Wednesday, 20 August 2014 Sydney

Invest In Australia News::

  • 14-198MR Make it Mine Finance Pty Ltd pays $20,400 penalty for misleading advertising

    Make it Mine Finance Pty Ltd (Make it Mine), a credit licensee based in Bayswater, Victoria, has paid $20,400 in penalties after ASIC issued two infringement notices for making misleading representations on its website.

    Make it Mine, whose business is the rental of white goods and electronic devices, operates nationally via its website. In 2013, it used its website to:

  • 14-200MR South Yarra accountant jailed for operating illegal investment schemes

    South Yarra accountant, Mark Ronald Letten, was today sentenced in the Melbourne County Court to five years and eight months imprisonment on charges brought by ASIC.

    Mr Letten had earlier pleaded guilty to 27 charges under the Corporations Act 2001, including operating 21 unregistered managed investment schemes relating to property development. 

    Mr Letten, 60, the former director of LGH Holdings Ltd (in liquidation) and the principal of the accounting firm Lettens Pty Ltd, formerly The Letten Group, had also admitted to dishonestly using his position as a director involving the use of investor funds more than $533,000 and of carrying on a financial services business without an Australian financial services (AFS) licence.

  • Fixing the M4: Key milestones in delivering WestConnex

    Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Jamie Briggs and NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay today announced key milestones in the delivery of the world class motorway for Sydney including the release of the M4 Widening Environmental Impact Statement.

    The M4 Widening is part of WestConnex, Australia's biggest urban road project which will provide greater Sydney with a continuous free flowing motorway.

    Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs said over the next month comprehensive consultation will occur with the community, including businesses, residents and motorists.

  • NSW man jailed for $75,000 fraud

    A 49-year-old Parramatta man will spend up to 10 months behind bars for defrauding the Federal Government of more than $75,000.

    Parramatta Local Court heard Ronald Anderson used a different identity in his employment and did not declare his income to the Department of Human Services while claiming the Disability Support Pension between 2009 and 2012.

    The department began investigating the man after receiving a tip off from another government agency.

    In handing down the sentence on Tuesday, Magistrate Baptie told Mr Anderson "the fact that it involves substantial identity fraud, to ensure the fraud was executed, makes it a much more serious set of circumstances".

  • 14-195MR Your Super Accountant pays infringement notice in relation to ‘FREE’ SMSF set up claims

    Your Super Accountant has paid a $2,040 infringement notice penalty after making potentially misleading statements about the cost of setting up a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) using Your Super Accountant's administration services.

    ASIC’s concerns related to statements that appeared on the Your Super Accountant website in January 2014.

    The representations on the website homepage were that fund set up was free. The website homepage did not disclose any conditions.

    ASIC was concerned that although promoted as free, the conditions for fund set up required investors to pay $200 upfront – 20% of the annual administration fee – to be eligible for ‘free’ fund set up.

  • 14-196MR Esuperfund Pty Ltd pays $30,600 penalty for misleading advertising

    Esuperfund Pty Ltd has paid $30,600 in penalties after ASIC issued three infringement notices for false or misleading online advertising. Each infringement notice imposed a penalty of $10,200. 

    The advertisements related to Esuperfund's business of providing self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) establishment and administration services online to clients. Each advertisement ran between 31 January 2014 and 8 May 2014. 

    ASIC was concerned that:

  • Appointments to the Commission for International Agricultural Research

    Today I announce the appointment of five new members to the Commission for International Agricultural Research, which provides expert, strategic advice on priorities for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

    ACIAR plays a critical role in the Australian Government’s new aid policy by encouraging Australian agricultural scientists to use their skills for the benefit of developing countries as well as Australia.

    The five highly qualified Commissioners have made substantial contributions to Australia’s agriculture and food sectors.

  • $14 million to target criminal assets

    An additional $14 million confiscated from criminals has been directed to boost detection and disruption capabilities of the Australian Federal Police-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT).


    The boost is part of the Coalition Government's commitment to taking the profit out of crime, to undermining the business models of organised criminal syndicates, and to return ill-gotten gains from criminal activities to Australian communities to fight crime.


    The CACT is a multi-agency taskforce led by the Australian Federal Police that combines resources from the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Taxation Office to target criminal economies.


  • NHMRC unveils plan for $200m dementia boost

    The National Health and Medical Research Council has today announced the first steps in its delivery of the Australian Government’s $200 million ‘Boosting Dementia Research’ budget measure.

    It includes the announcement of a new Dementia Research Team Grants scheme which opened today to support research into the causes of dementia, improved methods of prevention, new treatment options and improved patient care.

    The scheme is modelled on NHMRC’s Centres of Research Excellence and is expected to fund five teams for up to $6.5 million each over five years. The grants are worth a total of $32.5 million and are just one part of the $200 million package which also includes:

  • Australia-ASEAN partnership prospers in 40th year

    I am pleased to announce two new projects at the ASEAN-Australia Ministerial Meeting today that reaffirm the Australian Government’s commitment to supporting economic transformation in the region.

    The Australian Government will contribute $2.8 million over three years to the UN program Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations.TheUnited Nations Capital Development Fundwill manage the project which aims toassist low-income people access better financial services in ASEAN member states. Our goal is to see at least six million low-income people in the region transition from unregulated to regulated higher value financial services by 2020.

  • 14-189MR Former director jailed

    Mr Bill Katsabis, a former director of P.G. & N. Enterprises Pty Ltd (in liquidation) (P.G. & N) has been sentenced to two years and three months imprisonment following an ASIC investigation.

    Appearing in the County Court in Melbourne on 9 July 2014, Mr Katsabis was ordered to be released after serving six months on a recognisance release order for a period of 21 months on a recognisance of $1,000. 

    Mr Katsabis was also ordered to repay a total of $241,218 to the company. 

    Mr Katsabis was charged with one count of dishonestly using his position as a director and one count of failing to disclose the transfer of company property to the liquidator.

  • Farming for the future

    There has been a seismic shift in farming practices over the past 20 years driven by our desire to better manage soil, preserve and utilise soil moisture, improve operational efficiencies and boost crop production.

    These changes have certainly delivered many benefits but they have also fostered new challenges particularly in the areas of weed, disease and soil nutrition management.

    It’s become imperative that we view our farming system as a whole and avoid making decisions in isolation as those decisions can have enormous implications for subsequent crops and the longer term health of our soils.

    Improving the ecology, structure and productivity of our soils is an important consideration within the farming system at Windy Station.

  • Combating transnational crime in the Pacific

    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Brett Mason, will today participate in a high level panel discussion on combating transnational crime in the Pacific. 

    The event, hosted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), will focus on how Australia can work in partnership with its Pacific neighbours to tackle challenges such as illegal fishing, wildlife trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking and corruption.

  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence – Largest government procurement of services finalised

    The signing of the final five contracts for support services at Defence bases today has signalled the end of the largest single procurement of its type undertaken by the Commonwealth.

    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence the Hon Darren Chester MP said the contract signing brought to conclusion the multi-billion dollar Base Services Re-tender, which Defence commenced in 2012.

    “The contracts signed today complete the suite of 10 base services contracts. We now have contracts to cover the full range of key services for Defence bases — everything from routine maintenance and security to pest control, waste management, transport, and support to range and training areas, ” Mr Chester said.

  • $5 million in National Landcare Programme grants to celebrate 25 years of Landcare

    Australian communities will share in $5 million in 25th Anniversary Landcare Grants 2014-15 to help restore local environments in a new initiative as part of the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

    Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, and Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, were pleased to announce the new 25th Anniversary Landcare Grants 2014-15 as part of Landcare’s 25th anniversary celebrations, saying the grants would be available from mid-September.

  • Australia's trade in services for 2013

    Australia has experienced its strongest services trade growth since 2007, led by the business and travel sectors. Services trade increased 9.1 per cent year-on-year to $124.8 billion in 2013, according to ‘Trade in Services, Australia 2013’ released today by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

    The services sector is a critical part of our economy, representing about 70 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product (GDP) and employing four out of five Australians. Services exports rose 7.6 per cent to $55.1 billion. Imports rose 10.4 per cent to $69.7 billion. Export and import volumes were up 5.1 per cent and 3.8 per cent respectively.

  • Australia’s exports strong in 2013-14

    Australian Bureau of Statistics Trade in Goods and Services data show Australian exports rose 10 per cent in 2013-14 to $332 billion, compared with 2012-13.  Imports rose 5 per cent to $338 billion. This resulted in the trade deficit narrowing by 70 per cent to $6.1 billion for 2013-14, compared to $20.0 billion for 2012-13.

    All broad categories of exports rose: resources exports were up 15.1 per cent to $166.3 billion, rural exports were up 9.6 per cent to $39.8 billion, manufactures were up 6.5 per cent to $42.1 billion, and services were up 9.1 per cent to $57.6 billion.

  • Fixing Labor's Broken Infrastructure System

    The Australian Government is getting on with fixing Labor's broken infrastructure system today hosting the first industry roundtable on the Productivity Commission's inquiry into Public Infrastructure in Adelaide, South Australia.

    We have also commenced our broader consultations with State Governments, yesterday meeting with New South Wales Premier Mike Baird in Sydney.

    The Commission's inquiry shows that we must improve the financing, governance and delivery of new infrastructure in Australia to boost our productive capacity and economic growth.

    In order to achieve this we must:

  • Fixing Labor's Broken Infrastructure System

    The Australian Government is getting on with fixing Labor's broken infrastructure system today hosting the first industry roundtable on the Productivity Commission's inquiry into Public Infrastructure in Adelaide, South Australia.

    We have also commenced our broader consultations with State Governments, yesterday meeting with New South Wales Premier Mike Baird in Sydney.

    The Commission's inquiry shows that we must improve the financing, governance and delivery of new infrastructure in Australia to boost our productive capacity and economic growth.

    In order to achieve this we must:

  • WTO Fails to Adopt Protocol for Agreement on Trade Facilitation

    World Trade Organization (WTO) Members in Geneva have failed to meet the prescribed deadline of 31 July 2014 to adopt the necessary Protocol of Amendment to open for acceptance the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation.

    This deadline was the first test of WTO Members’ commitment to implementing the outcomes of the Bali WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2013.

    Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said: “We have failed because a small number of WTO Members sought to reopen and renegotiate the decisions all Members had agreed to in Bali.”

    “Australia is deeply disappointed that it has not been possible to meet the deadline. This failure is a great blow to the confidence revived in Bali that the WTO can deliver negotiated outcomes.”

  • Screen Australia invests over $3.8 million in 13 new documentaries

    Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb has confirmed the appointments of three senior investment specialists from the private sector who will add to Australia’s capacity to attract foreign investment.

    “These three senior investment specialists will be joined by two more specialists in the near future, and all five will focus on promoting investment into the key sectors of the national investment priorities - food and agribusiness, resources and energy, tourism and hospitality, tropical health and medical research and international education,” Mr Robb said.

  • Emergency funding to address canola virus

    The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has announced an emergency funding package of $315,000 in response to a significant outbreak of beet western yellows virus (BWYV) in canola crops in the southern region.

    Transmitted by green peach aphid (GPA), the combination of virus and aphid feeding has caused considerable damage and crop losses in parts of South Australia and Victoria, and infection has also been detected in southern New South Wales.

    GRDC Managing Director, John Harvey, says that in the early stages of the outbreak, initial identification of BWYV as well as testing of GPA populations for insecticide resistance was undertaken with support from existing GRDC investments. 

  • 14-183MR ASIC accepts enforceable undertaking from Adelaide-based AFS licensee

    ASIC has accepted an enforceable undertaking (EU) from Adelaide-based PGW Financial Services Pty Ltd (PGW), after an ASIC surveillance found deficiencies in its advice to clients and arrangements for supervising its authorised representatives. 

    ASIC's surveillance followed PGW's appointment of a number of ex-representatives of AAA Financial Intelligence Limited (AAA FI) and AAA Shares Pty Ltd (AAA Shares) after their Australian financial services (AFS) licences were cancelled by ASIC in February 2013.

    ASIC identified numerous instances where financial product advice provided by PGW to clients did not demonstrate:

  • "Media Releases 2014: Nine documentaries funded and Screen Australia consults further on new guidelines"

    Screen Australia today announced funding of $3.4 million to nine new documentary projects. The projects will stimulate production to the value of $11 million.

    Screen Australia has also advised that its documentary guideline review process will be extended to accommodate further industry consultation and the existing program guidelines will continue to take effect for the remainder of 2014.

    Industry submissions to the documentary guideline review process have outlined a number of issues and further matters for consideration. The review was instigated to ensure funding mechanisms allowed for Screen Australia to continue to support a diverse slate of significant Australian stories in an environment of reduced funding and changing audience dynamics.