Business News Releases

Japan-direct flights a great outcome for Victorian economy

VICTORIA's peak employer body has welcomed Melbourne Airport’s announcement of a direct flight service between Melbourne and Tokyo by Jetstar, because of the significant economic impact it will bring to the state.

“This decision by Jetstar shows great confidence in Victoria as a travel destination for the international market, which is a win for tourism and business in our state,” says VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone.

“Strong avenues for travel with Japan are more important than ever during the Asian Century and we congratulate Melbourne Airport on working with Jetstar to secure this for the Victorian economy.

“The Japanese market could be worth up to $3.3 billion to Australia's economy by 2020 and this announcement is crucial to establishing Victoria in a prime-position to reap the benefits of this. Melbourne Airport is the gateway to Victoria for 30 million international and domestic visitors annually."

In the year ending June 2013, 40,000 visitors arrived in Victoria from Japan, which is a four per cent increase on the previous period. This increase contrasts the nation-wide trend that saw a two per cent decline for the same period.

The direct flights will commence April 2014.

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) is the peak body for employers in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the state. 


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Holden closure highlights need for continuing transformation of Victoria's economy

“THE announcement by Holden that it will cease its Australian manufacturing operations in 2017 is a significant blow for Victoria and in particular the workers and other businesses directly affected," says VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone.

“While the decision does not come as a surprise, given the intense pressure on the vehicle manufacturing industry from factors such as international competition and changing consumer preferences, its impact will be felt inside and out of Holden. It is imperative that policy makers recognise the importance of supporting the transition of affected workers and businesses into new industries and markets.

“However, Victoria’s economy has already been embarking upon a transformation from traditional to advanced manufacturing and with the growth of other parts of our economy, such as the services sector, the impact of the Holden decision will be at least absorbed in part. Also positive is Holden’s confirmation that a national sales company, a national parts distribution centre and a global design studio will remain, despite the cessation of its manufacturing operations.

“It is fundamental that both Federal and State Governments support business activity that will create ongoing wealth and jobs and focus on relieving the burdens of unnecessary cost and regulation so that business can continue to meet the challenges of the increasingly competitive global economy.”

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) is the peak body for employers in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the state.



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Retailers suffer while government plays politics on GST issue

Peak retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said retailers were anxious to hear some good news after Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey met with state treasurers today with an agenda to close the GST loophole; however, no such decision has been made.  

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said it is now up to the government to fix what the previous government couldn't fix.

“The ARA has met with senior State and Federal Government Treasurers over recent weeks on the low value overseas GST collection issue, and we look forward to urgent action following today’s meeting.

“Australian retailers have been competing at a disadvantage for too long, and it is only fair that the closing of the GST loophole is made a priority.

“Retailers will be working alongside the government to ensure this issue is resolved efficiently and effectively. Large overseas online retailers can be directed by the government to collect GST at virtually no cost – this would see around 80 percent of the missing GST collected.

“If a reduction to $20 in the threshold from the current $1000 collection rate was implemented, around $1 billion GST could be collected in the 2014-15 financial year. This revenue could be put into the state governments for schools, police and other community services.

“The ARA will continue to work alongside the government to get this issue resolved once and for all,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $258 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. Visit or call 1300 368 041.


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Latest Victoria funding cuts damage industry and employment

THE latest round of funding cuts to the Victorian Training Guarantee funding model are bad for business and work opportunities for young people, says VECCI.

“Despite the State Government having undertaken to discuss proposals for further changes to the training system with business and industry, it appears that little consultation has taken place,” says VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone.

Recent announcements abolishing funding support for young people engaged in part-time traineeships or apprenticeships while still at school will have an immediate negative effect on employers who traditionally provide employment and training opportunities for them.

“What seems to have been forgotten is that access to work experience and formal training not only has an immediate positive impact on young workers to the benefit of their employers, but it also provides skills that benefit the community as a whole.

“It goes without saying that the removal of funding support will now seriously undermine this training effort.”

The other major concern is a steep cut to hourly funding rates, with rates for some qualifications reduced by as much as $9 per hour to only $1.50 and many reduced by around $3 per hour.

“These cuts will work against the training effort of industry at a time when Victoria needs more highly skilled workers to remain competitive,” Mr Stone says.

The cuts being introduced will also affect existing trainees and their training providers, both of whom will now have to adjust as existing funding levels will not be maintained. Fortunately, there was some good news in the announcements, with the regional loading for training providers to be increased in line with the recommendation made by VECCI at its recent Victoria Summit.

“The regional loading increase is good news for both employers and individuals as it will help support local delivery,” Mr Stone says.

“The funding increase for concession eligible students is also welcome. However, these positives do not outweigh the funding cuts, which will affect skills shortage areas such as community services, aged care, disability services, the services sector and retail."

VECCI calls on the Government to immediately meet with business stakeholders to discuss and review the announced funding cuts because of their adverse impact on both employers and trainees.

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) is the peak body for employers in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the state.



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Aussies’ $10.7m ‘gift’ to banks - RateCity

AUSTRALIANS will 'gift' an estimated $10.7 million to their credit card providers in the form of extra interest revenue in January, new research from Australia’s leading financial comparison website, RateCity ( has found.

Credit card users owe a massive $48.8 billion on their cards, with more than $34.2 billion accruing interest, latest Reserve Bank figures show.

And RateCity estimates that plastic debts will balloon by 2 percent in January as the nation deals with Christmas spending hangovers.

Alex Parsons, CEO of, said the simple fact is we spend a lot more over the Christmas season on our credit cards than in other months.

“On average, January is the month where Aussies stack on the most credit card debt and it’s a good bet they’ll be higher again in January 2014 – for a start, there are over 200,000 more credit cards on issue than there were last Christmas,” he said.

Historical data shows January is the month when Aussies have the most debt on their credit cards at 2.21 percent extra debt compared with December, on average over the past decade.

And this coming January is unlikely to be an exception, despite Australians scaling back on their spending in the past few years.

RateCity’s analysis has found the average credit card interest rate is around 17 percent, which means that nearly $11 million of extra interest will be paid from cardholders in the New Year because of festive spending.

“Some Christmas spending might feel OK when you put it on plastic, but it’s just as much of a debt as borrowing for a house or a car, and a lot more expensive in terms of interest rate,” added Parsons.

“Credit cards are generally a pretty good instrument if you pay them off every month, but, if you don’t, they are probably the worst form of credit you can have in terms of average interest rates that are attached to them.

“Interest rates on credit cards remain very high at around 17 percent on average, and range up to 22.99 percent, so consumers who carry debt should look at switching to get a better deal.”

RateCity currently lists several credit cards with an introductory rate of 0 percent for up to 12 months, and ongoing rates from 8.99 percent.

• RateCity estimates that plastic debts will balloon by 2 percent in January as the nation deals with Christmas spending hangovers

• Credit card rates remain high at 17 percent on average, and up to 22.99 percent. Yet, several 0 percent cards are currently on offer for up to 12 months – consumers are urged to look around for a better deal

• The real number that matters with cards is not the initial spend, rather the balance accruing interest and currently Aussies have $34.2 billion accruing interest!



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