ATO checking that cash adds up in Sunnybank

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CAFES, shops and salons in the Sunnybank area of Brisbane can expect a visit from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in September as part of efforts to tackle the cash economy.

Assistant Commissioner Tom Wheeler said that while most small businesses now take electronic payments, accepting cash is still common.

“When businesses advertise as ‘cash-only’, it raises a red flag about whether those businesses are accurately reporting all their income, and meeting their obligations as an employer,” Mr Wheeler said.

“Over the next 12 months, ATO staff will be visiting businesses across the country. We are focusing on businesses that typically have high cash transactions or only take cash, such as restaurants, cafes, pubs, hairdressers, beauty salons and home-based businesses, along with other local retailers.”  

Mr Wheeler said that after the visits the ATO will assess if some businesses need assistance in understanding and meeting their obligations.

“These visits are an extension of our ongoing focus on protecting honest businesses and supporting those that need extra help to get their tax right,” Mr Wheeler said.   

“If a business is behind in their lodgments or their record keeping isn’t quite up to scratch, we will give them some support to get back on track. Other businesses may be investigated because we’re concerned they’re deliberately doing the wrong thing.”

Mr Wheeler said the ATO is reminding taxpayers that running a cash-only business doesn’t mean they’re invisible to the ATO.

“We receive data on businesses that take electronic payments, so we can identify those that don’t. This means we can investigate further to make sure they are meeting their tax and super obligations,” Mr Wheeler said.

“In 2015–2016 the ATO raised over $208 million in tax and penalties from its cash and hidden economy compliance activities.”

“We urge all businesses to report all their income and meet all their obligations as an employer. Our increased use of data and analytics mean that sooner or later, we will catch up with those businesses seeking to avoid their obligations. The cash economy just doesn’t pay.”

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City of Melbourne incubates global start-ups

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MELBOURNE-BASED start-ups are being given the chance to share in $80 million in financial support and connect their ideas with the world, after the opening of a new incubation space in the CBD.

The City of Melbourne has partnered with the Jiangsu-Suzhou Science and Technology Town, RMIT University, the University of Melbourne, Victorian Government and Australia China Association of Scientists and Entrepreneurs (ACASE) to open the Jiangsu-Victoria Innovation Centre at 51 Queen Street.

The Innovation Centre, run by ACASE, will provide Melbourne based startups with access to coaching, market information and entrepreneurial guidance, linking their ideas with universities, research institutes and the Chinese based Suzhou accelerator space to expand their reach into Asia.

Suzhou High-Tech Venture Capital Group is providing up to $80 million in financial support to run the centre, facilitate access to angel investment and fund project development over three years.

Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood said the centre is the first of its kind in Melbourne and will feed into our booming startup sector.

“This Jiangsu-Victoria Innovation Centre will nurture the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to go on to great things,” Cr Wood said.

“The incubation space will provide expert business development guidance and the potential to export ideas to the world.

“Melbourne is now home to 170 co-working spaces, which is one measure of a healthy startup community. The recent launch of our Startup Action Plan shows we're serious about playing our role. Add to this the Jiangsu-Victoria Innovation Centre and it makes for exciting times for new and innovative businesses and business models.”

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Prosperous City portfolio Councillor Kevin Louey said Council’s vital contacts in China helped get the Innovation Centre off the ground.

“For many years the City of Melbourne has worked tirelessly to help connect our businesses to the largest economy in the world,” Cr Louey said.

“This Innovation Centre is the culmination of many months of work between the Suzhou-Jiangsu governments, the City of Melbourne, ACASE, and two of Australia’s biggest universities in RMIT and University of Melbourne.”

The first cohort of startups to occupy the space will be selected from the ACASE Sunan Cup competition winners earlier this year.

The startups range from “intelligent clothing” to smart electronic stethoscopes, smart alarms and third-party brain MRI imaging.

Victorian innovation minister Philip Dalidakis said the announcement was another positive step for Victoria as the state continues to develop as Australia’s technology hub.

“We’re already seeing plenty of brilliant startups emerge in our state and I have no doubt that this centre will help more startups turn bright ideas into thriving businesses.”



Local businesses approved for submarine supply chain

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TODAY the Turnbull Government and Naval Group Australia confirmed that 126 local businesses to date have been pre-qualified as eligible to take part in the supply chain for the $50 billion Future Submarine Program.

Over the last 12 months, these businesses have been thoroughly assessed and deemed as capable of delivering the quality products, parts or services needed to deliver this vital project.

Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne MP, said that this clearly shows the Government is setting a cracking pace in ensuring maximum Australian industry involvement, generating jobs and driving economic growth across the country in this flagship program.

“These Australian businesses that have passed the rigorous screening process are now able to bid for Future Submarine tenders for parts such as batteries, motors, pumps and many others as they are announced,” Mr Pyne said.   

“The Future Submarine program will create 2800 jobs, but also many more thousands in the supply chain across the country in businesses such as these.

“This is just the beginning for Australian businesses becoming eligible to take part in this and our other naval shipbuilding projects.

“The Government fully expects many hundreds of Australians businesses to be part of the supply chain of our locally built Future Submarines, Future Frigates, Offshore Patrol Vessels and Pacific Patrol Boats,” he said.   



Adani announces construction date

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THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the announcement by Adani Chairman Gautam Adani to start construction on the company’s Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland in October.

Queensland Resources Council, Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane said: "The decision comes at a time when parts of regional Queensland are experiencing high levels of unemployment and I congratulate Adani on its ongoing commitment to source contracts locally and the company’s leading diversity targets for indigenous employment and participation.

"Adani have had a clear objective on working with local suppliers to maximise the opportunities for regional Queensland right from day one.

"The first phase of construction will be the Carmichael mine camp with a first coal shipment target of March 2020. Once operational, the Galilee Basin mine will generate $185 million in royalties per annum, which at today’s coal prices would pay for 2,900 extra nurses or 3,350 extra police officers or 3,400 extra teachers.

"In addition, this mine will provide a reliable, high-energy, low-emission fuel and deliver electricity to some of the 300 million Indians without power."



The key to liveability - committee meets

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VICTORIA’s population growth leads the country, with Melbourne having a population of 4.5 million in a total of 6 million. The key to liveability in the face of such rapid growth is better connectivity and environmental and social sustainability.

With this in mind, the Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities will visit Melbourne as part of its inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities. The Committee will inspect a number of environmentally and socially sustainable developments and speak to industry experts, businesses and academics about how population increases can be accommodated without impacting liveability.

Committee Chair, John Alexander OAM MP, said the inquiry has a dual focus on enhancing and adapting existing capital and regional cities, as well as investigating the possible benefits of developing new regional centres.

“We are looking at how we can rebalance our population between major cities and regional areas,” said Mr Alexander.

“This may involve improving the infrastructure and connectivity of existing regional centres to entice people away from capital cities like Melbourne. Or it may be that developing brand new regional centres offers greater opportunity to accommodate a larger Australia in a sustainable manner.

“We’re examining opportunities for the Commonwealth Government to provide leadership in this area.”

Professor Peter Newton of Swinburne University suggested that population decentralisation is unlikely to succeed without better linkages between capital cities and regional centres.

“Traditional 20th century policies focussed on attempts to create new basic industries or relocate federal or state government offices will not succeed,” he submitted.

“Twenty-first century agglomeration economies favour large cities and will continue to do so until provincial cities become part of a functional mega-metropolitan region centres on a major capital city…”

Public hearing details: 9.00 am – 3.10 pm, Tuesday 29 August 2017, Room G3, Parliamentary Annex, Parliament of Victoria

9.00 am– 9.40 am: SGS Economics and Planning
9.40 am – 10.20 am: Centre for Urban Research RMIT
10.40 am – 11.10 am: Professor Peter Newton
11.10 am – 11.50 am: National Transport Commission
11.50 am – 12.30 pm: National Growth Areas Alliance
1.20 pm – 1.50 pm: Associate Professor Hussein Dia
1.50 pm – 2.30 pm: University of Melbourne
2.30 pm – 3.10 pm: City of Melbourne
3.10: Close

The hearing will be broadcast live at

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