News Pulse for April 13, 2018

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


Staff cuts, outsourcing contributing to ‘toxic’ Tax Office culture

Labor has called on the Turnbull government to consider the role of temporary workers and external consultancies in the public service as part of an urgent investigation into the Australian Taxation Office, after revelations of unfair treatment of small business and working Australians.

Deputy chair of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee Julian Hill says public servants have told him arbitrary staffing caps and long running labour hire contracts have contributed to a toxic culture inside the ATO Australian Taxation Office, which is accused of bullying, intimidation and cover-ups against taxpayers and small business.

On the road to open banking

Australian banks are working hard to get ahead of regulators and scrutinise their cyber security procedures in line with a global financial community still haunted by the $US81 million digital heist of the Bangladesh’s central bank in 2016.

That’s the view of the newest major entrant to the region’s cyber security community, Silicon Valley-headquartered Illumio, which last month opened its regional head office in Sydney.

Westpac says open banking needs more time to limit systemic risk


Westpac Banking Corp says in order to limit new, systemic risks that “open banking” will introduce to the financial system, banks need more time to design and test the regime. It warned that even if it is designed well, fraud costs could rise by up to five times.

In a submission to Treasury, Westpac also says the proposed design for open banking will attract hackers via a new wave of phishing attacks seeking to steal banking passwords.

Digital grants amongst recommendations to help SMEs against overseas, online competitors

A parliamentary committee chaired by ex-Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce has made six recommendations to the Federal Government to help small businesses compete against overseas, internet-based firms marketing to Australian consumers.

In its report into the impact of global, internet-based competition on local businesses, the Innovation, Industry, Science and Resources Committee recommended the creation of a digital grants program, providing small businesses with matched funding to “take advantage of digital economy opportunities such as online retail”.

Uber Eats accused of unfair contracts against SMEs

Food delivery service Uber Eats has found itself the subject of a bitter public complaint by a disgruntled business that alleged below par service. Yet a bigger concern pertains to Uber Eats’ contract terms.

In the lengthy post made on Facebook on 10 April 2018, Burgers by Josh – which operates three outlets in Sydney and Wollongong – claimed that “our google [sic] reviews have been tarnished by unhappy customers who’s [sic] issue is with [Uber Eats] delivery drivers”.


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