By Dominic Powell and Emma Koehn.
Tobacco giant Phillip Morris has been ordered to pay the Australian government millions of dollars after the company’s failed bid to have the country’s plain packaging laws repealed.
Fairfax reports the amount paid by the tobacco company could be as high as $50 million, and it marks the end of a six-year-long legal battle in Australia’s High Court since the Gillard government introduced the laws in 2011.
After losing a number of disputes and appeals over the past six years, Phillip Morris has now been ordered to cover the government’s legal costs and percentage of arbitration costs. The the company has reportedly labelled this “excessive”, which the court disputed.
“The Tribunal does not consider that any of these costs claimed by the respondent were unreasonable and should not have been incurred,” the court said, reports Fairfax.
Half of Australia now has NBN access
The National Broadband Network is now available to half of the nation’s occupants, with more than 5.7 million homes and businesses now able to access the high-speed network.
“I’m proud to announce that one in two Australians are now able to enjoy the benefits of fast broadband by connecting to the nbn network through a retailer. Nationwide access to fast broadband will become the platform to launch Australia into the next phase of its digital future – it will change what our jobs will look like, where we will live and how we fare on a global scale,” nbn’s chief executive officer, Bill Morrow said in a statement.
However, the rollout has been criticised by the opposition, as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull initially promised the entirety of Australia would have access to the network by the end of 2016, with shadow minister for communications Michelle Rowland saying in a statement the milestone was “no cause for celebration”.
“Malcolm Turnbull promised every Australian would have access to the NBN by the end of 2016, yet as of today over 5.5 million homes and small businesses are still waiting,” she said.
Topshop shutters five stores
Fairfax reports five of Topshop Australia’s nine standalone stores will close as administrators continue to work with the UK owner of the franchise to ‘right-size’ the business after it collapsed into voluntary administration in May.
Other stores at Melbourne’s Highpoint Shopping Centre, Chatswood and Miranda centres in NSW and one Perth store are also set to shutter.
Retail experts have previously told SmartCompany the late entrance of Topshop and Topman into the Australian fast fashion market made things incredibly challenging for the brands since their launch six years ago.