ACCC enquiries spike
Small business enquiries to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission spiked by 60% in 2020, according to the ACCC’s latest Small Business in Focus report.
Contacts from small businesses reportedly increased to more than 3400 in the second half of 2020, while enquiries about the businesses’ legal rights and obligations jumped by 30%.
Furthermore, micro businesses with four or fewer employees accounted for 70% of all businesses who reached out to the ACCC.
The report attributed the increase to uncertainties of trading during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many businesses seeking greater information on their obligations to consumers during the pandemic.
To view the full report, head to accc.gov.au
Eftpos announces QR plan
Debit card system eftpos has announced plans for a QR code payments network, expected to be rolled out nationally in 2022.
eftpos Chief executive Stephen Benton said the decision comes at a time when Australians are becoming increasingly familiar with QR code technology as a result of digital COVID-19 check-ins.
He said the network works by generating unique QR codes containing transaction details that are captured on the customer’s mobile phone, providing a secure and low-cost payment method.
“Initiating secure purchase transactions using a consumer’s preferred digital wallet unlocks a wealth of extra benefits that will transform the way Australians choose to pay,” said Mr Benton.
“The QR code payments network will enable local home-grown innovation by connecting numerous APIs, consumer digital wallets, and supporting technologies on top of the existing eftpos network rails, providing choice and potential cost savings for local businesses.”
The company said they’re aiming for a mid-year trial of the network before completing a national rollout in 2022.
John Deere soars
Global manufacturing giant John Deere has scored record earnings in the first quarter of the financial year, more than doubling their first-quarter earnings from the previous year.
The company raked in an all-time quarterly earnings record of US$1.224 billion, up from US$517 million in the same period
They also saw their worldwide net sales and revenues increase by as much as 19 per cent, sitting at US$9.112 billion at the end of January.
CEO and chairman John C May said the company has started 2021 on a “strongly positive note”.
This came as the farm machinery heavyweight announced they would not be attending this year’s Agritechnica fair in Germany in November due to COVID concerns.
The company said the future remained too uncertain with virus mutations and the slow progress of the global vaccination rollout, but offered the company’s continued support for Agritechnica despite the decision.
Council appoints new CEO
Cairns Regional Council has named experienced leader and businessperson Mica Martin as their new Chief Executive Officer following a two-month search.
Ms Martin has gained extensive experience in local government with 29 years at Brisbane City Council, 16 of which were in senior management positions.
She has also held leadership roles in strategic planning and human resource management, business development and innovation, and was key to the formation of a new branch within the Brisbane City Council that employed more than 500 people with a budget of over $80 million.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said Ms Martin will help shape the organisation’s culture, community engagement and infrastructure and service delivery.
“I am delighted that our Council has been able to secure someone of the calibre of Ms Martin,” Cr Manning said.
“She is a highly motivated and respected leader with an extensive track record with the country’s largest government council.
“Importantly, Ms Martin has demonstrated the ability to effectively manage large, complex teams and build strong relationships across government, industry, business and community.”
Cr Manning said the appointment was unanimously endorsed by Council.
Ms Martin has been appointed for a term of four years and will commence her new role at the end of March.
Fish export ends
Cairns-based live fish exporter Australian Reef Traders has been left reeling after it was unable to have its export licence renewed in China.
The company is the country’s largest live fish exporter, last year accounting for 70 per cent of all live exports.
CEO Barry Dun said the company has not received an explanation from China on their decision to terminate the licence after a 20-year trading relationship.
He said the “serious disruption” came as the company was gearing up for increased trade on the back of sending a record consignment of 42 tonnes of live fish to China
Local workers have been laid off as a result, while boats between Mackay and Cooktown face an uncertain future.
Mr Dun said the company is currently looking at alternative markets, but the decision will nonetheless have a significant impact across the whole region.