Regulatory Roundup August 2013

Carbon tax to ETS: How will it affect your business?
The government announced that it would move from a carbon tax to a market-based emissions trading scheme (ETS) from July 2014, a year earlier than originally intended, in a change that will only go ahead if the existing government is re-elected in the upcoming federal election. Foregone revenue looks like it will be replaced through reforms to the fringe benefits tax (FBT) regime, with the government announcing that it is looking to cover the $1.8 billion lost in revenue with $1.9 billion gained by winding back FBT car concessions. The changes will not affect people who use their own car for work-related purposes or existing concessions for some uses of taxis, panel vans and utes. Government assistance to emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries will remain unchanged. Analysts said that apart from changes to FBT car concessions, not much else will change for business, although they said any final outcomes are dependent on market forces and will be hard to predict.

Aggrieved businesses groups call for end to politicking and early election
Business groups have responded to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s appointment by marshalling for an earlier election date than September 14. Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the long pre-election period “created a long period of instability which was impacting on investment and confidence” while the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson said the frustration of the business community with government policy is deep. “Our tolerance factor with instability in the leadership of Australia’s government is at breaking point, matched only by a swathe of anti-business policies which have brought business frustration to boiling point”. One of these “anti-business policies” no doubt is the 457 visa bill, which the new Rudd government voted in (read about this in the July Regulatory Roundup).

Study shows tighter finance market will make funding more expensive for small businesses
Research from the Australian Centre for Financial Studies points to a future where financial institutions will be required to pay more to secure their funding, which it concludes will inevitably lead to higher charges for loans. And as small businesses invariably rely on banks and other financial institutions for funding, the impact of this trend is most likely to be felt by the small business sector.

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