News Pulse for December 1, 2017

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

Why small businesses are in trouble

I released a study into factors impacting small to medium enterprise investment on Friday.

The study identifies several barriers including red tape, energy prices and unreliability, and access to capital.

Australia to legislate to open up access to consumer data across sectors

The Australian government announced earlier this week that it would legislate for a new ‘consumer data right’ in what assistant minister for cities and digital transformation Angus Taylor labelled as “the biggest reform to consumer law in a generation”.

Taylor said: “Government is pursuing the very simple idea that the customer should own their own data. It is a powerful idea and a very important one.”

The Crossroads Report: poor access to global talent but its not all bad news for startups

Although it’s becoming easier for startups to raise capital in Australia, high-growth companies are hamstrung by a shallow pool of global talent, warned Alex McCauley, CEO of StartupAUS and lead author of the 2017 Crossroads Report.

The report, a comprehensive review of the nation’s startup ecosystem, features a state-by-state brief on the progress of local startup ecosystem, an analysis of the effect of innovation-boosting measures in place, and milestones for Australian startups.

CBA wouldn’t give Victoria a $500 credit card, now she owns a $30 million business

“I started Araza four years ago and I could not get a $500 credit card let alone a loan,” says Victoria Kluth. “It was very demoralising. Four years later, Araza is a $30 million business.”

Problems with accessing capital for small business and start-ups are likely to be one of the focus areas of the banking royal commission announced by Prime Minister Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15 on Thursday.

ACCC to large retailers: Stop whining about Amazon

Consumers will like it so retailers can lump it says ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion. chairman Rod Sims in response to complaints about Amazon being bad for competition in Australia.

“Amazon’s entry into Australia will be good for consumers, despite it not being good for some incumbent retailers.” he said.

Urgent funding needed to prevent crippling skills shortage, says Business Council

Almost 1 million jobs will be created in Australia over the next five years but there won’t be enough skilled workers to fill them.

That’s according to Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott, who says Australia faces a crippling skills shortage unless more funding is urgently returned to vocational education.

PM backflips on banking royal commission after big four finally concede

Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15 has announced a royal commission into the banking sector, after sustained pressure from within his own Government and an admission by Australia’s big four banks that an inquiry is necessary to restore public faith in the financial system.

A letter to the Treasurer signed by the chairpersons and chief executives of ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac and dated today argued that even though the sector had long campaigned against it, such a measure was now in the national interest.

Royal commission could backfire on Turnbull

The loudest and most persistent critics of the big four banks are likely to find themselves the biggest losers from the Royal Commission into the banking, superannuation and financial services industries.

Punters who have attacked the banks for years and made allegations of foul play through the courts and numerous parliamentary inquiries are unlikely to have a fresh platform for airing their grievances.

Heat on PM to broaden inquiry

Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15’s launch of a banking royal commission has failed to quell discontent about the nation’s financial sector, with the shock announcement sparking a race to broaden the inquiry’s terms of reference and to drag other sectors into the examination.

The proposed year-long royal commission will cover the banking, superannuation and financial services industries, unregulated non-bank lenders and the effectiveness of financial regulators.

Australian startups say they are being choked by new the visa rules

Australia’s startup community had a record-breaking year of achievement but its growth is now being restricted because of federal government changes to working visas.

The fourth annual Crossroads Report by StartupAUS, the sector’s national advocacCommunications Access Co-ordinatory group, shows the industry has moved beyond the fledgling stage.

$5bn tax hit targets tech giants

Tax commissioner Chris Jordan will initiate joint forensic tax ­audits with other countries’ authorities, in an unprecedented escalation of his crusade to ensure the world’s biggest companies, including Amazon, Google and Facebook, pay their fair share of tax in Australia.

In extensive interviews with The Australian , Mr Jordan reveals his blitz on multinationals has already reaped a $5 billion windfall in unpaid taxes for the Australian Taxation Office in just 16 months. He believes many more billions of dollars will come, and warns global giants to pay a proper amount of tax in Australia or face the consequences.

Turnbull’s banking royal commission welcomed by fintech

Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15 has announced plans to establish a royal commission into the banking sector, and one fintech is hopeful it will bring more competition and trust to financial services in Australia.

The announcement comes following a letter from ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and NAB to the Treasurer asking for an inquiry to restore public faith.

Alternative finance and peer-to-peer lender MoneyPlace’s CEO Stuart Stoyan told Canstar a banking royal commission “has been a long time coming”.

Tough cop on the tax beat

Chris Jordan has never run from a fight. Having spent his childhood as the sixth of seven kids in a two-bedroom house in the shadow of Sydney’s Kingsford Smith airport, he learned to scrap for everything: from bedroom drawers to food.

“I grew up in a small room with two double bunks and a set of drawers. It was my brother, me and my two sisters,” he tells The Australian during a rare, lengthy sit-down. “The four of us. But I wasn’t old enough to have any of the drawers.”

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

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