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The services provided by BEC
(Darwin Region) Inc are partially
funded by the Australian
Government and NT Government.


In this issue:

Message from the Manager, Free Interactive Government Webinar, Digital Business Kits, ACCC's Latest 'Small Business in Focus Report' Released, ACCC Free Online Education Program, October Business Month - Calendar Launched, BEC Small Business Workshops, Small Business Tax Information, Free Business Survival e-Classes, Strengthening ACCC's powers to enforce Franchising Code of Conduct, ASIC surveillance of false declarations in building sector, Vocational Education and Training Reforms 

Message from the Manager

I have just returned from holidays and was fortunate enough to spend some time in both the United States and Canada.

It’s the first time I have had the opportunity to visit either of these countries and one of the first things you notice is the sheer size and scale of the cities and large population centers and the number of people moving around on the roads and in the public transport systems. I have to say it takes a bit of getting used to!!

We were travelling with a group of other Aussies and one of the topics that was always being discussed was the practice of tipping staff in the service and hospitality sector. Whilst we do tip in Australia, the practice does not have the same importance as in the USA where the hourly rate for wait staff is comparatively low and they rely on tips to make a decent living. Moreover, there is a clear expectation that a 10% – 15 % tip as a minimum will always accompany final settlement of the bill.

Some of our group felt uncomfortable with this and some were happy to comply, especially where the service was great and I was wondering what impact universally accepted tipping would have on the Australian service sector??

I have to say that I found the process worked very well. Nearly without exception the service staff I encountered understood and operated in a way that recognized by providing great service their prospects for an above average tip improved significantly…and in my case it did.

However, I know others felt very uncomfortable with the process, believing that they deserved a high level of service notwithstanding the potential of a tip.

Anyone have any thoughts they are prepared to share.

Jack Hughes

Free Interactive Government Webinar

"Essential Tips and Tools for Small Business"


If you currently run a small business or are thinking about starting one, or if you advise small businesses or work in a business or industry association with small business members, you are invited to attend a free government webinar:

Essential tips and tools for small businesses:
Four government regulators tell you the key things you should know

Date:  Wednesday 22 October 2014

Time:  6.00–7.00pm AEDT

By attending this webinar you will find out about some of the key rights and responsibilities small businesses have under Australian law when:

  • registering a company or business name
  • hiring or managing employees
  • selling goods and services to customers
  • setting up invoicing, payments and records systems.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Taxation Office and the Fair Work Ombudsman are Australian government regulators who play an important role throughout the life-cycle of any small business

Expert presenters from these four regulators are taking part in this free and interactive webinar where they will answer your questions, give tips and talk about some government tools that can help small businesses save effort, time and money.

Business Enterprise Centres Australia is facilitating this webinar and Small Biz Connect (University of Western Sydney) is also participating in the interactive question-and-answer panel with the four government regulators.

To register for the webinar on the website

Digital Business Kits

Digital Business

Digital Business Kits (DBK) provide industry-specific information and resources to assist small-to-medium enterprises and not-for-profit organisations engage in the digital economy and take advantage of the opportunities available through digital technology.

The DBK is a partnership between the Australian Government and nine industry peak bodies, designed to address industry-specific gaps in digital knowledge and promote increased use of innovative digital solutions by business to market products and services, engage with clients and improve business operations.

The following industries are represented:

  • Manufacturing Sector
  • Professional Services Sector
  • Early Childhood Education and Care Sector
  • Construction and Building Related Trades Sector
  • Retail Sector
  • Restaurant and Catering Sector
  • Healthcare Sector
  • Art, Recreation and Education Services Sector
  • Community and Social Services Sector

To get your business up to speed and view the DBK developed for your industry, you can select your industry sector from the listing on the website.

ACCC's Latest 'Small Business in Focus Report' Released

Digital Business

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) provides a twice-yearly report summarising ACCC activities in the small business and franchising sectors and updates on industry codes.

The Small Business in Focus – 1 January 2014 to 30 June 2014 was recently released. This report, the eighth in the series, includes the latest small business and franchising related complaints data, and highlights the ACCC’s work in the small business sector between 1 January and 30 June 2014.

Information covered in the report includes:

  • Misleading conduct and false representations continue to be the biggest small business issue, with over 1500 complaints received in the 2013–14 financial year, followed by complaints about consumer guarantees (more than 900).
  • The ACCC continued to use a range of compliance and enforcement tools to encourage compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, and achieved several significant court outcomes during the period that are relevant to small businesses.
  • The ACCC’s online resources continue to be popular, with over 6000 users of the ACCC’s three free online education programs for small businesses, tertiary students and prospective franchisees during the period. These online programs are available at

ACCC Free Online Education Program

Digital Business

The ACCC funded free online education program for businesses is now available.
  • Do you run a small business?
  • Do you know what you can and can’t say in your ads?
  • Are the products you’re selling safe?
  • Has your competitor asked you to fix prices?

You can access a free online education program, funded by the ACCC, and learn more about your rights and obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The program includes 10 modules and it takes about 15-20 minutes to complete each module. There is a self assessment quiz for most modules so you can check your understanding. Do all the modules or only the ones relevant to you. Log on now at

October Business Month - Calendar Launched

Digital Business

The 20th Anniversary October Business Month (OBM) calendar of events has been launched.

This year’s OBM calendar offers more than 130 opportunities for professional development and networking opportunities. Most of these events are free, and many are held after hours to allow businesses to keep normal operating hours.

The OBM website is now open to take registrations. Check it out to see what events you and your staff will be interested in attending this year.

Register for any OBM keynote event before 4pm Wednesday 6 October 2014 you could win two return tickets flying SilkAir to a destination of your choice. 

If you are attending either the OBM opening in Alice Springs or the Darwin keynote with Mark Bouris on 1 October don’t forget to enter Area9 Platinum sponsors competition for your chance to win a Pebble Steel Smartwatch.

Check out the full events calendar  here and register now to avoid disappointment. Limited seats available for all events.

BEC Small Business Workshops

Digital Business

Looking to start a new business or expand your existing business?

The BEC is all about supporting individuals with sound practical advice from start up to business growth in the early years. 

Our Small Business Workshops provide an introduction to five specific and important areas of business including business structures and tax, marketing and bookkeeping. Best of all the workshops are FREE! 


Venue: Katherine Training Centre, 19 Second Street Katherine
Dates: 16-17 October 2014

Alice Springs

Venue: QUEST, 9/10 South Terrace, The Gap
Dates: 22-23 October 2014

Bookings are essential phone 1800 229 500 or register online.

Small Business Tax Information

Digital Business

The Australian Taxation Office’s Small Business Newsroom is a useful and practical online resource for small businesses. It contains information on topics such as paperless activity statements, tax basics for start ups, and upcoming webinars.

Visit the  Small Business Newsroom at the website.

Free Business Survival e-Classes

Digital Business

Four free animated eClasses have been developed by Griffith University’s Asia-Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence to help current and potential small business and franchise owners improve their knowledge in areas critical to business success.

Each eClass runs for less than 10 minutes, covering topics such as contractual understanding, expectations, debt, and partnerships.

The eClasses were developed in response to  research conducted by the Centre, which discovered that franchises and small businesses overlooked critical issues in their business management that may lead to business failure. The research was funded through an Australian Research Council Linkage grant with the Department of Industry and Franchise Council of Australia.

Watch the eClasses

Strengthening ACCC's powers to enforce Franchising Code of Conduct

Digital Business

The Abbott Government has passed legislation to increase compliance and reduce disputes in the franchise sector with franchisors and franchisees who breach the new Franchising Code of Conduct facing penalties of up to $51,000.

The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Industry Code Penalties) Bill 2014 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and will give the ACCC stronger powers and greater flexibility in how it enforces the Code.

More details are available in the  Minister for Small Business’ media release(11 September 2014).

ASIC surveillance of false declarations in building sector

Digital Business

An ASIC surveillance program aimed at weeding out illegal phoenix operators has been widened to look at the use of false statutory declarations in Australia's building and construction sector.

Commissioner Greg Tanzer said ASIC's latest surveillance campaign follows feedback from small businesses, industry bodies and other government agencies about the use of false statutory declarations in the sector to falsely claim payments for work.

More details are available in the  ASIC media release.

Vocational Education and Training Reforms

Digital Business

Reforms to vocational education and training announced recently by the Australian Government include replacing the existing apprenticeship centre model and encouraging employees to take on more young people.

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network

The new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network aims to lift apprenticeship completion rates. Apprentices will be assisted to find an employer to begin their apprenticeship and receive mentoring through to the successful completion of their apprenticeship.

The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network is due to begin July 2015. It will:

  • connect apprentices and employers through targeted job-matching
  • provide advice about different course options and training delivery options
  • deliver personalised mentoring and support to apprentices
  • provide advice to businesses taking on apprentices, including their roles and responsibilities
  • manage the administration of an apprenticeship including the training contract
  • administer the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program including employer incentives and trade support loans.

Further details can be found in the  Ministerial media release (8 September 2014)

Training for Employment Scholarship programme

Employers in regional areas where youth unemployment is high will be assisted to provide job specific training for new employees. For the first time, small businesses will be able to access wholly funded government training that is tailored to the training needs of their business. Small to medium businesses that hire an unemployed person aged 18-24 will be eligible to receive funding to pay for up to 26 weeks of training. The programme is due to open in March 2015.

Youth Employment Pathways programme

Young Australians in regional areas will be assisted to identify and successfully start on the path to their chosen career by returning to school, starting vocational education training or moving into the workforce. Community organisations will be able to apply for funding to deliver support services and training to young Australians aged 15-18 who are not in school.

More details on the Training for Employment Scholarship and Youth Employment Pathways programmes can be found in the  Ministerial media release(8 September 2014).

Australian Skills Quality Authority

The Australian Government will change the way the regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority, operates to cut the excessive red tape for high-performing training providers.

A key element of the reform package is giving high performing Registered Training Organisations the ability to manage their own scope of registration without the need to apply to ASQA and pay a fee each time they wish to add a new qualification or unit of competency to their scope of registration.

More details are available on the  ASQA website.

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