MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO – 1 December 2017

“RIVERS OF GOLD”: For over 12 months Bill Shorten has with political vehemence agitated for a “Banking Royal Commission”, and given various media reports suggesting banks are and have been ripping off small business in many ways and forms, an inquiry is well be justified. The Australian, on 1.12.17 (copied below) reported the PM has finally announced a “Royal Commission into financial services sector”.

In so doing, it is reported “Malcolm Turnbull has dragged the $2.3 trillion superannuation industry into the political fight over a banking royal commission, naming the sector as a key target . . .” The inquiry throws open pandora’s box of the “rivers of gold” (sic), see article below: ‘Unions raking in millions from industry super funds from the super funds into the union coffers’.

That certainly will not please Shorten’s union masters. It is said, “ one should be careful what one wishes for”. The report confirms: “ACTU president Ged Kearney wrote to senators yesterday to warn against the terms of reference for the new commission, fearing it would become a “witch-hunt” into industry funds and unions.”

ATTACK BY THE ATO1: It is with abject incredulity we read an article by Robert Gottliebsen in The Australian, 29.11.17 under the heading Vulnerable small business operators denied tax justice’, (copied below), in which the report states: “The Australian Taxation Office, with the apparent blessing of Treasurer Scott Morrison and Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer, has devised a simple and devastating way to play a role in reducing the new business numbers—refuse people the right to carry on business by stopping them obtaining (or sometimes even cancelling) Australian Business Numbers

The minister directly responsible, Ms O’Dwyer, has no power to direct the ATO but she does have power to conduct reviews and appoint an independent arbitrator to decide tax matters.

But it is a national scandal that the ATO should deprive some of the most vulnerable people in the community because they don’t conform to the ATO version of how Australian small business should be conducted.”

This reprehensible behaviour of the ATO is in the words of Gottliebsen “a national scandal” and is a blatant attack on small business. CoSBA in writing to Scott Morrison and Kelly O’Dwyer joined with Gottliebsen in urging them both, in their respective capacities to take immediate urgent action to bring the ATO to heel.

WAGES INCREASE: The Australian November 16, 2017 reported: “The Fair Work Commission ordered a 3.3 per cent increase in minimum wages from July 1, and this was expected to flow rapidly to about 25 per cent of workers on awards. The Reserve Bank estimates it could flow through to as many as 40 per cent of workers.” And, while the report says: “The disappointing 0.5 per cent increase in wages in the September quarter leaves living standards under pressure, with consumers facing hikes in energy, health, education and tax bills.” Nothing is said about the increase will put the already small business sector under more pressure.This is a clear warning to small businesses to ensure they and their tax agents/accountants are playing by the rules and are not trying to scam the taxman.