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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.”


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