NOMINATIONS for the 2018 Brisbane Lord Mayor's Business Awards close on Friday, July 20.

The awards celebrate success and aim to showcase the achievements of Brisbane businesses and entrepreneurs making contributions to the continued growth of our economy.

Inspiring individuals and businesses can nominate for 10 categories:

  • CCIQ Award for Outstanding Small Business
  • Australia Pacific LNG Award for Business Innovation
  • Queensland Urban Utilities Award for Product Innovation
  • ISPT Award for Digital Adoption Strategy
  • ANZ Award for High-growth Business Start-Up
  • Yurika Award for Sustainability in Business
  • HSBC Award for Doing Business in Asia
  • Port of Brisbane Award for Investment in Brisbane
  • Singapore Airlines Young Business Person of the Year Award
  • Channel 7 Business Person of the Year Award

Winners from these business categories have the opportunity to be awarded the Optus Business Platinum Award.

Winners will be unveiled at the prestigious Gala Dinner on Friday, October 19 at Brisbane City Hall.


THE ‘Individuals not in business tax gap’ report issued by the ATO should be a wake-up call for all taxpayers, regulators, government and tax practitioners, according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

“The report identifies that 72 percent of the 858 cases in the ATO’s random sample, contained errors and that is a worrying statistic, given the quantum of the gap and considering Australia’s current fiscal position,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“Even if you question the robustness of the methodology, the ‘tax gap’ is a guestimate at best; however, you can’t argue that this report points to a serious issue.

“There are many aspects to the problem, including complacency and people who simply flaunt the system, including individuals and rogue agents.

“The complexity of the tax system also makes it easy to make errors.  For example, the substantiation rules for work related deductions up to $300 have inappropriately driven the perception of getting a ‘free kick’.

“The report which spans a two year time frame is acknowledged by the ATO as not being adequate to define a trend so it is a timely reminder that individuals and Tax Agents must commit to raising the bar.

“It should be noted that often the work of the Tax Agent is only as good as assertions made by their client.  The Tax Agent is not required to validate all client assertions.

“It is also human nature for individuals to want to maximise refunds and in doing so may mislead their Agent in the course of preparing their return.

“The IPA continues to carry out quality assurance of its members and actively seeks to weed out unprofessional behaviour and reduce error rates.

“It is also important not to tar those Agents doing the right thing with the one ATO brush.  If a Tax Agent deliberately flaunts the law, we will work with the ATO and weed them out.

“We must keep in mind that a vast number of Tax Agents are highly professional and endeavour every day to comply with their legal and ethical obligations in an increasingly complex tax system,” said Mr Conway.


A NEW Federal Government proposal will turn off the lights on one of Australia’s few remaining viable manufacturing industries, a peak body warns.

Lighting manufacture in Australia provides nearly 5000 manufacturing jobs across the country, with thousands of downstream jobs reliant on the survival of the industry.

“This is a sucker punch to an industry that should be the darling of government.  We create manufacturing jobs, reduce energy consumption for Australian households and businesses, and we innovate and develop cutting edge products in Australia," said Roman Gowor, Lighting Council Australia national marketing and environment manager.

He said bureaucrats in the Commonwealth Government have put forward a revised National Construction Code that dramatically cuts the scope for architectural and decorative lighting in commercial buildings.  The Code will affect all new builds and redevelopments across Australia.

“In addition to costing jobs, this proposal will dramatically reduce the ability of designers to make buildings anything but drab and sterile.”

The concerns of lighting manufacturers and suppliers about the National Construction Code are echoed by lighting designers and engineers.  Together, the affected industries provide 2500 jobs and produce $400 million worth of economic activity annually.


THE Queensland Resources Council has welcomed the focus of an ACCC report calling for more competition in the electricity market, including more baseload power alternatives to underwrite supply for industry.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said energy costs were one of the biggest inputs for the resources sector.

“The resources sector relies on stable and affordable power to support a range of jobs, including at mine sites and in associated industries such as processing and refining,” Mr Macfarlane said. 

“We welcome the National Energy Guarantee and look forward to it being settled between the Commonwealth and the States.

“But the ACCC report released today drives home that greater competition and long-term stability of energy supply is needed in the National Electricity Market (NEM), and that action is necessary to underwrite new sources of dispatchable power.

“North Queensland would be the ideal location for a High-Efficiency, Low-Emissions (HELE) coal-fired power station that could help reinforce the NEM with reliable dispatchable power.

“If we want to keep our resources jobs, and create more in the future, we must have access to affordable and reliable energy.

“It’s fitting that the Prime Minister spoke in Queensland today to further outline the importance of settling the National Energy Guarantee, because Queensland is the leader in resources and energy development on the East Coast.

“Queensland is home to the high-quality thermal coal that is powering advanced low-emissions coal-fired power stations in Asia, and we have developed the gas industry that has ensured the southern states here in Australia can keep the lights on. Our state is also the national leader in investing in renewables.

“We must continue to make the most of our natural resources, and Queensland can continue to lead the country with the addition of new advanced, baseload power for the NEM. This will support jobs and investments across the East Coast, especially with the addition of a stronger interconnector with NSW.

“We call on both the State and Federal Governments to support a full range of energy sources and technologies to add the extra baseload power into the national grid to support resources jobs and industries.”

The ACCC report also makes recommendations directly relevant to Queensland, including a recommendation that Queensland’s generation assets should be split into three portfolios which are separately owned and operated. It also recommends that action should be taken to address over investment or gold-plating of electricity networks.

The QRC calls on the State Government to give appropriate consideration to those recommendations in the interests of reducing costs to all energy users.


PROFESSIONALS working in the decorative lighting sector are alarmed about proposed changes to the National Construction Code.

The National Construction Code regulates the design and construction of new buildings and redevelopments across the country.  Under the draft slated to take effect in July 2019, existing allowances for decorative lighting will be significantly reduced.  The manufacture, design and engineering of decorative lighting supports 2500 jobs across Australia.

Trent Dutton, President of the Illuminating Engineering Society (Australia New Zealand), is worried that the changes will have a significant negative effect. 

“We have seen very little technical data to support the proposal and we suspect that limited assessment has been made of the economic impact of the change on our industry,” Mr Dutton said.

Mr Dutton is also concerned about the impact of the proposal on his company Rubidium Light, a lighting design and engineering company headquartered in Brisbane but operating across Australia. 

“I worry that these kinds of increasing government interventions will end up making the places Australians live, work and play become dull, uninspiring and unproductive places," he said.

“Australia’s lighting engineering and design sector has some of the most talented people in the world.  Governments should be cultivating this industry, not jeopardising its future.”

The concerns of Mr Dutton and the Illuminating Engineering Society are shared by the peak bodies representing lighting supply and manufacture and lighting engineers.

“Many of our members manufacture high-quality, bespoke lighting fixtures for lighting installations across Australia," said David Crossley, acting CEO, Lighting Council Australia.

“We’ve seen too many manufacturing companies driven to the wall and we’ve seen that once we lose manufacturing jobs, they are gone for good.  Government needs to step in and halt this proposal before it is too late.”


TICKETS are now on sale for the Australian Retailers Association’s (ARA) 2018 eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards – The Retail Realm.

These prominent Awards are renowned for being the country’s largest and longest running national retail awards program with last year’s Awards being crowned the best retail awards in the country.

Russell Zimmerman, ARA executive director, said this year’s Awards breakfast will be held at the iconic Mural Hall in Melbourne, a venue rich with retail history and known for its revolutionary nature.

“This year’s Awards are themed around the Retail Realm and focuses on retailers who think outside the shop, because it’s crucial for retailers to not just think of the shopfront in today’s marketplace,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“With retail now touching every aspect of consumers lives, this year’s ARA Retail Awards will search for retailers who encompass every element of the Retail Realm within their business as the dynamic nature of retail means businesses needs to engage with consumers through a myriad of channels.”

With the 2018 eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards touching on every element in the retail sphere, retail businesses across the country have already started submitting their entries.

“We’ve had small, medium and large retailers around the country already submit their entries across our three Award categories - customer experience, retail workers and industry leaders,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“This year’s Awards breakfast will celebrate the breadth of talent across customer experience, technology, payments, sustainability, employee development, supply chain management, business growth and corporate social responsibility within the retail marketplace.”

The 2018 eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards will be held on Thursday 18 October at the Myer Mural Hall in Melbourne in front of 500 guests. With 13 awards up for grabs, the ARA believe this symbolic venue will draw a variety of retailers around the country to learn and share their insights on the Retail Realm.

“Our keynote speaker, yet to be announced, knows a lot about the Retail Realm and thinking beyond the shopfront,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Not only is she an icon in the retail world, she has a strategic mind for business and I think retailers across the country will try to get tickets just to see her in action.”

The 2018 eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards will be held on Thursday 18 October at the Myer Mural Hall in Melbourne. 

The ARA encourage retailers of all sizes to submit an entry, nominate an influential leader or instrumental employee before Friday 10 August via the 2018 eftpos ARA Retail Awards platform. To secure your seat for the 2018 eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards buy tickets here.

The Retail Realm.


About the eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards:

First held in the 1970s, the eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards are the nation’s longest running and most prestigious retail event, recognising and rewarding outstanding retail businesses, innovations, and individuals across all sectors of retail. Relaunched in 2008, the annual 2018 eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards breakfast will commence on Thursday 18 October at the Myer Mural Hall in Melbourne. For more information regarding the 2018 eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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 industry body, 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 Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA)  has announced that registrations are now open for the 2018 FPA Professionals Congress, to be held in Sydney from 21-23 November 2018.

The largest annual event of the financial planning calendar is being held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Sydney this year. Around 1,000 financial planners from across Australia are expected to gather over three days of keynote sessions, networking events, workshops and panels, and honour outstanding contributions by members to the profession and the Australian public it serves.

FPA CEO Dante De Gori, CFP said the 2018 FPA Congress promises to help all levels of financial planners be better informed, better connected and better prepared to realise the many opportunities facing the fast-evolving profession.

“We look forward to announcing informative, motivational and engaging speakers as part of the program in the lead up to Congress. They will share relevant, up-to-the-minute insights and information that will benefit delegates both personally, and professionally,” Mr De Gori said.

The Future2 Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the FPA and will again play a significant part in the 2018 FPA Congress.

Delegates actively raise funds at the event, and celebrate the tireless contributions of its members to various disadvantaged communities throughout the year.

Delegates are encouraged to book soon for the Congress to take advantage of the $245 early bird discount available until 31 August 2018. To secure the best rates, attendees should book flights and accommodation as far in advance as possible, as both are consistently in high demand.

“Bringing the financial planning community to the ICC Sydney will further add to the element of Congress excitement. It’s easy to hop on a ferry, take in a show or go a little further afield to enjoy Sydney’s beaches. It’s the perfect location to relax and unwind for a weekend stay following the Congress,” added Mr De Gori.

Congress registrations opened on 1 June 2018, with early bird pricing ending on 31 August 2018. The Future2Foundation Wheel Classic annual fundraising cycle event and Blue Mountains Hiking Challenge will also be finishing at the ICC Sydney just in time for FPA Congress 2018 kick-off.

For more information or to register, visit:

Follow the FPA on Twitter @AustraliaFPA 

Follow FPA CEO Dante De Gori on Twitter @ddegori10 

Follow FPA Head of Policy Ben Marshan on Twitter @bennymarsh


THE Brisbane Lord Mayor's Business Awards (LMBAs) are open for nominations until July 20.

Now in their 13th year, the awards have become a touchstone for the excellence, success and innovative approach that are the hallmarks of Brisbane’s business community.

The awards celebrate the significant achievements and enormous contribution made by the local business community to Brisbane’s economy.

From product innovations to sustainable practices and emerging leaders, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has called for Brisbane’s best businesses and businesspeople to step forward for a 2018 Lord Mayor’s Business Award.

“Brisbane is a great place to live, work and relax and is brimming with thought leaders, innovators and problem solvers,” Cr Quirk said.

“The ingenuity of our New World City’s businesses is what gives Brisbane an edge over other major Australian cities.

“The awards are one way we recognise the outstanding contribution businesses make to grow our $154 billion economy and enrich our communities.

“Whether it’s a small business offering an unrivalled service, a new product that is transforming an industry, or a business person who has demonstrated leadership and innovation in their field, I encourage all nominations.”

Nominations close on July 20, with the winners announced at a gala dinner on October 19.

Find out about the categories and how to enter here.


THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is looking forward to the low-value import threshold (LVIT) GST changes from July 1, as it will create a fairer tax system and put local retailers on a level playing field.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, said the ARA had been lobbying this issue for several years as this new legislation will provide a significant lift for the local industry.

“For too long, Aussie retailers have been at a pricing disadvantage to overseas retailers,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We’re hoping this tax fairness will give a much-needed boost to the industry and we will continue to work with the Government to ensure a 100 percent collection rate.”

As the GST has not previously applied to purchases under the A$1000 threshold, the ARA reminds overseas retailers that this legislation took effect on Sunday 1 July 2018. This move follows the successful introduction of measures in July 2017, which saw GST applied to LVIT digital products and services purchased from overseas.

“This, in combination with the extended GST application to tangible products and services under the LVIT will help to level the playing field for local retailers,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“This will provide a fairer trading environment for our local retailers and a welcome boost to our members and the broader retail industry.”

The ARA has been in close communication with the ATO during the lead-up to the implementation of LVIT GST and will continue to work with Government and the ATO to ensure the best possible outcome for the local retail industry, including proposing additional collection models to improve compliance.

For more information, retailers can access the ATO website 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 industry body, 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 sugar industry and community stakeholders are being encouraged to have their say as part of the Federal Government's review of the Sugar Code of Conduct from today.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said it was logical to review whether the Code of Conduct was providing certainty and stability for the sugar industry.

"I understand there are a range of views on the effect the Code has had on the industry," Minister Littleproud said.

"We want to hear from all players along the supply chain to get a clear picture of how the Code is working."

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said those interested in making a written submission have six weeks to do so.

"It's important everyone gets their say on this important reform, so they need to get in and do it before it's too late.

"Face-to-face meetings will also take place and I really encourage as many cane growers, millers and marketers as possible to have their say," Ms Landry said.

Member for Dawson George Christensen said the Code was put in place in 2017 to regulate the conduct of growers, mill owners and marketers.

"We introduced the code to make sure that our canegrowers would be able to negotiate contracts with mills and marketers in a fair environment and to give growers choice in marketers," Mr Christensen said.

"The Coalition introduced the Code to take a stand for hard-working canegrowers and to make sure they are guarded against the power imbalances in the sugar supply chain."

The review will examine the Code in accordance with its terms of reference and provide advice to the government before the end of the year. Submissions close 5pm (AEST) Wednesday 22 August 2018.

For more information about the Code review visit

Fast Facts:

  • The terms of reference released for public consultation week of 1 July 2018
  • Submissions open the week of 1 July 2018 and close 22 August 2018
  • Targeted consultation will be undertaken in September 2018
  • The final report will be delivered to government by the end of 2018​


POWERED by CSIRO and delivered in partnership with DST under the Next Generation Technologies Fund, ON Prime5 will be run nationally starting September 2018.

Applications are open until July 13, 2018.

ON Prime Defence is a part-time pre-accelerator experience which gives researchers a unique opportunity to fast-track their science or technology proposition with expert guidance from those who've been there and done it before.

Participants will be integrated with their local ON Prime cohort, in their closest capital city hub, as well as invited to attend an exclusive national session, expressly designed for all ON Prime Defence participants from across the country.

All prospective participants need to do is indicate that they are on a research team working on a Defence technology on the ON application form. 

It is  free to participate and all intellactual property (IP) and equity remains the property of the participating team or their sponsoring institute. 

All ON accelerator experiences are open to teams with at least one research employee from CSIRO, Australian universities or Australia's publicly funded research agencies (PFRA). The research employee may be full time, part-time or a casual employee of a PFRA.

ON Prime Defence offers a unique opportunity to apply  science or tech research to Australia's national security and defence.

For more information visit the ON Prime: Defence web page.  


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