News Pulse for October 22, 2018

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

Westpac CIO warns of regulatory and security risks as open banking and skills shortage looms

Westpac Banking Group’s technology boss Dave Curran has warned of long-term problems for the Australian economy if banks, government, regulators and technology companies do not improve the way they work together to address new challenges posed by digital advances.

In a colourful address to a Trans-Tasman Business Circle event on Friday afternoon, the influential tech executive laid bare the challenges facing institutions caused by impending open banking rules and yawning technology skills shortages, and warned the country risks being left behind in the tech-driven world without better co-ordination.

Jobless rate at seven-year low

The Reserve Bank’s full employment target has been reached more than two years ahead of forecast after the jobless rate fell to its lowest point since 2012, raising the possibility of interest rate hikes earlier than expected.

Ahead of tomorrow’s Wentworth by-election, Jobs Minister Kelly O’Dwyer hailed the ­employment figures, which revealed the jobless rate had dropped to 5 per cent in September, down from 5.3 per cent a month earlier.

Paper-free payments: Australia and NZ work on e-invoicing standard

Paper bills are one step closer to being eliminated, with Australia and New Zealand looking at ways to create trans-Tasman standards for electronic invoicing.

The two nations are hoping to save $30 billion over 10 years by driving the adoption of e-invoicing by governments and businesses to achieve more streamlined payments.

Alarming downturn in Aussie innovation

JUST three years after then prime minister Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15 declared an “ideas boom” would be the new source of Australia’s growth, it appears our enthusiasm for innovation has waned.

The largest survey of Australia’s start-up economy — the Startup Muster — has found a 12.5 per cent decline in the number of early-stage start-ups in the past year.

“Absolutely powerless”: Business owners are having their ideas stolen, but what can they do about it?

After seeing her product stolen and sold by a multinational healthcare company, Amanda Clark says she felt “absolutely powerless”.

“I remember going to an IP lawyer, who took one look at the size of the company and said: ‘Do you really want to pursue this?’,” she says.

‘Authority creep’ has more agencies accessing your metadata

More government agencies are accessing people’s phone and internet records than originally envisaged, in what critics are describing as “authority creep”.

Controversial laws which came into force last year compel telecommunications companies to retain metadata on their customers, including information on who you call or text, where you make calls from, and who you send emails to.

Swift Brings World Open Banking Sandbox For Fintechs

SWIFT in conjunction with Australia’s New Payments Platform (NPP) have launched a sandbox that allows independent fintechs to test the NPP network—an Australian, industry-wide infrastructure to enable almost real-time, 24/7 payments.

The network is Australia’s bid to replace the clunky legacy infrastructure that permeated the nation’s finance scene.

Marketlend calls for fintech clean-up, end to predatory practices

Unscrupulous lending practices by local fintechs must be weeded out and the industry more closely scrutinised by regulators, according to Leo Tyndall, the founder of peer-to-peer lender Marketlend.

He is concerned the fintech industry is fraught with lending practices that take advantage of small and medium-sized businesses, adding to the difficulties they often face in getting credit.

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