversely influence) a public official.

NACC powers will resemble those of a royal commission, including powers to:

  • investigate (among others) Commonwealth ministers, public servants, statutory office holders, government agencies, parliamentarians, personal staff of politicians and any other persons or bodies providing services on behalf of the Commonwealth (including private sector bodies);
  • investigate allegations of serious and systemic corruption, and carry out inquiries, whether on a referral from any source or at its own These investigations may be prospective or retrospective (including prior to the NACC’s establishment);
  • hold public hearings (subject to the satisfaction of an ‘exceptional circumstances’ test);
  • make findings of fact in relation to corrupt conduct, and publish reports and findings which will be publicly available; and
  • refer persons for criminal prosecution, civil proceedings or disciplinary

The Bill grants the power to compel the production of documents and information, compel persons to give evidence or issue search warrants. The NACC will also hold covert investigative powers, such as telecommunication interception powers and the ability to use surveillance devices, subject to existing thresholds for the use of those powers by law enforcement agencies.

They may also enter certain Commonwealth premises without a search warrant, seize evidence and exercise limited powers of arrest to ensure attendance at hearing.

What is the potential impact of the NACC?

The Bill is clearly focused on the public sector; however, it also extends jurisdiction to private firms performing functions ‘for or on behalf of’ the Commonwealth. This may include private companies involved in projects relating to the NDIS, aged care, recruitment, infrastructure, defence, institutional banking or technology.

The consequences of being either directly or indirectly involved in an investigation may be significant and wide reaching, from reputational damage to key employee or key project loss.

What can my organisation do to prepare?

At this stage, the Bill is not law. However, organisations must always ensure they have robust corruption and misconduct frameworks and policies. They should also progress comprehensive training, education and compliance policies for staff to ensure they are familiar with the standards and oversight mechanisms, including the mandatory obligations to report suspected corruption.

It’s important to have strong procedures for responding to investigations, such as public relations and media strategies, employee support measures and internal training for key persons (particularly individuals with mandatory reporting obligations).

Further NACC discussion is available via our recent Being ESG Wise Podcast, on which we interviewed Dr Yee-Fui Ng, Associate Professor from Monash University.

James Griffin, Environment Minister and Heritage Minister for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, recently met with Hall & Wilcox’s Matt Curll, Partner, Financial Services & Insurance, to discuss politics, his philosophical approach to heritage, and plastic cutlery.

Why did you get into politics in the first place?

I think subconsciously having both my parents being army officers, 40 years combined service in the army, meant service was one of the fundamental streams growing up in our family – an understanding that it’s a big world out there, we live in a community, and there is still some honour in being a part of something bigger than yourself.

What is it about the manly people and area that you love?

It has a seaside village charm that is pretty unique but is also 20 minutes from Australia’s busiest CBD. Pretty amazing to think that we have a town here nestled between the best harbour in the world, and a beautiful beach, giving people the opportunity to get into the Sydney CBD and enjoy life but has kept a really lovely town atmosphere to it. It’s a closeknit community. Very generous as well.

What are you proudest about contributing as the local member?

There are things that don’t necessarily get reported on, such as work with the likes of the Community Northern Beaches, a catch-all service provider to people who are down on their luck and experiencing homelessness or some other misfortune. We help and support them.

Over the last couple of years, more than $118 million has been spent on public education infrastructure and rebuilding four public schools in our area: Curl Curl, Manly Vale, Manly Village and then Harbord Public.

A lot of people may recall the Sea Life Aquarium, a prominent spot on approach into Manly. We are going to demolish that and turn it back into public open space. Given the rare real estate on Sydney Harbour, to be turning it back into public open space is pretty cool. Also building Australia’s first hospice for young adults on the North Manly Hospital site. I wasn’t going to rest until they got that done and it will open in December.

Are there any recent developments in your environment portfolio?

I have oversight of the EPA, and through that we are driving a lot of pretty progressive policy agendas and items. Last June we banned single use plastic bags. On 1 November we banned more problematic single use plastics – the knives and forks, straws, stirrers, polystyrene cups, things that break and crumble into little bits of plastic. People might ask, does it really make a difference? The short answer is yes, these things are about 60% of our waste found in the environment.

What about other key environmental issues?

New South Wales is one of the first States to commit to net zero by 2050. We’ve got a phenomenal renewable energy pipeline, have done great work in getting the transmission lines up and running and investing in that, and opening up the renewable energy zones across the State for private investment. It has been oversubscribed, there’s so much interest and capital flowing into renewable energy.

Our role is to make sure there’s a good market operating, the transmission lines are functioning and ready to help transition from your coal-fired power to renewable sources. It’s quite exciting and is not about a ‘win or lose’ proposition. It’s a transition for some communities with great benefits. We’ve got to put downward pressure on energy prices and that takes all levels of government working together to achieve.

Could you please touch on how the national parks part of your portfolio engages with the aboriginal community?

The moment is now to embrace the cultural land practices and land management techniques that Aboriginal people have been doing for thousands of years, and to acknowledge the deep cultural connections they have. We have commenced work on the ultimate hand-back of the Parks Estate to the Aboriginal communities, and do that through the joint management of the Parks Estate with them.

We’ve got some Traditional Owners who already have MOUs with the local national park and they’re managing it, and others are at the beginning of the journey, but overall it’s about self-determination. It’s getting the symbolism right of recognising the importance that our Aboriginal people have to Australia, and equally getting the policies right to deliver good economic outcomes and good self-determination opportunities for Aboriginal people.

What’s your approach to the heritage portfolio?

We’ve got a proud heritage in New South Wales, including Aboriginal cultural heritage and there’s great opportunity in having a strong State Heritage Register, protecting and preserving items of significance. But equally my philosophy with heritage is it needs to be open and welcoming, not locking things up for the sake of it but adaptively re-using heritage buildings and premises where appropriate, because the more people experience things the more they love it and the more they’ll support it and care about it in the future. One way we’re doing that in a very real sense is our blue plaques program, which we borrowed from London.

Is there anything in particular that springs to mind that you are most proud about with heritage?

Repatriation of Aboriginal remains and artefacts into their communities of origin. Heritage New South Wales has a responsibility for working with Aboriginal communities to get those remains or artefacts and give them back to those communities. We’ve worked hard to accelerate the rate at which we’re doing that, and I’ve had the opportunity to be in community when they’ve handed that back, and it’s quite a moving and profound thing to be involved in.

WA Partner Emma Leys recently attended the 2022 WALGA Planning Showcase to hear from WA local governments including the Shire of Augusta Margaret River. We spoke with Saul Cresswell, Matt Slocomb and Matt Cuthbert from the Shire to hear more about their success in achieving ECO Destination Certification and the emergence of tiny homes.

Congratulations on becoming the first eco destination in wa – why does this matter for the shire of augusta margaret river?

Saul Cresswell: Our Shire is located in an extremely unique and fragile biodiversity hotspot and our economy relies heavily upon the health of our environment.

Our community is widely recognised for its proactive environmental stance. The wine industry is key here, and tourism is a huge part of our economy, with a lot of undeveloped coastline and remnant bushland to relax in and explore. We really wanted to send a loud message that we take sustainability seriously.

This was a big investment for the shire, taking 18 months to achieve. how does a local government area go about becoming an eco destination?

Saul Cresswell: Ecotourism Australia were really helpful along the journey as we navigated the 105 different criteria. It is a detailed, globally recognised standard, that requires a lot of evidence. For example, how wastewater is managed, how residents and businesses are educated around their environmental impacts, what efforts are in place to reduce waste, what constraints are placed upon development to reduce environmental impact.

What was the most challenging part of the process?

Saul Cresswell: We were pleased to satisfy most criteria, but there were also criteria that highlighted gaps in our sustainability thinking.

We see these as growth opportunities, but in some cases they are quite tricky. For example, the carbon intensity of transport is a big challenge for ‘sustainable’ travel. While we were part of the first ‘electric highway’ in Australia, stretching from Perth to Augusta, and have a great network of walk and cycle trails, rural settings like ours tend to rely on car transport. And that’s not even looking at flights to get here.

How does the eco destination certification align with the local indigenous culture?

Saul Cresswell: A whole section of the certification concerns how Traditional Owners are engaged. This was an area that we had a lot to showcase. We have active Aboriginal leaders and a strong intention around genuine engagement with them.

Some of the examples we talked about were Shire funding for Aboriginal programs such as traditional burning workshops, Aboriginal ranger programs, and healthy country plans to guide the way we manage certain areas. Our working relationship has really improved over time, and I think they see that we’re doing our best to look after this place we all love.

The shire has been proactive on tiny homes. What are some positive impacts of the tiny home movement?

Matt Slocomb: The main positive is housing choice and affordability. Tiny Homes could help address a big gap in our rental market – there are currently limited rentals available, and most housing in the Shire has three-plus bedrooms. While Tiny Homes certainly aren’t the answer to all of our affordable housing issues, they can be a part of the solution if legitimised.

Other positives are lower cost of construction, freedom of movement and minimal reliance on financial institutions. People can build a Tiny House with savings and rent a small part of someone’s backyard at a lower cost than a renting a purpose-built structure or building their own.

Who seems to be most interested in building and living in tiny homes?

Matt Slocomb: There are two main groups interested in Tiny Homes. Firstly, people who are motivated to ‘live tiny’ and reduce their footprint on the planet. Tiny Homes are less prone to being filled up with ‘stuff’ and are generally self-sufficient regarding power, water and effluent disposal.

The second group are attracted by affordability. The cost to build a Tiny Home is substantially less than building a conventional home. Ongoing costs associated with renting a site to place the Tiny Home are minimal, which is where the true savings can be made. The option of moving the Tiny Home occasionally to suit changes in work or lifestyle is also attractive to some people.

How do you balance the growing popularity of holiday rental homes with the need for affordable long-term housing?

Matt Cuthbert: The Shire has a strong policy limiting the use of homes for short- term rental on Airbnb and similar platforms. Generally, we do not allow holiday rental homes in our inland residential areas where the majority of us live. Ancillary dwellings or ‘granny flats’ are not permitted to be used as a holiday rental home, and if Tiny Homes can become a legitimate form of housing, then the same rules will apply to them – if we allow small and hence more affordable homes to be rented on the short-term market, they are removed from the long-term rental pool where we have a chronic shortage. The State Government is contemplating allowing holiday homes everywhere provided they are only used for three months of the year. If this eventuates, our ability to regulate the space in a way that puts local needs first would diminish.

Being a rural-remote LGA must come with its own unique challenges, but what are the biggest advantages?

Matt Cuthbert: There are few disadvantages of living in the Augusta Margaret River Shire. It’s an incredibly safe place surrounded by nature with access to most things that make for an enjoyable life. There is a laid-back lifestyle, no traffic jams and there are plenty of great cafés, wineries and breweries.

What are some upcoming shire initiatives you would like to share?

Matt Cuthbert: A new initiative we are just commencing is climate conversations, whereby we train community members to host discussions/dinners to grow knowledge and action about what we can do to combat climate change. We want to engender a culture of climate action amongst residents, which we think can be a small part of a broader groundswell of action and advocacy.

Holidays are around the corner and hopefully so is some time to enjoy great content. Check out these recommendations from our people to get you started this holiday season.

TV series

The Bear

Disney+ series

Tony Macvean, Managing Partner

The Bear is about a young fine dining chef who comes home to run the family sandwich shop in Chicago. The setting and dialogue are urban, gritty and funny. As a former hospo geek,

I loved the kitchen scenes – both the beauty of a well-functioning kitchen (yes, chef!) and the mayhem of a kitchen out of control. The storylines are compelling and real – perhaps until the twist at the end. Most of all, I loved the characters and was moved by their stories and connection. Highly recommended.

Bad Sisters

Apple TV series

Natalie Demir, Business Development & Marketing Manager

Hilarious and dark murder mystery and a must watch for anyone inspired by a strong sisterhood.

For all mankind

Apple TV series James Deady, Partner

This one is for all the sci-fi fans.


No such thing as a fish

Hamish McNair, Special Counsel

From the creators of QI, so it's nerdy but with plenty of good banter.

Chat 10 Looks 3

Rebecca Shelley, Partner

Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales discuss everything from books to food, movies and politics.

The Missing Cryptoqueen

Ann Watson, Special Counsel

Jamie Bartlett presents a story of greed, deceit and herd madness.

Making Sense

Cam Forsyth, Senior Associate

Sam Harris explores questions about the human mind, society, and current events.


The Dreaming Path – Indigenous Thinking to Change Your Life by Dr Paul Callaghan

Meg Lee, Partner

The Horse by Geraldine Brooks

Kathryn Howard, Partner

Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko

Brad Marland, Partner

The Mother by Jane Caro

Fay Calderone, Partner

Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

Head of Pro Bono and RAP Champion Nathan Kennedy recently led the development and launch of the second Hall & Wilcox Reconciliation Action Plan, called the Innovate RAP. This represents an extension of our journey as we continue to make a positive impact on reconciliation. Key components of this RAP include truth-telling and cultural awareness training for employees, employment pathways for First Nations law students through our new pathway program, and a vital role in discussion around the Voice to Parliament Referendum. This is combined with a unique offering of supporting First Nations businesses, which currently includes the use of caterers and other suppliers.

Spotlight on Construction

Hall & Wilcox’s cross-practice construction team hosted a series of events and presentations from 7-11 November as part of its inaugural Spotlight on Construction series. Industry experts joined us to discuss issues facing the sector, including the challenges ahead, women in construction, insurance insights and risk management in the current environment.

You can watch the recordings on our website.

2023 Seminar Series

Thank you to everyone who attended our 2022 Public Law Webinar Series. All webinars are now available to watch on-demand.

We have an exciting schedule planned for 2023 with webinar topics covering: cyber, privacy, employment, IT procurement, emergency services, regulatory investigations and debt recovery.

To receive updates and invitations to our upcoming seminar series, register now.

We look forward to hosting you online in 2023.


Check out our latest thought leadership in our recent podcast series, covering topics such as cyber, ESG and the legal implications of extreme weather.


Kathryn Howard

Kathryn leads the Public Sector industry group at Hall & Wilcox, and is a commercial dispute resolution practice partner.

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