Australia promoting tourism to the Indian Ocean territories

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THE Parliament’s Northern Australia Committee will visit Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands from Saturday 27 January to Thursday 1 February 2018 to hold public hearings as part of its Inquiry into Opportunities and Methods for Stimulating the Tourism Industry in Northern Australia.

The Committee Chair, Warren Entsch MP said ecotourism is becoming increasingly popular with Australian and international visitors and the potential is there to develop existing tourism operations and create new experiences on the Indian Ocean Territories.

“Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands have recently been voted as having some of the best beaches in Australia, with their pristine coral reefs, and largely untouched national parks,” Mr Entsch said.

“Increasing tourism to the islands has the potential to also boost jobs and create a positive impact on the local economy,” he said.

Draft Public Hearing Programs:
Monday, 29 January 2018:
 Christmas Island Court House, 8.30am to 3.30pm.
Tuesday, 30 January 2018: West Island, Cocos Club, 1pm to 3.30pm.
Wednesday, 31 January 2018: Home Island, Council Chamber, Shire Offices, 8.30am to 12.30pm.

The Committee is interested in hearing from a range of tourism stakeholders. These times are indicative only and may be shortened or lengthened depending on community interest.

People wanting to participate in the inquiry can contact the Committee secretariat by telephone on 02 6277 4162 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible, and no later than 19 December 2017.

For more information about the Committee’s inquiry, including the hearing program, submissions and terms of reference visit the committee website.

Interested members of the public may wish to track the committee via the website



Built environment body welcomes payment time boost for small business.

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AN INDUSTRY body representing thousands of consulting firms in the built environment, Consult Australia, has welcomed the Federal Government’s move to ensure small businesses are paid faster

From July 2018, the government will be required to pay invoices for contracts worth up to $1 million within 20 calendar days  an improvement from the current policy of 30 days.

The CEO of Consult Australia, Megan Motto, said, “Small business is big business for the built environment and the Australian economy. Cutting red tape and making it easier to manage cash flow turns government into an enabler for small business – critical for industry confidence, our country’s competitiveness, and subsequently economic growth.”

As part of the government’s response to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s report into payment times and practices, the government announced it will: ensure small businesses are paid faster, setting a new benchmark for government and industry; increase the transparency and accountability of Commonwealth agencies and entities; and create the right environment for the development, innovation and adoption of technological solutions.

Ms Motto said, “The government spends billions each year on infrastructure alone, and whilst many of our large firms have the resource to work with the system, too many of our small firms feel they have to work against the system. For sole trader and small practice engineers, architects, and planners, time is money and their level of administrative burden, be it through contracts or managing debts, can be the difference between thriving or simply surviving.”

Consult Australia represents some 48 000 firms of which 72 percent are defined as ‘small’ through having less than 20 employees. It published ‘Economic Benefits of Better Procurement Practices’ in 2015 which identified $240 million could be saved each year through better procurement practices alone.

“We hear a lot about the government being a model litigant when it comes to procurement reform. This announcement is a step towards the government becoming a model client,” Ms Motto said.



IPA congratulates Tim Munro of Change Accountants

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THE Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has congratulated Fellow member, Timothy Munro and his company, Change Accountants and Advisers for being listed in the Financial Review’s Top 100 Accounting firms for 2017.

“It’s a credit to Timothy and his team to be acknowledged in this way,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“Change Accountants and Advisers pride themselves on delivering better services at lower costs for clients by using online services for as many aspects of the practice as possible.

“Embracing, and in fact, driving technology for the benefits of clients is highly commendable and something the IPA encourages all members to do,” said Mr Conway.



Faster payments a 'game changer' for small business

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THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has welcomed the Federal Government’s move to introduce 15-business-day payment terms for small business suppliers.

The government today announced the plan in its response to the Ombudsman’s April 2017 Inquiry into Payment Terms and Practices.

The report found that late payments have been a perennial problem for businesses in Australia.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the Government’s response showed leadership and a willingness to lead by example.

“This is a game changer for small businesses and family enterprises that provide goods and services to the Government,” Ms Carnell said.

“Cash flow is king for small business and this will make a huge difference.

“It will save money on interest payments, boost confidence and free up capital for reinvestment.”

Ms Carnell said overseas experience showed significant benefits from faster payment times.

Her inquiry report cited the European Union, which estimates that each day of reduction in late payment times saves European companies approximately 158 million euros in financing costs.

In the United States, a study showed that faster payments to businesses had created 75,000 jobs and $6 billion in wages growth.

Ms Carnell said she hoped the Federal Government’s initiative would inspire similar responses from states and big business.



Employment grows as resources deliver half a trillion dollars in eight years

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QUEENSLAND’s resources sector continues to drive jobs and investment with a $55.1 billion contribution to the state’s economy in 2016-17, which supported the equivalent of 282,633 full-time jobs.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane will today launch the eighth annual economic contribution report at the QRC’s Annual Lunch in Brisbane with Senator Matt Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. 

Mr Macfarlane said with the election campaign making the front pages, the latest report was a timely reminder of the importance of the resources sector to the Queensland economy.

“It’s a jobs story this year with direct full-time employment in the resources sector growing by more than 12 per cent to 38,150. That’s a lot of truck drivers, diesel fitters and port workers,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Over the past eight years the sector has contributed more than half a trillion dollars ($531 billion) to the state’s economy, including $243 billion in direct spending, and has supported on average more than 360,000 jobs per year.

“Despite facing many policy headwinds this year, the sector was directly and indirectly responsible for one in every six dollars in Queensland’s economy and one in every eight jobs. Green shoots are now emerging across the sector, which is good news for the regions of Queensland.

“Every Queenslander – regardless of where they call home – shares in the wealth of the sector through royalties paid to the State Government. They have surged 74 per cent to $3.8 billion, which would pay the wages of 56,000 teachers or 54,000 police or 57,000 nurses.

QRC President Rag Udd said continued investment in the resources sector was essential to ensure long-term jobs right across our state.

“We must compete for every contract, innovate to stay globally competitive, and earn the support of our governments, and the people who elect them,” Mr Udd said.

Wages totalled $5.1 billion while the sector purchased from more than 16,400 local businesses and made voluntary contributions to 910 community organisations and charities around the state which in turn helped them to provide vital services to all Queenslanders.

Mr Macfarlane said a big part of the economic contribution story was the sector’s efforts to buy locally.

“It’s always good to see regional Queensland businesses winning work from their big city cousins. As a proud Toowoomba resident, I am particularly pleased to see that QRC uses Reuben Lawrence, an independent economist based in the regional city of Toowoomba,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Reuben’s report, an independent analysis prepared by Lawrence Consulting, found a continued transition of the resources sector from an investment phase of record capital expenditure into an operational phase of making sure that new production capacity is delivered as efficiently as possible.

“Our coking coal will continue to provide an essential ingredient into steel making, our gas will feed the energy needs of Asia and Europe while our alumina, bauxite, copper, gold, lead, mineral sands, silver and zinc will be much sought after in a rapidly urbanising Asia.

"Yet again Brisbane is the biggest mining town in Queensland with the sector contributing $23.6 billion or 20 per cent of Brisbane's total gross regional product. Resources supported over 113,000 jobs across the city and the sector spent $9.6 billion locally."

All of the sector's economic contributions were achieved while operating within a strict environmental management framework and using only 0.1 per cent of Queensland’s land mass.

Coal was the largest contributor accounting for 68 percent of spending, followed by oil & gas at 16 percent and metals at 12 per cent.

A copy of the 2016-17 economic contribution report is available by clicking this link