Investing in agriculture in Western Australia is complex. It is a process that is controlled by a range of local and national laws and regulatory bodies with ramifications that extend far beyond a decision to invest in land, livestock or farming assets.
Market deregulation, access to water, climate change, an increasingly challenging operating environment and foreign investment controls are just some of the challenges facing investors in agriculture in Western Australia.
Lavan can help you manage these challenges. We are a Western Australian law firm. We understand the local farming sector. We know the local and regional geography. We know the laws and regulations that control business investment in Western Australia. Our partners have long-term business relationships with key industry stakeholders which will enable us to proactively assist you with investment decisions, expediting the process and finding solutions which will deliver the best possible legal and commercial outcomes.
Our Banking and Finance team assists financiers to the agribusiness sector in connection with the preparation of loan and security documentation including securities over crops and livestock. The team has also acted for service providers to the sector including equipment suppliers and ag-chemical and fertiliser companies in relation to advising on Personal Property Securities Act issues.
The Commercial Litigation team at Lavan has extensive experience in agribusiness disputes having acted for land owners, purchasers, vendors and producers in a wide variety of disputes. We regularly provide arbitration, mediation and litigation services to the agribusiness sector.
We act for buyers and sellers of agribusiness assets. The transactions we have been involved with have required extensive due diligence enquiries on title, water rights, mining rights, planning approvals, storage facilities and FIRB issues. Our team is very experienced in this area and is more than large enough to deliver this due diligence within tight timeframes. Our access to the FIRB has been critical in resolving FIRB issues for our offshore clients.
In addition we have also advised our clients on the funding that has been provided to effect these acquisitions. This funding includes both equity and debt finance (both onshore and offshore based).
Our team can also assist with acquisitions and disposals, land titling including leasehold conversions and easements, pastoral and occupancy leasing, share-farming arrangements and contracting out farm operations.
We provide advice on all aspects of approvals required for agricultural concerns including planning approvals, heritage and native title issues, environmental approvals (including clearing permits), impact of competing mining interests and compulsory acquisitions, representation in courts and tribunals for the purposes of review proceedings related to planning and environment approvals and defending enforcement actions and criminal proceedings.
Lavan can assist with issues relating to water rights, water access, water infrastructure and law reform and changing regulations in relation to water.
We document partnership, trust and company and cooperative structures for property ownership, purchase or sale of primary production businesses and assets, export documentation and contracts, specific farm contracts like wind farm leases, tax and FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board) applications, intellectual property and liquor licensing.
Lavan can assist with employment contracts, occupational health and safety and residency and migration related issues.
Acted on the purchase of the Nicoletti farm assets in Western Australia on behalf of a subsidiary of CK Life Group (listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange). This was the purchase of wheat farming assets on a significant portion of Western Australia (comprising 87 seperate titles). This transaction involved a complex due diligence covering titling, mining rights, access rights and water rights. The FIRB process was particulary complex and involved significant discussions with FIRB.
Acted on the sale of a Moora farm property to interests base in the Middle East. This involved negotiation of the sale contract and compliance with the new Foreign Resident Witholding tax laws.
Provided advice on all aspects of the strategically and politically important Ord River expansion project.
This is a ground breaking project that uniquely utilises the strata titles legislation to provide survey strata farm lots as an efficient way to deliver the project and manage the complex environmental obligations applicable to this project.
Negotiating and putting in place negotiated settlements with native title claimants with respect to land releases and land access.
Assisted the cooperative in its expansion into Australia, this involved:
Assisting with registration and advice on the purchase money security interests.
Provided advice in relation to planning approvals required for the retail component of an agricultural concern.
Provided advice and legal representation in relation to matters involving the Potato Board.
Acted on the sale of a rural property at Tardun near Geraldton.
Acted on the sale of the station and associated water entitlement agreements, stock and pastoral leases.
Acted for Westpac Banking Corporation with respect to the sale of the station.
Assisted with the development of a number of wine producing enterprises in relation to selling and supplying their wines.
The instruction required:
Providing advice and representation in relation to prosecution proceedings and appeals to the Office of Appeals Convenor for the purposes of clearing native vegetation.
Advice in relation to defending prosecutions and securing approvals for the clearing of native vegetation for the purposes of farming.
Acted on the due diligence and subsequent acquisition of Fini Olives by a foreign owned entity.
Acted as the lead advisor for the proposed acquisition of one of the largest wheat producing entities in Australia.
Assisted with grain haulage contracts in Western Australia.
Assisted with a Foreign Investment Review Board application for investment in agricultural livestock business.
Prepared asset sale agreements for the sale of land, plant, equipment and olive oil to Chinese investors. Assisted the receivers in relation to:
Acting with respect to the financing it provides to the rural sector.
Assisted Deloitte with the liquidation of Palandri Wines.
Acting for the receivers in respect to the sale of a mixed use farm in Gingin. This involved transferring water licences and entitlements and negotiation with farmers asserting profit a prendre rights.
Assisted receivers with the sale of the business and land assets of a cattle feedlot concern.
Acted for Ferrier Hodgson as administrators in the restructuring of the group, including drafting deeds of company arrangement and creditors trust deeds, asset and share sale agreements, to effect the sale of assets of the group to a Chinese owned purchaser.
Advised in connection with the debt facilities made available to the Heytesbury group of companies, one of Australia’s largest cattle and rural land companies.
Advised in relation to its various rail freight transport agreements relating to grain, coal and ore, and in relation to various commercial disputes and matters as needed.
Acted for the receivers on the sale of a farm which incorporated a trout farming facility.
Currently acting for a major bank in relation to enforcement and likely sale of a grain farm property in Mukinbudin.
Acted for a major bank and its receivers in relation to a grain farm in Pingrup, including attending a farm debt mediation with the borrower, and ultimate sale of the farm property.
Currently acting for a major bank in relation to a wheat, barley and canola concern in Geraldton and Katanning.
Acted for a major bank in recovering a sheep and wheat farm in York and Esperance that was ultimately sold by the bank’s receivers.
Acted for a major bank and its receivers in relation to the receivership and sale of a grain farming concern in south west Western Australia.
Acting for receivers appointed by a major bank to a grain farm in Ravensthorpe with a view to the sale of the farm.
Acted in litigation against the Government over the rent payable for leasing cattle stations in the Kimberley. This involved valuations of the station’s land, improvements on the land and the cattle on the property.