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Don’t leave your tax return to the last minute

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Don’t leave your tax return to the last minute

Australian Taxation Office

With under a month to go until the 31 October due date for 2021-22 tax returns, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is reminding taxpayers to get on top of their tax returns by lodging or engaging with a registered tax agent.

ATO figures show that as at the end of September, over 8.3 million taxpayers have lodged their 2022 tax return. Last year, over 9.6 million had lodged their 2021 tax return by 31 October.

Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh says there are several lodgement options available.

“People with simple tax affairs can lodge through our free myTax service in under 30 minutes. Most of the information you need will already be there; just check it’s correct, add any additional income, and claim deductions you’re eligible for.”

“Our website has a range of helpful calculators and tools to help you get it right. These are designed to guide you on a range of topics, from whether you need to lodge a tax return, to working out which deductions and expenses specific occupations and industries can claim.”

“If you need more time to prepare your tax return, you can lodge with a registered tax agent. If you’re using a registered tax agent for the first time or using a different registered tax agent to last year, you need to engage with the registered tax agent by 31 October,” Mr Loh said.

There are also free programs to support those who need help with their tax affairs:

·                   The ATO’s Tax Help program is run by trained volunteers and is available to taxpayers earning $60,000 or less per year who have simple affairs.

·                   The National Tax Clinic program is a government-funded initiative to help individuals, small businesses, not-for-profit organisations and charities who may not be able to afford professional advice and representation with their tax affairs. It’s run by Australian universities and supported by the ATO.

This tax time as with every tax time, the ATO reminds taxpayers to be mindful of keeping their personal information protected, including never sharing their myGov login or myGovID details with anyone. Further information is available on our website – How to protect yourself

https://www.ato.gov.au/general/online-services/identity-security-and-scams/protect-your-information/how-to-protect-yourself/

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How Australian Women Entrepreneurs are Defying the Odds to Build Successful Businesses

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How Australian Women Entrepreneurs are Defying the Odds to Build Successful Businesses

 

One-third of Australian businesses are led by women, and this number is steadily increasing. Women entrepreneurs in Australia are not only more educated than their male counterparts but are also pioneering innovations in social impact and environmental sustainability. However, significant barriers persist, including gaps in opportunities, networks, resources, and investment.

Key Findings from the Women’s Agenda Report

A new report from Women’s Agenda, in partnership with Commonwealth Bank and CommBank Women in Focus, sheds light on the challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Australia. The report, which surveyed over 1,000 women business owners and startup founders in April 2024, highlights the following:

  1. Optimism and Determination: Despite the challenges, 75% of respondents are focused on expansion, and over half plan to hire new talent within the next year.
  2. Social Impact: A significant 56% of women-led businesses are dedicated to making a positive impact in areas such as care, health, social justice, and combating family violence.
  3. Economic Challenges: Inflation and the cost of living are major hurdles, with 74% citing these as primary challenges to growth. Additionally, over a third of respondents feel that current government policies negatively impact their businesses.
  4. Talent Shortages: More than one in five women entrepreneurs are struggling with finding and retaining talent.
  5. Gender-Based Barriers: Bias from prospective investors and unpaid care obligations are additional burdens for women founders.

Expert Insights and Strategies

Julie Mathers, CEO of Snuggle Hunny, sees current economic challenges as opportunities for entrepreneurs to become more focused on their businesses. She believes that surviving the current “storm” will make businesses stronger and more resilient.

Dr. Elaine Stead, a venture capitalist with Main Sequence, emphasizes the importance of networks. She advises women entrepreneurs to leverage their networks for support and survival during tough economic times. She underscores that the first priority for small business owners should be to survive the immediate challenges before focusing on growth.

Opportunities and Support Networks

The report highlights that access to networks is the top driver of success for female founders. Over 80% of respondents identified their biggest support as a network that includes other women entrepreneurs, stakeholders invested in their success, and supportive personal connections. This finding underscores the importance of relationship-building in business.

Conclusion

Despite facing numerous challenges, Australian women entrepreneurs are demonstrating resilience and optimism. Their commitment to innovation and social impact, combined with their determination to overcome barriers, is driving their businesses forward. The findings from the Women’s Agenda report reveal that with the right support, networks, and resources, women-led businesses can thrive even in challenging economic climates.

 

For more business news, click here.

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Fair Work Commission Upholds 3.75% Increase in Australia’s Minimum and Award Wages to Tackle Cost-of-Living Pressures

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Fair Work Commission Upholds 3.75% Increase in Australia’s Minimum and Award Wages to Tackle Cost-of-Living Pressures

 

In a significant move aimed at bolstering the economic security of Australian workers, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has announced a 3.75% increase in both the minimum and award wages, effective from July 1. This decision, following extensive deliberation, reflects a multifaceted approach to address prevailing cost-of-living challenges while fostering equitable economic growth.

The national minimum wage is set to rise to $24.10 per hour and $915.91 per week, based on a standard 38-hour workweek. This increment, amounting to approximately $33 extra per week, is poised to benefit approximately 2.6 million workers nationwide, constituting approximately 20.7% of the Australian workforce.

The FWC’s decision is underpinned by a thorough assessment of prevailing economic conditions, with a keen focus on ensuring that wage adjustments align with forecasted wages growth for the year 2024. This strategic approach seeks to strike a balance between addressing immediate cost-of-living pressures and facilitating sustainable wage growth in the long term.

Furthermore, the commission’s rationale acknowledges the unique vulnerabilities faced by workers reliant on modern award minimum wages. These employees, often engaged in part-time, casual, or predominantly female-dominated roles, constitute a significant portion of those affected by the wage increase. By providing a modest real wage boost, the decision aims to uplift the economic wellbeing of these segments of the workforce, thereby fostering greater income equality.

However, the FWC’s deliberations also took into account the broader economic landscape, recognizing the diverse impacts of the wage increase across different industries and sectors. While overall labour market conditions remain robust, certain sectors face distinct challenges, necessitating a nuanced approach to wage adjustments to ensure sustained growth and stability.

In response to the ruling, stakeholders from various quarters have articulated their perspectives. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has welcomed the decision, hailing it as a significant victory for workers’ rights and economic justice. Conversely, business organisations have expressed apprehensions regarding the potential impact on operational costs, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grappling with existing margin pressures.

For SME owners like Edward Clayton, the wage increase presents a dual-edged dilemma. While recognising the imperative of fair wages to address cost-of-living pressures and retain a motivated workforce, he also confronts the challenge of balancing increased labor costs with maintaining competitive pricing strategies.

Against this backdrop, Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy has emphasised the importance of ensuring that wage growth remains in line with inflation, thereby safeguarding macroeconomic stability. While the wage increase serves as a crucial mechanism to address immediate affordability concerns for workers, policymakers remain vigilant against potential inflationary risks, underscoring the imperative of productivity-driven growth to support sustainable economic outcomes.

As the wage increase takes effect, its ripple effects are poised to reverberate across the economic landscape, shaping consumer spending patterns, business operations, and overall market dynamics. While providing much-needed relief for workers grappling with escalating living expenses, the decision underscores the intricate interplay between wage policies, economic resilience, and the pursuit of inclusive prosperity for all Australians.

 

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Organic Growth: Toby O’Grady’s journey from volunteer farmer to sustainable agriculture business owner

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Organic Growth: Toby O’Grady’s journey from volunteer farmer to sustainable agriculture business owner

 

By Sarah Waters

The closest Toby O’Grady got to farming when he was young, was kicking a soccer ball behind the cane fields in Condong.

He wasn’t born into farming and didn’t really think about it until he travelled to Europe at the age of 20 and an opportunity to volunteer on a crop farm came up.

“2015 was when I first discovered farming, and that was via traveling as a way to see the world but in a really affordable way by volunteering,” Toby said.

“I just happened to have some really good volunteers around me, who taught me about what agriculture is and how important it is.”

For two years Toby worked on farms in England, including orchards, egg production farms and mixed vegetable farms, which all focused on selling direct to customers.

When he arrived home, he sought job opportunities on farms in NSW which focused on regenerative agriculture.

As his experience and passion in land rehabilitation and sustainable organic farming practices grew, he decided it was time to start his own farm.

In 2022, he put out a call to landowners in the Northern Rivers looking for land to lease for his ‘Ag-Venture’ which would produce certified organic fruit and vegetables, he could sell.

“I always wanted to do it myself – put into practice the things that I’ve learnt and do different trials and innovations.

“Even though we’ve been farming as a civilisation for many thousands of years, we still haven’t fully figured it out.

“I also wanted to get into the environmental side of it and the clean food side of it.”

Toby received more than 30 offers from landowners, but he decided to choose a three-acre plot of land at ‘Johny’s Garden’ in Duranbah to farm.

The area is known for its ferrosols (krasnozem) soil, which has favourable agronomic properties.

Toby put together a strategy on how he could make an income, while practising new farming methods and focusing on research and development.

He drove up and down the coast talking to people who he thought might be interested in buying directly from him.

Then there were crop rotation plans, the purchasing of equipment, seed orders and an irrigation system that had to be set up.

Toby O’Grady is a first-generation farmer, who started his organic vegetable farm two years ago

Toby O’Grady is a first-generation farmer, who started his organic vegetable farm two years ago

Soil samples were tested to see what the soils were lacking for optimum plant and soil health.

“This was all then considered for how to implement growing organic vegetables,” Toby said.

“I ordered compost and organic amendments to be applied to the soil to correct mineral deficiencies within the soil.

“Some areas we began planting in immediately, however most of the farm was planted out with a mixed species cover crop.”

Toby had a strong focus on producing nutrient-dense organic produce and used compost and bio stimulants to increase biological activity in the soil.

These practices encourage vigorous root growth, nutrient uptake and weather-resilient growing conditions.

Cover cropping was used to help with soil fertility, weeds, pests, disease and biodiversity.

A few months after Toby started to work the land, he had his first harvest of root vegetables, leafy greens and a range of herbs, which he supplied to local health shops.

He was encouraged to apply for the Mur’bah (Murwillumbah) Market, which he began to sell at each Wednesday, and it has since become the highlight of his week.

Fast forward two years later, and he now fills up his ute with about 50 crates of produce each week that he supplies to six local health shops.

Eventually, he plans to scale-up his business, but not until he has refined his farming practices and new methodologies.

In the meantime, he said his organic farming business brings in a relatively comfortable income.

“I can do this because I have a great lease agreement that’s super affordable.

“The owners, who are retired farmers, are sentimental about keeping the land and the soil productive – producing quality food, supporting the community, dreams and livelihoods.

“I’d also like to note how important the supporters, buyers and retails shops, are in making this business possible.

“Supporting local and regenerative farms, makes for a more abundant and rich ecology – cleaner rivers, air and food.”

Despite access to land being inextricably linked to having a farm, Toby wants to show farming can be an accessible career even if you’re not born into it.

“You can do an apprenticeship for a plumber, you can go be an electrician, but there’s not really any clear path for farming – for first generation farmers – which is what I’ve found.

“I’d like to advocate for better opportunities in the future for new people who are keen to start farming, because there are a lot of people who are.”

You’ll find Toby O’Grady and his organic produce, sold under the banner of Johny’s Garden at Murwillumbah Farmers Market each Wednesday.

You can follow more of his organic farming journey on Instagram @ag_venture.

Toby O’Grady is also available for available for home garden, small farm designs and consultations.

 

For more rural news, click here.

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