News Pulse for December 5, 2017

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

Amazon launches in Australia, showing why industry predictions are futile

Christmas shoppers might have thought the global retail giant had forgotten them, but that is not the case: from watches to office supplies, Amazon Australia will be hitting the “live” button today.

After years of speculation and several libraries’ worth of analysis from local retailers about the impact of the launch, the Australian arm of the billion-dollar platform will be open for business with three weeks of festive spending still left in the year.

ACCC stretched in fight

Contrary to suggestions from the Grattan Institute, Australian industry is becoming more concentrated particularly in consumer-facing sectors, but the good news is that technology can break down barriers to entry.

The ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion. has a full workload with another of its gas industry reviews looking at the industry’s delivery of promises to increase east coast supply. This report is on top of its inquiry into retail electricity, insurance in northern Australia, residential mortgage products, the dairy industry, new car retailing, broadband and the telecoms sector in general.

Ombudsman launches inquiry to investigate small business disputes beyond the court system

The small business ombudsman will launch an inquiry into dispute resolution processes for conflicts between smaller operators and big business and governments, saying the current system leaves SMEs in “no man’s land”.

Launching the inquiry this morning, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell explained the investigation would look to canvas where small businesses typically go when faced with a dispute, as well as key trends in dispute resolution given the small business community is faced with a costly and complicated court system when it comes to many issues.

The Australian government has ordered the competition watchdog to investigate Google and Facebook’s impact on the media

The market power of Facebook and Google and their impact on the Australian media will be the subject of a new investigation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion.).

Treasurer Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 and the Communications Minister directed the competition watchdog to look at the impact digital companies are having on the media and advertising sectors. The inquiry honours a commitment to former independent senator Nick Xenophon to examine the behaviour of the global digital giants as part of a deal to support media reform.

‘There’s no question they’re advertising companies’

Google, Facebook and other digital platforms will be put under the microscope as the competition watchdog dives into whether technology giants are exercising market power in commercial dealings to the detriment of consumers, media and advertisers.

The highly anticipated inquiry, which was a condition of a deal the Turnbull government struck with Nick Xenophon for his party’s support for media reform , will see the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission examine the market power of Silicon Valley heavyweights who are vacuuming up digital advertising revenue while benefiting from the content created by traditional media, such as newspapers and television.

Tech companies grilled in US Congress

Facebook, Google and other technology giants’ role in spreading fake news stories and diverting advertising away from traditional media will be put under the microscope after the government directed the competition regulator to undertake an inquiry into digital platforms.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had been asked to scrutinise major digital platforms and their impacts on media, journalism and advertising, ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion. chairman Rod Sims said on Monday.

Small Business Ombudsman launches probe into access to justice for SME operators

The Small Business Ombudsman has launched an inquiry into access to justice for small businesses, explaining the current legal system puts them in “no man’s land”.

According to Kate Carnell, small business operators are at “the wrong end of a power imbalance” in dealings with big business and governments.

Aussie unicorns under the radar

The number of Australian tech unicorns — billion-dollar, world-changing companies — is growing and local investors are racing to pick the next blockbuster success story.

Atlassian is often cited as Australia’s start-up poster child, but there are others quietly dominating their respective industries the world over. Envato Australian Taxation Office is a Melbourne-based design marketplace start-up with an estimated worth north of $1bn. Its co-founders, Cyan and Collis Ta’eed, are young rich-listers with a combined wealth of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Revealed: Australian suburbs where cash-only businesses are being targeted by ATO

. The Sydney suburbs of Haymarket, Liverpool and Cabramatta are just some the Australian Tax Office has targeted in its attempt to crack down on cash-only businesses.

The ATO Australian Taxation Office has made nearly 159 trips to Sydney’s Chinato Australian Taxation Officewn in Haymarket and has uncovered more than $18 million in misreported transactions.

“As big as the internet”: Why this venture capitalist says blockchain technology and “cryptoassets” are the future of fintech 

One of Australia’s leading venture capital firms believes the future of fintech is rooted in emerging blockchain technology, predicting “cryptoasset” networks will be a trillion-dollar opportunity for companies and investors in years to come.

Speaking at the annual StartCon conference in Sydney  last week, managing partner at OneVentures venture capital firm Michelle Deaker outlined what she believes will be the key aspects of the next “great fintech startup” — and where she would start a business if doing it today.

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

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