What’s New? – 24 May 2023

Welcome to our Weekly Digest – stay informed with recent news updates pertaining to business and the economy.

Launch of First Australian Social Media Platform for Business Owners

Australia has witnessed the introduction of ‘Business Connect,’ a novel social media platform designed exclusively for business owners. It facilitates connections among entrepreneurs, enabling them to exchange ideas, access resources, and promote their products and services.

Reminder from Australian Tax Office about Pre-2010 Employment Agreements

Employers are reminded by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) that pre-2010 employment agreements may still be legally binding. These agreements could include entitlements such as leave, overtime, and redundancy payments. Employers should review their agreements to ensure compliance with current legislation.

Significant Changes to Buy Now, Pay Later Schemes

The Australian government plans to implement a new regulatory system for buy now, pay later services, treating them similarly to credit cards. This includes the prohibition of late fees, a requirement for minimum repayments, and a limit on the number of services a customer can utilize. The objective is to safeguard consumers against irresponsible lending practices.

RBA Indicates Potential Necessity for Further Rate Rises

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has indicated the possibility of additional interest rate increases to maintain inflation control. The RBA also acknowledges that the current rate of 1.5% remains low and that the economy is in a favorable position.

Lack of Proper Consultation by Government on IR Reforms

Criticism has been directed at the government for its failure to consult with peak bodies prior to implementing industrial relations reforms. This has been viewed as a lack of respect towards these organizations and their members, demonstrating insufficient understanding of the challenges they face.

Angus Taylor Attributes Rising Inflation to Federal Government Decisions: Australia’s Cost of Living Crisis

Angus Taylor claims that the Federal Government’s decisions are responsible for the escalating inflation in Australia, leading to a cost of living crisis in the country.

Reduced Cost of Childcare in Australia Starting from July – Possibility of Free Childcare

Commencing in July, the Australian government will implement a new subsidy system to decrease childcare expenses. This system will replace the current childcare rebates and will be means-tested, resulting in varying subsidy amounts based on family income. The government has not yet discussed the prospect of free childcare.

Bunnings’ Trial of Shorter Working Week Raises Questions

Bunnings has announced a trial of a four-day work week for its employees, aiming to enhance work-life balance. The trial, involving a selected group of staff members, will reduce working hours without reducing pay. It is part of a broader initiative to improve the well-being of Bunnings’ workforce.

Notable Change to Australian Student Loans

The Australian Government has adjusted the repayment thresholds for HELP loans due to inflation. As a result, individuals earning over $45,881 will now be required to commence loan repayments. This change will impact over 1.2 million Australians and contribute to reducing the national debt.

Increase in Unemployment Rate

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the unemployment rate rose to 7.3% in April, up from 6.4% in March. This is the highest rate since August 2020, primarily attributable to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ABS also reported a decrease of 39,100 employed individuals in April.

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