The news you need to know, August 23, 2019

- August 23, 2019 2 MIN READ

Stay up to date with all the news that matters to small business owners with our daily news briefs. Here’s what you need to know on August 23, 2019.

  • A new law proposed by the Government that will allow the ATO to disclose the tax debts of small business owners to credit reporting agencies is set to jeopardise thousands of businesses, according to submissions to a senate inquiry. The proposal to introduce the law has been shot down by numerous lobby groups and small business advocates, including the Tax Ombudsman. There are concerns the planned Bill does not have enough safeguards to protect business owners from wrongful reporting. The new law would apply to businesses with a tax debt over $100,000 that is over 90 days past due. Currently, the ATO is owed over $24 billion in tax debts. Bad debts can remain on a person’s credit report for up to five years. A bad credit rating can affect a person’s access to finance. Lobbyists are concerned the move will cripple many of the nation’s business owners, preventing them from borrowing funds to scale or maintain their business.
  • Regional businesses could face the impact of changes to Australia’s migration process as the Government introduces new regional and global talent visas. Immigration experts suggest Australia’s permanent migration levels could drop by as much as 10,000 with the impact most likely to be felt in regional areas already struggling to attract talent. The regional and global talent visas represent 30,000 of the nation’s permanent visa intake, but changes to the way the visas are granted under these schemes are expected to cause a shortfall in regional areas. Former immigration official John Hourigan, president of the Migration Institute of Australia, told the ABC that employer-sponsored streams of the program provided the biggest concern for regional areas. “The program is currently set for 9,000; we probably believe they’d be lucky to get to 2,000 out of those places.”
  • Franchisees could be set for fairer deals as the findings of a government taskforce are revealed today. Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash told the Sydney Morning Herald the government wanted to make the sector fair. “The Franchising Taskforce is carefully considering changes to the regulation of franchising to make it fair and effective for both franchisors and franchisees, while avoiding unnecessary regulatory burden,” Cash said. Amongst the suggestions to provide fairer conditions:  the instigation of a single body to manage franchising disputes through mediation or mandatory arbitration.

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