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Keep up to date with the Office of the Small Business Commissioner News and other information relating to small business.
Retail and Commercial Leasing Act Amendment Bill 2019
The State Government has today (3/07/2019) introduced into Parliament a series of amendments to the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 on 3 July 2019.
The Bill has passed in the House of Assembly and will be debated in the Legislative Council shortly.
The amendments aim to build on the existing protective measures for lessees under the Act and include:
- Allowing leases to move in and out of the Act;
- Clarifying the application of GST;
- Establishing a formal process through the Valuer-General to review the rent threshold which currently stands at $400,000.
- Providing an option of a landlord to register a new lease which is above the current $400,000 threshold so that the lease will not be captured by the Act should the threshold increase;
- Requiring increased requirements for disclosure of information by landlords to tenants; Increasing penalties for breaches of the Act (broadly in line with CPI between 1995 and 2015) and introducing two new penalties;
- Increasing the value of a bond from up to four weeks rent to up to three months’ rent; Amending the definition of a public company, and also providing protection to charity groups which may use a public company structure but are registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission;
- Excluding overseas companies from coverage of the Act if they are registered on an international stock exchange:
A number of technical amendments are also included in the Bill.
These proposed amendments align with the Government’s agenda for small business as they will assist in making South Australia a more attractive place to invest and grow business.
A copy of the Retail and Commercial Leases (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2019 as passed in the House of Assembly on 24 September 2019 can be found here.
Cuts to payroll tax big boost for small business
The South Australian government has abolished payroll tax for small business.
From 1 January 2019, businesses with annual Australian wide wages
- of up to $1.5 million are no longer liable for payroll tax.
- between $1.5 million and $1.7 million will benefit from a reduced payroll tax rate.
For more information on how your business will benefit from these changes click here
Coombs Barei Pty Ltd (in liquidation)
The Small Business Commissioner conducted a review of processes undertaken by RenewalSA in selecting and contracting Coombs Barei – an Adelaide construction company which collapsed in 2017.
The report identified deficiencies in the procurement processes and the State Government has agreed to refer the report to the SA Productivity Commission which is undertaking a second stage review of procurement relating to the Building and Construction sector.
The Government has rejected a recommendation by the Small Business Commissioner that the ex-gratia payments be made to subcontractors who were engaged by Coombs Barei to work on RenewalSA contracts relating to the 1000 Homes in 1000 days project.
The report can be found here
Builders of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital – HYLC – plead guilty in proceedings issued by the Small Business Commissioner
The joint venture builders of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, HYLC, pleaded guilty on 7th November 2018 to a charge concerning a failure to provide the South Australian Small Business Commissioner with information relating to subcontractor arrangements.
HYLC is a joint venture between Hansen Yuncken, and CPB Contractors formerly known as Leightons Contractors.
Following complaints from three subcontractors seeking the return of their retention monies, the joint venture partners were issued with a Notice in May 2017 by the Small Business Commissioner, John Chapman, requiring them to provide information under Section 12 of the Small Business Commissioner Act 2011 (Act). Subcontractors are often required to lodge substantial cash bonds or bank guarantees which head contractors claim are necessary to ensure completion of work and to cover any defects.
After some initial discussions, HYLC refused to provide information in its possession which included details of all the subcontractors working on the project. Mr Chapman subsequently issued a formal Notice under the Act which required HYLC to give the information to him.
“I was concerned that because of the ongoing delays on this project, subcontractors may have been waiting years for the return of their retentions when the delays in the project were not their fault,” Mr Chapman said.
“We were trying to work with HYLC on an outcome which would have helped the three subcontractors who came to me and, as it turns out, 157 other subcontractors who were caught up in what became totally unacceptable delays.”
“Unfortunately, alternative routes did not work out and I had little option but to issue a legal demand for the information.”
Mr Chapman then commenced criminal proceedings against HYLC for their failure to comply with the Section 12 Notice. The Act provides for a fine of up to $20,000 if found guilty.
Today in the Adelaide Magistrates Court, HYLC pleaded guilty to the offence and agreed to pay all costs incurred by the Small Business Commissioner in prosecuting the matter. Magistrate Kym Millard accepted the guilty plea and fined each of the joint venture partners $1800 plus victims of crime levy and Court costs.
The Court did not record a conviction after consideration of submissions made by each of the joint venture partners.
“Put simply the behaviour of HYLC towards the valid concerns of the three subcontractors was unacceptable,” Mr Chapman said.
The Small Business Commissioner said he expected all businesses to respond fairly and positively to his office when disputes arose.
“I look forward to working with each of the joint venture partners in a much more cooperative manner in the future on any outstanding issues involving their small business suppliers or subcontractors,” Mr Chapman said.
“I would also expect that the prime contractors in the building and construction sector take serious note in the future of any requests they receive from my office as we try and help subcontractors and suppliers get paid in a timely manner.”
Office of the Small Business Commissioner Annual Report 2017-18
Our Annual Report, tabled in Parliament on Thursday 18 November, is a collection of our work and achievements from 1 July 2017 - 30 June 2018.
SASBC Annual Report 2017-18 (6mb, PDF)