Weekly Digest – 29 November 2023

Welcome to our Weekly Digest – stay in the know with some recent news updates relevant to business and the economy.

Australia’s unfair contract terms rules have changed: Here’s what you need to know

Unfair contract terms in standard form consumer or small business contracts are now illegal after after new laws took effect on 9 November 2023.  Businesses are encouraged to review their standard form contracts and remove or amend any unfair contract terms, while contracting parties should consider whether they are protected under the reforms.

Consider the tax implications of celebrations this holiday season

The holiday season is fast approaching, and many of us are planning to celebrate with our staff. However, before you start making arrangements, it’s essential to consider the fringe benefits tax (FBT) implications of your celebrations. The benefits you provide your employees may be considered entertainment-related and subject to FBT. You should consider these factors.

Housing prices back at record levels, defying Australia’s interest rate rises

Australian home prices are back at record levels, recovering all of the 7.5% dip from their previous peak in April 2022, according to the data group CoreLogic.

NAB, Westpac hike fixed-rate mortgages after warning

A finance expert has urged Australians to be prepared for interest rates to rise again in the near future, as the country battles a worsening cost of living crisis.

Australian economy ‘in a better position than most’, says Treasurer

Australia’s economy is “in a better position than most”, according to federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers, despite the nation still facing several challenges including sticky inflation.

A perfect storm wreaking havoc on the living standards of millions of Australians

From record-high rents to skyrocketing mortgages, a cost-of-living crisis to the alarming emergence of a ‘working poor’ population, our country faces an unprecedented storm of factors putting pressure on millions of people.

Australia’s inflation problem is ‘homegrown’, Bullock warns

Reserve Bank governor Michele Bullock says inflation is now largely a “homegrown” problem, hitting back at claims price rises are mainly driven by global factors outside the central bank’s control. “An important implication of this homegrown and demand-driven component to inflation is that getting inflation back to target will take time,” Ms Bullock said.

All net zero pathways require new gas supply

The Australian Government’s Future Gas Strategy consultation paper highlights the need for investment in new gas supply to avoid future shortfalls and underpin the net zero transformation in Australia and the region.

ASIC to further target superannuation in 2024 priorities

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced its enforcement priorities for 2024, which include two new points relating to the superannuation industry. With a greater spotlight on super, the corporate regulator has added a new priority on member services failures and misconduct relating to the erosion of superannuation balances. Moreover, new priorities relating to insurance claims handling, compliance with financial hardship obligations and the reportable situations regime have also made the list.

Time is the new currency in cybersecurity: how Aussie businesses can avoid losing it to hackers

In the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity, time has become the new currency. As the 2023 Cost of a Data Breach (CODB) Report reveals, the ability to detect and respond to cyber threats swiftly can make all the difference for Australian businesses. But this is no small feat, at a time when cybercriminals have reduced the time needed to deploy ransomware from over two months to under four days. Chris Hockings, CTO for IBM Security Asia Pacific provides some actionable tips for Australian businesses to enhance their cybersecurity posture.

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