News Pulse for November 9, 2017

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

Competition law reforms now in effect will level the playing field for small businesses

Reforms to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 , which took effect this week, will level the playing field between small and big businesses while providing consumers with increased choice and better services in the market place, according to Small Business Michael McCormack.

Commenting on the commencement of the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill 2017 on Monday, McCormack said “When Australia’s small businesses are able to compete on their merits, they can pursue new ideas, expand and create more jobs across the country.”

Telstra offers refunds for false NBN speed claims

Telstra will offer refunds to up to 42,000 customers on its National Broadband Network plans , who paid for a so-called “speed boost” services, which could not be achieved on their internet connections.

In a written undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, signed by chief executive Andy Penn the country’s largest NBN retail service provider conceded that, between September 2015 and November 2017, it had been misleading in advertising its “super fast speed boost,” with maximum download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and maximum upload speeds of up to 40 Mbps (100/40 Mbps).

Telstra to offer NBN refunds

Telstra has agreed to compensate around 42,000 customers after failing to provide the speeds promised to them over the National Broadband Network (NBN), with the incumbent telco admitting that it may have contravened Australian Consumer Law.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion.) said on Wednesday that Telstra’s measures will include offering refunds to customers, the option to change speed plans, and exit from contracts without paying a fee.

Small firms opting for freelancers

Australian small businesses are increasingly hiring self-employed workers to undertake specific, short-term tasks rather than committing to full-time employee contracts.

Small firms are increasingly using self-employed workers rather than hiring full-time staff.

A survey by business solutions provider MYOB found nine out of 10 small and medium-sized enterprises have used such workers in the past six months and would do so again.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed said the changing shape of Australia’s workforce, and the widespread increase of shared economy websites like AirTasker across all industries, has meant businesses are becoming more comfortable with a different hiring approach.

Are small businesses exempt from paying redundancy pay?

As an employer and small business owner, are you liable to pay your terminated employee redundancy pay? Understanding the legal promulgations and relevant considerations in this small business exemption will help you better perform your obligations as an employer and also maximise on the exemption policy’s benefits.

To better understand the redundancy pay exemption afforded small businesses, you, as an employer and/or business owner, need specific answers to, and be clear with – especially legally – the following questions:

Are you one of the many Australians with ‘surveillance apathy’?

We all seem worried about privacy. Though it’s not only privacy itself we should be concerned about: it’s also our attitudes towards privacy that are important.

When we stop caring about our digital privacy, we witness surveillance apathy.

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


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