Archive for the ‘Federal Government’ Category

eBay exec slams proposed GST for goods purchased online

Friday, August 1st, 2014
Photo courtesy of Ryan Fanshaw on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Ryan Fanshaw on Flickr

Applying the GST to online purchases under $1,000 isn’t fair for people who cannot afford to travel outside the country to buy cheaper goods, an eBay executive has said.

While in Sydney for a meeting with the G20 taskforce that is looking at ways to reduce trade barriers — including taxes imposed on online sales — head of eBay’s government relations, Tod Cohen, said enacting the GST on purchases below $1,000 would turn sites like eBay and Amazon into tax collectors.

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird has pushed hard for lowering the GST threshold for online purchases and has talked about taxing global online sales above $20.

“Any time you get down to that type of threshold, you’re discriminating against Australians who can travel and those who can’t travel,” Cohen says.

“We try to maintain an opportunity for people to participate in the global marketplace and one of quickest ways to shut that down is by imposing taxes. There’s no way they’ll drop the threshold for international travellers. We’re not going to see duty-free shut down.”

Cohen says $1000 was a ­reasonable threshold, given the threshold in the United States was $800 and Europe was about the same.

To read the full story, click here.

Oak Flats woman busted for dodgy online business practices

Monday, July 14th, 2014
Photo courtesy of Widjaya Ivan on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Widjaya Ivan on Flickr

Roselyn Joy Wilson, formerly of Oak Flats, New South Wales, has been fined $6,510 by Fair Trading and ordered to pay a total $11,120 compensation to six customers for scamming them via her fake internet business.

Dozens of customers complained about not receiving generators purchased from Wilson’s online business, Quality Direct Pty Ltd.

The fake online business,, purported to sell generators at a discounted price, provided customers pay for goods upfront.

At least six customers were ripped off between February and June, 2012, after they deposited sums of almost $2000 each into an account but received no generators.

“Consumers were left high and dry by [Wilson], who simply stopped taking calls from frustrated people demanding to know when their generator would be delivered,” Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said.

“It appears [she] had no intention of supplying the goods she received payment for and she then failed to co-operate with Fair Trading once consumers sought our intervention.

“Failing to provide goods and services in a timely manner is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading will take action against any online trader who thinks they will get away with such dishonest behaviour.”

Fair Trading received more than 50 complaints about the business in 2011 and 2012, prompting it to warn the public about dealing with Wilson or Quality Direct.

To read more on this story, click here.

Entrepreneurs unimpressed with government’s new funding plans

Monday, July 7th, 2014
Photo courtesy of Howard Lake on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Howard Lake on Flickr

Entrepreneurs have slammed the federal government’s new $484.2 million entrepreneurship program, which would offer less funding and introduce additional obstacles than the grant schemes it replaces.

A discussion paper released by the Department of Industry recently proposed that the government offer $250,000 grants to start-ups from this November to commercialise their idea over a two-year period.

Funding for the program would need to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the private sector, and the company applying for those grants would have to demonstrate a need for government funding as well as any “significant national benefits” from their product or idea.

Entrepreneurs would also be able to apply for $20,000 in funding, matched by the private sector, to hire advisors on their business, while research programs would be able to access $50,000 in matched funding to move research into a business for development.

But, the grants proposed by the government are significantly less than the up to $2 million in matched funding offered under its predecessor Commercialisation Australia, which was axed alongside other programs in the government’s latest budget.

Mick Liubinskas, who helps run Telstra’s start-up incubator Muru D, said the program did not appear to provide the support needed to boost the country’s technology sector.

“It’s just weak,” he said. “The main thing seems to be advisors for entrepreneurs, advisors for research and advisors for commercialising — it’s a great time to be an advisor but I don’t know if that’s going to be nearly enough to spark significant growth in the ecosystem. It seems like a big missed opportunity.”

To read more on this story, click here.

All the legalities you ought to know for running an ecommerce site

Friday, July 4th, 2014
Photo courtesy of on Flickr

Photo courtesy of on Flickr

WA Today has posted a comprehensive list of all the legal details you should consider when starting an online business.

The list contains information about:

  • business registration
  • your business or company name
  • your business domain name
  • what you need for taxation purposes
  • applying for an ABN, and
  • licences and permits.

It also points readers to where they can get more legal tools and tips from the Australian government.

Also in an effort to help out small business owners, the Brisbane Times has published a list of programmes and initiatives that small business owners should know, plus how to register a domain name in Australia.

The Times’ list includes:

  • the Small Business Advisory Service program
  • the Single Business Service
  • the National Broadband Network, and
  • Digital Economy programs.

To see WA Today’s list of legal issues for ecommerce business owners, click here.

To see the Brisbane Times’ list of programmes and initiatives for small business owners, click here. To see the Times’ guide for registering a domain name, click here.

Herald offers legal advice for domain owners

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Photo credit; Tristan The Booklight on Flickr
Photo credit; Tristan The Booklight on Flickr

The Sydney Morning Herald offers the following advice for domain owners to help them better protect their domains:

When you register a domain name you get a license giving you the exclusive right to use that domain name for a specific period. For .au domains this is two years.

Can someone register domain names that are similar to my business?

Yes they can. You have a license to use the specific domain names that you register. Other parties can register and use similar domain names.

Is this illegal?
No, simply registering domain names that are similar to another business’s domain name, does not breach current Australian law.
However, there are other serious considerations, including:
  • Australian Domain Name Authority (auDA) policy applies to all .au domains and all Australian domain holders. Australian domain names may only be registered to Australian businesses. and domain names must be “an exact match, abbreviation or acronym of the registrant’s name or trademark or closely and substantially connected to the registrant”. Failure to demonstrate this connection can lead to the domain name being cancelled, under auDA policy.
  • Using another trader’s registered trademark in the registered classes may be trademark infringement and a breach of the Trade Marks Act 1995.
  • Australian Consumer Law prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct, including false and misleading representations that one business has an affiliation with another business that it does not have.
  • Using another trader’s branding and/or trademarks, even if the branding is not a registered trademark, may be passing off.

How can I protect my brand online?

Legal solutions

  • Choose a brand that is clearly distinguishable from your competitors can be easier to protect and defend.
  • Include a copyright notice in your website terms that sets out your intellectual property rights.
  • Consider registering variations of your main domain name.
  • Register your business trade mark to give you the exclusive right to use this trade mark as a brand name for the products or services specific in your registration.
  • Check for infringement.

To read more on this story, click here.

Federal government to aid small businesses in adopting cloud computing

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
Photo credit; FutUndBeidl on Flickr

Photo credit; FutUndBeidl on Flickr

Federal communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, wants Australian small businesses to adopt cloud computing, and the federal government plans to help them by releasing a series of guides this week aimed at helping small businesses adopt and employ cloud services.

The guides have been launched following the findings of the Department of Communication’s Cloud Computing Government Stock Take report (PDF), which was released recently and reviews the existing regulation that applies to cloud services in Australia.

The new series of guides for SMEs comprises four titles:

  • cloud computing myths;
  • questions to ask your cloud provider;
  • small business privacy factsheet; and
  • legal tips for small business using cloud services.

“The guides … will assist Australian small businesses to be part of this revolution. They cover a range of topics from questions to ask your cloud provider, to legal issues to consider in the cloud,” said Turnbull in a statement posted on his office’s website.

“Cloud computing is already proving to be revolutionary for small businesses, as it significantly lowers cost barriers to ICT adoption,” he said. “KPMG estimates the increased adoption of cloud services in Australian firms could boost the Australian economy by AU$3.32 billion a year.”

To read more on this story, click here.


Guidelines for ‘Made in Australia’ packaging claims released

Thursday, May 1st, 2014
Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Advertising your products as Australian made can be a huge boost for your business, but you do have some obligations to follow under Australia Consumer Law if you want to do that.

Making an incorrect statement about products made in Australia can lead to fines up to $1.1 million, so it’s worth it to educate yourself about what you need to know.

To help ensure you’re making these claims correctly, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has created the Country of origin claims and the Australian Consumer Law External link guide, which you can download from that link.

Australian Tourism introduces online booking widget for businesses

Monday, March 10th, 2014
Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Tourism Australia has introduced the free Australian Tourism Booking Widget for Australian tourism businesses to help them manage their bookings online.

The Booking Widget is designed to support businesses in the accommodation, attractions, events and tours sectors.
It’s easy to install and can be used to:
  • take bookings
  • manage your rates
  • update availability
  • accept payments.
All you need to do is:
  1. Register online External link on the Tourism Australia website.
  2. Follow the step by step instructions to add the Booking Widget to your website or Facebook business page.

To read more about this story, click here.


The Heritage Foundation puts Australia in top three countries for doing business

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Conservative US think tank The Heritage Foundation has named Australia as third freest nation in which to do business, putting the country behind Hong Kong and Singapore, and above New Zealand and Taiwan in fourth and fifth place.

”With an economy that benefits from sound fundamentals including monetary stability, low public debt, and a vibrant employment market, Australia has weathered the global economic uncertainty well,” the Foundation said.”Openness to global trade and investment is firmly institutionalised, supported by a relatively efficient entrepreneurial framework and a well-functioning independent judiciary.”

The US dropped from the world’s 10th to 12th freest of the 186 nations surveyed.

Heritage Foundation analyst Bryan Riley said that while in the organisation’s view Labor’s stimulus package during the global financial crisis had been a negative, Australia’s bipartisan commitment to free trade and support for foreign investment, as well as its relatively low tax rates, were enough to keep it near the top.

To read more on this story, click here.

Business Spectator’s Gottliebsen predicts parcel delivery war will benefit online retailers

Monday, February 17th, 2014
Photo credit; Lydia on Flickr

Photo credit; Lydia on Flickr

The Business Spectator’s Robert Gottliebsen has predicted that as the race heats up between Australia Post, Toll, Linfox and DHL for parcel delivery of online purchases, online retailers will benefit from the competition.

Currently, Australia Post holds a whopping 80% of the market, but the other players are making their run, Gottliebensen says.

He also predicts that brick and mortar shopping centres are in for a rude awakening as online sales continue to grow.

“As the online industry moves to ten per cent and higher proportions of the retail trade, economies of scale will kick in and drive online market share even further. Australia has been a major investor in shopping centres and I don’t think that the overall shopping centre industry fully appreciates the magnitude of what is going to hit them,” Gottliebsen says.

To read more on this story, click here.