LATE PAYMENTS SURVEY
There is an old saying that a sale is not complete until the money is in the till. The viability of a business can be threatened by late or non-payment of accounts and in recent years I have been made aware of such issues in the transport industry which carry huge volumes of freight. The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) is conducting a survey in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Credit Management (AICM) to gain an understanding of the issues and effects of late payments on small business. The survey of 20 questions seeks to give an overview of the effect of late payments on small business and what processes are in place to try and retrieve the outstanding money. Results from this survey will inform the Late Payment Times and Practices Inquiry and will complement submissions from business, industry and interested parties. The survey is open until the 28th of February at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Payment-Timesand responses are anonymous.
There has been plenty of adverse publicity about letters being sent to welfare recipients seeking the repayment of a debt. To clarify, this is the third letter they would have received. The first letter they received would have been generated after a discrepancy showed up in a comparison of the ATO and Centrelink figures, and the recipient would have been invited to explain the discrepancy either by going into a Centrelink office or going online to update their income details. The second letter would be received two weeks after the first as reminder to attend to the request. So the third letter is only sent when the recipient has failed to respond to the first two. In response to the public outcry and to ensure people are given every chance to respond before a debt letter is sent, Centrelink will send letters to more than one address where necessary, and if a person can prove Centrelink did not have their current address, they will be eligible for an internal review before a` debt notice is issued. The stark reality is the Federal government is trying to claw back $4 billion in over-payments over the next four years.
AUSTRALIA DAY AWARDS
Congratulations to the following people who have been recognised with Order of Australia Medals in the Australia Day Honours List.
Graeme Andrews of Armidale - for service to the community including Rotary, Legacy, aged care and cricket.
Douglas Crocker of Armidale - for service to the community including University of the Third Age, Scouts and Post-Polio Network.
Dorothy Every of Ben Lomond– for service to many organisations at Ben Lomond, Glen Innes and Guyra.
Marilyn Dixon of Bingara – for service to Bingara Central School, Pony Club, Touriandi Lodge and rugby league.
Dr, John Flynn of Armidale – for service to medicine and medical education.
Noel Schmidt of Glen Innes – for service encouraging a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing in the community.
Robert Sweeney of Barraba – for service to veterans and their families and through the RSL and Legacy, as well as the Barraba Military History Group.
OAM’S were awarded posthumously tothe following twopeople –
John Clift late of Tamworth – the man who bred the champion racehorse Gunsynd gave decades of service to the racing and breeding industries and local government.
Emeritus Professor Larry Smith late of Armidale -for significant service to the vocational education and training sector, through leadership and research roles, and to professional organisations.
Congratulations also to the many people who have been named Citizen of the Year in their communities.
GRANTS AVAILABLE FOR VETERANS GROUPS
This year the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will run funding rounds in several grants programmes. The Saluting Their Service (STS) commemorations program provides funding to eligible organisations for projects that contribute to Australia’s understanding of its wartime heritage and honour the service and sacrifice of its servicemen and women. Two categories of grants are available under the STS Program –
Community Commemorative Grants – up to $4,000 in funding is available for projects that assist people at a community level and enable small communities to build memorials and preserve wartime memorabilia that are locally significant.
Major Commemorative Grants – funding in excess of $4,000 is available for significant projects at a national or state/territory level. This program has two funding rounds. The first round opens on 1 July and the second round opens on 4 January. Successful grant applicants receive funding shortly after approval.
Veteran and Community Grants - program aims to improve the independence and quality of life for members of the veteran community. This program provides funding for projects that support activities and services to sustain or enhance health and wellbeing.
Building Excellence in Support and Training Programme - provides compensation and welfare assistance to the veteran and Defence communities. It also links closely to the Advocacy Training and Development Program, which provides practitioners with the essential skills for claims, advocacy and welfare work.
Grants-In-Aid Programme - helps to fund representational activities aimed at improving connectedness between the head office of a national organisation and its state and local branches.
Further details are available at www.dva.gov.au/consultation-and-grants/grants
NATIONAL INDIGENOUS YOUTH PARLIAMENT
Young Indigenous people between the ages of 16 and 25 are being invited to apply to participate in the Youth Parliament in May. It is a week-long leadership programme for 50 Indigenous leaders so if you know of a young Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander who may be interested please direct them to www.aec.gov.au/indigenous. Applications close on the 3rd of March.
I congratulate Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall and Sarah Mitchell MLC on being appointed to the NSW Ministry. Adam has become Minister for Tourism and Major Events and Assistant Minister for Skills, and Sarah is Minister for Early Childhood Education and Aboriginal Affairs and Assistant Minister for Education. Both are extremely enthusiastic and hard-working and I am sure they will handle their new responsibilities well.
RADIO TALK ON 1134AM 2AD ARMIDALE
During sitting weeks I join Peter Raymond between 12.30pm and 1pm each Thursday to report on what is happening in Parliament.
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