NEW ENGLAND NEWSLETTER FOR MARCH 2017
A personal message from John
Most of you have read or heard that I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I have been overwhelmed by the good wishes from people all around Australia crossing the political divide, old school friends, acquaintances and the Nationals family. Indeed a number of you have contacted my office or me personally. I appreciate your thoughts and my medicial specialist is confident I will have no trouble seeing out the final 2 years and 3 months of my Senate term. I still have work to do here representing the people of regional Australia.
On the 1st of March the major changes to the Insolvency Law Reform Act came into force.The mood for these changes can be traced as far back as 2010 when I launched the Liquidators and Administrators inquiry and the lack of oversight of the industry was made public.To me it seemed they had all the power and the creditors of a distressed business had none. In the intervening years a number of bank-related inquiries heard of practices in the insolvency industry that were concerning but Labor in government did not act. I worked initially with Minister Cormann and then Minister O’Dwyer to tighten the rules. A person applying to be an administrator or receiver must now pay a fee and face a committee and possible exam; practitioners who have breached their statutory obligations will be asked to ‘show cause’ why they should remain in the industry; and creditors will be able to remove a practitioner from an insolvency without having to go to court to do it. The latter change is particularly welcome and it might stop the scenario where the liquidator is raking the money out of the distressed business whilst the creditors get little if anything.
TASKFORCE FOR THE REGIONS
Nationals Deputy Leader and Minister for Regional Development Senator Fiona Nash will be Deputy Chair of a new Ministerial Taskforce to address key issues such as employment, education, communications and health in regional Australia. The Prime Minister will chair the Taskforce which also includes Nationals Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce and Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan.
2017 REGIONAL DENTISTRY SCHOLARSHIP
Casey Hogben of Korora near Coffs Harbour is the recipient of this year’s scholarship which I sponsor. Casey is the 8th person to receive $4,800 to assist in the first year study costs and she is enrolled in the Bachelor of Dental Science at Charles Sturt University at Orange. In her application she said her goal is to return to practice in a regional area.
3.2 million Australian businesses that employ 6.5 million people will pay less tax following legislation passed in the Senate. From this financial year companies with turnovers of up to $10 million will see their tax rate fall to 27.5 per cent while companies with turnovers of up to $50 million will pay that same lower rate from the 2018-19 financial year. Under these reforms, small businesses with turnovers of up to $10 million will also receive access to tax concessions including immediate deductibility for assets costing less than $20,000 acquired before 30 June 2017 and other tax simplification provisions.
GROWING AGRICULTURAL TRADE WITH CHINA
Australia and China have signed an agreement that is estimated to be worth $400 million per year for Australia’s meat industry which in turn is a boost for regional jobs. China is Australia’s largest sheep meat market worth $240 million last year and is our fourth largest beef market worth $670 million. The two-way agricultural trading relationship between the two countries was worth $12.7 billion last year. The Joint Statement will unlock a number of trade restrictions currently in place by expanding the chilled meat trade and expediting the listing of 15 additional establishments that will be eligible to export meat to China; advancing Australia’s access for tripe exports to China and initiating trade in donkey meat and edible skins to China; and promoting a protocol for the export of Australian slaughter sheep and goats.
Legislation has passed which will prevent certain multinationals shifting profits that they made in Australia to offshore. It will apply to multinationals that have a global income of more than $1 billion and an Australian income of more than $25 million. The Diverted Profits Tax commences on the 1st of July this year and is expected to raise $100 million in revenue yearly from 2018-19. The Commissioner of Taxation will have greater powers to target those companies that contrive to avoid paying tax in this country.
Written and authorised by Senator John Williams,144 Byron Street, Inverell 2360
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