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2 | BusinessTimes Frankston Peninsula | February 2011
BusinessTimes / ISSUE 8 / FEBRUARY 2011
P R O P E R T Y
S O L U T I O N S
Austal lands US combat ship contract
Invitation to Ted
Wide Open Opportunity
PERTH-based shipbuilder Austal Ltd will share a US combat ship contract with Lockheed Martin, each building 10 littoral combat ships (LCS) to be delivered between now and 2015, the US Navy announced early December. Austal’s initial contract is worth about $432 million with an option to build nine more vessels. The warships will be built at Austal’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, and result in the company more than doubling its workforce to 3800 employees. Back in August our stock market analyst Richard Campbell flagged Austal as a consideration for the long horizon investor, citing the contest with Lockheed Martin for the LCS contract as a defining point in the company’s long term prospects. In August Austal’s shares peaked at $2.82 then dipped to $2.36. When the billion-dollar contract was announced, Austal was trading at $3.53. February 10 the stock had slipped to $2.90, however Campbell’s main concern was ferreting out a durable growth story, like another couple of Aussie successes Cochlear or Computershare.
ONE of Frankston Council’s final decisions of 2010 was to seek an urgent meeting with Victorian premier Ted Baillieu and local members of parliament. Items for discussion would include the transit interchange, public safety, revitalization of the business centre, and the proposed aquatic centre.
Jobless rate down
Austral’s Littoral Combat Ship.
He nailed it when he said “a (contract) win will see Austal in the headlines, but in any event the longer term investor should take the broader view. Austal’s two operating LCS vessels have won rave reviews and the US army is after 12 of its own. Other navies are also interested. Civilian orders are running at $1.4 billion and cash stands at $93million. ... Not bad ingredients for long range growth.”
Australia’s unemployment rate remained at five per cent at the end of January. Victoria’s December jobless rate at 4.9 per cent was less than the national figure and down from 5.5 per cent in November. Full time jobs fell in January while part time jobs increased. Overall less hours were worked.
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February 2011 | Frankston Peninsula BusinessTimes | 3 80-88 South GippSland hwy, tooRadin FOR SALE by ExpRESSIONS OF INtERESt
Cash starting to flow the right way After three years of financial tremors, global markets are moving into a consolidation phase. The big trading blocs – Asia, Europe and the USA – are either growing strongly or beginning an expansion phase as hirings pick up and debt is retired. Some are now even forecasting four per cent growth in the US. This is the relief we need. In March last year Dun & Bradstreet reported that almost half of Australian firms were operating on negative cash-flow with banks unwilling to help out. This has reversed. The banks are now all smiles and handshakes. Our national cash flow is also improving rapidly. When iron ore is fetching $150 - $170 a ton, it is a far cry from the $55 to $60 of only four years ago. The gain in coal and copper prices is equally steep with the three big earners providing an avalanche of cash for the mining giants. Rio’s $14 billion profit had a Scrooge McDuck ring to it. Generally, balance sheets are in much better shape thanks to hefty rights issues and restrained dividends, but there is still a distinct mood of caution. China’s curbs on bank lending over the past six month plus the February interest rate rise has clipped the mining sector and seen the market look again at the conventional stories. Boral’s result seemed like hearing vinyl again. Boral, upbeat? That’s a golden oldie. But an underlying mood of caution prevails. Consumer confidence may have turned up, but it isn’t translating into standard retail sales. The high $A is luring
Richard Campbell* Stock Analyst
even the not so wealthy to foreign shores and of course on-line retailing is taking an edge of the remaining sales base. Myer’s profit guidance came as a shock. Myer is back where it was before immediately after the float and it is hard to think of compelling reasons to buy. Even the strong headline profits of the banks were not quite what they seemed. NAB’s 18 per cent lift and CBA’s 12 per cent owed a lot more to write-backs than to higher sales. To be picky NAB’s credit quality overall fell slightly as its UK banks had higher loan impairment and CBA’s core profit – total income less expenses – was up just two per cent. However, both lifted dividends and set the scene for a positive year for investors tired of rights issues and share purchase plans. Isn’t the money flow supposed to go the other way? In the case of BHP and Rio, the tide has certainly turned: Rio’s $5 billion share buy -back is value accretion on steroids. The CBA presentation also included
4 | BusinessTimes Frankston Peninsula | February 2011
Production of Mesoblast’s specialist adult stem cells. the news that stay-at-home CBA is now following ANZ into Asia. It put its toe in the water last year with investments in Vietnam and Indonesia, but now is opening branches in China. In fact, if there is an over-arching theme for the year, it seems to be a deepening of Australia’s integration into the region. Every second metals company now has a Chinese partner; the next stage will be Aus-Indian deals, certainly in coal, but increasingly in bio medical sector. India is now not only a global IT hub, it has some of the biggest manufacturing labs in the world. Local biotech is certainly worth study this year. Mesoblast’s amazing deal with Cephalon has captured market imagination – a new Cochlear may be emerging. Sirtex and Resmed did well all through the GFC and others like Nanosonics are emerging. It is waiting for an FDA decision on its probe steriliser. So a year of consolidation, cash-flow, dividends and possibly several rewarding take-overs, but looming overall is the issue of climate change and a carbon price. Big business is reluctantly supporting action after the severe Russian drought last year, China’s drought this year and the worst floods in our history. The crunch time is near: 2011 may be the year we join the dots. Disclaimer: The writer indirectly holds shares in Mesoblast. •Richard Campbell is Executive Director of Peninsula Capital Management, Tel. 9642 0545. email: email@example.com
Online and out there WHILE the federal government has successfully put off making a decision over adding GST to overseas online purchases below $1000, there has been no let up in the war of words by potential winners and losers. The Retail Coalition of retail heavyweights, including Myer, Gerry Harvey and David Jones, continues to warn of job losses. But Australian-based online retailer Kogan Technologies, which stands to lose customers if GST is added, reports sales growth and has spread its activities to the United Kingdom. Owner Rusian Kogan has called the big retailers’ bluffs, challenging them to public debates and welcoming the government’s Productivity Commission inquiry, which is not expected to hand down its findings until the third quarter of 2011. His company’s PR team is also busy releasing details about its customer base.
One of the latest news releases says analysis of 2.5 million visitors to the online store shows most shopping is done between 1-2pm, suggesting Australians log on “while at work, during or immediately following their lunch breaks”. Friday is the busiest day of the week and in the second half of 2010 traffic from mobile devices increased by 363 per cent over the previous six months, with iPhones and iPads accounting for over 70 per cent of mobile traffic. The most popular email provider was hotmail. com with 50 per cent of the store’s visitors using Internet Explorer. Firefox came second with 27 per cent, followed by Safari 11 per cent and Chrome 10 per cent. The analysis revealed some trivia: The five most popular names of online shoppers were John, Peter, David, Michael and Paul. Karen was the most popular female name.
Online and out there
NO matter where you spend the night on Tuesday 9 August, the federal government wants to know. The night has been earmarked for the next census of population and housing by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) – its five yearly snapshot of the number of people in Australia, their key characteristics and the dwellings in which they live. Foreign diplomats and their families are the only ones not required to be counted. Visitors to Australia are included in the census regardless of how long they have been in the country or how long they plan to stay. About 43,000 part time and casual workers will be hired to conduct the census. Applicants can register their interest at www.abs.gov.au/census.
WHILE the federal government has successfully put off making a decision over adding GST to overseas online purchases below $1000, there has been no let up in the war of words by potential winners and losers. The Retail Coalition of retail heavyweights, including Myer, Gerry Harvey and David Jones, continues to warn of job losses. But Australian-based online retailer Kogan Technologies, which stands to lose customers if GST is added, reports sales growth and has spread its activities to the United Kingdom. Owner Rusian Kogan has called the big retailers’ bluffs, challenging them to public debates and welcoming the government’s Productivity Commission inquiry, which is not expected to hand down its findings until the third quarter of 2011. His company’s PR team is also busy releasing details about its customer base. One of the latest news releases says analysis of 2.5 million visitors to the online store shows most shopping is done between 1-2pm, suggesting Australians log on “while at work, during or immediately following their lunch breaks”. Friday is the busiest day of the week and in the second half of 2010 and traffic from mobile devices increased by 363 per cent over the previous six months, with iPhones and iPads accounting for over 70 per cent of mobile traffic.
150th celebrations MORNINGTON, Hastings/Tyabb, Dromana and Rye are commemorating 150 years of gazetted history as townships over the next month. Dromana Primary School plans a heritage day and Back-to on the weekend of 11-12 March; and a time capsule buried by Hastings shire and HMAS Cerberus 25 years ago will be enearthed at Hastings civic centre. The capsule opening coincides with the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy.
Pragmatic Training founder and CEO Sean Farmer loves success stories, especially those where people have prospered despite adversity. His book Leading like Crazy - Journey of a Leader documents about 100 ideas and leadership “tools”. His responses to Bizzquiz... I dreamed of being ... A botanist. As a child I experimented to work out what makes a plant thrive. My first paid job was ... Mowing lawns, weeding, sweeping and calling bingo numbers at an aged care home for $25 a day. Our business planning entails... Master plans that set down outcomes and goals that flow into our budgets and cash flows. Tip for success ... Employ managers and senior staff who have a passion for the business, add value and have integrity. I am inspired by … Anyone that “hangs in there”. Anyone starting a business should ... Take their time. Think and plan before jumping in. I’ll know I’m successful when ... I already feel blessed... My parents always told me ... No good comes from ill-gotten gains. Don’t deal with crooks and don’t do a deal that is not satisfactory to the other party. I wish I had ... Invested in Google when it first listed. I wish I had not ... Dealt with people that do not understand the principle of reciprocation.
February 2011 | Frankston Peninsula BusinessTimes | 5
Quick growers TOTAL revenue of Australia’s 100 fastest-growing companies leapt 47 per cent in 2010 to a record $3.63 billion, according to BRW Of these, 82 per cent say they benefited from the financial crisis. BRW says that more than one-third of Fast 100 companies were founded within the past five years. Topping this year’s list is ASX-listed energy retailer Australian Power & Gas There are 70 newcomers to the Fast 100 of 2010 – nine of them climbing into the Top 10
AEROSPACE research delivered the biggest percentage increase in patents across 12 technologies last year, according to Thomas Reuters 2010 innovation report. The report covers major technology areas using the Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index(R) (DWPI(SM)) database Aerospace technology patents jumped 25 per cent from 2009 to 2010. The largest aerospace subsector increase year over year occurred in the field of space vehicles and satellite technology, which jumped 108 per cent. The three companies in this area were Japanese manufacturer Sharp, followed by Korean manufacturers LG and Samsung. Semiconductor innovation saw the largest drop in innovation activity across the 12 areas, falling nine per cent. Computers and peripherals tops the list of the most innovative technology areas with the highest volume of patent activity for second consecutive year, despite an overall decline from 2009. The computer technology area published 212,622 unique inventions in 2010. The study tracks unique inventions within the categories of aerospace, agrochemicals
Consumers twitchy Consumer sentiment fell in November, but is proving steadfast against the latest Reserve Bank interest rate rise, a survey shows. Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index fell by a seasonally-adjusted 5.3 per cent to 110.7 points during the month, from 118.3 points in the prior corresponding period. Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said he had expected a large fall in the index after the unexpected 25 basis point move in the official cash rate, along with Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s 45 basis point hike in its variable mortgage rate.
Open house for internet super fund MELBOURNE-based online self-managed super fund advisor e.superfund has launched a loan service enabling clients to borrow using their self- managed funds to invest in residential property. The online company is taking advantage of recent changes to superannuation laws giving SMSFs the ability to spread their Investments. In the past SMSFs wanting to invest in residential property needed to have the entire proceeds in cash, including all upfront costs such as stamp duty. Being
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Australians spend record dollars on kitchens and bathrooms Australians are demanding more luxurious kitchens and bathrooms, with a report from the Housing Industry Association predicting the value of K&B installations and renovations will hit a record $12.3 billion by 2011/12. The HIA Kitchens and Bathrooms Report highlights the amount of money Australians spend each year on new and renovated kitchens and bathroom and the state of industry activity. Kitchen industry In value terms, the kitchen industry was worth $6.9 billion in 2009/10, which represented a strong lift of 9.2 per cent on the previous year. There were 509,400 kitchens (new and renovated) installed by Australians in 2009/10 thatâ€™s an increase of 7.5 per cent on the previous year. The report predicts the value of kitchens will rise to $7.6 billion in 2011/12. Bathroom industry The bathroom industry also grew strongly last year. The report found it was worth $4.2 billion in 2009/10, which represents a 10.9 per cent increase on the previous year. The number of bathrooms installed (new and renovated) was 711,200 - an increase of 9.2 per cent on the previous year, said HIA chif economist Dr Harley Dale. â€œThere is likely to be a very moderate decline in bathroom installations in 2010/11, due to weakness in the new home market,â€? Dr Dale said. â€œThat having been said, we are still expecting a total of 704,600 installs this year and 705,200 installs in 2011/12.â€? The report predicts the total value of bathrooms will increase to $4.7 billion in 2011/12. Whatâ€™s hot and whatâ€™s not The report also included survey responses from hundreds of small to large businesses in the K&B industry, detailing the average cost of
Smaller lenders gain
new installations and the types of materials and appliances consumers are demanding in their kitchens and bathrooms. The survey reported the following trends in the types of materials and fittings consumers are opting for in their kitchens and bathrooms: Benchtops: Engineered and stone benchtops were most popular followed by solid surface benchtops and granite benchtops. There was a decline in use of stainless steel, concrete and timber benchtops. Door types: Two-pac polyurethane or colour painted doors, followed by low pressure laminate doors, were more popular in 2010. Glass doors and vinyl wrap/vacuum formed doors also increased in usage. On the way out, were roller shutter doors, natural timber doors, and timber veneer doors. Splashbacks: Glass and engineered stone splashbacks are in. Granite and tiled splashbacks are out. Perspex coloured splashbacks and acrylic splashbacks also declined in use. Tap ware: Budget tap ware and insinkerators are no longer in vouge. Over the past year, the fastest growth was in lever tap ware followed by multiple sinks and taps in bathrooms and premium tap ware. Sinks: Under-mount sinks continue to be the fastest growing sink, but there was also an increase in use for double-bowl sinks and square-form sinks. Water filtration systems are becoming much more popular. But on the way out are solid surface sinks, round bowl sinks, and single bowl sinks. Drawers: Soft closing drawers and deep and wide drawers for pots and plates are now hot. Opening door and drawer systems (included for the first time this year), and concealed garbage bin/disposal units are also popular. #ARROLL'OLDSMITHPDF
home finance seekers are increasingly turning to smaller lenders because they can often get a better deal, according to mortgage broker Loan Market. Loan Market boss Dean Rushton said loan lodgements with the major banks had fallen by eight per cent over the final three three months of last year. Rushton said that currently 60 per cent of loan applications made through Loan Market brokers were with the big four banks, but there had been a significant fall in loan traffic to the majors. â€œIt is clear that in a climate of rising interest rates that prospective mortgage holders are ... finding competitive offers from smaller lenders.
Naming rights WHILE trying to snare deals on the internet is the equivalent of casting a very wide net, there is at least one method that can bring lucrative results â€“ selling domain names. Online discounter Zoupon shelled out $100,000 for a new name, Deals.com.au, which managing director Jeremy Same said that he believes â€œis easier for users to remember, and better describes what the company doesâ€?.
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AN independent panel is hearing public submissions about Mornington’s proposed safe harbour/marina until 25 February. Mornington Peninsula shire refused to support Mornington Boat Haven Ltd’s redevelopment proposal last year after it attracted about 2000 public submissions. The state government appointed three-person panel hearing submissions in Mornington this month will also review the 2000 submissions. The panel will report on the environmental impact of the proposal and the rezoning and planning permit required. The final days of the hearings are 21, 22, 24 and 25 February at Mornington Council Chambers, starting at 9.30am.
Estimator blues IT was back to the drawing board for Frankston Council engineers when plans to cut the cost of a footpath by 30 per cent actually tripled in price to $69,000. The engineers believed money could be saved by using modified crushed rock instead of concrete (estimated cost $46,000). However, manually spreading the rock turned out to be impractical and the machine then called in to do the job could only handle 2.3 metre wide paths – the one being made in Brunel Rd, Seaford, was two metres wide.
Libs to fast track port VICTORIA’S new Liberal state government was quick off the mark in saying it would fast track plans to make Hastings a container port, but has yet to give details about time or cost, reports Keith Platt. Transport Minister Dennis Napthine last month said Hastings would become a “moderate sized working container port as soon as possible”. While not wanting to be “held to any specific 10 years” he expected Hastings to be handling up to two million containers by 2030, about 20 to 30 per cent of the state’s total. First step towards securing the port’s future will be to take its management away from the Port of Melbourne Corporation and give control to a Hastings port authority or corporation. Mr Napthine said this would happen some time this year. Under Labor, plans to develop Hastings as the state’s second major port had blown out to 2035, with pressure being applied to take the cheaper option of expanding Geelong. Mr Napthine has been careful to give assurances that environmental and social impacts will taken into consideration, but has not given any indication that there is anything that would stop the government’s plans for Hastings. He said its plans fit neatly with the federal government’s latest national port strategy and expects the cost – up to $11 billion on previous estimates - to be met by the public and private sectors. “Dedicated rail or truck shuttles” would take cargoes to inland ports such as that proposed by development group Salta Properties at Lyndhurst, south of Dandenong. The government’s intention to take Hastings away from the PoMC almost coincided with the announcement that Jeff Bazelmans would take over from Ralph Kenyon as CEO at Hastings. The PoMC-appointed Mr Bazelmans was previously
general manager environment of the controversial Port Phillip channel-deepening project. PoMC’s CEO Stephen Bradford said he had “no issues” with the government’s decision about Hastings “and will facilitate the handover when it happens”. “We deliberately excluded Hastings [from consideration when planning for predicted increases in container traffic] because the pace of getting it up and running would be too slow.” Mr Napthine in December told Parliament that Labor’s abolishment of the Port of Hastings Corporation had stymied opportunity for development of the port of Hastings. He said Labor had “fundamentally thumbed its nose at the opportunity to develop this beautiful, natural deepwater port”. The PoMC expects to increase its container throughput from about two million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) at the moment to eight million TEUs within the next 25 to 30 years”. Although the Liberal government accuses the former Labor government of going at a “snail’s pace” in Hastings, the Blue Wedges coalition of environmental organisations says Labor planned within 10 years to build three additional berths for cars and general cargo. “After that, (2020 -2035), major container facilities for international trade would cater for 3.8 million containers per annum and 640,000 cars with 3500 truck trips and 16 goods trains per day. By 2035 Hastings would be pumping out twice the current throughput of the Port of Melbourne, which already works 24/7,” its website says.
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New life for the Brotherhood
Kan Tan IV back on the leash after breaking lines as it was loaded aboard MV Transporter in Western Port.
Safety probe follows rig break MARINE Safety Victoria is investigating an incident in Western Port Bay which saw a 1700 tonne oil drilling rig break four steel lines as it was being loaded on to a transport vessel. The MV Transporter had been semisubmerged ready to take the 1700 tonne Kan Tan IV rig aboard when it swung with the tide. Steel lines between the vessel and the rig, which is also a semi-submersible, snapped. The 53,800 tonne Transporter dragged its anchor and was unable to get underway until it had achieved full buoyancy after de-ballasting. Tugs had to retrieve and re-anchor the Kan Tan. While neither vessel ran aground, or hit any other object, the failure of the procedure may change the way rigs are handled in Western Port. In this case, the operation was transferred to Port Phillip, causing bans on shipping as the 84
Brotherhood of Laurence settlement residents will have new homes when the 17.3 ha Carrum Downs site is redeveloped as 241 dwellings in four stages. Frankston City Council approved Lodden Mallee Housing Service’s redevelopment in early December. The settlement’s 1946 original chapel and a representative group of some of the more intact examples of the 1940s-50s fibro cement cottages will be retained Also remaining will be the community church, respite centre and maternal and child health care centre. The settlement was started in 1935.
Who’s planning now?
metre wide rig was firstly towed into the bay and then successfully shipped out aboard the Transporter. The British-based Safety and Sea magazine predicted the incident could spell the end of Western Port being used for the shipment of large rigs, although this is unlikely, according to Stephen Bradford, CEO of the Port of Melbourne Corporation which, for the time being at least, manages the Port of Hastings. While results of the formal inquiry are yet to be handed in, one informed source has told BusinessTimes that the nine hours it takes to de-ballast the Transporter plus the extra time needed to load the rig, far exceeded the six-hourly change of the tides. Port Phillip, although harder to access, does not suffer from the same strong tidal flows as Western Port.
AN RMIT study in December came to the conclusion everybody already knew – despite government intentions and policies, it is developers who guide Melbourn’e growth. The study targeted two big planning policy changes – Kennettt’s standardised Victorian Planning Provisions, ironing out planning differences between councils, and Bracks’ Melbourne 2030, designed to stall urban fringe development and increase density in existing suburbs. The study revealed that neither policy had any impact. In fact, McMansions still reign supreme on the urban fringes.
available only for PSTN lines and limited to 10 services per account. All Smart Biz plans on the same account are required to be charged the same monthly access fee. Each monthly access fee includes one mum contract term of 24 months and minimum total cost of $2376 applies. #Unlimited excludes international calls and calls to premium numbers. Commander Fair Use Policy applies. Full Terms & Conditions s Terms can be found at www.commander.com *
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February 2011 | Frankston Peninsula BusinessTimes | 9
COVER STORY Keith Brown shares his office with a cast of characters that would make a cartoonist’s dream come true.
COMPANY OF CHARACTERS Words/images: Keith Platt
EITH Brown runs a business with character. Many characters, actually. Familiar faces that, like the fabled Pied Piper, draw a crowd. In Brown’s case, a crowd equals business. Trace his Carrum Downs-based Showtime Attractions back and you get to the stage where the 14-year-old Brown ran away to the circus. At least that what it must have seemed like to his parents who had told him he could not leave school unless he had a job. Ever enterprising, the youngster and a mate knew the circus was in town and asked for jobs. They were taken on board immediately and, much to Brown’s parents’ surprise he left Adelaide for Perth a day later as part of the traveling troupe. His mate lasted six weeks, Brown, stayed for 20 years. In a way, he never left. He is still in the entertainment business. As with many circus workers Brown had multiple jobs – clown, animal trainer, marketing, and promotions. Skills that have helped bring Showtime to a prominent position in event management and production. Top of one of his many “to do” lists when visited by BusinessTimes is organising an Easter egg hunt a Mornington racecourse. Sounds simple? Not when Brown gets involved. There will be 500,000 eggs to give away to an expected crowd of 10,000. 10 | BusinessTimes Frankston Peninsula | February 2011
“We’re going back to old time family fun,” Brown says. Planning the event has been underway for 10 weeks. The venue suits – gardens, lawns, toilets – “everything ticks the box”. It will be a family day with appearances by Yogi Bear and Boo Boo (who are both now “hot” in the United States) and, it will also be a blueprint and taken national next year. Showtime organises events for others and itself. The Easter egg hunt is one of its own. The annual $10 million plus turnover is the result of 15 years’ entertaining people. It began when Brown and his wife Lucy – a choreographer and magician’s assistant in the circus – decided to hit the road on their own, jumping into a small van and driving long hours to provide fairy floss, face painting, being clowns and presenting other entertainment at school fetes, festivals, royal shows and shopping centres. “We were told no one was providing entertainment.” They ran the business with Lucy’s mother and brother from a bedroom in their house at Patterson Lakes while still working for a circus. “Demand got so heavy that we left the circus and brought in new concepts.” As Showtime moved steadily toward the big time, Lucy’s
Much of Showtime’s success can be attributed to the characters Showtime is licensed to use, like Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Yogi Bear, Tweety Bird and Shrek
brother bought out their mother and finally, three years ago, Brown took over the entire business which, he says, has since doubled its turnover. His brother-in-law remains on Showtime’s payroll as state manager in Queensland. “I’ve got a good team with 54 full time staff and offices in every state and New Zealand,” Brown says. “The expansion was on the cards. It’s always there if you are passionate and want to take risks.” The Browns live in Frankston, run major festivals for Frankston Council, and also put money back into the community through sponsoring several sports teams. But the local presence gives little indication of scope of Showtime’s work.
The basis for much of its success can be attributed to the characters Showtime is licensed to use, household names like Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Yogi Bear, Tweety Bird and Shrek. One observer sees these characters as “a licence to print money”. From Brown’s perspective they are the result of hard bargaining and presentations made to their owners, Warner Bros and Dreamworks. Brown says there is no business plan: “We’re happy where we are and can change if needed. We could double our business tomorrow if we needed to.” Such success obviously attracts attention and Brown says that he has had offers to sell. One offer came three years ago from overseas during the global financial crisis. “But would they have still been here tomorrow? We’re still passionate and the team is too and I know half the staff would have lost their jobs. “People rely on us for mortgagees and putting food on the table. There are subcontractors too, we use a lot locally. “The team is also inspirational. “You need to listen to the younger generation, and we’ve got a great range here, mature and young people. “Age doesn’t worry me, it’s what they can bring to the table.” February 2011 | Frankston Peninsula BusinessTimes | 11
Expert, Approachable, Responsiv
Carbon price: PRIME Minister Julia Gillard wants the controversial carbon price to begin 1 July next year, according to The Australian. The article said Ms Gillard insists that coal and electricity industries receive compensation, which is likely to cause a a fight with her minority government partner, The Greens. Ms Gillard was expected to present a plan for a fixed carbon price to operate from 1 July 1, 2012 three years when the regime will move to an emissions trading plan. The catch, according The Australian, is that Ms Gillard would insist on compensation for energy-intensive industries such as electricity generation and trade-exposed industries.
New business: CHILDREN as young as three can be taught simple life-saving procedures, according to two qualified peninsula nurses who this month launched a first aid and CPR training business. Technology: NXP Software showed Kristen Allison and Tania Hallisey will Mobile World Congress 2011 visitors “the use their teaching and training experience future of mobile multimedia”. The demonin their new enterprise, Above All strations at The Netherlands congress 11 Academy. February focused on new capabilities for The pair will teach first aid and CPR at mobiles such as fully-fledged HD video workplaces, homes, schools and day care editing on touchscreen devices, 3D media centres on the Mornington Peninsula and playback and audio “close-ups” (ensuring in metropolitan Melbourne. individual voices are clear on toits thepeople number of singleForvideo all legal services a Responding business and need recordings). NXP Software says it is working parent households, the nursing pair are with Google on multimediaEst. for Android offering the Little Angels Safety Program, 1954 through the Open Handset Alliance, and teaching children as young as three the shared some of its unique know-how at the recovery position, how and when to dial www.whitecleland.com.au congress. 000 and what to say to the operator. Meanwhile, mobile phone leader Nokia The main focus of Above All Academy has announced a broad strategic alliance will be the delivery of accredited and with Microsoft to develop mobile products. and safety training. Level 3, 454 Nepeannon-accredited Hwy Frankstonhealth 9783 2323 Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its Call Kristen, 0418517470, or Tania, principal smartphone strategy. 0400501219, for bookings. Level 8, 256 Queen Street, Melbourne 9602 4022 chief sounded upbeat about the longer-term prospects for the economy, highlighting the mining investment boom and strong terms of trade, keeping intact the central bank’s tightening bias.
Keeping real estate in the family
Interest rates: RESERVE Bank of Australia (RBA) governor Glenn Stevens says interest rates will probably stay on hold until late in the year. His assessment knocked more than half a cent off the Australian dollar and caused a rally in interbank bill futures. The central bank
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12 | BusinessTimes Frankston Peninsula | February 2011
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The Cloud explained
What if it worked the way it was meant to?
LATELY “The Cloud” has been the buzz word of Enterprise IT. Buzz words come and go, some concepts even stick, but it’s always difficult to put concepts in context when they appear to have been designed for and pitched at “The Enterprise”. Considering that 97 per cent of business in Australia is small business, it would make sense that there are innovations out there that can take this enterprise solution and apply it to meet the demands of small business. However, before diving in too deep, let’s take a look at the concept of “The Cloud” If we asked you to picture the internet in your mind, how would it turn out? It’s a strange thought isn’t it? Billions of blue cables? Strange black boxes with green flashing lights? How about a spider web? What about the computers? The fact that the internet has no single centre point, and doesn’t conform to a
If we asked you to picture the internet in your mind, how would it turn out? particular design standard makes it impossible to map, draw or audit. So instead we rely on a fairly basic assumption. Our PC is connected to a device that will allow us to send information to any other connected computer or server. How the information gets there or back we really don’t care about. The path that it takes is meaningless. This is where the word “Cloud” comes in to play. Put simply, the cloud connects everything. We don’t care what’s in the middle
or who owns it. We’re only interested in the fact that it works. So we choose to draw and picture the internet as a big cloud. So long as you’re connected to the cloud you can interact with anything that exists within it. So now we get the cloud! We imagine the mental picture conjured up has been erased by the flood of questions you’ve got regarding the possibilities or exactly how this fits in your scenario… and that’s why it’s such an exciting concept! There is no doubt that the most exciting part of this is that cloud technologies are rented. There are no expensive servers, complex networks or abominable technical support scenarios. And where does it translate to small business? Well… do you really need that server?
Computer problems excite us
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A DRIVING force is to do everything to answer your questions. It’s the questions and quirky implementations that really are the spice of our business. It’s the cloud that’s now providing us with a string of interesting scenarios, and it’s turning out to be nothing short of exciting for everyone concerned once its place and potential are realised. Probably the most interesting question and scenario that we would pose to businesses would be “do you really need that server?”. What if we could make the smart phone, laptop, IPAD and desktop PC just work? And what if we could do it by removing technology rather than adding it? The Cloud is about renting a tailor made suit rather than buying the fabric and sewing it youself. All you need to get started is a laptop and 3G internet connection. So let’s talk about simplifying it all, and who knows, most of those nagging issues may be thrown out with the clutter? Don’t get me wrong, servers still (and will always) have their place. What I’m suggesting is that we are no longer forced to offer a single solution to every scenario. It all gets just a tad exciting!
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February 2011 | Frankston Peninsula BusinessTimes | 13
Paying the parents
Small business finance
THE Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme introduced on 1 January may have put smiles to the faces of mums-to-be, but could be causing headaches for employers shouldering the associated administrative responsibilities. The PPL scheme is government funded and available to eligible working parents of children born or adopted on or after 1 January, 2011. It can be transferred to the other parent and is paid for up to 18 weeks at the National Minimum Wage – $569.90 a week before tax PPL can be taken any time within the first year after birth or adoption, however the parent must not have returned to work between the birth and taking the payment. Although PPL is a governmentfunded initiative, employers will be responsible for distributing the payments to their employees. Employers may opt to be an early adopter of the scheme and could have begun handling payments from 1 January. However, the government has allowed this role to be voluntary until 30 June, 2011, making time to make any necessary adjustments to payroll systems without having to make changes halfway through the financial year. From 1 July employers will be responsible for providing PPL to eligible employees. There are eligibility criteria.
PENINSULA Business Networking’s March event will be Finance for Small Business, presented by Michael Young, of National Australia Bank. PBN will meet on 8 March at Benito’s Restaurant, Mt Eliza, from 6.30pm to 8pm. Cost is $20 for members and $30 for non-members. Numbers are limited so please book. Finger food and drink on arrival. RSVP:email@example.com or call Kathryn, 0419 925 516
*Discuss the implications for your business with MBA Business Solutions, Mornington, Jason Beare or Dereen Wallace, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Country pub site for sale TOORADIN’S only pub is for sale along with an allotment suitable for a service station with truck wash and take-away food. The former Tooradin Hotel, on the Melbourne-bound side of South Gippsland Highway, is being offered with vacant possession. For sale are three large allotments zoned Business 1 with the old hotel and bottle shop on a corner site overlooking the bridge, township and picturesque boat harbour and tidal estuary. Selling agent Nichols Crowder say the hotel could certainly be resurrected.
The estuary at Tooradin.
“It’s the only one in town, and would benefit from accompanying residential units or a motel,” said Geoffrey Crowder. “These would be logical additions and there is strong demand for both. “An adjoining site with 105m frontage would be ideal for a service station. “These are great Investment opportunities, and the vendors will consider a deferred settlement of up to 12 months to allow time to get permits,” Crowder said. Details: Michael or Geoff Crowder, 9775 1535.
Extra step in insurance IT’S not enough in today’s business environment for brokers to merely make sure their clients’ insurances are up to date. Negotiation and administration of claims settlement should be all part of an insurance broker’s service, according to Pmh Insurance Brokers which started in Frankston in 1980. Pmh’s most senior broker Dean Pollard says he needs to be with his clients every step of the way, from purchasing appropriate insurance to helping achieve settlement of any claims. Pmh offers insurance for commercial, domestic and industrial businesses Pollard, a qualified practicing insurance broker, said that in today’s insurance market place the individual negotiating ability of representatives “is critical”. “Showing your company in the best possible light is a major factor in negotiating continuing premiums at competitive rates,” he said. “We do not represent any particular insurance company and because we deal with many insurers we can be the arbiter of the true premium for the risk”. Pmh Insurance Brokers, 372 Nepean Highway, Frankston. Tel. 9781 1044, m. 0414 557 158.
14 | BusinessTimes Frankston Peninsula | February 2011
FX help is here FOREIGN Exchange risk management can be beneficial for importers/ exporters, or businesses with large “one-off” currency exposures, says Mike McGill,(left) a new member of National Australia Bank’s regional business markets team. The business markets team offers advice and help on currency options, and the use of spot, value today, value tomorrow and forward exchange contracts. “The team specialises in financial risk management and services for clients with foreign exchange price exposure,” McGill said “Face-to-face client contact is integral to this service. Getting to know and understand each client’s circumstances enables team members to help manage FX risk, including ongoing assistance with clients’ changing needs, as markets and business conditions change.” McGill has more than seven years’ experience in FX risk management advising corporate and SME clients in Australia and the UK. “My focus is on assisting businesses in the peninsula area with understanding Foreign Exchange and managing the associated risk.” NAB offers help in understanding and managing Foreign Exchange: call 0459 810 773. Mike McGill has more than seven years’ experience in FX risk management in both Australia and the UK.
Transition to retirement Transition to retirement (TTR) strategies allow people who are 55 or over to access their superannuation while still working. The strategy involves restructuring the way your income is received so that you can increase your super savings, or reduce your working hours without affecting your day-to-day income, or both. lf you are not ready to wind back your hours just yet, then you can still use a TTR strategy to help supplement your income. ln short, TTR strategies may enable you to improve your financial position and lifestyle as you move towards retirement, without reducing your income. Who can benefit? A transition to retirement strategy may be suitable if: • You are aged over 55 and working; • You want to supplement your income; or
• You would like to boost your super savings and pay less tax. How does it work? A TTR strategy involves substituting your earned income with an income stream from a TTR pension. This can be done by sacrificing some of your salary to your super account; you can then roll some or all of your super savings into a TTR pension which will pay you a regular income. Doing this allows you to take advantage of certain tax rules which means you can end up paying less tax on your income. This, in turn, allows you to boost your income of super savings. How do I put a TTR strategy to work for me? While you could gain a number of tax and savings benefits by choosing a TTR strategy, it is important to speak to a financial adviser about your own personal circumstances and retirement goals.
There’s a chance you can reduce your hours, but maintain income Understanding and then taking advantage of a Transition to Retirement (TTR) strategy means you may be able to ease into retirement without affecting your day-to-day income. You could: • Reduce your working hours without reducing your income, or • Boost your super savings without reducing your hours, or • Supplement your after tax income, or • Possibly even a combination of two or all three of the above. ln particular, this strategy can provide substantial benefits to individuals or couples with over $IOO,OOO in their existing superannuation funds who are 55 or over and still working. The strategy benefits improve even more if you are over 60 and still working. Financial Services Partners have provided qualified financial advice and assistance to many people in our local area, including many who have put these strategies into practice for themselves. Crafting the optimal strategy for you requires professional advice and sophisticated modeling of potential outcomes. We can offer you a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with one of our qualified financial advisers to help you determine if you are on track to meet your retirement goals and if you can take advantage of this great strategy. By Mark Dunsford, Director, Fellow of AFA, Financial Services Partners, tel. 03 9788 5788.
Super-annoyed by negative returns? You can never get enough good advice. The advice you seek and implement today can make a significant difference to your superannuation and your ultimate retirement lifestyle. Your financial adviser can also help you make sense of the current market volatility. Take action now The team at Financial Services Partners Carrum Downs can help. They have already helped their clients protect their retirement savings and still stay invested. What’s more, they’ve recently won the Financial Services Partners 2008 Victorian State Award which recognises their solid business performance. They are the largest financial planning business on the Mornington Peninsula and have been advising clients for 25 years.
Mark Dunsford, Anthony Donnellan, Andrea Jenkins and David Williams invite you to make an obligation - free appointment to discuss your superannuation, your expectations and your retirement goals.
To make an appointment call 9788 5788 or visit www.fspvic.com We are located at 41 Lathams Road Carrum Downs Vic 3201
Authorised Representatives, Financial Services Partners Pty Ltd ABN 15 089 152 587 AFSL 237590.
February 2011 | Frankston Peninsual BusinessTimes | 15
Mornington Rotary art show THE long-running Mornington Rotary Arts Show opened at Mornington Community Arts Centre on Friday, 21 January: 1. Marg Harrison, of BusinessTimes, Steve Morell, Rotary arts show organiser: and Anita Hilet, of Galaxy Print and Design, a sponsor of the event. 2. Bernie Taylor, of The Grand Hotel, with Viginia and Charles Beckworth. 3. Keree Kilner (left) and Gayle Kidder, of Leading Edge Careers, with friend Dale.
Peninsula Business Network PENINSULA Business Network kicked off 2011 with a breakfast at Mornington Golf Club on 8 February. 1. David Cleary, Anita Broughill and Karen Sandry, of NAB Mornington; Christine Walsh, of Walsh Conveyancing, Somerville; Mike Barrett and Gaylene Hoskin-Barrett, New Life Hypnotherapy. 2. Laura Green, of Grendesign; Garry Ebbott, of Melbourne Office Solutions; Skye Price, business and investment attraction, Frankston City; Ashley Arnott, of CFO On-Call. 3. Leonie Harcourt, of Make My Blog; Kathryn Ebbott, of Digital Phones Direct; and Sue Garratt, of Port Phillip Training.
Consumer laws tighten CONSUMER protection laws were tightened on 1 January with new amendments, including new consumer guarantee provisions and unfair contract provisions. The Australian Consumer Law Amendments also introduce stricter guidelines on unsolicited consumer agreements and a national product safety regime. The changes consolidated other provisions intended to create general standards, including misleading and deceptive conduct, and unconscionable conduct provisions contained in pre-existing law. Unfair practices and fair trading conditions also have been incorporated into the national regime. Consumers The new laws generally protect consumers of goods and services. The ACL defines a
‘consumer’ as any person (or business) that buys any good or service up to the value of $40,000. The definition is extended to ‘consumers’ of a good or service valued at over $40,000 if the they are of a kind usually used for personal, domestic or household purposes. Also, a person who purchases a vehicle for use in transport of goods on public roads, irrespective of price, is also considered to be a consumer for the purposes. Impact on Business This national, state and territory law will affect your business if you: • sell, lease or hire goods (including second-hand goods) to consumers • provide services to consumers • make, put goods together or have your name on goods sold to consumers (manufacturers) • import goods. Key changes include: • suppliers and manufacturers must honour
16 | BusinessTimes Frankston Peninsula | February 2011
new guarantees that automatically apply to goods and services. These are called ‘consumer guarantees’ • new restrictions on door-to-door sales and other face-to-face marketing • new requirements for contracts, including information about ‘cooling off’ and bans on unfair contract terms • a national product safety law and enforcement system. Australia’s consumer protection agencies have new enforcement powers and there are new penalties for breaking the law. The Australian Consumer Law replaces previous Commonwealth, state and territory consumer protection legislation in fair trading acts. It is part of the Trade Practices Act 1974, which will be renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. * Discuss the implications for your business with Richard Goldsmith, 5975 7588.
Authors aim for net sales By Keith Platt
LEIGH Wilson knows all about stress in the workplace. If the experience of running and eventually having to close down his own small business did not teach him some lessons, being in charge of an emergency medical evacuation company in Afghanistan certainly did. An avid jogger, Wilson could only pound the streets of Kabul in company of armed bodyguards and even then, he was told that a sprint could attract a stray round fired in alarm. He quickly learned not to make sudden, unexpected moves. Counting out US$20,000 cash while watched by a crowd of people who have only momentarily put down their guns (the bank hands them back as customers leave) also made him make himself a promise “not to ever come to the bank without an armed escort”. Wilson spent two months in Afghanistan in mid-2010 relieving his son Marcus who needed a break from the constant pressure of living and working in a war zone. Leigh Wilson says the experience was mind boggling, far removed from the Mt Eliza house he shares with his partner Eva Torner and the professional worlds he inhabits as a structural engineer and “executive coach”. In the past year Wilson and Torner have each written and published books, both in hard copy and digital. But it is the internet where they are firmly placing their faith for financial reward. While the hard copies can be found in bookstores, they see the main profits as coming from net sales and spin-off appearances at webinars, Facebook contacts and blogs. Wilson and Torner are embracing the seemingly ever-evolving new world of technology. Computers in their home office bounce their live images across the world, participating in debates and gleaning information for their own use. Office shelves are lined with books – many in the self-help category – and
Partners in print: Eva Torner and Leigh Wilson have each written a book which they are promoting to the potential millions of readers populating the Facebook nation.
Wilson is just as quick to grab one for reference as he is to strike a keyboard to search the net. Wilson’s book Surviving financial meltdown and Torner’s From hormone hell to hormone heaven are semi-autobiographical, following a narrative of a personal problem and how it was solved. They want to present readers with advice and help that took them years to accumulate. Ironically, their self-help products are in turn a result of attending a “so you want to be an author”-style seminar. Yes, they did. While they chose the subject of their respective books, the step-by-step approach and deadlines were all part of a publishing package. Marketing has now begun, with Wilson and Torner eyeing Facebook as a “nation” of netizens in which they can work. “If it were a nation, it would be very large, with a population of about 500 million,” Wilson says.
“It’s based on social networking and provides opportunities through accumulated friends.” The networking comes by way of “friends” chatting about their books. Like gossip, the online words can spread fast and far. Comments act as testimonials. This “social proof” and “electronic benefit” has in the past led Wilson to buy the works of other authors. His own philosophy is to “over deliver every time” when contacted on the net “because its builds trust and relationships”. Torner’s book was the result of years spent trying to find a “cure” for the hormonal issues that were making life unbearable. “Doctors were no help and so I decided to find a way to heal myself. I began a journey. I was already into alternative health [therapies] and most books were by male doctors, all offering drugs or hysterectomies. wu 23
February 2011 | Frankston Peninsula BusinessTimes | 17
The business of getting arts to the people FRANKSTON Arts Centre manager Robin Batt says partnerships between business and the arts are like any relationship: the basis is trust and respect and there must be mutual benefit. She recalls “a wonderful” feeling arriving in Frankston 15 years ago with the job of steering and “polishing” what was seen as a jewel in the crown of the region’s arts facilities. “Within 12 months I had met the business leaders, the civic leaders and the arts mafia – a term which I use with massive respect. “The peninsula was prolific with artists, and the performing arts sector was understandably very nervous. “A lot of energy, hard work and passion had resulted in the arts centre being built, and they didn’t want to hand it over to just anyone. There was a real worry that the centre would not be available to them. “I think it took three years for them to gain confidence in myself and the team here.” Robin Batt has served on the executive for both the Victorian and Australian Association of Performing Arts Centres. “It’s a great way to give something back to the industry and opens your eyes to the politics in both tiers of government.” BusinessTimes asked Batt about business, professional relationships and the role of arts in the community Discuss the arts centre partnerships and beneficial relationships. Gone are the days when sponsorships were one-sided. There have been legislative changes and a recognition that sponsorships/ partnerships are two-way and have to be of mutual benefit. We have some fantastic partnerships that have developed over many years. Trust and respect is always the basis of these good partnerships, and this requires recognition of both parties about what each business is about. Often, these partnerships open up new networks and opportunities for us. The beauty of the arts is that it is generally driven by passion, so collectively you end up working with passionate people which is even more rewarding Discuss how your expectations when taking over have been realised; what has been done well, what could be done better.
ROBIN Batt oversees work on stage at Frankston.
From the start I worked hard to ensure the local companies dates were quarantined to ensure their seasons were not jeopardised. At times this was too hard and I had to weigh up the benefits for the community to opt for an international act or a local act – I don’t believe there have been too many disappointments. And the local companies have always been great to work with and have done some big bump-outs mid season to allow a large scale production in. Can you define/discuss the role you see unfolding for Frankston Arts Centre? Over the years the centre has progressed from theatre programming and being a facility for hire. We engaged an arts access officer and I think this was the starting point of moving beyond the walls of the centre. We are now working in – and with – a number of communities and schools, building community or social capital through the arts. More recently and with the support of Frankston City Council we produced our first production Go Away Mr Worrythoughts which, following final development late last year and a small tour this year, is looking at going out to metropolitan and regional schools as a tool to assist in building resilience in primary aged children. What’s your pitch to a business/ business community on why it should be supporting/involved with the arts centre? Frankston Arts Centre enjoys a high profile in the Frankston, Mornington Peninsula and surrounding regions. It has a high quality brand which is easily recognised
18 | BusinessTimes Frankston Peninsula | February 2011
and highly valued. Our annual community survey rates the centre among the top three most valued services in the city, and our annual season (theatre program) rates the highest community satisfaction level for any cultural activity. Patron and client surveys conducted by the centre also back these results, with 95 per cent of respondents rating the centre as above average in levels of service and product delivery. We are a good business to be aligned with, with over 300,000 people coming to the centre each year. The turnover of our box office is in excess of $2million, I believe this is significant because this is what people invest in themselves for their own wellbeing. We aren’t associated with gambling or smoking and alcohol is a very minor part of our service. So for a business, we attract people from all ages, backgrounds and different interests. Every month, we communicate to over 6000 people who have requested us to “talk” to them, we are seen as a neutral organisation that offers plenty to many. How do you think civic leaders see the role of the arts – say, for instance, compared with sport)? Council is very supportive of the arts centre – the precinct is one of communities’ major assets, and to keep it at this level requires good maintenance and capital works dollars. We are over 15 years old and in the past few years we have had carpet replacement, I’m looking forward to developing the exterior of the precinct. At the moment it’s quite “civic” looking and we have completed a branding wayfinding strategy and over the next six months people will see some colour and signage being installed to assist our visitors. Most signficantly the events sign is upgrading to LED technology, much to the delight of our box office manager! In any survey done by (or on behalf of) the centre what is the most important revelation? And what surprised you the most and why? In the first two years of operation I would meet the then manager of a high profile Frankston retail outlet every couple of months. I asked her about her top 300 clientele and where they came from. To my surprise none came from south of Frankston – all from Aspendale, Chelsea up to Mordialloc. I immediately left our lunch, returning to the office and totally revamping our advertising spend.
Breast Wishes: “An Uplifting Musical” Wednesday 16 March & Thursday 17 March Tickets: M $40, F $51, C $47, U26 $26, D $44, G $42 ea Tuesdays with Morrie: “Inspirational Comedy” Friday 1 April & Saturday 2 April Tickets: M $40, F $51, C $47, U26 $26, D $44, G $42 ea
Unspeakable: “Comedy gets the silent treatment” Monday 4 April Tickets: M $18, F $26, C $18, U16 $10 Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow “A feast of in-your-face laughter” Sunday 1 May Tickets: M $30, F $36, C $32
Rainbow’s End: “Australian Drama” Tuesday 10 May & Wednesday 11 May Tickets: M $40, F $51, C $47, U26 $26, D $44, G $42 ea Capture the Flag: “Gripping & Intelligent” Tuesday 7 June Tickets: M $40, F $51, C $47, U26 $26, D $44, G $42 ea
Julius Caesar: “Relentlessly Modern” Tuesday 26 July Tickets: M $55, F $66, C $62, U26 $26, G $54 ea
Krakouer! “More than a footy tale” Tuesday 9 August & Wednesday 10 August Tickets: M $40, F $51, C $47, U26 $26, D $44, G $42 ea
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra “Classic Baroque; Marvellous Mozart” Thursday 22 September Tickets: M $40, F $51, C $47, U26 $26, G $42 ea
Often I Find that I am Naked: “An Outrageous Comedy” Thursday 29 September & Friday 30 September Tickets: M $30, F $36, C $32
Victorian Opera: “The best of everything” Friday 21 October Tickets: M $55, F $66, C $62, U26 $26, G $54 ea
David Hobson & Teddy Tahu Rhodes “Australia’s favourite tenor & bass-baritone” Friday 18 November Tickets: M $80, F $89, C $82
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February 2011 | Frankston Peninsula BusinessTimes | 19
M = Member, F = Full, C = Concession, U26 = Under 26 years, U16 = Under 16 years, D = Daytime Matinée, G= Group 10+
The Housekeeper: “Hilarious” Wednesday 23 February – Saturday 26 February Tickets: M $30, F $36, C $32
The depression epidemic A witty person once described depression as “anger without enthusiasm”. Indeed, the consulting rooms of practitioners throughout the land are full of outwardly glum but inwardly smouldering patients. I’m being a little flippant; it’s a serious issue. The organisation beyondblue asserts that in Australia, one million adults and 100,000 children live with depression. And that at some stage in our lives, depression will affect one in six people, more of them women than men. (Wonder why ... don’t suppose it would be that life generally tends to be better for men?) Anyhow, if this was some organic disease, we’d be calling it an epidemic. Even allowing for the possibility that depression has been over-diagnosed, it is an incredibly prevalent problem that has flow-on effects in all sorts of areas. I am convinced that the Western approaches to tackling depression – drugs, counselling – still largely miss the mark. One healthy development has been beyondblue’s removal from its website of references to depression being a biochemical illness due to the lack of a particular neurochemical – serotonin. That was the explanation so effectively sold to us by the companies that manufacture the drugs that influence the body’s serotonin levels. It’s not your fault, you don’t need to fix your life, it’s just a disease like any other, caused by an imbalance in your biochemistry. While this line had the benefit of breaking down some of the social stigma attached to depression, it was ultimately unhelpful, because the idea that depression is caused by a lack of some chemical in the body is about as useful and accurate as saying that headaches are caused by a lack of Aspirin.
Antidepressant drugs that can artificially lift a person’s mood have their medical uses, but they will cure nobody’s depression. Another myth is that depression is caused by sad, devastating or even tragic life events. For starters, it’s unlikely that over a million Australians have suffered such hardships, and anyhow, human beings are a resilient species. No, it’s not about brain chemistry, nor bad things happening to you. Depression is about a person’s emotional needs not being met. Just as we have certain physical needs – food, shelter warmth – we also have emotional needs. They are: the need to feel safe and secure; to have status and respect; to have a sense of independence and control of your life; to have a sense of competency and achievement; to receive attention; to have intimacy; and to have wider connections with family, friends and community. When one of more of these emotional needs is not met, then we feel emotionally unfulfilled and are at risk of becoming depressed. If they are all being met, we cannot be suffering a mental illness like depression. Seeing depression as being at root an emotional need being unmet explains why talk therapies do not necessarily help. A hallmark of depression is that the person chews over and over the same seemingly unresolvable issues – day and particularly
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night – keeping themselves in a permanent state of emotional turmoil (but outward glumness). Talking about it – analysing it to death – can compound the problem because that simply regenerates the emotional charge. The most significant need among Australians is the need for wider connections. Humans have a fundamental emotional need to feel a part of something bigger than themselves … family, community and then some sort of spiritual connection. For humans in all cultures throughout history, community life and the sense of spiritual connectivity through religion have been protective against mental illness. Typically, a depressed person withdraws from social contact. One usually effective treatment strategy for a depressed person is not only to re-establish contact with friends but also to encourage some sort of volunteer activity that fosters a sense of belonging and usefulness to a community. No matter how absurd, counter-intuitive and illogical their “stories” and rituals may be, religions meet that deep desire for a sense of spiritual connection. It’s also why many people become so attracted to gurus. It’s not unkind to say that Australians are among the world’s most material, most sceptical and least spiritual people. This is all very well, but unless we consider these aspects of our society, we may struggle to make inroads on the depression epidemic. • If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend you visit the website: www.humangivens.com and www. humangivens.com.au. Their book How to Lift Depression … Fast is well worth the small investment.
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Towards growth: dream and plan Last edition, we reviewed the process to try to answer the leading question that life partners like to ask: “What are you going to be doing in five years’ time?” We examined this first step towards growth through analysis of how you got here and the major forces that have shaped your business to date. Once you have a sufficient understanding of today’s business, then you can start to dream about the future by considering as many growth possibilities as you can envisage. Firstly, many of the forces that have shaped your current business will continue to shape it in the future. The external forces are completely outside your control, and can often make or break your business, but they also provide some strong potential growth vectors for you to explore. For example, how is technology going to reshape your business? Every business will be impacted by the increasing speed of technology change through the internet. The increasing role of internet suppliers can present real challenges to those suppliers who have significant physical presence and overheads. While internet based sales only represent around one per cent of retail transactions in Australia at present, there is no doubt that this share will rise in coming years and every business should have a clear strategy on how to harness this change for growth. What about demographic changes? For example, the retirement of baby boomers, or the aging of children born during the mini-baby boom which started here in 2004? What about government policy or regulations? What about the impact of climate change and the increasing frequency of abnormal weather events? It may be that your growth opportunities arise by being prepared to react when these events occur by adapting your business faster than your competitors. Once you have thought through these external issues, then you should review the factors that are under your control. Are there business opportunities adjacent to your current business that will support growth? If you sell a product, can you add a service component that enhances your
connections to your existing customers? The reverse scenario can also work, that is, if you are providing a service, can you add a product range to your business? Alternatively, can you move up or down your supply chain in a manner that does not damage your existing suppliers or customers? Probably the most challenging part of growth is finding the right people to grow with you. Obviously, growth means more people either at your existing location or at a new location, so you have to find the right people with the right skills and commitment to follow your business model and values. If some of your existing people can grow with you, then bring them into your dreaming process as they may be able to contribute alternatives that you have not considered.
The financial side of growth is the toughest part because your current business needs sufficient cash flow or cash reserves to be able to fund growth. Once you have developed scenarios for growth, it’s important to start some confidential discussions with key stakeholders to test their reactions. These discussions could include business partners, key staff, suppliers, potential customers and your financiers. Obviously, this needs to be done in a way that will protect your opportunities and ensure that your discussions lead to a more developed understanding of the risks and potential rewards of each scenario. Now comes the hard part, progressive elimination of the higher risk scenarios and increasing focus on the one or two that
will provide the best risk versus reward outcome. Again, it is important to keep your key people involved and to work at it intensively so that the process can be completed in a relatively short time. Once you have narrowed down potential growth scenarios to a manageable few, it may be safer to test or model the idea before launching it fully. This is sometimes complex, but it is an opportunity for you to see how your key people handle the pressures of implementing a new set of business challenges. Computer models can be developed for many businesses and these can be effective tools to test growth scenarios. This way may be a financially safer alternative than diving into full scale implementation as your initial step. The financial side of growth is the toughest part because your current business needs sufficient cash flow or cash reserves to be able to fund growth. This investment phase in assets, inventories and people must be kept as short as possible so that you can achieve profitable growth quickly. The lead time between investment and return has been a real sticking point for too many businesses, so it is always safer to dream, test and model growth scenarios before you start the real cash investment. Any growth phase requires a huge leadership investment, so before you start the process, make sure that you and your family understand the full lifestyle impacts as you steer your business towards its more profitable future. At the end of the day, growth must be profitable so that you and your family can gain appropriate rewards from all of the effort needed to achieve it. Action Planning Questions: 1. Do you have an in-depth analysis of your current state of business as a foundation for growth? 2. Do you have a clear strategy on how internet transactions will impact your business? 3. Have you identified your best people to grow with you and prepared them to participate? 4. Do you have a current model of your business that can be used to test alternative growth scenarios? 5. Are your family ready and able to help you through the difficult early phases of growth? * Hamish Petrie had a 37-year corporate career, including 29 years with Alcoa Inc. His final position was VP-People and Communication for the global Alcoa Corporation in New York City. Contact: hamish@nitroworld. net.au or on 0404 345 103.
February 2011 | Frankston Peninsula BusinessTimes | 21
Bold revamp for Kruger Toyota dominates the 4WD market in Australia and has done so for many decades. There’s a staggering choice of models and the subject of this review, the heavily revised Toyota Kluger, is an interesting variant that meets the needs of many buyers.
Kluger is slightly smaller than the Toyota LandCruiser and Toyota Prado, but isn’t aimed at the traditional 4WD buyers who choose those two models. Rather, Kluger is a player in the ever expanding soft-roader market. Indeed, the purists get angry if you call Kluger a 4WD, saying that it is simply an all-wheel drive (AWD). The limiting factor in the Toyota Kluger isn’t traction, which can be surprisingly good for a softroader, but poor ground clearance which is only about halfway between that of a normal 4WD and a passenger car. On gentle off-road excursions the Kluger should look after a driver with no real off-road experience, and can tackle reasonably tough bush conditions in the hands of an expert. This may sound like a contradiction to what we have just said, but the Kluger’s on-road comfort is so good and it’s an excellent people mover, so some will buy it to take the family exploring this wide brown land of ours. If that’s not your bent, these days the Kluger is also sold with 2WD for those who have no intention of going off-road. A bonus of the 2WD version is that it’s lighter than the 4WD, giving it slightly better performance and is more economical at the same time. Late in 2010 Toyota gave the Kluger a strong midlife makeover with major changes to the exterior appearance. The complete front end forward of the windscreen was
Aimed very much at the American market the new Toyota Kluger is unashamedly bold in its appearance. Ewen Kennedy Motoring Journalist
revised with a new design of bonnet, guards, radiator grille, headlights, the latter with chromed surrounds. The result is so different that many may think it’s an all-new model. Because it is aimed at the US market the latest Toyota Kluger is unashamedly wide and bold in its appearance. Also to suit the American market, chrome has been used in other locations than just around the headlights, a feature we like – though it may not be to all tastes. Toyota Kluger’s primary use is as a people mover, a function it performs very well. There’s a huge amount of interior space and four adults and three children can be carried in comfort, even seven adults is less of a squeeze than in many other vehicles. The second row seat can have legroom that’s almost limo like, and shoulder room that’s better than in any limousine saloon. Best of all is the completely flat floor in this area. The independent seats in the second row slide backwards and forwards depending on how much passenger/luggage space you require. The rearmost ‘third’ seat
22 | BusinessTimes Frankston Peninsula | February 2011
is an optional extra that folds completely out of sight. When not specified you get a pair of extra underfloor luggage areas that keep valued items securely out of sight. Luggage space is very good, especially when the Kluger is being used as a five-seater. Even with seven seats in use it’s possible to fit a medium sized suitcase or a couple of cabin bags in what remains of the boot. The centre-rear seat in the Kluger Grande we reviewed has a 40/20/40 split and the centre section can be folded down to provide a sort-of-a-table between the two remaining seats. With the armrests down these two seats provide you with a pair of luxurious places. In cabin stowage is good, not only are there decent sized door pockets in all doors, but also a good sized storage area in the centre console. The lower area of this console is reached from the centre row seats and so give the occupants an additional place to secure things. The interior received a revamp at the same time as the body overhaul, although it’s not as extensive. There is Toyota’s usual emphasis on quality and the trim has a soft feel that’s pleasing to the senses. Handling of the Kluger on-road is better than average for the class. Though not to the standard of a passenger car in the way it reacts, it corners in a safe and predictable manner and will provide the family with a smooth quiet ride. Power continues to be provided by a 3.5-litre petrol unit producing 201 kilowatts. Peak torque of 337 Newton metres isn’t reached until 4700 revs, but there’s strong buildup to that figure so there’s good grunt from about 2000 onwards. Kluger’s performance is sprightly, which is not exactly common in this class. Fuel consumption, though slightly better than in the superseded model, is still not exactly on the side of economy. Expect to use about 11 to 13 litres per hundred kilometres around town with a reduction to nine to 10 litres in easy paced country driving. Kluger uses a five-speed automatic. It’s easy to use it manually, though it’s not a full sequential transmission in the modern mode. Toyota’s ability to produce the right 4WD for just about everyone is yet again vindicated in the way this latest Kluger provides just the right transport for the person looking for a spacious people mover with reasonable off-road ability in the light stuff.
Net work for writers
“While I was lying there [feeling ill] I thought there must be a reason for going through this and decided to turn it into a positive,” Eva Torner says. “What I was going through was not life threatening, but it affected every part of my life.” Torner says she paid for her role as a highly paid IT executive “with my health – emotional, physical and mental stress”. While attending the Bestseller Plan seminar with Wilson, Torner decided it was also time to write her book.
“It was part of my mission and life purpose. I woke up one day and there was the title.” They enjoy the world marketing offered by the internet and have embraced its capacity “to test and measure every aspect of a marketing campaign”. They talk of using multiple versions of a web page – different words, headlines and graphics – to test reactions from individuals and fine-tune marketing. “Similarly, information regarding the demographics, country of residence, time of accessing the given website, age range, whether or not they have children, whether they are browsing from home or at work, or those browsing a given
website, can be readily obtained. “In the same vein, the web enables you to do a great deal of research on keywords so that you can have a good idea of the terms that people in your potential market niche might be searching for in Google.” As Torner admits, their market research “can sound crafty or devious”, but they are working in a realm where their prospective customers are comfortable and most likely using the same tools to research the authors. l To contact Leigh Wilson or Eva Torner visit: www.survingfinancialmeltdown.com or www.hormonehelltohormoneheaven.com
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