Emerchants Limited (emerchants) (ASX:EML) is pleased to announce that its wholly owned subsidiary, Emerchants Payment Solutions Limited, has signed five year agreement with the State of Queensland through the Department of Treasury and Trade (Queensland Treasury Department) to become a preferred supplier of prepaid card solutions.

The agreement includes the option of two consecutive two year contracts which could take it to nine years.

The Queensland Treasury Department has appointed preferred suppliers for prepaid cards, such as emerchants, whose solutions will allow all of its various departments and agencies to benefit from the cost savings, fraud control, and risk control advantages prepaid brings over traditional funds disbursement mechanisms such as credit cards, cash and cheques.

With emerchants’ extensive background in comprehensive prepaid program management driven by its proprietary platform, SAM, the processing capabilities and strong focus on risk and compliance provide the Queensland Government the capability to tailor solutions that offer more control and flexibility in managing its varied payment processes.

In commenting on the agreement, Tom Cregan, Managing Director of emerchants, said: “emerchants’ primary focus is on tailoring prepaid programs to meet each customer’s needs, simplifying the administration of payments, whilst providing greater control through our innovative approach to prepaid cards. We believe that the approach taken by the Queensland Treasury Department is the right one. Our focus with each agency is on identifying the opportunity and consequently designing a solution that delivers savings whilst maximising the benefits that flow on to taxpayers.”

emerchants has partnered with Visa to create marketing and training materials to support the launch of the prepaid card programs.

The partnership reinforces Visa’s commitment to emerchants and its long term growth strategy. emerchants is looking forward to leveraging the experience that Visa has in other international government programs.

emerchants is one of Australia’s leading providers of innovative prepaid payment solutions and its unique position in the market as an end to end prepaid provider has led to this five year agreement.

The Company’s consultative approach allows the Queensland Treasury Department to tailor each payment process to gain administrative efficiencies, provide a better experience to the Queensland public, and have the oversight and controls to minimise the risk of fraud and misuse of public funds.

The first emerchants prepaid program to be rolled out will be the Disaster Recovery Card for the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disabilities Services.

This will allow the Department’s Community Recovery unit to quickly and efficiently distribute assistance grants during a declared disaster.

In commenting on the Disaster Recovery Card, Mr Cregan said: “The Queensland Government has identified the need to have a scalable solution that can be rolled out at a moment’s notice to support the Queensland public during the time of their greatest need. A solution has been developed that allows the efficient processing and distribution of grants, whilst minimising the risk of fraud through segregated administrative responsibilities and with a strong focus on control and oversight.”

emerchants’ Business Development Team will work with the Queensland Government to agree timeframes for the communication to other agencies and Government departments, to arrange meetings with select Government agencies, and organise seminars for Government managers as the first stage of the engagement roll out plan.

In further commenting on the agreement, Mr Cregan said: “Whether it is Community support, public funds disbursement or the improvement of petty cash and general expense management, we look forward to applying our expertise and capabilities to work with the various Queensland Government agencies and departments to develop prepaid solutions that provide the right mix of efficiency, transparency, and control.”

ABOUT EMERCHANTS

emerchants is a payments solutions provider of prepaid financial card products and services in Australia. By using their proprietary Secure Account Management (SAM) system, the Company provides its clients with innovative financial service payment solutions for reloadable and non-reloadable prepaid card programs.

emerchants are able to adapt to meet the expense management and funds disbursement needs of any organisation. Their corporate expense, petty cash, per diem, social payments and staff rewards programs are easy to implement and reduce administration burden and costs. emerchants is focused on the twin goal of delivering high quality payment systems to its customers and superior returns to its shareholders.

For more information please visit: www.emerchants.com.au

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The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) welcomes the release today of the State Government’s Regional Tourism Strategy but is disappointed by the lack of associated funding.

“While Melbourne has demonstrated continual growth, tourism results in some of Victoria’s regions are concerning,” says VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith.

"This must be addressed, but real government action with appropriate resourcing is crucial.

“We are pleased that the Regional Tourism Boards (RTBs) are in place to effectively market and attract investment into Victoria’s many tourism assets and we wish them continued success in performing their wide-ranging functions. Regional Tourism Boards will drive industry engagement and success in local areas and we encourage operators to get behind these organisations.”

The long-awaited Victoria’s Regional Tourism Strategy 2013-2016 outlines how Tourism Victoria will address regional tourism challenges in the next three years, in line with directions set out in Victoria’s 2020 Tourism Strategy.

Tourism is an important contributor to regional Victoria, generating $10.9 billion and employing 109,000 people in 2011-12.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of many regional communities, not only economically, but also in the cultural and social contribution it makes,” Ms Smith says.

“The State Government must work across portfolios to achieve positive results for all regional Victorians. Positive and decisive leadership from government is essential as many regional economies look to diversify.

“Overnight expenditure by international visitors to regional Victoria fell by more than 20 per cent in the year ending June 2013 and it is essential that this decline is arrested.

“Government must show its support for our industry by immediately allocating funding for a dedicated marketing program to encourage Australians to venture beyond Melbourne and explore the wonderful experiences on offer in regional Victoria.”

The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) is the peak body for Victoria’s tourism and events industry, providing one united industry voice. Tourism and events are growth industries for Victoria and contribute $19.1 billion to the state economy each year and employ more than 201,000 people.

www.vtic.com.au

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Peak retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the decision made by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) today to leave the cash rate unchanged yet again at 2.5 percent has left retailers anxious that shoppers may think twice about increasing their Christmas spending.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said although Christmas sales are currently going well, with retailers expected to pocket $42.2 billion from November 15 – Dec 25, business owners were disappointed that today’s rate stay may result in shoppers leaving gift purchases to the last minute.

“December is a crucial month for retailers who are counting on Christmas sales to get back on track financially. All we can do now is look forward to the Board reassessing the outlook in January and hope that policy is adjusted as needed. The ARA believes that the current cash rate of 2.5 percent has room for further adjustment.

“We know that the post-election boost for retail and consumer confidence has eased off somewhat, meaning the Abbott Government must rapidly implement its program of tax cuts and economic reform.

“The ARA is continuing to work alongside the government to rapidly implement its program of tax cuts and economic reform,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $258 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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NEW YORK: KPMG International today announced the formation of KPMG Capital, a new investment fund created to accelerate innovation in data and analytics (D&A) that will help clients of member firms unlock tangible value of their 'big data'.

KPMG Capital will support technology partnerships, strategic alliances and the recruitment of top talent to create new D&A solutions. With these capabilities, KPMG member firms will help clients solve critical business challenges in such areas as new revenue streams, risk management and cost optimization.

The use of D&A has become a critical business priority as companies try to derive value from the vast amounts of data now available to them. A new KPMG survey of business leaders from many of the world's leading companies found that while 69 percent see D&A as strategically important to their current growth plans, an overwhelming 96 percent believe their company is not currently using D&A effectively.

"Our new research shows that business leaders recognize the tremendous importance of D&A to business growth but feel they need more support to develop effective solutions," said Mark Toon, CEO of KPMG Capital and global lead for KPMG's D&A practice.

"KPMG Capital will enable us to develop or acquire opportunities in D&A quickly. Through partnerships with technology and service providers, strategic partners and other third parties, we aim to accelerate innovation in D&A to bring potential solutions to clients - and to the market - faster."

Mr Toon continued, "With more data produced and stored in the last two years than in the rest of human history, many businesses are looking for strategic and practical solutions to manage the volume, velocity and variety of this data revolution. KPMG Capital will lead the way in addressing the challenge of the three 'v's."

Addressing business challenges: innovating through partnerships

KPMG Capital's Toon believes the most successful companies will be those not merely collecting the data, but those that can distil data and translate it to insightful business guidance.

"Too many companies still see big data principally as a technology issue, when it really is a business issue across all industries," he said. "We're helping companies look at their data differently and turn it into value."

Investment will be made in a number of critical business areas including enhancing business flexibility; finance; regulation and compliance; improving workforce productivity; and customer and revenue growth. KPMG Capital will work to develop solutions that will focus on growth sectors such as healthcare, financial services, energy and telecommunications.

KPMG Capital's aim is to invest in, partner with and acquire organizations that specialize in data and analytics tools and assets. Combining that expertise with the KPMG network's global reach, existing D&A capabilities and deep insights, KPMG Capital will work to unlock new thinking to address the most pressing business challenges and deliver new solutions to market more quickly.

"KPMG Capital will enable a nexus for the world's best thinking in data and analytics," said Michael Andrew, Chairman of KPMG International. "D&A is part of our heritage, but with the fast pace of technology and globalization, clients want deeper insight more quickly. KPMG Capital's structure will allow us the flexibility to commercialize solutions which our global network of professionals can use to help business leaders harness the right data, analyze it and translate it into value. This is a transformative step for the future of KPMG's member firms as well as for clients' businesses."

 

About the survey

The KPMG survey was conducted in August 2013 by FT Remark on behalf of KPMG International. FT Remark interviewed 144 CFOs and CIOs from multinational companies with annual revenues of US$1 billion or more. A full report will be available in late November 2013.

About KPMG Capital
KPMG Capital is an investment fund which is not open to third party investment, and which will not itself provide professional services to clients. It is legally distinct and separate from KPMG International Cooperative and each other KPMG member firm.

About KPMG International 

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 156 countries and have 152,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

www.kpmg.com/au

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The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) welcomes the announcement of a new planning zone for Victoria’s major ports, along with streamlined planning controls.

VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone says the changes will provide clarity and certainty to ensure the future development needs of our ports are met, while the introduction of streamlined planning controls will remove an unnecessary red tape burden.

“We have consistently highlighted the importance of improvements to Victoria’s port infrastructure to ensure we can meet the forecast growth in container freight and capitalise on international trade opportunities,” Mr Stone says.

“The plans announced today, while immediately supporting the Port of Melbourne redevelopment to ensure it remains Australia’s premier container port, will also support the long-term development of ports infrastructure across the state, including the future development of the Port of Hastings as an international container port.

“The ongoing development of our ports is vital to ensure we can efficiently and effectively meet our growing export opportunities, which will bring economic benefits to the entire state.”

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) is the peak body for employers in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the state.

www.vecci.org.au

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MANSFIELD QLD 4122