MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO – 4 August 2017

THE ABN RORT: SmartCompany, August 2, 2017 reported that Tradies are accused of using Bunnings’ ABN details: “The revelation that scores of tradies have been fraudulently quoting Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) that don’t belong to them, include that of hardware giant Bunnings, has prompted calls from the small business community to overhaul the system to weed out those securing an unfair advantage.”

That prompted an immediate response from the Federal Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer who is reported in The Australian, August 3, 2017that: “. . . the fraudulent use of the Bunnings­ Australian Business Number by thousands of tradesmen is a “very serious issue”, and has vowed to take decisive steps to “protect the revenue of the Australian people”. (see copies of reports below)

UNDER PAYMENTS: The Australian, August 3, 2017 reported ‘Record $660,00 penalty for underpayment of worker’: “Federal Circuit Court judge Philip Burchardt found that the worker, who spoke little English, had been underpaid $25,588 over four months, an “enormous amount for such a short time”.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the $660,020 in penalties was the largest ever achieved as a result of the regulator’s litigation. Ms James said the new record penalties highlighted how “seriously the courts take unlawful behaviour which involves workers being taken advantage of and stripped of minimum wages and entitlements”. “Employers who deliberately exploit vulnerable workers should be on notice that we will do everything in our power to hold you to account,’’ she said.” (see copy of report below)

Those reports serve to highlight the need for small businesses to play by the rules, not to do so exposes them to the full force of the laws with harsh penalties.