Dr Thea Voogt

Senior Lecturer

School of Law
Faculty of Business, Economics and Law
t.voogt@law.uq.edu.au
+61 7 334 67540

Overview

Thea Voogt is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law. She specialises in corporate governance and corporations law, business structure innovation, and income tax law.

Thea leverages her significant business experience in senior executive roles and her background as a chartered accountant in industry projects. She holds a Doctorate in Financial Management and Master of International Commercial Law (UQ).

Thea is an award-winning law teacher. She is the 2017 recipient of the prestigious UQ Business, Economics & Law Faculty Teaching Award. She also received the 2016 Inspired me to learn Award for Teaching Excellence in an undergraduate compulsory course, and the 2015 Award for Teaching Excellence in an undergraduate compulsory course from the UQ School of Law.

Her research focuses on four areas.

Small firm and family firm business structures, focusing on family farming and regional business innovation. UQ Research Impact feature Surviving the dry spell https://bit.ly/2WpWLou

Thea spends significant time in Central Western Queensland, conducting a pilot study with industry partners RAPAD https://www.rapad.com.au/research/ and RFCSNQ https://www.rfcsnq.com.au/resources/programs/. The study is supported by Longreach-based accounting firm Ringrose Button http://www.rbca.com.au/ and Walsh Accounting http://www.walshaccounting.com.au/ in Barcaldine, and works with farmers, business owners and community leaders. The study is the first of its kind to focus on how the law and accounting intersects in small business structures.

Duties, roles, responsibilities and skills of non-executive directors (NEDs). NEDs dominate listed company boards. Thea’s research looks at the tension between the statutory duty of care and diligence of NEDs, and their practical involvement in the day-to-day activities of the corporation and how their role in risk management is framed in contemporary corporate governance codes across the globe.

The impact of income tax law on small business structures. Thea’s research focuses on the combination of legal structures that small firms and particularly primary producers use to conduct their business, which is often influenced by income tax law. The project contrasts the legal constraints of different business forms, to participants’ practical access to cash. Research into the structure of farm businesses in Australia is an ABARES priority.

Mutual ownership of infrastructure. The key to unlocking the potential of mutual ownership of infrastructure lies in identifying the right business model that suits the different investment horizons and returns that participants seek. A successful business model relies upon a strong foundation that sets out the legal rights and obligations of participants. Thea’s research takes a practical approach to mutual ownership of infrastructure, ranging in focus from farm cluster fences, to drone technology investments.

Prior to joining UQ, Thea was the CEO (Principal Officer) of the superannuation funds of the University of Johannesburg, a Professor in Accounting and managed large tenders for this institution. Over the course of her career in South Africa, she was closely involved with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants as sought-after speaker, researcher and umpire for the national qualifying exams for chartered accountants. Thea also held a Ministerial appointment to the Board of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

She is the research program leader for Governance, Regulation and the Law at the Australian Institute for Business and Economics https://aibe.uq.edu.au and a Fellow of the Australian Centre for Private Law.

Research Interests

  • Corporate governance and risk management frameworks for non-executive directors (NEDs)
    NEDs dominate listed company boards in Australia. However, their role in governance and risk management is not well understood. There is little case law in Australia that specifically deals with the position of NEDs in listed companies. Thea’s research looks at the tension between the statutory duty of care and diligence of NEDs on the one hand, and their practical involvement in the day-to-day activities of the corporation and the role that contemporary corporate governance plays on the other hand. Drawing from her own business experience, Thea takes a practical approach and global view in contextualising NED duties in strategy and risk. In particular, her research focuses on the skills of NEDs and how boards should approach self-selection to address their personal risk.
  • Small firm and family firm business structures
    Small businesses are an established and enduring feature of the Australian economy. It is estimated that 70 per cent of all Australian businesses are family owned, and that nearly three-quarters are small enterprises with a turnover of $12 million or less per annum. The legal form, or combination of legal forms used to conduct these businesses impact taxes payable, succession planning, access to government support and access to cash. Focusing on small businesses, family farming and regional business innovation, Thea spends significant time in Central Western Queensland, conducting a pilot study with industry partners RAPAD https://www.rapad.com.au/research/ and RFCSNQ https://www.rfcsnq.com.au/resources/programs/. The study is the first of its kind to focus on how the law and accounting intersects in small business structures. The project uses evidence-based research to develop small business and family firm tax policy, and business structure and cash flow strategies. In particular, Thea’s research focuses on gathering data about the structure of farm businesses in Australia.
  • The impact of income tax law on small business structures
    The legal form, or combination of legal forms adopted to conduct a family business enables family members to benefit from operations using their ownership interests, employment rights or through discretionary entitlements. The same interests, rights or entitlements should also explain their access to business-generated cash to fund their personal expenses. However, relying on the underlying social construct of a family business and their position as risk takers, family member participants may argue they are entitled to take cash generated by the family business to fund their personal expenses on an ongoing basis with little or no formality. Objectively, family member participants’ right to take business-generated cash for personal purposes is constrained by the nature of their ownership rights (if they have any), by the legal form adopted to conduct the business, and by complexities that arise from ever-changing income tax law. Thea’s research looks at the unique way in which discretionary trusts are used for trading purposes in Australia, and the differences between the taxation of legal forms and structures in Australia that play an important role in the choice of legal form.
  • Mutual ownership of infrastructure
    The key to unlocking the potential of mutual ownership of infrastructure lies in identifying the right business model that suits the different investment horizons and returns that participants seek. A successful business model relies upon a strong foundation that sets out the legal rights and obligations of participants. The concept of mutual ownership as a catalyst for regional growth and self-sufficiency is underexplored in Queensland. Mutual ownership of infrastructure, that directly involves primary producers and community groups, has the potential to drive regional digital innovation, facilitate the adoption of agtech, and embed modern agriculture practices across a range of industries. Community-led infrastructure development addresses community-based problems. Thea’s research takes a practical approach to mutual ownership of infrastructure, ranging from farm cluster fences, to drone technology investments.

Research Impacts

Surviving the dry spell: UQ Research Impact feature https://bit.ly/2WpWLou

Dr Thea Voogt leads a three-year pilot study to discover the best ways to structure family businesses in Queensland’s drought-affected regions to ensure they not only survive but thrive. The study is a first of its kind to focus on how the law and accounting intersects in small business structures.

Partnering with the Remote Area Planning and Development Board and Rural Financial Counselling Service North Queensland, the team works with farmers, business owners and community leaders across the local government areas of Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall-Tambo, Boulia, Diamantina, Longreach and Winton. A unique feature of the project is the high levels of trust between participants and the researchers that involve private and confidential access to income tax returns and business financial statements.

The pilot study is part of a larger collaborative project Small Australian firm business structures. The research team comprises Prof Ross Grantham (UQ School of Law), Prof Martie-Louise Verreynne (UQ Business School) and Dr Thea Voogt.

Qualifications

  • Master of International Commercial Law, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Hons), Rand Afrikaans University
  • Master of Commerce (Accounting), Rand Afrikaans University
  • Doctor of Commerce, Rand Afrikaans University

Publications

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Grants

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Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Publications

Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Stiglingh, M., Hamel, E.M., Venter, J.M.P., De Clercq, B., Howell, R. and Voogt, Thea (2003). Belasting op Toegevoegde Waarde. In 'n Studentebenadering tot Inkomstebelasting (pp. 1-67) Durban, South Africa: LexisNexis Butterworths.

  • Hamel, E. H., Stiglingh, M., Venter, J. M. P., De Clercq, B., Howell, R. and Voogt, T. L. (2003). Value-added tax. In A student's approach to income tax: business activities (pp. 1-67) Durban, South Africa: LexisNexis Butterworths.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor