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)
Mandatory mediation in place to help SA farmers
South Australian farmers will have greater financial protection and security to grow the state’s economy with legislation to require mandatory farm debt mediation now enshrined in law.
The Governor of South Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, proclaimed commencement of the Farm Debt Mediation Act 2018 today, signalling authority for the Small Business Commissioner to begin work on administrating the legislation from Monday 3 September for the benefit of South Australia’s farming community.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the new legislation brought South Australia in line with other states in efforts to support farmers.
Draft Mining and Resources Industry Land Access Dispute Resolution Code
The South Australian Government has committed to assist primary producers when dealing with resource companies seeking access to their land.
It is proposed that an Industry Code of Conduct (the Code) will be prescribed to enable the Small Business Commissioner to fully and effectively implement dispute resolution processes to resolve land access issues.
Feedback on the draft Regulation is being sought from interested parties. Feedback and comments can be provided to the Small Business Commissioner via email at email@example.com or by post at GPO Box 1264, ADELAIDE SA 5001 by Friday 28 September.
Berri Barmera Council becomes Small Business Friendly
Small Business Commissioner John Chapman will be in Berri today for the official signing ceremony for the Berri Barmera Council to join the Small Business Friendly Council Initiative.
Berri Barmera Council becomes the first Council in the Riverland and the twenty third Council in total to sign up to the Initiative, which is being coordinated through the Office of the Small Business Commissioner in partnership with the Local Government Association of South Australia. The Initiative aims to simplify interactions between councils and small businesses, and to recognise councils that are working to support their small business communities.
The Initiative was launched on 30th August 2017 in Whyalla, whose Council was the first to sign up. Since then, 16 regional councils and 7 metropolitan councils have signed up to the initiative and committed to the Charter Agreement which contains a number of principles, including a commitment to liaise with small businesses on a regular basis; prompt payment of accounts; commitment to local procurement wherever possible; and having a dispute resolution process if problems arise.
Mr Chapman congratulated Berri Barmera Council and said that the Initiative is particularly important for those regional small businesses who often have difficulty gaining access to essential resources needed to run their business.
“I am hopeful that regional small businesses will benefit from their Council signing up to this initiative as it will provide them with much-needed support and open the lines of communication.”
Mayor of Berri Barmera Council, Peter Hunt and Council CEO, André Stuyt were present for the signing of the Charter Agreement and said they look forward to working more closely with the small businesses in the region.
“Coming from a small business background myself, I can attest that the local businesses in this region have always embodied a true community spirit. The Initiatives set out in the Charter Agreement are in line with the services that the Council intends on implementing in order to better support our local small business community” Mayor Hunt said.
The number of Councils who have already committed to the initiative within its first year shows that a program such as this was needed. Participating Councils will work with the support of the Office of the Small Business Commissioner to meet the five required initiatives of the program, some of which are already in place in some councils.
“Some Councils are already achieving results in their existing programs. Participating in this initiative provides them with the recognition they deserve for the work they are already doing and also shows their small business community that they are in their corner” Mr Chapman said. “Small businesses are an integral part of the economic growth of our State and it’s the small things we can do to make it easier for small businesses that will essentially assist them in their journey.”
More information about the Small Business Friendly Council Initiative as well as a list of the participating Councils can be found here.
City of Adelaide joins Small Business Friendly Council Initiative
Today marks a step in the right direction for Adelaide small businesses as the City of Adelaide signs up to the Small Business Friendly Council Initiative.
The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Adelaide Martin Haese, City of Adelaide Acting Chief Executive Beth Davidson-Park and Small Business Commissioner John Chapman gathered for the official signing ceremony held in Adelaide Town Hall today.
The City of Adelaide has an extensive list of services available to small businesses, which includes their Enterprise Adelaide Business Advisors, who provide valuable support through their one-on-one programs, and their Economic Insights Dashboard, an online tool offering a range of data on key city indicators including demographics, the economy, employment, city businesses, property and tourism.
According to the City of Adelaide’s Economic Insights Dashboard there are 5,196 businesses operating in the Council area, employing 115,465 people (data from 2016).
“By signing up to the Small Business Commissioner’s Initiative, Council is demonstrating its strong support for over 5,000 small to medium sized businesses across the City of Adelaide,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Council recognises the vital role that SMEs play in providing jobs and greater opportunity for so many South Australians.”
The City of Adelaide is the twenty second Council to sign up to the Small Business Friendly Council Initiative, which is being coordinated through the Office of the Small Business Commissioner in partnership with the Local Government Association of South Australia. The Initiative aims to simplify interactions between councils and small businesses, and to recognise councils that are working to support their small business communities.
Councils have a significant responsibility in ensuring they are providing support and services to these businesses, and creating open and transparent communications with their local business community.
The Initiative was launched on 30th August 2017 in Whyalla, whose Council was the first to sign up. Since then, 15 regional councils and 7 metropolitan councils have signed up to the Initiative and committed to the general Charter Agreement which contains a number of principles, including a commitment to liaise with small businesses on a regular basis, prompt payment of accounts, commitment to local procurement wherever possible and having a dispute resolution process if problems arise.
In addition, each council is asked to implement three initiatives per year to foster and support small business in their local area.
“I am so pleased that the City of Adelaide has recognised the value in this program and cemented their commitment to businesses in the CBD and North Adelaide,” Small Business Commissioner John Chapman said.
“This Initiative will assist councils as well as their small business community in developing a collaborative approach to how small businesses are supported by their local councils. Improving this relationship is essential to the growth of the State’s economic development.”
Voluntary Code of Behaviour for Prime Contractors
The Draft Voluntary Code of Behaviour for Prime Contractors dealing with Subcontractors on SA Government Building and Construction Projects, known as the Voluntary Code has been developed in partnership by the Small Business Commissioner and the Industry Participation Advocate. The aim of the Voluntary Code is to be applied by the Government as part of assessing tenders for goods and services in the building and construction sector.
The Voluntary Code will be applicable to principal contractors who bid for government projects of $4m and above for the metropolitan area and $1m and above for regional areas. It is proposed that the Voluntary Code be introduced into the current Industry Participation Policy tender assessment framework.
The Voluntary Code covers the following areas:
- Compliance with the Building and Construction Security of Payment Act 2009
- Sham Contracting
- Disputed Payments
- Collusive Tendering
The Voluntary Code has been developed in a manner which does not create any extra “red tape” for industry. It requires a commitment to comply with the various state and federal laws. Any breaches of the Voluntary Code would be considered when assessing future State Government contracts.
Feedback on the draft Voluntary Code is being sought by 31 December 2017. Comments are invited to be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to
Office of the Small Business Commissioner
GPO Box 1264
ADELAIDE SA 5001
New rules for ‘embedded’ (or ‘inset’) electricity networks
From 1 December 2017 - the AEMC’s new Final Rule came into operation in South Australia (and Victoria and NSW) to reduce the barriers to “embedded network customers” choosing the products, services and provider of retail services that suit them best. That may be someone other than their embedded network operator – usually their shopping centre owner or operator.
This has flowed out of recommendations made in the AEMC's Power of Choice review in 2012 which proposed to give electricity consumers more opportunities to understand and take control their electricity use and costs.
Embedded (or inset) networks are private electricity networks which serve multiple premises and are located within, and connected to, a distribution or transmission system. Common examples of embedded networks include shopping centres, office buildings, apartment blocks, retirement villages and caravan parks etc.
Within an ‘embedded network’, the ‘embedded network operator’ (e.g. a shopping centre owner) receives electricity through a ‘parent’ meter and then on-sells electricity and network services to its ‘embedded network customers’ i.e. lessees, through ‘child’ meters.
From 1 December 2017, the final rule determination will make it easier for embedded network customers to be able to choose an alternative electricity supplier (or retailer), whilst still remaining part of the embedded network. In other words, individual lessees will be able to exercise choice regarding who they purchase their electricity from.
This is important because it will allow those ‘embedded network customers’ to access the competitive retail market and be able to choose the price and price structure of their electricity service that suits them best, possibly resulting in lower bills. These customers will also be able to choose from a wider variety of products and services and also obtain easier access to government schemes and consumer protections.
The changes to the National Electricity Rules will create a new accredited provider role – the ‘Embedded Network Manager’. That Manager will perform the market interface functions that link embedded network customers to the National Electricity Market systems.
The relevant AEMO procedures and the Australian Energy Regulator's (AER) network exemption guideline have also been amended to:
- set out the detailed functions, responsibilities, and governance arrangements for embedded network managers; and
- specify which embedded network operators are required to appoint an embedded network manager.
To be clear however, this Rule change does not prevent ‘embedded network operators’ from continuing to sell embedded network customers electricity. It simply provides those operators a greater incentive to compete with external retailers.
For information contact the AER - Meredith Mayes on (02) 8296 7849 or Ben Davis on (02) 8296 7851
Whyalla says thanks to KordaMentha
The City of Whyalla gave thanks and paid tribute to company KordaMentha with a special presentation at its last general council meeting.
KordaMentha is the advisory and investment company assigned to find a new owner for Arrium, the operators of the Whyalla steelworks, after it collapsed under a multi-billion debt load and was placed in to administration.
Study into Australian commercial and contracting practices
Please complete a short survey for research purposes so that we can help you
Dr Mark Giancaspro, an academic and practising commercial lawyer with the University of Adelaide Law School, is conducting a study into Australian commercial and contracting practices. He needs your help to provide him with insight as to how our economy and the markets work, and what workers, consumers and businesses actually want our legal system to do for them.
The information provided will feed into the Federal Government’s review of the Australian law of contract. It will also potentially be used to inform the development of a variety of support resources for institutions, businesses and consumers including a software application, potentially in the form of a mobile/tablet app. These resources will help you and your organisation make practical and informed decisions about how you deal with contracts, the law, and each other.
The survey for this project is anonymous, optional, and can be completed in around 15 minutes. Only one owner or senior worker within your organisation is required to complete the survey on the organisation’s behalf. The link to access the survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BJCDXWS. The survey will be open until Monday 6 November 2017.
We would kindly ask you to support this research in the name of attaining the best outcomes for Australian businesses of all sizes.
Small Business Cyber Security Guide Released
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) has released a Cyber Security Best Practice Guide to help small businesses...
Working together to offer extra help to South Australian businesses
SafeWork SA has entered into a partnership with the Small Business Commissioner to offer its free work health and safety advisory service through the Small Business Centre shopfront located in the Adelaide CBD.
Effective staffing processes can be the backbone to a successful small business!
Many small businesses struggle to find the time to manage their staff, but investing a little time in this area can mean huge improvements in staff efficiencies, moral and behaviour according to Small Business Commissioner John Chapman.
“Understanding the process of performance management is the first step in developing a positive, efficient and happy office environment” Mr Chapman said.
Business Expo delivers Government support for small businesses in Mount Gambier
Linking regional small business with a myriad of Local, State and Federal government services is a priority for the South Australian Small Business Commissioner John Chapman.
Government Services for Small Business Support
South Australian Small Businesses wanting information from Local, State and Federal Government agencies on business growth, management and compliance, tax and employment and more, should attend the BizLink Expo this month.
Disrupt or be disrupted - Small Business need to know
The number of small businesses being dramatically affected by disruptors in their industry is continuing at a rapid pace! Disruption challenges processes, management and the delivery of products and services.
Disruption can cause any successful business to question its purpose and consider other options. Understanding what disruption is and what it could mean to a business can help to ignite a stagnant business model.
Are you a business leasing or looking to lease a retail or commercial property?
Then there are important things you need to know about your lease agreement. Getting the right advice from the onset can save lots of time, money and stress later down the track.
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner (OSBC) is the statutory body that manages the lodgement of retail and commercial lease bonds and is responsible for the administration of the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 (the Act). The office also provides a support service to lessors and lessees in relation to their rights and responsibilities under the Act.
Alternative dispute resolution for small business, how does it work and how can it help?
Each year hundreds of businesses seeking support in relation to a business to business dispute contact the Office of the Small Business Commissioner (OSBC). Alternative dispute resolution can be a cost and time effective way for businesses to reach a conclusion to a dispute they may find themselves in.
Time to take lead on mental health
Published: The Advertiser, Saturday 15 April 2017
Small business owners have a major opportunity to make significant gains in their businesses by taking a lead in mental health.
Small Businesses are now going digital with their tax returns
New technology from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is saving small businesses on the most scarce resources – time! The ATO app and online Small Business Newsroom has been helping thousands of business nationally to access information and process their tax returns.
Growing your business into the digital world - what does this even mean?
One of the biggest challenges facing small business is how to drive business in the digital world. Small Business Commissioner John Chapman said ‘Many small businesses struggle with the digital world’ and with the rollout of the national broadband network there are some big opportunities for South Australian small businesses.’
Small businesses are urged to see the warning signs when it comes to cash flow
What is insolvency and what affect can it have on a business, its owners and employees? What are some of the early warning signs and how to deal with them? Where can businesses go for help if they think they may be suffering?
How can Small Businesses connect with Government Services?
Small Business in the Port Adelaide area will be able to connect with many of the state and local government services that can support them later this month.
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner will again be delivering its BizLink Seminar which brings many government services together in one place to speak to small businesses about the services they can provide in relation to start-ups, business growth, employee skills and training and compliance.
Franchising – What small businesses need to know
Franchising offers enormous benefits for small business owners but there are risks for the unwary according to Small Business Commissioner John Chapman.
“Gathering information and asking the right questions are key to those current or potential business owners who either want to franchise their business or purchase a franchise,” Mr Chapman said.
Payment Times and Practice Inquiry
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (Ombudsman), in partnership with the Small Business Commissioners in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, and in association with the Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) and the Australian Institute of Credit Management (AICM), is conducting an inquiry to examine payment times and practices in Australia.
Two issues impacting significantly upon small and medium sized enterprises (SME's) are:
- Late payment times: getting paid beyond the agreed terms of the contract; and
- Extended payment times: payment times beyond usual industry standards.
HAVE YOUR SAY
SME's are encourages to complete an online survey to assist the Ombudsman in gathering information.
The purpose of this survey is to understand small businesses experiences with late payments as well as trends and effects these have on small business. The Ombudsman is interested to learn about how payment times are set, the impacts on the business and what actions are taken in relation to late payments.
The online survey is anonymous and will take approx 10 minutes to complete.
Effective and Quick Dispute Resolution - An Important Part of Successful Small Business
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner speaks to thousands of businesses each year most of which are seeking assistance with a business dispute. Understanding how alternative dispute resolution works and can be very useful for a business owner.
ACCC Delivers for Adelaide Small Businesses in the Waste Industry
The South Australian Small Business Commissioner has welcomed a decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to refuse to allow five Adelaide councils to form a cartel to tender out more than a third of Adelaide’s waste management.
South Australia’s first Small Business Statement released
The State Government’s first consolidated “State of the State” Annual Small Business Statement sets a future course for the sector that provides almost a quarter of a million local jobs, is worth $34 billion each year and underpins the local economy.
Released today at an industry event by Minister for Small Business Martin Hamilton-Smith, the 2016 Small Business Statement features a snapshot of the local SME sector and delivers a baseline from which we can measure our improvement in an area that still faces key challenges including energy costs and on-going IR challenges.
Report on Inset (or Embedded) Electricity Networks
The Small Business Commissioner has completed his report into Inset (or Embedded) Electricity Networks.
The report which was originally requested by the State Government in 2012 notes that there have been significant developments in the market place including the transfer of regulatory responsibility from ESCOSA to the AER in 2013.
The report notes that the AER has undertaken significant progress in reforming the rules around Inset electricity networks and makes a number of recommendations for further improvement to monitoring and education of industry participants.
To read the report click here.
State Government Grant to Support Bedford in Whyalla
The State Government announced today it will provide a grant of $100,000 to ensure Bedford Group can continue to provide meaningful work to its supported employees in the Whyalla area.
The grant will be made available to the Whyalla City Council so that the council can engage Bedford to carry out essential collection of illegally-dumped rubbish, which has spiked in recent months.
Official Opening of the Small Business Centre
The new Small Business Centre at 99 Gawler Place was opened on Tuesday 15 November by Minister for Small Business Martin Hamilton-Smith and Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis. Housing the new office of the Small Business Commissioner, the centre brings together services and advice from the Department of State Development and Office of the Industry Advocate.
Payment Terms Inquiry Underway
The payment practices of big businesses and governments across the country will be put under the microscope by Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell during an inquiry aimed at weeding-out patterns of behaviour that are undermining the financial viability of small businesses and putting pressure on the entire economy.
The 'Payment Times and Practices' Inquiry is the first self-initiated inquiry undertaken by the ASBFEO. It will be led by ASBFEO in partnership with state-based Small Business Commissioners in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, and will be carried out in association with the Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) and the Australian Institute of Credit Management (AICM).
Small businesses who would like to have their say can do so at http://www.asbfeo.gov.au/inquiries or by phoning 1300 650 460.
To read the full media release click here.
Small Business Commissioner backing state's $34 billion SME sector
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner continued its support of the state's economic engine room, the SME sector in 2015/16.
Minister for Small Business Martin Hamilton-Smith tabled the latest annual report of the SBC Office this week. The report shows there was a substantial increase in the number of enquiries in the 2015/16 financial year, up 15 per cent to 3134 on the previous year.
To read the full news release click here.
ACCC Unfair Contract Terms Laws
The ACCC have released a fact sheet on the key aspects of the new Unfair Contract Terms Law for small businesses that commences on 12 November 2016.
Stay Smart Online Week
The 10 -14 of October, marks Stay Smart Online Week!!
Stay Smart Online is the Australian Government's online safety and security website, designed to help everyone understand the risks and simple steps we can take to protect our personal and financial information online.
Staying smart online can mean a variety of things, including:
- Choosing secure passwords and updating them regularly.
- Frequently backing up your data.
- Being aware of the latest online threats.
- Knowing what information you can safely trust online, and how it can be used by others.
- Ensuring your phones and computers are equipped with the right security measures.
- Reporting suspicious emails or links you receive.
To remain updated with recent online threats and how they can be managed, you can sign up to Stay Smart Online’s Alert Service for free.
Further information can be found from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) via Scam Watch, or by contacting DSD.InformationSecurity@sa.gov.au.
STEM building works opportunities
Jobs now - Jobs of the future
Up to $250 million is being invested in local jobs to upgrade science, technology, engineering and maths facilities in our schools.
This will create jobs in the construction industry in South Australia now, and ensure our students will have the skills and knowledge they need for the hi-tech jobs, like defence, that are the future of our State.
Skills register seeking employment opportunities for local builders
If you are a local builder who would like to be part of the employment opportunities from the STEM building works program, register your interest by completing the skills register.
Register your details at https://stemskillsregister.eventbrite.com.au.
To see the flyer on STEM building works opportunities click here.
Procurement Reforms - A win for Small Business
The State Government has announced sweeping changes to procurement that will dramaticall improve the experience for small businesses. In March 2015 the Industry Advocate launched a policy paper titled Suppliers as Partners. Many of the recommendations in that policy paper have culminated in these reforms.
One streamlined contract replaces 11 different contracts
- On 1 September 2016, the State Government replaced 11 different contracts with one streamlined contract. It will be mandated for use across government.
- This contract is small business friendly. It will apply in key areas including most consultancy services and low to medium risk goods and other services.
Reduced insurance requirements & better default limits on liability
- In a major win for small business the contract requires lower levels of insurance, only $1,000,000 in public liability insurance down from $5,000,000 until now.
- There is no contract indemnities required from suppliers.
- Insurance policies will not require the State Government to be named on certificates.
- And the contract sets default limits of liability of between one and five times the contract value.
- It represents not only a more commercial approach to risk setting in contracts by government but we have also listened to good sense from small business.
To read more about the procurement reform click here.
Consultation begins on new strategy to support small businesses across the State
Small businesses and industry groups are invited to have their say about the priorities and challenges facing small businesses, and how Government and industry could work together to address these.
The feedback, ideas and business intelligence gathered through the consultation will inform a new Small Business Statement for South Australia to support small business growth and jobs.
The surve closes on 23 September - to have your say visit yoursay.sa.gov.au/small-business-statement
To read the full news release click here.
Regional BizLinks - Victor Harbor & Murray Bridge
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner held Regional BizLinks Seminars in Victor Harbor and Murray Bridge on Wednesday 7 September 2016.
This brought together a number of Federal, State and Local government agencies that provide services and advice to small businesses.
The presentations from both locations can be found below.
Image: Small Business Commissioner, John Chapman, presenting at Victor Harbor BizLinks.
Regional BizLinks - North & Eyre Peninsula
Last week the Office of the Small Business Commissioner held Regional BizLinks Seminars in Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Pt Pirie.
This brought together a number of Federal, State and Local government agencies that provide services and advice to small businesses.
The presentations from each of the three locations can be found below.
Government services go on the road for regional SA
Small businesses in the North and Eyre Peninsula regions of SA will get a unique opportunity next month to connect with a number of local, State and Federal Government agencies that provide services and advice to small businesses.
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner will be holding the the popular BizLink Seminars in Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Port Pirie.
The Small Business Commissioner, John Chapman, has been leading the BizLink Seminars for the past 18 months and has seen increasing levels of attendance.
Small Businesses sign up for job creation grants
South Australian small businesses have begun registering for the State Government's job creation grants announce in the State Budget.
Applicants for grants under the $109 million scheme include Boyd Plumbing and Gas, which has taken on an apprentice and applied for the $4,000 Small Business and Start-ups grant.
Other applicants include South Australian small businesses in the health, trades and design industries that have taken on additional employees above their current staff numbers.
The State Budget initiative is designed to incentivise small and medium-sized businesses with the capacity to grow to employ more staff.
Businesses must register a new employee within three months of their start date to be eligible. Applications can be made at www.revenuesa.sa.gov.au/jobs.
Beware of Business Scams impersonating the ACCC
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commissioner is warning businesses to watch out for scam emails that claim to be from the ACCC but in fact contain links that can infect your computer with malware.
In the past week, several businesses have reported receiving bogus requests from the ACCC to respond to a complaint that has been made about their business, or seek payment for an infringement notice for breach of copyright.
Read the full Media Release here.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the Scamwatch Report a Scam page
Job Accelerator Grant Scheme
As part of the 2016-17 State Budget, handed down on 7 July 2016, the Government has announced a Job Accelerator Grant Scheme to encourage South Australian businesses to employ additional full-time, part-time and casual employees, and maintain them for at least 12 months.
Under the Job accelerator Grant Scheme there will be two grants offered, with different eligibility requirements. These grants are listed below:
- A Job Accelerator Grant of up to $10,000 ($5,000 a year for two years) per new Full-Time equivalent (FTE) job created. This is available for businesses liable for payroll tax in SA with total Australian wages of $5 million or less.
- A Job Accelerator Grant for Small Business & Start-ups of up to $4,000 ($2,000 a year for two years) per new job created is available for most businesses not liable for payroll tax. This includes businesses with Australian wages below the payroll tax free threshold (currently $600,000) and most organisations that are exempt from payroll tax (e.g. public benevolent institution).
Businesses will be eligible to receive the grant for each additional worker employed by them in a new position between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2018. The payment will be made on the first and second anniversary date of employment.
Businesses must register a new employee within 90 days of the employee’s commencement date.
Registrations for the Job Accelerator Grant Scheme can be made vial the following link www.revnet.sa.gov.au/grant/public/register.xhtml
Review of the Building and Construction Security of Payment Act 2009
The State Government has launched the next stage of a program to improve payments to subcontractors in the building industry with the release of a series of proposed changes for consultation.
Minister for Small Business, Martin Hamilton-Smith, has asked the Small Business Commissioner, John Chapman, to coordinate submissions on proposed changes to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2009 (the Act) and other initiatives to improve payment to subcontractors in the building and construction industry.
The Consultation Paper details the Small Business Commissioner’s recommendations to the State Government, which include that of the review of the Act undertaken by Retired District Court Judge Alan Moss. This review was tabled in both Houses of Parliament on 12 May 2015.
The proposed changes are set out in a three stage approach. It is anticipated that the expeditious implementation of stage one will result in a significant improvement in the operation of the Act and principal contractor behaviour. A heavier regulatory approach could be implemented by the Government under stage two, and possibly stage three, if the changes made under stage one fail to improve conduct in the industry and payment to subcontractors.
Small Business Commissioner, John Chapman, has welcomed the opportunity to seek feedback on the proposed changes and the three stage approach. Mr Chapman encourages stakeholders to identify any alternative initiatives in their submissions.
Consultation is open for a period of two months and submissions commenting on the Consultation Paper close on Friday 19 August 2016.
Submissions can be sent to:
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner
GPO Box 1264 ADELAIDE SA 5001
or submitted by email to: email@example.com
Any enquiries should be directed to (08) 8303 2026 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions will be made public on the Small Business Commissioner’s website unless confidentiality is specifically requested.
The Moss Review can be found here, the Consulation Paper can be found here and the Building and Construction Security of Payment Act 2009 and Regulations can be found here.
View the Ministers News Release dated 17 June 2016 here
Launch of Aboriginal Business Connect
Aboriginal Business Connect has recently launched in South Australia. It is South Australia's first online register of Aboriginal businesses. It is designed to be a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to procure goods or services from local Aboriginal businesses.
Developed in partnership between the State Government and Supply Nation the register will increase the visability of local Aboriginal businesses.
The register can be found at: www.aboriginalbusinessconnect.com.au
Review of the Retail And Commercial Leases Act 1995
A review of the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 (the Act) was completed in April 2016. Retired District Court Judge Alan Moss conducted the review (the Moss Review), which makes 20 recommendations on a broad range of issues relating to the Act.
The State Government is seeking responses from key stakeholders, industry groups and individuals before formalising its position on the recommendations set out in the Moss Review. Interested parties are invited to provide their views on the recommendations, and make any further comments or suggestions which they consider necessary or relevant.
Consultation is open for a period of three months. Submissions commenting on the Moss Review close on Friday 26 August 2016.
Submissions can be sent to:
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner
GPO Box 1264 ADELAIDE SA 5001
or submitted by email to: email@example.com
Any enquiries should be directed to (08) 8303 2026 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions will be made public on the Small Business Commissioner’s website unless confidentiality is specifically requested.
The Moss Review dated 14 April 2016 can be found here and the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 and Regulations can be found here.
View the Ministers News Release dated 24 May 2016 here
Whyalla Business Update – Arrium Administration
Working with Whyalla based small businesses affected by the appointment of administrators to Arrium has been a priority for the Small Business Commissioner during April and will continue.
The Commissioner has been working with more than 40 businesses who are suffering severe cash flow issues and providing advice to the Premier Hon Jay Weatherill, Treasurer Hon Tom Koutsantonis and Minister for Small Business Hon Martin Hamilton-Smith on specific options to assist small businesses.
The Commissioner has been closely involved in the development of a $10 million assistance package for small businesses which was announced by the State Government on 2nd May 2016. Further details of this package can be found here.
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner has engaged Thomson Geer partner Michael Barrett to provide legal advice to affected businesses on the impacts of the administration and actions which need to be taken. The Department of State Development has engaged Hood Sweeney to provide free financial counselling advice to affected businesses in another very positive initiative. Hood Sweeney Partner, Mr Soto Stuppos is based in Whyalla but the company is able to draw on its extensive SA resources if required to assist. Mr Stuppos can be contacted on 1300 764 200.
SA Health and Department of Communities and Social Inclusion are also working closely with the Small Business Commissioner to ensure that other support mechanisms are in place.
On Thursday 12 May 2016, the Small Business Commissioner will be convening an information forum in Whyalla with representatives from the Australian Taxation Office, RevenueSA and Fair Work Ombudsman to further assist businesses. The forum will be held at the Regional Development Australia, Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula Office, 127 Nicolson Avenue, Whyalla Norrie. Bookings are essential and can be made by clicking here.
The State Government has expressed strong commitment to businesses throughout Whyalla and the Commissioner appreciates the strong support he has received from the Whyalla City Council, Whyalla Chamber of Commerce and Regional Development Australia.
Further information on the Department of State Development’s Arrium response can be found here www.supportoursteel.com.
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner also provides a contact point for New Access – A Beyond Blue support program which offers six free coaching sessions. The free program is delivered by Uniting Care Wesley Port Adelaide and further details can be found at:
Save Your Retirement, from Scammers
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) analysis of data reported to Scamwatch and the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN), together with losses detected through scam disruption work, estimates scam losses in excess of $229 million in 2015.
Adelaide Waste Management
The Small Business Commissioner is maintaining a close interest in a proposal by a number of Adelaide Councils to consolidate waste management under one contract.
The councils, through the vehicle Council Solutions, are seeking an authorisation from the ACCC to lock up all streams of waste management for more than 30 per cent of the metropolitan area for up to 17 years.
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner has been approached by both small and large waste industry operators expressing concern about the proposal and the potential negative impact on their businesses and the broader community.
The Commissioner has lodged a submission opposing the Council Solutions proposal and appeared at an ACCC conference of “interested parties” held in Adelaide to confirm his opposition.
The ACCC has now given Council Solutions until 30th May 2016 to provide additional information and undertake further consultation. The ACCC has indicated that it may not make a final determination until 23rd December 2016.
Interest-free loan scheme to support Whyalla businesses
The State Government announced the introduction of an interest-free loan scheme to support small businesses experiencing a cash-flow challenges as a result of Arrium entering administration.
Whyalla Business Update – Arrium Administration
The Small Business Commissioner, John Chapman, is assisting Whyalla businesses with various issues resulting from the Arrium administration.
For more information click here.
Businesses control own destiny
The economic path for SA is somewhat problematic with changes in manufacturing and the commodity price downturn, but there are many other opportunities for businesses to pursue.
Read full article here.
New shop front for Small Business
Minister for Small Business, Hon Martin Hamilton-Smith today announced the new shop front for the Office of the Small Business Commissioner.
New Minimum Payments Proposal Threatens Owner Drivers
The SA Small Business Commissioner has called on the Federal Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal to ditch a new minimum rates proposal which threatens to send small business owner drivers bankrupt.
The proposal by the Tribunal effectively sets a whole range of minimum rates for freight traffic and is due to come into effect on 4th April 2016.
Working With Skills Holdens Limited Event
South Australian small businesses have a unique opportunity to see firsthand the workplace skills of potential employees from the automotive sector at Holden’s Elizabeth plant next month.
The event, organised by the Office of the Small Business Commissioner aims to link small business owners with highly skilled individuals, who are looking for a new career, well before the Elizabeth manufacturing facility closes towards the end of 2017.
Retail and Commercial Leasing Guide
Minister for Small Business, Hon Martin Hamilton-Smith today launched the Office of the Small Business Commissioner Retail and Commercial Leasing Guide.
The Retail and Commercial Leasing Guide is a valuable resource for tenants and lessors of retail and commercial premises relating to the key issues surrounding entering a commercial and retail property lease.
View the guide here Retail and Commercial Leases Guide.
Read the News Relase.
A national award scheme that sends Australians from all walks of life overseas to explore a topic or issue of their choice wants more people from small business in South Australia to apply.
As part of a campaign celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia is urging small business proprietors in South Australians to submit an application for a Churchill Fellowship.
Small Business Research at Flinders University
Professor John Spoehr (left) and Matt Sailer from Flinders University are making major inroads in bridging industry intelligence and research to improve productivity and development of small business in South Australia.
Professor Spoehr heads up the new Australian Industrial Transformation Institute and Mr Salier is the Director of the New Venture Institute, both based at the impressive new Flinders University facilities at Tonsley.
This morning Professor Spoehr introduced a panel discussion which featured first hand examples of how research and development out of the commercial arm of Flinders University has helped South Australian businesses such as Ferguson Australia (Premium seafood suppliers at www.fergusonaustralia.com) and Hegs Australia (check out the new revolution in clothes pegs at www. hegs.com) develop their products, identify new markets and grow their business.
Image: Professor John Spoehr and Mr Matt Sailer, Flinders University
New fund to assist Small Business
The State Government is continuing to put significant effort into reshaping the North of Adelaide with the impending closure of the automotive manufacturing sector.
Underpinning the approach is the Northern Economic Plan www.looknorth.com.au.
The role of small business in the plan is significant with a $10m Small Business Development Fund for northern Adelaide.
The State Government says feedback gathered through the Northern Economic Plan’s Community Engagement activities identified that the cost and loss of productivity arising from recruitment, hiring and training has been a deterrent in small businesses making a decision to hire an additional worker. This Fund would provide an incentive via a grant to small businesses for the creation of a new job. The program will commence in the middle of the year.
For more information contact Mr Alistair Taylor, A/Director Manufacturing and Small Business, Department of State Development on (08) 8303 2263
One of the barriers to successful exporting can be ensuring that a business has sufficient capital to finance its working capital needs.
Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), is a Federal Government owned organization, which works with financial institutions and companies to unlock finance for capital needs.
The criteria is relatively straight forward:
- Established track record
- Minimum finance requirement of A$100,000
- Unable to access finance from commercial banks
The process will involve Efic undertaking due diligence and the relevant credit approvals.
Efic can also support companies which are not directly exporting but rather involved in export related supply chains.
For more information visit www.efic.gov.au or in person Level 5, 131-139 Grenfell Street Adelaide or by phone Mr Andrew Perkins, Director SA (08) 7070 6862 or Mr Liam Carroll, Account Manager SA (08) 7070 6863.
Appointment of new Minister for Small Business
Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith MP appointed Minister for Small Business at the swearing in ceremony held on Tuesday 19 January and says he is looking forward to assisting the state's small business sector.
Penalties for misleading Small Businesses
The ACCC has reported that the Federal Court has ordered that Safety Compliance Pty Ltd (Safety Compliance) pay penalties totalling $515,000 for making false or misleading representations to small businesses in connection with the supply of safety wall charts and first aid kits.
Misuse of Market Power Consultation
Small business has an opportunity to comment on a new round of consultation on market power under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
The Federal Government has released a market power discussion paper which can be found here.
This round of consultation follows the release of the Harper Competition Policy Review which recommended the introduction of changes under an “effects” test which it argued would be more effective in bringing big businesses to account for bad behaviour.
Submissions are due by Friday 12 February 2015 and the Government has indicated it will announce a final position the following month.
While on the issue of market power, the ACCC which has responsibility for administration of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, has launched proceedings against Woolworths alleging it engaged in unconscionable conduct in dealings with a large number of its supermarket suppliers.
This follows similar action which was successfully brought against Coles Supermarkets which led to refunds of $12 million to suppliers last year.
Business Start-up Grants
Adelaide City Council has initiated a Business Start-up Grant to encourage new small, innovative and diverse businesses to take up underutilised and vacant buildings in the city.
They are looking for ideas that re-use empty or underutilised buildings for either:
- Ground floor activation
- Basement activation
- Upper storey activation
If you are looking to start a new business in an underutilised or empty building in the city, you can apply to Adelaide City Council for grant funding of up to $30,000 to cover up to 50% of the cost to improve the building and start your business.
ACCC education campaign on new business-to-business unfair contract terms law
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is urging businesses to closely review the standard form contracts they use when dealing with other businesses.
A new law will take effect on 12 November 2016, following a 12-month transition period, that offers small businesses protections against unfair contract terms offered by other (usually larger) firms.
New Venture Institute
Flinders University and its New Venture Institute are kicking goals for SA’s entrepreneurs.
Big awards night in Adelaide on Thursday 5 November with to celebrate the success of the latest entrepreneurial graduates.
Gold eNVIe winner was “Drones over the Water” project from Daniel Squires. His project is based on using drones cost effectively to take water samples in multiple locations and offers big possibilities for ensuring comprehensive water testing can take place in remote and difficult to reach locations as well as across large water expanses. His prize includes a $5000 travel scholarship to Austin in the United States.
Based at Tonsley, the NVI represents a key part of Flinders’ investment in the future of South Australia and is a place where collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship combine to deliver solutions to real world problems.
Further info at http://nviflinders.com.au/
Image: Mr Nick Begakis AO, NVI Chairman, Mr Chris Picton MP, Member for Kaurna, Minister Zoe Bettison and Professor Colin Stirling, Vice Chancellor at Flinders Uni
ACCC Small Business and Franchising Consultative Committee
The ACCC’s Small Business and Franchising Consultative Committees were established to provide a forum through which competition and consumer protection concerns related to the small business and franchising sectors could be considered and addressed collaboratively.
Expressions of interest are currently being sought for appointment to these committees for 2016-17.
FWO, Spot checks for Adelaide businesses
The Fair Work Ombudsman will audit up to 125 businesses in Adelaide’s CBD and North Adelaide over the next three months as part of a new campaign.
Fair Work inspectors will check that employers are paying the correct minimum hourly rates, penalty rates, allowances, loadings and providing appropriate meal breaks.
First Time Entrepreneurs Wanted for Spark Program
Hub Australia are looking for people to be part of their Spark program which helps people looking for a bit of support on how to launch their idea or take their business to the next level!
Applications close soon.
New Laws for Unfair Contracts
New laws to help small business deal with unfair contracts are on the way with Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP, announcing that the Federal Government has amended its original proposals to extend consumer unfair contract term protections to small businesses.
“These important changes will cover standard form contracts where at least one of the parties employs less than 20 people, and where the upfront price of the contract does not exceed $300,000 or $1 million for contracts longer than 12 months.
SA Small Business Commissioner John Chapman welcomed the amendments to extend the unfair contract provisions saying the original proposals for a limit of $100,000 on a contract or $250,000 for contracts greater than a year in duration did not go far enough and this office expressed its concerns to the Federal Government in this regard.
Support SA jobs and boost your chances of winning Govt work
The State Government today sent a clear message to companies wanting to win Government contracts - support South Australian jobs and you’ll increase your chances of success.
BizLink Seminar to be hosted in Berri
Riverland businesses will have an opportunity to seek information from a wide range of state
and federal government agencies at a BizLink seminar in Berri this month.
Industry Leaders Fund
The Industry Leaders Fund continues to kick huge goals in developing SA’s future business leaders.
Established in 2009 with a large endowment from the old Engineering Employers Association, the ILF has now awarded over $1m since 2010.
Individuals can apply for grants of up to $50,000 to support their leadership development.
Congratulations to Chairman Col Peters and the ILF Board and CEO Geoff Vogt on this week’s award event at the National Wine Centre where 21 grants totalling $235,000 were announced.
Further details of the program can be found at www.industryleaders.com.au
Investing in South Australia’s Small Businesses
The State Government wants to hear from everyday investors on whether they would consider investing their money in our State’s small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
As part of a Change@South Australia project, led by the Department of State Development, alternative finance options, such as crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, are currently being explored to help generate economic growth and create jobs for our State.
A recent survey by KPMG, indicated that a lack of local funding decisions and a lack of South Australian located or targeted funds, were the top two barriers for accessing capital for growth in South Australia. Alternative funding models can support our State’s economic priorities, and provide a sustainable source of capital for small business.
Australia is not at the forefront of the world in adopting alternative finance models.
The South Australian Government has the opportunity to play a role in the introduction of a shared economy platform that will unlock significant amounts of capital for South Australian SMEs.
Have your say by 2 October 2015 if you think alternative finance models could be a viable option for our State.
Food & Grocery Code of Conduct
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is reminding grocery suppliers about new protections they have under the Food & Grocery Code of Conduct, which has rules about grocery supply agreements, payments, termination of agreements, dispute resolution and a range of other matters.
The voluntary code complements existing protections under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, including the unconscionable conduct provisions.
ACCC has produced a short video to help explain the code, along with more infomration about the Code and a list of current signatories.
Industry Priority Qualification Survey
The Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills has requested that the independent Training and Skills Commission seek feedback from industry & business to identify their priority (VET) qualifications.
Businesses are invited to participate in the Industry Priority Qualification (IPQ) Survey which will help guide future public investment in training and skills development. This includes helping to inform future iterations of the Work Ready Subsidised Training List (STL).
The IPQ Survey can be completed from Wednesday 9 September - Friday 9 October 2015 at www.tasc.sa.gov.au/survey
Horticulture Code under review
An issues paper for the Horticulture Code Review has now been released with stakeholders asked to lodge any submissions by Friday 18th September 2015.
Further details can be found at Horticulture Code Review website
Small Business Tax Updates
The Australian Tax Office has a Small Business Newsroom which contains brief information on key issues which small business owners need to be aware of.
In the latest edition:
- A reminder for those in the building and construction industry that your 2015 Taxable payments annual report is due 28 August 2015
- Details of the $20,000 instant asset write off threshold
- Information on webinars for small business
- Information on new apps to help small business with ATO issues.
Further details can be found at: www.ato.gov.au/Newsroom/smallbusiness
Small Business in Focus
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released its Small Business in Focus - 1 January - 30 June 2015 biannual report which provides a summary of the ACCC activities in the small business and franchising sectors and updates on industry codes.
Request for information from private Registered Training Organisations
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner is making inquiries into the impact of recent changes by the State Government to funding arrangements for Vocational Education and Training.
As a result, the Small Business Commissioner is seeking advice from private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) on the impacts on their individual operations and actions which may eliminate or alleviate the effects of the recent changes.
The Small Business Commissioner has already commenced discussions with the Department of State Development.
Click here to go to the form which has been prepared for RTO input.
Any questions should be directed to the Office of the Small Business Commissioner on 08 8303 2026.
Small Business Fix-it Squads
A new suite of resources has been developed to help small business owners choose between operating as a sole trader or under a company business structure.
This joint-agency initiative involving the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Department of Industry and Science and Australian Taxation Office (ATO), was a result of Small Business Fix-it Squad recommendations.
Small Business Fix-it Squads are made up of small business owners working with federal, state and local government regulators to tackle the everyday issues of running a business.
The Department of Industry and Science will release new content on www.business.gov.au to help small business owners make informed decisions about which business structure is best for them.
Using tools like comparison tables, fact sheet summaries, key reminders and more, the suite explains:
- the key differences between operating as a sole trader and company
- how to change to a company business structure, and
- company director responsibilities.
By becoming more aware of their responsibilities under each structure, small business owners will save time and money, by focusing on their key compliance obligations and avoiding potential penalties and fines.
Small business owners can access these resources in one convenient location: www.business.gov.au/soletradertocompany
Another new product being delivered is ASIC's guide for small business directors. This guide is particularly useful for small businesses changing from a sole trader to a company business structure but can also help existing small business company directors.
All company directors, regardless of the size of their business, have duties and legal obligations. The new resources will help small businesses better understand these duties and what it means to be a company director. The guide can be accessed from the link above or directly from ASIC’s Small Business Hub at: www.asic.gov.au/small-business.
This suite of online resources is one of a number of successful projects the ATO-led, joint agency Small Business Fix-it Squads have initiated.
This particular suite of tools demonstrates the commitment by Australian Government agencies to working closely with small business and making it easier for them to run their operations.
Small Business/Individual Taxpayers
Australian Taxation Office
Review of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payments Act 2009
In December 2014, the State Government commenced a review of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payments Act 2009. The review was undertaken by former District and Youth Court Judge Alan Moss.
The review was tabled in State Parliament on 12 May 2015 and can be found here.
Ministerial Statement, Office of the Small Business Commissioner 2013-14 Annual Report
Minister Tom Koutsantonis, Minister for Small Business released a Ministerial Statement in relation to the Office of the Small Business Commissioner 2013-14 Annual Report
Australian Federal Police warn public of email Traffic Infringement scam
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is urgently warning the public of an email scam currently circulating throughout Australia and internationally that requests payment for a bogus AFP Traffic Infringement Notice.
Draft Regulations – Fair Trading (Franchising Industry Dispute Resolution Code 2015 - Consultation
As part of the implementation of the Small Business Commissioner’s initiative, the development of Industry Codes of Conduct under the Fair Trading Act 1987 has been a high priority.
In developing the Industry Code Regulations under the Fair Trading Act 1987 the Government and Small Business Commissioner John Chapman and Deputy Small Business Commissioner Frank Zumbo have taken into account the initial feedback received from the discussions and initial consultations that the Small Businesses Commissioners have undertaken with regard to the development of the Code. It is clear from that feedback that there is significant support for the Industry Codes initiative.
If you require any further information or would like to arrange a briefing with the Small Business Commissioner please do not hesitate to contact the Office of the Small Business Commissioner on (08) 303 2026 or Toll-Free on 1800 072 722.
Unlocking Capital for Jobs
Does your business need extra capital to grow and your negotiations with your financial institution are proving difficult?
The SA Government may be able to assist with a national first $50 million program “Unlocking Capital for Jobs”.
It is an innovative new initiative to make it easier for business to secure commercially viable loans where firms would otherwise not have the balance sheet strength to access finance.
Further details can be found here
Child Safe Environments
New laws affecting organisations and individuals who provide services for children
From 11 April 2015, organisations providing cultural, party or entertainment services wholly or partly for children must provide a child safe environment. This includes:
- Having in place child safe policies and procedures
- Ensuring child-related employment screening is undertaken for positions prescribed in the Children’s Protection Act
- Lodging a Child Safe Environments Compliance Statement with the Department for Education and Child Development.
This is in addition to the service areas that are already covered by the Children’s Protection Act 1993.
Sole traders, people working in partnerships and responsible authorities of organisations will also be prohibited from performing child-related work unless they have obtained either a:
- child-related employment screening issued by the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion Screening Unit, or
- criminal history report from SA Police or a Crim-Trac accredited agency.
These individuals will also be required to provide evidence of their compliance with this requirement upon written request by a parent, guardian or carer.
The service areas covered are health, welfare, education, sporting or recreational, religious or spiritual, child care, cultural, entertainment, party or residential services that are provided wholly or partly for children.
BDO SA State Business Survey 2015 Results
BDO is committed to our small to medium enterprise clients (SME) and the wider SME community. We recognise that SMEs are the heart of the South Australian economy.
In February 2015 the state government released a ‘Your Say’’ discussion papers (Discussion Paper) to promote an informed debate on state taxation reform. Proposed reforms to the state taxation system are wide-reaching and broad. Many state taxation concepts noted in the discussion paper have the potential to significantly change the state taxation environment for small to medium enterprise (SME) in South Australia.
Through our 2015 State Business Survey, BDO is committed to engaging with SMEs to seek feedback and comment from the business community on proposed changes to state taxation measures. The survey received 250 respondents. The responses have provided insights into the state of South Australia’s small to medium business community and the necessary areas for reform to promote growth and support a more productive and efficient environment.
We have identified Payroll Tax as the state-based tax of most impact to business and have focused our analysis on this core taxation measure. Importantly, over 62% of South Australian SMEs surveyed would like to see an increase in GST, combined with meaningful decreases in state taxation. While a majority of businesses that support increasing the GST would like to see an increase of less than 5%, it is noteworthy that over 18% of business respondents would be happy with a GST increase of greater than 5%.
The concept of reducing overall state taxation in favour of increasing the GST is a real option for business.
Australian Tax Office
Let’s Talk!…about taking on an employee
Invitation to all Small Business owners to join our online consultation forum
Throughout March, we are hosting a conversation with interested small business owners on our online consultation forum: Let’s Talk.
We are keen to hear the experiences small business owners have had with taking on an employee, as well as ideas for improvements.
It’s quick and easy to register so you can share your experiences and see what others are saying about taking on employees.
Go Let’s Talk and then to the Small Business Fix-it Squad discussion.
Why are we having this conversation?
To improve the interactions that small business owners have with government agencies, the ATO is leading a cross-agency initiative called Small Business Fix-it Squads.
These squads are unique because small business owners and the different government agencies work together in a team to look at issues from the small business owner’s perspective – with a focus on identifying and reducing red tape.
Red tape includes processes that take up the valuable time of the small business owner. Red tape could be a complex or repetitive process, or the time taken to find government information (and understand it).
Go Let’s Talk and then to the Small Business Fix-it Squad discussion.
Interested in working with us in the future to improve ATO products and services?
Join our Small Business Consultation Panel
BizLink Seminars 2015
Small Business Commissioner, John Chapman announces plans for BizLink Seminars for 2015
New Small Business Commissioner
Small Business Minister Tom Koutsantonis announced that John Chapman has been appointed as the State's new Small Business Commissioner.
SCLAA Energy Efficiency Information Program and Awards 2014
The Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA) was the recipient of an energy efficiency information grant from the Australian Government, and is undertaking a national information program designed to help small to medium sized businesses in the Transport and Warehouse sectors better understand and manage their use of energy.
The SCLAA has created a website of information to help businesses understand where and how energy is used in their business and provide guidance and strategies to reduce energy use and stabilise operational costs. There are a number of resources and tools available on their website including Guides and information facts sheets to assist with data systems and management, identifying opportunities, evaluating opportunities and how to implement energy efficient measures within a business. Other tools include an Energy Saver Calculator to evaluate energy efficiency opportunities in your business and workshops and webinars to improve knowledge. Included are further resources and opportunities to explore in your sector. Visit the SCLAA national energy efficiency information program website at http://energy-efficiency.sclaa.com.au/home.
There are two workshops being held in South Australia to assist small to medium businesses. For dates and further information, download the following brochures. Register for this FREE event by Thursday 11 September, via email to email@example.com or call 1300 364 160.
17 September 2014 - Whyalla
Power your SME business into the future - Whyalla (570 kb, PDF)
18 Septembe 2014 - Adelaide
Power your SME business into the future - Adelaide (570 kb, PDF)
Australian Supply Chain & Logistics Award 2014
The SCLAA wants to recognise small and medium enterprises that are leading Australia in energy efficiency and will be awarding 8 Awards in 2014 - one from each State or Territory and the overall best will be awarded the National Award in November 2014. For further information on the selection criteria and the nomination form, please download the following brochure -
2014 Small - Medium Business Energy Efficiency Awards (530 kb, PDF)
Nominations close on Friday 24 October 2014.
“Unfair Contract Terms” Consultation Paper
The Commonwealth Government has released a Discussion Paper on extending unfair contract term protections to small business, and is seeking submissions by 1 August 2014.
There are three ways for you to get involved and have your say about the extension of protection against unfair contract terms to small business:-
1. Make a formal submission on the consultation paper.
2. Submit a brief comment on your experience with unfair contract terms.
3. Undertake a 10-15 minute survey on your experience with business contracts.
A copy of the Discussion Paper is available here.
Review of the Retail and Commerical Leases and Building and Construction Industry Security of Payments Acts
The State Government is reviewing the above Acts which are committed to the Minister for Small Business, Hon. Tom Koutsantonis MP.
The Small Business Commissioner is responsible for the administration of the Acts. The reviews are being undertaken by Mr Alan Moss – a former Deputy Crown Solicitor, Chief Magistrate, District Court and Youth Court Judge.
The Government is calling for submissions from interested parties and stakeholders and written submissions should be forwarded to:
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner
GPO Box 1264
ADELAIDE SA 5001
Closing date for submissions is Friday 13th February 2015
Any inquiries should be directed to (08) 8303 2026 or 1800 072 722
Brief Issues Papers can be found:
WHS Codes of Practice
The Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) commenced operation in South Australia on 1 January 2013.
During the debate on the above legislation in the Legislative Council last year, the Hon. John Darley MLC successfully introduced a number of amendments. One of those amendments included a statutory role for the Small Business Commissioner to be consulted and to assess whether or how a Code would affect small business.
The Small Business Commissioner provided the Minister for Industrial Relations advice and feedback on the 12 draft Codes that were issued earlier this year.
A copy of this advice can be downloaded here
- WHS Codes of Practice (110 kb, PDF)
Launch of Farming Code of Conduct at Royal Show
On the morning of 11 September 2013 the Minister for Small Business, the Hon Tom Kenyon MP, Small Business Commissioner, Mike Sinkunas and Deputy Small Business Commissioner, Frank Zumbo officially launched the Farming Code of Conduct at the Royal Show.
“The Farming Code of Conduct, the first of its type in Australia gives primary producers direct access to a mandatory dispute resolution process, which will allow disputes to be handled in a timely and effective way, as well as providing the greatest potential for resolution without the need for litigation. Importantly, the Code will be backed by financial penalties, giving it real teeth,” Mr Kenyon said.
Since commencing in March 2012 the Office of the Small Business Commissioner has been contacted by over 300 farmers seeking advice and assistance on a range of issues including farm machinery, banking and financial matters, water allocation, licensing and non-payment for goods and services. The Farming Code of Conduct will assist farmers by providing an alternative dispute resolution service which includes mandatory mediation.
Consultation with the farming industry was sought by Minister Kenyon. Feedback and comments closed 11 October 2013.
Written Submissions for Inset Electricity Networks Due
Written submissions to the Office of the Small Business Commissioner regarding Inset (or Embedded) Electricity Networks are due by COB 21 February 2013.
SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED
Inquiry into Inset (or Embedded) Electricity Networks - Terms of Reference
The objective of the Inquiry is to gain a clear understanding of the ways in which inset or embedded electricity networks operate in the following three areas:
- Shopping Centres;
- Office or Commercial buildings; and
- Industrial parks.
Caravan parks will not fall within the scope of this Inquiry, because they generally operate in a non-business consumer to business context.
The Inquiry will examine and prepare a report for the Minister for Small Business outlining:
- Pricing arrangements currently in place for different inset networks and for different inset customers;
- Methodology employed by inset operators to determine pricing of electricity delivered through their inset network;
- Ability for inset customers to purchase electricity from providers other than the operator of the inset network; and
- Recommendations to ensure transparency and fairness of electricity reselling in this area.
The Inquiry will consult widely with inset network operators and inset customers within a business to small business context. The Inquiry will also liaise with the Essential Services Commission of South Australia.
Initially, information will be sought from inset network operators and inset customers initially on a cooperative and voluntary basis. Where necessary, for the purposes of the Inquiry, the Small Business Commissioner may formally require a person to provide information in accordance with his powers under the Small Business Commissioner Act 2011.
The Small Business Commissioner will endeavour to maintain the confidentiality of information received and will treat all information provided to the Inquiry sensitively, subject to and in accordance with relevant legal requirements. The Small Business Commissioner Act 2011 creates a criminal offence for the unauthorised disclosure of information obtained in the course of the Inquiry.
Update on the Retail Shop Leases Fund under the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995
The administration of the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 was transferred to the Small Business Commissioner earlier this year.
As part of this change the management of the Retail Shop Leases Fund has been moved from Consumer and Business Services to the Office of the Small Business Commissioner. This has occurred progressively in order to have a seamless transition. This transition is now being finalised and the Small Business Commissioner can advise the following:
- New facilities are available for Direct Debit Requests (DDR) for Bond lodgements and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) for Bond refunds. The Small Business Commissioner encourages the utilisation of these methods. All cheques for Retail and Commercial Bonds are required to written to the Retail Shop Leases Fund.
- New Retail and Commercial tenancies forms for Lessees, Lessors and Agents are now available to download from the Retail Bonds page on this site.
For any Retail and Commercial Bond enquiries, please contact the Office of the Small Business Commissioner on Toll Free 1800 072 722 or 8303 2026 or via the enquiry form on the website.