THE TEAM at SkyPoint are incredibly excited to throw open the elevator doors to their Level 77 Observation Deck and Climb experience in the heart of Surfers Paradise, from Friday tJuly 10.

SkyPoint will re-open with a COVID Safe Industry Plan in place to ensure the safety of its team members and guests remains a priority.

Guests are now able to dine, drink and enjoy the Gold Coast’s best 360-degree view from atop the Q1 building. For those who prefer a thrill, SkyPoint Climb will also re-open tomorrow, so guests can again take on Australia’s highest external building climb.

“SkyPoint is an iconic Surfers Paradise attraction and there is no better place to see the sights and surrounds of the magnificent Gold Coast. We look forward to welcoming both local and visiting guests back to the venue.” SkyPoint general manager, Dylan Hunt said.

SkyPoint opens at 10am on Friday and will be open seven days a week.

www.skypoint.com.au

ends

THE LATEST International Visitor Survey (IVS) results are just the first of a long set of negative quarterly results which will play out over the coming years, revealing the desperate future of Australia's export tourism industry.
 
“The March quarter IVS show the last gasps of our valuable export tourism industry as it once was,” ATEC managing director Peter Shelley said of the results.
 
“The last time we reviewed these IVS numbers we were looking at record inbound visitation of close to nine million visitors who delivered over $45 billion in spending to the Australian economy.
 
“While the industry is fully supportive of a strong health response, all tourism businesses have taken a battering in 2020, especially businesses relying on international visitors which were heavily impacted by mass cancellations off the back of the January bushfires, floods and then the pandemic which all rolled into each other," Mr Shelley said.
 
March quarter IVS figures still show some value delivered early in the year by international visitors before the borders officially closed mid March, but overall international spending was down by almost $4 billion in one quarter and visitor numbers down by 28 percent.
 
Mr Shelley said Australian tourism businesses which have traditionally had a heavy focus on catering to international visitors will need continued government support to ensure they remain capable of reigniting inbound tourism once borders reopen. 
 
“Not all tourism businesses are capable of embracing domestic tourism as their saviour as many have built their product specifically to service international visitors," he said. "Changing their business model requires investment and rebuilding that they simply either do not have or the risks outweigh the opportunity to embrace domestic tourism.
 
“ATEC’s industry survey shows 48 percent of tourism businesses derived 60-100 percent of their revenue from international visitors while 35 percent say the return of domestic tourism would make no difference to the desperate state of their business viability.
 
“We believe tourism businesses will need continued wage support along with support to manage ongoing business overhead costs in a period of zero revenue, plus stimulus restart grants. We need to retain support for businesses who are trying to starve off business failure while the international borders are closed which may be as long as a further 12 months, and then marketing funding to help restart our international trade once borders open," Mr Shelley said.
 
“Inbound tourism operators (ITOs) in particular will be a key to re-establishing an inbound visitor market and will play a vital role in supporting the delivery of international visitors to Australia in a COVID-safe way. 
 
“A ‘managed tourism’ approach using ITOs will give the government a strong framework for re-opening borders to specific markets in a controlled, safe and, most importantly, traceable manner which will be a priority in future international travel.
 
“Supporting the redesign or hibernation of these businesses will be critical in ensuring our industry maintains both the product and supply chain operations which are capable of taking us back to export success in the future and importantly, return thousands of jobs to a once valuable workforce around the country," he said.
 
“We know the government and the community understand the success of our export tourism industry and the significant economic value it can bring to our economy, and in that way will be keen to support us through this exceptionally challenging period.”

www.tourismdrivesgrowth.com.au

ends

THE Queensland Resources Council has welcomed the bipartisan support from Federal Labor and the LNP for the immediate approval of New Hope’s New Acland mine to stop more Queenslanders from unnecessarily losing their jobs.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said it was tragic to hear New Hope had been forced into making redundancies when the extension to the mine at Oakey on the Darling Downs had already been approved by Queensland courts.

“The Queensland Government has sat back and allowed lawfare by a small group of green activists to jeopardise the economic recovery of this State by delaying New Acland. This is a shovel-ready project that has dragged through the court system in Queensland for more than a decade and all challenges against it have been dismissed,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Now the activists have taken the project to the High Court which could delay the start by years more. Queensland needs jobs now and I can tell you these workers and their families need these jobs.

“The State Government is not powerless here. It could step in at any time to approve the mining lease and associated water licence.

“In September, the Premier said the hold up for a decision was to wait for the finalisation of proceedings in the Court of Appeal. The Queensland Court of Appeal has since made its determination which would allow the New Hope expansion to go ahead with the appropriate approvals.

“There’ll be no jobs created by delays in a court room and let’s be clear, at risk here is not just hundreds of New Acland jobs and not just thousands of resources jobs, but the thousands more jobs with all major projects, whether they are wind farms, tourism resorts or other infrastructure.

“There couldn’t be a worse time to stop new jobs in Queensland yet activists are being given the green light to delay and stop any Queensland jobs being created at their political whim.

“The Government has a responsibility, and the mandate, to make decisions in the best interests of all Queenslanders to fact track the economy post-COVID-19.”

www.qrc.org.au

ends

ON THURSDAY, July 16, the House of Representatives Committee on Tax and Revenue will be holding its third public hearing for the inquiry into the tax treatment of employee share schemes.

Chair of the committee, Jason Falinski MP, said, "In previous public hearings, the committee heard primarily from government, legal and tax experts about the policy and related rules.

"We are looking forward to hearing from business with first-hand experience of employee share schemes and how the rules work in practice."

Further information about the inquiry is available on the committee’s website.

Public hearing details

Date: Thursday, 16 July 2020
Time: 9am to 11.15am
Location: Committee Room 1R3, Parliament House, Canberra

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

ends

THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said thousands of COVID-impacted small businesses will be relieved by the Australian Banking Association’s (ABA) loan deferral extension announced today.

The ABA said banks would extend deferred loans for small businesses that are still struggling for an extra four months, potentially helping as many as 800,000 borrowers with deferred loans worth an estimated $260 billion.

The initiative has been agreed to by APRA and ASIC, which have made a collective effort to support those facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

“Small business owners who have been worried about how they will repay their loans come September, will be breathing a huge sigh of relief today,” Ms Carnell said.

“I would encourage small businesses who are experiencing financial difficulties, to call their banks now to make the necessary arrangements.

“With hundreds of small businesses now facing another devastating six weeks of lockdown in parts of Victoria, it’s clear that this is not over and the path to recovery will be prolonged.

“Small businesses are going to need further support, such as the loan deferral extensions announced today," Ms Carnell said.

“As we navigate this unprecedented crisis, it’s encouraging to see our banks are taking this proactive and flexible approach.

“We want to see as many small businesses survive this difficult time as possible. The ABA announcement today is an important piece of that puzzle.”

www.asbfeo.gov.au

ends

FOLLOWING a six-month investigation, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) terminated the registration of Victoria-based The Associates Vic Pty Ltd, trading as Brown Baldwin and Associates (BBA), and imposed the maximum five-year ban.

During the investigation the TPB found BBA:

  • maintained two sets of financial accounts, one set for bank purposes and another for taxation purposes. This had led to misleading information being given to the Commissioner of Taxation and credit/finance companies;
  • failed to meet its outstanding taxation obligations on several occasions;
  •  did not supervise its staff sufficiently to ensure that they were acting competently;
  • assisted some of its clients to set up companies for the purpose of avoiding payment of debts and tax.

Additionally, the TPB found that BBA’s directors, Andrew Locantro, Biren Shah and Rajinder Narula were responsible for the misconduct of BBA and had provided misleading information to the TPB.

Speaking about the case, Chair of the TPB, Ian Klug said, "Brown Baldwin and Associates have consistently and flagrantly ignored the standards required to be a tax practitioner.

"As a result of our investigation we concluded that the public could have no confidence that either the company or its directors will perform the functions of a registered tax agent either competently or with integrity," Mr Klug said.

"Where tax practitioners deliberately choose to jeopardise the high levels of trust that the community, and the law, expects of the industry, we will act with the harshest possible penalties."

The public are encouraged to make a complaint to the TPB if they feel a registered tax practitioner is not providing services to an appropriate standard. Complaints can be made at tpb.gov.au/complaints

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. Twitter @TPB_gov_au, FacebookLinkedIn.

ends

AUSTRALIA  must ramp up migration incentives for high net worth people to attract top Hong Kong wealth seeking to leave the jurisdiction amidst tensions, according to Atlas Advisors.

Executive chairman of Atlas Advisors Australia, Guy Hedley said many high net worth individuals in Hong Kong were turning to investor migration programs around the world to seek a new path in life.

Reopening Australia’s Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) is critical to attract Hong Kong’s most wealthy investors, he said. 

“Appetite for investment and migration in Australia from Hong Kong’s highest net worth individuals is ramping up,” Mr Hedley said. 

“Australia must maintain a globally competitive migration program if it’s going to attract Hong Kong’s most wealthy investor migrants while also offering a safe haven to citizens in need.”

Reopening the BIIP could offset the economic impact of significant recent falls in migration and bring in additional capital at a time when the Australian economy particularly needs.

“High net worth migrants from Hong Kong could bring long-term economic benefits to Australia,” Mr Hedley said. 

“Importantly, their commitments under the complying investment framework go towards local tax-generating enterprises startups and emerging companies that increase employment, innovation and market opportunities. 

“It will also help to build stronger international business networks and partnerships that enhance building Australia’s competitiveness.”

The Australian Government’s current review of the BIIP was an important opportunity for reform to enhance the economic and social outcomes of the program for the national economy.

“The BIIP should be revamped to give priority to higher net worth migrant applicants to Significant Investor Visa, Investor Visa and Premium Investor Visa,” Mr Hedley said.

“Reopening current applications could unlock around $100 million in urgently needed funds.”

ends

HOW CAN Australia define and improve its sovereign manufacturing capability to ensure national resilience during unplanned events such as the global pandemic?

This is one of the questions to be addressed by the next public hearing of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade’s inquiry into the implications of the pandemic for Australia’s defence, trade and international relations.

Witnesses from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre and Ethical Clothing Australia will talk about manufacturing resilience, the importance of strong local supply chains and how businesses can collaborate for improved results.

Committee chair Senator David Fawcett said, "Knowing what it is the nation needs our industry to be able to provide at short notice and ensuring the capability for flexible and innovative adaptation in the manufacturing sector is one of the precursors to successful crisis response".

"This inquiry will explore not only how to ensure Australia’s manufacturing sector is resilient to a crisis, but also the opportunities the pandemic provides for improving collaboration and productivity into the future," Senator Fawcett said.

Jens Goennemann, the managing director of AMGC, will discuss the organisation's submission and describe AMGC’s COVID response. This includes the creation of the Manufacturer Response Register that has been able to connect manufacturing capability with areas of need.

Full terms of reference for the inquiry are on the committee website.

Public hearing details:

Date: Thursday, 9 July 2020
Time: 3pm – 4.30pm AEST
Location: By teleconference

The hearings will be audio streamed live at aph.gov.au/live

ends

THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell is backing the nation’s peak accounting bodies which have today called on the Federal Government to provide small businesses with better access to financial advice through a voucher system.

CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and NZ have issued a joint statement requesting a government-funded voucher system to ensure small businesses can access urgently needed professional advice on their viability once stimulus measures end in September.

The proposal is in line with ASBFEO’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan, which recommends a small business viability voucher program.

“Small businesses have endured some of the toughest trading conditions we’ve ever seen in Australia over the past few months,” Ms Carnell said.

“ABS data tells us 900,000 businesses are getting JobKeeper payments and about 690,000 businesses have received emergency cash flow assistance, while 38 percent of businesses still trading have renegotiated their rent arrangements.

“Two thirds of businesses were still reporting reduced revenue in June. Of those about a third were reporting revenue losses of 50 percent or more.

“Small businesses with cash flow issues, compounded by falling revenue, may find getting the professional financial advice they need unaffordable. The ramifications of this could be devastating, both for the business and its owner and family, down the line," Ms Carnell said.

“That’s why our COVID-19 Recovery Plan recommends the establishment of a small business viability voucher program, where small business owners facing financial stress can obtain a voucher valued up to $5,000  to access tailored advice on how and whether to turn around their business.

“Under the program, a business owner (or their accountant) would apply for the voucher with services provided by a relevant accredited professional.

“This would ensure small businesses have access to expertise in judging business viability, so they can make an informed decision about whether to turn their business around or exit.

“The advisor would be paid directly by the government to the accredited professional up to the value of the voucher," she said.

“Ultimately, we want to see as many small businesses come out the other side of this difficult period as possible – getting a tailored business plan is critical to their survival.”

www.asbfeo.gov.au

ends

THE Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) said the decision to close the Victoria–New South Wales border was disappointing but necessary.

AFTA, the peak industry body which represents 3000 travel agents and their 40,000 employees, has been working constructively with government as well as other industry associations, and key stakeholders in the tourism sector.

AFTA CEO, Darren Rudd said, “AFTA will continue to work collaboratively with government at a Federal, State and Territory level to constructively navigate these incredibly confronting times.

“We acknowledge that the primary focus of government and health authorities is protecting lives and containing the spread, whilst also re-booting the economy in a sensible way.”

About AFTA

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is the peak body in Australia representing the retail travel industry. Founded in 1957, AFTA represents the majority of travel agents in Australia and includes all of the major travel agency groups. AFTA’s role is to uphold the interests of members in matters relating to the operation of all travel agencies in Australia. In broad terms these issues are ones that are not addressed by agent chain or corporate entities on behalf of their members, and are ones that involve the industry as a whole.

ends

THIS WEEK the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs will hold its first two public hearings for its inquiry into homelessness in Australia.

On Tuesday, July 7, the committee will hear from government agencies, research institutes, and other organisations about the extent of homelessness in the Australian community and the programs and services in place to support those experiencing homelessness and those at risk.

On Wednesday, July 8, the committee will hear further from some of Australia’s largest community organisations involved in providing housing and homelessness services.

Chair of the Committee, Andrew Wallace MP, said the committee was keen to hear from witnesses about the challenges in supporting the homeless, particularly in the current environment, and about what further actions can be taken by all tiers of government, the not‑for-profit and private sectors to assist those most in need.

"These hearings are an opportunity to learn about the work of the homelessness sector in supporting some of our most vulnerable people, and about where there could be improvements to services to ensure as many of our homeless as possible are supported," Mr Wallace said. 

'The committee is also keen to hear about how governments around Australia and the homelessness sector have worked during the COVID-19 situation to continue to provide essential support services to those experiencing homelessness and those at risk."

In order to ensure public safety during the COVID-19 situation, witnesses will participate in the hearing remotely, via teleconference. Interested members of the public are invited to listen to the live broadcast, available at aph.gov.au/live.

Further information, including hearing programs and submissions to the inquiry, is available on the Committee’s website.

Public hearing details

Date: Tuesday, 7 July 2020
Time: 10am to 5.10pm
Location: Via teleconference

Date: Wednesday, 8 July 2020 
Time: 9am to 3pm
Location: Via teleconference 

ends

Contact Us

 

PO Box 2144
MANSFIELD QLD 4122