Middletons’ partners Philip Diviny and Gavin Vallely have received the ‘Newsmaker of the Year’ award at the 10th anniversary of the prestigious Lloyd’s List DCN Australian Shipping & Transport Awards.
The Award recognises Middletons’ work on behalf of the Australian shipping industry in relation to the taxation of shipping operations, and in particular their successful challenge to the ATO’s Draft Taxation Ruling TR2002/D11 in respect of the proposed application of royalty withholding tax to time charters on commercial vessels.
This is the first occasion the award has gone to a legal practitioner. Previous recipients of the award include the late-Jim Bacon former Premier of Tasmania, Patrick CEO Chris Corrigan, Toll CEO Paul Little, the Master of the Tampa, Captain Arne Rinnan, and the Managing Director of P&O Ports, Tim Blood.
“Philip and I are honoured to receive the award and we do so on behalf of the many people in the shipping industry who have assisted us with the work we have undertaken,” Mr Vallely said. “In particular, we are very grateful to Lachlan Payne and Trevor Griffett at the Australian Shipowners Association and Lloyds List DCN for their support in alerting the industry to the issues and coordinating a joint response on behalf of a wide range of interested parties.”
Mr Diviny added: “One of the most satisfying developments has been the significant change in the approach of the ATO during the past 4 years in the preparation of tax rulings to one of consultation with industry representatives to gain a better understanding of the business operations under review.
“While this will not necessarily result in the ATO arriving at conclusions that are accepted by the taxpayers in question, the process should limit the scope for rulings being premised on factual arrangements or understandings that are not relevant to current practices.”
The Newsmaker of the Year Award goes to the person or persons who Lloyd’s List’s DCN editorial management team determined as having made the most significant contribution to the Australian shipping and transport industry in the past year.
In presenting the award, Lloyd’s List’s DCN’s Deputy Editor, Sandy Galbraith said: “The legal profession plays a prominent role in the maritime industry in Australia, a contribution that all too often we take for granted.
“This year’s Newsmaker of the Year award goes to a pair of lawyers who successfully defended Australia’s already hard-hit shipping industry against patently unfair taxation legislation. This is a quite remarkable achievement, for without their work it is quite conceivable that several major operators would by now have packed their bags and left Australia for good.
“Instead of looking forward to a reasonably buoyant outlook for our indigenous shipping industry, we could have been witnessing its imminent demise. Make no mistake about it… this is significant stuff.”
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