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PART 1: SELLING YOUR BUSINESS Time to look at your business as a buyer might

NEW GATEWAY BUSINESS PARK Gungahlin's newest commercial addition

JUNE 2012


Canberra's Tracey Mitchell is Asian Entrepreneur of the Year



Time to start booking for next financial year and Christmas

Time to brush up on those qualifications

CAN YOU SAVE 50% ON YOUR PRIVATE HEALTH? RSM Bird Cameron investigates

$4.95 inc. GST $4.95 inc. GST ISSN 1833-8232 01

9 771833 823005

Bird Cameron

Chartered Accountants

The clock is ticking 30 June is approaching! At RSM Bird Cameron, we will show you how smart planning can get you ahead. Connect with our experts for advice on issues including: • Taxation preparation and planning • Business advisory and business planning • Superannuation • Succession planning

Connected for Success.

Assurance l Business Advisory l Corporate Finance l Risk Advisory l Tax l Turnaround and Insolvency


Work life balance myth or reality ... If you have never owned or run your own business you probably look at those that do and think 'lucky bugger one day I'd like to do that'. You start to think of all the TIM advantages: no boss, less BENSON Editor stress, do what you want when you want, spend more time with your children, family and friends, earn limitless amounts of money, travel, spend more time on the golf course ... but of course the reality is usually very different. Most people find out very quickly that being the 'boss' in a small business generally means that in the beginning you are also the 'bottlewasher'. If you have been an employee and worked in an office you quickly find out that your office is no longer cleaned, there is no IT support, no finance section, no human resources support, no cafe in the bottom of your building ... and no colleagues. A year down the track when you are either working or waking up at 3am worrying about a client or the next big bill that needs to be paid, you will start to have doubts about your choices. But push through this phase, have a good accountant and business adviser and things will start to improve. You will organise your time better. You will spend more time with your children, family and friends. And you will spend more time travelling and on the golf course and living your dreams. One terrific example of this is what the founders and directors of Mitchell Personnel Solutions (cover story) have chosen to do. Follow their dreams. Tracey Mitchell is estabishing an international golf tour business and Karen Bradley is writing and producing musicals. Read this story and be inspired to set some goals and improve your work life balance. Please send all comments to


photos by Andrew Sikorski

27 COVer STOrY

Canberra's Tracey Mitchell is Asian Entrepeneur of the Year

FEATURES 10 Rebate beating tips from RSM Bird Cameron 14 End of financial planning with Beames 16 Training Feature- opening doors to a better life 17 Learning Options celebrates 10 years 18 CIT and effective learning 20 Functions and Venues Feature- Beyond the body 22 CSCC special Christmas event offer 24 The Boathouse- best view in Canberra 25 Thoroughbred Park- more than just a racecourse



12Casey Ford, Lawyer, Farrar Gesini & Dunn,


talks about collaboration

COVER STORY 27 Tracey Mitchell from MPS wins


International Business Award 21 ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS 34 ACCOUNTING 7 Steps to take before the End of the Financial Year By RSM Bird Cameron BUSINESS LAW The long arm of workers compensation: how to limit your liability By Elringtons Lawyers


35 BUSINESS SERVICES Insolvency demystified By Kazar Slaven COMMERCIAL PROPERTY Time to Owner Occupy? By Ray White Commercial


36 CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Boom or bust? By Australian Institute of Company Directors ESTATE PLANNING Defacto Relationships and Wills By Certus Law 37 RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY How to choose the right agent for you By Ray White Kingston


40 ACT & REGION CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY: Challenges ahead for the ACT 41 ACT EXPORTERS: Golden opportunities for ACT Exporters

VOX POLI 42 Should the ACT abolish conveyance duty? BUSINESS NETWORKING 06 B2B @ ACT Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner 07 B2B @ ACT Chamber of Commerce Federal Budget Briefing 08 B2B @ Canberra Southern Cross Club Chefs on Show 09 B2B @ Camp Quality Supper Club Signature Dinner

45 PROPERTY 46 GEOCON New business park at the Gateway to Gungahlin 48 BENDIGO BANK Are your repayments investing in both you and your community? 52 BRINDABELLA BUSINESS BROKERS Part 1: the end game selling your business?

STRATEGIC FINANCIAL ADVICE The challenges of succession planning By Perpetual 38 TALENT SERVICES It’s about Career Direction! By Cantlie


Tim Benson 02 6161 2751


39 CANBERRA BUSINESS COUNCIL: Federal Budget negatives outweigh positives for ACT Business

Tim Benson 0402 900 402



Man Bites Dog Public relations aBn 30 932 483 322 PO Box 4106 ainslie aCT 2602 t 02 6161 2751 f 02 6262 7721


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LEGAL NOTICE Man Bites Dog Public Relations (‘MBD’) owns the copyright in this publication. Except for any fair dealing as permitted by the Copyright Act 1968 (Cwth), no part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written permission of MBD. MBD has been careful in preparing this publication, however: it is not able to, and does not warrant that the publication is free from errors and omissions; and it is not able to verify, and has not verified the accuracy of the information and opinions contained or expressed in, or which may be conveyed to readers by any advertisement or other publication content. MBD advises that it accepts all contributed material and advertisements contained in this publication in good faith, and relies on various warranties and permissions provided to it by the persons who contribute material and/or place advertisements. Those warranties and permissions include that neither the material and/or advertisements are misleading, deceptive or defamatory, and that their use, adaptation or publication does not infringe the rights of any third party, or any relevant laws. Further, MBD notifies readers that it does not, nor should it be understood to endorse, adopt, approve or otherwise associate MBD with any representations made in contributions and/or advertisements contained in the publication. MBD makes no representation or warranty as to the qualifications of any contributor or advertiser or persons associated with them, and advises readers that they must rely solely on their own enquiries in relation to such qualifications, and be satisfied from those enquiries that persons with whom they deal as a result of reading any material or advertisement have the necessary licences and professional qualifications relating to the goods and services offered. To the maximum extent permitted by law, MBD excludes all liabilities in contract, tort (including negligence) and/or statute for loss, damage, costs and expenses of any kind to any person arising directly or indirectly from any material or advertisement contained in this publication, whether arising from an error, omission, misrepresentation or any other cause.


Business Development Strategy


here’s no doubt the ACT has a thriving, dynamic and innovative private sector. Our education, information and communications technology, design and professional services (such as legal and accounting) sectors are national leaders and the private sector as a whole is playing an increasingly large role in our economy. However, it cannot be taken for granted that spending by the Commonwealth will continue to power our economy or that our private sector will continue creating jobs. cannot be taken for granted that spending by the Commonwealth will continue to power our economy or that our private sector will continue creating jobs. That’s why last month I issued Growth, Diversification and Jobs, A Business Development Strategy for the ACT. It is a detailed blueprint about how the ACT Government will support the private sector. It has new visions, new ideas and new spending to boost growth, jobs, and diversification in the ACT economy. We will achieve these goals by creating the right business environment, boosting business innovation, and supporting business investment. The good news is that there strong foundations to build on. The ACT has world-class education, research and cultural institutions, a highly skilled and educated workforce, and a collaborative and innovative business community. It’s important to state that the Business Development Strategy takes a market-focused approach – we will not provide direct subsidies to industries or businesses, nor prop up inefficient or unsustainable businesses. Nevertheless, there is a great deal that the Government can and will do to support the private sector. First, the Government understands that running a business isn’t easy, which is why the Strategy contains concrete plans to make it easier to do business in Canberra. The ACT Government will raise the threshold

at which businesses will become liable for payroll tax, from $1.5 million to $1.75 million, from 1 July 2012. This will give the ACT the highest payroll tax threshold in the nation and make the ACT the lowest taxing jurisdiction for businesses with a payroll of up to $4.7 million. We are creating a Red Tape Reduction Taskforce whose job will be to remove regulations and laws that don’t work or don’t make sense. We will also make it simpler and quicker to deal with Government and regulations, provide advice and business mentoring, and encourage the purchase of goods and services from locally based companies. Second, we will create an environment in which innovation is encouraged and rewarded. Innovation is the foundation of economic growth and development, and strong partnerships between government, business and education institutions are what innovation is built on. Among the Government’s initiatives are to expand Innovation Connect to further support earlystage businesses innovation and assist entrepreneurs to commercialise and create value from their innovations; provide new funding for clean tech and sustainability oriented companies; and create the Global Connect program, to act as a single portal for the numerous trade development activities supported by the Government. Finally, we are encouraging investment in our city’s firms and research institutions, and telling those outside our border that Canberra is ‘open for business’. We are creating a specialist unit within the Economic Development Directorate to respond quickly to investment leads and ensure that facilitating investment becomes a specialist function within government. We will also launch a ‘Canberra brand’. In the way the city has branding aimed at tourists, we will create a message that shows that the ACT is committed to fostering a dynamic and creative private sector. The Government is committed to making life easier for businesses. We understand the vital role the private sector has in our economy, and will continue to do all we can to help it grow and thrive.



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6.30PM - 7.30PM

& 8.00PM - 9.00PM



Z00 47510




Here’s a rebate-beating tip Ken Johnston, RSM Bird Cameron


here are few easy breaks with a Federal Government desperately seeking a surplus, but consumer group Choice and health fund HBF have suggested a money-saving tip before the private health insurance rebate is means-tested. The tip is that people on so-called high incomes should seriously consider paying their private health insurance in advance before July 1 to get the full benefits of the 30 per cent subsidy given to Australians with private health insurance. We estimate that prepaying could well be worthwhile for those hit by means-testing, even if they have to borrow to do it. From 1 July 2012, the rebate will fall to 20 per cent of the unsubsidised cost of the policy for single people earning between $83,001 and $96,000, as well as for families earning between $96,001 and $192,000. It will fall to 10 per cent for singles earning more than $96,001 and families with more than $192,001 income, while it will be lost

to singles earning more than $129,000 and families earning more than $258,000. Older Australians receive rebates as high as 40 per cent, but those in these income brackets will have their benefits slashed.

So beware, only prepay if you have a solid understanding of the income for you and your family. If this is found to be a beneficial strategy get in quick as 30 June is approaching. Some health insurance funds allow people to pay up to a year in advance, while HBF allows pre-payments of up to 18 months. Anyone considering pre-paying should first check with their health insurer whether they will accept prepayment up to 12 or 18 months. Base your calculations off a forecast of your income for a year or 18 months ahead. The case for pre-payment is particularly

compelling for people who may lose all or most of their rebate. But pre-paying is a more marginal proposition for those who will still be eligible for the 20 per cent rebate. In a test based on a post-subsidy premium of $2700, someone in the top bracket could be $1000 in front by pre-paying and getting the rebate. They could still be more than $800 in front if they had borrowed the money at a high credit card interest rate of 20 per cent. Some who stood to still receive the 20 per cent rebate and had relatively low interest costs, could be $200 or more better off prepaying but the benefits would quickly fall if they had high interest costs. Paying 18 months in advance could give big net benefits for very high income earners, while it might not be viable for people who would still get the 20 per cent subsidy and had high interest costs. So beware, only prepay if you have a solid understanding of the income for you and your family. If this is found to be a beneficial strategy get in quick as 30 June is approaching.

Bird Cameron

Chartered Accountants

For more information, please contact Ken Johnston at RSM Bird Cameron, on 02 6247 5988 or


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B2b In Can berr a

With RSM Bird Cameron you truly are... Connected for Success.

We want to help guide your creative decisions. Not make them for you.

A fresh approach to creative design + web services.

6285 55 02


Collaboration Farrar Gesini the new solution for hard cases By Kasey Fox, Lawyer, Farrar Gesini Dunn


elieve it or not, not all difficult divorces need to end up in Court. Over the last 7 years, the Family Law community in Australia has been introduced to a practice known as Collaboration. Collaboration is a process available to resolve family law matters and keep parties out of Court. Each client is represented by his or her lawyer through a series of meetings. It also allows the parties to structure more creative solutions which go beyond the scope of the Court. All information and advice is given openly in the round table meetings. This process also helps to address any power imbalance between the parties, so that one party is not bullied into a settlement. What makes Collaboration unique from other methods of dispute resolution is the contract that is signed by each of the parties and their lawyers, committing not to go to Court. If the matter doesn’t settle, then the lawyers cannot represent the parties at Court. It means that instead of lawyers playing the traditional role of a litigator and being strategic in negotiations, their goal is to settle the dispute by agreement. Collaboration also has its critics. Some view Collaboration as the “soft” approach and think that it is only suited to “easy” matters where everyone is getting along. I’ve often heard others say “this matter is too complicated, so it’s not suited to


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Collaboration”. In my view, it is these so called “hard” cases that can get the most benefit out of Collaboration. So far all of my Collaboration matters have been “hard” cases. In some of my matters, the clients have had an extremely poor relationship and limited communication. In others, infidelity has inflamed the animosity between them. Often separating couples have zero trust in the other and will take steps simply to push each other’s buttons. In some cases, in addition to the hostility, there has been a complicated property structure, including companies, self managed superannuation funds and investment properties. Was reaching a settlement via Collaboration for these matters cheap? No. Was it easy? Definitely not. Did the parties improve their relationship by the end of the process? Sadly not in all cases. Was it better, cheaper, faster and more controlled than Court? Absolutely! The Collaboration model offers parties a number of positive outcomes that they would have been unlikely to obtain from the Court process, including; spending less on legal fees, dealing with urgent issues, arranging meetings to suit their schedule, bringing in a neutral financial expert to advise both parties, discussing items of sentimental value, retaining their assets rather than resorting to sale or liquidation, controlling the timing of

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their settlement, discussing ways to maximise the value of their investments, each party and their lawyer having the chance to question the other party via the roundtable process, the parties raising matters that were important to them (but not necessarily a consideration under the Family Law Act), and being able to ventilate the day-to-day problems and reach solutions. If the parties had chosen the Court process, they would have been faced with: the Court imposing timeframes on them, limited capacity of the Court to deal with urgent issues, the lawyers only able to question the other party directly at the end of the matter (in a hearing), being unable to raise matters considered irrelevant by the Court, the possibility of the Court ordering the sale of assets, possible delay in receiving a judgment and large expenditure on lawyers, barristers and experts. Overall, in these cases, the Collaborative process was by no means easy, but it gave the parties the power to control their own settlement rather than rolling the dice with the Court. I can’t guarantee that your divorce will be smooth sailing, but if you choose Collaboration over Court, you will be much more likely to achieve an outcome that suits both of you. Farrar Gesini Dunn Level 5, Colonial , Mutual Building 17-21 University Avenue, Canberra City ACT P (02) 6257 6477 | F (02) 6257 4382 E |



FUN RUN NOW IN ITS 23RD YEAR Great local, community, family-friendly event When Where

Sunday 24 June Stromlo Forest Park

Details and registration at or register on the day from 8.30am

Proundly supported by:

Lisa Moore Ma ssage


End of Financial Year Business Planning and renewed strategies that can be implemented on a real time basis at the very start of the new financial year. If your business strategic plan or personal financial strategy requires a different or improved performance then DO NOT start the new financial year by continuing to implement the same strategies as last year. Year end strategic plan check list

Strategic Plans- Year End Strategies & Checklists Peter Beames

Pre year end is the most effective time to both review and renew business and personal strategic plans. Year to date results will enable analysis of the performance achieved through implemented strategies, will identify strategies that have not generated the expected performance, and will assist in identifying new possibilities for improving performance. Such a process will stimulate the identification of new

Tax Planning James Watt

Here we are, weeks out from the end of another financial year and no doubt many of you reading this are to soon be sitting down with your financial advisor to discuss year end tax planning opportunities. To assist with this process here are the top 4 questions you should be asking your advisor during your tax planning meeting: Business Structures

Am I structured in the most efficient manner? • Having the correct business structure is one of the best ways to ensure your assets are protected and your annual tax bill is legally minimised. • Despite this, many business owners are continuing to operate through an inefficient structure – this is evidenced in the number

Business Review last year’s strategic plan • Have all actions been implemented? • Have they worked? • Should they be part of next year’s strategic plan? • Undertake a Strategic Planning Process and prepare a Strategic Plan designed to achieve performance targets for the next year with actions and responsibilities documented • Prepare an annual budget incorporating the expected costs and benefits from implementing the Strategic Plan • Diarise dates to review business performance versus the strategic plan on a

of new clients we see who have been setup incorrectly and as a result are putting assets at risk or paying more tax than required. • If you think you might fall into this category, don’t panic! The restructuring process can represent a fantastic opportunity to reorder and reorganise your mix of assets and debt and ensure you’re positioning yourself and your business in the best way possible for future growth. Don’t wait on this – act now to ensure you can be best structured for the 2013 financial year! Superannuation

Should I be increasing my contributions? • Probably the number one genuine tax saving initiative out there although limited to $25,000 per annum for most people ($50,000 if you’re over 50 for the 2012 financial year). • Not only do you get a tax benefit for contributing but income earned on superannuation is taxed at concessional rates (in some cases a nil rate!) • 2012 is your last chance (if eligible) to contribute $50,000 concessionally for a couple of years due to the recent changes announced in the budget. • It is VITAL that the superfund receives the contribution by 30 June for it to be counted in the 2012 financial year. June Tax Instalments

Am I likely to be overpaying? Can I vary it?

regular basis for the next financial year • Review the office culture and if appropriate plan to implement high performance strategies • Where required, seek external professionals to facilitate and document a Strategic Plan Personal • Quantify your financial position and compare to year end long term targets • Identify actions required to keep on track with long term targets i.e. is more saving and investment required? Change of investment mix required? • Implement pre year end strategies i.e. Superannuation contributions (both concessional and non concessional), aligning realised capital gains and losses in the same financial year • If over 55 consider triggering tax effective pension streams • If required, seek external professional assistance to facilitate and document a personal financial plan

• Many small business owners will have just lodged their 2011 tax returns with the ATO if they had tax payable. • If this is the case, it generally means business profits grew during the 2011 financial year. • If these results were maintained or increased for 2012 it may mean a big “catch up” tax instalment due in July. • This “catch up” can cripple cashflow if you haven’t planned for it – you should ask your advisor to provide you with a 24 month forward looking tax payment schedule to assist with your cashflow management. Trust distributions / corporate beneficiaries

How do the recent changes affect me? • What do you normally do on a Saturday morning – relax? kids sport? This year if you are a trustee of a trust you need to ensure your trust distributions are effected on Saturday 30 June 2012!! Failure to do so could result in the trustee paying tax on the trust income at the highest marginal rate. • The goalposts have moved in regards to streaming to corporate beneficiaries and streaming capital gains and there have been a number of other substantial changes in the trust taxation landscape in the last few years (Bamford, TR 2010/3, TR 2012/D1 etc). • Also, the ability to distribute income to minors to reduce tax has been greatly reduced as part of last year’s budget.


with Beames and Associates Review Your Strategy

Investment Opportunities David Rae Personal Cashflow Management and Budgeting

• Whilst it might not sound exciting it is the first step to developing a great financial plan. The two key areas to focus on: 1. Budget for the year ahead – how much will you spend, save and pay off your debts 2. Revisit the budget and compare to actual • Having someone to keep you accountable will keep you on track.

Business Risk Management Opportunities Ross Beames

Interest Rates – is your business susceptible to interest rate movements? Comparatively speaking, the current interest rates on offer represent relatively cheap money, and now is the time to assess the extent to which locking in current fixed interest rates into the future represents a prudent risk mitigation strategy. Remember, it is not a contest to pick the bottom of the interest rate market and fixed interest rates will move before you know it. Partnership/Shareholder Agreements – as they say, partnerships are the worst ships to leave the harbour. What will happen to your business ownership arrangement in the event of a

• Now is a great time to revisit your goals and objectives and check in to see if your financial plans are still on track. • What has changes have there been in your situation in the last 12 months? Are you married, started a family, retired, bought a new house, divorced? • Your plans can also be affected by investment markets and legislative change such as measures announced in the budget. Yield vs Growth

• Review your investment portfolio in line with the goals you want to achieve. • Yield – in a falling interest rate environment you may need to start looking to high dividend paying shares. Many S&P/ASX 200 companies currently offer prospective (forecast) dividend yields in the 5–6 per cent range, which grosses-up to 7.1–8.6 per cent befor tax. • Growth – the Australian sharemarket has tracked sideways for close to 3 years now.

dispute; death of an owner; incapacitation of an owner; or change in work attitudes, efforts and contributions of certain owners? How does your current ownership agreements deal with these circumstances? Star Employees – Most businesses have a number of employees who are their star employees. These are the employees who go the extra yard; who are loyal; who can be relied upon when times get tough; who can be trusted to withstand external influences and remain loyal to the business. As a business risk management exercise make sure you identify who these staff are; seek their feedback and reward these staff like an AFL or NRL football team would treat their star players. Define the Performance Standard – Do you fall for the trap of setting this year’s budget based on last year’s numbers? The performance standard for your business is not necessarily what was achieved in the prior year. Take a step back, assess both the external and internal landscape and develop a standalone performance standard for the current year. Perform a SWOT Analysis – Performing a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (“SWOT”) exercise sounds like business planning 101, however the SWOT analysis will make sure the majority of business outcomes are managed outcomes rather than chance

Growth can be found but it’s not as easy as it used to be. Equities vs Property

• Diversification is key – spread your risk but let’s look at some key factors at the moment: • Property – according to the Herron Todd White “Month in Review” for May 2012 the current Stage of Property Cycle for both Houses and Units in Canberra and Sydney is a “Declining Market”. • Equities – valuations remain at attractive levels as long as they are supported by earnings. Lower interest rates on term deposits has seen the switch to high yield shares begin for many. Superannuation

• Do you know how your super is being managed and how it has been performing? • Is a Self Managed Super Fund right for you? • Most people are familiar with negative gearing on an investment property. Did you know you can also borrow in super to buy an investment property?

outcomes left to risk. Customer feedback – Many business owners dread receiving customer feedback, but it is the single biggest determinant of future revenue growth. The majority of business risks facing your business will be identified by your customer base such as price; service delivery; turnaround times; and staff competencies and attitudes etc. Seek feedback from 10% of your client base on a monthly basis and the true business risks facing your business will be communicated to you on a timely basis. In summary, don’t leave your 2012/13 performance results to chance and introduce business risk management activities into your year end business planning cycle.

Suite 7, Football House 3-5 Phipps Close, Deakin T 6282 9500 F 6282 9200

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Trainings opens our minds and doors to a better life


anberrans are a privileged lot. We live in a safe, clean and friendly city. We have higher incomes and education levels that other states. On a per capita basis we are also far more culturally active than our fellow Australians. We also have more restaurants and universities per head of population than our fellow capital cities - and are on the whole more attractive … well maybe not that last bit. One of the byproducts of our fabulous little oasis surrounded by NSW sheep country is that we appreciate and thirst for knowledge and new skills and are continuously looking for that next course or bit of training that will open our minds, or that next door, in our career and lives. B2B sees training as an essential component for businesses no matter how large or small. On the one hand training maintains your skills and opens your business up to new ideas and trends, whilst on the other it

demonstrates to your staff that you value them and that you want to see them grow and prosper just as much as you do your business. But all too often we get bogged down in the day-to-day grind of doing business. We feel that we cannot leave our businesses for a half day to a week or once a week during the evenings to devote to ‘training and development’. To those that embrace training and continuous learning we know that training is the lifeblood for business. Not only do you feel better when you are learning new skills and ideas, but you are mixing with other like-minded enthusiastic people. You never know what opportunities might arise whist you are participating in your course. Here we feature three of Canberra’s best training providers: Wisdom, Learning Options and CIT Solutions. Take the time to get to know these training providers – it could change your life.

Attracting and retaining great staff Subsidised training can help your business attract and retain high quality staff

Employers of new workers can acc ess subsidised training plus up to $4,000 of gov ernment incentives*. Wisdom offers a range of subsid ised training programs including: • Professional Office Ski lls (Certificate IV in Business) • Certificate IV in Frontli ne Management • Certificate IV in Projec t Management • Certificate IV in Proper ty (Real Estate) • Certificate IV in Trainin g and Assessment; and • Diploma of Managem ent. * To be eligible for subsidised train ing the participant must be a new worker in a busi ness in the ACT.


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Why choose Wisdom? Wisdom is a multi-award winning registered training organisation delivering best practice training focussed on practical skills that participants can apply immediately in their workplace. Wisdom provides: flexible training designed to meet the needs of business, experienced trainers and a quality environment to enhance employee retention and employer commitment.

To find out more about Wisdom’s workshops and qualifications please visit our website or call us on 02 6257 8588


Learning Options celebrates 10 years


earning Options is gearing up to celebrate our 10th birthday as a leading provider of training and assessment solutions in Canberra. Since the company’s founding, Learning Options has evolved into a vibrant learning organisation with a reputation for excellence and quality training. Founded in 2002 by Karen Nicholas, Learning Options commenced operations as a home based business with training delivered on client sites. From a small business with no employee’s, Learning Options has steadily grown and now operates from our Manuka premises with four full time staff and a team of more than fifteen contract trainers. In the first five months of 2012 we have commenced over 350 students in a range of Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Certificate IV qualifications in Management, Government, Training & Assessment, Investigation,

Personnel Security, First Aid and more. “We love what we do, and we are always looking for ways to deliver better learning experiences through building client relationships, partnering with organisations and industry, and continuously improving our programs”, Learning Options training management team acknowledged. “ Our 10th year in business has already been a year of celebration. Named the 2011 ACT Telstra Micro Business of the Year, a finalist in the Training Excellence Awards as Registered Training Organisation of the Year, and winner of the 2011 ACT Telstra Business Women’s Award (Business Owner – Karen Nicholas), were tremendous recognitions of the incredible work done by the Learning Options team over the last decade. Learning Options operates on the philosophy that learning is a lifelong endeavour where individuals develop skills over the course of their life, and knowledge

and skills can be attained from formal or informal learning. We believe that all Australians have an entitlement to access vocational training whether it be through formal classroom learning, or through formalisation and accreditation of skills and knowledge acquired elsewhere. “Our people are absolutely key to our success”, Karen Nicholas reflected, “We are committed to quality, we live our values of integrity, quality, respect, educational leadership, innovation and lifelong learning on a daily basis, and we have a lot of fun doing it”. And whilst it is serious business, learning should be fun! We’re sending our thanks to all of our clients, partners, and colleagues who have made Learning Options who we are today. We value each and every relationship that has been developed over the past 10 years and look forward to continuing those and establishing new ones in the years to come.

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Effective learning builds professional skills

CIT Solutions, the commercial training arm of the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), is a dynamic and progressive training company, dedicated to providing high quality education, training and consultancy services.


he company has over 20 years’ experience successfully providing government and private sector organisations with customised learning solutions to enhance the capability of their staff and meet strategic priorities. CIT Solutions services also extend to meet the learning needs of the individual, they offer an extensive range of publicly accessible nationally recognised qualifications and professional development workshops throughout the year. CIT Solutions provides training to upgrade your professional skills in the specialist areas of finance, procurement, policy development, contract management, management,


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leadership, human resources, project management, intelligence, risk, investigations, OH&S, training and assessment. “Our nationally recognised government qualifications have been developed to support public servants in their career progression, many of our graduates have realised their promotional aspirations after completing training with us,” Paul Ryan, CIT Solutions General Manager said. Training is delivered by highly experienced and motivated facilitators who will share their knowledge in a fun learning environment. Current and relevant to your own work situation, the learning activities they use will stimulate new ways of thinking, benchmark

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good practice and help you address your own workplace issues and challenges. “Should you need more immediate solutions to your development needs then you might like to select from our new range of professional development workshops. Delivered in an engaging workshop format they will provide you with essential hands on skills, insights and perspectives,” Paul said. CIT Solutions prides itself on providing its clients with immediate results, motivating facilitators who model good practice, recognised qualifications, practical and relevant programming, ongoing feedback/ support and value for money. To find out more visit

develop staff capability to meet strategic priorities

We can provide your organisation with a range of learning solutions

CIT Solutions can work with you to: 

analyse your organisation’s learning needs, identifying the current and future knowledge and skills requirements of your workforce.

design and develop innovative and practical learning and assessment approaches for your staff.

maximise national recognition of training outcomes by providing pathways to qualifications.

assure the quality of your training by improving your work-based learning and assessment systems/resources and enhancing the skills of your trainers.



plete Lear

g nin


improve your capability to work overseas by providing international language training, translation and interpreting services.

Our highly experienced staff can ensure that training meets a range of learner needs, from publicly offered courses targeting the individual through to customised learning designed to meet the holistic training requirements of your organisation.

Call us to find out how our capability can meet your learning requirements Telephone 02 6207 4201 Email

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t is easy to think of business events simply as a way to find more bodies to fill our hotel rooms and spend money in our restaurants, or as catering fodder that requires a never-ending stream of morning and afternoon teas to squeeze in between the conference lunch and gala dinner. And perhaps, to some, in the past that’s all business events were. But now, destinations – nationally and globally – recognise that business events are much more than this. Not only is there an attractive return on investment associated with the hospitality of business events for the host destination, but there are also associated benefits which are much broader than this. These benefits include increased initial and repeat visitation; trade and commercial opportunities arising from showcasing what the host city does best; innovation and creativity born from the bringing together of great minds; and the opportunity for delegates to network, collaborate and form partnerships – expanding the destination’s “network economies”. A further significant benefit of hosting business events is demonstrated through the increased investment in infrastructure. This includes world class conference centres, hotels, airport and flight services etc.

Recent prominent examples are; the NSW Government supporting Sydney’s events industry by investing between $2 billion and $3 billion to develop a new convention complex at Darling Harbour, the South Australian Government investing $350 million for the re-development which is underway for the Adelaide Convention Centre and in February Brisbane opened its $165 million Grey Street convention centre extension. However, the value of business events is much more than the dollars that delegates spend. Every time a conference is held in Canberra it gives us the chance to showcase what is wonderful about Canberra and in particular what we do best. A positive experience while in Canberra encourages conference delegates to spread a more positive message about the city, as well as encouraging them to return. For the Canberra Convention Bureau, it is about selling the entire destination attributes. The Bureau puts together a whole of city and region business case proposal for each event and in so doing promotes all that our city does best and in accord with the interests of the event organiser. 6247 7500

Follow the leaders. Canberra’s very own world class training and corporate function facility is available to you. Contact our friendly staff today for further details. You will be impressed!

Level 2, 9 Sydney Ave, Barton 6175 7650 /


Lift your profile and reward staff at your next Christmas event!


he end-of-year Christmas party is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate your organisation’s achievements, raise your profile, increase loyalty and say thank you to staff, clients and suppliers. Which is why planning is so crucial. While you might think it’s a bit early to plan your Christmas party, the savvy event manager knows that now is the time to secure the great venue  the key to any successful event. With six venues, the Canberra Southern Cross Club offers a range of unique options to help bring your company’s brand to life. For an informal and relaxed event, consider a venue that can incorporate a fun activity that everyone can participate in, such as pitch ‘n putt or barefoot lawn bowls, followed by a BBQ lunch or dinner. If inviting families or partners, it’s especially important to have activities that give people who don’t know each other, something to talk about. Both Jamison and the Yacht Club have fantastic lawn areas perfect for setting up jumping castles, bocce, face painting or


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whatever entertainment you can think of. While Tuggeranong features a huge outdoor deck that allows guests to either cook their own steaks while taking in the Brindabella ranges or have a Chef cook the BBQ for them.

incredibly competitive functions packages. Or you could take advantage of daylight saving and treat guests to a sunset cruise on the lake aboard the MV Southern Cross as they enjoy canapés, cocktails and live jazz.

While you might think it’s a bit early to plan your Christmas party, the savvy event manager knows that now is the time to secure the great venue - the key to any successful event.

For a similar experience closer to shore, the Yacht Club’s Marquee offers 180° waterfront views, air-conditioned comfort, a dance floor and a huge range of catering options.

If you really want to make a dazzling impression, Woden’s multi-million dollar Ballroom is the perfect canvas for you to create something completely unique and spectacular. Able to cater for 750 people for dinner or 1000 for cocktails it also offers

But regardless of what venue you decide on the most important factor is to book it now so you don’t miss out. Take advantage of the Club’s Early Bird Offer on the facing page! For venue details and functions packages, visit

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If your organisation is only small, it’s important to plan something that keeps you all entertained so you’re not talking about work. A perfect option is to book a table at one of the Gala Christmas Dinner Shows that the Southern Cross Club at Woden holds every year. They’ll provide the atmosphere, entertainment and food – all you have to do is show up.

We have all the ingredients for a successful Christmas event…

To make the most impact at your next Christmas party, book one of our six venues across Canberra and let us provide you with everything you need for a hugely successful event:

List Great venue Fantastic entertainment Fun atmosphere Delicious food Boost staff morale Raise Company’s profile Say thank you Celebrate a great year Stay within budget

Early Bird Offer*

Plan something different

Book your Christmas Party at the following Southern Cross Club venues by 31 August 2012 to receive free room hire. Book now by contacting the Function Manager at one of these venues:

Bring our brand to life

Woden 6283 7200 Tuggeranong 6293 7200 Jamison 6251 2255 Turner 6247 7838

To download our function packages visit

*Terms and conditions apply. Offer for functions of 50 or more guests. Function deposit must be paid within 14 days of booking to receive this offer. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Make an impact

End on a high!

…all you have to do is



The Boat House - the best view in Canberra


ituated in private parkland on the absolute water lapping edge of Lake Burley Griffin, The Boat House by the Lake offers the best lake view the capital has to offer. The stunning views are matched by outstanding modern cuisine, friendly and attentive service, and a sophisticated atmosphere. Alongside its award winning restaurant, the Boat House offers three individual conference rooms, each with access to a water-front deck and landscaped gardens. These sun filled conference rooms feature floor to ceiling windows with panoramic views of willow trees, the lake, Parliament House, and Canberra’s hills beyond. Each room is AV equipped, individually climate controlled and can be completely blacked out if required. Your delegates will be treated to sumptuous home-baked treats for morning and afternoon tea, along with a delicious hot buffet lunch derived from the Boat House’s modern Australian fine dining menu. The team can also provide networking drinks and canapés, sending your conference guests off with a lasting impression. The Boat House by the Lake’s central location, ample free parking and consistently excellent service make it a favourite conference venue with many of Canberra’s leading organisations. The team are here to apply their passion and experience to make your conference a resounding success.

Best view in Canberra Hold your next function right on the lake. Functions, Corporate launches and events Grevillea Park, Menindee Drive, Barton aCT 2600 Tel : 61 2 6273 5500 Fax : 61 2 6273 5533


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ombining first class facilities and unbeatable customer service with a unique location, it is easy to see why Thoroughbred Park is in demand as the perfect conference venue. Free parking, state of the art conference facilities and a unique setting are what set Thoroughbred Park apart from other meeting place venues in Canberra. The venue has 3 large refurbished rooms overlooking the racetrack. The grounds provide the perfect backdrop and complete flexibility that can facilitate your conference and function requirements. From an executive meeting to a high profile presentation, you will be accommodated in style. The meeting rooms have natural daylight throughout and all AV requirements can be catered for using our state of the art sound systems and visual hardware. Smaller meeting rooms are available

for training days or meetings and in-house caterers can provide you with cost-effective conference packages. Our dedicated events team will assist you through every step of the way and our friendly and flexible approach allows you to create the perfect event for your needs. The racecourse is easily accessed and is situated only 10 minutes drive from the City, with over 2000 complimentary car parking spaces on site. Race day functions are an enjoyable way to network with clients and the Club races almost every fortnight, predominately on Friday’s which are ideal for the corporate event. Of course the excitement of the two major race days, the ACTTAB Melbourne Cup Race Day in November 2012 and the Kamberra Wine Company Black Opal Stakes/ Canberra Centenary Cup in 2013 are two

iconic Canberra events not to be missed and are perfect for corporate hospitality or just a social day out. Club memberships are available in July so you can be seen in all the right places on race day.

RACE DAY FUNCTIONS ARE AN ENJOYABLE WAY TO NETWORK WITH CLIENTS... Staff Christmas party packages are currently available on Friday 30 November 2012 or Sunday 16 December, ideal for the end of year celebration with a difference. Thoroughbred Park is the perfect venue for any event. Whether you are organising a conference, party, or race day event, you will always well looked after – you can bet on that!

MORE THAN JUST A RACECOURSE Function packages available for all 25 race meetings per year (approx. 2 meetings per month)

Christmas Party Functions | Conference, Wedding & Trade Function facilities | Melbourne Cup and Black Opal Stakes/Canberra Cup hospitality options Free Parking Thoroughbred Park, Canberra Racing Club, Randwick Road, Lyneham Ph: 02 6204 0000 2012/2013 racing season Club membership available now


INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AWARD for outstanding Canberra businesswoman Tracey Mitchell Words by Tim Benson | Photos by Andrew Sikorski


CT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has congratulated Tracey Mitchell, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Canberra based business, Mitchell Personnel Solutions (MPS), for winning a prestigious Stevie Award for Best Asian Entrepreneur in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, announced in New York recently. “For a Canberra business, and a Canberra businesswomen in particular, to be honored with a prestigious international award is a great boost to other businesses in our city and to our reputation as a global business destination,” Chief Minister Gallagher said. The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honor women executives, entrepreneurs, and the companies they run worldwide. The awards are one of four Stevie Awards programs, which have been hailed as the world’s premier business awards. More than 300 nominees and their guests attended the awards dinner at New York’s Marriott Marquis Hotel. The event benefitted Camfed (camfed. org), which fights

poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa by educating girls and empowering women to become leaders of change. In accepting the Stevie Tracey said, “I was humbled to be recognised against such a strong field of competitors. With any entrepreneurial idea I initiate I always strive to improve current business practices, myself and the service I provide to clients. They and MPS staff are ultimately the most important people to me in business.” Tracey also recently became a State Finalist in the Telstra Businesswomen’s Award and has been named in the Who’s Who of Australian Women. Tracey commenced work as a Public Servant with Department of Defence in 1990

for a number of years and was promoted to the Attorney-General’s Department’s Australian Security Vetting Service. Tracey turned this into a business unit that could compete on the open market with other private sector industries. From here she was placed on the taskforce to establish the National Security Hotline, something she is extremely proud of, having achieved a working hotline with 96 staff within 10 days MPS Co-Founder Karen Bradley said, “It is great for Tracey and MPS to be recognised for all of the hard work that has got our business to this point. Being recognised as best Asian Entrepreneur has given us a huge opportunity to explore new avenues in the Asia region.”

MPS Co-founder Karen Bradley, ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and MPS Co-founder and Managing Director Tracey Mitchell


Mitchell Personnel Solutions With the motto ‘Exceeding Expectations,’ MPS is an award winning company specialising in security vetting, recruitment, training and scribing needs for a wide and diverse client base. “Karen and I decided to start MPS six years ago with an investment of $10,000. That has resulted in employment opportunities, locally and Nationally and a $3 million turnover,” Tracey said. “Anyone in business knows how tough it was to get through the GFC. One of the positive aspects of the GFC is that it led to the decision to diversify to ensure MPS’s longevity,” Karen said. “MPS Recruitment is about service, honesty and value for money,” Tracey said. “Our clients love the fact that we care more about their business and who we as opposed to a quick sale. Taking the time to go that one step further with our clients and candidates has led us to repeat business and fantastic feedback.” “One of the secrets to our success has been having faith and trust in ourselves, the

partnership and our ideas. If we make a mistake, we have not been afraid to admit it, learn from it and move on,” Karen said. Tracey and Karen said the success of MPS also hinges on the fact that they both agreed to utilise the best business professionals in their fields. “Many business owners try to do it all themselves - to be the accountant, the employee and the lawyer, when they don’t have the expertise,” Karen said. “Professionals like our accountant, Eugene Kalenjuk, from PWC, provides excellent business advice, which allows us to feel confident when making major business decisions, such as expansion.”

included a complete overhaul of MPS branding and marketing. “Amy has been with MPS since 2007 and is the right woman to steer MPS to greater successes in the future,” Tracey said. “You have to be brave enough to step back, have trust in your staff and empower them to make major decisions,” Karen added. “Empowerment brings great results.” “When Karen and Tracey approached me to be their CEO I was both humbled and very excited. I love MPS, what they stand for and what they have already achieved. The future looks very bright and I am bubbling with ideas. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a great team at MPS, without their dedication and support MPS would not feel like the family it New CEO does,” Amy said. Two of the areas Amy will be responsible Tracey and Karen also agreed that a common for developing and growing will be the new trap is to work so hard IN the business that recruitment and training arms of the business. you leave yourself little time to work ON “I have been given a great foundation to build the business. Therefore they appointed Amy on and can clearly see where we want the Hewson CEO of MPS in late 2011 to take the business to be in five years. I can’t wait to see company into the future with a fresh and the results,” Amy said. youthful face and renewed vigour. This has

“Karen and I decided to start MPS six years ago with an investment of $10,000. That has resulted in employment opportunities, locally and Nationally and a $3 million turnover” Tracey

L to R: Back: Narelle Carter, Debby Booth, Sandra Southwell, Ian Whiteford, Suzana Evans, Karen Bateman, Chevaan Aroun, Kristine Evans. FRONT: Kerry White, Dawn Wood, Amy Hewson, Janine Clarke


MPS Training Manager Suzana Evans

MPS Recruitment Team: Ian Whiteford, Recruitment Manager Kristine Evans and Chevaan Aroun

Recruitment “One of the reasons we decided to diversify into recruitment is that it dove tailed with our skills in assessing candidate’s ethics, skills and characteristics. Ensuring the right match before placing a candidate results in a win-win outcome for both client and candidate,” Amy said. MPS are also in the position to offer unique pre-employment ‘Gold Standard’ identity checks. “With cutbacks in the public and private sector, it is more important than ever to ensure the right fit the first time. When the wrong person is in the job it has an enormous impact on the rest of the team and the business,” Amy said, The recruitment team, lead by Kristine Evans is focused, energised and really making their own mark in the recruitment scene delivering the right results. There is a synergy between recruitment and training which allows MPS to offer unique services to their clients. “MPS Recruitment offers first-rate end-to-end recruitment services, however, we also have the opportunity to develop and deliver training sessions for school leavers in our local schooling community,” Kristine said.

MPS CEO Amy Hewson

“There is a synergy between recruitment and training which allows MPS to offer unique services to their clients.” Amy

Training MPS also welcomes Suzana Evans back as their Training Manager. Suzana will be taking MPS into the future of MPS developed training programs. “I am very excited about where we are heading with our training programs. We are not new to training but are heading in some very interesting directions in the near future,” Amy said. MPS also offer high quality scribing services. “The level of professionalism, quality reports and ability to meet tight deadlines are the key,” Amy said. Asked what the popular courses MPS offer are Suzana said “The top MPS trending courses are Plain English Business Writing, Motivation and Staff Attention, Thinking styles and HBDI (Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument), the Four Medieval Temperaments In Your Team (which stems from the original profiling of Hippocrates) and Managing poor performance.” MPS team building days are creative in their design, delivery and content. “Suzana is NLP accredited (Neuro Linguistic Programming) so we are adding this to our already strong list of psychometric and profiling tools at our disposal” said Amy.

“NLP can be a very powerful tool to assist people and organisations to achieve specific goals, using practical and relevant methods easily applied in the workplace,” Suzana said.

Executive Leadership Seminars MPS also run Executive Leadership Seminars. “There is great benefit to learning in off site locations, far enough to feel removed from the office, yet close enough to be convenient for busy executive team,” Amy said.

Annual Leadership Event MPS Training is also very excited about preparations to launch their inaugural exclusive Leadership Event. This annual event provides the opportunity for leaders across industries to come together to share knowledge, learn new skills and participate in discussions in best practice methodologies and new directions in leadership. “This annual event will focus on the current trends and will run over a three day period, involving guest speakers, tools and discussions, a dinner and networking opportunities,” Amy said.

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New Ventures for Directors The new ventures may surprise those that have only seen the current side of MPS. The two Directors are now branching into conducting international golf tours and producing original musical theatre productions. Tracey explains, “One of the reasons you go into business is to enable you to eventually have more freedom to pursue your other passions. After years of hard work that is exactly what we are doing.” International Golf Tours Tracey suffered a serious illness a couple of years ago and work-life-balance became a priority. Golf and travel became a gentle exercise to get her health back. “I have put these two passions together and will be launching a golf travel agency which will also promote Canberra as a travel destination,” Tracey said. “I have had to learn a lot about Asia. Winning the Stevie Award for Best Asian Entrepreneur will hopefully result in greater networking opportunities in the Asian region. I have researched and travelled to Asian and Pacific locations that would be ideal for golf tours.” Tracey is also planning shopping, site seeing and business tours. “Canberra is very under-rated as a tourist destination. We have beautiful golf courses, stunning scenery, fabulous restaurants and accommodation facilities,” Tracey said. “I would love to put Canberra on the map 30

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as a golfing destination and the tourism community would also benefit.”

Musical Theatre Venture Karen said she has aspired to write a large scale, original Australian musical for 20 years. After deciding to make it a joint venture with singing peer and friend, Jill Walsh, they commenced writing the show, Check You Checkin’ Me! two years ago. In February 2012 Karen and Jill successfully pitched the musical to Program Manager of the Q Theatre, Stephen Pike, who agreed to look towards staging Check you Checking Me! in 2013 at The Q. “Since it is such an Aussie musical where else would we premiere it but in Queanbeyan - just a little off Broadway!” Karen laughed. Karen and Jill met when studying Jazz Vocals at the Canberra School of Music. Both are professional singers, composers and directors. Karen has performed with many great outfits including, nine-piece band Sweet Mischief and the fabulous all women vocal quartet the Marvellous Mizdemeanours ( Karen also has a BA in Communications and this, along with working with in her business partnership with Tracey, has given her a good grounding for her new venture. She is a member of the New York Musical Theatre Festival company and is excited about

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promoting business/arts partnerships. “I am working on a sponsorship pitch that businesses will be invited to attend in the hope of gaining sponsorship support for Check You Checkin Me! in 2013,” Karen said. “There are great sponsorship benefits for supporting the arts including branding aimed at target demographics, networking opportunities, support for community events and VIP packages for sponsors and their guests,” said Karen. “I would love to hear from businesses that would be willing to support us.” Tracey and Karen are both exited about pursuing their dreams. Even though these ventures take up the time and relative talents of both, they still remain passionately involved as the owners and Directors of MPS. PO Box 129. Mitchell ACT 2911 Australia Unit 9, 141 Flemington Road Mitchell ACT 2911 telephone: +61 2 6123 0500 facsmilie: +61 2 6123 0599 email: web:

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Whether you’re looking to establish your career as a director, enhance your existing director status or expand your knowledge of governance, the Company Directors Course is the course for you. 28 August to 25 September 2012 (every Tuesday for five weeks) Federal Golf Club, Red Hill

ADVICE 34 34 35 35 36 36 37 37 38

ACCOUNTING 7 steps to take before the End of the Financial Year by Andrew Sykes, RSM Bird Cameron

BUSINESS LAW The long arm of workers compensation: how to limit your liability by Craig Painter, Elringtons Lawyers

BUSINESS SERVICES Insolvency demystified By Tony Lane, Kazar Slaven

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY Time to Owner Occupy? By Andrew Smith, Ray White Commercial

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Boom or bust? By Phil Butler, Australian Institute of Company Directors

ESTATE PLANNING Defacto Relationships and Wills By Stephen Bourke, Certus Law

RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY How to choose the right agent for you By Cory McPherson, Ray White Kingston

STRATEGIC FINANCIAL ADVICE The challenges of succession planning By Sara Caggiano, Perpetual

TALENT SERVICES It’s about Career Direction! By Keith Cantlie, Cantlie

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7 steps to take before the End of the Financial Year

By Andrew Sykes

It seems its always almost that time of year again! The end of the financial year. Here are a few tips for business owners worth considering to maximise your tax for next year.

Any loans from your company should be set up properly or repaid by the end of the financial year. . Superannuation In order to claim any super contributions you have made to an employee’s super in 2012 make sure you pay it before the end of each quarter, including the quarter ended 30 June 2012. Personal Super Like employee super, ensure you pay your personal super contributions prior to 30 June to get a deduction this year. 2012 is also the last year that you can make a deductible contribution of $50,000 if you are aged 50 or over. Next year this limit will drop to $25,000. Bad Debts Write these off prior to 30 June to be eligible for a deduction.  Make sure you go through your debtors list and write off anything that is not collectible and remember to make the GST adjustment. Stocktake A 30 June stocktake is needed to determine the correct value of your closing inventory. Use this to find any obsolete or damaged stock that you are carrying. You can choose to value the stock at the lower of cost, replacement, or market sale price. This means that stock that is obsolete or damaged can be written off or reduced in value for tax purposes and claimed as a deduction. Bring forward expenses Do some forward planning and look at expenditure that you are going to incur which could be brought forward. Things to consider are items like training, repairs and maintenance or prepaying some interest. Shareholder loans Any loans from your company should be set up properly or repaid by the end of the financial year. Otherwise you could end up with a deemed dividend and some unexpected tax. Trust distributions If you operate a trust make sure the trustee decides how the profit will be distributed prior to 30 June. Keep records of this decision as it is an area of Australian Taxation Office compliance this year and is more important than ever.

by Craig Painter

The long arm of workers compensation: how to limit your liability

Last month, we considered the proposition of when an injury is suffered in the workplace and in the course of employment. We concluded that a workplace injury can occur at the actual work site or during activities which are a part of or are incidental to the worker’s employment, including working from home. This month, we will address possible ways for employers to limit their liability when their employees work from home. Employers should do the following, in clear written terms of agreement: • Place limits on the scope of when the employee is employed by specifying the days and hours when the employee is “at work” and when they are not; • Require the employee to maintain a log book recording their time of commencement of work and when they stop for lunch and stop for the day. The log should contain a section in which the employee can record any incidents that occur during the work day; • Require the employee to notify you via email when they commence work for the day, when they stop for lunch and stop for the day; • Place limits on the additional tasks that the employee can undertake as part of their employment when they are working at home; • Formally restrict the parts of the employee’s home which are recognised as their actual “home-based work place” so that the rest of their house is not; • Clearly stipulate the employee’s primary duties in a way which restricts the types of activities that will be found to be incidental to their employment; and • Recognise and address any additional risks that exist. For example, if the employee wishes to work from home because they have recently had a baby, ensure your agreement clearly reflects for both parties what are the expectations regarding the care to be provided to the child and the tasks to be performed. Employers should also ask: • Does the employee have an OH&S compliant work-station at home incorporating ergonomic principles? • Is there a First Aid kit? • Is there a functioning smoke alarm? An effective way of documenting the condition of the workplace is by requiring the employee to complete a safety check-list which contains these requisite OH&S items and others. You may also consider completing a routine inspection of the employee’s home office, and place obligations on the employee to comply with directions and maintain particular conditions. Conclusion: Although these recommendations have not been tested, they are, depending on the circumstances, likely to reduce an employer’s liability from a Workers Compensation claim. For advice in relation to your obligations as an employer, or your rights as an employee, please contact partner Craig Painter on (02) 6206 1300.

Bird Cameron

Chartered Accountants

If you have any questions in relation to these 7 steps or would like assistance in developing a business plan for the next financial year please contact Andrew Sykes, Director at RSM Bird Cameron on 6247 5988 or


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Craig Painter is partner at Elringtons in litigation services. Contact Elringtons T: (02) 6206 1300, Level 7, 221 London Circuit, Canberra City visit:


By Tony Lane

Insolvency demystified


by Andrew Smith

Time to owner occupy?

Recent statistics released by ASIC showed that, in February 2012, 1,123 businesses were placed into external administration. The previous highest figure, 1,095, arose in March 2009 at the height of the GFC.

If you own a business that is currently leasing premises and you are considering whether to purchase your own, now could be the ideal time to make the move.

An individual or business is insolvent if they cannot pay all of their debts as and when they fall due.

The cost of servicing debt can now be significantly lower than the cost of leasing.

With more high-profile insolvency events occurring, and the tendency of the media to use insolvency terms interchangeably, you might ask “what is insolvency and what do the insolvency terms mean?” An individual or business is insolvent if they cannot pay all of their debts as and when they fall due. This simple definition has resulted in the evolution of much case law over the years. Perhaps the best known case on the issue of ‘insolvency’ is the Water Wheel case [ASIC v Plymin & Ors (2003) 46 ASCR 126]. From this case ASIC has reproduced the main insolvency indicators in its Information Sheet 42 – Insolvency: a guide for directors. Directors of all companies should be familiar with this document. Insolvency language includes a number of key terms – liquidation, voluntary administration, receivership and bankruptcy. Many people don’t know the differences between them and how each process works. The most important point to note is that each involves the appointment of an insolvency practitioner, who is bound to act in the best interests of the stakeholders. Bankruptcy applies only to ‘natural’ persons and generally lasts for a set period of time (generally 3 years), during which a trustee will realise a bankrupts assets (subject to some exclusions) and divide those assets among the bankrupt’s creditors. Liquidation (also known as ‘winding up’), is a process that applies to companies and requires a liquidator to sell a company’s assets and divide the proceeds amongst the company’s creditors. A company does not emerge from a liquidation and is generally deregistered at its completion. A receiver (or receiver and manager) is generally appointed by a secured creditor (e.g. a bank) to recover a specific asset or group of assets. Companies can emerge from receivership, although another insolvency appointment (such as liquidation) will often happen concurrently. Finally, voluntary administration is a process where an administrator is appointed to a financially troubled company to investigate, report and recommend a course of action to creditors on the company’s future. Often a company will proceed from administration into liquidation. With pressures on small business unlikely to be relieved in the foreseeable future, companies and individuals facing financial difficulty are encouraged to consult early and seek advice promptly.

Over the last two years, there has been an increased spread between the asking purchase prices for leased and vacant buildings. The safety of having a secure tenant is keeping values steady for leased premises, with the following factors contributing to a reduction in value for vacant premises: • Where a premises has been vacant for an extended period, the slower leasing market has meant some owners have been without income for 12 months or more, • Banks have been increasing the pressure they place on distressed or high risk owners. These primary factors have seen asking prices drop by as much as 25% in some circumstances. In addition to the cheaper purchase prices for vacant space, the recent reductions in interest rates have contributed to bringing the cost of servicing debt down. The cost of servicing debt can now be significantly lower than the cost of leasing. The example below shows an office building which was most recently leased at $350 per square metre, but due to an extended period of vacancy, is now available to purchase at $3,100 per square metre.

Tony Lane is a senior manager at Kazar Slaven and provides advice to clients in the areas of insolvency, business risk and financial conflict and dispute resolution. For more information, contact Kazar Slaven, Level 3, 11 National Circuit, Barton. T: 6215 8405 F: 6215 8450 E: W:

Building Area


Annual rent

$236,250 (675 x $350)

Purchase Price


Debt at 65% LVR


Annual Interest at 8%


Annual Outgoings


Total Annual Costs


This example is basic, but demonstrates a difference of approximately $100,000 in the annual property cost. Knowing that the building would be occupied by your own business, allows you to take advantage of the current market conditions, reduce your annual property costs and hold a property asset through what could otherwise be a higher risk period.

Andrew Smith is the Director at Ray White Commercial 17-23 Townshend Street Phillip 2606 T: 02 6162 0681 |

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Boom or bust?

by Phil Butler

As a large number of ‘baby boomer’ business owners are counting down the years towards their retirement, determining an exit strategy – how and when to pass on the reigns – is top of mind for many.

Adequately preparing your business for sale – and thinking about the right time to sell – has never been more important. The traditional exit strategy pursued by many successful entrepreneurs is to hand over ownership to family members, or to seek a trusted employee to take on a majority stake, where a family member is not available to look after the business. Founders will typically seek to move to the next chapter of their lives having secured the promise of a salary from family, or a nice lump sum for a purchaser, to enjoy leisurely pursuits in retirement (while still using their skills and experience in different areas). The global financial crisis – with its harsh impact on the share values and superannuation balances – may have slowed the move towards retirement, but it has also meant that there are not as many individuals in the market to acquire businesses assets placed up for sale. Adequately preparing your business for sale – and thinking about the right time to sell – has never been more important. What are some tips to consider from the small business community? One comment that really resonated was the need to broaden the client base. In a location such as Canberra, it can be really easy to have one or two government departments as clients during the good times. However in times of austerity this can be a major risk for your business and an inhibitor for possible sale. The Canberra recession of the mid 1990s, while being very tough for a period of time, had the benefit of businesses needing to look more broadly for their customer bases, and the current budget cuts will probably necessitate similar actions this year. Another important tip in preparing an exit strategy is the need to reduce dependency upon you, the business owner! Any potential purchaser will need to see that the business can still succeed when the current owner is no longer around. To do this successfully, a business owner must put a succession plan in place well in advance so as to have an appropriately skilled and experienced management team. So before making the final set of decisions which will determine your company’s legacy, get good, appropriate advice from a trusted advisor and plan well in advance of the time you wish to retire.

Phil Butler is state manager of the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ ACT Division. For more information about AICD ‘s course programs and events, T: 02 6248 5954.


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by Stephen Bourke

Defacto relationships and wills

Over the last few decades there has been an increase in the number of people in de facto relationships. While this gives rise to political commentary and there have been a number of legislative changes to deal with discriminatory practices, one area of life where there is still a difference is death. Sadly, people in de facto relationships often have a more difficult time than their married counterparts. The first issue is proving the existence of a relationship. If you have never married or had your relationship formally registered (which you can only do in some States and Territories) and your partner dies you may find yourself having to prove to a superannuation trustee that you were in a relationship. Or the existence of your relationship may be challenged in court by family members of your de facto spouse in an estate dispute. It is not that common for people to think “I will need to keep this as evidence in case I need to prove our relationship in 10 or 15 years time.” De facto relationships typically do not have a defining point of commencement. They may shade over time into what the law recognises as a de facto relationship. This is especially so for young people. There may be no clear point of demarcation as there is with a marriage ceremony. Each State and Territory also has local laws about wills which can sometimes have unforeseen consequences. For example, how does marriage affect an existing will? The general rule is that if you marry, any will you have made is automatically revoked. There is an important caveat to this rule due to differences between the States and Territories legislation which we will address in a future column. If your will gives everything to your children and then you marry, the will is automatically revoked. Your estate would therefore divided according to the rules of intestacy. However, if you enter a de facto relationship after you have made your will, the will remains valid. We recently had a matter where we acted for a lady in her eighties whose de facto partner had died. The relationship had been a long one in excess of 20 years. Our client had sold her home and put her money in her partner’s house. However to her horror, she discovered that he had never reviewed his will and estate plan. His will, which was done before they met, gave everything to his nephews and nieces. It remained valid. So in one fell swoop she was practically homeless and destitute. She had lost both her long term de facto partner and everything she had worked for. The matter was eventually able to have been resolved by agreement however she had to go to the stress and expense of commencing proceedings under the Family Provision Act. If she had married, she would never have had that problem. Ironically if her partner had died intestate she would have received 100% of his estate. However to settle the matter she received less than what she would otherwise have been entitled to. If you are in a de facto relationship, even if you don’t want to get married, you should carefully review your estate plan so that you know the effect of your will and you can ensure that your estate goes to those you intend to benefit.

Certus Law specialises in superannuation, trusts and estate planning. Visit Certus Law at Level 5, 28 University Avenue, T: 6268 9090,


by Cory McPherson

How to choose the right agent for you

Now more than ever you need the best agent working for you to maximise your sale price and to achieve a result with a minimum of fuss. I suppose on the outside most real estate agents appear to be the same, so how do you choose? Below are some questions to ask and points to ponder.

It is an industry where you get what you pay for. • How many properties does the agent currently have? Some people may think the agent with the most may be the best, but this is not necessarily the case. It takes more effort and time in the current market to achieve a sale. If the agent has too many properties on the market, your property may not get the attention it deserves. The other thing to consider is ‘why does the agent have so many properties for sale without them being sold?’. • What is the agent’s auction success rate? Some agents, usually the same ones you see time and time again, have a poor auction success rate. This can usually be attributed to a lack of understanding of the art of the auction process and they usually give unrealistic price expectations about the property’s current market value. If these few agents’ results were removed from the statistics you would find that auctions are still working very well. • What is the agent’s list to sell ratio? You see, it doesn't matter if the agent lists 300 homes a year, if they only sell 20. You want the agent that has a high list-to-sell ratio. The higher the better. If the agent gives you a blank stare in response to the question, don't be surprised. This ratio is a closely guarded secret and if they have a low one it’s the last thing on earth most agents want the general public to know about. • How long does it take the agent to sell? Days on market is one of the most important criteria you should consider when choosing an agent. It reflects upon their ability to understand market trends, provide realistic and accurate facts regarding the value of your home. It also highlights their ability to choose the right marketing and method of sale strategies to suit your property and follow up buyers to help achieve a timely result. • Commission & Valuation – Don’t choose an agent simply because they give you the highest valuation or lowest commission, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. Some agents will promise an unrealistic price, just to get your business. Commissions are negotiable, but it is an industry where you get what you pay for. If the agent is willing to reduce their commission so easily what do you think they will do when they are negotiating on the sale of your home? If you had a child that required a serious operation, would you want the best surgeon or the cheapest?

Cory McPherson is the Director of Ray White Kingston 1/28 Eyre Street, Kingston | M 0418 266 698 | T 02 61733000


by Sara Caggiano

The challenges of succession planning

As business owners focus on growing their business, they often neglect to prepare a sound succession plan. However, getting it right is one of the most important elements of owning a business. Inadequate or improper succession planning can result in various undesirable outcomes, including: • Assets passing to an unintended party • Unnecessary additional taxation liabilities • Adverse social security consequences • Potential for family dispute • Dispute and litigation between business associates, and • Financial harm as the value of assets is eroded The importance of early action Having the right structure from the outset will result in less cost than transferring assets at a later stage, which may be a trigger for capital gains tax and stamp duty, amongst other things. By addressing succession planning matters early, certainty is also provided to all involved. Be prepared for the unexpected Most succession plans assume that everything will go well. What happens in the event that business succession becomes involuntary. For example, if an owner dies or becomes unable to perform their work? An effective succession plan needs to consider these scenarios as well as more positive situations. The transition is just as important Once the business has been handed over or sold, the transition from business owner to wealth manager is often the biggest challenge. Business owners are very good at running their business but often lack the knowledge, planning and discipline in managing their business proceeds and wealth. In order to secure wealth for the long term, business owners need to ensure their personal wealth is professionally managed, just like their business. That means seeking specialised advice to plan for the future and ensure the wealth they’ve worked so hard to build is invested and protected appropriately. Perpetual Private and services are provided by Perpetual Trustee Company Limited (PTCo), ABN 42 000 001 007, AFSL 236643. This article has been prepared by PTCo and is dated May 2012. It contains general information only and is not intended to provide you with advice or take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the information is suitable for your circumstances, we recommend that you seek professional financial, tax and/ or legal advice.

Sara Caggiano is a Senior Financial Consultant at Perpetual Private Level 6, 10 Rudd Street Canberra P: 6243 6507 |

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by Keith Cantlie

It’s about career direction!

During times of change some employees may enter uncertain times either due to changing markets, business models or even just a perception that things are not going quite their way. Whilst the opportunity to embrace change is somewhat down to the individual,


Providing career advice and coaching helps employees understand their strengths and development areas, as well as providing them with advice and guidance regarding future career choices. organisations can play a role in supporting this transition period. This support can be provided in various ways although one key area is that of supporting individuals in their career direction. This support can be provided to help individuals to grow within the organisation or by assisting them in securing alternate opportunities. Ultimately any support provided, enables individuals to be more in control of their own destiny and to have a more positive and constructive experience during change. In the past there was a perception that “Career Direction Services” were just an outplacement service and only suitable for people leaving an organisation, this is not true! Career Direction Services can be utilised very successfully in the areas of employee development and growth. The tools utilised can give individuals a solid understanding of their “job fit” and the way they can leverage their strengths and capitalise on their opportunities to be more successful in their career. Career Direction services can be provided individually or on a group basis depending on the circumstances. Providing career advice and coaching helps employees understand their strengths and development areas, as well as providing them with advice and guidance regarding future career choices. These programs can be designed to suit the situation and can include regular ongoing coaching to review progress, maintain/increase confidence levels and deal with change. The coaching could also include advanced interview skills training and personal assessment using the “Personal Capability 360º Career Survey”. It is becoming clear in the market that “Career Direction” is becoming one of the most important areas of focus for employees and any organisation that demonstrates its commitment to this through programs and processes, will certainly put itself ahead of the game! To find out more about Cantlie’s Career Direction Services contact Keith Cantlie or Angela Cusack on 02 6239 7755.




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Federal Budget negatives outweigh positives for ACT business


ver recent weeks we have seen the release of the ACT Government’s Business Development Strategy (30 April 2012) followed by the Government response to the ACT Taxation Review (7 May 2012) and the Federal Budget (8 May 2012). These have had very mixed outcomes for business in the Canberra region. For the ACT there was a trifecta of bad news in the Federal Budget – thousands of job losses in the public service, a fall of $177 million in GST revenue over four years and an increase in the efficiency dividend from 1.5% to 4% from 1 July 2012. These three measures will inevitably have a disproportionately large and adverse impact on the ACT because of our reliance on Federal Government expenditure and employment. They will mean less work for the private sector, fewer tenders for products and services, lower business and consumer confidence and, potentially, even more cuts to Public Service jobs into the future. The impact in the ACT was recognised by the Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher, who commented that the National Capital was being asked to carry more than its fair share of the savings in this year’s Federal Budget. While supporting important social reforms like the National Disability Insurance Scheme, changes to aged care, dental health programs and training, Canberra Business Council (CBC) believes the negatives in the Federal Budget far outweighed the positives for business and for Canberra. Business not only bore the brunt of the savings measures in the Budget, totalling $33.6 billion over five years, it received few benefits from the new expenditure of $10 billion. The Federal Government reneged on its promised 1 per cent reduction in company tax rates to save $4.75 billion over four years. At the same time the major business initiative - the “loss carry-back” plan will only direct $714 million to small business. Other initiatives for business such as the raising of the instant asset write-off threshold from $1,000 to $6,500; the ability of small businesses to claim up to $5,000 as an immediate deduction on new or used motor vehicles from 1 July 2012 and

$28 million for the Small Business Advisory Service and a national Small Business Commissioner, are small compensation for the loss of the 1 per cent reduction in company tax. Having said that there was some good news in the Federal Budget for the ACT, although much of it, including $145 million for the Majura Parkway; $42 million for the redevelopment of Constitution Avenue and $20 million for the National Arboretum had been previously announced. CBC welcomed the $39 million for key national collecting institutions; $27 million for the refurbishment of the Australian War Memorial’s World War I galleries; $11.9 million for the National Capital Authority; $6.4 million over 2 years to continue the digitisation of cultural material from the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies; $2.7 million over 2 years from 2012-2013 to establish the National Portrait Gallery as a separate statutory authority; $2.5 million in 2011-2012 as a contribution towards the upgrade of the lighting at Manuka Oval and $0.1 million for a feasibility study into a walk between Parliament House and Civic in 2012-2013. Overall the Federal Budget rushed unnecessarily to a slim surplus, motivated more by political expediency than economic necessity - and at great risk to business viability. Although Australia’s economic fundamentals are sound, global instability combined with the introduction of a major new business tax - the Carbon Tax - from 1 July 2012, called for more supportive measures for business in the Budget. It was not just disappointing; it was a missed opportunity for the Federal Government to demonstrate its support for business - Australia’s economic engine-room - at a time of international uncertainty and fragile consumer and business confidence. On a more positive note the ACT Government released its Business Development Strategy on 30 April 2012. CBC welcomed the strategy and its focus - economic growth, diversification of the economy and jobs. T 6247 4199 E




Principal Members ACTEW Corporation, ActewAGL, Blue Star Printing, Brookfield Multiplex Services, Cre8ive, Canberra International Airport, CanPrint Communications Pty Ltd, Elite Sound & Lighting, eWAY, Hindmarsh, ISIS, KPMG (Canberra), Master Builders Association (ACT), National Australia Bank Limited, National Museum of Australia, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Staging Connections (ACT), The Village Building Company, Toshiba (Australia) Pty Limited, TransACT

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Challenges ahead for the ACT




s expected, the recent Federal Budget brought many challenges for Canberra. There was some good news, such as the ability to carry-back tax losses up to $1m, the instant tax write-off arrangements, improvement in aged care services and income support for low to middle income earners. There

Fortunately, overall, the ACT economy has been remarkably strong...

Corporate Sponsors ACTEWAGL, 104.7 / Mix 106.3, Prime TV, The Canberra Times, The Good Guys Tuggeranong, Duesburys Nexia, Synapse Worldwide, B2B in Canberra. Associates and Affiliates Retail Traders Association, Australian Industry Defence Network Foundation Member Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry


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are small increases in skills training and very limited additional support for maths and science education in schools. The National Capital Authority had some of its previously slashed budget restored, but it is still a shadow of its former self. However, these were significantly outweighed by the bad news. The hated carbon tax is going ahead. Whilst some individuals will be compensated by government, business will not be compensated and will have to carry the cost of increases in energy and other costs. The promised income tax cut on 1% for companies was abandoned – this was promised as part of the offset for the carbon tax and the cost on business. The phase-in of minimum superannuation contributions increased from 9% to 12% went ahead. Contrary to what the Federal Treasurer claimed, this increase will not be paid for by the resources tax but will be paid for by employers. This will add significantly to the cost of during business and these extra costs will be passed on to customers and ultimately paid for by consumers. The $5.5b cut in spending on defence, will not only reduce Australia’s defence spending to the lowest level in about 80 years and cause concern at Australia’s ability to adequately defend itself and to contribute to international peace-keeping, but it will have a significant direct impact on the economy of the ACT. The major impact in Canberra will be the slashing of 4,000 Australian public service positions over the next year. This has a disproportionate impact on Canberra, with some 1,600 jobs expected to be lost in the ACT. The multiplier effect will make this even worse. This will directly impact on the 1,600 people involved, but it will also flow-on to our total economy and will impact on retail, hospitality and B2b In Can berr a

housing prices. The increase of the efficiency dividend to 4% will add to the pain for the ACT. This will affect the Federal government’s spending in the ACT economy and may also result in additional job losses. As a result of this Federal budget, I expect the ACT economy will have a tougher time for at least two years. Whilst it will impact on the whole economy of the ACT, the main pain will be felt by retailers and hospitality – those areas that access disposable income. Retailers in particular have been experiencing at least 2 years of very tough times. For nearly all of the last two years, the ACT has been the worst performing retail economy in the whole of Australia. This changed last month, when retail in the ACT went from worst performing to best performing. However, I expect that result was a ”blip” in the statistics. Fortunately, overall, the ACT economy has been remarkably strong (except for retail and hospitality) with the ACT being the second strongest economy in Australia – second only to the resource-rich state of Western Australia. This strength will certainly help us get through the challenges of the next two years. In additional, contrary to the Federal government’s position of being hell-bent on returning to surplus irrespective of the damage it will do to the national economy, the ACT government is being very pragmatic. The ACT has decided to defer returning to surplus so as not to slash and burn the ACT economy. The ACT government has decided to increase the payroll tax threshold and this will help ACT businesses to employ more people and possibly some of the Federal public servants who are to lose their jobs. A series of additional business support programs have also been announced to encourage our business community to continue to grow and diversify. Importantly the Chief Minister recently announced that, for the first time, Cabinet has established a sub-committee of Cabinet. This “Canberra Cabinet” comprises the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minster (who is also Treasurer) and a small number of business and community leaders of which I am one. The Canberra Cabinet will work together to draw on all of our skills to ensure the ACT has the best possible opportunity to get through the next two years. I look forward to the challenge ahead.



Golden opportunities for ACT Exporters Canberra’s exporters are encouraged to enter the ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards in a move that increases exposure and expands corporate connections for these businesses within the local, national and global communities. The 2012 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards are an initiative of the ACT Government, acknowledging the outstanding role the vibrant exporting community plays within the ACT economy and business sector. Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr launched the 2012 Awards on Monday 14 May, signalling that entries are now open for the ACT Export Awards. Winners from the ACT will represent the region at this year’s Australian Export Awards, which will be hosted in Canberra at Parliament House to coincide with its 50th anniversary celebrations. Last year, the ACT was well represented at the national level, with 2011 ACT Exporter of the Year, Aspen Medical taking out first place in the large services category. On the back of their awards success last year, Aspen Medical has continued its healthy growth into 2012 despite the global downturn. With offices all over the world, Canberra-based Aspen Medical is providing a range of medical services in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, as well as throughout Australia. Managing Director Glenn Keys says that receiving recognition for Aspen’s achievements and growth at the ACT and Australian Export Awards last year has further strengthened the businesses reputation nationally and globally. “Participating in the awards provided us with valuable publicity and helped us to reach out to new audiences and business connections,” Mr Keys said. “The national awards gave Aspen Medical some great exposure and helped to consolidate our standing as a forcible business in the national export community. “Entering the awards was a great decision for us and I can’t express enough how beneficial the experience has been for our business. I would encourage other exporters to enter the awards as the journey has been most rewarding.” Canberra Business Council CEO, Chris Faulks said the ACT export market continues to forge ahead,



with many companies growing and finding success in what many consider a difficult time for exporters. Ms Faulks said 2012 was an ideal occasion for businesses exporting internationally from the ACT to enter and receive deserved acknowledgement for being amongst the market leaders within the national exporting network. “With the ACT hosting the national awards this year, there has never been a better time for local businesses to step up and put themselves forward for the ACT Export Awards,” Ms Faulks said. “The ACT has a dynamic and innovative exporting community which exports goods and services throughout the world. Canberrans often aren’t aware of how dynamic and successful these operations are and it’s a good opportunity for us to show off the fantastic businesses in our export market and give them credit for their hard work, their innovation and their contribution to the ACT economy.” Applications for the ACT Export Awards close on July 27 2012. Winners will be announced at an Awards Lunch on September 21 2012, with the winners to receive automatic entry into the Australian Export Awards, held in late November. The 2012 ACT Chief Minister’s export awards are an initiative of the ACT Government, managed and delivered by the Canberra Business Council. To enter the ACT Export Awards please visit For information about the Awards contact Craig Malcolm on (02) 6247 4199 or at

For more information on the ACT Exporters’ Network visit, or contact the Network’s manager, Craig Malcolm, on 0438 808 233, Craig.Malcolm@ The ACT Exporters’ Network is proudly sponsored by the ACT Government, Canberra Business Council, the Centre for Customs & Excise Studies and AusIndustry.

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Katy Gallagher

aCT Chief Minister

Would you like to see conveyance duty abolished and land taxes increased?

he short answer is yes: the ACT should move to abolish conveyance duty – or stamp duty as most of us know it. Everyone knows about stamp duty, but just because it is familiar does not mean that it is right. It’s an unfair tax and those hardest hit tend to be those who are already finding it difficult to buy property. Conveyance duty can act as a barrier to people making the most appropriate choice on housing. Because it operates at the transaction level, it impacts on decision-making. This can lead to an inefficient mismatch of supply and demand. Buyers can be discouraged. Sellers


You decide.

Zed Seselja

CT Labor is the highest taxing government in the Territory’s history and there is no doubt that the ACT’s conveyance duty is a big part of the Government’s revenue base. Canberrans currently pay more in tax than anywhere else in the country and the average price of first homes in the ACT is now over $400,000. On top of this electricity prices have risen by 85 per cent, with another 17 per cent increase as of July to come. Water prices have tripled, and

aCT Opposition Leader

Should the ACT abolish conveyance duty?


Meredith Hunter

Parliamentary Leader aCT Greens

es. It is well accepted that conveyance duty is an inefficient tax that distorts buyer behaviour resulting in the inefficient allocation of our housing resources. The significant transaction cost can be a barrier to people wanting to downsize when they no longer need a large family home, it can also prevent or delay first home buyers from having enough for a deposit and entry into the housing market. Not only is this problem recognised in both the Henry and Quinlan tax reviews, there is the additional criticism that the duty is also inequitable and volatile. Currently we


can be prevented from getting full value for their property. Everyone has a story about trying to save for stamp duty, whether they themselves or a friend or family member. First time buyers can be disproportionately impacted by stamp duty, so can those in later stages of life who might wish to downsize and take advantage of the capital gains from their long-term investment in property. People don’t just move house to improve their lifestyle – sometimes people move because they have no choice. Difficult situations such as family break-up or a change in your financial services can force you. Concessions, rebates and other government policies can help ease the pain, but ultimately all they do is make a bad tax less inefficient. Better just to remove it over time. The ACT is lucky to have a solid land base, but we lack significant heavy industry or mining. This means our major asset is land. Stamp duty is heavily reliant on the property cycle. This makes the Government, and the community, somewhat captive to swings in the property prices and activity.

For example, in a depressed property market, prices are lower but stamp duty can act as a barrier to a speedy recovery. This puts pressure on Government revenue and has a knock on effect on delivering services to the community. We can all benefit from a sustainable budget and an efficient economy if there are fewer barriers. In other words, phasing out stamp duty promotes economic activity and provides a more secure source of funding for services. Obviously it would be difficult to phase out such a familiar and significant source of revenue over night and still deliver critical community services and a secure budget. But it makes sense to make the change over time. This will give households and markets time to adjust. It’s also fairer – fairer on those who have recently made a significant outlay in paying stamp duty. Over time however, stamp duty will be reduced. It will be a longterm project – over 10 to 20 years – to progressively reduce the rate of stamp duty.

rates are up in many suburbs by over 100 per cent, particularly in the Tuggeranong Valley. ACT Labor has escalated the cost of land in this town to a point where too many young Canberrans cannot afford to buy a home in the town they grew up in. It is for this reason that at the last election the Canberra Liberals announced a policy that would eliminate stamp duty for first home buyers on properties up to the value of $500,000. The Canberra Liberals have also put forward solutions to the housing affordability problem including a genuine land bank, which would have a pool of land ready to release, infrastructure improvements through our Infrastructure Canberra policy, streamlining the planning system and improving competition in the market. The Quinlan Review of Taxation recognised that conveyance

duty is worth approximately $300 million each year in revenue for the government. It also concluded that if the tax was abolished the revenue would need to come from other means. What we would likely see from ACT Labor is not an abolition of conveyance duty but the shifting of conveyance duty into another name. If conveyance duty was removed by ACT Labor it would also increase taxes and charges in other areas. The Quinlan Review of Taxation also said the average house price would likely increase further as the market demand becomes higher. The bottom line is that no matter how much ACT Labor taxes Canberrans, they always spend more than they receive. The Canberra Liberals believe taxes should be reduced in line with better financial management, not merely shifting a tax from one name to another.

have a very small percentage of people paying a very large percentage of taxation revenue and any change in market activity can mean a significant difference in the revenue the Territory has to deliver public services. Abolishing conveyance duty is an easy question, the real challenge is how. How do we replace it, and even more problematic how do we implement the change over time to ensure the smoothest possible transition and fewest possible windfall gains and losses? Conveyance duty makes up around a quarter of the ACT’s own source revenue and if we did abolish conveyance duty we would need to find an alternative means of generating the revenue. The recommended alternative to conveyance duty (both by the Henry and Quinlan reviews) is a broad based land tax. Effectively this would mean that instead of paying stamp duty in a lump sum when a property is purchased property owners would pay an amount, based

on the value of the property, in land tax each year. This is a big change and there needs to be community consultation about how best to implement such a change. There is a concern for those who have just paid stamp duty and those who have limited income and would find it difficult to pay the additional amount. The transition arrangements need to ensure fairness and the Quinlan review suggests at least a 10, and up to 20 year phase in period. It is also essential that there are concessions in place and the ability to defer liability for those who are unable to pay. The Greens agree with the principle that we should be looking towards a broad based land tax based on the value of land across Canberra. Housing affordability is a very difficult issue and better allocating our housing resources is vital if we are to improve the sustainability of our beautiful bush city.

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FUN RUN NOW IN ITS 23RD YEAR Great local, community, family-friendly event When Where

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Your monthly look at properties and property related industries in the ACT

P rO PerT Y

PART 1: SELLING YOUR BUSINESS Time to look at your business as a buyer might





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EXCITING INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES Aalto Apartments Woden, Kingston Place Apartments and Berwick Apartments Casey



GATEWAY TO GUNGAHLIN Whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand, Gateway has space that’s perfect for your business.


ateway - Gungahlin Business Park will be the newest commercial addition to the Gungahlin Town Centre and is set to bring a thriving business community to the area. Developed by GEOCON and designed by AMC Design + Management, the park is located at the gateway to Gungahlin; on the corner of Gundaroo Drive and Anthony Rolfe Avenue. Gateway presents an opportunity for retail, commercial and office space in one of the fastest growing regions in the country. Opportunity has been created for restaurants, cafés, gym and recreation facilities, childcare centre and medical centre, enduring a complete and convenient working environment. The park is based around a central open plaza and will draw the attention of road and foot traffic alike. Gateway includes five buildings, ranging from two to 12 storeys, and a multi-storey car park. As the pinnacle of the Gateway development, Building 6 encompasses a commanding twelve stories at the entrance of the park and has been designed with larger organisations, departments and corporations in mind. The development of the park is in accordance with the master plan, ensuring expansive views, efficient traffic flow, ample parking and the retention of significant trees. The park has been designed to capture a campus feel, with undercover walkways between buildings, large landscaped areas and open spaces. Consideration of the environment has played a key role in the design and construction of Gateway. The use of sustainable, low carbon materials to cyclist facilities, rainwater tanks, double glazing and highly-efficient heating and cooling, ensures the environmental footprint is minimal. The park is located within walking distance to Gungahlin’s first hotel, Abode – The Apartment Hotel, and is ideal for large public and private departments, who rely on employees and consultants travelling from interstate. Abode – The Apartment Hotel provides versatile apartment-style accommodation at a reasonable price with all the comforts of home. Leasing space at Gateway puts your business on the map. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand, Gateway has space that’s perfect for your business.

Visit for further information.


Take advantage of a captive audience with Gungahlin’s major employment base next door!





o you know where the interest on your repayments is going? A touchy and controversial subject for some, especially for the banks however an important question to ask. Everyone needs banking services, and most Canberrans purchasing a house will need one or more home loans as they move through life. Interest payments are as inevitable as death and taxes, frequently homeowners feel they are about as pleasant. Let’s make it clear. Banks need to charge interest on loans, it’s what Banks do. But it is possible for banks to operate with both profit and ethics. Ever given much thought to the ends to which your interest payments are put? Accepting that banks have legitimate expenses and that that some of the money goes towards paying off the principle of the loan, and banks like any other business, have legitimate operational expenses. But what happens to the money that’s left over? Banking with the Calwell, Curtin, Jerrabomberra or the Wanniassa Community Bank® Branch means customers can be assured that all that money goes straight back into your community. The money spent on your home loan repayments goes towards investing in Canberra’s future, and towards putting those in need first. Accepting the inevitability of home loans and interest payments makes more sense when there

is direct community benefit. Increasingly communities across Australia are preferring banks which invest in the local community. Increasingly also the Australian public, along with worldwide opinion, is becoming impatient with obscenely high and unjustifiable salary packages for banking sector high flyers. CEO’s at the big banks making $1125.00 per hour ($9.86 million dollars per year) seems out of step with the post GFC world and the likely termoil and hardship that the greed of European and north American bankers may yet cause to impact on us.

It is a splendid example of people passionate about their community engaging in community activism, and achieving a really solid outcome for the benefit of all. Our newest branch has recently opened at the Curtin Shopping Centre and stands as a testament to how Bendigo invests in the local community. The inspiration for the Curtin Community Bank® Branch started with the withdrawal of one of the majors from the shopping centre. In this case however it was not one, but three, of the four big banks which promised and then withdrew services

from the Curtin shopping centre. Community patience with an unacceptable level of profit driven failure to deliver local services, inspired community minded locals and business owners to take control of their financial security. After a vigorous round of activity over two years 180 local investors witnessed the opening of the Curtin Community Bank® Branch of the Bendigo Bank. It is a splendid example of people passionate about their community engaging in community activism, and achieving a really solid outcome for the benefit of all. The Curtin Community Bank® Branch offers a full range of banking and wealth management products,. Branch Manager Andrea McCann and her team are there to assist. You can call Andrea on 0478 435 582 to discuss your banking and finance needs. Bendigo Bank offers a way for community members to benefit their local community and to bypass the funding of executive packages and high operating costs of bigger banks. It’s all about community presence and contribution, service and the creation by local people of local jobs and opportunities. It’s really a no-brainer.

Jayson Hinder is Chairman of Molonglo Financial Services MFS operate the Calwell, Curtin, Jerrabomberra and Wanniassa Bendigo Community Bank Branches


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Fully furnished two-bedroom apartments in old Kingston from


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B2B Half Page_Layout 1 24/04/12 9:12 AM Page 1

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from 344,000 $

To secure your place in Casey ’s landmark development

visit BerwickApartments . com . au

“We challenge you to find better quality at a more affordable price.”




Sale From $344,000 EER 6-8.5 View By Appointment Cory McPherson 0418 266 698 Nick Ryle 0400 480 553 Unit 1, 28 Eyre St Kingston 2604





Jason Klose, Managing Director t: 0414 890 286

efore you talk with friends, family, mentors, accountants etc, the first person you need to talk to is yourself. Selling your business is the most important single financial transaction of your life - even more important than your home. You need to have it clear in your mind as to why you want to sell. Once the decision has been made to sell, you need to change hats and look at your business from a buyer’s perspective. Selling your business is much more than a transaction - it is the end game. How many times have you watched your favourite sporting team come so close to beating the top of the ladder team to only make a few mistakes in the last 5 minutes of the game to lose. That 5 minutes is equivalent to you selling your business. Everything you have achieved to date comes down to the final 5 minutes. The sale price achieved, how quick it sells and the conditions placed on the sale are all going to occur in that small amount of time. Your business may be entering its 10th year of operation, but it could be sold within 3 months. It is scary to think this only represents 2.5% of the total

SUB SANDWICH FRANCHISE - WESTON This Weston store franchise is continually growing and is surrounded by other large food franchises which supports the reason why you want to have a business in this area. Construction has already started on the Molonglo Valley. This area will be receiving a large surge of trades which will require food from Weston Creek. This surge will continue for a number of years as 13 new suburbs are planned for the area. Weston Creek will be the food hub for these trades.

Sales for 2011 over $600,000 | Average Gross Profit 65% Rent per week $830 | Price $385,000 + SAV

5 DAY WEEK CAFES REQUIRED We have buyers wanting to purchase 5 day a week cafes. If you are considering selling your cafe, please contact Jason Klose on 0414 890 286 or

business life but it influences a lot of decisions you make going forward. Do not get me wrong, the end game of selling is very important, however it is just that, the final stage. To get to this stage you have had to step through all the other phases which will influence the end game. Once you make the decision to sell, from that point on, you should be preparing for the end game of selling. So what should you do to make your business ready to sell. Simple. To receive the most value when you want to sell, do everything you should be doing anyway to make your business more successful. If you are a buyer and comparing two like businesses - which one would you consider more valuable? The business that requires the owner to be present all of the time or the business that allows the owner to take holidays whilst the business still operates. The business that has documented all procedures or the business where all the knowledge is limited to the owner.

Once you make the decision to sell, from that point on, you should be preparing for the end game of selling. The market plays a role in the price you achieve, however what influences the sale price and time to sell the most is how presentable, desirable, marketable and financeable you make it for buyers. So when you have made the decision to sell, you need to begin working toward the end game and the price achieved is dependent on how well you play that last 5 minutes.



5 day a week cafe in an excellent position directly under large Government buildings in Civic. Currently run under full management with a high quality fit out, commercial grade kitchen and large seating areas inside and outside. 25kg coffee per week from award winning supplier. Fit out plus plant and equipment cost over $300,000 and only 4.5 year old. everything in the kitchen, sit down area, cabinets, fridges, floor is in excellent condition. all equipment belongs to the business - no rentals so can have whatever drinks in the fridges and coffee blend you like.


Sales averaging $9,298 per week | Average Gross Profit 61% Rent per week $1,608 | Price $225,000 + SAV

TOWN CENTRE TAKEAWAY – BELCONNEN How do you pick an excellent takeaway? If tradies are regular customers of the takeaway you know the food is really good and therefore the takeaway has an excellent reputation. Tradies can make or break your business and this takeaway is constantly busy from 6:30am to 3:30pm. along with the tradies, regulars are also the surrounding businesses in the Belconnen Town Centre and public servants in the large buildings close by. as long as you continue to produce good food, deliver it quick and do it all with a smile - this takeaway will remain busy for you as well.

Turnover 2011 $227,500 | Average Gross Profit 42% Rent per week $630 | Price $129,000 including stock

Contact Jason Klose on 0414 890 286 for more information or visit


Belconnen Emu bank “Altitude” High exposure street frontage •

Ground floor 97sqm & level 1 300sqm

Brand new high quality complex

On site parking directly behind tenancy

Sale View By Appointment Andrew Smith 0409 600 471 6162 0681

Views straight over Emu Bank

216sqm of high quality office space

Excellent light filled work areas

6 on site car parks

Motivated sellers

Premium ground and first floor Commercial Units

61.1sqm – 400sqm

Best corner in Braddon

On site parking

Selling quickly

Sale View By Appointment Andrew Smith 0409 600 471 6162 0681





Deakin 2 Phipps Close Owner occupy in Deakin •

Braddon 38 Mort Street “Habitat” Prime Braddon corner

Mitchell 35 Essington Street Own your own shed

Sale View By Appointment Andrew Smith 0409 600 471 6162 0681

Warehouses from 200, 300 & 480sqm

High clearance, clear span.

Excellent location in centre of Mitchell

Available in 6 months

Sale View By Appointment John Price 0412 266 194 6162 0681






Kingston Unit 15, 71 Leichardt Street Prime investment with Asx listed tenant •

ASX listed tenant - Slater & Gordon

Long term lease expiring in 2018

937sqm of A grade office

Annual rent $426,000 (approx)

4% fixed annual increases

Kingston Unit 16, 71 Leichardt Street Office investment in Canberra’s Inner South

Sale Expressions of Interest Closing Thurs 7th June at 5:00pm View By Appointment Doug O’Mara 0412 485 181 Andrew Smith 0409 600 471 6162 0681


Leased to National Association AITSL

424sqm of quality office space

Lease expires in June 2015 with View By Appointment 5 year option

Annual rent $192,000 (from July Andrew Smith 0409 600 471 2012)

4% fixed annual increases

Expressions of Interest Closing Thurs 7th June at 5:00pm Doug O’Mara 0412 485 181 6162 0681





Hume 11 Tralee Street Outstanding industrial investment • • • • •

3562sqm warehouse with office Leased to National Mail & Marketing 5 years remaining on lease with 5 year option $383,600 per annum gross net 3.5% fixed annual increases

Sale Expressions of Interest Closing Thurs 7th June at 5:00pm View By Appointment Doug O’Mara 0412 485 181 John Price 0412 266 194 6162 0681

Commercial Canberra

B2B June 2012 (issue 72)  
B2B June 2012 (issue 72)  

B2B June 2012 (issue 72)