Business Advice

ACCC takes Servcorp to court over small business contracts … New Fair Work penalties take effect … Macquarie to offer fintechs banking data

Emma Koehn /

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched court proceedings against office space provider Servcorp over allegations its standard form contracts for small businesses breach unfair contracts laws.

The watchdog announced on Friday it iss pursuing Servcorp Ltd and two subsidiaries as part of its second ever case related to the unfair contracts legislation for small businesses that came into effect this year.

The ACCC will argue the company’s contract terms for use of office suites and services by clients included clauses that should be considered void, such as allowing Servcorp to automatically renew a customer’s contract.

SmartCompany has contacted Servcorp for comment.

New Fair Work penalties take effect

The federal government’s “Vulnerable Workers” laws have taken effect after the legislation received the Royal Assent last week.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James has welcomed the changes, which include increases in penalties and new liability rules for franchisors and holding companies when franchisees breach workplace laws.

James has warned the new rules mean businesses that do not meet their obligations for record keeping will face tougher penalties. She said the office will consult with businesses about what the laws mean for franchise businesses going forward.

“We will be consulting with businesses about how these laws affect them, starting with a roundtable focusing on the new franchisor liability provisions early next month,” she said in a statement on Friday.

Macquarie takes first steps on “open banking”

Macquarie Bank will be the first Australian bank to allow smaller fintech businesses to access customer data, according to Business Insider, which reports there has been high demand from customers to have their account information linked to budgeting apps and accounting software.

The federal government is currently undertaking a review into possible models for open banking in Australia, but Macquarie says its clients can already give consent to have their information flow from the bank into fintech apps through a pilot program.

Public consultation on the government’s open banking issues paper will finish this coming Friday.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is SmartCompany's senior journalist.

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