Weekly Digest – 14 February 2024

Weekly Digest – 14 February 2024

Welcome to our Weekly Digest – stay in the know with some recent news updates relevant to business and the economy.

Assistance for businesses affected by storms or floods

The Australian government is offering financial aid to businesses affected by floods through various programs. Support includes concessional loans, grants, tax relief, and counseling services. The aim is to help businesses recover, rebuild, and sustain operations in the aftermath of the disaster. You should check your eligibility and apply through the official website.

Australian businesses boosting their cybersecurity spending

Australian businesses are increasing their cybersecurity investments, according to a report from Telsyte. The report reveals that spending on cybersecurity is expected to grow by 6% annually, reaching $7.9 billion by 2024. The surge is driven by increased cyber threats and the need for compliance with new privacy laws.

Jim Chalmers Dismisses Concerns of Ute Price Hikes amidst Fuel Efficiency Overhaul Plans

Jim Chalmers, Australian Shadow Treasurer, downplays fears of ute price increases due to proposed fuel efficiency improvements. He asserts that the Labor Party’s green policy will not impact ute prices, despite industry warnings. Chalmers insists the policy aims to reduce emissions and fuel costs, benefiting both the environment and consumers.

RBA forecast reveals when interest rate cust could begin

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) met for it’s February board meeting and kept the cash rate unchanged at 4.35%.  The RBA’s latest forecasts show that the central bank now expects the economy and wages will grow a little slower, unemployment will rise a little higher and ultimately, inflation will come down a little faster than previously thought. Cooling inflation could allow the RBA to start cutting interest rates from the middle of 2024.

Federal government contemplating changes to industrial relations laws, including a ‘right to disconnect’

The Australian government is pushing for a “right to disconnect” law that allows employees to ignore work-related communications outside work hours. The move comes amid rising concerns over work-life balance, especially with remote working. The proposal also includes changes to casual employment definitions and a crackdown on wage theft.

ATO launches free online learning support for small businesses

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has launched a free online learning platform for small businesses. The initiative aims to support business owners by providing resources on tax and superannuation obligations. The platform includes interactive activities, videos, and quizzes to help users understand and meet their business obligations.

Distillers push moratorium on spirit excise increases, but Alcohol and Drug Foundation warns against it

Australian distillers are urging the government to halt spirit excise increases for two years, citing the industry’s struggle amid COVID-19. The Australian Distillers Association (ADA) says the tax is the world’s third highest, affecting competitiveness. They propose using the pause to review taxation and support industry growth, potentially benefiting local jobs and tourism.

Top calls the ATO receives

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has identified the questions they commonly get asked, including the difference between myGov and  myGovID, the new Agent linking system and how to fix a tax return mistake. The ATO has detailed the answers on their community page.

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