Thursday, 23 February 2017 Sydney

Invest In Australia News::

  • New strategy to grow the defence industry across NSW

    A new strategy has been launched to drive growth across the NSW defence industry.

    The Strong, Smart and Connected strategy will provide a major boost to regional NSW, strengthen the economy and further support Australia’s defence needs.

    The key strategy areas are:

  • ACCC releases Statement of Issues on South32 Ltd’s proposed acquisition of Metropolitan Collieries Pty Ltd

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a Statement of Issues on the proposed acquisition by South32 (ASX:S32) of Metropolitan Collieries (Metropolitan), currently owned by Peabody Energy.

    South32 and Metropolitan are two of the largest producers of coking coal in the Illawarra region and the two largest suppliers of coking coal to Australian steelmakers.

  • Rates Decision a Shot In The Arm For Small Business

    A reduction in Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in select industries will help ensure small business owners in these sectors can operate longer hours, offer their staff more work, and in doing so meet consumer expectations, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell said.

    “Today’s decision by the Fair Work Commission to reduce rates in the retail, hospitality and fast-food industries is a win for common sense that will ultimately boost jobs and stimulate growth across the economy,” Ms Carnell said.

  • Petrol prices were the highest in more than a year in December quarter

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s ninth quarterly report on the Australian petroleum industry has found that the December quarter 2016 had the highest quarterly average price since the June quarter 2015. This coincided with unprecedented growth in popularity of fuel price comparison apps and websites as motorists seek out the cheapest fuel in their area.

  • Good News for Small Business Retailers in NSW

    Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell has welcomed the passage of legislation providing enhanced protection for small businesses in New South Wales when negotiating retail tenancy leases.

    “Ensuring small businesses have the ability to trade on their merits and operate on a level playing field is vital for the growth of the sector,” Ms Carnell said.

    “The changes made to the NSW Retail Leases Act embody this idea by helping increase transparency and protection for small businesses when working out the details of a lease agreement with their landlord.


    The Reading Writing Hotline together with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell, is today launching a joint campaign to support and encourage small business employees who are looking to improve their reading, writing, numeracy and digital literacy skills.

    A pharmacist by trade, Ms Carnell said she once owned and operated a number of small businesses and knows first-hand the importance of workplace literacy for employers and their staff.

  • Lumo energy pays penalty of $10,800 for representations about retail gas tariff increase

    Energy retailer Lumo Energy Australia Pty Ltd (Lumo) has paid a penalty of $10,800 following the issue of an infringement notice by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

    Lumo call centre staff made representations to a number of consumers in February 2016 that the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) was responsible for increases to Lumo’s retail gas tariffs when the rise was due to a commercial pricing decision made by Lumo.

    “It’s important that energy retailers take responsibility for their commercial decisions, especially those which may be detrimental to consumers, rather than attempting to shift blame onto regulatory organisations like the AER,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

  • Incorrect R&D claims in the ATO’s sights

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) are continuing their joint efforts to curb the incorrect use of the Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive program with the release of a further two taxpayer alerts.

    Speaking on behalf of the ATO, Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said that these new alerts related to behaviours noticed in the agricultural, software and IT industries where ordinary business activities were being incorrectly claimed as R&D activities and R&D expenditure.


    In order to truly instil confidence among small business owners, all politicians must embrace the proposed tax cut for businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million, allowing the sector to grow and thrive well into the future.

  • SMSF Association and ATO announce strategic partnership

    The SMSF Association and Australian Tax Office (ATO) have announced a three-year strategic partnership, effective 15 February 2017.

    In a statement of intent released today, the Association and ATO outlined their intentions to work together to ensure effective regulation and integrity of the SMSF sector.

    SMSF Association Managing Director/CEO Andrea Slattery says the partnership is a landmark agreement between the key regulator in the SMSF sector and the recognised peak body.

  • Bank Code Review Supports ASBFEO Recommendations

    An independent review of the banking code of conduct has reinforced the findings of Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell’s recent bank inquiry report, which highlighted the need for a code with ‘teeth’, including greater emphasis on small business lending.

    The independent review conducted by Mr Phil Khoury, into the Australian Bankers’ Association’s (ABA) Code of Banking Practice, gathered feedback from the sector – including from the ASBFEO – and recommended a variety of changes to ensure greater coverage in the Code for small business customers.

  • Asbfeo In Sa For Small Business Feedback

    Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell is reminding small businesses across South Australia to have their say on payment times and practices, ahead of the deadline for submissions to the ASBFEO’s inquiry into the issue.

    In Adelaide to attend a small business roadshow with Federal Small Business Minister Michael McCormack MP, Ms Carnell said small businesses have until the end of the month to share their experience when it comes to the amount of time they’re left waiting for big businesses – and some governments – to pay their invoices.

  • Modern business services exports to ASEAN may be greater than you think

    Modern business services is a term that encompasses a range of professional services such as Financial Services, Insurance and Pension Services, Telecommunications, Computer and Information Services and Other Business Services.

    In a recent blog, my colleague Tim Quinn distinguished these from more traditional services exports such as tourism and other travel related services (including transport).

  • Parliament Responds To Asbfeo Call For Small Business Focus

    Ensuring small businesses have access to justice, particularly in cases where there's an imbalance of bargaining power, is one of the key principles outlined in the ASBFEO’s small business reform agenda, released just last week.

    "It's certainly pleasing to see all sides of politics are hearing our message on the need for low-cost and timely access to justice for small business owners, whether it be in relation to anti-competitive behaviour, or regarding a dispute with their financial lender,” Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell said.

  • The Daily Telegraph: Banking On Small Business Getting A Fair Go

    What if I told you it was possible for a bank to default on a small business loan, even though the borrower has an impeccable loan history and has made each and every payment like clockwork?

    It seems illogical but that has been the reality for some small business owners who have entered into loan contracts with their banks.

    During our inquiry into small business loans, we heard heartbreaking accounts from business owners who wound up in dire financial straits, brought about by contract terms that give banks total control.


    A new sheep and lamb saleyard is set to be established at Crystal Brook, with support from a $115,000 Upper Spencer Gulf and Outback Futures Program grant.

    The new auction site will be leased by the Combined Independent Agents Association (CIAA). It will cater for demand from the prospering independent livestock agent sector.

    The new saleyard – which will have the capacity to conduct individual sales of around 10,000 head of livestock comfortably – will draw stock from Eyre Peninsula, the northern agricultural zone and pastoral areas.

  • Research to strengthen opportunities for Australian sorghum

    Research is underway to help Australian farmers better understand Chinese customers’ needs for sorghum, the key ingredient in baijiu, China’s national drink and the world’s top-selling spirit.

    Researchers from the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC), the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation – an institute of the University of Queensland jointly supported by the Queensland Government – and the Functional Grains Centre at Charles Sturt University are working to identify the quality and varieties of sorghum that are best suited to the China market.

  • Australia’s US$1.6 trillion pension (superannuation) system is the fourth largest in the world

    Last year, Australia not only became the world’s fourth largest pension (locally called ‘superannuation’) market valued at US$1.6 trillion but also experienced one of the highest growth rates of pension fund assets in the world, according to the Willis Towers Watson Global Pensions Asset Study - 2017[1]. The latest figure for Australia’s pension assets represented a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost seven per cent between 2006 and 2016 (in US$ terms). This rate was well above the global average of four per cent over the same period.

  • Mining Lease Granted to Stellar Resources

    There is no greater or more consistent supporter of Tasmania’s mining industry than the Hodgman Liberal Government.

    Today, I was pleased to approve a mining lease for Columbus Metals Limited, a subsidiary of Stellar Resources, over an area of Crown land at Zeehan on the State’s West Coast.

    Stellar has undertaken extensive exploration activity through its Heemskirk Tin Project and is planning a “fast start” underground development.

    Eventually, this could see the mine employing up to 180 people, which would be a great outcome for the industry and for the region.

  • Jobs And Growth For Port Pirie Home Improvement Business

    A Port Pirie home improvement business is poised to capitalise on niche market opportunities through support from a State Government grant.

    A $97,500 Upper Spencer Gulf and Outback Futures Program grant is assisting Johnson Home Improvements to purchase and install a new computerised wood machining centre and associated software.

    This will allow the company to integrate its design and manufacturing process producing a more consistent and better quality product.

  • Chinese group plans to invest up to A$1 billion in Australian agriculture

    New Hope Group (New Hope), China’s largest privately owned agribusiness, has announced plans to invest up to A$1 billion in Australian agriculture by 2020.

    Nick Dowling, CEO of New Hope’s Australian operations, announced the company’s investment plans during an interview with the ABC, Australia’s national broadcaster. Speaking on behalf of Group Chairman Liu Yonghao, Dowling says New Hope is looking for further investments in Australian premium food operations, from lamb to aquaculture.

  • Korea Zinc Company invests in Australia’s renewable energy sector

    Sun Metals Corporation, a subsidiary of Korea Zinc Company, is developing a 100MW solar farm to supply power to its zinc refinery in Townsville, northern Queensland.

    In a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, Sun Metals CEO Yun Choi says the solar farm is the first stage of the company’s planned A$460 million investment in Townsville over the next five years.

  • Don’t give your heart to a scammer this Valentine’s Day

    The ACCC is warning people to be wary of scammers when looking for romance online with social media now the most common method scammers use to contact potential victims.

    In 2016, 4100 Australians contacted the ACCC’s Scamwatch service to report dating and romance scams and more than $25 million was lost: the largest amount of money lost to any type of scam. Stats also show Facebook is a popular contact method used by romance scammers, and that those aged 45 and over are most likely to be affected.


    2017 is expected to be a year of deliverables for small business and it is important that governments do not lose sight of the sector’s priorities, which would risk undermining future economic growth and prosperity, according to Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell.

    “Whether it be small business tax cuts, competition reform, unfair contracts, government procurement or security of payments, governments – and oppositions – have indicated their support for small business, but now we need the rubber to really hit the road; for these measures to be up-and-running and to be proven solutions to a range of small business road-blocks,” Ms Carnell said.