17 November 2022

Cost of getting cyber security wrong could be high

Recent events have highlighted the importance of encouraging all Australian businesses to make cybersecurity a priority, but we must ensure due consideration is given to plans to increase penalties against companies that fail to adequately protect the personal data they hold. "The Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Bill, which is currently being considered by the Australian Parliament, represents an important step towards responding to increasing concerns regarding privacy, security and data protection," Law Council of Australia President, Mr Tass Liveris said. "These are matters that are understandably at the forefront of minds in the wake of recent cyber incidents involving theft of personal data, and we appreciate the desire to respond in a timely manner."

Jobs and Skills Australia begins its work

Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) has today been formally established, after legislation passed through Parliament and received Royal Ascent. Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon Brendan O'Connor MP, said JSA will begin its important work providing independent advice to government on current and emerging workforce needs. "JSA will have a tripartite approach with state and territory governments, employers, business peaks, unions and training providers to provide independent advice to government on current and emerging workforce needs. "Australia faces one of its biggest economic challenges in decades - a lack of skilled workers across the labour market," Minister O'Connor said. "We have invested an additional $12.9 million in last month's budget to help JSA more precisely identify and anticipate skills shortages, based on the best available evidence."

A welcome pick-up in wages, but more work to be done

Treasurer, Jim Chalmers and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Tony Burke say the Albanese Government welcomes new figures today showing wages growing at their fastest pace in more than 9 years. "The Wage Price Index rose 3.1 per cent in the year to September, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Getting wages growing again is a deliberate design feature of the Albanese Government's economic policy. The former government spent a decade deliberately attacking and undermining wages growth - contributing to real wages being lower today than they were a decade ago. Wages are now growing faster than at any time during the former Coalition government's time in office.

Businesses are lifting wages

Strong wages driven by higher pay in the private sector calls into question the need for a dramatic expansion of untrialled multiemployer bargaining, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said. "Businesses are delivering the strongest rate of wages growth in a decade, which will help ease the burden of skyrocketing inflation and cost of living pressure for the 6 out of 7 workers employed by a business. Across the economy private sector wages are up 3.4 per cent this year compared to just 2.4 per cent for those in the public sector. Almost half of the workers employed by a business received an increase in their pay in the last quarter, those that did took home an average of 4.3 per cent more per hour."

$9.7 million for flood-hit Australian communities

Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles, says as flooding continues to cause significant damage and disruption across the east coast, the Australian Government is providing an extra $9.7 million to impacted communities to boost mental health supports and respond to the public health risks posed by mosquito borne diseases. More than 135 Local Government Areas across New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania have experienced flooding in recent months. This has devastated communities, the environment, and infrastructure and is taking a toll on the mental and physical health of many Australians. This funding includes: $4 million to support First Nations communities most affected by the floods to provide much needed mental health support, including trauma counselling and healing support activities, provided by local community-controlled organisations. $1.5 million for local Wellbeing and Resilience Grants to help communities recover.

Wages increase 1.0% in September quarter

The Wage Price Index rose 1.0 per cent in September quarter 2022, and 3.1 per cent annually, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Program Manager of Prices at the ABS, Michelle Marquardt, said: "This is the highest quarterly growth in hourly wages recorded since March quarter 2012. In seasonally adjusted terms, this growth was primarily driven by increases in wages for the private sector which grew at twice the rate of wages in the public sector (1.2 per cent compared to 0.6 per cent). Labour market pressures in the private sector combined with the largest Fair Work Commission award increase in more than a decade saw rises in both the size of average wage changes and the proportion of private sector jobs recording a wage change. The average size of hourly wage increase for those jobs where the wage rate moved was 4.3 per cent, up from 2.9 per cent in the September quarter 2021."

CreditorWatch: A tale of two economies; Small business struggling as late payments take hold

The October 2022 CreditorWatch Business Risk Index (BRI) has revealed that small businesses are feeling the pinch of the current economic pressures while big business is faring much better. Across all industries, late payment rates for small businesses are averaging three times that of big business, reflecting the challenge small business faces enforcing payment terms and collecting on payment arrears.

Amazon Australia SMB Empowerment Report

Australian small and medium business are harnessing the power of online stores and export opportunities to drive revenue and increase resilience, according to new research released by Amazon Australia today. Amazon's Small and Medium Business Empowerment Report explores how Australian SMBs have navigated the challenges of the past 12 months, their confidence and optimism for the future. The report uses specially commissioned research by YouGov of SMBs across various sectors, alongside data reflecting the experience of businesses across Australia selling locally and globally through Amazon. The report shows six in ten (57%) SMB owners and key decision makers believe that there are benefits of international export for their businesses. Similarly, SMBs who sell internationally were more likely to have reported increased revenue over the past 12 months with 53% of exporting SMBs increasing their revenues versus 35% for who did not export.

Ai Group latest skills survey a call to arms

"An Ai Group skills survey released today - Listening to Australian businesses on skills and workforce needs - sounds yet another alarm on the skills shortages and gaps plaguing the Australian economy," Innes Willox Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today. "Our survey of close to 350 business leaders from a wide range of Australian companies asked businesses about their skills and workforce needs and challenges. "Businesses report that when they need to implement a new business model, adopt a new technology or just plan to increase customer demand, they are constrained because they are struggling to secure the right people with the right skills to get the job done.

Workers across the globe are struggling to make ends meet under a worldwide cost of living crisis

Two in five (43%) households have experienced a loss of jobs or working hours and one in two (51%) say their income is falling behind the cost of living, according to a new public opinion poll from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC, said: "The inequalities and injustices that are at the heart of the failed economic system with huge deficits in corporate and financial regulation have been brutally exposed and massive deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic." Released on the eve of the 5th ITUC World Congress in Melbourne, Australia, the global poll, commissioned from YouGov, covers the general public of seventeen countries. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Michele O'Neil said: "This poll shows that workers in Australia, who are facing an ongoing wages crisis and have spent years being asked to do more with less, are not alone.

Industry Insight (Australian Financial Review)

It’s gratifying to see that the Australian business community - in particular its 2.5 million company directors - take seriously the trust that the nation has placed in them. Since being implemented in April last year, more than 1.3 million directors have applied for (and have been issued with) a director identification number (director ID).

Hacking a wake-up call for agribusiness

Small to mid-sized businesses might be the backbone of the Australian economy, but they are also unprepared and under-resourced for the rapidly rising challenges of a digital world. While headlines about cyber security breaches at big name outfi ts including Medibank Private, Optus and international meat processor JBS, have provoked public alarm about personal data falling into criminal hands, more modest family businesses and mid-sized companies are just as vulnerable