Fairer deal needed for a new economic world

The Australian | Thursday 14 March 2019

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Australia’s economic growth ground to a near standstill in the second half of last year and the economy is now experiencing a per capita recession, igniting fears the 27-year stretch of uninterrupted expansion is coming to an end.

As troubling as the GDP numbers are, Australia has been experiencing a period of wage stagnation since the global financial crisis, similar to that which has vexed the US economy since 2001, characterised by a decoupling of wages and productivity growth.

Australia’s automation opportunity: reigniting productivity and inclusive income growth

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Australian Public Affairs partnered with McKinsey & Company for the media and event launch of their major research report, Australia’s automation opportunity.

This is the Australian Public Affairs team at the event, which brought together government, industry and educational leaders to kick-start a national discussion about Australia’s response to the automation age.

'Numerous jobs and professions will change': up to six million could be lost from automation

The Sydney Morning Herald | Monday 4 March 2019

Source: McKinsey

Source: McKinsey

Unemployment could spike by up to 2.5 percentage points as a result of the expected automation of up to 46 per cent of jobs in Australia by 2030, a new report has warned.

McKinsey Australia says that left to its own devices, automation could see Australia's unemployment rate rise without retraining for people whose jobs are lost.

We trust doctors and teachers but not the politicians

Sunday Telegraph, Sydney | Sunday 3 March 2019

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DOCTORS and teachers are among the most trusted professions in Australia, new research shows.

Doctors sit at 91 per cent and teachers at 84 per cent, followed closely by engineers (83 per cent) and police (78 per cent).

And despite the recent issues in the financial and banking sectors, accountants are also rated highly, trusted by three-quarters of Australians.

The trust ratings are based on a Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand survey of 16 groups to generate a deeper understanding of trust in institutions and professions.

CAANZ’s Geraldine Magarey said that trust in institutions appears to be falling.

“Who and why we trust is changing but trust in experts remains constant. That may be because experts are objective, speaking from their expertise rather than from a self-serving position, which often undercuts trust in institutions,” she said. Political parties are the least trusted institution at a measly 20 per cent, followed by news media (39 per cent) and religious institutions (40 per cent).

And, after the Banking Royal Commission’s scathing report, banks are not far behind, trusted by 42 per cent of Australians, according to the findings. By contrast, 67 per cent of New Zealanders trust banks.

The research also found that the increase in technology as a means to communicate is not damaging trust in the delivery of services, however the move away from face-to-face contact is. “As we move towards more electronic communication, we must also not neglect our more traditional ways of maintaining relationships, such as meeting people and getting on the phone,” Ms Magarey said.

Final report into the Opal Tower released, impact on the property industry revealed

Smart Property Investment | Friday 22 Februray 2019

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Since the end of last year, the Opal Tower at Sydney Olympic Park has faced intense scrutiny following structural damage; this has shone a light on build quality across Australia.

On Friday, the NSW Department of Planning released their final report into the Opal Tower, identifying the cause of structural damage, how the damage can be repaired and how to avoid this from happening again.

Breaking news: West Syd feels inequality more than east

News.com.au | Friday 22 Februray 2019

Photo:  iStock

Photo: iStock

The divide between Sydney's east and west is growing, according to a peak social services body, which blames access to healthcare, transport and education.

Almost a quarter of people west of Parramatta and 20 per cent in the regions believe social inequality is sharply rising, compared to 15 per cent in Sydney's east, polling shows.

Cost of living in Sydney pushing many to limits but NSW election offers little hope

ABC News | Monday 18 February 2019

Photo:  David Boyd and his daughter Kali Boyd in their two-bedroom apartment in Penshurst. (ABC News: Mridula Amin )

Photo: David Boyd and his daughter Kali Boyd in their two-bedroom apartment in Penshurst. (ABC News: Mridula Amin )

David Boyd's story is proof that life can turn on a dime.

He was once a high-flying banker, but his life began to unravel when he lost his job in the global financial crisis and now he struggles to find the money to provide for the basics for his 10-year-old daughter Kali.

Disaster aid charity steps in to feed south Auckland families

Stuff NZ | Saturday 16 February 2019

IMOGEN NEALE/STUFF  Papakura woman Charlotte Te Pou says the community she loves is struggling. She is among those to receive a food parcel from a charity that traditionally focuses on natural disasters.

IMOGEN NEALE/STUFF

Papakura woman Charlotte Te Pou says the community she loves is struggling. She is among those to receive a food parcel from a charity that traditionally focuses on natural disasters.

A charity traditionally associated with disaster relief is helping a south Auckland community with its crisis – food. 

From late 2018, the Rapid Relief Team (RRT) has provided Papakura police with emergency food boxes that contain enough food for a family of four to live on for 24 hours.

Insight into Brethren community

ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt | Friday 8 February 2019

The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church community has long been regarded as insular, with some even accusing it of being a cult.

But the community is now speaking out.

The church welcomed ABC to its Cunderdin Woodthorpe school campus to meet two Year 12 graduates and find out more about as life as a Brethren at school.

Innovative advances - Scrubbing up

Australian Women’s Weekly | February 2019

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New Zealand organisation Beyond Skin Deep is upcycling discarded hotel soaps to help save the lives of vulnerable young children. According to the World Health Organisation, diarrhoea kills around 525,000 children under five each year. The partly used hotel soaps are cleaned and made into hygienic new bars which are then distributed by global charity Rapid Relief Team to communities in need of improved sanitation in Argentina and the Caribbean.

Watchdog seeks urgent construction reforms

Sydney’s Opal Tower. Picture: Dylan Robinson

Sydney’s Opal Tower. Picture: Dylan Robinson

The peak body representing certifiers in NSW has launched a campaign in the lead-up to the state election calling for “commonsense” reforms to the construction sector, including a comprehensive licensing scheme, mandatory insurance and a dedicated building portfolio.

The Association of Accredited Certifiers has called on the next state government to commit to eight “vital” reforms of the construction industry and to make the sweeping changes within the first 100 days of government after the election on March 23.

Sydney rents drop for first time in 12 years, Domain report finds

PHOTO:  The median rent for a Sydney house dropped to $540 a week. (ABC News: Liz Pickering)

PHOTO: The median rent for a Sydney house dropped to $540 a week. (ABC News: Liz Pickering)

Sydney is no longer the nation's most expensive capital city to rent a house according to a report showing rental prices dropping for the first time in 12 years.

Canberra's house rental rates have surpassed Sydney after the average cost of renting a house in the NSW capital dropped 1.8 per cent in the last year, according to the Domain Rental Report.

Taking control of taxes year round

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TAX AND SUPER RULES CHANGE CONSTANTLY SO DON’T WAIT UNTIL TAX TIME 2019 TO CHECK-IN WITH YOUR ACCOUNTANT FOR AN UPDATE.

With the year just beginning thinking about next year’s tax may be the last thing you want to do.

However, mid-year tax planning is essential, Taxes are not just an annual event. Some Australians stress out about tax, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Preparing for your 2019 taxes throughout the year cannot only make the tax return process smoother, but it may also help to maximise your return.

Here’s 10 things you can do now to take control of your 2019 taxes:

1. LOOK BACK AT LAST YEAR’S RETURN

Hopefully by now you’ve already filed your 2018 return.

If you haven’t, now’s the time to get cracking.

However, if you’ve already done this year’s taxes, take some time to reflect back and think about the areas that were particularly demanding or complex for you.

Now is the time to plan, so that your next tax return is stress-free.

2. SET UP A SYSTEM

Much like skinning a cat – there’s more than one way to organise your tax records.

Don’t wait until the end of June to start organising your important tax documents and receipts. Have a system to keep everything in one place.

3. ADJUST YOUR PAYG

Why is it important?

The amount of PAYG tax withheld each payday determines whether you’ll get a refund, break-even, or owe tax when it comes to filing your tax return.

Whether you want your tax return to act as an annual savings plan, or prefer to breakeven, the goal is to eliminate any surprises at tax time.

4. RETAIN YOUR RECEIPTS

If you own a business or plan to claim taxable deductions, it is imperative you hold on to your receipts.

While receipts are not needed when filing your tax return, they are usually required should the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) decide to audit your tax return.

There are helpful smartphone apps to help keep track of your outgoings, but when it comes to filing, you should speak to your local chartered accountant about what you can and can’t claim, as it varies person to person, and year to year.

5. CHART YOUR CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS

Fortunately, doing good for others has the benefit of giving your tax refund a boost.

Keep records of all tax-deductible gifts and contributions you make over the year.

6. SORT YOUR SUPER SAVINGS

Employers pay 9.5 per cent of employee earnings into super, but are you thinking about contributing more for your retirement yet? If you have some funds to spare, extra contributions can be tax effective.

Learn more about your super. Log into your super fund account, check your balance, and know what’s going on including what option(s) you have invested in.

7. CHECK FOR NEW TAX RULES AND POLICIES

Tax and super rules change constantly so don’t wait until tax time 2019 to check-in with your accountant for an update.

There may have been tax breaks you have taken advantage of in the past that are no longer applicable, or there may be tax legislation changes that have come into effect impacting how much tax you will owe. With a Federal Election coming in 2019, think about the tax policies of the major parties and the impact on your finances.

It pays to know.

8. POTENTIAL TAX BREAKS

The ATO offers plenty of deductions that have the potential to reduce your tax liability.

But if you’re spending the cash just to get a tax break, you may end up worse off.

9. PLAN FOR THE UNEXPECTED

Nobody likes receiving an unwanted tax or super top-up tax bill – let alone an unexpected one.

The ATO expects you to manage your cashflow and pay your tax when due.

Your local chartered accountant can help you anticipate, and plan for, your personal and business tax requirements.

10. USE A CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT

When it comes to managing your finances, you want to be sure that your money is being cared for in the best, most professional way possible.

While many can technically call themselves an ‘accountant’, how do you know you’re choosing a good one?

Chartered accountants must meet educational, ethical and professional standards. The bar is set high, so choose a CA and be in safe hands.

Michael Croker is the tax leader at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

6 books to buy the accountant in your life

Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

As the year winds down, and our beach umbrellas come out, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) has given us the scoop on this year’s finance must-reads for 2019.

“Wherever you’re headed this summer, prioritising yourself by indulging in a great read may give you the boost you’re looking for to start 2019 off with a bang,” said a CA ANZ spokesperson.

Christmas hay a gift to farmers

FREE HAY: The Brethren Rapid Relief Team (RRT), who made a significant contribution to local drought relief locally and nationally, are helping Goulburn with their hay distribution at the recreation area on Saturday. Photo:suppliedRRT

FREE HAY: The Brethren Rapid Relief Team (RRT), who made a significant contribution to local drought relief locally and nationally, are helping Goulburn with their hay distribution at the recreation area on Saturday. Photo:suppliedRRT

GOULBURN Mulwaree Council has teamed up with the Rapid Relief Team and ARW Multigroup to give away 600 bales of hay this Saturday, December 22 between 7am and 4pm at the Goulburn Recreation Area.

Despite good rains filling dams around the district, adequate stock feed is still an issue for farmers, who have been hand feeding livestock for months. The rain has brought some pasture growth, but not enough for farmers to cease feeding. Those who have planted summer crops will need this feed going into next winter.

To help bridge the gap Goulburn Mulwaree Council is offering this hay which has been cut at the Council Wastewater Farm and is grass based. It is of a lower quality and suitable for cattle only; pickup is restricted to five bales per property.

“Farmers are asked to call Council’s Customer Service team on 4823 4444, before 12 noon, Thursday December 20 to register. To do this you will need to provide them with your name and property address, which must be located within Goulburn Mulwaree.” Mayor Bob Kirk said. “I would like to recognise the massive effort of ARW Multigroup, who cut and baled the hay and the Rapid Relief Team who will be running the distribution, loading each truck and running the barbecue.” “The rain has been brilliant and helped fill dams, but we recognise that there is still a tough summer ahead for our region.” Bales are 8 x 3 x 3, and three bales weighs around a tonne. Rapid Relief Team will load all utes and trucks, but drivers must secure their own loads.