AGS established the CAC Act Legal Network in June 2011 to foster interaction between general counsel and senior lawyers in bodies established under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act) – with each other and with AGS. The network continued to develop during the 2011–12 financial year.

Highlights of this year include 2 major forums which brought together network members to discuss significant legal developments, legal practice management issues, and to further consolidate relationships and connections.

The first forum, held in Canberra on 8 December 2011, was a joint venture between AGS and the Department of Finance and Deregulation, and with involvement from the Attorney-General's Department. Presentations focused on CAC Act bodies working collaboratively together; related entities in the context of CAC Act orders; and the proposed extended application of the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines to CAC Act bodies not previously covered.

One workshop explored ministerial directions and their implications for CAC Act bodies, and another covered legal issues relating to commercial-in confidence and the new freedom of information (FOI) requirements in Commonwealth contracting. An expert panel provided insights and commentary on other current CAC Act legal issues.

The second forum was hosted in March 2012 in our Melbourne office, with discussion of recent legal developments such as the Personal Property Securities Act 2009, contracts and procurement, indemnities and insurance and the Commonwealth workplace health and safety reforms. A panel of CAC general counsels including Judith Welsh, from Australia Post and Elizabeth Grinston of Screen Australia led an excellent panel discussion on legal practice management issues and a Department of Finance and Deregulation representative covered some CAC governance matters.

A year since its inception, the network's membership has grown to encompass over 40 different CAC Act entities. Members' feedback about the value of the network to them remains consistently positive and AGS's role as convenor continues to be favourably recognised and acknowledged.

This is an extract from the 2011–12 AGS annual report