News Pulse for March 2, 2017

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Uber’s contempt for rules is catching up with it

Uber is facing a perfect storm.

Nothing appears to be going right for the ride-hailing company in recent weeks, and while each individual setback appears fixable, together they attest to a culture within the company that may be far harder to change.

Cut the company tax rate, says Treasury secretary John Fraser

Treasury boss John Fraser has implored Parliament to consider cutting the company tax rate, saying it would be “critical” to respond to international competition.

“We have to recognise that we are now in a very competitive environment when it comes to corporate taxation and attracting investment,” he told a Senate hearing on Wednesday. “Not just with our regional neighbours, but countries such as the United Kingdom, and possibly, the United States”.

‘Appalled’: Turnbull’s crackdown on big retail chains

Large retail and fast food chains will be held directly accountable for wage fraud in stores under their banner, even where those outlets are run by franchisees, under tough new anti-exploitation laws.

The laws would also dramatically increase the maximum penalties to more than half a million dollars for contraventions that involve “deliberate and systemic” underpayment of thier staff.

Penalty rates fight moves to how quickly cuts are implemented

Unions and employer groups are at odds over how quickly changes to penalty rates should be introduced.

Last week the Fair Work Commission ruled that there should be a cut to Sunday penalty rates for many workers in the fast food, retail and hospitality industries.

Govt sits on fence over penalty rates as Carnell defends business silence

The federal government is steadfastly refusing to defend or express an opinion about last week’s decision to cut penalty rates, despite urging business to get on the front foot and sell the economic benefits of lower weekend wages.

Senior sources denied the government was leaving itself wriggle room to overturn the decision should political pressure become too great, arguing that its attitude to the Fair Work Commission decision was consistent with its position on the independence of the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Federal Court.

Penalties: The war begins

Bill ShortenHon Bill Shorten MP,  Federal Member for Maribyrnong Leader of the Opposition from 13.10.13 stood before Labor MPs yesterday and declared the battle over penalty rates was the “fight Labor was born for”.

If he wins office, Shorten has promised to reverse last week’s Fair Work Commission decision to cut penalty rates in the retail, hospitality, fast food and pharmacy sectors.

Insolvencies set to increase in Australia in 2017

Australian businesses are set to experience an increase in insolvencies this year as a result of another difficult economic year, according to the recently-published Atradius Economic Outlook. The likely 2% increase in insolvencies puts Australia in step with the UK and Canada.

The improving trend in the business environment across Australia and other advanced economies is expected to come to a halt this year. Changes in insolvencies predominantly depend on movements in the business cycle.

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