THE CHANGES to Right of Entry (ROE) regulations announced on March 26 are a positive step towards achieving a stronger and fairer approach to rules about union officials entering workplaces, according to Master builders Australia.

Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said, “It is important to ensure worker representatives can access work sites, but it is equally important that the Right of Entry system is strong and rigorous, to make sure it is not abused by union officials who try and get on site to bully and harass small businesses.

“The building and construction industry is plagued by a history of unions breaching ROE rules, with the list of court cases and penalty decisions growing longer every day,” she said.

Since 2015, there have been breaches of ROE rules on construction sites, Ms Wawn outlined:

  • By 58 individual CFMEU officials.
  • At least 189 times.
  • Resulting in penalties of almost $3 million, with three further penalty hearings already set for 2019. 

“Master Builders is pleased that the Government has heard the voice of the building industry, small business, and sub-contractors. Something has needed to be done for a long time to protect workers on sites who, day in day out, face the threat of bullying and abuse by construction union officials.” Ms Wawn said.

“However, more needs to be done and we will be asking both major parties to ensure they close the remaining loopholes that building unions regularly exploit, Denita Wawn said.

www.masterbuilders.com.au

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THE Queensland Resources Council wants the upcoming Federal Government’s Budget and the Opposition’s Budget Reply to commit to reinvesting back into Queensland the extra $1 billion in company tax that will flow into Canberra due to higher metallurgical coal prices. 

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said based on Federal Treasury’s calculations, the higher than projected metallurgical coal price would provide an extra $1.2 billion for the balance of this financial year and next financial year (2019-20).

Mr Macfarlane said he urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to ensure they committed the extra $1 billion to a Maroon Fund.

“Queensland produces the lion’s share of Australia’s metallurgical coal. Queenslanders deserve this billion-dollar unbudgeted windfall reinvested back into their State, where the coal was produced and exported from,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“For every Queenslander, that extra $1 billion counts. Indeed, that extra revenue is the equivalent of $200 for every man, woman and child living in Queensland.”

Prior to Christmas last year, Mr Macfarlane said Federal Treasury projected: “If the metallurgical coal price remained elevated for two quarters longer than currently assumed, before falling immediately to US$120 per tonne FOB, nominal GDP could be around $2.5 billion higher than forecast in 2018-19 and $3.5 billion higher in 2019-20. This would have a flow on impact to company tax receipts estimated at around $0.2 billion in 2018-19 and $1.0 billion in 2019-20.”*

The average metallurgical coal price this year has been US$204 per tonne.

“I am urging community groups, charities, local councils and other industries to nominate their project and cause for the Maroon Fund,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The continuing drought and recent flooding rains have demonstrated the steely resolve of Queenslanders, but it has created a lot of need.  That should be a priority for the Maroon Fund.

“So should important services such as health and education to support the work in our hospitals and in our classrooms.”

Mr Macfarlane said QRC would forward all Maroon Fund funding requests received by Budget Day on April 2 to both Mr Morrison and Mr Shorten.

“QRC will have no role in their selection, but we will ensure both leaders have these funding requests.  I’m sure Queenslanders will be interested before the upcoming Federal election to know where the $1 billion goes,” he said.

“Perhaps the Palaszczuk Government will fill out a form," Mr Macfarlane said. "This $1B would be on top of the more than $5 billion the Qld Government collects from royalty taxes from the resources sector this financial year.”

The Maroon Fund initiative form can be downloaded at https://www.qrc.org.au/nominations/maroon-fund/ 

Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector was already doing its bit to keep Queensland strong – making a contribution of more than $62 billion to the State’s economy or one in five dollars, supporting more than 316,000 full-time equivalent jobs or one in eight jobs in the Queensland workforce, generating more than 80 percent of the State’s record $80 billion annual export sales and working with 1260 community organisations.

www.qrc.org.au

*See page 33 of Link to the 2018-19  Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook https://budget.gov.au/2018-19/myefo/myefo_2018-19.pdf

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THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell today welcomed the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) announcement that it will form a Small Business Team.

“From April 1, 2019, small businesses who are in dispute with their telephone, mobile or internet services provider will have a specific team to contact,” Ms Carnell said.

“Connectivity is key to a business’ success. With 95 percent of small businesses online, a disruption or complete lack of connection can affect their sales, marketing, ordering and invoicing processes.

“It’s not acceptable for small businesses to lose customers due to problems with phone or internet connections, which is why this new small business team within TIO is needed.

“For example, we recently helped a Canberra-based chemist whose phone line had been disconnected for 59 days. The telecommunications provider had cut the lines while redirecting to the NBN. The chemist then had their fax line disconnected which caused, among other issues, critical concerns regarding doctors being unable to fax prescriptions for palliative care medication.

“Once my Assistance team stepped in, the telecommunications provider reconnected both the phone and fax lines.

“We will continue to support measures that assist small businesses to maintain and grow their digital connectivity,” Ms Carnell said.

www.asbfeo.gov.au

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THE Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has announced the formation of a Small Business Team, commencing April 1, 2019.

In 2017/18, complaints from small businesses increased 8.7 percent to 20,433. This increase was largely driven by issues including no action or delayed action by their service provider to resolve their phone or internet issue, followed by complaints about disputed charges for a service or equipment.

In announcing the Small Business Team, Ombudsman Judi Jones said, “Small businesses are relying more than ever before on phone and internet services to be accessible, be informed, and to do business. It is critical they are able to rely on the phone and internet services they sign up for, and to have access to a free, independent, and effective complaint resolution service when their complaint is unresolved.”

Assistant Ombudsman of Dispute Resolution Jillian Brewer is looking forward to the delivery of this specialised service.

"Resolving small business complaints can involve complex phone, internet and equipment setups, and an understanding of how these issues impact business loss," Ms Brewer said. "The Small Business Team will deliver a dispute resolution service that is responsive to the high impact phone and internet problems can have on the day to day operations of small businesses.”

About the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman provides a free and independent dispute service for small business and residential consumers who have an unresolved complaint about their telephone or internet service in Australia. Residential consumers and small businesses should contact www.tio.com.au or 1800 062 058.

The Telecommunications Industry Sector

The Telecommunications industry regulators are the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA),http://www.acma.gov.au  and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) https://www.accc.gov.au.

Government and the regulators set policy and regulations for the telecommunications sector. Communications Alliance is the peak body for Australian communications industry http://www.commsalliance.com.au

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THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has condemned the proposal put forward by the Andrews Labor Government to enshrine public holiday penalty rates for Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and Grand Final Friday into law.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA said this suggestion put forward by the Labor Government will have a direct effect on retailers who are already struggling in the current retail climate.

“While the Andrews Government are focused on the interests of the employees, they are failing to acknowledge the hardworking retailers who are trying to stay afloat in the unpredictable retail environment,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Retailers are feeling the pinch of rising rental costs and poor consumer sentiment and this proposal put forward by Mr Andrews will only heighten the strain already placed on retailers who are operating within such an overwrought market.”

According to recent trade figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), retail is trading at 3.02 percent nationally, with January trade figures for Victoria in particular trading at 4.23 percent well-below the outstanding 6.39 percent year-on-year high recorded in October. The ARA believes that if public holiday penalty rates are embedded into law, it will have a devastating impact on not only retailers but staff as well.

“The Labor Government’s proposition shows complete insouciance for retailers, especially those operating within shopping centre precincts who may be slapped with hefty fines for not opening their doors on public holidays,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“In addition to this, retailers will be forced to reconsider their rostering procedures to compensate for the increased wages for public holiday rates, which will have a direct impact on retail staff who want to work. If retailers are unable to open on these days, they will lose valuable business as consumers will turn to online instead.”

Australia has seen the closure of many retail stores over the last few months and the ARA believes the Andrews Labor Government’s announcement will only add to this sepulchral inclination.

“As a result of financial difficulties, Australia has already bared witness to the closure of many beloved retail stores and we do not wish to see this trend disseminate across the retail sector,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“The ARA disagrees with the Andrews Labor Government’s stance and will continue to advocate on this behalf of its members to protect the integrity and sustainability of the $320 billion-dollar retail sector.”

 

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $320 billion-dollar sector, which employs more than 1.3 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 7,800 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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QUEENSDLAND'S RESOURCE sector is making further inroads into bringing down the state’s unemployment rate by investing in new projects and expanding existing activities, said the Queensland Resources Council (QRC). 

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said ahead of today's ABS jobs data the resource sector was already doing the heavy lifting with more than 1,300 jobs available in mining, resources and energy on the employment website Seek.

“These are long-term jobs and can provide education and training to advance employees into the next stage of their careers,” Mr Macfarlane said. 

“Our sector continues to drive economic opportunities in all corners of the state with more than $14 billion in new or commissioned projects this year alone.

“The mining industry has by far the highest average weekly full-time adult earnings of any industry at $2659 – or over $138,000 per annum. Over 75 percent of these current vacancies pay $100,000 or more which is income that flows through to the butcher, bakery and hairdresser. 

“In the Mackay region there are more than 500 vacancies, 84 in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast, 65 in Townsville, 80 in Mount Isa, 38 across the Darling Downs and in the nation’s biggest mining town Brisbane there are 372 jobs. 

“Premier Palaszczuk highlighted the importance of the resource sector’s contribution to employment at the QRC’s Annual lunch last November and the resources sector shares the Government’s ambition. 

A report by CSIRO found people wanted industry and government to work together with communities and wider society to promote effective, constructive, and mutually beneficial relationships.”

The Queensland resources sector supports more than 316,000 full-time jobs and contributed $62.955 billion to the State’s economy in 2017/18. The sector also contributed more than 80 percent of the State’s exports with overseas sales of Queensland coal, metal and petroleum increasing to more than $60 billion, propelling Queensland exports to a record $81 billion in 2018. 

www.qrc.org.au

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FINANCIAL services information publishing company Rainmaker Group announced today that it has completed its transaction with Bauer Media to acquire Money magazine.

Following the purchase, Money magazine will become Rainmaker’s key consumer title under its media division, Financial Standard. It currently publishes five B2B titles, including its flagship newspaper, and three B2C titles: The Good Super GuideThe Good Investment Guide and The Good Economics Guide.

“This is our first major acquisition since our media division, Financial Standard, was established in 2003. While we have steadily built our business in trade media, this acquisition meets our longer-term objective of growing our consumer media platform,” said Christopher Page, founder and group managing director of Rainmaker.

Following the deal, Rainmaker Group has announced new leadership roles. 

Michelle Baltazar, executive director of media at Financial Standard, will assume the role of editor-in-chief. 

  • Darren Snyder, editor of Financial Standard, will move to the role of managing editor of Money

.

Jamie Williamson, associate editor of Financial Standard’s magazine FS Advice – The Australian Journal of Financial Planning, will move to the role of editor at Financial Standard.

Money editor Effie Zahos and deputy editor Maria Bekiaris will provide Rainmaker Group and Financial Standard with their editorial services to assist with the transition. However, they have chosen not to continue past the transition period.

“We hold Effie and Maria in high regard and wish them well in their future endeavours. Effie’s strong leadership and editorship has enabled Money  to boast the loyal reader following that it has today,” Mr Page said.

The Money team, namely Ann Loveday (art director), Sharyn McCowen (online content producer), Bob Christensen (senior sub-editor), Debra Duncan (senior sub-editor) and Simon Park (brand manager) will move across to Rainmaker’s offices, effective March 25, 2019.

Award-winning finance author and financial literacy advocate Paul Clitheroe AM will continue in his role as Money’s chairman and chief commentator.

“We’re excited to work with an incredibly talented and passionate group of people. They have built a solid foundation from which we can further grow Money’s reputation as the leading source of personal finance news and expert advice,” Ms Baltazar said.

Established in 1999, Money is Australia’s longest running and most-read personal finance magazine.

About Financial Standard

Financial Standard is the publishing division of Rainmaker Group. Financial Standard  is focused on providing trade news and investment analysis for professionals in superannuation, financial planning and wealth management. Established in 2003, Financial Standard also publishes FS Advice - The Australian Journal of Financial Planning; FS Super – The Journal of Superannuation Management; FS Private Wealth – The Journal of Family Office Investment; FS Managed Accounts – The Journal for Managed Account Professionals. It also publishes three B2C titles: The Good Super Guide, The Good Investment Guide and The Good Economics Guidewww.financialstandard.com.au

About Rainmaker Group

The Rainmaker Group was founded in 1992 and has established a reputation as a leading financial services information company in Australia providing market intelligence, industry research, media and publishing, events and consulting services. Rainmaker produces strategic, tactical, and analytical information about the financial services industry predominantly for superannuation funds, investment managers financial planners and consumers. The Rainmaker Group comprises: Rainmaker Information, Financial Standard, FS Aspire CPD, SelectingSuper, SelectAdviser and SuperGuard360. www.rainmaker.com.au

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TODAY's release of SQM’s research is the latest in a series of economic modelling critical of Labor’s housing tax policy to increase capital gains tax and restrict negative gearing, according to Master Builders Australia.

“Previous research commissioned by Master Builders Australia has shown that the ALP’s policies would result in an up to 42,000 reduction in new home building activity,” Master Builders CEO Denita Wawn said. 

“Given the indications of weaker than expected economic growth this is the exactly the wrong time to be discouraging investment in housing. All current incentives should be kept on the table,” she said. 

“Instead of just saying ‘No We Can’t’, Labor needs to stop fobbing off and ignoring legitimate questions about the impact of its housing tax policy and rethink their policies.

“Housing market conditions are already in sharp decline – unfavourable policy changes would make things even worse. Even in the absence of NG/CGT changes, new home building starts are likely to decline from over 230,000 to about 175,000 over the next couple of years,” she said. 

“Labor continues to argue that ‘grandfathering’ will neutralise any negative impact of their policies and protect against future shocks to the housing market but the evidence we do have from the Hawke-Keating era and Cadence Economics modelling is that there will be negative impacts on the housing market regardless.  For example, the investment potential of grandfathered assets will be undervalued because all subsequent owners will have a 50 percent tax increase on their investment,” Ms Wawn said. 

“Treasury analysis (FOI 1876) that Labor quotes in support of its policies suggests that Labor’s policies to increase capital gain tax could compound upon a cyclical downturn in the housing market that may be underway,” she said. 

“All this amounts to a compelling need for Labor to consider the impact of its policies to increase capital tax and restrict negative gearing before the next federal election. 

“Master Builders also restates that Labor conceived this policy in booming housing market – this is no longer the case.  House prices have fallen by at least 15 percent in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth while new dwelling approvals and lending volumes are driving lower at some pace,” Ms Wawn said.

www.masterbuilders.com.au

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THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) praises the South Australian (SA) Government’s decision to offer suburban retailers the opportunity to trade on Easter Monday.

Suburban retail stores operating across South Australia will now be able to open their doors from 11am to 5pm - if they elect to do so.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA said the decision made by the SA Government, will grant retailers the chance to trade on Easter Monday and assist in leveling the competitive retail playing field.

“The decision made by the SA Government is fantastic news for local retailers who will now be able to trade on Easter Monday alongside their metropolitan and online counterparts,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“This will also provide consumers living in suburban areas with greater opportunities to shop in their local area if they desire and should deliver some much-needed relief to local retailers.”

As the retail industry is a $320 billion-dollar sector, employing over 1.3 million people across Australia, the ARA believes this decision will offer retail staff the choice to work on the Easter Monday.

“The Easter trading period is a busy time for retailers and employers will be looking to roster on or hire more retail staff to compensate for the increase in foot-traffic,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“The decision made by the SA Government will benefit retail staff, as they will have the option to work and earn extra wages if they would like to do so and make contributions to the local retail economy.”

After years of constrained trading hours, the SA Government last year welcomed the extension of Boxing Day trading hours following strong demand from retailers and shoppers, who wished to capitalise on one of the busiest trading days of the year.

The move now brings South Australia in alignment with every other State and Territory across Australia, and the ARA hopes this decision will influence the Government to revise existing trading restrictions.

“The recent outcome carried out by the SA Government is a bold stride in not only listening to the voice of retailers and consumers, but also in eradicating outdated restrictions towards trading hours,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“The ARA is delighted to see that the SA Government is a making positive step towards removing these archaic restrictions on trading hours and will continue to support the deregulation Bill through Parliament.”

 

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $320 billion-dollar sector, which employs more than 1.3 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 7,800 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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AUSTRALIA's leading food rescue organisation, OzHarvest, is preparing a menu with a difference for their annual fundraiser, the CEO CookOff to be held on Monday, March 25 at Sydney’s Royal Hall of Industries.

The unique charity event brings together over 200 of Australia’s industry leaders and corporate teams with 50 top chefs to create and serve a gourmet dinner made with love, hope, generosity and new this year, six versions of the humble trifle made by a team of world famous dessert chefs. 

More than 1,400 special guests from charity agencies across Sydney will enjoy the gastronomical delights prepared by the likes of Matt Moran, Neil Perry AM, Guillaume Brahimi (Bistro Guillaume), Jacqui Challinor (Nomad), Manu Feildel (My Kitchen Rules) and Rob Cockerill (Bennelong). General David Hurley AC DSC (Ret'd), Governor of New South Wales and Mrs Hurley will join the kitchen action and guests will be entertained by a live performance from Aussie legend Daryl Braithwaite. 

This year OzHarvest founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn has set the stakes high for the business leaders, with a fundraising target of $3million which will provide six million meals to people in need.

“Thanks to the competitive nature of CEOs, OzHarvest has the perfect platform to raise crucial funds to keep our wheels turning and I’m thrilled that over $1million has been raised already,” said Ronni. “Food is a beautiful connector and this unique event allows people from all different backgrounds to come together, break bread and enjoy a night of real humanity, experiencing the magic of what matters.”

In addition to fuelling food rescue operations around the country, a long-standing partnership with BP ensures OzHarvest can bring this annual event to life. BP president Andy Holmes is handing over the spatula to Tanya Ghosn, general ,manager Castrol ANZ, who will be cooking up a storm in the kitchen on the night.

“This is our third year supporting this special event and, once again, the whole team across our BP and Castrol brands are energised to make a difference in the lives of those Australians who need it most. In 2019, as BP celebrates 100 years of operations in Australia, we are incredibly proud to continue our support of OzHarvest and their mission to Nourish our Country,” Andy.Holmes said.

Attending the event for the first time is 'mum of seven', Rikki from Lomandra School in Campbelltown, where she receives OzHarvest food regularly.

“I’ve never been to anything like this before. Just to eat a meal without sharing with my kids and have a night out with my husband alone is something I haven’t done in a very long time. I couldn’t get by without the food OzHarvest delivers to Lomandra, fresh fruit and veg just wouldn’t be a part of my kids diet as it’s so expensive,” Rikki. said.

Tabcorp Holdings and their CEO Adam Rytenskild are topping both fundraising leader boards with over $125,000 raised so far. Mr Rytenskild is closely followed by Adrian Coseneza from the Australian Orthopaedic Association, Peter Andrews from Andrews Meats and Michael Schai from Lindt and Sprungli. 

Other corporate teams battling it out for the top spots are Woolworths, Deliotte and PwC.

There is still time to sign up and anyone can donate to the cause https://www.ceocookoff.com.au/donate

About CEO CookOff:

  • CEO CookOff is OzHarvest’s flagship fundraiser and has raised $9million since  2012
  • The 2018 event broke all records raising a massive $2million providing four  million meals to those in need
  • Event hosted by Larry Emdur, supported by ARN’s Yumi Stynes (Kiis FM), Mike E and Emma Lisboa (The Edge 96.ONE)
  • 200 industry leaders and corporate teams feed over 1400 vulnerable people
  • The dessert station is a new addition to this year’s CEO CookOff and was the brilliant idea of Colin Fassnidge, who has supported the event since the beginning. Six world-class dessert chefs will be creating their own take on the  home-made trifle. The dessert station is sponsored by Lindt.
  • Supporting partners: Woolworths, Amplify Kombucha, Vittoria, NSW  Department of Family and Community Services

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AUSTRALIANS love a dark horse and Australian public company, NeuroScientific Biopharmaceuticals Ltd (NSB), is just that, leading the way against other much larger pharmaceuticals in finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease.

As featured in Nature, The Economist and the February 2019 issue of Fortune, Alzheimer’s research has pivoted towards a ‘radical new approach’ focused on the ‘survival’ of brain cells to combat degenerative neurological disease.

To NSB chairman, Brian Leedman’s knowledge, NSB is the only company in the world poised to commence human studies in this specific field of research. 

Mr Leedman said, “NSB’s novel approach to cell survival was considered ‘radical’ at the time of its public listing mid-last year, but now is likely to be considered mainstream by the scientific community. We’re moving into human trials this year, which is effectively light years ahead of the competition.”

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2015 there were an estimated 342,800 people living with dementia in Australia. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, an overall term for conditions that occur when the brain no longer functions properly.

An Access Economics report commissioned by Alzheimer’s Australia (AA) and published in March 2005, also projected that by 2050 - if no cure is found - the total number of Australians with dementia will be over 730,000, or 2.8 percent of the population. The costs are more than human too, with AA estimating dementia cost $8.8 billion in direct expenditure in 2016, and forecast it to rise to $16.7 billion by 2036.

NSB’s current main focus is the development of its leading drug candidate, EmtinB, towards clinical human trials, estimated to commence in Q3 of this calendar year. They are also looking to make their mark in the investment community to further their exciting research into effectively treating Alzheimer’s worldwide.

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