WITH THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan predicting Australians to spend over $7.3 billion in the ‘Other retailing’ category during the Christmas trading period from November 9 to December 24, 2018, the ARA suspect books will be piled high under the Christmas tree this year.

The ARA believes physical and online books will contribute marginally to the ‘Other retailing’ category, with the ARA and Roy Morgan projecting a 2.7 percent increase in sales for this category in the lead-up to Christmas.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, said retailers who specialised in books would be preoccupied with filling orders for customers who will be purchasing books to gift to their families and friends for the big day.

“With Christmas only a little over a week away, Dymocks are estimating over 2 million books to be sold in the lead-up to Christmas, accounting for 30 percent of total books sales,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“As a subsequence, book retailers will be experiencing a significant increase in the amount of pre-orders being placed through the stores and customers will be flocking to the shops to secure the perfect reads for their loved ones.”

Findings from Nielsen BookScan detect that online book merchants will also receive an influx in sales, with the last four weeks of the year accounting for 17 percent of total annual sales value. Nielsen BookScan have also noticed a growth in physical book sales, with a 1.3 percent increase so far this year.

Sophie Higgins, head of marketing and merchandise at Dymocks, said this year's non-fiction category will notice a buoyant incline from 39-50 percent of total sales, with biographies and cookbooks influencing the surge.

“With the likes of Shane Warne, Leigh Sales and Michelle Obama’s biographies hitting the shelves, customers have been eager to get their hands on some of the biggest titles to come out this year,” Ms Higgins said.

“Cookbooks are always a fan favourite for Christmas, and with bestsellers coming from Jamie Oliver, Donna Hay, Yotam Ottlenghi and Annabel Crabb, Aussies will have endless recipes to trial and master.”

Australian fiction has also experienced a resurgence in the lead-up to Christmas, with top-five Australian authors, including Matthew Reilly, Liane Moriarty, Jane Harper and Kate Morton, releasing new titles this year.

“It is quite pleasing to see bibliophiles supporting homegrown authors. With such a rich breadth of talent to select from, consumers will have their shelves full of intriguing and thought-provoking novels this Christmas,” Mr Zimmerman said.

According to Dymocks, children’s books will also see a 150 percent sales spike during the festive season. With pre-orders for author Jessica Townsend exceeding 1100, children’s imaginations will be filled with exciting stories and adventures to share with their friends and family.

"Whether you’re a lover of non-fiction, cookbooks or novels, or simply wish to spoil your child with captivating tales, there are anabundance of spectacular page turners to unwrap for Christmas this year," Mr Zimmerman said.

 

ARA Roy Morgan Pre-Christmas Sales Predictions

November 9 – December 24, 2018


2018 Pre-Christmas Sales Growth by Category

Category

2017 Pre-Christmas actual results ($mil)

2018 Pre-Christmas sales forecast ($mil)

Predicted Growth

FOOD

20163

20908

3.7%

HH GOODS

8757

8931

2.0%

APPAREL

3906

4028

3.1%

DEPARTMENT STORES

2935

2943

0.3%

OTHER

7127

7321

2.7%

HOSPITALITY

7117

7348

3.2%

NATIONAL

50005

51479

2.9%

[ARA / ROY MORGAN]

 

2018 Pre-Christmas Sales Growth by State

State

2017 Pre-Christmas actual results ($mil)

2018 Pre-Christmas sales forecast ($mil)

Predicted Growth

NSW

16132

16629

3.1%

VIC

12843

13512

5.2%

QLD

9907

10071

1.7%

SA

3320

3422

3.1%

WA

5395

5366

-0.5%

TAS

998

1038

4.0%

NT

495

501

1.2%

ACT

914

940

2.9%

NATIONAL

50005

51479

2.9%

[ARA / ROY MORGAN]

https://www.retail.org.au/christmas-predictions/

 

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

About Dymocks:

Dymocks is Australia’s leading bookseller, with 59 stores in Australia and over 7 million books sold last year. Dymocks aims to inspire more booklovers by delivering the best customer experience through its range and passionately knowledgeable team.

About Nielsen BookScan:

Nielsen BookScan is the world’s first continuous retail sales monitoring service for print books, based on electronic point of sale data collected directly from tills and dispatch systems.

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NATIONAL CONGRESS of Australia’s First Peoples has announced it is pleased with the outcome of the long-awaited Closing the Gap Refresh process, which has led to this formal announcement by the COAG on a genuine partnership approach to be taken by the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and First Nations peoples through their representatives.

A spokesperson said the COAG meeting outcome reflected the consistent messaging from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, of being integral to the making of the decisions on matters that affect their lives.

"We look forward to the progression of the settlement of a formal partnership arrangement by the end of February 2019," the spokesperson said.

"We will be prepared to work with the Ministerial Council on Closing the Gap, inclusive of Ministers nominated by their respective jurisdictions and representatives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to co-design the monitoring and evaluation plan on the framework of the Closing the Gap Agenda."

The Close the Gap Campaign was established in 2008 under Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership with the aim of achieving health equality for first peoples, as measured by life expectancy equality, by 2030. In 2016 the Redfern Statement Alliance called on the government for a better relationship and response to the crisis in our communities because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were concerned there had been minimal evidence of progress, which is detailed in numerous Close the Gap reports, including the 10th anniversary report in 2018. Substantial improvements are still yet to be reported.

"While this is a positive step, there is still tremendous effort and resources needed if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy equality is to be achieved by 2030.

National Congress co-chair Jackie Huggines said, “It has taken over 12 years for this to happen, but we welcome the announcement by COAG by including us in the decision-making process for our peoples.

"We are hopeful and consistent in our efforts to fight for our peoples by identifying gaps, highlighting requirements, reducing racism and stressing the importance of our culture to improve health outcomes," Dr Huggins said.

Last week Prime Minister Scott Morrison agreed that Closing the Gap needed to be more than a strategy for governments, but a strategy that is owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well.

“We are relieved that finally the Government has listened and taken the logical step forward by enabling our peoples in the decision making and partnership approach to enhance the likelihood of achieving life changing results through the Closing the Gap targets," National Congress co-chair Rod Little said. 

"With this partnering approach, we have a unique opportunity to remove the life expectancy gap and commit to a nationally coordinated action plan to achieve this goal."

www.nationalcongress.com.au

 ABOUT NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AUSTRALIA’S FIRST PEOPLES
 
National Congress is the peak organisation representing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. National Congress was established following extensive consultations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and leaders and has represented our peoples at the federal level since 2010. We represent close to 10,000 individual members from across Australia as well as over 180 peak and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

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THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has forecast an extra half a billion dollar boost to the royalty taxes paid by the State mining and petroleum industries to give the Palaszczuk Government a record revenue boost from the sector.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said since the State Budget in May, strong metallurgical and thermal coal prices have boosted royalty tax returns to the Government to record levels – and the pre-Christmas Budget update should reveal an unprecedented $5 billion in royalty taxes for 2018-19.

“When the Budget was handed down in June, the Government projected almost $4.5 billion in royalty taxes for 2018-19,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“QRC is confident this figure will now exceed $5 billion, which is good news for the Palaszczuk Government and more importantly good news for all Queenslanders who will benefit through the Government’s increased capacity to invest in services and infrastructure.

“More than 316,000 Queenslanders are employed by the sector. That is one in eight jobs in Queensland. On behalf of every Queensland man, woman and child, the resources sector now pays more than $1000 in royalty taxes to the Palaszczuk Government.”

Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector’s capacity to employ, invest, export and pay record royalty taxes to the Government depended on stable and predictable policy, including stable rates of royalty taxes.

“Our tiered structure for royalty taxes works well in Queensland and makes sure that the strength in the resources sector translates directly into benefits for all Queenslanders. Abrupt changes to policy or tweaking the rates of royalty taxes will undermine the sector’s ability to employ more, invest more, export more and ultimately pay more royalty taxes,” he said.

“Strong commodity prices have meant the competition for capital from other international mining jurisdictions is much more intense. Queensland cannot afford to lose that competition, because that will cost jobs, investment, exports and royalty taxes for Queensland.

“That is why the Premier’s commitment to QRC last month that her Government would be ‘working together’ with the resources industry on key initiatives including employment, skills development, exports and investment is so important for our state. The Premier also committed to consult with the sector on any regulatory change of material impact to us.”

Mr Macfarlane said royalty tax payments of $5 billion would deliver a direct benefit to all Queenslanders.

“This is enough to fund the annual salary of more than 71,000 beginning teachers or more than 70,000 first year constables or more than 72,000 registered nurses,” Mr Macfarlane said.

www.qrc.org.au

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TODAY the chair of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), Ian Taylor, has announced that the TPB has launched a new compliance strategy, calling on registered tax practitioners -- which collectively refers to tax agents, business activity statement (BAS) agents and tax (financial) advisers) -- to settle their outstanding tax obligations.

Mr Taylor is reminding tax practitioners including those who may have failed to lodge income tax returns and activity statements and those who may have outstanding debts with the ATO of their obligations.

"Many tax practitioners continue to serve their clients with professionalism and integrity," Mr Taylor said. "However, we are concerned with those practitioners acting in breach of the law."

About five percent of tax practitioners have late lodgements with the ATO, including activity statements and tax returns. Seven percent of tax practitioners have outstanding ATO debts, totalling nearly $115 million, without arrangement to repay these bills.

"The numbers of tax practitioners failing their tax obligations can undermine trust and confidence in the profession," Mr Taylor said.

"Tax practitioners with outstanding lodgements of income tax returns or activity statements and ATO debt need to address these obligations urgently as they may be in breach of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009."

This new compliance strategy has been prompted by fresh data analysis indicating areas of non-compliance by registered tax practitioners.

The data shows that over 2,500 tax practitioners have not lodged one or more of their personal income tax returns or for those of their associated entities and over 1,000 have more than one outstanding Business Activity Statements (BAS) or for their associated entities. Of these numbers, nearly 500 tax practitioners have a combination of both.

In addition, over 2,700 tax practitioners, who are also trustees of their own self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), have outstanding SMSF annual returns.

In relation to ATO debt, over 5,000 have a debt of over $300 (with no active payment arrangements), representing a total debt of nearly $115 million.

"The TPB will initially work closely with practitioners to give them an opportunity to remedy any outstanding tax obligations," Mr Taylor said.

"After six weeks, firmer action will be taken to enforce the laws, including investigations, prosecutions and proactive collection action where appropriate."

A new information sheet outlines what is required of tax practitioners under Code item 2 (complying with the taxation laws in the conduct of personal affairs).


About the Tax Practitioners Board

The Tax Practitioners Board regulates tax practitioners in order to protect consumers. The TPB aims to assure the community that tax practitioners meet appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct.

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THE House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources has tabled its report today into the issue of superannuation fund investment in Australian agriculture.

Committee chair, Rick Wilson MP, emphasised that the Committee’s consideration of this issue since May has highlighted that the lack of superannuation investment in the sector is not a black and white issue.

“The level of investment in Australian agriculture by domestic super funds is low, and the Committee received consistent evidence that regulation was not the primary barrier preventing this investment”, Mr Wilson noted, “a range of factors all contribute – from the liquidity requirements of super funds, to the impact of climate and inconsistent knowledge of the sector."

The Committee made four recommendations, aimed at improving the data available on the agriculture sector and making it more suitable to investment analysis; revisiting the potential negative impact of foreign investment rules and tax burdens; expanding publicly available information about the sector and its investment suitability, both domestically and internationally; and establishing a superannuation and agriculture sector working group to stimulate mutual understanding of areas for improvement and investment.

“Ultimately, better information and awareness of the benefits of Australian agriculture as a steady and suitable investment target, will improve investment from both superannuation funds and the wider investment community. This can only lead to best practice agriculture and a sustainable market into the future.” Mr Wilson said.

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“THE THREE months to October were the worst for housing loans to investors in over five years,” according to Master Builders Australia (MBA) chief economist Shane Garrett.

The ABS results for housing finance during October 2018 have just been released. They show that the value of investor loans fell by 4.3 percent during the three months to October and were 18.5 percent lower compared with the same time last year.

“August 2013 was the last time investor lending volumes were as low as they are now. Lending to housing investors has fallen by over 30 percent since the peak in early 2015," Mr Garrett said. 

“The introduction of more stringent APRA regulations in early 2015 kicked off the decline in investor lending. It has been greatly exacerbated by the commencement of the Royal Commission’s work – lenders have become much more nervous about making financing available," he said. 

“The reduction in investor activity is not all down to lending policies. Many investors are reluctant about entering into markets where house prices are falling. In other places, rental price growth is soft and investors have sat out," Mr Garrett said. 

“While investors are exiting the market at the moment, the story for first home buyers (FHB) is much more positive. At 18.1 percent, the FHB share of owner occupier housing loans is at its highest since late 2012. About 114,000 FHB home loans have been issued over the past 12 months - an increase of 14.9% on a year earlier," he said. 

“Despite the significant challenges the housing market faces, it is encouraging that so many Australians can look forward to celebrating Christmas in their very own home for the first time this year,” Mr Garrett said. 

www.masterbuilders.com.au

ends

THE histories of people who have played major roles in the House of Representatives will be uncovered in a project begun recently. The people are the House Speakers, Deputy Speakers, and Clerks.

The project brings together the House of Representatives department and the Australian National University’s National Centre of Biography, manager of the Australian Dictionary of Biography. The biographies will be released online in early 2020 and will be known as the Dictionary of the House of Representatives.

Some Speakers and their Deputies are very well known to many Australians but in other cases the biographies will bring their part in the history of the House to public attention for the first time since the early years of Federation.

Clerk of the House, David Elder, said, "Australians are used to seeing the day to day political struggle of the House on the news but this project will tell us a much more reflective story about the role of the House and how it works. As an institution it is absolutely central to our democratic framework. The project will help explain three of its key offices."

"Members who have been elected to be Speaker or Deputy Speaker have stood apart from the politics of the day. When they take up those roles it is on behalf of the whole House. The third group, the Clerks, are principal advisers on House operations. Their role is a much less public one and they have always been expected to work impartially."

Mr Elder also said that in addition to the individual biographies, the House department would produce short pieces explaining how each role has developed, what was inherited from the Westminster tradition at Federation, and what traditions have begun here.

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THE Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) as part of the global accounting profession is supporting the United Nation’s International Anti-Corruption activities which included a special awareness day on December 9.

The World Economic Forum estimates that every year the cost of corruption is at least US$2.6 trillion -- or 5 percent of global domestic product. According to the World Bank, businesses and individuals pay more than US$1 trillion in bribes each year.

“Corruption not only erodes trust, it has a direct detrimental impact on economic growth,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“Accountants play a pivotal role in this united fight against corruption.

“As a profession, we hold the responsibility to promote greater transparency and accountability, employ stronger ethics and lift the standard of integrity,” said Mr Conway.

About the Institute of Public Accountants

The IPA, formed in 1923, is one of Australia’s three legally recognised professional accounting bodies.  In late 2014, the IPA acquired the Institute of Financial Accountants in the UK and formed the IPA Group, with more than 36,000 members and students in over 80 countries.  The IPA Group is the largest SME focused accountancy organisation in the world. The IPA is a member of the International Federation of Accountants, the Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board and the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants. 

www.publicaccountants.org.au

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COAL has propelled the value of Queensland’s exports to almost $80 billion, up almost 10 percent from October last year. 

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the latest ABS figures showed coal recorded the highest increase in value during October, for the 23rd month in a row. 

“For the last two years, coal exports have been the anchor for Queensland’s strong export performance,” Mr Macfarlane said. 

“Of Queensland’s total export value of $79.3 billion in October, our coal exports were worth $34.9 billion, and other minerals $8.1 billion. 

“The ongoing strength of the resources sector is testament to the hard work and world-class standards of the 316,000 Queenslanders who work in or with the sector. 

“Every tonne of coal and other resources exported brings in royalty taxes that benefit all Queenslanders. 

“Based on this strong performance we expect an even greater return to Queenslanders from coal royalty taxes, above and beyond the $3.5 billion forecast for this year’s budget. 

“We look forward to seeing the updated figures before Christmas," Mr Macfarlane said.

“Queensland’s resources industry is capping off a positive year, during which we’ve seen new investments and new jobs. 

“Over the past year the resources industry has added about 10,000 jobs for Queensland, or a job every 40 minutes. 

“We are looking forward to a strong start to the new year too, with new projects including the Adani Carmichael mine, and new exploration in the North-West of the state. 

“Figures released by the Queensland Exploration Council earlier this week showed an increase in exploration investment across the range of our state’s commodities. 

“This puts all Queenslanders in prime position to continue to benefit from investment, jobs and returns from royalty taxes that build our state.” 

www.qrc.org.au

ends

THE House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources has launched a new inquiry into the impact on the agricultural sector of vegetation and land management policies, regulations and restrictions, and called for submissions.

The Committee’s Chair, Rick Wilson MP, acknowledged that the impact of land management and vegetation policies can be significant on the agricultural sector.

“Bushfires, expanding land use, and hazard management can dictate the future of regional, rural and remote land areas," Mr Wilson said. "The Committee’s inquiry into these issues is timely, given the current and impending natural disaster probability”.

The Committee will be inquiring into these impacts, with particular regard to:

  • Past and current practices of land and vegetation management by the agricultural sector and regional industries;
  • The science behind activities such as back burning, clearing and rehabilitation;
  • The economic impact of vegetation and land management policies, regulations and restrictions;
  • The impact of severe fires on the agricultural landscape, agricultural production and industry in regional, rural and remote areas;
  • Factors that contribute to fire risk in regional, rural and remote areas; and
  • The role the agricultural sector has in working with emergency services and forestry management officials in managing fire risk.

The Committee will be accepting submissions until Friday January 25, 2019.

 

 

THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport Committee today presented to Parliament its Advisory Report on the Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018.

The Committee recommended the passage of the Bill, which would require aged care providers to report staff-to-patient ratios for their facilities on a quarterly basis.

The Committee Chair, Trent Zimmerman MP, stated that ‘aged care has been a particular focus of the Committee’s work during 2018. In October, the Committee released the final report for its inquiry into aged care and followed that up with this inquiry.’

"The Committee has recommended the passage of the Bill and welcomes the increased transparency for consumers that will be provided by the publication of staffing ratios. The Committee has also recommended that staffing ratios be published with additional contextual information to assist consumers interpret the data and enable them to be in a better position to make an informed choice," Mr Zimmerman said.

The Report is available at the Committee’s website at: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Health_Aged_Care_and_Sport/StaffingRatioBill/Report

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