News Pulse for May 19, 2017

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

State school cleaners routinely underpaid

A network of Victorian public schools has been forced to sever ties with a cleaning contractor amid allegations that school cleaners have been underpaid.

Melbourne-based Ramos Cleaning Services has been stripped of 17 contracts for the cleaning of government-run schools in the city’s north and west, including Brunswick Secondary College, St Albans Secondary College and Thornbury Primary.

Cyber crime, online scamming of businesses up 30 per cent, but just tip of the iceberg: ACCC

Put together Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion.) data with another federal agency, the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network, and the reported losses from online scams across the nation come in at around $300 million.

Extrapolate that number using the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Personal Fraud Survey and the actual, rather than reported, cost to the Australian economy is closer to $3 billion and rising.

Uber-style casual gig economy employment becoming the new 9 to 5

The traditional workforce is evolving quickly before our eyes, with casual contracts or the “gig economy” disrupting taxi and food delivery industries.

Could health care work be next?

Megan Lily, the head of workforce development at AI Group, told ABC Radio Adelaide ‘s Drive program that casual work was becoming the new norm.

ACCC doesn’t have the power to stop banks passing on tax: Sims

Australia’s five biggest banks have been put on notice that the competition watchdog will use new surveillance powers to put pressure on them not to pass on the new bank levy to customers or shareholders.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion.) will be able to summon bank chiefs for hearings under oath, in addition to accessing internal reports and emails to track whether the $6.2 billion dollar levy over four years is being absorbed or passed through.

Peter Strong: Cyber attacks are a clear and present danger to small businesses

The recent hit by cyber criminals on websites around the world reinforces the need to change the culture of businesses to help deal with modern threats to our day-to-day business activities.

There has been a call from all and sundry for the small business community to focus on this real and immediate threat; there is clear and present danger and it must be confronted. Still, in the end this is a business issue, similar to many issues we have confronted over the decades.

 

Entrepreneurs make their mark

The combined income generated by the top 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations jumped almost 250 per cent since 2004-05 to $1.88 billion, the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations says.

In recognition of this market, earlier this month the Coalition announced plans to create an indigenous Entrepreneurs Capital Scheme, and vowed to overhaul Indigenous Business Australia, the federal body charged with providing home and business loans to indigenous Australians. It hopes both measures will assist the growing number of indigenous entrepreneurs who struggle to ­secure funding from banks and other institutions.

Taxing time ahead

Alan McKail is one of thousands of machinery dealers happy with the continued $20,000 tax write-off for small businesses announced in last week’s Federal Budget.

The National Farmers’ Federation spearheaded a successful campaign to retain the popular write-off, originally due to expire on June 30.

Hey Sco-Mo, here’s something to chat about with Qld small businesses during your FIFO visit!

The PalaszczukThe Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk (pr. Pal-a-shay), Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Arts from 16.2.2015 Government today (Thursday) welcomed the second business survey in just three weeks showing small business confidence levels in Queensland continue to rise.

Small Business Minister Leeanne Enoch said the latest data confirms the PalaszczukThe Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk (pr. Pal-a-shay), Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Arts from 16.2.2015 Government’s economic agenda to diversify the economy, attract greater investment, nurture entrepreneurial talent and support innovation across Queensland is having a positive impact.

“Chargebacks are sending our business broke”: Business owner calls on banks to crack down on customer fraud after losing $10,000 this year

A New South Wales-based small business owner is calling on banks and financial institutions to take action on fraudulent credit card chargebacks, claiming customers who abuse the system are sending his business broke.

Dean Piazza, owner of online treadmill and fitness equipment stores Home Gym Equipment and Endurance Treadmills, told  SmartCompany his businesses has been hit with what he believes are five fraudulent chargebacks already this year, costing upwards of $10,000.

This new startup lets Australians do chores, instead of paying rent, for long-term accommodation

A new Australian startup that launched this week lets people to sign up for free mid- to long-term accommodation by offering their labour to help out around the house.

The Room Xchange platform works like a mixture of Airtasker and AirBnB — no money can be exchanged between host and guest, but the boarder offers labour for tasks the host puts on their profile, such as babysitting, gardening and cooking, for up to 14 hours per week.

ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston facing charges in fraud investigation

Australian Tax Office Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston is facing charges for abuse of public office for allegedly accessing restricted information on ATO Australian Taxation Office systems.

It is alleged that Cranston — the deputy commissioner for taxation, private groups and high wealth individuals — accessed information about a tax audit after a request from his son, who is one of nine people charged over alleged an tax fraud conspiracy worth $165 million.

Australian Federal Police smashes $165 million tax fraud syndicate

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has arrested and charged nine people for their association with a syndicate allegedly responsible for a $165 million tax fraud against the Australian Government.

[ The ABC reports  one of the arrested was 30-year-old Adam Cranston, the son of deputy Australian Tax Office (ATO Australian Taxation Office) commissioner, Michael Cranston. Michael Cranston is reportedly being charged with abusing his position as a public official in relation to the police arrests but is not believed to be a conspirator.]

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