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Council red tape puts $400k development on hold

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Grafton brewery industrial complex in North St, Grafton

Council red tape puts $400k development on hold

By Tim Howard

Local government red tape has put a $400,000 business investment which could create up to five jobs at risk says a group of people behind the proposal.
The Brewhouse Group said Clarence Valley Council’s conditional approval for a 24-hour car wash at the old Grafton brewery industrial complex in North St, Grafton, would make it “unfeasible”.

The owner of the complex, Rick Firth, said the project was on hold because council had slashed its operating hours and also refused to discount Section 64 developer fees.
Mr Firth said the development, which proposed a car wash, dry detailing bay and 2 vacuum bays at the North St site, was a state of the art system which recycled 85% of the water used.

He said the system kept a lot of chemically contaminated run off out of the storm water system as well as reducing pressure on the sewerage system, which the council told him was close to its operating limits ahead of an upgrade in 2027.
Mr Firth said the extra tenement fee involved added up to $87,000, which he had discussed with the council’’s development management unit last year.

He said he proposed reducing the fees by about half, but this had been ignored during the council committee meetings and at the final meeting which approved the DA.
“There was no discussion at all about the fee reductions, all the councillors seem to worry about was operating hours,” he said.

Council staff said contribution rates for car washes (per lane) are included in Section 64 Guidelines, but a council resolution from June 2017 meant there was no scope for staff to reduce Section 64 contributions for “pro-active water management measures”.
Mr Firth said he was considering going ahead with the proposal but not installing the water recycling technology, which he said could cost as much as $1000 a month to run.
He said an operator he knew near Port Macquarie, had done this to save costs and was able to run the business successfully.

“It goes against what I believe to do things to help the environment,” he said. “But at the end of the day it has to be a feasible proposition to run.”
He said the reduced operating hours were not a deal breaker, but were difficult to understand in an area zoned as industrial.

“There are two other carwashes in Grafton, both operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and one is right next to a residential area which makes this recommendation very confusing,” Mr Firth said.
“We are an industrial complex and by default have a development that is already compliant, so don’t understand why we would be treated any differently to similar businesses that have approval to operate all day and night.
“Our carwash is brand new technology and much quieter than those already in operation and will employ up to five people, however we’ll find it difficult to go ahead with the proposed operating hours as it just won’t stack up financially.”
Mr Firth said the complex could employ two full time and one part time staff on the carwash and potentially a car full time and part time car detailer.

At its May 25 meeting most councillors supported limiting hours although not as limited as the council officers, who recommended 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 3pm Sunday.
Instead they went for 13 hours operation Monday to Saturday and 11 hours on Sunday. Councillors felt residents across the road from the proposed car wash needed breaks from the noise and traffic activity the business would generate.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve the DA amended to include reduced opening hours.

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BUSINESS EVENTS TURBOCHARGED ACROSS NSW

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BUSINESS EVENTS TURBOCHARGED ACROSS NSW

BUSINESS EVENTS TURBOCHARGED ACROSS NSW

A total of 27 business events across NSW will receive grants of up to $30,000, helping to turbocharge local economies and create more jobs across the State.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said while it has been incredibly tough for the business events sector, now was the time to rebuild business confidence and kick-start momentum across the industry.
“From Ballina and Coffs Harbour to Bathurst, and the Murray, the events will be staged across various corners of regional NSW, hosting more than 35,000 delegates in our State,” Mr Ayres said.
“These grants will not only support event managers and venues, but it will have huge flow-on effects and will help to boost the entire supply chain, putting more dollars into the pockets of local businesspeople and creating jobs.”
Mr Ayres said the opening of the $500,000 NSW Regional Business Event Development Fund in February could not have come at a better time, as the return of more face-to-face events ramps up.
“There’s a strong appetite among NSW businesses to get back to hosting and attending face-to-face events. People have a strong desire to build business connections in-person, while still taking advantage of virtual events,” Mr Ayres said.
“I congratulate the business event recipients for their contributions to growing the NSW visitor economy, and we look forward to welcoming delegates to the fantastic destinations and venues across regional NSW.”
Managed by Destination NSW, the NSW Regional Business Event Development Fund offers matched dollar-for-dollar funding of grants up to $30,000, and is designed to assist stakeholders create and attract business events for regional NSW while also supporting new business event initiatives.

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Payment redirection scams cost Australian businesses $128 million in 2020

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Payment redirection scams cost Australian businesses $128 million in 2020

Payment redirection scams cost Australian businesses $128 million in 2020

Payment redirection scams were the most financially damaging scams for Australian businesses in 2020 according to the ACCC’s latest Targeting Scams report. Combined losses reported to Scamwatch, other government agencies, banks and payment platforms totalled $128 million in 2020.
Reports to Scamwatch show that Australian businesses lost $18 million to scams in 2020, a 260 per cent increase on losses reported in 2019.
“Small and micro businesses made most of the reports to Scamwatch and experienced an increase in losses in 2020, although larger businesses reported the highest losses,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
Based on Scamwatch data alone, false billing scams were the most commonly reported scam by businesses and accounted for three quarters of total losses to businesses. Small and micro businesses accounted for almost 60 per cent of these false billing reports.
There are a range of false billing scams, but the most common type was payment redirection scams, also known as business email compromise (BEC) scams, with 1,300 reports and $14 million in losses. This is a substantial increase from the 900 reports and $5 million in losses reported in 2019.
In a payment redirection scam, scammers impersonate a business or its employees via email and request an upcoming payment be redirected to a fraudulent account.
Scamwatch also observed a new type of scam in 2020 that targeted farmers looking for a good deal on tractors and farm machinery. Scammers advertised equipment at prices well below market value, and told farmers that they couldn’t view the tractors prior to purchase due to government restrictions from the pandemic. Farmers made payments to secure these special deals, when in reality the equipment never existed. Farmers were conned out of $1.1 million in these scams.
“One thing we know about scammers is that they will take advantage of a crisis,” Mr Keogh said.
Businesses were also targeted by health and medical scams in 2020. About half of the $3.9 million in total losses reported to health and medical scams were from businesses, as they attempted to procure personal protective equipment for their staff to comply with government guidelines during the pandemic.
Other scam types that impacted businesses throughout the year included phishing, identity theft and hacking scams.
“It is so important for businesses to stay informed about scams so they can protect themselves,” Mr Keogh said.
“The ACCC provides a range of resources for businesses on how to avoid scams on the Scamwatch website and in our media releases throughout the year.”
Businesses that have been scammed should contact their bank as soon as possible. If the scam occurred on a platform such as Facebook, contact them directly to report it.
Businesses can also report a scam to ReportCyber, which is run by the Australian Cyber Security Centre and passes reports to law enforcement agencies for assessment and intelligence purposes.
The Small Business Information Network also provides details about new or updated resources, enforcement action, changes to Australia’s competition and consumer laws, events, surveys and scams relevant to the small business sector.

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Business News

The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49

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The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49_Page_01
The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49

The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49

The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49 is out today as usual it is available from all Newsagents, leading Service Stations, General Stores and Woolworths Supermarkets from Coffs Harbour to Southport and as far west as Tenterfield, every town in the northern rivers. A very full 80 pages to read on these rainy and cold days ahead with over 32 pages of local news, 4 page lift out TV Guide, 2 pages of puzzles, 7-8 pages of local sports, 7 page of Rural news, 4 pages of Local Entertainment, trades and professional services, funerals, community news and events and a special 7 Pages on Lismore’s the Star Court Theatre 100 year Anniversary. This is a brilliant edition and all of our readers will absolutely love it from page 1 to page 80. Only $2. But HURRY as last weeks edition 48 sold out all copies within 3 days.

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