THE Accommodation Association has welcomed the publication of the NSW Government’s 2030 NSW Visitor Economy Industry Strategy which recognises the importance of mobilising government funding and support for the visitor economy. 

Importantly, Accommodation Association CEO Dean Long said the strategy recognises the significant impact of COVID with a three-phase plan: Recovery, Momentum and Accelerate.
 
Mr Long said it demonstrated the government’s strong confidence in the NSW visitor economy by retaining the pre-COVID 2030 targets to triple the 2009 overnight visitor expenditure ($18.3billion) for an overnight visitor expenditure of $55 billion by 2030, incorporating a regional target of $25 billion by 2030.

“The Accommodation Association welcomes the Visitor Economy Strategy 2030 and acknowledges this as a critical step in the recovery of NSW’s tourism sector," he said. "We welcome the commitment to a Visitor Economy Index, which will ensure that outcomes are tracked and reported ensuring the strategy and implementation can be adjusted accordingly.
 
“We congratulate the NSW Government on their leadership and collaborative approach in developing this roadmap and committing to helping our members and the entire sector not only recover but also thrive in the future. NSW is the largest visitor economy in Australia and this roadmap will help rebuild our $43 billion visitor economy and grow it to $65 billion by 2030."

At a time of significant uncertainly, the Strategy forms the basis of a clear roadmap for recovery pointing to stronger government commitment to:

  • Sydney and Greater Sydney. For the first time the strategy recognises the metropolis of three cities encapsulated in the Greater Sydney Commission vision and the importance of Western Sydney Airport (2026) in escalating growth.
  • The Strategy recognises the significant economic contribution of the Sydney market to the NSW economy committing to the development of a compelling brand, programs and campaigns for Sydney.
  • Securing major events and business events to both position NSW globally, support recovery and accelerate growth.
  • Investing in tourism infrastructure with a clear plan. The Strategy points to a Visitor Infrastructure Framework and game changing concepts such as the creation of Special Activation Precincts, making land ready for investors and building enabling infrastructure.
  • Recognising the increased need for enhanced skills and workforce planning if the industry is to recover and to improve the competitiveness of our tourism offering.

“The Accommodation Association looks forward to working closely with the NSW Government and Destination NSW  to deliver on the plan for the accommodation sector in NSW," Mr Long said.

The Accommodation Association represents close to 3,500 hotels, motels and accommodation providers, over 150,000 rooms and nearly 100,000 employees across Australia (pre COVID). Accommodation contributes $17 billion to the Australian economy.

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IN ITS SUBMISSION to the Treasury Discussion Paper (December 2020): Education and training expense deductions for individuals, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has given whole-hearted support for the proposal.

“The IPA is very supportive of any initiatives that encourage individuals to upgrade their human capital skills over their working life and the proposal in the Discussion Paper fits well with these ideals” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“Human capital is the fundamental driver of productivity. There are strong linkages between education and entrepreneurial activity, particularly for the small business sector and the wider economy. 

“The economy has been savaged by the financial impacts of COVID and we are supportive of initiatives that are aimed at improving our productive capacity.  However, along with COVID, our labour supply market is facing the issues of an aging workforce, the loss of skilled migration and many business closures due to the pandemic. All of which require the need for individuals to reskill to meet new opportunities," Mr Conway said.

“Many individuals will have multiple careers over their lifetime which indicates a strong need for continued upgrading of skills.

“Our current tax settings do not support or encourage the retraining and reskilling once an individual has commenced earning an income in their chosen field. The requirement for a tax deduction is limited to expenses in gaining or producing assessable income to an individual’s current employment activities.

“The proposed measure in the discussion paper will add to the current support for higher education while addressing a void in the existing arrangements for individuals who are currently earning an income and may be unable to access any of the existing support initiatives. It also assists individuals who work for smaller entities that do not provide employer support for retraining or reskilling.

“The cost to revenue of implementing this measure will be more than offset by the additional productive capacity added to the economy through a more skilled and flexible workforce. 

“We appreciate that tax concessions cost money and therefore we propose, that if this initiative is implemented, that the risk be shared with the individual who proposes to take advantage of the concession," he said.

“Quarantining half the upfront deduction until the individual earns income from an activity associated with the retraining is an appropriate model to ensure that taxpayers do not wear the entire cost of education outlay in cases where the retraining does not result in the furtherance of a new activity. In areas of skill shortages (to be defined), we are not opposed to the concept of full deductibility. Both these measures will ensure the new initiative achieves its policy intention through better targeting of the concession.

“We urge the government to move on this proposal as quickly as possible, considering our labour market shortages and the loss of genuine productivity so greatly needed to lift the economy,” Mr Conway said.

 

About the Institute of Public Accountants

The IPA, formed in 1923, is one of Australia’s three legally recognised professional accounting bodies. With the acquisition of the Institute of Financial Accountants in the UK, the IPA Group was formed, with more than 40,000 members and students in over 80 countries. The IPA Group is the largest SME focused accountancy organisation in the world.

www.publicaccountants.org.au

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SUPERANNUATION funds MTAA Super and Tasplan have announced they will be known as Spirit Super after completion of their merger on April 1, 2021.

Spirit Super will be Australia’s newest industry super fund and will have about $23 billion funds under management and 326,000 members across Australia.

MTAA Super CEO Leeanne Turner said the new name perfectly represented the fund’s drive to be a national super fund that offers superior service, value, and member focus.    

“What I love about Spirit Super is it captures the energy of what we’re about,” Ms Turner said. “It’s fresh and optimistic and innovative — everything we want to be.

“The new name also speaks to the past achievements of our funds,” Ms Turner said. “MTAA Super and Tasplan are both outstanding funds and take great pride in providing historically strong long-term returns, excellent value and service to our members. As Spirit Super, we will have greater capacity to continue improving our products and service and to really embrace a member-first approach to everything we do.”

The merger follows a successful year for MTAA Super and Tasplan, with both funds receiving platinum ratings by SuperRatings and being named ‘Best Value for Money’ funds for 2020.

“That’s what makes this merger so exciting,” Ms Turner said. “This isn’t about a big fund absorbing a smaller fund. It’s about two successful funds coming together to get even better. It’s a true partnership that will provide a better super experience and outcomes to members across the nation.

“With MTAA Super’s strong long-term performance history and Tasplan’s superior customer satisfaction rating and award-winning digital services, we are bringing the best of both worlds to Spirit Super.”

Ms Turner was also pleased to announce a reduction in administration fees for all Spirit Super members.

“The details are being worked through, but there will be a drop in administration fees when Spirit Super kicks off. So right off the bat, members will start seeing the benefits of the merger.”

Tasplan chair Naomi Edwards said the new fund name was an important milestone to mark in the merger process.

“Our name is our future, so it was important we embraced something our members could be proud of and inspired by. I think Spirit Super nails it. Importantly, our name will also set us apart in the market. This will help us grow, compete, and continue pursuing opportunities in the best interests of our members.”

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NEXTGEN FUNDS Management has launched Australia’s first pure Artificial Intelligence (AI) Fund. It will invest in domestic and international technology businesses which deliver AI technologies that address environmental, social, and industrial challenges globally.

The Fund is aimed at sophisticated investors, including high net worth individuals, family offices and institutions. It will invest in a mixture of debt and equity and will maintain a diversified investment exposure across multiple industry sectors and growth stages ranging from start-up to pre-IPO. This includes a mix of developed and innovation in order to balance the risk profile.

Samuel Mullavey, head of distribution for NextGen Funds Management said, “The Fund’s key investment areas are where the adoption of AI will provide the greatest benefits economically, environmentally, and socially. These include sectors such as health and wellbeing, infrastructure and transport, environment and natural resources, cybersecurity, smart cities and buildings, and financial services.

“We believe AI will be the defining technology of our time. It is set for accelerated growth and demand and, as such, we have positioned the Fund to take advantage of the exciting investment opportunities unavailable to public markets.

“The Fund aims to deliver appropriate risk-adjusted returns to unitholders through a combination of capital growth and income generated from underlying investments in the rapidly expanding AI technology sector.

“With innovative technologies, including AI, forecast to be worth AU$315 billion to the Australian economy by 2028 and AU$22.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030, AI represents a significant new opportunity to enhance economies domestically and internationally.

“As a result, there are unprecedented levels of global activity and investment in AI. In recent times we have seen a total of AU$86 billion dedicated to AI programs and activities from 14 of the world’s most advanced economies. Locally the Australian technology industry will require up to 161,000 new expert AI professionals by 2030.

“In many cases, the technology is already available, but the challenge many smaller AI firms face is commercialising ideas into a viable product or service. This as a major opportunity to leverage our strong partnerships, experience, and networks, and provide the expert support required to navigate this tricky stage of development.

“We set out to be innovative in our offering and as such, the Fund’s agile strategy is to remain stage and sector agnostic so it can capitalise on multiple cross-sector opportunities and keep pace with changes in AI innovation.”

The NextGen Artificial Technology Fund has no floor nor ceiling on deal size.

While not guaranteed, the income yield objective of the Fund is 5 percent per annum with a total return objective of 10-12 percent per annum on an internal rate of return, pre-tax, post fees and costs.

Investments will be made in targeted opportunities, via individually structured arrangements that may include convertible notes, private equity, and debt funding such as secured loans.

The Fund is designed with a three to five-year investment term in mind and a minimum initial investment of $100,000. Following the minimum initial investment, investors may invest additional funds in multiples of $50,000. A minimum balance of $100,000 needs to be maintained.

Fees are 1.65 percent per annum exclusive of GST of Funds Under Management. A performance fee of 20 percent is charged above the Benchmark return of 7 percent and inclusive of pre-tax performance after management fees and other operating costs have been deducted.

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NEW SOUTH WALES could significantly increase technological innovation and new product development by creating beta-testing sites for university researchers.

that is the view of Stoic Venture Capital partner Geoff Waring, who said "technology innovation lifts employment while improving competitiveness of local companies at a global level".

“Creating a policy for beta-testing sites in NSW for university researchers would attract researchers, entrepreneurs, start-up companies, venture capital and multinationals to NSW,” Dr Waring said.

“It could also help to develop links between university research and industry as well as lead to the creation of new technology start-ups from the intellectual property developed at local universities.”

Dr Waring said NSW’s current procurement innovation stream for small and medium sized companies whereby contracts of up to $1 million may be awarded following successful proof of concept trial, does not currently meet the needs of university researchers who are at a very early level of development.

Many of NSW’s most difficult problems are beyond the technology capability of existing suppliers, so need unproven technology development, he said.

“These difficult problems include ecological conservation, the effects of climate change and pandemics. University researchers have a parallel problem proving their technology that works in the lab also works and is safe in use. Venture capital investors want to see a proof of concept before they invest. All these parties gain from a small-scale beta test."

If the NSW Government shared more information with university researchers about the priority problems they faced and had a process to evaluate emerging technologies, the universities could bring to the government potential technologies that could be trialled on a small scale in NSW locations, he said.

Small pilot trials could be undertaken in a managed environment to minimise risk.

“There would need to be requirements around safety, data privacy and a minimum level of technology readiness according to the standardised benchmarks,” Dr Waring said. “Coming from a university would also give the science a high degree of legitimacy.”

This has similarities to the Federal Business Research and Innovation Initiative and Melbourne 5G IoT testbed and prototype street programs, Dr Waring said.

"This is an innovative approach that could assist researchers and investors to overcome information gaps that act as a barrier to financing while exploring solutions to city problems that are too difficult for existing providers.”

About Stoic Venture Capital

Stoic Venture Capital provides financing for early-stage companies, particularly those arising from university research. Stoic is unconditionally registered as an Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership (ESVCLP) and takes a collaborative approach to investing in the highest potential companies. Atlas Advisors Australia AFOF is the major limited partner for the Fund. www.stoicvc.com.au

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MANSFIELD QLD 4122