Sunday, 28 May 2017 Sydney

Invest In Australia News::

  • 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.

  • Strengthening Australia’s tourism relationship with China

    With 2017 officially named the China-Australia Year of Tourism, the Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme and its role in ensuring quality experiences for Chinese group tours travelling to Australia, has never been more important or in such demand.

    Almost two decades ago, Australia became one of the first western countries to receive organised tour groups from China under the ADS scheme.

  • Korea welcomes Aussie eggs

    To address a shortage of fresh eggs caused by a bird flu outbreak, the South Korean Government has temporarily removed tariffs for egg imports from a number of countries, including Australia.

    Australian egg exporters are taking advantage of this temporary change, with shipments of fresh eggs already sent to South Korea.

    The opportunity arose after the Australian Government – through the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – and the South Korean Government agreed to export certification conditions which provide technical market access for shelled eggs from Australia.

  • Confusion about broadband claims prompts ACCC guidance

    Australian Competition and Consumer Commission consultation on fixed broadband speeds has found eighty percent of consumers are confused and want broadband speed information to be presented in a simple, standardised format to enable them to easily compare offers.

    The ACCC has today published principles to help ensure internet service providers’ claims about broadband speeds aren’t misleading under the Australian Consumer Law.

  • ACCC will not oppose Ruralco’s proposed acquisition of TP Jones

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced that it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of TP Jones Pty Ltd by Roberts Limited, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ruralco Holdings Limited (ASX: RHL).

    Roberts and TP Jones are both rural merchandise retailers based in Tasmania and sell products such as fertiliser, agricultural chemicals, animal health products, and farm merchandise.

  • Early warning for taxpayers making R&D claims

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) have released two new taxpayer alerts as a warning to those not being careful enough in their claims or seeking to deliberately exploit the Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive program.

    The R&D tax incentive encourages companies to engage in R&D benefiting Australia, by providing a tax offset for eligible R&D activities. In 2013–14, more than 13,700 entities spent $19.5 billion on R&D, claiming a benefit of around $3 billion.

  • Banks’ Response To Unfair Contract Laws Not Good Enough

    Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell today met with House of Representatives Economics Committee chair David Coleman MP, to discuss in detail the findings of the ASBFEO’s Small Business Bank Loans Inquiry, ahead of the next round of bank hearings in March.

    During the briefing, the Ombudsman raised her deep concerns regarding the unwillingness of the banks to abide by new laws governing unfair terms in standard form contracts with small businesses.

  • Commissioner's statement - ATO systems

    Claims made in today’s media that Tax Time 2017 is under threat due to our recent system outages are completely without foundation.

    We are absolutely confident that taxpayers will be able to lodge their returns and receive refunds on time from 1 July.

    It is disappointing that some people are trying to create unnecessary mischief during what has already been a challenging and testing time for the community and the ATO. This is very unfortunate as it undermines the commitment and good work that our people have undertaken to return ATO services to normal operation and bring them back online as quickly and reliably as possible.


    An inquiry investigating payment times and practices in Australia is in full swing with preliminary findings confirming that big businesses and some governments are taking longer than ever to pay small businesses.

    Early results from the Inquiry – which is being conducted by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) in partnership with state-based Small Business Commissioners (SBCs), the Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA), the Australian Institute of Credit Management (AICM) and the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) – has found almost 50 per cent of small businesses experience late payments on at least half of the bills owed to them.

  • Theft and drugs behind rise in female offenders

    The number of female offenders increased by 5 per cent (4,957 offenders) in 2015–16, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

    ABS Director of Crime and Justice Statistics, William Milne, said that by contrast, male offenders increased by only 49 offenders, or less than 1 per cent.

    "Theft was the most prevalent principal offence for females, while the largest increases in female offender numbers were for Theft (up 12 per cent), Illicit drug offences (up 8 per cent) and Acts intended to cause injury (up 6 per cent)," said Mr Milne.

  • Sydney businesses ride to better productivity

    Thousands of Sydney workers will enjoy less stress and boost their productivity this March by taking part in the Sydney Rides Challenge.

    The four-week challenge gets businesses competing for the most staff riding bikes and promotes a healthy and active workplace.

    Companies already on board include Westpac, NRMA, Hilton Sydney, Allianz, Lend Lease, RPA Hospital and Sydney University.

    Lord Mayor Clover Moore said increasing the number of people riding to work had positive flow-on effects for all Sydneysiders.