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B2B in canberra business and government magazine March 2010 issue 46
EVERY month 05 UPFRONT Read about local business success 10 OPINION Hear from people in the know 14 PROFILES Kathryn Heuer, director, Certus Law Caroline Le Couteur MLA
photography Andrew Sikorski, www.art-atelier.com.au
26 ADVICE Advice from business experts
ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES firstname.lastname@example.org 02 6161 2751 0402 900 402
42 NETWORKING See who’s out and about in Canberra
published by Man Bites Dog Public Relations ABN 30 932 483 322 PO Box 4106 Ainslie ACT 2602 t 02 6161 2751 f 02 6262 7721 email@example.com www.b2bincanberra.com.au
18 department of education and training ACT Training Excellence Awards 20 Telstra Entry to Telstra Business Awards can deliver valuable rewards
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22 COVER STORY Doing business at the Southern Cross Club
COVER Photo: Sian Lovekin, events sales manager, Canberra Southern Cross Club. Photography: Andrew Sikorski
G2B Chief Minister Opposition Leader ACT Government ACT Work Safety Commissioner
A2B ACT & Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Chamber of Women in Business Canberra Business Council ACT Exporters’ Network
40 U2B The University of Canberra
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"What great changes have not been ambitious?" Melinda Gates, Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation
WiCK Consulting – putting a light in your life and Dolores Cummins – are the core of WiCK Consulting. They have a track record of achieving outstanding results and have extensive experience working across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, throughout Australia and internationally. WiCK consultants’ backgrounds in health and education provide a natural synergy between mind and body well-being training. They provide the tools to enrich an individual’s personal and work life and to help teams and organisations become more effective and efficient. “We have three main areas of consulting: sustainable and effective leadership, the well-being of individuals and organisations, and change management. We are dedicated to working in partnership with our clients, to enable them to maximise their performance,” Barbara Baikie said. WiCK is targeting its services to government and nonL-R: Mick Shadwick, Joanna Holt, Barbara Baikie, and Dr Peter Fletcher of WiCK Consulting. Absent at time of photo: Dolores Cummins government
organisations, educational bodies and professionals in private practice. WiCK focuses on evidence-based approaches to training and development drawing from positive psychology and mindfulness paradigms. “People who have a positive approach to life and work, have been shown to have less health problems, live longer and are generally more productive for you and your organisation,” Joanna Holt said. “We are in the business of growing people. We inspire them to live life to the full and give them the tools to become more effective and resilient and to shine brightly,” Barbara said. WiCK can tailor a program to a client’s needs regardless of whether the focus is on the individual, the team, the entire organisation or at all levels. “WiCK Consulting is committed to excellent service that incorporates the values of respect, trust, integrity, fairness, and honesty,” Joanna said. WiCK consultants would like to invite B2B readers to attend a free seminar on Wednesday, 31 March to meet the WiCK team and to find out how WiCK can assist you to improve your performance and to become an outstanding organisation. Please contact WiCK on firstname.lastname@example.org, www.wickconsulting.com.au or 62302210 if you would like to attend.
iCK Consulting is a new and unique, Canberra based, futurefocused, people development venture. WiCK specialises in building individual well-being, capability, and high performing teams. WiCK represents Well-being, Integrity, Communication and Knowledge. WiCK provides a value-based, holistic approach to leadership and individual initiative, incorporating intelligence, emotional intelligence, and physical and psychological well-being. Five principal consultants – Barbara Baikie, Joanna Holt, Dr Peter Fletcher, Mick Shadwick,
Melrose Automobiles and Renault launch new partnership manager of the Hyundai dealership and daugh“My technicians have already undertakter Terri is 2IC within that dealership. en full factory training in Renault’s training “One of the reasons that we’re happy to take centre in Sydney to ensure that their meRenault on board is because many of their vehicles chanical knowledge is at the leading edge of have five star Euro NCAP Safety Rating. Renault’s best practice." aim is to provide equal safety for all occupants, “We believe that by giving people clear prodregardless of car size. Renault invests a great deal uct information and the backup and service of time and energy into producing engines that that they deserve, Renault will take its place provide consumer benefits such as reducing the among the successful European car brands sold cost of ownership, increasing performance and in Canberra. All we ask of the Canberra public is reducing impact on the environment,” Anthony to give Renault a go,” he said. said. “While safety and technology are probably Melrose Automobiles, 118-120 Melrose Drive Phillip, Renault’s biggest drawcards, they also provide T: 6282 2311 www.melroseautomobiles.com.au impressive quality and French design flair throughout their model range.” Domenic believes that Melrose Automobiles’ experience with French car brands is going to be one of the key factors which will shape Renault’s success in Canberra which is backed by the dealership’s professional service and parts L-R: Domenic and Anthony Alvaro infront of the new Renault dealership department. Photo: Andrew Sikorski
elrose Automobiles dealer principal, Domenic Alvaro is clearly energised when he describes the new partnership his business has entered into with car manufacturer Renault which makes Melrose Automobiles the only Renault dealer in the ACT. “I believe we will do exceptionally well with Renault in Canberra and I’m enthusiastic about the opportunity. Renault has good pedigree of performance and reliability but it hasn’t been a mainstream brand in Australia,” Domenic said. “We’ve launched the partnership with a range of cars which are competitively priced including the Koleos SUV, the Laguna Hatch and Laguna Estate, the Clio Sport, the Megane and commercial vehicles.” Melrose Automobiles is also home to French car brand Peugeot as well as Hyundai and Proton. Domenic mentions that Melrose Automobiles is the number one provincial dealer for Peugeot in Australia. A family-owned business, Domenic and his wife Mary-Anne commenced trading in 1993. They have been joined over time by their son Anthony who along with Melrose Automobiles sales consultant Li Hong Bo are responsible for the introduction of the Renault brand. Sonin-law Soren Reinstadler is the general sales
B2B in Canberra | March 2010
"When a small business grows like eBay did, it has a multiplier effect. It creates other small businesses that supply it with intellectual capital, goods and services." Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO
Vikings urges local business to nominate for training awards
ocational education and training is the backbone of the Vikings Group, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that the Group has been awarded ACT Employer of the Year two years in a row at the ACT Training Excellence Awards. The Group has also been short-listed in the top three employers in Australia for the past two years at the Australian Training Awards and received the Industry Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the services industry. Vikings Group Human Resources Manager Anthony Hill said training was vital to the organisation, as was continued investment in their staff. “With more than 50,000 members we need to be competitive in our industry and provide the best service we can to those members,” he said. “A big part of this is investing in our more than 300 staff members and ensuring our staff have the most up to date and relevant training to meet those needs.” Anthony said training was also important to ensure the Group remained ahead of the ever-changing environment they operate in, including ongoing changes to legislation in the evolving service industry.
“Training is integral to ensure we don’t become obsolete and is the backbone to our service,” he said. The Vikings Group will again be nominating in this year’s ACT Training Excellence Awards and Anthony also encouraged other local businesses to enter. Anthony said even the nomination process provided important information to businesses about their investment in training, indentifying areas they can improve or grow and identifying best practice. “The nomination process is a great way to audit what your business is doing when it comes to training through your own submission,” he said. “The awards also provide recognition of your training plans and allow you to be judged alongside other industries in the ACT or even nationally. I would definitely urge local businesses to nominate for the awards.” This year marks the 73rd ACT Training Excellence Awards and nominations open on 1 March. The Awards ceremony will be held on 2 September. The ACT Department of Education and Training also urges all businesses, employers and vocational education and training providers to get involved by nominating in one
Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard presenting David Paull from the Vikings Group with the Industry Award at the Australian Training Awards.
or more of the several organisational and student categories. There are also many sponsorship opportunities available for this year’s awards. Contact Cindi Hage for more details on (02) 6205 7037 or visit www.det.act.gov.au
A sea change for IT
nfront, a local company, is bringing about a sea change in IT support services. Empathetic to the frustrations of their clients, Infront has identified a tipping point in technological innovation. Solutions previously only available to much larger, more highly funded organisations are now accessible to small to medium business. Continuing their dedication to quality service and value, Infront is excited to preview the upcoming launch of their BusinessONE product. BusinessONE provides a comprehensive IT framework specifically aligned and costed for SMB. Framed in simplicity and supported by ‘plain speaking’ engineers, BusinessONE represents a revolution in IT support services. Allan King, owner of Infront explains, “IT is a highly technical profession and engineers sometimes struggle to explain, in plain language, why something doesn’t work as it should.
Our brand is built by our employees who are committed to delivering a higher standard of IT and superior customer service.” Infront sees the potential to reduce the traditional gap between enterprise and small to medium business clients as ground breaking. “Technologies such as virtualisation and unified communications are now available to small to medium business clients,” Allan said. “These strategies and technologies will allow organisations to focus their valuable time on business goals and objectives rather than on the technology that sustains it. This will enhance employee productivity and operational agility.” In coming weeks, Infront will offer BusinessONE to local organisations enabling them to simplify and optimise their IT environments. BusinessONE promises to reset clients’ Keeping your business runn expectations for IT support services. Look cabling chaos. Wefor can streamli further details of BusinessONE in upcoming solution that meets your busin editions of B2B. what we do best. Call us today on 62 For more information contact Infront on (02) 6239 8400 or www.infront.net.au
Your hell. Our happy place.
Infront owner, Allan King
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
Growing my business takes effort and passion. So I take RSM Bird Cameronâ€™s advice. David Byatt Owner and operator Monaro Screens Pty Ltd.
Growing a business in a competitive environment is demanding. So you should demand an adviser who can evaluate your situation and develop an innovative solution or even a number of solutions. Monaro Screens has relied on RSM Bird Cameron to be this adviser, taking the business from start up to mature business while maintaining profitability.
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David is pictured above in his new factory. When he purchased it, RSM Bird Cameron was there to advise. RSM Bird Cameron Ph: (02) 6247 5988 103-105 Northbourne Avenue Canberra, ACT
"Surviving a failure gives you more self-confidence. Failures are great learning tools.. but they must be kept to a minimum." Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric.
elp you in your office!’ is exactly what Lee Corrigan, owner/operator of Canberra Secretarial Services loves to do. After 26 years in the ATO, Lee found that there was life after the public service when she set up her business Canberra Secretarial Services. According to Lee, she "helps people to do the things she loves doing, and that her clients generally don’t like doing." This can include assistance with office administration, document design such as leaflets or advertisements, one-on-one help with using a computer, editing and proof reading, data entry, MYOB bookkeeping and office re-organisation. “My clients not only enjoy their clean and tidy offices after we have done a big re-organisation but they work far more efficiently due to the fact that they don't have to waste time searching for things that need to be at hand,” Lee. said. “The process pays for itself in time saved by my clients once they are organised.” Lee also loves the variety of the work undertaken by Canberra Secretarial Services. “Nearly every day something new and different comes in. We have had projects involving scanning photographs and creating DVDs, designing and printing Christmas cards for businesses, and producing books for special occasions.
"One book we created was for a young woman celebrating her 18th birthday and included photographs and good wishes from people from all over the world," Lee said. “We have also sorted chronologically and stored in folders, 60 years worth of hand written letters for another client. The client now has a wonderful legacy to leave to his children and grandchildren and the letters are protected against any further damage," she said. Lee admitted that because of the demand for her skills, her own business reached saturation point. She then quickly brought on three part-time staff who shared her passion to manage the business' workload. Lee has her next business challenge firmly in her sights. "My next challenge is to move to bigger premises and I am working on that,” she says enthusiastically. “I get so much satisfaction seeing people realise that by employing our services it frees them up to use their valuable time to do what they do best – which is generally earning more money. It can't get better than that!” Canberra Secretarial Services, 7 Painter Place, Palmerston, T: 6241 770 or 0427 559 446 email@example.com www.cansecserv.com
Photo: Ross Corrigan
Canberra Secretarial Services: helping you sort out your office
Lee Corrigan, owner/ operator of Canberra Secretarial Services
Bendigo donates $50,000 for local OzHarvest van
zHarvest Canberra, a food rescue service has a new van following a $50,000 donation by Calwell and Wanniassa Community Banks Branches. The local branches have used a percentage of their profits to purchase a new van equipped with refrigeration and signage. Since its commencement in February 2008, OzHarvest Canberra has rescued more than 300,000 quality meals which would have otherwise ended up as landfill. Calwell & Wanniassa Community Bank’s Chairman Jayson Hinder said directors of the local branches were constantly on the look out for worthwhile community organisations, which will benefit from the bank’s profits. “What better community organisation than providing food to local charities, which are run by volunteers dedicating their time to rescuing unwanted food,” Jayson said. “Our Community Bank directors and staff and I’m sure our shareholders and customers, are thrilled to be able to assist an organisation such as OzHarvest Canberra,” Jayson said. The latest community grant is one of many already delivered to the community since the Community Bank branches inception. Other significant community contributions
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
include $10,000 to Tandem Respite, a not-forprofit organisation which provides respite, personal care, and other support services to more than 600 children, young people and adults with disabilities, people with mental illness, frail older people, and their families and carers living in the ACT community. The board also allocated funds to ACT Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group, Autism Asperger Association, Down Syndrome Association,
Neighbourhood Watch, Kulture Break, Lions Youth Haven, RSPCA and numerous local schools. “Our Community Bank branches have met their primary goal of providing personal and business banking services to the district while also making significant grants to community organisations and providing shareholders with dividends,” Jayson said, “This is the tip of the iceberg. As our business continues to grow, so too will the benefits to the community.”
L-R: Alan Hodges, George Kelly, Jayson Hinder, Maureen Cane, Toby Mahoney, Terry Godfrey, Deb McLellan, and Peter Groves
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The Mercedes-Benz Corporate Programme offers exclusive pricing and The Mercedes-Benz Corporate Programme offers exclusive pricing and servicing to full time employees of Top 500 companies. Whether you’re servicing to full time employees of Top 500 companies. Whether you’re the CEO, or the young rising star, if you’ve got an eye for excellence we’ll the CEO, or the young rising star, if you’ve got an eye for excellence we’ll reward you for the company you keep with access to preferential pricing, reward you for the company you keep with access to preferential pricing, complimentary scheduled servicing and added extras such as a total of complimentary scheduled servicing and added extras such as a total of four years membership of our nationwide Road Care Service. For a full list four years membership of our nationwide Road Care Service. For a full list of the entitlements you deserve, see the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Sales of the entitlements you deserve, see the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Sales Consultant at Capital Star Motors today. Or, for more information, call Consultant at Capital Star Motors today. Or, for more information, call 1800 888 170, or visit www.mercedes-benz.com.au/corporateprogramme 1800 888 170, or visit www.mercedes-benz.com.au/corporateprogramme 38 Collie Street, Fyshwick, ACT Tel: 02 6280 5500 LMD 1700531
OPINION: CONSENSUS FAMILY LAWYERS Opinion
Business asset protection: have you forgotten something? Many families spend their working lives establishing and then growing a successful business empire. Yet they forget to 'divorceproof' their business. By Olivia Gesini, Director, Consensus Family Lawyers
Business owners have covered every possible angle to protect their business in the future – right? Wrong! What the business owners have not thought about is 'divorce proofing' their business. If one of the business owners’ marriages breaks down, watch out.
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
usinesses have the best financial advisors, accountants and commercial lawyers helping them. They have every sort of insurance to cover against commercial risks. They have complex trust and company structures set up to ensure that the business is protected from the bankruptcy of one of the directors and so that the income stream can be distributed most effectively between the extended family members. They have HR managers, staff amenities and team building exercises to keep the team strong. Business owners have covered every possible angle to protect their business in the future – right? Wrong! What the business owners have not thought about is 'divorce proofing' their business. If one of the business owners’ marriages breaks down, watch out. Even if the business assets are held in a discretionary trust in which the owner has an unspecified entitlement, the Family Court is likely to include their share of the business in the asset pool for division in the divorce. Suddenly, the other business owners are caught up in their co-owner’s divorce. Documents relating to the business become relevant to the divorce case and must be produced. That includes commercial in-confidence material. Accountants and other valuers may well need to come in and value the business assets and pore over the books. In any divorce settlement, the divorcing owner’s business share might have to be sold because he or she cannot afford to keep that share as part of their settlement. At the very least, this will all cause distraction, anxiety and intrusion for the other business owners. At worst it could precipitate the devastation of the entire business empire. Is there anything you can do to avoid this? Yes there is. Whether you are in business with family members or not, you can suggest to your fellow owners that all of you should enter into legal
agreements with your spouses to make sure that, if there is a marriage bust up in the future, the business will be left out of it. How do you do that? Marriage and defacto couples can enter into Binding Financial Agreements (BFAs) under the Family Law Act. If a BFA provides financial disclosure, is carefully drafted and complies with the necessary formalities, it will oust the jurisdiction of the Family Court in relation to the assets specified in the Agreement. You may be thinking my wife and I are never going to separate and our kids are not official owners of the business, so there is no problem. But look more closely: Are your children beneficiaries of the discretionary trust through which you own your business or own your premises? Are your children, and maybe their spouses, also shareholders of your operating company? If so, the trust assets are likely to become caught up in the child’s divorce case. As with all areas that challenge the success of a business, planning is the key. With sound advice and the assistance of people who understand how family businesses work and the threats presented by potential marriage breakdowns, you can ensure that your hard work is not torn apart in the Family Court but is handed on to future generations. The cost of the BFA can be regarded as a oneoff premium in a 'relationship insurance' exercise which, while not inexpensive, may save you, your business partners and your wealth from untold future damage. If, as it is to be hoped, your marriage never fails then you can leave the agreement in the bottom drawer of your desk with your other insurance policies. Your commercial solicitor may have reassured you that a trust structure will make your business divorce-proof. Unfortunately, this advice is not right, the reach of the Family Law Act into trust structures is beyond doubt. For a commercially savvy, Out of Court solution contact Consensus Family Lawyers.
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OPINION: RSM BIRD CAMERON Opinion
Phoenix Companies – how ASIC is moving on the advisors The term ‘phoenix’ activity is derived from the mythological bird, the phoenix, which bursts into flames at the end of its life, only to be reborn again from the ashes. By Jonathon Colbran, Manager, Turnaround & Insolvency
imilarly, you may have seen a company that appears to go into liquidation owing hundreds of thousands of dollars and all of a sudden it is operating again. We call companies that go into this type of scheme ‘Phoenix Companies’. What does ‘Phoenix activity’ typically involve? What we have seen happen is that the director of a company that is having financial difficulties will transfer assets into another company. The business will normally be having trouble
...you may have seen a company that appears to go into liquidation owing hundreds of thousands of dollars and all of a sudden it is operating again. We call companies that go into this type of scheme 'Phoenix Companies'. paying its debts and may even be insolvent at the time of the transfer. You will find that the directors and shareholders of the new company are either the same or connected in some way. The end result is that the transfer has or may have the effect of hindering creditors in their attempt to access the assets of the company that they dealt with, which are now owned by a different company. The regulators are catching on The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) sent a very clear message to professional advisors in ASIC v Somerville  NSWSC 934, ‘involve’ yourself in the illegal phoenix activities of your clients and YOU risk being prosecuted.
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
Mr Somerville was a partner in the Sydney legal firm, Somerville & Co. During this time, Mr Somerville provided legal advice to a number of clients whose companies were facing financial distress. Somerville’s advice In each case Mr Somerville provided his clients with written advice which maintained a number of common characteristics, including: 1. The old company which was suffering from financial distress would cease to trade 2. A new company would be established, often with a similar name to the old company 3. The old company agreed to transfer its business, or the assets of its business, to the new company 4. All payments invoiced prior to the settlement would be collected by the old company to pay its debts 5. The old company would retain the liability for all amounts payable to its unsecured creditors 6. The employees of the old company would be terminated and offered re-employment by the new company on the same terms 7. Plant and equipment leased or hired by the old company would be transferred to the new company and leases over premises assigned. The directors breached their duties Following ASIC’s submission, the Court held that by engaging in the activities linked to Mr Somerville’s advice the directors had breached the duties set out at sections 181, 182 and 183 of the Corporations Act 2001. The duties breached were: 1. Failure to act in good faith and in the best interests of the relevant company; 2. Improper use of their position to gain an advantage for themselves or to cause detriment to the relevant company; and 3. Improper use of information to gain an advantage for themselves or someone else or to cause detriment to the relevant company.
The Court considered Somerville’s conduct The Court examined the advice given by Somerville and concluded that Somerville: 1. Arranged for the execution of the relevant documentation 2. Drafted or was responsible for the documentation which gave effect to the transaction(s) 3. Advised on and recommended the transactions which resulted in the breaches of the Act; 4. Arranged for settlement of the transactions to occur prior to any judgement being obtained against the company. In considering the facts of the case, the Court concluded noted at paragraph 49 that: …when advice is given by a solicitor to carry out an improper activity and the solicitor does all the work involved in carrying it out apart from signing documents, it seems to me that there can be no question as to liability. The Court held that Somerville was ‘involved’ The Court held that Mr Somerville contravened sections 181, 182 and 183 of the Act and was subsequently disqualified from managing a corporation for a period of 6 years. Lessons for professional advisors ASIC v Somerville serves as a reminder for all professional advisors, when providing advice to directors of companies which are faced with financial distress, the advisor must ensure that the advice they give is technically, legally and ethically correct and moreover that they do not become ‘involved’ with their client’s actions. If a professional adviser finds themselves in a position where they are providing advice to a company which is or may be facing financial distress, they should consider seeking guidance on the matter from a suitably qualified insolvency practitioner such as RSM Bird Cameron Partners.
Your future just got more certain.
Introducing Certus, Canberraâ€™s new specialist law firm in the areas of superannuation, estate planning, wills and trusts. We have a certain approach towards preparing for your future. Our comprehensive, collaborative solutions protect your valuable assets from any and all eventualities, no matter how complex your situation. With our expert guidance, you can always be certain that the fruits of your lifeâ€™s labour are handled in exactly the way you want.
For your family, for your children, for your future. Be certain with Certus. Level 5, 28 University Avenue, Canberra ACT 2601
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Kathryn Heuer words: Liz Lang, photo: Andrew Sikorski
It’s always challenging to interview someone who is a good listener because you find that you end up talking about yourself when you should be focusing on the interviewee.
athryn Heuer, director, Certus Law, is one such person. She has made a career out of listening, empathising, and guiding people to help them resolve their family law and estate planning matters. Admitted to practice in 1989, Kathryn’s legal career spans public and private practice. A trained mediator, she managed Relationships Australia’s mediation service in Canberra (199698) and has also conducted mediations for clients of private law firms. Among her career highlights, Kathryn was a Registrar of the Family Court of Australia from 2001-2005 and became a director of family law firm Farrar, Gesini & Dunn in 2007. In the same year, Kathryn was asked to head-up Certus Law, Canberra’s only law firm specialising in estate planning, superannuation, wills and trusts, with fellow director, Stephen Bourke. Kathryn works collaboratively in both estate planning and family law matters. Collaboration is problem solving with lawyers where parties try to understand each other, gather information and formulate solutions. “As a lawyer, I believe it’s really important to listen carefully to people so you can understand exactly what it is that’s worrying them. After you have established what the underlying issues are, then you’re in a position to guide people to make
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
some informed decisions about their children and matters such as finance,” Kathryn said. “In areas such as estate planning and family law, it’s critical to be able to listen and empathise with people so you can assist them to move forward.” “In terms of legal practice I have always been very focused on dealing with people. I have never wanted to do the sort of law that would have me in an office reading over piles of contracts with minimal people contact,” Kathryn said. Kathryn admits that her entry into law wasn’t a long held childhood ambition. She spent a large part of her childhood in Papua New Guinea where her father was employed by the Australian Government to assist the Territory with its independence efforts. A classmate of PNG Prime Minister Michael Somare’s daughter Bertha, Kathryn completed her schooling in PNG up to high school level when she returned to Canberra. “I have to say that I started law because I got the marks to get into it. I remember my father saying to me that ‘law was a good profession and that it ‘wouldn’t hurt to have a law degree’. It has been a great career choice because twenty years later I’m still in the profession and I really enjoy helping people to resolve their personal matters." Kathryn said that some of the common misconceptions that people hold about estate planning is that it is simple and uncomplicated. “Many people aren’t aware of the implications of the various arrangements that they have in place. An accountant may have advised a family to put all of their assets in one party’s name which is a very safe way of protecting assets from creditors – but on death, the implications of that arrangement are profound,” Kathryn said. I asked Kathryn what triggers people to sort out their wills, superannuation, powers of attorney,
and/or insurances. “Often it might be an up-andcoming overseas trip or a medical diagnosis which causes someone to think about their life and longevity and this then becomes the catalyst for them to get their affairs in order,” she said. “Estate planning represents an opportunity for people to constructively sort out how they want their assets to be distributed in the event of death or when they are unable to make decisions for themselves.”
“In areas such as estate planning and family law, it’s critical to be able to listen and empathise with people so you can assist them to move forward.” During the interview, I asked Kathryn about her family life and whether there was someone who inspired her. She paused for a while when considering the inspiration question and with a great deal of courage answered that it was her first husband who died when he was thirty-two and she was thirty-one and they were parents of two boys, two and five years of age. “My first husband is still a huge part of who I am and the decisions and judgements that I make. But, life moves on. I have since remarried, my husband is a wonderful man, and my boys are now 18 and 14, almost 15 years of age.” Estate planning is an essential part of life. With Kathryn’s extensive legal expertise and and her genuine interest in assisting people to sort out their wills and trusts, Certus Law clients will be assured of a certain future.
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Caroline Le Couteur words: Liz Lang, photos: Andrew Sikorski
The daughter of ANU’s first professor of theoretical physics, a self professed ‘hippy,’ and the ACT Greens spokesperson for business and economic development, gives you a quick insight into the interesting life of Caroline Le Couteur, member of the ACT Legislative Assembly.
y first impression of Caroline was that she was a reserved woman – an unusual trait in a politician – but as soon as we started discussing issues that she held close to her heart, she became more and more animated and absorbed in our conversation. Arriving in Canberra from England when she was four, Caroline is the eldest daughter of Emeritus Professor Kenneth Le Couteur, who was the foundation professor of theoretical physics at the ANU. In recognition of Professor Le Couteur’s outstanding contribution to the development of the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, the University named the Mathematical Sciences Building, the Le Couteur Building in 1996. Caroline reflects on her early days in Canberra and how small the Canberra community was in the late 1950s. “When we
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
moved into Yarralumla, people would say ‘how can you live in Yarralumla as it’s so far away’? We had a dirt track out the front of our house rather than a road. It’s hard to believe now that this was the case.” “Canberra was tiny and the academic and embassy communities were proportionally much bigger than they are now. This is because the ANU was established early and the embassies had to be in Canberra because it was Australia’s capital.” “My childhood was very much influenced by the ANU. We used to have Nobel Prize winners coming for dinner,” she said. Caroline has been conscious that she led a fortunate existence compared to many in the community. “With Dad as a university professor, we’re weren’t rich but we didn’t have any financial problems. I’ve always thought ‘There but for the grace of God, go I’”. Caroline acknowledges that it was her mother’s passion for social justice issues, and helping less privileged people through the Anglican Church, that laid the foundations for her interest in this area. After finishing an economics degree at the ANU, Caroline went to Nimbin to take part in the Aquarius Festival, a counter-culture music and arts festival organised by the Australian Union of Students in 1973. She remained in Nimbin, and with a group of people bought a 1600 acre property. “In some ways it was great preparation for local government. We built houses and we decided that we didn’t want to sign on to the local electricity. I sold solar panels for a semi-living. We started a pre-school and
primary school – both of which are still running. It was a wonderful time.” In 1985, Caroline returned to Canberra with her nine year old daughter and worked in IT in the federal and ACT public service then moved into renewable energy policy. From 1991, she was a director of the local ethical investment company, Australian Ethical Investment. In 2000, Caroline became the company’s IT manager where she stayed until she was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly in 2008. “On election night, The Greens got three people elected and we were all incredibly happy with that result. I certainly didn’t think then that I would gain a seat.” “My first week as an MLA wasn't a quiet beginning. I also made what is quite possibly the most important decision that I will make during my time as an MLA, which was whether to support Liberal or Labor.” Caroline is member for Molonglo and her ACT Greens portfolio responsibilities span planning, territory and municipal services, business and economic development, and arts and heritage. She is also chair of the Public Accounts Committee and deputy chair, Planning Public Works and Territory and Municipal Services Committee. “The Public Accounts Committee is conducting an inquiry into ACT Government procurement and any submissions that B2B readers would like to make are welcome,” Caroline said. “The ACT Government’s Budget is $3.6 billion and while the majority of that is salary dollars, we would like to see the Government spending money in ways that advance social and environmental policy objectives and also support local business.
“If the government wants a strong, vibrant community, then part of that is supporting local business. I receive a lot of complaints from people asking why the Government is employing businesses from outside of Canberra,” she said. Caroline explained that the Inquiry will also examine the question of how much should the ACT Government support local businesses and what defines a local business within the context of Canberra. In terms of the question of whether the ACT Government is actively supporting local business, Caroline replied, “Not particularly, I think it’s pretty agnostic and much more fixated with best value for money in terms of its procurement processes.” I asked Caroline what she believes business expects from The Greens. She replied, “I talk to business groups often and we try to map out sensible ways to go forward. Most businesses recognise that environmental and social issues are important and interwined.” “These days we’re all on the same page, the only question is how high up the page are environmental or social issues – are they the headline or the footnote?” “I do discuss green related issues with businesses. They will talk to me when they feel they are not getting traction with the Government,” Caroline said. The ACT Greens would like to see the ACT economy as a greener economy but Caroline acknowledges that is easy to say but harder to achieve. “Part of our agreement with the Labor Party was for a study to be carried out into the greening of I asked Caroline what she believes the ACT economy. This is being business expects from The Greens. She undertaken by the University replied, “I talk to business groups often of Canberra. We would like to and we try to map out sensible ways to see recommengo forward. Most businesses recognise dations flowing from the study that environmental and social issues are such as green focus innova- important and interwined.” tion grants for small business. Many small businesses don’t need a lot of money to make a difference,” she said. “From a planning point of view, we would like to see the strong delineation between residential and non-residential zoning relaxed. You can run very small businesses at home at the moment but it becomes difficult once you move past the one to two person business. We’d like to see more support given to small and home-based businesses. There are so many large houses in Canberra which are half empty and we’d like to see more small businesses run out of the suburbs. The demand on the suburbs won’t be any more than when the houses were filled with children. From a green point of view, people aren’t commuting as much now that the internet is here,” she said. Caroline is a keen supporter of groups such as the Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society, Pedal Power, Oxfam, Anglicare, and the Conservation Council. She has renovated her house for increased energy efficiency and is a regular bike rider and gardener.
The ACT Training Excellence Awards The ACT Training Excellence Awards are the premier celebration in vocational education and training in the ACT and showcase Canberra’s most outstanding Australian Apprentices and Trainees, students, training providers, businesses and employers (industry and government).
ominations for the 2010 ACT Training Excellence Awards are now open. This is your opportunity to be recognised for the valuable contribution you make to training in your workplace and the ACT. There are several award categories including ACT Employer of the Year, ACT Small Business of the Year and ACT Business of the Year – Vocational School Placement. You can also nominate an outstanding apprentice or trainee in your organisation. There are many student categories including ACT Australian Apprentice of the Year, ACT Australian Apprentice (Trainee) of the Year and ACT Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year. Nominating for the award categories is easy. All you need to do is complete a nomination form, provide supporting documentation, any letters of support and other relevant attachments you wish to include. Above: Minister Andrew Barr presenting the 2009 Employer of Nominations will open on the Year Award to Ray Sweeney of the Vikings Group. Top: Some of the 2009 ACT Training Excellence Awards winners 1 March 2010 and close on 14 18
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
May 2010. A full list of categories and details about the nomination process and selection criteria are available at www.det.act.gov.au. The ACT Department of Education and Training convenes a panel of judges for each award, usually comprising a member of the Department’s senior management team and representatives from industry and the vocational education and training sector. Finalists in each category will be invited to attend the awards ceremony and dinner on Thursday 2 September at The Auditorium, Vikings Erindale. Winners of an ACT Training Excellence Award may be eligible to represent the ACT at the Australian Training Awards and compete against other state and territory winners in their respective categories. Last year, the ACT had its strongest contingent ever in the national awards with seven student finalists and four organisational finalists. This year the Australian Training Awards will be held in Sydney in November. For the 2009 ACT Employer of the Year, the Vikings Group, the Australian Training Awards were a great opportunity to demonstrate the exceptional training and professional development available to staff in their workplace. Last year, the Vikings Group was short listed in the top three employers in Australia at the Australian Training Awards and received an Industry Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the services industry. It's time to submit a nomination and get involved in the awards. Share your story of excellence and success in vocational education and training and help inspire others in the community to get involved. This is your opportunity to stand out and be recognised yourself, or to recognise the great achievements of someone you know. If you are interested in learning more about the ACT Training Excellence Awards, please contact the Training and Tertiary Education Branch of the ACT Department of Education and Training on (02) 6205 7037 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The ACT Department of Education and Training welcomes sponsorship from interested businesses and organisations to support the ongoing success of the awards.
Itâ€™s your opportunity to stand out and be recognised! Nominations are now open for the ACT Training Excellence Awards
The awards categories include: Organisational categories Small Business of the Year Employer of the Year Small Registered Training Organisation of the Year Large Registered Training Organisation of the Year ACT Training Initiative Award Business of the Year â€“ Vocational School Placement VET in Schools Excellence Award.
Student categories Vocational School Student of the Year Australian School Based Apprentice of the Year Certificate III Australian School Based Apprentice of the Year Certificate II Vocational Student of the Year Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student, Trainee or Apprentice of the Year Australian Apprentice (Trainee) of the Year Australian Apprentice (Apprentice) of the Year. and training (VET) The awards are the premier event on the ACT vocational educational individuals and calendar and celebrate the achievements and dedication of the many announced at an organisations who participate in and support VET. Winners will be awards ceremony and dinner on 2 September 2010. ACT on the national Winners in some categories also have the chance to represent the stage at the Australian Training Awards in November 2010.
Criteria and nomination forms are available on the ACT Department of Education and Training website www.det.act.gov.au or by calling 6205 7037 Nominations close at 5pm on 14 May 2010
Entry to Telstra Business Awards can deliver valuable rewards 20
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
Canberra’s Point Project Management says a win in the Telstra Business Awards, for which nominations and entries are now open for 2010, can trigger an upsurge in business.
he company also believes the entry process alone can be of enormous value to businesses that get involved. Even more so with the addition this year of a free business analysis tool, the 'Business Health Check'. After being named the ACT Panasonic Australia Medium Business Award winner, Point Project Management went on to win the national category in last year’s Telstra Business Award finals. The increase in client interest was immediate. “Following our win we saw an instant change in the demand for our services. We were receiving phone calls almost every day in the weeks following our win from potential clients and customers with new opportunities,” said Michael Snare, founder and joint national principal of Point Project Management. “Not long after our success, we won our first open tender, something we hadn’t been able to achieve prior to the Telstra Business Awards. The recognition we received in mainstream newspapers and highly influential trade publications has been acknowledged by industry peers, friends and family. “The entry process also gave us the opportunity to think more about our business plan, and provided a good introspective assessment.” Deena Shiff, Telstra business group managing director, says 2010 will be a milestone year for the Telstra Business Awards with the added value of the new Business Health Check. "Running a small business can be a lonely job at times with owners usually working long hours often on their own – they don't readily have the opportunity to get an independent assessment of how they are really travelling. "We've had great feedback from hundreds of entrants and finalists over the past 18 years that entering the awards has helped them focus and plan their businesses. The new Business Health Check really takes that a step further offering all businesses entering the chance to check their vital signs and get an even better picture of where they stand and how well placed they are to take advantage of opportunities to grow and expand." “For the first time, the free Business Health Check has been integrated into the 2010 Awards entry process to evaluate all areas of a business – from customers, staff, products, financial management and marketing – leaving no corner of their business neglected.” For finalists and winners, the Telstra Business Awards offers accolades, public profile, a share of $400,000 in overall cash and prizes and the privilege of joining an exclusive national business alumni. All finalists and winners get the opportunity to discuss their business activities with judges selected from
a panel of some of Australia’s best business minds that Telstra brings together for the Awards. The awards are open to all eligible Australian businesses, including micro-businesses (with up to 5 employees), small businesses (up to 20 employees) and medium sized companies (up to 200 employees). Nominations will close on 16 April 2010. Awards categories for 2010 include: • The News Ltd businessowner Micro-Business Award – For businesses with five employees or fewer. • MYOB Small Business Award – For businesses with more than five employees, but less than or equal to 20 employees. • Panasonic Australia Medium Business Award – For businesses with more than 20 employees, but less than or equal to 200 employees. • AMP Innovation Award – For businesses that have successfully introduced an innovation. • Sensis Social Responsibility Award – For demonstrated leadership and contribution by a business to the environment, people, education or the community. Category awards are offered in each state and territory, and an overall state/territory winner is selected from the category winners. These overall state/territory winners then become eligible to win the 2010 Telstra Australian Business of the Year, which will be announced in August. Businesses that enter will be judged on a range of criteria including growth, customer base, their team, innovation and financials. Michael Snare said that not only was the increased profile directly from the win valuable, the flow-on effect surprised him. “One of the biggest advantages has certainly been the publicity that is associated with winning,” he explained. “I went to my 20 year school reunion recently, and people that I hadn’t seen in since my school years had a good understanding of what I am doing and of the business, which was only “Following our win we saw an instant started four years ago, so to know that the busi- change in the demand for our services. ness is going so strongly We were receiving phone calls almost is very satisfying.” Deena Shiff exevery day in the weeks following our win plained that Telstra Business engages from potential clients and customers with more small and medium businesses across new opportunities.” Michael Snare Australia than almost any other organisation. “We recognise the need to support their development in today’s challenging and ever-changing environment,” she said. “As part of this commitment to helping small business grow and prosper, Telstra has invested 18 years and millions of dollars in creating, building and running these national Telstra Business Awards. Nominations and entries for the Telstra Business Awards are open to all eligible businesses with between Facing Page L-R: Michael Snare 1 and 200 employees. Entries close at 5pm Eastern and Brendan Bilston 2009 National Standard Time on Friday 16 April 2010. To nominate go Winner of the Panasonic Australia to www.telstrabusinessawards.com or call 1800 262 323 Medium Business Award during business hours. B2B in Canberra | March 2010
Doing business at the Southern Cross Club I
In years gone by, clubs were viewed by many as the second cousin in terms of their conference and event facilities. Now with the Canberra Southern Cross Club’s glamorous multimillion dollar Events Centre in Woden and the facilities of their six other clubs, government departments and business no longer view the club as a second tier option. Liz Lang reports. 22
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
t’s been a year since the Southern Cross Events Centre opened its doors for business replete with imported Italian chandeliers, contemporary decor, custom-designed carpet, and the highest quality fittings and accessories. The events, sales and function staff are clearly proud of what the centre can offer the Canberra community. They want to ensure that as many people as possible know about and experience what is referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Canberra Southern Cross Club event and function facilities along with the function capabilities of the individual clubs. Events sales manager, Sian Lovekin, first joined the Canberra Southern Cross Club when the Events Centre was nothing more than a ‘shell and a construction site’. Formerly of the Hyatt Hotel, Sian encourages business, government, and community organisations to come and view the Events Centre facilities. “Once you see the decor of the room, witness our service in action, and experience the quality of the food at the Events Centre, I’ll guarantee that you’ll be converted,” Sian said. ”It’s a mistake to assume that our facilities are not as good as some of our top-end competitors just because our facilities are set in a club.” “My role is to introduce the Events Centre and explain what the Centre’s capabilities are to the Canberra community,” Sian said. Since opening, the Events Centre has hosted some sizeable conferences including one for the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts which ran over three days. The department needed a business centre as part of its conference requirements. The functions team organised for a business centre to be set up which was tailored specifically to 4 meet the department’s needs. “In many ways, this conference was a landmark in the history of the Events Centre. It demonstrated to staff and to the client that we can provide conference services on par with other venues in Canberra of a similar size,” Sian said. ”NAIDOC Week
The events, sales and function staff are clearly proud of what the centre can offer the Canberra community.
was also another stand-out event in the history of the events centre. We hosted a luncheon for the Aboriginal Hostels Limited where the room was at capacity and logistically our service and food delivery was seamless.” The event’s centre Corinna Ballroom has the capacity to seat 700 people banquet-style making it the largest function room available within the ACT club industry. The Corinna Ballroom can operate as one space or it can be divided into rooms for 400, 200, 60 and 40 people which can all operate independently of each other. The room has showcased entertainers such as Kate Ceberano to a capacity audience, David Campbell, and Peter Byrne, and Marcia Hines will no doubt attract large audiences when she appears in May. For those businesses, government departments, community organisations and individuals who haven’t considered using the Events Centre, Sian says, “There is a clear delineation between the every-day operations
of the club and the facilities of the Events Centre. When clients of the Events Centre come to the Club, they enter through the formal reception area, take the lift or the stairs, and then are straight into their function within the Events Centre.”
Con Efrossynis is the events manager at the Woden Club who takes pride in delivering a first class experience to customers. “I genuinely feel privileged to be part of people’s celebrations whether it is a wedding, 21st birthday party or wedding anniversary. I work very hard to ensure that we deliver the experience that the customer is looking for as you can’t repeat these important life celebrations,” Con said. Con explained that the upstairs areas at the Woden Club are private and beautifully-appointed. With eight reception rooms and interchangeable walls and seating configurations, the Club can cater for every type of occasion, budget and taste, from an intimate family gathering to a stylish gala ball. 3 David Hull, functions manager at the Yacht Club wants to let B2B readers know about the benefits of entertaining on the MV Southern Cross ferry. “The ferry is a perfect way to take clients out on the lake. The boat is fully air-conditioned and caters for 90 guests for a cocktail party, 75 for a sit-down dinner and 55 for a buffet. Entertaining clients on the lake has a certain wow factor.” The ferry can also be hired out as a floating restaurant subject to availability. “The Yacht Club is in an excellent location as there are limited lakeside venues in Canberra. We offer the best value for money, good service, great food and wonderful surrounds,” David said. Jo Teixeira, functions manager at the Tuggeranong Club encourages Canberrans to experience the club’s facilities including the cuisine of their chef, Anurag Gautam, who was ACT Chef of the Year within the club industry. “The club is well located in the centre of Tuggeranong and I consider our facilities one of the best in terms of providing for the needs of government departments,” Jo said. “An added bonus is that we offer free parking, good value for money, and ‘old-fashioned’ friendly service. My customers receive personalised service and attention.”
Photo credits: 1. Sian Lovekin 2. David Hull 3. Jo Teixeira 4. Con Efrossynis For more information on the function facilities available at the Canberra Southern Cross Club, visit www.cscc.com.au Photography by Andrew Sikorski
B2B in Canberra | March 2010
FUNDING TO GROW VENTURE CAPITAL: CALL FOR FURTHER APPLICATIONS Fund managers around the country are invited to submit applications under the latest round of the Government’s venture capital support program, the Innovation Investment Fund. Investment in venture capital is a driver of innovation. In the wake of the global recession it is more important than ever to attract investment to support the commercialisation of great Australian ideas. Opening the latest application round, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said the fund has been an important catalyst for building new innovative businesses, developing fund managers, and growing a domestic venture capital market. “Having a domestic venture capital market helps Australian start-up and high growth companies grow and generate wealth and new sources of employment to benefit industry and the economy,” Senator Carr said. “Through the Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) program the Australian Government will provide $20 million to each successful fund manager to establish new funds of $40 million or more. “These new funds will assist promising early stage Australian companies commercialise Australian research which will result in the creation of competitive products and services. 24
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
“Fund managers will provide the necessary capital and management expertise to help these products and services succeed in a competitive global market. “The IIF program has generated a total commitment of almost $500 million to date from government and the private sector to commercialise Australian research. A number of world leading products and services have been developed through the program.” The IIF Program is a venture capital program that supports new innovation funds and fund managers with expertise in early stage venture capital investing. It coinvests with private sector investors in venture capital funds to assist early stage companies to commercialise the outcomes of Australia's strong research capability. Under the first tranche of round three the Australian Government licensed the Cleantech Australia Fund Management Partnership LP and Brandon Capital Management Pty Limited. The Government has recently licensed Yuuwa Capital under the second tranche of round three and a second manager is currently finalising their IIF licence. Applications for the current round (Tranche 3 of Round 3) close on Monday 31 May 2010. To assist potential applicants, information seminars will be held in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra in early March 2010. Visit www.ausindustry.gov.au or call the AusIndustry Hotline 13 28 46 for more information. AusIndustry is the Australian Government's principal business program delivery division in the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. It is committed to delivering business services that build on three key drivers of economic growth - innovation, investment and international competitiveness and offers both entitlement and concession programs. For grants-based programs, customers compete for limited funds, based on the merits of their application. AusIndustry provides incentives to help Australian businesses: conduct research and development; grow small business; take up new technology; undertake industry-specific manufacturing and production; and commercialise a new technology or venture.
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Don’t fall for the quick fix trap ADVICE
By Chris Males
t’s 4.00pm and you need to get that report done, you are feeling like you need an energy hit so you stalk the nearest fundraiser box of chocolates and devour a freddo frog so fast that David Attenborough would find it compelling viewing! Does this sound familiar? All too often we turn to high sugar quick fix food and drink options when we are under pressure with work. These foods do provide that immediate pick up, but as with most high glycaemic index (GI) foods, the pick up doesn’t last very long and the subsequent drop in blood glucose levels often leads to even worse performance. When faced with high pressure, we need to make sure we are running on what I call true energy, rather than the fake energy boosts that come from the sugary drinks and foods. True energy comes having enough of these four vital elements: water, oxygen, vitamins and minerals. Therefore we need to stay well hydrated, get up from our desks more often and breathe deeply, and eat a wide variety of plant foods (veges, fruits, nuts, grains, legumes) that will ensure that we are providing our body all the vitamins and minerals it requires for peak performance. If you’ve heard me talk before, I will often use the phrase ‘Either Pick it from a tree, pluck it from the ground, or fish/hunt for it!’ as a simple way of suggesting that the best foods out there, don’t require label reading – because quite simply they don’t have them! Choose these sorts of foods over the highly processed options as much as you can, especially when work demands are high.
Some examples of great afternoon snack options and ‘mood booster’ foods are: • Small can of tuna/salmon or baked beans on one slice of rye toast • Handful of almonds, piece of fruit and yoghurt • Bowl of steamed veggies or wholegrain cereal • A couple of squares of dark chocolate – the antioxidants can help reduce blood pressure and the tryptophan - serotonin link acts as an anti-depressant. And the great thing about dark chocolate is that you won’t overeat, unlike the high milk/high sugar varieties. Which brings me back to the fundraiser chocolates. Throw in the $2 coin but leave the chocolate bar behind and save yourself about 300 calories (which requires a 90 minute fast walk to burn off) in the process.
Chris Males is one of the country's freshest corporate speakers on the topics of health, stress management and productivity. He is also the managing director of Pro-Fit Corporate Health, a national corporate health and wellbeing provider. To contact Chris please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02 62915902.
Are you ready for Google Buzz? By Sam Gupta
kay, I know what you are thinking. Just when you thought you were finally getting your head around all these social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, you are now hit with the a new tool in the online arena: Google Buzz. For those of you, who use Gmail, you will already noticed Google Buzz appearing on your screen. It’s that little Google coloured talk bubble. What’s Buzz about? Google Buzz is very similar to Facebook, except it offers a few more cool features. You can share photos quickly via Picasa and view them in a full screen width, You can get all your tweets on Buzz. Unlike Facebook, you can pick and choose who you want to share your content with. There is ‘Recommended Buzz’, which also auto-learns over time based on your choices. The great thing is that you don’t have to open a new site, Google Buzz is nicely integrated with the Gmail service. It’s also easily usable on iPhone or any Android operating system phone such as Google’s nexus one. If you prefer to disclose your location, it finds your location via GPS and displays the possible places you could be at, for you to choose and select. Best part is, you don’t have to type the post. You can simply use the Google Voice feature to make your life easy. You can take a snapshot of whatever you may want to share and just upload it on your post with a click of a button. It’s simple and it’s fast. And according to Google, this is just the start. We are going to see, more and better features on Buzz in the future.
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
Buzz for business According to Google, they will 'soon' launch a Buzz for Enterprise version. They themselves have been using it internally within their company. I think it could be a great tool for SMEs and obviously large corporations with hundreds and thousands of employees. If used responsibly, I think it will be a great tool for many enterprises, organisations, universities and other education bodies. Imagine a Facebook for B2B in Canberra. Now, that would be interesting! Although it’s all exciting; the entire online social arena still seems to be in a big mess right now. Users just don’t know where to turn and who to choose. As for me, I am not sure if I am ready to switch fully to Buzz yet, Facebook is still gonna be a part of my life for some time. It’s likely to be a transition over time.
Sam Gupta is the managing director of Synapse Worldwide. If you would like to discuss how your business can best take advantage of the social media, please contact Sam on 1300 785 230 or email@example.com
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B2B in Canberra | March 2010
Simple rules for DIY superannuation By Stephen Bourke
elf managed superannuation is suited to those who want to take a greater interest in and greater control of their retirement savings. However, the law governing the administration of self managed superannuation, despite the Government releases can be complex. The trustee has responsibilities under the fund’s trust deed, the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SISA), the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (SISR), the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997), the Tax Administration Act 1953 (TAA 1953), and the Corporations Act 2001 to name a few. Here are a few tips to avoid the traps of non-compliance. Don't use your super fund as a bank: The most common form of non-compliance is when the fund lends money to a member or a related person of the member. Under superannuation law, members must not lend money to a member or related party and such a loan is what is termed an 'in house’ asset. There is a limit on the amount of in house assets that an SMSF may hold, being 5% of the value of the investments in the fund. Don't use the investments personally. Some members may ‘invest’ in a coast house which is then used over the Christmas holidays or a Brett Whiteley which is hung in the family living room. Personal use of investments does not satisfy the arm's length dealing and will always give rise to problems with the Taxation Office. It is a simple rule for members to follow that the investments should not be personal use investments but an arms length investment for retirement purposes.
While the Taxation Office remains committed to educating trustees and members of SMSFs, it is now playing a more active role in enforcing compliance measures. Penalties for contravention of superannuation law range from disqualifying the trustee of the fund, suspending the current trustee and appointing a constitutional corporation or person to act as the trustee. The Taxation Office can also direct the trustee to deal with the assets in a particular way or enter into an agreement to ensure fund compliance. In 2009, 99 SMSFs were shut down, compared to 24 funds in 2008 and 5 funds in 2007. The best way to avoid having the ATO on your heels is to follow the simple rules – keep investments at arms length, don't use the SMSF as a bank and don't use the investments personally. Speak to a SPAA accredited superannuation specialist. If you believe your SMSF may be at risk of non-compliance, take the remedial action immediately.
Stephen Bourke is a director in the boutique firm, Certus Law, specialising in superannuation, trusts and estate planning. He also consults to other practitioners through the consulting practice, SuperSplitting. Level 5, 28 University Avenue T: 6268 9090 www.certuslaw.com.au
Plan your run to the end of the financial year By Andrew Sykes
he lead up to the end of the financial year often sees a flurry of activity from Businesses – and justifiably so! 30 June is not far away so it’s a good idea to look at some tax planning strategies and get planning. There are two types of tax planning: 1. Tax deferral – where you transfer your tax liability to a later period. 2. Tax saving – longer term strategies to minimise your tax rate. 1. Tax deferral Tax deferral is the most popular and effective form of tax planning as businesses look to delay their tax liability. Some of the more common examples of deferring tax include: • Delaying or withholding income – planning when income will be generated to ensure that it falls in the next financial year • Prepaying expenses – bringing forward future expenses into the current period • Leasing plant or machinery instead of other finance such as HP or chattels mortgage • Using 30% company tax rate if individuals are currently in a higher tax bracket • Using small business concessions available under the various tax acts. Tax deferral can be an extremely successful approach to reduce your immediate tax liability, and an important part of an overall tax plan. 2. Tax saving A longer term approach to tax minimisation is tax saving where the
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
benefits are more effective and ongoing. Some of the common strategies for tax saving include: • Income splitting – sharing income among as many individuals as possible (including kids) • Utilising entities or structures or individuals with lower tax rates • Timing of sale of assets likely to yield a capital gain or realise a capital loss • Capital gains tax concessions available only to small business. These are general comments only and not intended to be advice. All businesses are different with varying tax rates, cash-flow priorities and debt structure, therefore some of these strategies may not be suitable to all. It is imperative that businesses consult with their accountant in all aspects of tax planning. It’s also important to get started sooner rather than later. The sooner you start to plan the better the results will be.
Andrew Sykes is a partner at RSM Bird Cameron. For information on business improvements, contact the experienced team at RSM Bird Cameron, 103-105 Northbourne Avenue Canberra, T.6247 5988. www.rsmi.com.au
B2B in Canberra | March 2010
Do your due diligence By Phil Butler
Inspiring small business to take the next step
hat is your reaction when you receive a call inviting you to common attitudes and approaches to the organisation, including its vision, strategy and risk appetite. This will also give you an idea as to join a board? Excited, flattered and enthusiastic would be the culture of the board and the organisation the normal reactions. However before you accept the offer too quickly make sure you ask some important questions. 5. Why does the board need a new director and what are they looking The Australian offor?Company Directors You should remember however, that directorships carry seriousInstitute liabiliA good board has a well thought out succession plan and clear ties and responsibilities, so it is critical to (AICD) do your due diligence prior to expectations of the type offor contribution they are seeking from a is Australia’s membership institute formally accepting a directorship. new director. directors delivering knowledge and continuing If you are thinking of joining, or are invited to join a board, here are a few 6. What can you contribute and do you have the capacity? Honestly field of directorship. assess your skills and ability to effectively contribute. Make sure you things to consider and questions to ask aslearning part of yourin duethe diligence. understand what time commitment and other demands may be 1. Do some research. Find out what you can about the organisation placed on you. Laura more information, contact and then talk to the Chair and listen toFor how he/she explains the If you do your homework, and remain organisation – it will not only give you Tierney a picture of theon sort 1300 of 764 633 or visit the engaged and vigilant while on the board, environment you are joining. It will also give you and idea of whether website at companydirectors.com.au you should have a rewarding experience as you think you will enjoy this style of organisation. a director. 2. Investigate the financial position. Request a copy of the last two financial reports and review them for their comprehensiveness. Make sure you can understand the financials. You need to know upfront whether you are facing a potential solvency problem. 3. Understand what legal and regulatory environments does the organisation operate in? You need to know if there are any major litigation or unusual actions pending. Phil Butler is state manager of the Australian Institute of 4. Find out about the board. You should meet face-to-face with at Company Directors’ ACT Division. For more information least the Chair, CEO and two or three directors to ensure you share about AICD 's course programs and events, call 6248 5954.
Training and development – it’s personal By Jerome de Rose
evelopment for your career won’t just help your job prospects but also your personal growth. Expanding your skills and knowledge about your own industry or business area will help keep you in-front – which is not only good for your customers or your department but also your own self esteem. There are many ways to develop yourself. You could take a personal development course which impacts how you work with other people, or gives insights into how you or your colleagues operate at work. Courses that help stimulate creativity, such as life drawing or visual art, give your right brain a boost, strengthening your abilities to solve problems and think laterally. Although you may not consider art to be related to your job, the potential benefits may surprise and enrich your work environment. Alternatively, you could focus on learning and development directly related to your job, which can increase your sense of being in control of your career, update you on new technology and give you fresh industry perspectives. Areas of study, such as business, management, accounting or marketing, can add valuable skill sets, recognise your current skills and update your knowledge of current business theory. This could add many dollars to your business’s bottom line. Sharon Button, a manager in the public service, elected to study a Diploma of Business to help her feel confident about her new management role. “It gave me the skills and confidence I needed,” she said. Her experience,
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
both at work and study, was so positive that she went on to do a postgraduate management qualification at the Canberra Institute of Technology, which is helping her as she moves into higher levels of management. Sharon, like many others, learned that getting formal qualifications helped to not only do her job better but offered further opportunities to go higher in her career. And since many business principles are evolving over time, especially during an economic downturn, learning the latest trends and strategies is important for any business or department to stay on top. Even to get more efficient use and benefit from software upgrades it is worth retraining staff at the time of the upgrade, especially when, for example, Office 2007 was so radically different to Office 2003. Whatever development you decide on, personal or professional, big or small, it will make a positive contribution to both your work and personal life.
Jerome de Rose is the director of the CIT Centre for Business. Call 6207 3542 to find out how CIT can work with your organisation to up-skill your staff. http://www.cit.act.edu.au
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ACT Chief Minister
ACT Opposition Leader
he ACT Government kicked off the business year on February 3 with a high-level Skills Roundtable, drawing together our city's top business, education and training thinkers and policy-makers. The purpose of the roundtable was to seek views on emerging challenges and check that the directions that have been steered by the Government and industry in the 18 months since the ACT Skills Commission’s seminal report to government are still valid. The Government responded to the Skills Commission report with more than $50 million in dedicated funding. But matching workforce demand with supply is an area in which things can shift quickly. Certain industries experience cyclic peaks and troughs, making forward planning quite complex, while for other industries, the need for ever more skilled workers will grow inexorably, with no end in sight. Last year I met informally with the former members of the Skills Commission to seek their views on the impact the Global Financial Crisis had had on our city’s skill shortage. It was clear that a number of challenges had developed or heightened since the Commission reported in April 2008 — some, but not all, as a consequence of the financial crisis. I gave an undertaking that I would convene a broad-based roundtable early in the new year to seek advice and guidance on a way forward. There was a consensus among most of those at the February 3 roundtable that there was a need for some kind of formal structure or body to respond to emerging challenges and ensure that all of us — employers, trainers, educators, unions and policy-makers — can respond swiftly when circumstances require concerted action. ACT Government officials are currently working on some options for achieving this, and I will be writing to all roundtable participants soon with some ideas. Addressing our skills needs will be one of the Government’s biggest priorities in the months and years ahead. Access Economics has estimated that the ACT's skills needs will double over the next three years. And we will all need to work together to find ways to meet this demand. Education and training are critical, but they are not the only ingredients to success. For our particular community, where participation rates are already very high, one of the big challenges will be to encourage workers to remain actively engaged in the workforce beyond the traditional retirement age. Another challenge will be to attract quality workers to our town an area in which we are already achieving considerable success through our Skilled and Business Migration Program, in conjunction with the Live in Canberra campaign. These efforts have helped boost our population by 1.6% in the year ended 30 June 2009 and have seen 167 skilled migrants with occupations in demand make new homes in our city in the same year, with an estimated $7.5 million benefit to the local economy. It is anticipated that 2009-10 will see an even higher intake, with 138 skilled migrants arriving since July 2009. I look forward to keeping readers of B2B informed in the months to come as we collectively tackle the challenges of meeting the demand for skilled labour.
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
ne of the main tasks of the Opposition is to scrutinise the government, to keep the incumbents accountable to the community, to expose faults where we find them and oppose flaws in policies before they become problems in the community. From major projects such as the misplaced power station, the GDE gridlock or the quarter of a billion dollar cost blow-out of the Cotter Dam – they all point to the inherent importance of diligent scrutiny for effective governance. It is also an important role for the alternative government to develop, over their term in Opposition, a carefully thought through, thoroughly tested and well costed set of alternative policies. That is the work that the Canberra Liberals are now undertaking. We do not pretend that this a short-term project. Nor do we propose to conduct this process on anything other than our own timetable, but we are doing the hard work on this right now. Already in 2010, two important elements of this program have been put forward to the public and to industry. One of those is the in-depth strategic overview ‘The State of our Health’. This takes a strategic view of the current health system in the ACT, which is undeniably one of the poorest performing in the country, despite us spending more per capita than any other jurisdiction in the country. My Shadow Minister for Health, Jeremy Hanson, will be conducting a range of forums on key areas that seeks input not from bureaucrats but from people at the coal-face, real people talking about real problems and seeking real solutions. Another major reform project that we are currently working on is an overhaul of infrastructure in Canberra, especially in the areas of forward planning and proper procurement. Of particular importance to me is the establishment of a territory wide, long term infrastructure plan. Most people would be shocked to discover that, to date, the ACT Labor Government have not actually developed an integrated infrastructure plan. It is such an obvious, vital aspect that the very fact that such a plan does not yet exist is a damning indictment on the short-sightedness of the current government. As they say, a failure to plan is a plan to fail. Worse still, the Chief Minister has said such a plan would be delivered, but as yet nothing has eventuated. I recently released the ‘Infrastructure Canberra’ Bill as a part of the solution. The Bill would establish an infrastructure plan and an independent Commissioner who can advise governments – of all political persuasions – what is in the best interests of the Territory, not just what is in the interests of the government of the day. This opinion is backed by an expert board and requires regular reports to the Assembly to prevent problems when they are solvable, rather than the ‘hide and hope’ approach that has caused so many difficulties. We have circulated this to industry groups and received much positive feedback, but we always welcome more. The years leading to the next election will be very busy and exciting ones for the Canberra Liberals. While we will continue with constant scrutiny on the government we will also, carefully and steadily, be doing the hard work required to create a better alternative view for policy and delivery of services for the ACT in the future.
IT’S YOUR CHANCE TO TELL THE ACT DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING WHERE IT SHOULD SPEND ITS TRAINING DOLLARS IN 2011.
MAkE SURE YOUR INDUSTRY IS HEARD!
ing consultations The ACT Department of Education and Training is holding broad-reach training priorities will with industry sectors as part of its efforts to determine what the ACT’s be in 2011 and where funding should be allocated. nment funding totalling Each year, the Department administers ACT and Australian Gover and training (VET) and more than $23 million for training within the vocational education which industry community education sectors in the ACT. Work is underway to assess sectors will receive priority funding in 2011. organisation, public sector It is your chance as an employer, business group, registered training future training needs. or community services organisation to have your say about the ACT’s
Here are some of the consultation dates: Date
2 March 4 March 11 March 15 March 16 March 22 March 23 March 30 March
Personal Services Aeroskills Asset Maintenance & Property Security Automotive Civil Construction Metals & Engineering Water/ Public Safety Food Processing/ Seafood Funeral Services Health (Nursing) Health (Allied Health and Health Support Services)
8 April 12 April 15 April 29 April
Retail Services Business Services
Can’t see your industry? Visit www.det.act.gov.au to find out when and where the consultation forums are being held. Call 6205 7052 or email email@example.com for more information.
e-Government emerging in Canberra e-Government is the process of using technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government policy development and service delivery for the benefit of clients, whether business or the public.
n September last year the Australian e-Government Technology Cluster was launched in the ACT. The Cluster is a partnership between the National ICT Australia Limited (NICTA), the ACT Government, several major international companies, innovative ACT companies and other research organisations. This model is designed to encourage the major multinational and national corporations to become involved in an environment which enables partnerships with already capable ACT companies. The ACT Government is providing sponsorship of $150,000 to help establish the Cluster in 2009-10, with a commitment for a further $100,000 per annum through to 2011-12. NICTA is Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence and the largest organisation in Australia dedicated to ICT research. It drives innovation through high quality research, research training and technology transfer. There is a unique opportunity presented by NICTA’s e-Government research here in Canberra, which has the potential to make us the e-Government centre of the country and the region, especially given the machinery of Federal Government within our boundaries. So what will the e-Government Cluster do? The intent is that partnerships are formed between multinational corporations, medium and small businesses in the ICT space, resulting in opportunities for Canberrabased SME businesses to share in the development, demonstration and ultimately sales of e Government solutions especially in the Federal sphere. NICTA's targeted research in key areas of government service delivery is creating new technologies to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, agility, and responsiveness of agencies' business processes and IT systems. The value of these improvements extends beyond the e-enabled agencies, and delivers social and economic benefits to a wider community of other government portfolios and jurisdictions, to private citizens, and to corporate users and customers of government.
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
Governments around the world recognise that they must embrace technology in their systems and business processes in order to meet the increasing expectations of the community, as well as to reduce costs. The e-Government Cluster places the ACT at the vanguard of such moves. NICTA has a strong track record in e-Government research and has been working for some time with a number of government agencies in Canberra to help improve the performance of IT systems and processes. These include the Departments of Finance, Innovation, Health and Ageing, the Australian Research Council and IP Australia. The ACT Government’s involvement and agreement to sponsor the Cluster seeks to maximise e-Government outcomes for all stakeholders in the ACT. NICTA Project Leader Jon Gray says there is growing awareness that advanced ICT is transforming the way in which government and business services are delivered. “Internationally, in leading economies, it is commonly recognised that around 40 per cent of productivity growth can be attributed to the use of advanced ICT. The e-Government technology Cluster initiative will help increase efficiency and position Australia more competitively,” he said. “We are most grateful to the ACT Government for its support of the Cluster. We are confident that, with this support, we can now make a significant contribution to e-Government practice in Australia. And
that will mean significant benefits for the ACT ICT sector,” he said. Already several ACT companies have expressed interest in the Cluster, some with prior experience of working with multinational and national companies. Results are already in Last December saw an ACT-based SME involved in the first demonstration of NICTA’s “OpinionWatch” technology. “OpinionWatch” is WEB2.0 and GOV2.0 (Department of Finance and Deregulation led initiative) in action. It provides a near realtime barometer of opinion continually available on line – effectively an advance knowledge management system (see graphic). It is a working prototype that demonstrates the application of NICTA’s document processing technologies to a specific e Government problem. The e-Government Cluster looks to developing more of these initiatives in the next five years when the Cluster itself will become an incorporated entity managed by NICTA.
Act WORK Safety commissioner
Preventing and responding to workplace bullying Mark McCabe ACT Work Safety Commissioner
Bullying is repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to the health and safety of those workers. It can be perpetrated by an individual or a group.
s well as creating a risk to health and safety, bullying can impact an organisation through reduced productivity, staff turnover and legal costs. 'Mobbing' is a term sometimes used to describe bullying behaviour where the perpetrator is a group of people rather than an individual. 'Unreasonable behaviour' is behaviour that is offensive, humiliating, degrading or threatening. Under the Work Safety Act 2008, employers are obliged to take all reasonably practicable steps to manage health and safety risks in their workplaces. Bullying is one such health and safety risk. Failure to do so could constitute a breach of the Act and could have serious repercussions, not just for those bullying or being bullied, but for the organisation as a whole. The following are a number of actions employers should take to prevent bullying or harassment occurring in their workplaces. Follow the Four Step Process (outlined in ourbooklet Recognising and Managing the Risks of Workplace Bullying) to identify, assess and 'control' the factors which contribute to workplace bullying. Inform workers about bullying and harassment, what it is, and why it is not accepted as well as what action will be taken against those who do it – our workplace bullying awareness training is just one way of achieving this. Adopt a Code of Ethics or set of Values for your organisation which make clear what sorts of behaviour are acceptable or valued, as well as those which are not. Develop a bullying policy and procedure to address workplace bullying in your workplace – ensure that the policy is developed in consultation with your workers – see our booklet, Developing a Complete Complaint Resolution Process to address Workplace Bullying, which outlines a process with three components:
1. Personal Options for responding to perceived bullying 2. Informal Complaint Process 3. Formal Investigation Process for more serious matters or those not resolved through 1 or 2. 'Mobbing' is a term sometimes The booklet also provides a sample policy and procedures. used to describe bullying behaviour • Make sure that your bullying where the perpetrator is a group policies and procedures adhere to principles of of people rather than an individual. 'natural justice' . • Take prompt and impartial 'Unreasonable behaviour' is action to resolve any situations which may be behaviour that is offensive, perceived as workplace humiliating, degrading or threatening. bullying or harassment. • Provide access to external investigation and/or mediation when management may be perceived not to be partial, or to ensure independence, impartiality and objectivity. • Ensure there is follow-through on such action – both bullies and workers will quickly recognise threats to take strong action which are not backed up by strong action when appropriate. • Provide training, particularly for supervisors and ACT Work Safety Commissioner managers. P.O. Box 158 Canberra City ACT 2601 • Provide responsible, mature supervision of T: 6205 0333 workers to ensure inappropriate behaviour is not F: 6205 0168 tolerated (e.g. highly demanding work, a culture E: firstname.lastname@example.org that may encourage workplace bullying, a lack of For health and safety support or empathy for victims, workers not being information and guidance clear about what their role is or poor workplace www.worksafety.act.gov.au communication). Refer to our guidance at www.worksafety.act.gov. au/bullying for more information.
www.safetyforum.org.au www.safeworkactawards.com.au www.actsafetyshow.com.au B2B in Canberra | March 2010
Act and region chamber of commerce & industry
Linking schools and businesses Trevar Chilver. Director of Employment, Education & Training ACT & Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
School is an entirely unique experience in life. While it may be a common experience for the vast majority of Australians, it is nonetheless a culture and an experience that is not replicated in any other experience we have in life, least of all our working lives.
he most palpable evidence of this is the fact that you occasionally hear someone complaining that they’re being treated 'like school children'! This complaint seems to imply that there is something fundamentally wrong with being treated the way we were treated at school, which, as a parent of school-age children, is a worrying thought. I don’t think people who make such complaints are actuIn a nutshell, adolescents instinctively want to ally trying to imply understand the world they live in, and if they that schools mistreat students, but suspect that what they’re being taught has what they’re usually to say is that nothing to do with that world, they will turn their trying they want to be attention to something more clearly connected. treated like adults. Ironically, school students – high school students especially – want exactly the same thing. Their primary objective is to learn how to be an adult; what will be expected of them and what freedoms they will enjoy as a result of meeting those expectations. In a nutshell, adolescents instinctively want to understand the world they live in, and if they suspect that what they’re being taught has nothing to do with that world, they will turn their attention to something more clearly connected. Corporate Sponsors Recognising this, teachers have, for decades now, ACTEWAGL, 104.7 / Mix made great efforts to link the principles they’re teaching 106.3, Prime TV, The to real-world applications. Mathematical principles apCanberra Times, The plied to construction, for instance; principles of gramGood Guys Tuggeranong, mar applied to writing; the study of history applied to Duesburys Nexia, Synapse current events. It is in linking teaching to the world outWorldwide, B2B in Canberra. side the classroom that teachers get the traction they Associates and Affiliates need to engage young people in learning. Retail Traders Association, While teachers work hard to devise learning expeAustralian Industry riences that are at once engaging and enriching, they Defence Network often find it difficult to seek the support they need to Foundation Member engage their students in learning that links meaningfully Australian Chamber of into the real world. Commerce & Industry The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) 36
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
gave special attention to this fact when forming its National Partnership Agreement on Youth Attainment and Transitions. As part of this agreement, a network of partnership brokers is being established, covering the entire country, whose role will be to facilitate the establishment of partnerships between industry and schools, to provide support to entire communities, including teachers, employers, youth workers and of course parents, whose role is to help young people make successful transitions from school into further education and training, and into the workforce. The ACT & Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry is delivering this initiative in the ACT with the support of the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and the ACT Department of Education and Training (DET). Our goal is to find synergies and facilitate partnerships to support both business and schools, with the purpose of helping young people in the ACT make successful transitions from school to work. We are establishing the Ready program not only to provide schools with the support they need, but also to guide businesses in connecting with schools. Four staff are now on board, ready to work with teachers, business leaders, government and community groups to link organisations who work with young people in the hope that young people will take full advantage of the support offered to them. The old adage that it takes a village to raise a child is more meaningful than ever in the context of these changes, and while schools are often expected to bear the brunt of the work, this is one area that they simply can’t address on their own. For young people to make successful transitions through education and training and into the workforce, the entire community is needed to support them. If you would like to discuss how this initiative can help your organisation, please contact our Communications Officer, Peter Ricardo on 02 6283 5231 or email@example.com.
Chamber of Women in Busiiness
Philanthropy is good for business women A2b
Jean McIntyre, President Chamber of Women in Business
CHAMBER OF WOMEN IN BUSINESS
Jean McIntyre talks about how philanthropy can be a good strategy for women in business to raise their profile and develop customer loyalty.
he consumers and businesses (and even the Government) that women in business serve are increasingly concerned about issues such as sustainability, health and wellbeing in the community and community relationships. As part of that community business women are also often personally interested in such issues. This means two things for business women: First, we feel as if we want to help. Second, our customers like it when we help others. Helping out the community through giving cash, goods and services or through sponsoring an event is a great way for women in business to show their customers and staff that they support the community they live in. Studies show that consumers often make decisions on products they purchase and people choose to work in a business based on the company’s support of the community – compared with that of their competitors. It’s not that simple though. Business women need to be clear about which community organisations are going to be the most highly valued by their customers and which offer the best opportunity to display the business’s social credentials to customers. CWB and other groups should understand that to get help from businesses they need to be clear about two things: first – exactly what do they want from the business and what will it be used for. This helps the business decide whether this will be appealing to its market and to get a sense of how useful its contribution will be. Second – what opportunities can the organisation offer the business to promote itself to the members and supporters? This helps the business to compare the benefits of sponsorship with other more traditional promotional methods. At the end of the day – giving to community groups can be a great promotional opportunity for businesses that benefits everyone involved. CWB and our colleagues in other organisations are always grateful to the businesses that help us out. Purple Tick Profile – Robbo’s Harley Davidson Purple Tick rewards businesses that deliver the kind of service that women want. This month CWB profiles Purple Tick business owner – Kris Macauley of Robbo’s Harley Davidson. CWB: How important are women customers as a group to your business?
Robbos: Women are an important source of new business as riders but they also make or influence buying decisions. So yes they are a very important group to our business. CWB: Has Purple Tick changed your approach to delivering service to women? Robbos: It has helped us to develop a more “female friendly” approach in recognising the needs of nursing mothers and of wives, girlfriends and friends of male buyers. In the past we tended to concentrate more on female buyers and female partners of male buyers. The Purple Tick enables us to widen our focus to include families. CWB: What has been the reaction of your staff to being a Purple Tick business? Robbos: Staff have always worked at making women welcome, the café, cleanliness of showroom, restrooms, inclusion of women in financial conversations, merchandise and now baby change facilities. Staff are frequents speakers at “Ladies Garage Nights” which is a networking evening Kris Macauley of Robbo’s designed for women Harley Davidson. who may be interested in the sport of motorcycling. The evenings are very popular and all ladies are invited regardless of the brand they ride. CWB: What do you envisage will be the greatest benefit your business will receive from being a Purple Tick business? Robbos: Acceptance that women ride too, our customers are ‘normal’ they work in the public service, offices, are professionals and may live next door. It is extremely important to us to value our customers and women are our greatest growth area. We see the Purple Tick as a positive move towards a better image. CWB: What advice would you give to other businesses about getting involved with Purple Tick? Robbos: Get involved, think of new ways to appeal to customers and just make your business a better place to do business.
CWB Next Event CWB Events are held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. Tues 16th March – ‘The Executive Brain’ The Brassey Hotel Members $25, Guests $35 Register: www.cwb.org.au For more information: Chamber of Women in Business T 6282 6255 F 6282 7191 E firstname.lastname@example.org www.cwb.org.au B2B in Canberra | March 2010
Canberra business council
Skills shortages threaten our prosperity By Chris Faulks Chief Executive Officer, Canberra Business Council Upcoming Events Canberra Times Business Series Guest Speaker: Harold Mitchell, Mitchell Communication Group The Commonwealth Club Cost: $77 Members $99 NonMembers $700 Table of 10 12.30pm – 2.00pm Thursday 25 March 2010
Canberra Times Business Series Guest Speaker: Robyn Archer Hyatt Hotel Cost: $77 Members $99 NonMembers $700 Table of 10 12.30pm – 2.00pm Thursday 22 April 2010
ACT Budget Breakfast Guest Speaker: Katy Gallagher MLA National Press Club Cost: $65 Members $75 Non-Members $600 Table of 10 7.30am – 9.00am Wednesday 5 May 2010 To register all events www.canberrabusinesscouncil. com.au
Principal Members Actew Corporation, ActewAGL, Bank West, Bega Cheese, Bluestar Printing Group, Clayton Utz, Cre8ive, Ernst & Young, Elite, eWay, Medibank Health Solutions, Hindmarsh, Holistech, KPMG, MBA, National Australia Bank, National Museum of Australia, NEC Australia, Staging Connections, The Village Building Co, Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems Australia
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
With the impact of the global downturn steadily unwinding in the ACT, our economy is beginning to gain strength again and will soon return to its previous vigour.
owever as a relatively small jurisdiction with a population of around 350,000 people, the Territory's prosperity hinges almost entirely on the efforts of skilled workers - they are the lifeblood of the ACT. Whether in business or in government, these skilled workers are what makes Canberra the best example of a successful knowledge-based economy in Australia, with the highest concentration of knowledgebased activity in the country as ranked by the National Institute for Economic and Industry Research. Canberra also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Australia which, combined with an ever-expanding selection of world-class innovative businesses, means that the Territory has an insatiable appetite for highly skilled workers across various industries, particularly information technology. Recognising the importance of this issue, the ACT Government acted upon calls from Canberra Business Council and several other prominent business and government organisations to establish the ACT Skills Commission in late 2006. The Commission's role was to advise the government on skills issues and the strategies required to meet the ACT's immediate and long term skills needs. After much deliberation, the Skills Commission released its final report in April 2008, providing a range of practical recommendations. Unfortunately not long afterwards, the economic downturn hit the ACT and, quite understandably, the concept of a shortage of skills was not the foremost problem in the minds of many businesses, nor government. Throughout 2009 Canberra Business Council continued to hold discussions with the ACT Government on this issue, but little progress could be made in the poor economic climate. This year, with the crisis over and a resurgence in the economy, the ACT Government acted swiftly to convene a Skills Roundtable in early February. Canberra Business Council was well-represented at the Round Table with seven of our Board members and Task Force chairs present along with a range of other business and government representatives. The focus of the Roundtable was to continue the work of the ACT Skills Commission, addressing new employment challenges resulting from the aftermath of the financial crisis, and emerging issues of relevance, such as recent
federal changes to the skilled migration laws. Those at the Roundtable overwhelmingly recognised the high priority which this issue must take. What types of skills does the ACT need? According to the latest ACT Government Skills in Demand List, information & communication technology, health and engineering professionals are in high demand. This is particularly true for positions at senior levels and/or requiring specialist skills. The Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Vacancy Report also highlights that the managers, professionals, and clerical and administrative workers categories currently have the highest levels of vacancies in the ACT, with these three categories making up over half of the approximately 5,000 vacancies available in the Territory at the moment. Another issue to consider is the relatively unique employment environment we have in the ACT. With more than a third of our workforce employed by the public sector, the majority of these in the Federal Public Service, there is the ever-present risk that businesses could be starved of skilled workers, unable to compete with the higher salaries and better conditions which government offers. There is even the possibility that the Federal Government, unable to draw sufficient skills from the local workforce to replace its retiring public servants, will decide to relocate key government departments to other parts of Australia. Again this would be disastrous for our economy, given that much of the private sector activity in the ACT is reliant, directly or indirectly, on providing products and services to the public sector. Canberra Business Council recommended to Government last year that a body similar to the Skills Commission be re-established to coordinate the response to this critical issue. The reinstatement of such a body was also the strong recommendation from the Round Table. Given the importance of the skills shortage – it is generally regarded as the single most significant constraint on business growth – there is no more critical issue for business and the economy in the ACT. There are no easy answers, however business must work with the ACT and Federal Governments to address skills shortages if we are to secure the economic future of the ACT region.
Act exporters' network
Getting into the export game A2b
By Brent Juratowitch President, ACT Exporters' Network
There were some important take-home messages from the recent workshops held by the ACT Exporters' Network in partnership with Austrade and the Centre for Customs & Excise Studies.
n 10 and 24 February 2010 the ACT Exporters’ Network, in partnership with Austrade and the Centre for Customs & Excise Studies at the University of Canberra delivered 'Getting into Export' workshops for potential exporters and those new to export companies. The introductory workshops, catering to both product and service exporters were designed to provide management with an overview of export as well as some guidance and assistance regarding growing and consolidating export businesses. The number of topics covered during the halfhour workshops were numerous and varied from developing an export strategy and establishing export
According to one of the workshop’s presenters, Kevin Reilly from GTR Consulting, “an export strategy should form an essential component of a company’s business plan. It represents a blueprint for ongoing export success and growth.” pricing models to identifying the legal issues for exporters when engaging with distributors and cost-effective means of marketing and promoting products and services offshore. One of the important take home messages from the workshop was the importance of having an export strategy and accompanying action plan in place to ensure that growth is matched to the company’s capability and resources. According to one of the workshop’s presenters, Kevin Reilly from GTR Consulting, “an export strategy should form an essential component of a company’s business plan. It represents a blueprint for ongoing export success and growth.” Some of the more lively sessions happened to be
when we invited some of our successful ACT & Region exporters in to talk about their respective export models and journeys. Workshop participants heard from Kylie-Ann Petroni from Cackleberry Kids, Neil McGregor from Yarrh Wines, Harry Telfer from Yellow Edge and Danny Moulis from Moulis Legal on their specific export models for growth. According to Danny Moulis, “the choice of whether you partner with a local services organisation or whether you go solo and direct, depends on the services being exported, the customer’s requirements and the local laws”. The ACT Exporters’ Network along with its partner organisations will continue to work closely with workshop participants to assist them in engaging with the various export-related support programs and to leverage off of the experience and skills of those companies who are successfully exporting their goods and services to all parts of the globe. Benchmark your business with the 2010 EFIC Global Readiness index How has the global financial crisis changed the trends and outlook for exporting and investing offshore over the last 12 months? How ready are Australian businesses for the opportunities and challenges of today’s ever-changing international marketplace? In other words, what is their current state of ‘global readiness’? Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC), the Australian government’s export credit agency, is conducting its annual Global Readiness index (GRi). Now in its third year, the GRi is a wide-ranging study of the current destinations for Australian exporters and offshore investors, their motivations and the barriers they face in an increasingly globalised world. Take part in the EFIC online survey. It only takes around 10 minutes and closes on 31 March. Visit www. efic.gov.au/gri to complete the survey.
Upcoming Events The ACT Exporters’ Network Business Breakfast Series presents... The Great Debate The motion "Canberra is an ideal environment for the development of globally focused, knowledge-based companies" will be debated by exporters and industry specialists. CIT School of Hospitality, Level 2, Constitution Ave, Reid 7.15 for 7.30 – 9am Wednesday 17 March 2010
3rd Annual Export Leaders’ Luncheon The Export Leaders’ Luncheon is part of the 2010 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards and will showcase some of Australia’s most successful export leaders including 2009/10 Australian Export Heroes. CIT School of Hospitality, Level 2, Constitution Ave, Reid 12.15pm for 12.30 – 2pm Friday 30 April 2010
Breakfast with the Parliamentary Secretary for Trade the Hon Anthony Byrne MP The Hon. Anthony Byrne, Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and the Prime Minister’s Office will discuss his role in implementing export, business development and investment attraction programs. CIT School of Hospitality, Level 2, Constitution Ave, Reid 7.15 for 7.30 – 9am Thursday 27 May 2010
The ACT Exporters’ Network is proudly sponsored by the ACT Government, Canberra Business Council, the Centre for Customs & Excise and AusIndustry. B2B in Canberra | March 2010
THE UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA
The business of being a 'business-facing university' Professor John H Howard Pro Vice-Chancellor, Development, University of Canberra
The term ‘business-facing university’ is being widely adopted in Great Britain as a place maker to define a new type of emerging university – those that are business-like and have made a strategic decision to focus on working closely with the business sector.
For a businessfacing university, constant connectivity with business is key and that means establishing a revolving door philopsophy with a regular interchange of ideas, people, events and activities.
For further details about how your business can interact with the University, please contact Professor John H Howard at the University of Canberra on (02) 6201 5050.
March 2010 | B2B in Canberra
ities and regions with strong business oriented universities are proving to be the most resilient, the most innovative and the most able to address the complex issues required by business on a day to day basis. The University of Canberra has an important place in Canberra’s business community through its responsibility for educating students for successful professional careers. Graduates must leave the University not only ‘work ready’ but also equipped with the ‘softer’ skills of leadership, communication, and teamwork. Our staff are committed to the quest for new knowledge through quality research – research that contributes to the stock of useful knowledge that is available to all, as well as research that is relevant to business and the broader community. We are also committed to innovation – the application of new knowledge and ideas in addressing business problems and opportunities. Around the world there is growing expectation that universities will be partners in metropolitan and regional economic development strategies. It is well understood that universities make a significant contribution to the economic health of a region: as major employers and purchasers of goods and services; the income generated through export of education services; the licensing of technologies and creation of start-up companies based on research outputs; and the creation of an educated and talented workforce. Recent work by the OECD has pointed to the existence of ‘local talent pools’ as critical drivers of economic development. Business-facing universities partner and collaborate with the business community to supply advanced level skills in areas of need and support both employers and employees in their research, ongoing professional development, and broader innovation strategies. In addition, the University campus is a tremendous asset for the city and the region. A well utilised, open campus allows a university to exist at the heart of its community. We encourage the business community to engage with the University on campus. Over the past few months, the University has hosted a number of events in conjunction with the Lighthouse
Innovation Centre. We have also hosted a seminar by the Creative Industry Innovation Centre. The InnovationACT program, delivered in co-operation by students of both ANU and the University of Canberra, has held events at Bruce. The University is in regular discussion with business groups and organisations such as the Business Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the ACT Government Business and Industry Development agency, Regional Development Australia (ACT) and a range of industry specific groups. The University has a commitment to Work Integrated Learning (WIL) which involves business internships and participation in the development and delivery of professional courses and programs that produce the qualified graduates that industries seek – both now and in the future. The University is also undertaking a major invigoration of its Alumni program in order to better link graduates with the University. Many of University of Canberra graduates, whether from recent years or years gone past, have major roles within the Canberra and regional business community – and they can provide an important bridging function between the University and the business sector. We continue in our endeavours to raise business awareness of the University's capability and capacity and its strong desire to better link to this critical sector of the ACT economy. For a business-facing university, constant connectivity with business is key and that means establishing a revolving door philosophy with a regular interchange of ideas, people, events and activities. We all recognise that it is relatively easy to work with the corporate sector that has the infrastructure and the maturity to respond to higher education. We all know that the more challenging market is that of the small and medium sized enterprises – and of course this represents the bulk of the local business community. This is a challenge the University is responding to. The University of Canberra will continue in these endeavours to become a leading business-facing university and looks forward to the greater levels of interaction that this role brings, and the increasing economic outcomes to not only individual businesses, but to the economy as a whole.
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This excellent two and one half hour workshop is for business intenders and those who are in the early stages of their business plans. Dates for 2010: Wednesday 3rd February - Canberra. 9.30 am to 12.00 pm Wednesday 3rd March - Queanbeyan. 9.30 am to 12.00 pm Thursday 11th March - Yass. 6.00 pm to 8.30 pm Wednesday 7th April - Canberra. 9.30 am to 12.00 pm Wednesday 5th May - Queanbeyan. 9.30 am to 12.00 pm Wednesday 2nd June - Canberra. 9.30 am to 12.00 pm
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