Thursday, 18 April 2019 Sydney

Invest In Australia News::

  • ATO presentation: superannuation funds

    James O'Halloran, Deputy Commissioner, Superannuation

    Speech to The National Superannuation Conference

    Sydney, 24 - 25 August 2017

    1 Introduction

    I want to thank the Tax Institute for the opportunity to speak at this conference at such a significant time for superannuation advisers and the broader community.

    Through its members, the Tax Institute has greatly assisted the ATO in implementing a raft of super reforms in recent months.

  • VIP Sheds Pty Ltd breach the Australian Consumer Law

    An investigation conducted by Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS) has found that VIP Sheds Pty Ltd has committed offences under section 158(7) of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), by wrongly accepting payment for goods and services, and failing to supply within an agreed or reasonable timeframe.

    The Director of Consumer Affairs has issued 31 Infringement Notices to the two former directors of VIP Sheds, Mr Carl Dobson and Mrs Cassandra Dobson, with a total value of $95 480 ($47 740 per director), in accordance with section 25 of the Australian Consumer Law (Tasmania) Act 2010.

  • New High Yield Oat Variety To Help Reduce Cholesterol

    Grain growers and consumers are set to benefit from a new local oat variety, Kowari, which will be available for seeding next year.


    A dwarf plant type, Kowari has been developed by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA, since 2003 as part of the National Oat Breeding Program.

    Kowari produces increased levels of beta glucan which helps to reduce blood cholesterol re-absorption. Furthermore, its high yielding potential and disease resistance promises to make it attractive to growers.

  • Open banking would improve access to finance for small business

    The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has welcomed government moves to reduce regulatory barriers to entry for new entrants to the banking system.

    Treasury is consulting on proposed changes to the Banking Act, which would allow use of the word “bank” by authorised deposit-taking institutions.

    Ombudsman Kate Carnell said this should improve access to finance for small business.

    “The power and control of the established banks remains a barrier for small businesses seeking capital to start or expand their operations,” Ms Carnell said.

  • ACCC won't oppose Tronox's proposed acquisition of Cristal's titanium dioxide business

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided to not oppose the proposed acquisition by Tronox Limited of the titanium dioxide business of National Titanium Dioxide Company Limited (Cristal).

    Tronox and Cristal both produce titanium dioxide pigment in Australia, which is used as an additive in products such as paint, plastics, and ink to impart whiteness, provide opacity qualities, and protection by absorbing ultraviolet light. It is most commonly used in the production of coatings, largely for architectural and decorative purposes, as well as specialised coating applications such as in the automotive or marine industries.

  • Excessive payment surcharge ban

    From tomorrow, every business across Australia will be banned from charging customers excessive surcharges for using certain types of EFTPOS, Mastercard, Visa and American Express cards to make payments.

    The excessive surcharging ban has applied to large businesses since September last year and now extends to all businesses that are either based in Australia or use an Australian bank. The ban does not affect businesses that choose not to apply a surcharge to payments.

  • Petrol prices at lowest level since 2002, but margins high

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report on the Australian petroleum industry for the June quarter 2017 shows that retail margins remained high despite quarterly average petrol prices in the five largest cities dropping by 3.9 cents per litre (cpl) from the March quarter to 125.2 cpl.

    In 2016-17 annual average petrol prices were at their lowest levels in real terms since 2001-02 (see Chart 1).

    Annual average retail petrol prices in the five largest cities were 122.6 cpl in 2016-17, slightly higher than in 2015-16 in nominal terms.

  • ACCC proposes to authorise roll out of Woolworths' discount programs to participating BP sites

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft decision proposing to grant conditional authorisation to a commercial alliance between BP Australia Pty Ltd, BP Resellers, and Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW).

    Authorisation would allow participating BP service stations to accept Woolworths shopper dockets and participate in the Woolworths Rewards loyalty program, if BP is successful in acquiring Woolworths’ service stations.

  • SuperStream benefits support the superannuation industry and its members

    Following a five-year rollout, superannuation members are now receiving an estimated $2.4 billion per year in savings thanks to SuperStream. SuperStream is one of the largest ever changes to Australia’s financial system, with an estimated investment across the industry of $1.5 billion.

    More than one million businesses have been involved in the rollout, with over 800,000 employers, over 200 APRA funds and approximately 350,000 self-managed superfunds now experiencing the benefits of SuperStream reforms.

  • ATO releases Super Guarantee gap estimate

    The ATO has today released its estimate of the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) gap. The gap is the difference between the theoretical amount payable by employers to be fully compliant with their SG obligations and actual contributions received by funds.

    The ATO estimates the net SG gap to be 5.2 per cent or $2.85 billion of the total estimated $54.78 billion in SG payments that employers were required to pay in 2014-15.

  • Is shared home ownership the answer to Australia’s affordability crisis?

    With property prices in Melbourne and Sydney increasing at five times the rate of inflation, Australians are searching for new and innovative ways to get into the property market, with the added challenge of being outbid by Chinese money competing for the same property.

    According to the latest report released by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), overseas buyers invested $60.75 billion into Australian residential real estate in 2014-15. That’s 75 per cent more than approved investment in 2013-14 and 254 per cent more than 2012-13.

  • NSW Government backs UNSW with $8.7 million for Quantum Computing

    The NSW Government today announced it would invest $8.7 million from its Quantum Computing Fund (QCF) in a new quantum computing partnership led by the University of NSW (UNSW).

    Deputy Premier and Minister for Skills John Barilaro said the funding would support a new company - Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd - charged with creating the world’s first quantum computer.

    “NSW has an incredible and an unusual depth of talent in quantum research, and the world is watching our progress,” Mr Barilaro said.

  • Payment times improve but more needs to be done

    The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has welcomed new data which shows that late payment performance is beginning to improve.

    The latest Dun & Bradstreet report shows that late payments fell during the second quarter of 2017 by 4.6 per cent, while prompt payments rose sharply.

    On average, 63.8 per cent of Australian businesses paid their bills on time. However, just 12 per cent of ASX-listed companies pay on time compared with almost 34 per cent of non-ASX-listed companies.

  • Small business loan protection threshold should be raised to $5m

    The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has questioned Commonwealth Bank’s commitment to small business lending reform following evidence to a parliamentary select committee.

    Ms Carnell said it was good that banks have finally committed to complying with unfair contract terms legislation, but the lending threshold should be $5 million instead of the $3 million they have agreed.

    At the Select Committee on Lending to Primary Production Customers in Sydney on August 11, the Commonwealth Bank spokesman said:


  • Supporting and growing Tasmania’s Construction Industry

    Tasmania’s building and construction industries have no stronger supporters than the Hodgman Liberal Government.

    Over the weekend at our State Conference we announced a target to increase the number of people employed in Tasmania’s building and construction industry by 25 per cent by 2022.

    These industries are important to the future of Tasmania’s economic success and the Liberal Government has a proven track record of creating jobs in this sector. We currently have more than 22,000 people employed in the sector, compared with just 16,100 in the last year of the Labor-Green Government.

  • EPA approval good for regional jobs and the salmon industry

    Today’s approval of Tassal’s Okehampton Bay aquaculture site by the independent Environment Protect Authority, including additional environmental monitoring at the site, is positive news for this sustainable industry and boosting jobs in regional Tasmania.

    The Okehampton Bay finfish lease has now received the highest environmental tick in the land through the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) process and the environmental science underpinning salmon farming at Okehampton Bay was previously assessed by the independent Marine Farm Planning Review Panel as appropriate.

  • Watch out for NBN scams

    The ACCC is warning the community that scammers are pretending to be from NBN to con victims out of their money and personal information.

    Scamwatch has received 316 complaints this year about scammers impersonating NBN with nearly $28,000 reported lost.

    “Scammers are increasingly using trusted government brands like NBN to trick people into falling for scams. Their goal is always to either get hold of your money or personal information,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

    The three common scams reported to Scamwatch that involve scammers impersonating NBN are:

  • Melbourne is the global human capital and lifestyle city

    Melbourne has just been crowned a global champion for human capital and lifestyle, according to the latest international research.

    The fDi Intelligence Global Cities of The Future study 2017/18 has categorized Melbourne as the top major human capital and lifestyle city with a population of less than 10 million, edging out Sydney and Tokyo.

    Melbourne scored highly in literacy rates, education expenditure, health, quality of life, percentage of population as labour force, number of students and numerous other indicators.

  • ACCC wants NBN plan advertising overhaul

    The ACCC has published guidance for retailers on how to advertise speeds for NBN broadband services, including clearly identifying typical minimum speeds during peak periods.

    The publication, Broadband Speed Claims – Industry Guidance, seeks to move retailers from advertising their services based on the maximum internet speeds that may be delivered during off-peak periods, to the speeds consumers can expect to achieve during the busy evening periods between 7pm and 11pm.

  • No time like the present for lodging your tax

    With a suite of online tools that make lodging easier than ever before and the majority of pre-fill information now available, Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan said now is an ideal time to do your tax.

    “We have developed a suite of online services that have made it easier than ever before to get your tax return done, and now we have most pre-fill records such as wages, bank interest and dividends ready for taxpayers and agents to use. This means most of the work is done for you,” Mr Jordan said.

  • Cable car consultation process

    The Hodgman Government is committed to growing the economy and creating jobs through sensitive and sensible development in the state’s natural areas.

    A cable car on Mount Wellington would be a game changer.  It would showcase one of our most stunning natural landmarks, it would make the pinnacle more accessible to more people and, of course, it would create new jobs for Tasmanians.

    The idea of a cable car on Mount Wellington has been around for over 100 years and it is time to take the next step.

  • Jetstar direct Adelaide service in hot demand

    Jetstar’s new service of direct flights between Adelaide and Hobart is already proving popular with a massive 5,000 seats sold in the first 12 hours.

    The new service is expected  to attract more than 46,000 passengers a year and initial demand highlights Tasmania’s popularity as a must see destination.

    Tourism Tasmania has committed to increase its cooperative marketing with Jetstar to capitalise on the new service, and is also expanding its highly successful Go Behind the Scenery marketing campaign this Spring into the Adelaide market.

  • Spirit Success – Passengers and Freight Up, Fares Down

    The Hodgman Liberal Government’s plan to deliver more passengers and lower fares on the Spirit of Tasmania ferries has been an unequivocal success.

    New figures show the Spirits carried 433,925 passengers in the last financial year, a massive 31 per cent increase on the 330,698 carried four years earlier under the former Labor-Green government.

    According to TT-Line, we have also seen under this Government a reduction in average fare prices of about 15 per cent in real terms.

  • Northern Territory Operators Take to the UK Birdfair

    Northern Territory tourism operators have hit the road to target birding enthusiasts at the annual UK Birdfair.

    Held annually, the British Birdwatching Fair runs from 18 to 20 August and is the largest bird fair in the world attracting more than 25,000 people and over 300 exhibitors.

    The Northern Territory is a magnet for birding and nature enthusiasts and our involvement in the UK Birdfair helps to attract visitors to the NT and ensure that our destination is kept at front of mind within this niche tourism market.