Showing posts with label Compliance and Regulation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Compliance and Regulation. Show all posts

Thursday, 21 May 2015

First Access Canberra Service Centre officially opened

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has officially opened Winyu House, the new ACT Government office block in Gungahlin, and the first Access Canberra Service Centre that is located in the building.

The opening of Winyu House and the Access Canberra Service Centre will help stimulate business in the area and ensure the people of Gungahlin are supported as the region continues to grow.

The addition of more than 650 ACT Government staff working in the town centre will provide an added boost to local businesses.

The ACT Government worked closely with local developer, the KDN Group, to bring the project to fruition. The modern, open plan design of Winyu House sets a new standard for ACT Government accommodation, with a work space that promotes connectivity and openness. The building has been nominated for a 2015 Master Builders and Cbus Excellence in Building Award.

Located on the ground floor of the building is the first Access Canberra Service Centre that brings together over 200 services previously provided at separate locations. The Centre features an open plan layout without barriers that allows customers to more easily interact with staff.

The Chief Minister said "Access Canberra presents a great opportunity to trial new service delivery models to make it easier for people to do business with the ACT Government.  The digital-first Centre provides touch screens to enable a range of transactions to be easily completed online.  It will also operate under a new model in which payments can only be made electronically, using debit or credit cards."

The building houses the Access Canberra Service Centre, ACT Government’s Shared Services staff and a new early childhood centre.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

New one-stop shop for business developers and community groups

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has announced that the ACT Government will establish a new ‘one-stop shop’ to cut red tape and better connect Canberrans to government services.

Access Canberra will connect Canberrans to the ACT Government and will include the already well known service Canberra Connect. It’s new function will be to bring together our shopfronts and regulatory arms into a single service.

The service will be available to small and large businesses, community groups and individuals seeking access to permits, approvals and licenses needed to establish a new business or event in the ACT.

Chief Minister Barr said "I want to see Access Canberra engaging with these businesses and groups as soon as possible, discussing how the service can streamline engagement with ACT Government directorates."

"I regularly hear from businesses and individuals who feel frustrated at the multiple approval bodies they have to contact throughout the ACT Government during this process. As Chief Minister I want this to improve."

"The aim of the initiative is to introduce a ‘no wrong door’ approach for entrepreneurs engaging with the ACT Government. Access Canberra will work closely with businesses, community and sporting organisations to help them thrive. I also expect to see more services and information available online through Access Canberra."

"One of my priorities as the ACT Chief Minister is to have a greater focus on regulatory reform and to drive red tape reduction. It is important that the ACT Government maintains high standards of health, safety and probity for everyone in our community. However, we must also enable businesses and community groups to do great things in our city."

The new service will be located in the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

New laws to reduce red-tape for food businesses

New laws to be introduced into the Legislative Assembly this week will reduce red-tape for several food businesses and community groups by removing the need for not-for-profit groups to appoint a food safety supervisor when fundraising, Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher announced today.

"The ACT Government listened to the concerns raised by members of the community about some of the requirements that were placed on local community groups and sporting clubs when it came to handling and selling food, and these changes address these concerns," the Chief Minister said.

"The proposed legislation also seeks to strike the right balance to reduce regulatory burden on food businesses, while at the same time protecting the high standards of food safety enjoyed by the Canberra community when eating out."

If passed, the Bill will reduce red tape for businesses that sell only shelf-stable foods, including packaged cereals, breads and long life milk. These businesses, which pose a low risk to public safety, will no longer have to notify ACT Health of their operation.

The Bill will also allow food businesses to register for up to three years as a further red tape reduction measure. Currently, all businesses must register annually.

"Within the community sector, the Bill removes the requirement for fundraising non-profit community organisations to register and appoint a Food Safety Supervisor, regardless of the types of food being sold. This will not only reduce the regulatory burden on these organisations, but support the sale of more nutritious options, such as fruit salad and soups at fundraising food stalls," the Chief Minister said.

"The ACT Government will continue to improve its online resources to make it easier for food businesses and community organisations to understand food safety requirements and their role in protecting public health.

"As an important food safety measure, it is intended that all food-related activities conducted at large public events, such as the National Multicultural Festival, will continue to be regulated however the ACT Government will establish a streamlined process for event registration.

"ACT Health is committed to working with industry and has established a Food Regulation Reference Group to collaboratively discuss food regulatory issues and improve communication between ACT Health and the food sector. The group, which held its first meeting in September 2014, comprises representatives from industry, government and public health organisations," the Chief Minister concluded.

Further information about the proposed options to deregulate businesses operating in the food sectors is available by calling the Health Protection Service on 6205 1700.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Speak Up About Regulation and Red Tape!

Your opinion counts to making the ACT a better place to do business!

The ACT Government wants to know about regulatory burden and red tape facing your business.

We invite you to respond to a few questions and describe how ACT business requirements affect you. Just as important, we’d like to know how you think the regulatory environment can be improved for your business.

How can I be heard?

You can provide feedback about your business in two ways:

  1. Online, by selecting the relevant link below:
    -  the hospitality sector External Link - opens in new window;
    -  the building and construction sector External Link - opens in new window; or
    -  another sector External Link - opens in new window.

  2. In a one-on-one conversation. Please email to arrange a time to have a discussion. (In consideration of time, limited places available. Requests for one-on-ones will be handled based on sector sampling needs).

Your participation will be important to help us better understand the effects of regulation in the ACT and to help us make the Territory a better place for innovation, growth and starting a business. Your input will also help support work nationally to reduce regulation and red tape. The information collected in this survey will be treated as confidential.

We would appreciate your input by close of business Wednesday 20 August 2014.

If you have any questions, please email

We look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Understanding your compliance obligations

You have visited the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) External Link - opens in new window and prepared your ABLIS package, but what exactly do the results mean?

As a business owner or operator, you are responsible for understanding what compliance obligations relate to your business circumstances so it’s important for you to do more than just get the results from ABLIS! You need to understand how the results apply to your business and what action you need to take.

If you are based in the ACT, all of the results that ABLIS provides are legal requirements. But there are some important differences between licences and codes of practice.

What is a licence?
A licence relates to the need to obtain recognition or certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity. Often licences are referred to as registrations, permits or approvals.

Do I need to obtain a licence?
If there are licences in your results, there is a legal requirement to apply to government before you undertake the related activity. There will be various eligibility criteria, fees to pay and you may need to demonstrate that you have various competencies.

If you require several licences and permits to conduct your business activity, you may find that you have to apply for them in a particular order. ABLIS helps you identify this by listing “prerequisites” in the information.

What is a code of practice and do I need to do anything about them?
A code of practice can be either a legal requirement or non-legal requirement. Legal codes of practice are defined as a result of legislation. These are the codes of practice that ABLIS will include in your results. Codes of practice offer practical examples of good practice and give advice on how to comply with the relevant law. You will need to incorporate good practice into your business operations to ensure you are meeting your obligations under the laws that apply to your business type.

Non-legal codes of practice are defined by industry regulators and bodies. These codes set minimum standards that businesses operating within a particular industry are expected to comply with. If you become a member of an industry body, you may be required to comply with the industry code of practice to maintain your membership. This information is not available through ABLIS and to find this information you would need to check with the industry regulator or body that relates to your business.

Need help?
If you’re based in the ACT, you can contact Canberra BusinessPoint, the ACT Government’s business mentoring and advisory service. They can offer support and tailored advice in the establishment, operation and development of your business. You can contact them on 1300 648 641 or visit External Link - opens in new window for more information.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Are you meeting all your compliance obligations? ABLIS can help!

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to be aware of and understand all the regulations that apply to your business activities.

The Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) External Link - opens in new window is a searchable online tool that helps you find these and the government controls your business needs to comply with. For ACT businesses, ABLIS contains information about all the licences – sometimes referred to as permits or approvals – and codes of practice that you need to operate your business.

ABLIS saves you time by providing a single website to gather all the compliance information you need. ABLIS results include information summaries, links to forms and contact information for the relevant agency if you need more information.

While ABLIS is designed with starting a business in mind, established businesses can also use ABLIS, for example to check their compliance responsibilities, or to check for new requirements when you are growing or adding a new business activity.

The first step is found on the home page – you will need to enter a business type and a location to get started.

The business type matches to the ANZSIC classification system External Link - opens in new window, so if you’re not getting matches you can check what terms ANZSIC uses to describe your business. If you still don’t get a business type match or a list of business types to select from, try entering commas between each word or you can contact us for help.

The location field lets you search by State or Territory, or use a suburb or postcode. The more specific you are with location, the more tailored your search results can be. For ACT based businesses where there are no local government councils, this isn’t as important. If you are planning a base in NSW there may be local council requirements that apply to your business: to get the right council, you will need to use a more precise location.

Next, ABLIS will take you through a series of questions and answers. Once you’ve completed the questions and answers, ABLIS will generate a list of results containing regulation information that matches your business activity, location and the information you provided through the questions and answers.

If you are based in the ACT, all of the results that ABLIS provides are legal requirements. But there are some important differences between Licences and Codes of Practice. To find out more about the differences, visit our ABLIS page.

If you need help with understanding the regulations, your ABLIS results include contact details so that you can contact the relevant area of government.

If you’re based in the ACT, you can also contact Canberra BusinessPoint, the ACT Government’s business mentoring and advisory service. They can offer support and tailored advice in the establishment, operation and development of your business. You can contact them on 1300 648 641 or visit External Link - opens in new window for more information.

If you have found any regulations that affect or impede your ability to do business in the ACT, you can report it using Fix my Red Tape External Link - opens in new window – an online feedback tool designed for you to provide feedback or suggested reforms. You can also ask questions and lodge complaints through this form.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Think you know your employees rights? Make sure it’s not just a common workplace myth!

You don't need to pay employees for time spent opening or closing your store or attending training outside of normal work hours.

You can send your employees home without pay if there isn't enough work on.

Employees must work for you for 12 months before they can take leave.

What do all three of these scenarios have in common? They’re all common workplace myths!

The reality is you must pay your employees for all the time they are required to work, you must pay employees their normal working hours, even if there isn't any work, and all leave starts to accrue as soon as employees commence work!

In terms of rights and obligations, there’s a lot you need to know about when employing staff. As an employer though, it’s your responsibility to make sure you are aware of these - a breach in your employee's rights can mean potential penalties for your business!

To help you out External Link - opens in new window in partnership with the Fair Work Obudsman External Link - opens in new window have put together some common workplace myths and busted them for you.

View the list of common workplace myths External Link - opens in new window.

You can also sign up for the Fair Work Obudsman’s eNewsletter External Link - opens in new window to receive regular updates on workplace laws.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Six steps to safety for Small Business

As a business owner or manager you have the responsibility to manage all aspects of your business. This includes looking after the financial affairs of the business as well as the health, safety and welfare of the people in your workplace.

Keeping a small business afloat is not easy. The cost of doing business includes rent, wages, superannuation, regulation expenses, licenses and insurance. Insurance costs are driven by risks associated with your business as well as by claims that are made. A broken window can result in increased building insurance, an injury to a worker can, and very often does, lead to increased workers compensation insurance premiums. But an injury to a worker can also result in significant other costs not covered by insurance.

Whilst incidents may not happen very often in a small business, when they do, they can have a devastating effect. This is not only on the person who gets injured or sick, but also on the business itself. In a small business you can’t afford to lose a trained worker – someone who knows your business, how it works, your standards, your customers, your products. If this happens to be you, what is likely to happen to the business?

To help you start the process of managing safety in your business, WorkSafe ACT has developed the free Six steps to small business safety toolkit. It has been developed specifically to meet the needs of small-medium business and takes into account the limited resources and expertise you may have in this area. The Six steps to small business safety toolkit uses a step-by-step approach and also includes separate checklists and forms to help you apply these steps in a practical way.

The toolkit is designed to meet the requirements of Australian Standard AS 4804: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems and will give you a framework that can be independently audited, in the same way many organisations have their financial or quality systems audited.

You can download a copy of the free Six steps to small business safety toolkit on the WorkSafe ACT website External Link - opens in new window.

Friday, 10 May 2013

New Superannuation Reforms - Is your business ready?

Have you heard about the Australian Government’s new superannuation reforms? It’s time to take notice, as these changes will be affecting your business and its obligations –soon!

The first of the reforms to come into effect relates to the superannuation guarantee law, which sets out the super contributions you must pay to your eligible employees. From 1 July 2013, the minimum rate for contributions will rise from 9% to 9.25%. Over the next seven years, this will rise to 12%. To ensure you meet this new obligation, you need to update your payroll and accounting systems to apply the appropriate increase to the super guarantee rate.

From 1 July, superannuation funds will start to provide a new type of super account, called ‘MySuper’. ‘MySuper’ will replace existing default accounts offered by super funds, that is, the account chosen by you for an employee who does not choose their own super fund.

From 1 January 2014, if an employee has not completed a choice of fund form, you must pay their super contributions into a fund that offers a ‘MySuper’ account. It's a good idea to check with your current default fund to find out whether they will be offering a ‘MySuper’ account.

Also included in the set of reforms is a new data and e-commerce standard, aimed at making it easier for you to process super payments. The new standard is expected to reduce the time it takes to process super payments, lower transactions costs and provide you with a consistent, reliable, electronic method of making payments.

The new standard means you will be able to send super contributions to funds in one standard electronic format.

The date you need to have this new data and e-commerce standard implemented depends on your business size. If you have 20 or more employees you need to start using the new standard by 1 July 2014. If you have 19 or fewer employees you will need to start using the standard from 1 July 2015.

To find out more about these and other super reforms visit the Super Future External Link - opens in new window and Australian Taxation Office External Link - opens in new window websites.

Need help?

If you have 19 or fewer employees, you can use the Australian Government’s free online service, the Superannuation Clearing House, to complete your super payments and help meet your super obligations.
The service allows you to make one secure electronic transaction, with the Superannuation Clearing House then distributing this as superannuation contributions to your employees’ nominated superannuation funds.
Once set up, it only takes a few minutes to process payments, minimising the time and paperwork involved in paying contributions to numerous superannuation funds.

To find our more or to register for the service visit the Superannuation Clearing House website External Link - opens in new window.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Should your business be paying FBT?

Fringe benefits tax (FBT) returns are nearly due. So time to ask the question, should your business be lodging a return?

Fringe benefits are benefits that you provide to your employees or their associates, such as their family members. These are benefits in place or on top of their regular salary or wage.

Does your company provide fringe benefits to your employees? Ask yourself:
  • Do you make cars or other vehicles owned or leased by your business available to employees for private use, including a car garaged at an employee's place of residence?
  • Do you provide a house or other accommodation for your employees?
  • Do you provide entertainment such as food, drink or free tickets to your employees?
  • Do you pay the gym fees for an employee?
  • Do you provide your employees with living away from home allowances?
  • Do any of your employees have a salary package arrangement in place?
  • Have you paid for, or reimbursed, a non-business expense incurred by an employee such as school fees?
  • Have you provided your employees with goods at a lower price than they are normally sold to the public?
As an employer, you must pay fringe benefits tax (FBT) if you provide these types of benefits to your employees. It makes no difference if you are a sole trader, partnership, trust, corporation, unincorporated association or government body.

FBT is separate from income tax and is based on the taxable value of the fringe benefits provided. You may, however, claim an income tax deduction for the cost of providing fringe benefits and for the FBT you pay.

If you are liable for the tax, you must lodge a FBT return at the end of the FBT year. The FBT year is different from the standard financial year and runs from 1 April to 31 March. If this is the first year you will be lodging an FBT return, you will also need to register for FBT External Link - opens in new window.

FBT returns must be lodged with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) by 21 May 2013. If a tax practitioner is preparing your annual FBT return, different lodgement arrangements may apply.
To find out more about FBT visit the Australian Taxation Office website External Link - opens in new window.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Reducing Red Tape for Business

Ensuring your business complies with all its regulation obligations can be one of the most difficult parts of starting and running a business. It’s something we understand, and through a number of different initiatives identified in Growth, diversification and jobs: A Business Development Strategy, is something the ACT Government is working to fix.

One such initiative is the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) External Link - opens in new window. The ACT Government has had an ongoing role in the design, development and implementation of ABLIS which is part of the Australian Business Number and Business Names Registration Project – one of 27 regulatory priorities under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) red tape reform initiative.

ABLIS allows you, for the first time, to go online and create a customised list of information about how to comply with the rules and regulations that apply to your specific situation. You can use it to provide information on ACT specific compliance obligations, or if you are trading in New South Wales (or any other Australian state for that matter), you can find out about theirs.

In addition to our ongoing role in red tape reform at a national level, we have also established the Red Tape Reduction Panel which works across the whole ACT Government to investigate and eliminate, or appropriately modify, regulatory impediments that frustrate you and other Canberra businesses.

Supporting the work of the Red Tape Reduction Panel, is the online feedback tool, Fix my Red Tape External Link - opens in new window. If your business is having trouble with unnecessary red tape, you can use this tool to provide feedback, ask questions or lodge complaints about them.