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Archive for December, 2018

Malcolm Turnbull dampens talk of affordable housing focus in budget

Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 20 April 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has cooled expectations of an affordable housing “centrepiece” in the budget, even as junior minister Michael Sukkar promised a policy to help first home buyers save a deposit without raiding superannuation.
Nanjing Night Net

For months, senior government sources have privately briefed that the housing affordability package would be the centrepiece of the budget – though they have carefully avoided saying this in public.

But in a clear sign the government is still grappling with rapidly diminishing policy options before the May 9 budget, Mr Turnbull tamped down expectations that housing affordability would be at the heart of the budget.

“I’ve read that in the press, but I don’t think that’s a fair description,” he said on Friday. 96NormalfalsefalseEN-GBX-NONEX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-priority:99;mso-style-parent:””;mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0cm;mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}

Asked why the Prime Minister was now talking down the housing package, Mr Alexander said: “I don’t know. Maybe he is taking the heat out of the budget.” This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jail school principal’s Facebook attack on her students

Thursday, 13 December, 2018

The principal of the school inside Darwin’s notorious juvenile detention centre went on Facebook to attack compensation payouts to four teenage detainees who had been tear-gassed during riots in the Darwin facility.
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Lisa Coon who is on leave from the Tivendale School said they were her private views and had nothing to with her post as principal.

She told the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory she had been outraged by the payouts that had ranged between $12,000 and $17,000.

“This was money being paid to boys who had caused thousands of dollars damage,” she said.

Ms Coon’s Facebook attacks on detainees was drawn to the attention of the royal commission by Phillip Boulten??? SC, counsel for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency.

She was confirming she had banned NAAJA representatives from coming to her school “until they became more professional” when Mr Boulten raised her frequent recourse to Facebook to attack detainees and make adverse comments about news stories in which young people allegedly committing offences would get off scot free.

Her comments came as the four teenagers tear-gassed at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in 2014 lodged an appeal seeking bigger payouts than awarded last year.

Meanwhile the new Labor NT government announced on Friday that a review of security arrangements at the centre had recommended improved security cameras and electronic surveillance, better training and a full security audit.

The Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield, said the spate of escapes at Don Dale in recent months – eight – was unacceptable and highlighted the urgent need to address security problems.

“Every Territorian has the right to feel safe and expects their homes and businesses to be secure, especially from young offenders being held in detention,” she said on Friday.

Conditions inside Don Dale and the treatment of youths in the centre sparked the ongoing royal commission.

Earlier on Friday, a former youth justice officer rejected suggestions he was “indifferent to his basic human needs” when he had not allowed detainee Dylan Voller to go to the toilet during a 500-kilometre vehicle trip between Alice Springs and Tennant Creek that resulted in his prisoner defecating in his shirt.

Bruce Evans and another officer transported Mr Voller, then 17, in handcuffs and he stayed in the back of a van throughout the journey.

He said this was because Mr Voller had been “extremely abusive and threatening” and that the decision to deny Mr Voller a basic human right “was not made lightly”.

He said Mr Voller was permitted to urinate out the back of the cage doors “in a secluded spot” on the Stuart Highway.

“You say that if Mr Voller did request to use the bathroom again, you did not believe this request to be serious. Do you recognise the absurdity in that remark?” said Peter Callaghan, senior counsel assisting the commission.

Mr Evans: “Well, yes; however, Mr Voller, due to his threats and swearing and carrying on, may have been trying to get himself out of the back of the vehicle.

“He was continually swearing and being disruptive throughout the journey, would often make false complaints in order to get attention.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Revamped HSC maths syllabuses to be delayed

Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Students will not be taught the new advanced HSC maths courses until 2019, after teachers and academics were highly critical of the draft syllabuses and warned they should be delayed rather than rushed in.
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The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), formerly the Board of Studies, released new HSC syllabuses for English, history, science and some maths courses in February as part of the first major overhaul of the HSC in 20 years.

But NESA did not release syllabuses for the three higher-level maths courses because they were still being finalised.

Several prominent mathematicians and teachers had criticised the draft higher level maths syllabuses, and warned that the standards authority risked its credibility because the initial drafts were littered with poor mathematical language.

It is understood NESA had been trying to finalise the drafts over the school holidays but there were still concerns with them so the board took the decision to delay the introduction of the calculus-based subjects for another year.

A spokeswoman for NESA said the maths syllabuses would be delayed to ensure they “are of the highest quality, and schools have time to develop effective programs for teaching the syllabuses”.

“The decision follows extensive consultation with teachers, schools, universities and the community to review the calculus-based HSC maths syllabuses,” the spokeswoman said.

“Most recently this has included targeted consultation with experts from schools, sectors, and universities to strengthen the draft syllabuses, which are currently being reviewed by independent experts.”

As part of the overhaul to the HSC syllabuses, NESA said it would create a common marking scale for maths to discourage bright students from studying lower-level maths in order to boost their marks.

As part of the changes, the current general maths will be called standard maths and there will also be a life skills maths course. The mathematics course will be known as advanced maths.

The NESA spokeswoman said the standard syllabus would still be introduced next year but there would be no common scaling with the advanced course until 2020.

Head of SCEGGS Darlinghurst Jenny Allum and the Mathematical Association of NSW had urged NESA to delay the syllabuses for a year.

Ms Allum, a former manager of curriculum at the Board of Studies, said it was important that the review of the syllabuses was not simply a “proof-reading exercise” and more clarity was needed.

In response to drafts, the Mathematical Association of NSW said “after carefully reviewing” all the syllabus-related documents on the NESA website, it could not “confirm whether a number of the recommendations made in the first public consultation were fully or partially adopted.”

“This is mainly due to the lack of the availability of support, assessment and examination materials which play a critical role in the interpretation and implementation of syllabus documents,” the association said.

Education Minister Rob Stokes said: “The important thing here is to make sure that we get the maths syllabuses right, and NESA is taking the time necessary to ensure we maintain the high standards of our internationally-regarded HSC.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Das Hund Haus for sale by raffle

Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Family focus: James Sneddon hopes to spend more time with partner Philippa Cave and their daughter Charlotte. He will also be developing his new business Stigma Health, an online sexual health clinic. Picture: Max Mason HubersEVER dreamed of pulling beers at your very own bar?
Nanjing Night Net

Just $25 could make you the new owner of Das Hund Haus at Hamilton, which is being raffled for sale.

Owner of the German themed bar and restaurant James Sneddon hassecured a permit from Liquor and Gaming NSW to hold a trade promotion for two-for-one meal vouchers, which gives buyers five free entries into a lottery to win the business plus $30,000 cash.

He estimated the enterprise was valued at between $150,000 and $225,000.

“I investigated raffles after I saw an Australian couple raffle a tropical island resort last year,” Mr Sneddon said. “I was not even thinking about it for my venue, but when I decided to sellI realised the traditional method didn’t have certainty. I wanted the excitement of a raffle too, to see how it goes and test the entrepreneur in me. I’ve already had people buy tickets from Berlin, Western Australia and Victoria.”

Mr Sneddon said the business would be raffled on August 31 with 31 months remaining on the lease, no debts, less than $2000 worth of alcohol and an offer to train new staff.

The liquor licence will be transferred to the new owner.

He saidhe had the businesson the market for $200,000earlier this year but was unable to reach a deal.

He has sold about 200 vouchers from a goal of 2000, which would be equal to $50,000. “The vouchers encourage buyers to come in and spend more money in the restaurant, so I’m hoping for boost trade,” he said. “But whether I sell 200 or 100,000 tickets, it’s got to go.

“Anything you sell is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. A business takes 37 weeks to sell and I already had it on the market for six weeks before the raffle got approved, and it is open for 20 weeks. If I want to hold out for the full price it might take forever.”

A Liquor and Gaming spokesperson said the office was “reviewing this promotion to determine if it complies with the conditions of its permit and the NSW Lotteries and Art Unions Act”.

“While our inquiries are ongoing, we advise people who are considering taking part in the promotion to carefully review all relevant information including the terms and conditions,” the spokesman said. “The sale of a business or transfer of a lease are primarilycommercial matters not regulated by Liquor and Gaming NSW.”

Mr Sneddon said he had “mitigated risks in so many ways”. “I’m trying to pique people’s interest but I’ve got to earn their trust too,” he said. “I do understand why people are cautious about it, but I’m genuinely just trying to do something different.

“I’ll be looking after the winner and want this to work. If they get cold feet and decide they don’t want the bar, we’ll find someone to buy it in a fire sale.”

Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Alibaba say retailers won’t comply with GST change

Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Online retail giants Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Alibaba say the federal government has severely underestimated the threat of rival foreign online retailers failing to comply with its planned GST changes, and consumers will be left worse off.
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Goods bought from overseas sellers and imported to Australia worth less than $1000 are currently GST exempt, but Treasurer Scott Morrison wants to apply the 10 per cent tax to all sales from July 1 this year.

The online retailers on Friday appeared before a federal inquiry held in Melbourne into the proposed legislation.

They told the Senate Economics Committee inquiry that while they were in favour of low-value goods under $1000 attracting GST, the proposed collection method – a vendor-based model of collecting the tax rather than using agencies like Australia Post to collect it – was too difficult to comply with and near impossible to enforce.

Labor has called on the Turnbull Government to delay its implementation for one year, until 1 July 2018.

Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said the Turnbull Government had botched its implementation, with Treasury admitting the lack of a Regulation Impact Statement was in breach of the Office of Best Practice Guidelines.

“The Australian Taxation Office, lumbered with a vague plan by the Government, were left to explain that jurisdictions like the USA and China will not enforce the measure on their behalf. Platform compliance is largely reliant on the goodwill of overseas operators,” Mr Leigh said.

Joo Man Park, eBay managing director and vice-president for Australia and New Zealand, addressed the inquiry. Ebay claimed that Treasury officials had told them they expect a 25 to 30 per cent compliance rate.

Mr Park said that eBay did not have tax collection capabilities and reiterated the threat of geoblocking – stopping Australian shoppers from buying goods from overseas – if the changes go ahead.

Amazon director of global trade services Kevin Willis said the collection model was “unworkable” and the bill as it stands may destroy competition and raise prices. He said there had never been a tax of this magnitude and complexity that he’d seen.

KPMG has completed modelling that suggests the government could collect about $930 million by 2019-20 by applying GST on goods purchased by households from overseas valued at less than $1000, but since there would be some level of non-compliance, the actual tax collected would be closer to $650 million if the same ‘logistics model’ was adopted as the collection mechanism. KPMG assumes there will be at least 30 per cent non-compliance among foreign retailers.

Etsy director of public policy Angela Steen said the collection method set “a dangerous precedent for Australian entrepreneurs who export their goods through platforms like Etsy”.

If passed, Australia would be the first country to require foreign sellers and marketplaces to collect and remit GST on any item, no matter how small.

This would significantly impact microbusiness exports around the world, especially through global marketplaces like Etsy. In Australia, more than 90 per cent of Etsy sellers are women and the majority are selling on Etsy to supplement income and pursue their creative passion, she said.

Alibaba director of business development Australia and New Zealand John O’Loghlen said the change would see some foreign retailers and smaller e-commerce players dodge the tax, leaving Australian retailers exposed to the same price pressures they experience now.

“We are strongly of the view that the proposed measures should be abandoned and replaced with a fairer, more effective model based on logistic providers being responsible for the collection of GST on low-value goods,” he said.

Otherwise there would be distortions between those that comply, and those that don’t.

“Given the time and cost associated with complying, coupled with there being no form of solution to identify goods on arrival at the border, modelling indicates that 75 per cent of goods (by value) imported into Australia will continue to go untaxed.”

He said foreign small businesses are particularly disadvantaged on compliance because of the $75,000 GST turnover threshold.

A Chinese hat merchant selling into Australia through AliExpress will see GST will be applied to every single sale, even if this Chinese seller’s entire Australian revenue is just a couple of hundred dollars for the relevant year.

“This is because the proposed measures force the threshold to be assessed at the platform level, in this case AliExpress reaching A$75,000 as a whole, rather than based on the individual seller’s turnover.”

“However, if that exact same hat merchant used their own platform in the form of an individual website, there is no GST unless and until they exceed $75,000 worth of sales in Australia. When they do exceed this mark, the onus will be entirely on them to report and collect the tax.

“The ATO is not equipped to monitor millions of Chinese businesses and because of this, it will create an incentive for some businesses to dodge the tax and cheat the system.”

He said a significant challenge was the many exemptions within Australia’s GST system.

“For example, GST allows basic food and beverages to be GST-free, however, interpretation of prescriptive rules and exemptions result in bizarre outcomes, such as ‘crackers being taxable and dried bread being GST free’. Educating businesses on this complex system would be near impossible.”

The complexities of compliance would result in many low-value goods continuing to be imported into Australia without being subject to GST, thereby not levelling the playing field for Australian businesses.

“Australian businesses will continue to be exposed to price pressures because of non-compliant businesses. For consumers, the proposed measures will reduce access to goods and increase costs.”

“Given the complexity of compliance, it wouldn’t be surprising if overseas vendors stop selling and shipping into Australia as they do not have the resources to comply. Those that do attempt to comply will likely be forced to increase prices or charge consumers an administration fee to bear the cost of additional paper work.”

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.