Pulse Alert – News Pulse for July 10, 2019

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

It’s been a good year for listed fintechs; here’s where analysts are staying bullish

Fintech is still a buzzword that creates plenty of talking points in local markets.

In the unlisted space, the focus is largely on the influx of neobanks — digital lenders with no legacy of physical branches.

Having just crossed into a new financial year, we figured now was a pretty good time to take a scoreboard check. And despite the various differences of opinion and uncertainty, it’s been a pretty good year so far.


New anti-encryption law documents reveal Australian tech companies were mostly ignored

Documents released by the Home Affairs department suggest it did not consult with Australian technology companies about its encryption laws before releasing a public draft.

Government officials spoke multiple times with US technology giants Apple, Facebook and Microsoft about the proposed legislation in 2017 and 2018, according to heavily redacted records obtained under freedom of information laws.


Rosita borrowed $250 and then faced debt collectors. Now ASIC is cracking down

The corporate regulator has announced it will wield new powers for the first time in a bid to shut down a controversial online payday lender.

Under laws brought in before the federal election, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au) was given the ability to ban or change financial products where there was a risk of causing harm to consumers.


Kelty challenges both parties on tax

Little wonder the Morrison government leapt on Bill Kelty’s argument Australia’s current levels of income tax, including the top marginal tax rate, remain far too high.

It is naturally keen to reinforce Labor’s continuing policy confusion about tax cuts following Bill ShortenHon Bill Shorten MP,  Federal Member for Maribyrnong Leader of the Opposition from 13.10.13’s election drubbing.


Australia’s ‘encryption’ law could erode consumer trust in tech: Amazon

Online retail and cloud computing giant Amazon has warned MPs that Australia’s so-called ‘encryption’ law could erode consumer trust in technology.

The claim by the US company is contained in a submission to an inquiry of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCISParliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security). The PJCISParliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is examining the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 , which was passed on the last parliamentary sitting day of 2018.


Telcos are handing over more metadata than legally required

Australian telcos are handing over more metadata than legally required to law enforcement agencies, and charging them exorbitant fees for it, Victoria’s anti-corruption body has alleged.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission told a federal inquiry into the retention of metadata there needed to be greater oversight and regulation of the scheme, revealing service providers “frequently” supplied them with data outside the parameters of their request.


Businesses vent frustration as tax calls double

Calls to the Tax Office have almost doubled as the transition to digital payrolls combined with enthusiasm about new tax cuts drives large volumes of enquiries from taxpayers.

A record 650,000 Australians lodged their tax returns in the first week of July, with the government successfully passing its income tax cut package. The Australian Taxation Office warned last week that tens of thousands of phone calls would result in longer wait times for businesses and individual taxpayers.


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