First international financial intelligence Codeathon

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THE first international Codeathon for financial intelligence units (FIUs) is being co-hosted by AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial intelligence unit and Bank Negara Malaysia from November 18 to 19 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The codeathon will bring together developers, designers, analysts, subject matter experts and other skilled and motivated individuals. Participants will form teams and have 32 hours to solve financial intelligence challenges. Their innovative solutions may be presented in various forms, including live applications, websites or prototypes which may well serve as precursors in constructing innovative digital solutions to fight terrorism financing.

Acting AUSTRAC CEO, Gavin McCairns, said AUSTRAC is encouraging participation from Australia’s growing fintech, regtech and start-up communities, financial institutions and FIUs in the region.

“This initiative provides a framework to work with industry and government to continuously explore new opportunities, where we can leverage the latest technologies to fight terrorism financing”.

”This unique event is an excellent opportunity for tech-savvy individuals, including hobbyists, students and software developers, to contribute their ideas to address a serious matter and enjoy some friendly competition at the same time”.

Codeathon 2017 is part of the third regional Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) Summit, which brings together FIUs, industry participants and leading anti-money laundering and CTF experts around the world.

There will be several prize categories which includes awarding the team that can demonstrate the most collaborative way to tackle terrorism financing – being true to the spirit of our CTF Summit.  Winners and outcomes will be announced at the Innovation Forum.

Registration for Codeathon 2017 is open to all members of the public, financial institutions and FIUs. Expressions of interest can be registered via the CTF Summit 2017 Codeathon website..

Follow @AUSTRAC on Twitter and the AUSTRAC website for the latest updates.



60 Tourism Ministers and companies gather to discuss ‘overtourism’

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MINISTERS of Tourism from 60 countries and leaders from private sector companies and associations will summon on November 7 at the Ministers Summit organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and World Travel Market in London to discuss the challenges of sustainable tourism.

The 11th edition of the UNWTO/WTM Ministers’ Summit, to be held on November 7 under the title ‘Overtourism: growth is not the enemy; it is how we manage it,’ will address issues such as congestion management, the measurement of the impacts of tourism or the role of the private sector in promoting tourism as an effective tool to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As stated by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, “Growth is not the enemy. Growing numbers are not the enemy. Growth is the eternal story of mankind. Tourism growth can and should lead to economic prosperity, jobs and resources to fund environmental protection and cultural preservation, as well as community development and progress needs, which would otherwise not be available.”

The Summit will be moderated by CNN International’s Max Foster. Confirmed speakers include:

-       Mauricio Ventura Aragón, Minister of Tourism, Costa Rica

-       Elena Kountoura, Minister of Tourism, Greece

-       Ryoichi Matsuyama, President, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

-       Enrique de la Madrid, Secretary of Tourism, Mexico  

-     Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), United Arab Emirates

-       John Glen, Minister of Arts Heritage and Tourism, United Kingdom

-       Istvan Ujhelyi, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, European Parliament

-       Gloria Guevara, President and CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

-       Patrick Robinson, Head of Policy for EMEA, Airbnb

-       Inge Huijbrechts, Vice President Responsible Business, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

-       Kate Gibson, Vice President,Global Corporate Responsibility, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG)

-       Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Chairman, Silversea Cruises



Ombusdsman calls for business bank model to be considered

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THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) has called for an Australian version of the British Business Bank to be considered.

Speaking at the Franchise Accountants Network conference in Sydney, Ombudsman Kate Carnell said access to finance was a major challenge for Australian small-medium enterprises.

“Banks are happy to lend to small businesses, but only if they have security such as property or cash,” Ms Carnell said.

“I’m concerned about SME lending constraints due to prudential requirements implemented after the Global Financial Crisis.

“The requirement for property security limits capital availability for small businesses with good cash flow and good prospects. Funding for many small businesses is unavailable at a reasonable cost.

“I’ve asked the Productivity Commission to explore the extent to which prudential risk weighting standards and capital requirements have had unintended consequences on lending to small businesses.”

Ms Carnell said the option of a Government-backed approach to small business lending like the British Business Bank should be considered.

“Other countries have identified a similar problem and come up with solutions,” she said.

“The British Business Bank can provide a government-backed 75 percent guarantee against the outstanding facility balance, potentially converting a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to a ‘yes’.

 “The British Business Bank can also help small finance providers to tap institutional investors’ funds.

“Without a creative approach to small business lending in Australia we risk stifling growth, investment and employment.”



Select Committee on Regional Development bound for South Australia

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THE HOUSE Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation will hold a public hearing in Murray Bridge, South Australia.

The Chair of the Committee, Dr John McVeigh MP, said “through this public hearing, the Committee will engage with South Australians on the issues impacting their regions. The Committee aims to understand ‘best practice’ approaches to regional development and looks forward to hearing about the innovative approaches South Australians have taken on this issue.”

“South Australia is home to thriving agricultural, wine producing and tourism regions. The Committee is keen to hear how South Australia’s regions have leveraged their competitive advantages to promote growth and ensure the vitality of their regional communities”, said Dr McVeigh.

Dr McVeigh indicated that witnesses will include business and community leaders, industry peak bodies, local government representatives, and regional development experts and specialists.


Public hearing details:

9.00 am to 4.00 pm, Monday, 6 November 2017
Murray Bridge RSL, 2 Ross Rd, Murray Bridge East, SA

The proceedings will be broadcast live at

For the full program of this public hearing, see the Committee’s website.

Interested members of the public may wish to track the committee via the website.



Anaemic sales growth for September not a good sign for Christmas - ARA

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THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the September trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) represent a disappointing move towards Christmas, with a 1.44 percent total year-on-year growth - well below the seasonally adjusted long-term average.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said these figures were extremely frightening this close to the biggest trading period of the year, and urges the Government to refocus on increasing disposable income.

“With Christmas not too far away, and the ARA Roy Morgan Pre-Christmas Sales Predictions to be released in a couple of weeks, these figures are in all honesty alarming,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“The category that’s been hit hardest in September was Household Goods with a -1.14 percent year-on-year growth.”

Mr Zimmerman said the softness in Sydney house prices are starting to impact consumer spend on household goods with Hardware and Building (-4.22%), Electrical Goods Retailing (-1.12%), and Furniture (2.98%) all showing a big drop in year-on-year growth.

“These figures show an obvious weakness in consumer confidence,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“If Australians aren’t feeling wealthy they will spend less, and this weakness is an issue across the board.”

The only retail category showing a slight increase was Food Retailing (2.85%), however this growth is still nowhere near the growth figures the retail industry received at the start of the year.

All states have again received a drop in year-on-year growth, an undesirable sign for Christmas. Although dismal, New South Wales (2.34%), Tasmania (2.33%), Victoria (2.29%) and South Australia (2.16%) showed the strongest year-on-year growth of the states. While both the Australian Capital Territory (1.17%) and Queensland (0.23%) remained quite low, Western Australia (-1.19%) and the Northern Territory (-1.46%) received negative figures, a worrying outlook for the months ahead.

With the ARA Roy Morgan Pre-Christmas Sales Predictions to be released in two weeks, Mr Zimmerman believes the Federal Government needs to act fast to stimulate the economy.

“There has been a lot of change in the Australian retail environment this year, and with change comes uncertainty, but one thing is for sure, Christmas is coming,” Mr Zimmerman said.

MONTHLY RETAIL GROWTH (August 2017– September 2017 seasonally adjusted) 

Department stores (2.08%), Food retailing (0.56%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.35%), Household goods retailing (-0.43%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.73%) and Other retailing (-1.67%).

South Australia (0.65%), Tasmania (0.58%), Queensland (0.26%), New South Wales (0.23%), Australian Capital Territory (0.06%), Victoria (0.02%), Western Australia (-1.30%) and Northern Territory (-1.65%).

Total sales (0.03%).


YEAR-ON-YEAR RETAIL GROWTH (September 2016 – September 2017 seasonally adjusted)

Food retailing (2.85%), Other retailing (1.79%), Department stores (1.34%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.05%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.15%) and Household goods retailing (-1.14%). 

New South Wales (2.34%), Tasmania (2.33%), Victoria (2.29%), South Australia (2.16%), Australian Capital Territory (1.17%), Queensland (0.23%), Western Australia (-1.19%) and Northern Territory (-1.19%).

Total sales (1.44%).


About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.