July Newsletter here
Extending Unfair Contract Term Protections to Small Businesses
Unfair contract terms are being included in standard form contracts involving small businesses, causing detriment throughout the community. The Australian Government wishes to protect small businesses by providing them with the same protections available to consumers.
The Treasury is undertaking a consultation process on behalf of Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand. We would appreciate your feedback to help us put in place adequate protections for small businesses.
The consultation paper was released on 23 May 2014 and is open for submissions until 1 August 2014. You can read the consultation fact sheet for an overview of the key issues in the paper.
You can share your experiences and views with us by submitting a comment or by making a more detailed formal submission. You can also share your experience on negotiating business contracts by completing a 10-15 minute survey.
When lodging feedback please be aware that this process is focused on the unfairness of the terms in contracts rather than how a contract is negotiated. The legal protections for small business against unfair and unconscionable conduct are being considered as part of the Competition Policy Review.
Have your say
There are three ways for you to get involved and have your say about the extension of protection against unfair contract terms to small business:
- Make a formal submission on the consultation paper.
- Submit a brief comment on your experience with unfair contract terms.
- Undertake a 10-15 minute survey on your experience with business contracts.
All information (including name and address details) contained in submissions will be made available to the public on the Treasury website unless you indicate that you would like all or part of your submission to remain in confidence. Automatically generated confidentiality statements in emails do not suffice for this purpose. Respondents who would like part of their submission to remain in confidence should provide this information marked as such in a separate attachment.
Legal requirements, such as those imposed by the Freedom of Information Act 1982, may affect the confidentiality of your submission.
Closing date for the survey and submissions:
Friday, 1 August 2014
Address written submissions to:
Unfair Contract Terms and Small Business Consultation Paper
Small Business, Competition and Consumer Division
PARKES ACT 2600
For enquiries please call the Manager, Consumer Policy Unit (02) 6263 2111.
eBay confirms security breach, password change recommended: SSO Alert Priority High
eBay has confirmed that an attack on its systems earlier this year compromised a database containing encrypted passwords, customer names, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and date of birth information.
It has stated that the database did not contain any financial information and that it has undertaken testing, finding no evidence of unauthorised activity for eBay users. It added that data stored with PayPal (owned by eBay) such as your credit card information, is encrypted and stored separately on a secure network.
eBay has advised it will begin contacting users to change their passwords.
Regardless of whether you receive notification from eBay, if you use eBay, you should change your password immediately.
If you use the same password to log in on any other website, you should change those as well, choosing something unique and strong.
eBay’s statement about the breach can be found on its website.
ACCC launches updated advertising and selling guide
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has revised its ‘Advertising and selling guide’ to help educate businesses about their legal rights and obligations when selling and promoting their products and services. Click here for details.
Are you a current MYOB user? Have you heard all the great things about Xero, but been put off by the inconvenience and time to learn a new system?
For a limited time, Xero is helping us to help you by offering FREE conversions from MYOB to Xero. That’s right, FREE! That’s a saving of over $1,000 from our usual conversion fees.
As a Xero Certified Partner, Swan Valley Tax & Accounting is providing an easy, seamless and automated conversion service to our clients (don’t worry if you’re not a client, we’ll help you become one!).
CCI International Trade Services – If you are a business who imports/exports please see link below and web address for a world of information on international Trade.
Click here to view upcoming Trade Events
Upcoming Food and Agribusiness conference April 2014 click here
Media Release Thursday, September 19, 2013
BEC Australia – We want Bruce Billson to overstay his welcome
As Bruce Billson begins his role as Australia’s sixth Small Business Minister in 15 months, Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) chairman, Jack Hughes, says the greatest wish among small business owners is that the Minister will stay in the job a long time.
“As Australia’s peak body for small business advice, I can say with confidence that what the small business sector is craving is stability in Canberra so that owners, managers and staff can plan with certainty,” says Mr Hughes.
“I think many in the sector would relish the ‘problem’ of the Minister becoming part of the furniture.
“The Coalition’s Policy for Small Business has sparked optimism within the ranks of BEC Australia members and having Minister Billson stay the course to steer it through will have a very positive impact on the sector and therefore the Australian economy as a whole.
“As always, the unique position of the Business Enterprise Centre national network means it can offer once again to play its dual role of being a trusted advisor and partner to a Small Business Minister, while continuing to be an invaluable support resource at the business coalface where vital economic activity happens.
“Here’s to working together with Minister Billson to tackle the challenges and roadblocks that stand between the small business sector and a prosperous, resilient future for all,” said Mr Hughes.
CONTACT: Jack Hughes, national chairman, BEC Australia on 0408 837 032 or email@example.com
BACKGROUND BEC AUSTRALIA INFORMATION FROM www.becaustralia.org.au
Business Enterprise Centres operate throughout all states and territories in Australia endeavouring to work with and on behalf of the micro and small business sectors.
BEC Australia Charter: -
BEC Australia is a not-for-profit organisation whose primary role is to support and grow the national network of Business Enterprise Centres and provide representation on behalf of its members to key stakeholders.
BEC Australia Vision:-
A nationwide network of Business Enterprise Centres that are recognised as the first and best point of contact for small business operators seeking quality business information, advice and guidance.
2013 Hanson Swan Business Awards
Congratulations to the 2013 Hanson Swan Business Awards Winners!
Our Award Categories:
Swan Business of the Year – SPONSOR Hanson
WINNER: Wallis Drilling
Apprenticeship/Trainee Award – SPONSOR Boral Midland Brick
WINNER: Mario Taverniti, Wallis Drilling
New Business – SPONSOR Small Business Development Corporation
WINNER: Momo Visual
Retail Business – SPONSOR Midland Kalamunda Reporter
WINNER: Better Pets & Gardens Midland
Professional Services – SPONSOR The Coffee Club Midland Gate
WINNER: Midland Bullsbrook Veterinary Group
Manufacturing – SPONSOR Wallis Drilling
WINNER: Signs & Lines and Western Stainless Solutions
Mining Services – SPONSOR HVLV
WINNER: Kais Contractors
Contribution to Exports – SPONSOR City of Swan
WINNER: Wallis Drilling
Business Person of the Year – SPONSOR Your Local Liberal Team
WINNER: Graeme Wallis, Wallis Drilling
Tourism – SPONSOR Perth Airport
WINNER: Swan Valley Tours
Quality Customer Service – SPONSOR The Echo Newspaper
WINNER: Swan Valley Tax & Accounting
Hospitality – SPONSOR Swan Valley Oasis
WINNER: Passione! La Pasta e La Pizza
Website and On-line Services – SPONSOR FX-Digital Pty Ltd
WINNER: Swan Valley Tours
A new workplace essentials website launched by DTWD. This is an a site for small business operators for workforce issues.
Small Business Owners – Outsmart the Scammers Presentation
While the online world provides many opportunities for small businesses to source supplies, Preview Changes provide information for customers or to trade, unfortunately there are scammers online looking to take advantage too.
As part of National Fraud Week, the Small Business Development Corporation, in partnership with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, held a seminar to find out more about the scams most likely to affect small business and how business owners can best protect themselves.
Dr Paull Weber and Louis Geneste from Curtin University’s School of Management presented their findings from the latest research into online scams affecting small busines. We also heard from other leading specialists in this field. Please take the time to read this information which has kindly been provided for you.
Dr Paull Weber
B. Com (Honours), M. Com (Marketing), PhD. (Management)
Senior Lecturer, Small Business & Entrepreneurship
School of Management, Curtin Business School
Co-Author Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Wiley 2011 Curtin University
Tel |+61 8 9266 7413
Fax |+61 8 9266 7897
There are measures in the recent Budget that are directly relevant to small businesses, in particular:
- $45 million will be provided in 2013-14 to establish a Skills Connect Fund. Eligible employers will be able to increase the skill level of their workforce, by having access to up to five different training and workforce development programs. Access will be through a single application process, under a single set of guidelines. Further information and draft guidelines will be available shortly at skillsconnect.gov.au.
- $29.4 million over five years to establish the Enterprise Solutions Program (ESP) to help innovative small to medium enterprises overcome barriers and become more competitive in bidding for government services and tenders. Further information about the ESP is available at the AusIndustry website.
- Tripling the tax free threshold, from $6000 to $18,200, which it is estimated will benefit 1.4 million small business owners who are sole traders or hold an interest in a partnership or operate through a trust.
- An additional $7.2 million over three years to improve the capacity of small businesses and not-for-profit organisations to engage in the digital economy and take advantage of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
- $378.6 million over 15 years to stimulate Australia’s venture capital market to assist small and medium sized businesses and start-up companies with expanded business assistance and better access to finance. Further information about accessing Venture Capital is available at the AusIndustry website.
- The new R&D Tax Incentive which doubles the rate of assistance available to small and medium companies and improves cash flow by providing a 45 per cent refundable tax offset to eligible companies with annual aggregate turnover of less than $20 million. Further information about the R&D Tax Incentive is available at the AusIndustry website.
Information on small business issues, as mentioned in your reports, is used to develop new Government policies and programs to assist the small business sector. For example the top 5 issues currently affecting small businesses in your region, and provided to Ausindustry in your quarterly reports, are:
- Economy, including factors specific to consumer confidence, the high Australian Dollar or export and trading conditions.
- Local regional issues specific to the location or geographic size, including challenges associated with natural disasters, or related to specific sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, or agriculture.
- Employment and wages, issues relating to increase salaries and training costs, penalty rates, attracting skilled workers or retaining staff.
- Cash flow, including matters related to sales and turnover or financial planning.
- Difficulties with government services, including access to ATO Small Business Line, slow processing and system issues with ASIC’s ABN and Business Name Registration, and confusing award enquiries associated with Fair Work Australia.
The information from your quarterly reports is provided to the SBAS program’s key stakeholders, including the Minister for Small Businesses, the Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and the Australian Small Business Commissioner. We encourage you to continue to provide us with quality in-depth reporting about your small business customers and issues surrounding the small businesses sector in your region.
About $2 million in funding has been offered to 10 expert business organisations under the latest initiative of the Small Business Advisory Services – Queensland Natural Disaster Assistance (SBAS QNDA) program.
The funding of about $100,000 per annum for two years, to each of the 10 business providers, is to assist small businesses recover from the damage and setbacks caused by Cyclone Oswald and subsequent flooding in January 2013.
The funding will help the 10 providers deliver high quality, low cost programs to help businesses through the next phase of recovery.
The Australian Government’s new Apprentice to Business Owner program (AtoB Program) will help tradies access expert help to set up and make a success of their own business.
The $19.4 million program will help up to 3500 trades people start their own business or further develop their business if it’s less than two years old.
The program will be delivered by AtoB Program Brokers, based in capital cities and regions. Contact details for AtoB Brokers are available at innovation.gov.au/AtoBProgram. About 1000 tradies will receive training and mentoring during the first year of the four-year program.
Cloud Computing is the use of third-party software, storage or infrastructure, that can be accessed by multiple users over the Internet. Cloud Computing uses internet technologies to help reduce IT overheads for business.
Benefits to business include reduced up-front costs and Improved productivity. Enterprise Connect has produced a quick guide on ‘Cloud Computing Solutions’, as part of a series of information products targeted at business.
The Guide, available at enterpriseconnect.gov.au/ecservices/tkc/Pages/ITCloud.aspx, outlines the potential benefits and issues to consider when thinking about implementing Cloud Computer service options. Information on getting a small business online – digital business, including Cloud Computing, is also available at digitalbusiness.gov.au.
The Australian Government has partnered with Westpac’s Davidson Institute to offer free carbon education seminars – Operating your business in a low carbon economy.
The remaining free seminars,being held during June and July, are in Loganholme, Chermside, Wollongong, Cairns, Adelaide, Townsville, Rockhampton, Melbourne, Fremantle, Perth, Baulkham Hills, Rocklea, Hobart, Launceston, Casula, Sanctuary Lakes, Parramatta, Ballarat, Albury and Ringwood East.
They will give you a broad introduction to the low carbon economy, and identify ways to help your business plan for change and manage financial impacts on your business.
Making Cents of the Budget 2013-14
The federal government released the budget for the 2013-14 financial year on 14 May 2013. As the budget has placed emphasis on supporting growth and jobs, there are also some potential benefits for small businesses.
The following is a brief summary of the federal budget items that may affect your business:
From 1 January 2017, entities with turnover exceeding $20 million will be rolled into the proposed monthly Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment system.
The government will defer the application of the Clean Energy Future personal income tax cuts scheduled to commence on 1 July 2015 due to revisions in carbon price projections from 2015-16 onwards.
There will be no change to the tax cuts applied from the 2012-13 income year.
For recipients of Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy (DIRS) payments between 3 January 2013 and 30 September 2013, the government has exempted these payments from income tax.
The DIRS provides financial assistance to small business persons who experience a loss of income as a direct consequence of a natural disaster occurring in Australia.
Companies eligible to receive a 45% refundable tax offset (with annual aggregate turnover of less than $20 million) will no longer have to wait until their end of year assessment to realise the value of the offset.
This measure will allow for the advanced payment of the 45% refundable tax offset on a quarterly basis to improve cash flow and enhance incentives for small innovative companies to invest in R&D activities.
Skills and workforce development
The government will provide $68.8 million over four years to establish an Alternative Pathways Program to support the development and trial of flexible training pathways for Australian apprentices in high demand industries experiencing skills shortages.
The government will provide $45.0 million in 2013-14 to establish the Skills Connect Fund (SCF) to streamline access to the five workforce development programs available under Australian Government Skills Connect.
The government is extending the Pensioner Education Supplement to all Newstart Allowance single principal carer recipients.
Payment of up to $1,622.40 in 2013 (subject to bi-annual indexation), will help recipients with the cost of study while they gain an initial qualification to assist them to re-enter the labour market.
The government will provide $5.6 million over five years to establish a Services Leaders Group (SLG) to consult with the services sector and advise the government on service sector issues.
The government will provide an additional $3.5 million over two years to extend the Connecting People with Jobs (CPwJ) program for one year.
Eligible job seekers will now be able to apply for assistance until 30 June 2014.
The government will also provide funding of $900.1 million over three years from 2014-15 for new projects in Western Australia:
Swan Valley Bypass
Great Northern Highway – Muchea to Wubin
North West Coastal Highway – Minilya to Barradale
Leach Highway (High Street)
Perth Public Transport Package
Tonkin Highway grade separations
These projects may provide opportunities for small business participation directly and as subcontractors.
The government will provide an additional $7.2 million over three years to improve the capacity of small businesses to engage in the digital economy and take advantage of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
The government will provide $98.2 million over five years (including $2.1 million in capital in 2013-14) to continue funding for a number of industry assistance programs ($81.0 million) and to establish a new Australian Industry Participation (AIP) agency to administer these programs ($17.2 million).
The government will provide $238.4 million over five years to establish five Industry Innovation Precincts that build on Australia’s strengths in innovation and five new Industry Innovation Precincts that focus on emerging opportunities.
The government will provide $378.6 million (including $350.0 million in administered capital) over 15 years for the Venture Australia program to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurial activity to support the development of new competitive firms in Australia.
The government has signed up to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, with effect from 1 January 2013.
Joining the second commitment period has allowed the government to ensure that Australian businesses have access to international credits under the Clean Development Mechanism.
The Clean Technology Program will still provide $1.2 billion over seven years from 2011-12 to assist manufacturing industries transition to a low carbon economy by supporting the adoption and deployment of technologies to improve energy and carbon efficiency at manufacturing facilities.
Red tape reforms
The government will provide $7.8 million over two years to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to improve ASIC’s client contact centre service levels to support the introduction of the online National Business Names (ABN) registration system.
The government will provide $80.2 million over the forward estimates period to strengthen up-front checks for issuing ABNs and encourage the use of AUSkey (a secure credential for accessing online services of the Australian Business Register).
This measure will also enhance Standard Business Reporting to continue to reduce compliance costs for business.
The government will provide $1.4 million over four years to provide for a single, online registration for financial advisors registered with ASIC that also need to be registered with the Australian Taxation Office as tax advisors from 30 June 2013.
Migration program changes
From 1 July 2013, the government will increase the visa application charge (VAC) for the Temporary Work (Skilled) Standard Business Sponsorship (Subclass 457) Visa program to $900.
The government will maintain the 2013-14 Migration Program at 190,000 places, with a revised composition of 128,550 skilled stream places (down from 129,250 last year).
Brought to you by Small Business Development Corporation
See our ASIC Connect Youtube videos for useful tips on searching ASIC registers and signing up for an account.
Find out what the changes to super mean for you and your business.
Following on from it’s great success in 2012, Small Business Futures will be broadcasting a series of eight live streaming programs in 2013. We will be addressing many of the challenges facing small business today.
Motor Vehicle Industry Newsletter 2013
By Anne Driscoll Commissioner for Consumer Protection
It is important that licence holders only engage in activities which their licence specifically allows.
Are you covered? Occupational Health & Safety
Creating a safe work environment is critical to the success of your business, and is one of the best ways to retain staff and maximise productivity. Though it may cost to implement safe practices and install safety equipment, the effect of not taking action can be severe.
As a business owner you have responsibilities regarding health and safety in your workplace. You need to ensure that your business doesn’t create health and safety problems for your employees, customers or the public.
Knowing and understanding the occupational health and safety (OH&S) laws and new work health and safety (WHS) laws will help you avoid unnecessary costs and damage to your business caused by workplace injury and illness. It will also provide your business with a strong foundation to achieve long-term success.
To find out what you need to do to create a safe working environment, choose from the following topics:
- Occupational health & safety | Getting started with OH&S
- Occupational health & safety | Your OH&S obligations
- Occupational health & safety | OH&S in your industry
- Occupational health & safety | OH&S/WHS Acts, Regulations and Codes of Practice
- Occupational health & safety | Accidents and injuries
- Occupational health & safety | Workers’ compensation requirements
Brought to you by www.business.gov.au
If you are one of the thousands of small businesses creating, protecting, managing and commercializing your intellectual property, IP Australia now has a fully adaptive website for mobile devices to make it easier to access and download information, and to do business on-line.
What is an adaptive website?
A website that can change its appearance to best fit any screen – whether it is desktop, tablet or mobile phone.
Why has IP Australia made this change?
Over 10,000 visitors to our site each month are using mobile devices and this number is growing rapidly.
What will be different?
- There will be changes to the design to accommodate the new features for mobile devices, such as buttons for links
- A mega menu will be introduced to replace the drop down list
- The homepage will make it easier to find information
What will be the same?
The structure of the website will not change and all the content will be found in exactly the same place.
For example, all the content for applying for a patent, trade mark, design or plant breeder’s right is still found under Get the Right IP.
Some of the services you access through our site, such as ATMOSS and AusPat, will remain the same.
Would you like further information?
If you would like further information or just want to provide some feedback then please contact the web team via firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon Simon O’Brien MLC
- Changes to retail shop laws create fairness in lease negotiations
- Enhancing rights of retailers results in a level playing field
Congratulations to all from Tony Watts CEO and Staff at SBC East Metro
Whats happening at SBC East Metro?
Congratulations to Farrell Mosbach who completed 10 years service on the SBC East Metro Board.
Small Business Commissioner SBDC WA David Eaton and Jackie Zelinsky CEO BEC Australia, and SBC East Metro Board Members.
Small Business Commissioner David Eaton
The Western Australian Small Business Commissioner is Mr David Eaton, formerly the National Manager Commercial Services at Australia Post.
Mr Eaton took up his new position with the Small Business Development Corporation on 17 January 2012. The Commissioner is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Development Corporation and will be located at the same address.
The Small Business Development Corporation is an independent statutory authority, and has been the primary provider of advice and guidance for the small business sector in Western Australia since 1984.
In 2010, the Western Australian Government decided to establish a Small Business Commissioner. During 2010-11, the necessary amendments to the Small Business Development Corporation Act 1983, the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985 and the State Administrative Tribunal Act 2004 were passed through both houses of State Parliament, thereby allowing the establishment of the Small Business Commissioner.
One of the main functions of the Commissioner, under the amended Small Business Development Corporation Act, will be to receive and investigate complaints about unfair market practices affecting small business, and to provide assistance to attempt to resolve those complaints.
The intention of this new dispute resolution service is to provide a low-cost, non-litigious means of resolving business-to-business and business-to-government disputes, while preserving business relationships.
In certain retail tenancy disputes, a party will be unable to take a matter forward to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) without receiving a certificate from the Commissioner stating that dispute resolution has failed, is unlikely to succeed, or is not recommended under the circumstances. In other unfair market practice disputes, participation in dispute resolution will be entirely voluntary.
Fuel Tax Credits information
The ATO would like to advise that as at 1st July 2012, many fuel tax credits rates changed, some of these may affect you. Below are some links to information, calculators and tools which could be helpful.
The following are information products:
Fuel tax credits for business – this guide provides information about who can receive fuel tax credits and how to claim them.
Fuel tax credits – changes from 1 July 2012 – information on the changes to fuel tax credit rates that apply from 1 July 2012, including the introduction of the carbon charge.
Fuel tax credit rates and eligible fuels – provides details of eligible fuels and fuel tax credit rates.
Fuel tax credits – how to complete your activity statement – provides information about completing the fuel tax credit labels on your business activity statement and how to make adjustments, correct mistakes, lodge and pay.
The following are tools and calculators:
Fuel tax credit eligibility tool – this decision tool is designed to assist businesses in working out if the fuel they use in their business is eligible for fuel tax credits.
Fuel tax credit calculator – the fuel tax credit calculator is an easy to use tool that calculates the fuel tax credit entitlement (for eligible fuels) to be claimed on a business activity statement.
You can order these publications online at www.ato.gov.au or by calling our publications ordering service on 1300 720 092. For further information please contact;
Project Officer | Small Business Assistance Program | Indirect Tax I
Australian Taxation Office I Phone: 08 7422 2192 | Mobile 0403 411 929
Facsimile: 08 7422 2211
ATO | Working for all Australians
MEDIA RELEASE No: 12/443
Investigation begins into non-payment of subcontractors
An investigation is now underway by the Small Business Commissioner, into construction contracts awarded and administered by the Building Management and Works (BMW) division of the State Department of Finance, in the period between October 2008 and October 2012, and in circumstances where the head contractor has entered into administration or become insolvent.
To expedite a timely investigation, the initial focus of the investigation will be projects funded under the “Building the Education Revolution” (BER) program, however, the Commissioner will also receive complaints from subcontractors affected in the same way and during the same time period, in relation to other BMW administered contracts.
Small Business Commissioner, David Eaton says the investigation, instigated by the Small Business Minister, falls within the functions and powers of the Commissioner and the Small Business Development Corporation. The investigation will therefore be undertaken by an experienced investigation team lead by the Small Business Commissioner.
The scope of the investigation is as follows:
- To ascertain the extent of the alleged non-payment to subcontractors;
- To ascertain, examine and assess BMW processes and practices which may have affected the commercial activities of small business including:
- The pre-qualification and awarding of contracts to head contractors;
- The making and administration of payments including submission and payment of progress claims, or invoices and the payment claims by head contractors to BMW;
- Risk allocation practices including vouching and certification of claims; and
- Processes adopted by BMW to deal with complaints, queries or concerns from subcontractors in relation to payments by head contractors.
The Small Business Commissioner is encouraging all subcontractors who have not been paid for work administered by BMW between October 2008 and October 2012 and where the head contractor has entered into administration or become insolvent, to register their details on the Small Business Development Corporation website at www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au
It is expected that the investigation will run for seven weeks with representations and advice provided to the Minister for Small Business on or before 21 December, 2012.
It should be noted that subcontractors in payment disputes with head contractors who are not in administration or insolvent, should access the legal avenues available to them, including the Western Australian Building Commission.
Di Graham | Media and Public Relations
Corporate Affairs & Communications
Small Business Development Corporation
140 William Street PERTH WA 6000
phone: 08 65523218 | mobile: 0432 750 565 / 0409 089 159
Small Business Minister Brendan O’Connor has announced Mark Brennan, the former Victorian Small Business Commissioner, as the inaugural Australian Small Business Commissioner.
The Commissioner will work in consultation with industry and other governments to ensure that small business concerns are heard and taken into consideration across Government.
Mr Mark Brennan has a strong track record of achievement in the small business area throughout his extensive career. Mark served for seven years as the inaugural Victorian Small Business Commissioner (VSBC), the first such position in any jurisdiction in Australia. The VSBC model implemented by Mark is widely regarded as best practice and he has been consulted by those states which have subsequently introduced their own small business commissioners.
In 2011, Mark was named the Council of Small Business of Australia’s (COSBOA) National Small Business Champion for his work in guiding and developing the role of Small Business Commissioner in Victoria.
In 2010 Mark was appointed Director of Liquor Licensing in Victoria, having served as
the VSBC since 2003. Currently, Mark is serving as the inaugural full time Chairman of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, established to deliver integrated regulatory functions for liquor and gambling.
Mark has owned and operated his own small business as Principal of MA Brennan
and Associates. The firm provided advice to government on legislative reviews and
policy issues. It also advised businesses and industry membership groups on
government relations. Mark has previously held a range of roles in the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments including as Executive Director of Small Business in the former Department of State Development. Mark has also worked as a barrister and solicitor in private practice.
Mark is highly respected across all levels of government and by the business
Did you know that scams that target small business can come in a number of forms—from bills for advertising or directory listings that you never ordered, dodgy office supply offers, to false claims of government requirements needing you to send money.
The Hanson Swan Business Awards 2012
“In my role as judge of the Hanson Swan Business awards I would like to congratulate both the winners, and the entrants. The standard of entry this year was extremely high. In some categories the winning margin was less than ONE point. As well as the recognition that the awards bring, the added value is that it gives entrants a chance to take a more helicopter view of their business than day to day operations allow.
The key judging points for us are the sustainability, growth potential and X factor of the business that will be a winner. With the close margins this year and some businesses moving to the walk of fame we are sure to see some new finalists in 2013. “
Regards Tony Watts
The winners are:
Swan Business of the Year - SPONSOR Hanson
The Coffee Club Midland Gate
Apprenticeship/Trainee Award – SPONSOR Boral Midland Brick
Bess Williams – Wallis Drilling
New Business – SPONSOR Small Business Development Corporation
Earth Care Recycling
Retail Business – SPONSOR Midland Kalamunda Reporter
Professional Services – SPONSOR – The Coffee Club Midland Gate
Midland Bullsbrook Veterinary Group
Manufacturing Award – SPONSOR Willis Drilling
Mining Services – SPONSOR HVLV
Contribution to Exports – SPONSOR City of Swan
Business Person of the Year – SPONSOR Your Local Liberal Team
Ron & Terrie Gomboc
Tourism – SPONSOR Perth Airport
Swan Valley Tours
Quality Customer Service – SPONSOR – The Echo Newspaper
The Coffee Club Midland Gate
Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year – SPONSOR Swan Valley Oasis
The Coffee Club Midland Gate
Website and On-line Services – SPONSOR FX-Digital Pty Ltd
Swan Valley Tours
21.08.2012 Sunday Trading Information
Energy Efficient Exchange
The Energy Efficiency Exchange website (eex.gov.au) supports the implementation of energy efficiency practices within medium and high energy-using companies. It shares best practice information on energy efficiency, case studies and resource materials from Australia and overseas.
The Energy Efficiency Exchange (EEX) website is a comprehensive, searchable database of energy efficiency information and practical tools based on sound expert advice and industry experience and is a joint initiative of the Australian and state and territory governments.
The Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, says the aim of the website is to help businesses identify and investigate opportunities, and implement best-practice solutions for reducing energy costs.
‘The EEX looks at key sectors and technologies such as manufacturing, transport, commercial buildings, lighting, motors, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. It includes guidance on how to develop effective business cases on energy efficiency projects, and information on industry support programs to help companies secure energy efficiency funding,’ he says.
The design and content of EEX takes into account industry feedback from the government’s existing Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program. Businesses highlighted the need for high-quality energy efficiency information in a central location and from a reputable source.
The new website differs from many existing web-based resources in that content was researched and developed by recognised energy efficiency experts, then extensively peer-reviewed by other technical experts from industry and academia. Access is made easier by the identification of energy efficiency opportunities first by business sector then by relevant technology. For example, users from the commercial and services sector can find suggestions for better managing energy in commercial buildings through metering and monitoring energy use and more efficient lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
These energy efficiency opportunities are linked to the relevant ‘technology’ web pages – in this instance, reducing energy demand through improved lighting and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning.
Guidance is also provided for related areas such as procurement and supply chain issues, and energy management. A step by step guide is available for organisations wishing to set up their own energy management system to identify, plan and implement improvements in energy use. The Energy Management section of EEX also provides an introduction to the energy market, outlining demand management strategies that can assist in businesses in negotiating energy supply contracts and reducing energy costs.
Smaller and medium sized businesses may be bewildered by the range of industry and state and government programs available in relation to energy efficient practices. The EEX provides guidance in sourcing funding support for energy savings initiatives by consolidating information on government grants, tax incentives and financing models offered through the Clean Energy Future package, Low Carbon Australia and similar programs.
Assistance with training staff in energy efficiency and management is also covered.
At the moment, EEX is servicing the manufacturing, transport and commercial buildings sectors. Further pages on the mining and resource processing sectors are due to be added in mid-2012.
IP Australia has launched eServices, a secure online transaction portal that makes it easier for customers to connect to and conduct their business with the agency. eServices is available through the IP Australia website which gives customers the convenience of accessing the portal where and when it is convenient for them.
eServices allows customers to register and login to access a range of transactions and services for all IP right types, and manage their intellectual property (IP) portfolio. Transactions conducted through eServices can be paid for upfront using a Visa or MasterCard. This means that customers can be certain that they have paid the right fee for the right service at the right point in time.
For more information visit www.ipaustralia.gov.au.
SBDC launches Tourism BOOST Online
The Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) this week launched the Tourism BOOST Online Guide, a one stop shop for tourism and business facts, resources and tools.
This new online resource has been designed to meet the needs of new and existing tourism operators across the State.
Tourism BOOST Project Coordinator Kym Francesconi says the guide has everything you need to know to run a successful business in the tourism industry.
“Anyone familiar with Tourism WA’s Jumpstart program will love this new resource,” Ms Francesconi said.
“It will help newcomers as well as existing operators de-mystify the tourism industry and set them on the right track for business success.”
The Tourism BOOST Online Guide is an interactive, easy to understand resource and features information about various types of tourism businesses, marketing tips, practical resources and tools, a clear explanation of who’s who in the industry and quizzes to test your knowledge of the industry.
“The site also features links to BOOST TV, a YouTube Channel where experienced tourism operators from across the board tell firsthand what it’s like to run a tourism business in WA,” Ms Francesconi said.
Ms Francesconi says a particularly exciting feature of the online guide is the pricing tool.
“A lot of research, development and programming work has gone into this tool for the Tourism Boost Online Guide. Existing tour operators, accommodation providers and newcomers to the industry will welcome this resource,” she said.
Check it out now at www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/TourismBoost
For more information about please call 13 12 49 or visit the Small Business Development Corporation website at: www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au
Media contact: Di Graham SBDC – 65523218 / 0432 750 565
National Consumer Fraud Week 2012
Campaign messaging – business partners – Email or phone call out of the blue?
Slam scams at the point of contact – press delete or just hang up.
These days, scammers will go to any means to deliver a scam to your business. National
Consumer Fraud Week 2012 is all about raising awareness of scam delivery methods so that you can identify and slam a scam at the point of contact.
Scammers are increasingly sophisticated in how they deliver scams, tailoring them to your
business to try and slip under your radar. Spear and whale phishing emails are sent by
scammers to organisations or senior management with the hope of gaining confidential
company information, passwords or banking details. If a scammer gets their hands on this sort of information, they can use it to commit fraud.
Scammers are also not afraid to contact your business directly over the phone and pose as a company or supplier that you know and trust. The office supply scam is often delivered over the phone when a scammer calls your business and tricks you into paying for goods that you did not order.
If you receive an email or call out of the blue asking you to hand over money or company
details, press delete or just hang up.
Protect yourself against scammers
Ignore suspicious emails, letters, house visits, phone calls or SMS – press ‘delete’, throw
them out, shut the door or just hang up
WATCH OUT FOR SLICK TRICKS
Scammers use sophisticated tricks such as fake websites, glossy brochures, technical jargon
or posing as someone that you know and trust – don’t fall for them!
DON’T LET SCAMMERS PUSH YOUR BUTTONS
Scammers will play on your emotions to get what they want
PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
Your personal details are private and invaluable – keep them that way and away from
National Consumer Fraud Week 2012
An initiative of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce
9.02.2012 -The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) introduced a set of consumer guarantees which apply to goods and services purchased by consumers from 1 January 2011.
The consumer guarantees framework provides statutory rights that apply automatically when consumers buy, lease or hire goods or services, and outline the circumstances where a business is required to provide a remedy to a consumer if those rights are breached.
Recent research activities undertaken by Australian, state and territory governments indicate that there is confusion amongst both consumers and businesses about warranties issues and rights to a refund, repair or replacement. The research has also indicated that some businesses are not fully aware of their rights and obligations under the consumer guarantees provisions.
Increased understanding of the rights and obligations under the consumer guarantees framework can enable businesses to effectively resolve any problems that their consumers may experience in the event that goods or services purchased are faulty or not as described. Businesses can avoid potential reputational damage and loss of sales by understanding and complying with the consumer guarantees provisions and subsequently aiding consumers with their understanding.
This includes three business snapshot publications about the ACL available at www.accc.gov.au/smallbusinesspublications, along with an online education module aimed at assisting businesses understand the consumer guarantees provisions. This can be viewed at www.accc.gov.au/consumerguarantees
8.02.2012 – An Australian Government Initiative. Commercialisation Australia
Maximum grant size has increased from $200,000 to $350,000 – Early Stage Commercialisation (ESC) Grants:
- ESC grants are no longer repayble
- The annual turnover limit in relation to eligible applicants has been increased from $20 million to $50 million
- The minimum grant request under this component has been reduced from $250,000 to $50,000
- Registering a trademark or design is now eligible expenditure under the Proof of Concept (PoC) and ESC components.
The Commercial Plan and Potential merit criterion is now formally split into two separate merit criteria: Value Proposition and Execution Plan.
- The maximum duration of S&K projects is now 1 year for all applicants.
It was also announced that there would be more generous support for pilot plants and innovative manufacturing facilities, but details of this have not yet been released.
Further information regarding Commercialisation Australia is available at www.commercialisationaustralia.gov.au. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me. to see full details click on link.
On 1 January 2011 the law changed regarding consumers’ rights when they purchase goods or services. Any product or service purchased anywhere in Australia after that date comes with a number of consumer guarantees.
The guarantees are a set of statutory rights (including the right to a refund) that a business automatically gives to consumers when they purchase, lease or hire a good, or buy a service from you.
‘No refund signs’ and statements that limit consumers’ rights are unlawful.
The consumer guarantees include that the product must be of:
- acceptable quality
- fit for any disclosed purpose and
- match any description given to the customer prior to purchase.
Services must be provided with care and skill and achieve any purpose specified by the consumer or the service provider. Services must also be provided within a reasonable timeframe if the contract does not specify one.
In some instances, a business may be a consumer for the purposes of the consumer guarantees legislation, eg.
- when a business purchases any goods or services up to $40,000;
- if the goods or services cost more than $40,000 and are goods or services normally used for personal, domestic or household purposes.
Further information about consumer guarantees in the form of “frequently asked questions” is available from the ACCC website:
Wagline – Are you a sole trader or partnership?
Then this information applies to your business. Can my employees cash out their annual leave?
Under employment law an employer and employee may agree in writing to cash out annual leave under limited circumstances. The ability to cash out annual leave generally only applies to employers and employees who are not covered by an award or agreement e.g. employees covered by the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act.
An employer and employee who are covered by an award or agreement may only cash out annual leave if the award or agreement expressly allows it.
- Cashing out arrangements must comply with the following conditions:
- Only 50% of an employee’s annual leave entitlement can be cashed out in any one year of service, and it can only be cashed out at the end of that year.
- The employee must be given a benefit instead of and equal to their annual leave entitlement (e.g. cash).
- Cashing out annual leave cannot be a condition of a person’s employment.
- An employer cannot require an employee to cash out annual leave or apply undue pressure or influence on the employee to cash out their annual leave.
- Each occasion to cash out annual leave must be in writing.
If you have any questions, or to simply make sure you’re doing the right thing, call
wageline on 1300 655 266. “It always pays to call Wageline”
ACCC Small Business Information Network (SBIN)
This month’s newsletter contains information about the new point-of-sale refund and returns sign and a company registration scam warning.
New point-of-sale signs are now available from the ACCC and consumerlaw.gov.au websites. These signs can be displayed in store to help consumers and sales staff understand their rights and obligations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Also included is information and a warning regarding a recent company registration scam conducted.
Standard point-of-sale signs are now available
A consumers’ right to a repair, replacement or refund is a frequent source of dispute between businesses and consumers. The ACCC also receives a number of queries from businesses about their rights and obligations in relation to refunds and returns.
The ACCC together with the state and territory consumer protection agencies have produced a point-of-sale refunds and returns sign to reflect consumers’ rights to a remedy when something goes wrong with a product they have purchased. The aim of the sign is to ensure businesses can be confident that their refunds and returns policy complies with the ACL. The sign can be displayed at a shop counter or on a shop wall and will provide consumers with clear information about their rights to refunds and returns.
While the ACL does not require businesses to use the point-of-sale sign, using a sign that clearly sets out their rights and obligations will help clarify the law and minimise the risk of disputes between businesses and consumers. It is important for businesses to review their in-store signage to ensure that it does not breach the ACL. In-store signs and cash register receipts that state ‘no refunds’ are likely to breach the ACL as they may imply that a consumer is not entitled to a refund under any circumstance.
The link below is a media release by the Hon David Bradbury, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer which discusses the new point-of-sale signs:
SCAM ALERT – Beware of email, phone call or text requests for personal, credit card, online banking or mobile phone details
The ACCC is warning small businesses to continue to be wary of ‘phishing’ scams received by email or SMS following recent reports of unsolicited requests for banking information which may lead to fraudulent online banking transactions.
Click here for a description of this particular scam and its variations, and how to protect yourself against them.
SCAM ALERT – Beware of letters or emails requesting a small payment to claim large winnings
The ACCC is advising Australians to ignore recent lottery scam letters sent in the post requesting $25 and credit card details or payment by cheque in return for a false $15,000 windfall.
Click here for more information.
ACCC warns businesses to beware of misleading claims from workplace safety business
Small businesses are aware that they are often the target of conduct that may fall foul of Australia’s consumer laws The ACCC is pleased to alert SBIN readers that it has utilised one of the powers conferred upon it under the national consumer law regime to try to protect their interests.
The ACCC has issued a Public Warning Notice under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) warning small businesses about the alleged business practices of Safety Compliance Pty Ltd.
Safety Compliance is located on the Gold Coast, Queensland and telemarkets workplace safety materials to small businesses across Australia. The workplace safety materials consist of a flip chart and other documents purported to be a fire evacuation plan and CPR chart.
It is alleged that in marketing the workplace safety materials Safety Compliance made a number of misrepresentations to the effect that:
(a) workplace safety laws in the relevant state or territory in which the business was located required the business to maintain information and materials of the same nature as the workplace safety materials offered for supply by Safety Compliance;
(b) Safety Compliance was affiliated with the workplace safety agency in the state or territory in which the business was located; and
(c) the workplace safety agency in the state or territory in which the business was located conducted inspections of workplaces to ensure that the materials that were maintained at the business is of the same nature as the workplace safety materials offered for supply by Safety Compliance.
The ACCC has reasonable grounds to suspect that the conduct may constitute misleading or deceptive conduct, false or misleading representations concerning the need for the workplace safety materials and harassment and coercion in contravention of the previous Trade Practices Act 1974 and the ACL.
If you need help or advice on any of the above issues please call the ACCC Small business helpline on 1300 302 021. If you would like to arrange an article or presentation for your members, contact your local ACCC Education and Engagement Manager listed below.
|WA||Siobhan O’Gara||08 9325 email@example.com|
|WA||Murray Beigel||08 9325 firstname.lastname@example.org|
Recent ACCC small business publications are available at www.accc.gov.au/smallbusiness
Education & Engagement
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC)
Protecting your intellectual property (IP) in China China is one of Australia’s rapidly growing export partners. Its vast market, unfortunately has gained a reputation for widespread counterfeiting and IP infringement. However, times are changing. With applications for IP growing rapidly and infringement being closely policed, your business may be able to take advantage of the potential for a profitable relationship. Follow this link to find out more about protecting your IP in China website: www.ipaustralia.gov.au
Disability Works Australia – NEED STAFF? Are you working too many long hours? Do you need assistance and not sure where to go for help?? A person with disability may be just the right person for you. Whether it is full time, part time, a trainee ship or apprenticeship, or casual employment, it makes good business sense to look at employing a person with disability. As your one point of contact for BEC Australia, Disability Works Australia taps into a large pool of people ready to work and skilled in a variety of different industries. If you are looking for reliable, hardworking and loyal employees that will save your company time and money and accurately reflect your diverse customer base, click on the following link to find out more. It makes good business sense. » Find out more
Welcome to Making Midland Connect -The Small Business Centre East Metro is proud to be a sponsor of Making Midland Connect. A free wi-fi internet service managed and operated by aCure Technology on behalf of Swan Chamber of Commerce and City of Swan. Making Midland Connect covers the Midland Centre Business District and is available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Whether you’re shopping, seeing friends or meeting for business; enjoy the convenience of FREE WI-FI Internet on the move. For more details go to City of Swan or Swan Chamber of Commerce.
Changes to the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code As you may be aware, Workplace Relations Minister Simon Crean introduced some changes to the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code regarding redundancies. For more details visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website. Needless to say, you also need to ensure you are not selecting anyone for dismissal or redundancy on discriminatory grounds (pregnancy, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, political beliefs or participation, union membership or participation or non-union membership or participation) or by reason of the person making a complaint or supporting someone making a complaint. By Mark Cox Barrister and Solicitor, MDC Legal Email: email@example.com
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Small Business Information The ACCC wants to remind small businesses to check all invoices carefully to avoid paying for things they don’t want or need. Online directory billing warning The ACCC is aware of an international company sending out faxes requesting payment that appear to be from a very well known business directory and are urging small businesses to be vigilant when dealing with invoices and other requests for payment. Remember, once you have signed a contract it can be very difficult – not to mention costly – to get out of. It is advised that businesses take the following steps to avoid signing up to something they don’t actually want or need:
- Limit who has authority to buy or order anything; keep written records of all orders and purchases; and only deal with people you know and trust.
- If you are unsure whether you have received a legitimate invoice or request, contact the organisation that sent it. Don’t rely on contact details provided to you in an email – obtain the details through an internet search, telephone directory or official letters/statements from organisations like banks.
- Make sure you and your staff remain informed and alert to small business scams by signing up to receive SCAMwatch radar alerts.
More information Small businesses can be a target for scammers. It’s not uncommon for scammers to use a name or logo similar to a genuine and reputable directory, so don’t be fooled. If you think you have received the fax or have been a victim of a scam you can report it to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995. For more information about how you can protect yourself and your small business, check out the small business scams page on SCAMwatch and the Small Business Scams Fact Sheet. For further information visit the ACCC website or contact your local ACCC Regional Outreach Manager listed below. firstname.lastname@example.org – Siobhan O’Gara – WA email@example.com – Murray Beigel – WA
Wageline Watch Are you a sole trader or partnership? Then this information applies to your business. BETTER WORKPLACE GUIDE FOR SMALL BUSINESS The Western Australian economy regularly experiences shortages of labour and skills. This can make it difficult for small business employers to attract and retain the staff they need to run their business and remain competitive. The Better Workplace Guide provides an overview of the key staff management issues faced by small business and provides practical advice on creating and maintaining a flexible workplace to meet business needs. This new publication also contains helpful checklists and handy hints. To obtain your free publication – download and click here. Also check out Employing Someone – an easy guide for small business employers. This is another free publication to assist small business and is available here. Need more information? Call Wageline on 1300 655 266