News Pulse for March 12, 2018

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

Hotel rooms vacant as home owners cash in on Commonwealth Games tourists

There are nearly as many Airbnb listings on the Gold Coast than there are in Brisbane, with private hosts set to provide stiff competition to the city’s hotels during the Commonwealth Games.

Early reports the Gold Coast could be booked out during the event appear to be wrong, with plenty of rooms available at all price points less than a month out from the event.

Trump, Turnbull hit on deal to exclude Australia from new US tariffs

Prime Minister Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15 has confirmed Australia will be exempt from US President Donald Trump’s new steel and aluminium tariffs — but denied the two leaders are working towards a new “security agreement”.

Mr Trump all but confirmed the exemption earlier on Saturday when he tweeted he had spoken to Mr Turnbull, who he said was “committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship”.

Unions raise safety concerns over ‘gig economy’ cowboys

Unions NSW and some tradespeople are calling on the Federal Government to set up an independent regulator to oversee the emerging gig economy, amid concerns workers’ safety is at risk.

They have tracked the online marketplace Airtasker and found what appears to be unlicensed operators taking on risky jobs, such as asbestos removal, at low costs.

ASIC prefers quicker, cheaper enforcement action: Ian Ramsay

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au) rarely punishes financial services wrongdoing through the courts, raising questions about whether the regular sent strong enough deterrence messages in the years leading up to the royal commission , University of Melbourne economics professor Ian Ramsay says.

Analysis by Professor Ramsay, who chaired a Turnbull-government initiated review of dispute resolution in the financial system, reveals just 11 per cent of ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au enforcement action in the area of financial services between 2011 and 2016 was criminal in nature.

Artificial intelligence disrupting insurance sector

Big data and artificial intelligence (AI) is where startup funding is concentrated in the insurance sector. With insure tech boasting a transparent and near instant alternative, a disruptive 21st century beckons for underwriters…

Freelancing in the so-called ‘gig economy’ is growing, from Uber drivers to Amazon deliverers. This self-employed sector, which also includes many in creative industries like film crews and music producers, is where insurance technology startup Tapoly is aiming to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to big data, to offer short-term insurance in minutes .

ATO reveals benchmarks on business performance

“Our benchmark data is from income tax returns and activity statements of over 1.4 million small businesses around the country. With such a large data set, things like locality and different business circumstances are included when we calculate the average range for each industry,” said assistant ATO Australian Taxation Office commissioner Matthew Bambrick.

“Businesses can use these benchmarks not just to check that they’re getting their tax and reporting obligations right, but also to provide information to support their decisions on how to improve their profitability.”

Embattled franchise sector faces parliamentary inquiry

On March 20, Senator John Williams will notify the joint coalition senate party room of plans to move a referral to hold a parliamentary inquiry into the scandal-ridden $170 billion franchise sector.

Senator Williams has been working closely with the Minister for Small Business, Craig Laundy, on the proposed terms of reference.

Small business upbeat on trade

Small businesses are increasingly optimistic about the returns from operating in world markets as the global economy gains strength.

The twice-yearly survey of small exporting businesses, conducted by the government-owned Export Finance Insurance Corporation, has found a high level of confidence.

Australia’s Open Banking era

Australia is a step closer to adopting an Open Banking framework that will revolutionise the way financial products and services are delivered to customers.

Open Banking will require the nation’s largest financial institutions to make customer data readily available to other companies, thereby allowing them to create a range of new offerings. It will encourage new entrants into the market, stimulating competition and reducing costs. The changes will also chart a course for secure digital interaction between service providers and application developers well beyond its initial scope of financial services.

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