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ATO takes sensible landing position on TBAR says IPA

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THE Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has commended the ATO for its announcement that events based reporting for self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) under the transfer balance account reporting (TBAR) regime will be limited to SMSFs with members with total super account balances of $1 million or more.

“The ATO is to be congratulated for this decision,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“Given the changes that occurred to superannuation that took effect from 1 July 2017, the landing point before reporting becomes mandatory is a sensible position taken by the ATO.

The SMSF industry can breathe a sigh of relief that the reporting will not impact the majority of funds in pension mode. Trustees can also rejoice as unnecessary reporting will not add to administrative burdens eating into their retirement balances.

“The relief will provide more time for the SMSF industry to adjust to a more contemporary reporting model over time. If a fund has one member in pension mode with a large balance, it will, by default cause the fund to have real time reporting in place but we believe the industry can live with this scenario compared to all-in approach across all funds.

“The $1 million threshold represents an appropriate risk based approach for the ATO to monitor breaches of the $1.6m transfer cap and is targeted to only impact likely offenders rather than the entire pension balance population,” said Mr Conway.

publicaccountants.org.au

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Higher compliance rates but still cause for concern in healthcare sector: Fair Work Obudsman

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THE Fair Work Ombudsman’s National Healthcare and Social Assistance campaign has recovered more than $100,000 for 193 workers across the industry.

The agency conducted a total of 696 audits across the medical services, allied health services and residential care services sectors. Businesses included GPs, physiotherapy services, dental services and retirement villages.

Of the businesses audited, inspectors found that 85 percent were paying their staff correctly and 86 percent were compliant with record keeping and payslip requirements.

Overall, the Fair Work Ombudsman found that 74 percent of businesses were fully compliant with their workplace obligations.

The 696 audits led to the Fair Work Ombudsman issuing 16 infringement notices, 12 formal cautions and one compliance notice to non-compliant businesses. A total of $109,295 was recovered for employees.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah said compliance rates in the industry compared favourably to other industries the agency had focused on, however any non-compliant businesses were cause for concern.

“The campaign identified errors relating to pay rates, record keeping and pay slip requirements among non-compliant businesses,” Ms Hannah said.

“I cannot emphasise enough the importance of businesses making themselves aware of their obligations in terms of ensuring their employees are receiving their due entitlements and keeping accurate records.

“Non-compliant businesses may find themselves liable for on-the-spot fines, hefty back‑payment bills and, in the most serious cases, could face court action,” Ms Hannah said.

Ms Hannah said that with maximum penalties for serious contraventions of workplace laws recently increasing ten-fold and penalties for record-keeping breaches doubling, businesses that breach the law are exposing themselves to big fines.

“With the wealth of information freely available to help employers and employees understand their workplace obligations and entitlements, there are no excuses for non‑compliance,” Ms Hannah said.

Throughout the campaign, Fair Work inspectors provided businesses with information, advice and resources to rectify any issues and ensure compliance in the future.

In one matter, the agency recovered a total of $5770.94 for two casual employees of an optometrist business who were paid a flat rate of $20 per hour for all hours worked. Under the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010 at the time, the workers were entitled to $24.86 per hour on weekdays and $34.81 on Saturdays.

The Fair Work Ombudsman issued the business with a compliance notice. The employer cooperated with the agency and rectified the underpayments under the terms of the notice.

The largest employing industry in Australia with more than 1.5 million workers, the Healthcare and Social Assistance industry is characterised by large numbers of small businesses and high levels of part time and low skilled employees.

The residential care services sector also employs a high proportion of female and migrant workers.

Between July 2010 and June 2015 the FWO received 180,000 enquiries relating to the industry on the Fair Work Infoline and over 5,700 requests for assistance. The agency has recovered $7 million for more than 5,000 employees since 2010.

Ms Hannah said that assisting businesses to understand their workplace obligations via proactive compliance and education activities was essential to promoting compliance amongst Australian workplaces.

However, with the agency conducting follow-up audits of businesses previously found to be non-compliant, Ms Hannah said repeat offenders can expect to face enforcement action including potential litigation and significant court penalties.

“I encourage all employers and employees to visit fairwork.gov.au and make use of the broad range of tools and resources available to help you understand your rights and obligations,” Ms Hannah said.

www.fairwork.gov.au

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Federal policies impacting cities

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THE impact of Australian Government policies on the development of cities is opaque and may be resulting in unintended consequences according to the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA).

The PIA will recommend that the Australian Government evaluates the impact of its taxation, investment and immigration policies on the performance of cities when it appears before the House Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities during a public hearing on Monday.

The PIA believes that the Australian Government’s impact on cities is broader than those policies specifically targeting settlements. “Our members [have] highlighted the need for the Commonwealth to show clearer insight on how spending, taxation and immigration policy is having a real effect on the differential performance of our cities,” the Institute stated. “One commentator observed that the Commonwealth’s impact is ‘spatially blind’”.

The public hearing in Parramatta Town Hall is part of the Committee’s inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities.

Committee Chair, John Alexander MP, said the Committee’s inquiry seeks to identify opportunities to refine Australian Government support for the development of smart cities.

“The Australian Government acknowledges the importance of cities as the engine room of the national economy and home to the majority of Australians,” Mr Alexander said.

“It has begun negotiating City Deals and launched a Smart Cities Plan identifying the opportunities and challenges facing Australian cities. But we think it could do more to prepare our cities to accommodate much larger populations and enhance the environmental sustainability of our settlements.”

 

Public hearing details:

10.10 am – 3.30 pm, Monday, 13 November 2017
Jubilee Room, Parramatta Town Hall, 182 Church St, Parramatta, NSW

10.10 am: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
​11.10 am: City of Parramatta
11.50 am: Association Professor Philip Laird
1.30 pm: The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering Ltd
2.10 pm: Homelessness NSW
2.50 pm: Planning Institute of Australia
3.30 pm: Close

The proceedings will be broadcast live at aph.gov.au/live.

Further information on the inquiry, including the full terms of reference, is available on the Committee website.

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

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Walkley Book Award finalists announced for 2017

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THE WALKLEY Foundation today announced the shortlist for the Walkley Book Award, part of Australia’s most prestigious journalism accolades, the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

The Walkley Foundation has thanked Media Super for its support on the Walkley Book Award. 

The Walkley Book Award celebrates Australian writers who take enduring subjects from news, eyewitness accounts, investigations and history. Their books bring readers immersive detail, clear analysis and new revelations.

More than 50 books were entered this year. Their subject matter ranged from true crime, politics, and war, to memoir and biography.

The 2017 Walkley Book Award shortlisted finalists announced today in Sydney are (in alphabetical order):

  • Julia Baird, Victoria: The Queen, HarperCollins Publishers
  • Steve Cannane, Fair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia, ABC Books/HarperCollins Publishers
  • Louise Milligan, Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, Melbourne University Press

The judges for the 2017 book awards were:

  • Paul Bailey, editor, Australian Financial Review
  • Michael Bodey, media journalist and film editor
  • Kirstie Clements, journalist & author
  • Catriona Menzies-Pike, editor, Sydney Review of Books
  • Colleen Ryan, journalist & author
  • Susan Skelly, publisher, Excess All Areas
  • John van Tiggelen, journalist
  • Chris Warren, journalist
  • Pam Williams, journalist & author

The winner of the 2017 Walkley Book Award will be announced at the 62nd Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism on Wednesday November 29, at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, thanks to the support of Tourism and Events Queensland. The ceremony will be broadcast live on the Sky News A-PAC channel and streamed on the Walkley website.

The awards will be broadcast live on the Sky News Public Affairs Channel, A-PAC (channel 648), from 8pm AEDT and live-streamed on walkleys.com and a-pac.tv

The full list of 2017 Walkley Awards finalists is here.

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IPA celebrates International Accountants Day

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FRIDAY, November 10 is International Accountants Day and the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) is spreading the word to celebrate the immense contribution that accountants around the globe make to society.

“We are very pleased to support the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) initiative to celebrate the role of professional accountants,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“There are three million professional accountants around the world who make a significant and positive contribution to their respective local economies.

“The role of accountants as trusted advisers to clients is diverse and the societal impact they have must be respected. Together, they tackle corruption, expand economic growth and positively impact the quality of life for billions of people.

“Our current research is indicating that accountants play a vital role in the life of the small business owner; often in a position to help alleviate day-to-day stressors and improve their mental health status,” Mr Conway said.

 publicaccountants.org.au

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