Business Advice

ACCC decides on Telstra roaming … Woolies pledges to close gender pay gap … Plan to make global startups from Melbourne

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By Dominic Powell and Emma Koehn 

Telstra has chalked up another potential win in the battle between Australian telecommunications companies after the Australian Competitor and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released a draft decision declaring other mobile providers will not be able to provide roaming on Telstra’s regional networks.

“There is insufficient evidence to suggest that declaration of a mobile roaming service in regional and rural areas would further lower prices or improve services, given the higher costs in servicing these areas,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

“Many regional consumers do not have a choice of provider either because they only have one network offering coverage in their region or because they need continuous coverage. While we do not think that mandated roaming is the answer to these problems in regional and rural areas, we are seeking comment on other regulatory and policy measures that could improve coverage and competitive outcomes.”

This is the third time the issue has been raised before the watchdog, with inquiries in both 1998 and 2005. In a statement to news.com.au, Vodafone said the decision was “disappointing”.

“The telecommunications divide between the cities and regional areas will only continue to widen, as no other operator will be able to close the coverage gap between Telstra and the rest of the industry,” a Vodaphone spokesperson said.

The ACCC will be taking submissions on the draft decision until June 2.

Pay gap to go by next year: Woolies chief executive

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci says he’s hopeful the retail giant’s gender pay gap will be erased by 2018.

In a speech delivered to the launch of the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal, Banducci said pay equality was the key to gender equality, reports The Australian

“Right now our gender pay gap is about half a percent and I hope that will be zero by the end of next year,” he said.

Woolworths’ approach to addressing the gap has included reviewing proposed annual wage increases to address the gap that exists between some male and female employees’ salaries, he said.

Melbourne City Council earmarks startup grant funding

The City of Melbourne has marked startups as a key priority in the release of its draft budget for the year ahead with plans to launch more global startups from the city.

Chair of the small business, retail and hospitality portfolio Councillor Susan Riley said the council will contribute $291,000 in funding for grants and mentoring for startups and small business.

“The success of small businesses drives growth in employment and provides valuable goods and services to residents, workers and visitors,” she said. However, it’s unclear what the nature of these grants will be.

The council has also pledged to start work on an $11 million project to improve access and create new open areas in the Southbank precinct in Melbourne’s CBD, which it describes as the city’s “most densely populated suburb”.

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