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Keep up to date with the Office of the Small Business Commissioner News and other information relating to small business.

Government services head to the Barossa to network with local small businesses

21/05/2018

Small businesses in the Barossa region of South Australia will get a unique opportunity next month to connect with a number of Local, State and Federal Government agencies who provide services and advice to small businesses.  

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner will be holding its popular BizLink Small Business Expo in the Barossa on Thursday 21 June 2018.  

The Expo will be the second one held this year with the first being held on Tuesday 1 May at the Adelaide Hills Convention Centre as part of the May Business Month organised by the Adelaide Hills and Mount Barker District Councils. The event was a success with nearly 60 businesses attending on the night.  

Small Business Commissioner, John Chapman, has been facilitating the BizLink program for the last three years and has been pleased to see that the number of businesses interested in the program continues to increase.  

“The response from our last BizLink Small Business Expo was great. Seeing so many local business people attend and hear about the services that they can access from government, shows that we have a valued program” Mr Chapman said.  

Exhibitors at the event include Australian Taxation Office, AusIndustry Business Services, SafeWork SA, Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Industry and Skills. The Town of Gawler and Regional Development Australia – Barossa (RDA) have also been involved in the arrangements for the event and will also be exhibitors on the day.  

Many business owners who attend this event are surprised at the number of services that are available from government and have provided positive feedback about the content of these Seminars.  

“Everyone that attends get something out of the event, whether it be in relation to payroll tax, environmental requirements, compliance, industrial relations or grants – there is something for every business to learn and benefit from” Mr Chapman said. “The beauty of this program is that time poor small businesses can attend and spend 5 minutes or 50 minutes gathering the information that they need, it’s up to them.”  

RDA Barossa, Chief Executive, Anne Moroney said “The great thing about attending Bizlink is that in addition to the up to date information, business owners get to meet the people they need to call when they have a problem.  This is an opportunity not to be missed!”  

The BizLink Small Business Expo will be held on Thursday 21 June 2018 from 5pm – 7pm at the Vine Inn Barossa, 14-22 Murray Street, Nuriootpa.  

Registration to attend these events is essential and can be done through the Office of the Small Business Commissioner website at www.sasbc.sa.gov.au/events or by contacting the office on 8303 2026. 

Small businesses - know your scams!

18/05/2018

“Are you for real?” is the question every small business should be asking as part of their toolkit to avoid scams according to the Small Business Commissioner John Chapman.

“Too often we hear how people have lost money because they thought they were dealing with a well-known party such as the Australian Tax Office or one of the major banks,” Mr Chapman said. “Every small business needs to be on their guard to deal with the scoundrels out there who seek to impersonate genuine businesses and government agencies for their own financial gain.”

Mr Chapman made the comments in the lead up to this years’ Scams Awareness Week, which runs from 21–25 May 2018 and is being led by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC’s Scamwatch received almost 33,000 reports of these scams in 2017. Over $4.7 million was reported lost and more than 2800 people gave their personal information to these scammers.

When scammers impersonate government officials, they may tell their target they owe a tax debt or there are problems with government benefits, immigration forms or visa status and that money must be paid immediately to pay the debt or other fees to fix the issue. Sometimes the business owner or their staff may be threatened with arrest or deportation.

Scammers also pretend to be from trusted organisations like Telstra, Australia Post or the police. They may ask for remote access to a person’s computer to fix a problem or track down hackers or they may email fake bills or fines, then threaten to cancel the service or charge fees if the business or other party does not respond favourably.

Sometimes scammers will jump on the phone or send an email to get funds which are to be paid to a known company which businesses regularly deal with, shifted to a new bank account.

Scams Awareness Week is an initiative of the Scams Awareness Network, a group of Australian and New Zealand government agencies with responsibility for consumer protection and policing in scams, cyber safety and fraud. The Office of the Small Business Commissioner is a member of this network.

“Small businesses are particularly at risk of being scammed as they have so much to lose. Protecting their business from scams is essential and could prevent possible financial stress.” Mr Chapman said.

Network members want to raise awareness about these scams as the scammers and their threats can seem genuine and frightening. They make potential victims feel as if they’ve done something wrong or that there’s some urgency and unless there is immediate action, severe consequences await.

“The ACCC advises that small business scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and that scammers will go to great lengths” Mr Chapman said. “Scammers know that small business people are very busy and then can often miss the key signs in identifying a scam.”

If anyone receives an unexpected and threatening call or email that seems to be from a government agency or trusted business, they are urged to follow these tips to ‘Stop and check: is this for real?’:

  • Always ask yourself whether the person or business that’s contacted you out of the blue is who they say they are.
  • Verify the identity of the contact through an independent source, such as a phone book or online search, then get in touch with them to ask if they contacted you. Don’t use the contact details provided by the caller or in the message sent to you.
  • Never send money, give your banking or credit card details or other personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust, and never by email or over the phone.
  • Know that a government agency or trusted business will never ask you to pay them with gift or store cards, iTunes cards, wire transfers or bitcoin.
  • Never give anyone remote access to your computer if they’ve contacted you out of the blue – whether through a phone call, pop up window or email.
  • Have a strong system in place to check invoices and that the business did receive the produce or service being offered.
  • Never redirect payments for goods and services to another bank account number provided by a person over the phone or in an email unless you can independently verify the change.

“Organisations big and small do not mind getting calls where their business partners or suppliers are checking to ensure they are paying the right account and the funds are going to the right place,” Mr Chapman said. “A simple check can save a financial loss and a lot of grief.”

For more information about these scams, where to get help or to report a scam, visit the Scamwatch website www.scamwatch.gov.au/scamsweek2018.

           

Country of Origin Food Labelling

11/05/2018

The Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 commenced on 1 July 2016 under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). It applies to food offered for retail sale in Australia, e.g. food sold in stores or markets, online or from a vending machine.

The new Country of Origin food labelling requirements become mandatory from 1 July 2018. As a small business who produces food in Australia this means you must ensure your labelling is compliant with the new requirements.

On Monday 23 April the Office of the Small Business Commissioner along with the ACCC presented a free information session on the new requirements. A recoding of that event can be viewed on our YouTube Channel here

You can also find more information on the requirements on the ACCC website here

 

Mobile Food Vendors

13/03/2018

New rules come into effect this month governing the placement of mobile food vans in every council area in South Australia.

Under changes passed by Parliament last year, each council is required to produce guidelines which set out the permit and location purpose for mobile food vans.

Food businesses who wish to make a complaint about the rules may do so to the Small Business Commissioner. In the first instance efforts will be made to resolve any dispute with discussions between the parties, which may include other food businesses and the local council.

Should that fail, the Small Business Commissioner will follow the dispute resolution procedures which have been set out under the Local Government Act 1999.

The written application may be sent electronically via the Lodge a Dispute Form here, or print the following Application to Lodge a Dispute form -

Application to Lodge a Dispute form (54 kb, PDF)

Send the completed form and copies of supporting documentation to the Office via -

Email: sasbc@sa.gov.au 
Fax: 08 8303 0943, or 
Post to -

Office of the Small Business Commissioner
GPO Box 1264
ADELAIDE SA 5001

If you have any enquiries please contact the Office on Toll Free 1800 072 722 or 08 8303 2026 or use the contact form to send us an e-mail.

Labour Hire – New Laws

05/03/2018

Commencing 1 March 2018, all businesses must hold a labour hire licence if they:

  • supply workers to another person; and
  • make a payment to the worker – either to cover wages or a part payment (e.g. to cover accommodation costs or a meal allowance).  

Online licence applications will be available from 1 March 2018 and can be lodged with Consumer and Business Services (CBS).

To allow industry time to prepare for the new requirements, labour hire providers will have until 1 September 2018 to be licensed. From 1 September 2018 there will be penalties for anyone who operates without a licence and penalties for employers that use unlicensed labour hire companies. The maximum penalty for either offence is $400,000 for a company, or $140,000 or 3 years imprisonment for an individual.

Please visit the Labour hire licence webpage for more information or contact CBS via occupational@sa.gov.au or phone (08) 8204 8512. The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 is available at legislation.sa.gov.au.              

 

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