Government scraps changes to paid parental leave … Businesses lose over $3 million to scams … Oroton enters trading halt


By Dominic Powell and Emma Koehn 

Last week’s federal budget included details revealing the government has scrapped plans to make changes to the existing paid parental leave scheme, reports The ABC.

The government has been struggling to pass the parental leave policy, which looked to give parents an extra two weeks of leave whilst preventing “double dipping” from those receiving both government and employer-provided leave.

The policy was voted down in the Senate by Nick Xenophon Team representatives in early February, who labelled it “dumb policy”.

The latest announcement from the budget marks the end of the controversial policy.

“For the present, it doesn’t seem like anyone is willing to countenance any form of savings in that system at all, so that leaves us with not a whole lot of room to manoeuvre,” Social Services Minister Christian Porter told The ABC in regards to the scheme being scrapped

“The observation I’ve got is that [the scheme] can be improved, it can be more equitable and fair but you need to find savings in the system to do that.”

Businesses lost over $3 million to scams in 2016

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released its annual report into scam activity, revealing Australians lost $300 million to scams and other fraudulent activity in 2016.

Businesses reported they lost $3.78 million and the business community reported nearly 6000 scams over the past 12 months.

A majority of the reports came from SMEs and micro-businesses, who lost an average of $10,631 when hit by a scam. The most commonly reported ploys targeting at business owners were false billing scams, followed by scams for office supplies and “hacking” scams like email phishing or malware attacks.

Scammers most commonly contacted businesses via email, followed by phone and post. The ACCC warns that SMEs should continue to be vigilant, as scams are set to “continue to increase in frequency and sophistication”.

“All businesses are vulnerable to scams, however small businesses are particularly vulnerable given the impact scams can have on their bottom line. The damage caused by scams extends beyond financial, including losses in time and productivity in addition to causing significant stress to business owners and staff,” the commission said in the report.

OrotonGroup enters trading halt

Handbag retailer OrotonGroup is in a trading halt ahead of an announcement about the impact of April 2017 sales on the company’s 2017 financial results. 

“Oroton has received preliminary earnings figures for April 2017 (an important trading month for Oroton), which is indicating that earnings are down on the prior corresponding period,” company secretary Vanessa De Bono told the Australian Securities Exchange in a letter this morning. 

The halt comes less than a month after new chief executive RossLane took over the business from former chief executive Mark Newman, with the company facing a 52% profit drop. 

OrotonGroup will stay in a trading halt until the announcement is made, or opening of the market on Wednesday 17 May.

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