News Pulse for June 19, 2017

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

Uncertainty is the new black

The lack of political awareness as to the impact business uncertainty has on the markets is staggering, especially within the Liberal Party.

To a certain extent you expect it from Labor or the minor parties. Conservatives like to be touted as being in tune with big and small businesses alike. Indeed the origins of right-wing politicking in this country saw a United Australia Party with near-formal ties to big business. When Robert Menzies founded the Liberal Party to replace the UAP in 1944, he did so as a party of small business.

Big business to foot big ASIC fees as new funding model passes parliament

It’s been several years in the making, but the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has finally secured a user-pay funding model for its services that will see businesses hit with an annual levy based on their size.

On Thursday the senate passed the ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au Supervisory Cost Recovery legislation without amendment, which is set to raise around two-thirds of the corporate regulator’s more than $300 million budget each year, with companies to pay an annual fee based on their size and their status as public or private companies.

‘It’s a real positive for the restaurants’

AN AUSSIE restaurant app which offers diners 25 per cent cash back on their bill has signed up more than 500 restaurants across Sydney and Melbourne.

Since launching in 2014, Liven, a “lifestyle loyalty payment app”, has grown to more than 120,000 users, with plans to expand to Perth in coming months as part of a national rollout.

H&R Block: How SMEs can stay ahead of the tax curve

The director of tax communication talks technology, tax breaks and the surprising stats revealing what business owners are most confused about. It won’t be news to them, but the stats are in and small business owners are confused about tax. A national survey conducted by Officeworks and H&R Block found that a surprising 36% of small business owners (SBOs) say they are only “moderately” prepared for their tax return and 15% say they are not equipped at all.

Almost one-fifth (17%) do not know what the corporate tax rate is and, despite  many SBOs being in favour of its return , 78% don’t fully understand the  $20,000 tax break .

Integr8IT takes global accounting firm deep into the cloud with new platform

Melbourne-based developer, Integr8IT, has completed the rollout of a cloud portal for accounting company, Moore Stephens , which has the potential to open up a global sales channel. The accounting firm had been looking for a cloud-based platform it could rollout to its clients for access to multiple applications such as Xero, MYOB, Office 365 and Salesforce with a single sign on.

Palaszczuk Government ramps up commitment to cyber security

The PalaszczukThe Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk (pr. Pal-a-shay), Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Arts from 16.2.2015 Government’s $12.5 million commitment to combating cyber threats against government information technology is reaping rewards, according to the Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy, Leeanne Enoch.

Ms Enoch said the whole-of-government Cyber Security Unit is providing a coordinated approach to mitigating cyber threats and has helped avoid significant impact on government operations.

Paper statement charges a rip-off

BIG companies that whack customers with fees for paper statements are facing a slapdown of their own as pressure mounts on the Turnbull Government to stop the rip-off.

A groundswell of people power – driven by the Keep Me Posted campaign – has pushed the Government to consider whether any consumer laws are being breached.

The new data retention law seriously invades our privacy – and it’s time we took action

Over the past few months, Australians’ civil rights have come under attack.

In April, the government’s data retention law came into effect. The law requires telecommunications companies to store customer metadata for at least two years. Metadata from our phone calls, text messages, emails, and internet activity is now tracked by the government and accessible by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

Ironically, the law came into effect only a few weeks before Australia marked Privacy Awareness Week . Alarmingly, it is part of a broad trend of eroding civil rights in Western democracies, most noticeably evident by the passage of the Investigatory Powers Act in the UK, and the decision to repeal the Internet Privacy Law in the US.

Government and Brandis must learn from data retention mess with encryption

As Canberra turns its attention to the issue of accessing encrypted communications between potential terrorists, nobody’s opposed to the principle that national security demands a technology strategy. On the other hand, we learnt valuable lessons from this government’s 2014 data retention law, that should inform our approach to new laws.

First, we know that a law about technology, where the law itself is technologically incoherent, ends up as a de facto transfer of legislative power from the Parliament to executive government and the public service.

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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