THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, covers the significant achievements of the ASBFEO office as this week marks its second birthday.

“This week is our 2nd birthday. Over that period of time a lot of things have been achieved due to the great work of my wonderful staff and the input of small businesses from around Australia.

“You told us that one of the things upsetting you was big business and governments paying slower and slower. We did a major piece of work and we found that you were right; they are paying slower. The outcome of that has been that the Business Council of Australia has set up a new Code of Practice to encourage big business to pay in 30 days or less, and the Australia Government has announced that they will move to 15 business day payments by the middle of next year.

“We’ve been working with the fintechs, the online lenders, and released a major paper that will make fintech lending more transparent, and by the middle of the year a capacity for small businesses able to compare different fintech offerings so that they can make good decisions if they think fintech lending is the solution for their businesses.


“Please get in touch with our office if you have anything you’d like us to investigate or you’ve got a problem you’d like us to help you solve on your behalf.”


TALK of extending the $20,000 instant asset write-off from both major political parties is a positive sign, according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

The Treasurer has signalled that the $20,000 instant asset write-off will be extended for small business along with a possible increase in the amount that can be claimed, while the Labor Party has indicated the write-off initiative could be extended to all businesses.

“The IPA has long advocated for the write-off initiative for small businesses and we are keen for it to continue as part of the tax regime,” said chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“We were relieved by the decision made in last year’s Federal Budget for it to continue up to 30 June 2018 as the reversion to a limit of $1,000 at that time would have been a huge disincentive for many small businesses.

“The increase in the accelerated depreciation write-off threshold to $20,000 has proven to be of great assistance to small business cash flow.

“This initiative brings forward the tax deduction that would have previously been deductible over a number of years.

“What should be kept in focus is the positive impact that this initiative has on the broader economy as it incentivises small businesses to reinvest in their future, making way for growth, employment and prosperity.

“We fully support a higher instant asset write-off becoming a permanent feature of our tax system going forward.  The Henry Review into Australia’s tax system recommended that a higher threshold should apply.

“The need for this initiative to be set in stone, particularly for small businesses, is paramount as it brings an injection of economic growth, giving small businesses the confidence to buy new equipment, reinvest in their operations and grow,” said Mr Conway.


"THE Fair Work Commission, the independent umpire, has given us a green light to proceed to amalgamate on March 27, and that’s what we will do,” said Michael O’Connor, the presumptive National Secretary of the new Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union.

Early in the month the Fair Work Commission (FWC) approved the amalgamation of the CFMEU, the MUA and the TCFUA, setting the date of amalgamation as March 27. However, employers had appealed the decision and sought a stay on the original decision to approve the amalgamation pending the hearing of their appeal.

The decision on the stay application was handed down this morning by FWC Vice President Hatcher. The stay application was denied. The full appeal will be held on April 9.

TCFUA National Secretary Michelle O’Neil said, “The AMMA and MBA should stop wasting their members money and the Fair Work Commission’s time. Our members voted overwhelmingly to amalgamate, their democratically reached decision needs to be respected. We are getting on with the business of joining with the MUA and CFMEU and improving the lives of our members.”

Mr O’Connor said, “The full executive of the new union will meet in Melbourne on Monday March 26 to set out a detailed plan of work for the first 100 days, taking us to the inaugural Conference of our union on the Gold Coast on June 12 to 15, where nearly 400 delegates will set out a plan and direction for the next two years.”

MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said, “Today we’re calling on both employers and the government to respect and accept the decision of the independent umpire. The decision to amalgamate has been overwhelmingly endorsed by our members and the FWC has, after extensive hearings, approved our amalgamation. It’s time now to move and let us do our business.”


SPEAKING today (March 16) at The Tax Institute’s 33rd National Convention in Cairns, Queensland, theDavid Coleman MP, the Assistant Minister for Finance, indicated to delegates that tax policy is a useful lever with which to pursue economic growth.

Following that theme, Tax Institute Senior Tax Counsel Professor Bob Deutsch CTA commented, “Tax policy is critical to the development of the Australian economy. The next Federal election is likely to be a real battle of ideas about which levers of tax policy should be pulled."

The Assistant Minister also told delegates that while the Coalition believes that tax should be as low as possible, tax must be paid at the relevant legislated levels. He said the Government has worked tirelessly to put in place the right legislative framework to ensure that outcome, referencing in particular the Diverted Profits Tax and the Multinational Anti Avoidance law.

Prof. Deutsch also reflected on the Commissioner of Taxation’s earlier message to delegates on the need to build trust, confidence and integrity in the tax system.

"As the Assistant Minister has reminded us this morning, sound tax policy is critically important but this must occur in an environment in which all players are confident in the integrity of the system as mentioned in the Commissioner’s address."


The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Mark Stone AM urges Melbourne business owners and directors to enrol to vote for the by-election for Lord Mayor.

To be able to vote you must be enrolled by 4pm Friday, March 16, 2018).
“It is important that Melbourne business owners and directors enrol so they can have a voice in the election of the Lord Mayor, a position that is vital to the ongoing wellbeing of this city, and it is vital that business has a strong voice in the future of Melbourne,” Mr Stone said.
Mr Stone said it was important to enrol if you own or occupy rateable property within the City of Melbourne but live in a different municipality, or if you were appointed as a corporation voting representative for the 2016 council elections and still hold the position of company secretary or director of the corporation.
Enrolments can be made via the Victorian Electoral Commission website,
or on 1300 735 427.


THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has congratulated the Turnbull and Palaszczuk Governments on the decision to award the Land 400 Defence contract to Rheinmetall Defence Australia to be based in Queensland.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said Rheinmetall Defence Australia announced last year it would establish its Australia-New Zealand headquarters and a manufacturing and vehicle maintenance facility in South East Queensland if it won the upcoming LAND 400 Phase 2 contract to supply Australia’s new armoured vehicles.

"This is a $5 billion contract and a $5 billion injection into the Queensland economy," Mr Macfarlane said.

"I congratulate Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Ministers for securing Rheinmetall in Queensland and I congratulate Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Ministers for selecting Rheinmetall and Queensland."

Last year, Rheinmetall announced a partnership with Australian steelmaker Bisalloy Steel.

"This is great news for Australian steel and coking coal needed to manufacture the steel armour for the Boxer CRV vehicles," Mr Macfarlane said. 

"For the Queensland resources sector, the Land 400 contract again highlights our role in advanced manufacturing.

"The men and women working in the Queensland resources sector are providing one in every $6 dollars in the Queensland economy, sustaining one in eight jobs for Queensland, and supporting 16,400 businesses across the State all from 0.1 percent of Queensland’s land mass."


THE Labor Party's proposal to end cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits will hurt thousands of self-retirees. These are people who place no pressure on the pension system, according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

Dividend imputation provides the shareholder with a tax or imputation credit on a dividend which is equivalent to the company tax already paid on that dividend.  If the imputation credit is higher than the tax they need to pay, the shareholder receives the excess as a cash refund from the ATO.

“Self-retirees or prospective self-retirees who seek to invest to secure a self-funded retirement plan; alleviating pressure on a government funded pension system, should be incentivised, not penalised,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“Australia should be looking at every avenue possible to reduce long-term reliance on government funded pensions.

“Considering the aging population factor in Australia, future governments will simply not be able to fund peoples’ retirements.

“Self-managed superannuation funds are a viable and important part of Australia’s superannuation system and this proposed measure will deter entrants from investing in their future self-funded retirement,” said Mr Conway.


INDIVIDUALS or organisations who have engaged the services of an Australian migration agent are encouraged to share their experiences in a new inquiry. Federal Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Migration is set to examine the regulation of Australian migration agents.

The Committee Chair, Jason Wood MP, said it is important to ensure that Australian migration agents are acting professionally and are properly certified.

“Migration agents play an essential role in Australia’s migration programs assisting business, skilled and student migrants and their families with their visa application. Unregistered or unlawful migration agents can not only damage the credibility of our visa regime but also significantly impact on the lives of visa applicants and their families,” Mr Wood said.

“The Committee will also examine integrity issues associated with the Electronic Travel Authority visa including visa cancellation rates and non-compliance with ‘no work’ conditions,” he said.

The Committee will also consider the registration and regulation or migration agents; deficiencies and barriers to relevant authorities' investigation of fraudulent behaviour; evidence of the volumes and patterns of unregistered migration agents and education agents providing unlawful immigration services; and reviewing the appropriateness of migration agents providing other services to clients.

The Committee invites submissions to the inquiry by Friday, April 27, 2018.

To obtain more information about the inquiry, including the full terms of reference, and to find out the various ways in how to participate, visit the inquiry website:

The Committee is unable to intervene or provide advice in relation to individual circumstances.

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


WITH recent retail sales showing a weak trading environment for retailers, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) proposes a 1.9 percent minimum wage increase to bring balance back into such a difficult operating environment.

Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the ARA, said Australian retailers are continuing to face an overwrought market and an increase in line with inflation is the best way to preserve employment within the retail sector.

“Given the constant rise in rental prices, energy costs and slow retail growth, this 1.9% increase will allow retail to maintain its position as Australia’s largest private employer,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Last week’s January trade figures highlighted the incessant struggle retailers are facing, therefore this year’s minimum wage review needs to benefit both employers and employees working in the sector.”

With many of Australia’s best-known retailers facing re-structuring and store closures, the ARA have consulted their membership base in order to make their recommendation.

Numerous small, medium and large retailers have told the ARA that an increase in the minimum wage beyond 1.9 percent would be detrimental to their businesses, leading to negative impacts for employees.

“The ARA’s submission has outlined the difficult trading environment in the retail sector due to rising cost pressures, unsustainable rents, increasing competition and weak consumer confidence,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“With weak sales growth and wage levels well above our international competitors, it’s critical that the Fair Work Commission (FWC) acknowledge the volatile economic trading conditions when making their decision,” Mr Zimmerman said.

The ARA’s position preserves the value of the minimum wage over the recent years where wages have been outstripped by increasing price growth throughout the industry.

“We strongly recommend this wage increase remains realistic and reasonable for all businesses as our members are constantly experiencing significant cost pressures through international competition and reduced margins,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We trust the FWC will determine the best federal minimum wage increase during this shifting period where large sectors of the economy are either in decline or receiving minimal growth.”

To view the ARA’s Minimum Wage submission to the FWC, click here.

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As Australia’s leading retail peak body industry, the ARA is a strong pro-active advocate for Australian retail and 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.


The 2018 ASEAN-Australia Codeathon, which brings together experts from around the region to work on new approaches to counter terrorism financing, will get underway in Sydney on Wednesday, March 14.. 

AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial intelligence agency, will host the 32-hour event involving about 100 technology and innovation specialists in the lead up to this week’s ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2018. 

AUSTRAC CEO, Nicole Rose PSM, will formally launch Codeathon on Wednesday morning, with the theme ‘Leveraging innovation to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and cyber risks’. 

On Friday March 16, the Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security, Angus Taylor MP, will announce the Codeathon event winners.

The Judging Panel includes, Tony Sheehan, the Commonwealth Counter-Terrorism Co-Ordinator, Dr Maria Milosavljevic, Chief Information Security Officer for the NSW Government, Dr Alex Johnston, Head of Technology, Thomson Reuters Australia, Alex Scandurra, CEO Stone and Chalk, Paul Xuereb, Secretary Blockchain Association of Australia, Dr John Moss, National Manager, Intelligence, AUSTRAC and Leanne Fry, Chief Information Officer, AUSTRAC. 

Wednesday 14 March

Opening Ceremony
7.45am - Registration opens. You will be required to present photo ID.
8.30am to 9.00am - Opening ceremony, including announcement of challenges, with celebrity MC Adam Spencer.

Friday 16 March

Awards Ceremony
7.45am - Registration opens. You will be required to present photo ID if it is your first time attending this event.
8.00am to 10.00am - Awards Ceremony, including door stop interviews.


THE LATEST quarterly figures from Queensland Treasury again demonstrate exports from resources are powering ahead and lifting the state’s prosperity.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the sector is a key driver of growth in Queensland and its top-drawer deposits are in high demand.

"Despite the predictions of green activists, the value of thermal coal exports surged 18 percent while the worth of LNG exports lifted 15 percent. Demand for these commodities is expanding from both developing economies in Asia and established economies," he said.

“Thermal coal and LNG increased 34 percent and 36 percent in value over the 12 months.

“A good sign the global economy is healthy is reflected in copper demand and the base metal outshone all other commodities over the three months achieving 60 percent growth. The copper story in Queensland looks good with the Australian Bureau of Statistics recording a 41 percent jump in exploration funding last week.

“Coking coal was still feeling the effects of Cyclone Debbie down for the quarter but still achieved a 23 percent increase in value over the year.

“Resources are the state’s largest export industry which last year generated more than 70 per cent of total merchandise export value and supported close to 300,000 jobs including a 12 percent lift in full-time employment.”


Contact Us


PO Box 2144