Monthly Archives: April 2019

GST burden killing small business

EDS: NOT TO BE USED BEFORE 0001 AEDT ON FEBRUARY 24, 2015

By Belinda Merhab

SYDNEY, Feb 24 AAP – Politicians and central bankers scratching their heads wondering why businesses aren’t investing ought to speak to Sydney hairdresser Penny Martin.

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After running her own salon for several years, the burden of GST paperwork became so stressful, costly and time-consuming she decided to call it quits.

Ms Martin decided to work from home instead, letting five employees go and turning down clients to keep her annual revenue below $75,000 – all to avoid GST paperwork.

She supplements her income by teaching.

“I have purposely scaled down my business for that very reason, because it’s all just too much,” Ms Martin told AAP.

“I do not want to cop the GST, I’d rather earn less, go away and do a couple of days teaching a week and say no to customers and not bother, it’s just not worth it.

“I had five people that I employed, people doing work experience from schools, people in juvenile justice used to come and do work experience with me, all that commitment, all the charity events, all those things, gone.

“There’s no incentive to try and get on in this country.”

Ms Martin’s story paints a bleak picture at a time when Australia’s jobless rate is rising to decade highs and the economy is struggling to grow.

Sluggish business investment was a key reason the Reserve Bank recently scaled back its forecasts for Australia’s economic growth, and in turn, cut interest rates to a record low.

RBA officials have repeatedly blamed a lack of business confidence and risk-taking as the major barrier to the economy’s ability to compensate for dwindling mining investment.

They say it’s up to the politicians to work out how to rouse those spirits.

Perhaps they should give Penny Martin a call.

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Govt jobs scheme being ‘rorted’

Private employment agencies are reportedly ripping off a taxpayer-funded program designed to find jobs for unemployed people.

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But the federal government is confident it has cracked down on the problem and improvements will be made in a matter of months.

An ABC TV investigation has found widespread rorting of the billion dollar Job Services Australia scheme, through which the government pays agencies to find and keep job seekers in work.

Some agencies are forging job seekers’ signatures to claim thousands of dollars in fees from the government, while others are manipulating records or lodging inflated claims for fees.

One man was left homeless because he had to pay back money to the government after a doctored document falsely claimed he had worked, a whistleblower told the Four Corners program on Monday.

Loopholes were also exposed in a government wage subsidy scheme that pays employers to take on the unemployed.

The government says it is overhauling the scheme under changes to come into effect in July.

The new system will include better performance monitoring, reporting and quality assurances, Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker said.

Agencies will undergo more rigorous quality standards to be eligible to deliver services.

“The coalition’s new employment services system will undo Labor’s mistakes and restore greater integrity to the system,” he said in a statement.

The peak body representing non-profit employment organisations, Jobs Australia, said there were legitimate concerns about some factors that underpin the Job Services Australia scheme.

However, its achievements also deserved to be acknowledged.

It said the scheme assists about 800,000 job seekers at any point in time, and that more than a quarter of job seekers find a job and exit JSA within three months.

This was despite the fact that the system was “incredibly complex, with a confusing payment model and thousands of pages of rules that must be interpreted and applied by individual staff”.

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HSBC apologises as CEO mired in scandal

HSBC executives have offered a fresh mea culpa as its chief executive found himself personally mired in the scandal surrounding allegations that the bank helped wealthy clients dodge taxes.

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Europe’s biggest bank by market value said past practices at its Swiss private bank were “unacceptable” as it reported that 2014 net income fell 16 per cent to $US13.7 billion ($A17.46 billion). Meanwhile, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported that Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver had an account at the same unit.

Gulliver said he opened the account through a Panamanian company to protect his own privacy because other executives at HSBC’s Hong Kong offices were able to see what their colleagues were earning.

The account “enabled me him to have confidentiality within my own firm,” he said.

While Gulliver insisted that he had paid all tax due on the money in the account – reportedly more than STG5 million ($A9.82 million) – the Guardian’s story offered fresh embarrassment for a business reeling from allegations that forced it to publicly apologise last week.

HSBC acknowledged Monday that 2014 profits “disappointed” and said the figures included the costs of paying settlements to cover past failings. These include $US550 million ($A701 million) the bank set aside last year to cover penalties for manipulating foreign currency markets.

But Gulliver and Chairman Douglas Flint, on their first conference call since the tax avoidance scandal broke, said they should be given credit for the work they’ve done in addressing past wrongs. Flint, though, admitted in a statement the bank needed to demonstrate its “value to society”.

“The recent disclosures around unacceptable historical practices and behaviour within the Swiss private bank remind us of how much there still is to do and how far society’s expectations have changed in terms of banks’ responsibilities,” Flint said in a written statement.

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Pakistan chief selector Moin criticised for casino visit

“I have spoken to Moin and we have sought an explanation from him.

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It is inappropriate he should be at a casino at a time when our team is not doing well,” PCB chief Shaharyar Khan told the media in Lahore.

Reports in Pakistan have said that Moin, a former test captain, had visited a casino on the night of the match against West Indies in which Pakistan were hammered by 150 runs — their worst ever defeat in a World Cup.

There was no suggestion that Moin would be asked to return.

“Right now we have not thought about it nor taken any decision to call him back. We will make a judgement after all the facts are known,” Khan said.

Moin, who was removed as the team manager before the World Cup, was sent with the team for the World Cup — a surprise move as in the past the PCB never allowed its chief selector to accompany the team on foreign tours.

The Pakistan board and team has come under fire after losing its first two matches to fierce rivals India and West Indies and also losing a one-day series in New Zealand.

The defeats have increased calls for the PCB board and management to be changed.

Even before the tournament began the management had fined some players for violating curfews, including senior squad members Shahid Afridi and Ahmed Shehzad.

Khan said that the board was also disappointed with the team’s showing so far but that the players themselves were hurt knowing they had let the people down.

“The players have promised a turnaround in remaining matches and they can still qualify for the knockout stage,” he said.

“Right now we are fully supporting the team. And the media should also support them by not overly criticising them.

“Any inquiry would be held after the team returns home to find out what went wrong.”

Pakistan face Zimbabwe this weekend.

(Editing by Martyn Herman)

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Simeone can be the Alex Ferguson of Spain, Tiago says

Simeone, who took over at the end of 2011, has a deal with the Spanish champions until June 2017, while Ferguson became the most successful British manager in history when he was in charge at Manchester United between 1986 and 2012.

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Under the inspirational Simeone, Atletico have won the Europa League, the King’s Cup and their first La Liga title in 18 years, while Ferguson’s haul of silverware included 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League crowns.

“We all know what Simeone means for the club and we want him to stay as long as possible,” Tiago told a news conference ahead of Atletico’s Champions League last 16, first leg at Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.

“We have seen what has been published in the media (about a contract extension) and we are very pleased,” added the Portuguese.

“The talk is of five years but we would like it to be 10. But it’s an issue for the boss and the club and we can’t let it distract us. This is a very important part of the season.”

Some of Atletico’s wealthier rivals will be monitoring Simeone’s contract talks and perhaps considering making a bid to lure the 44-year-old away from the Calderon.

A former Atletico and Argentina midfielder, Simeone has transformed the club from also-rans into Spanish champions ahead of vastly richer Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona and genuine contenders in Europe.

They pipped Real and Barca to the domestic league title last term and reached the final of Europe’s elite club competition, where they lost to Real in extra time having coming within seconds of an historic victory.

Tiago said he and his team mates were ready to take on Leverkusen and had put this month’s surprise La Liga reverse at Celta Vigo behind them.

“We have had time to prepare for this important phase of the competition,” Tiago said.

“All the players are on top form and the squad is strong and prepared. Results are what count in football and hopefully we can show with results that we are all in good shape.”

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Martyn Herman)

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