Senate committee pushes to scrap $450 super threshold … Hilton Seskin on what went wrong at Topshop … ACCC sets sights on internet speed


By Dominic Powell and Emma Koehn.

A Senate committee comprised of MPs from both sides of politics is pushing for the abolishment of the $450 per month superannuation threshold.

At present employers are only required to pay the 9.5% superannuation guarantee if employees earn $450 or more each month, though in the lead up the May budget, superannuation interest groups campaigned for the removal of this.

“There are elements of our superannuation that need urgent attention: most notably the $450 per month income threshold,” Liberal senator Jane Hume told The Australian this week.

“It is increasingly common for individuals to earn income from multiple jobs. This means a growing number of workers who overall earn ­significantly more than the $450 per month threshold receive no superannuation guarantee payments, because the obligation was never triggered for any of their employers.”

Council of Small Business Australia chairman Peter Strong told SmartCompany earlier this year scrapping the threshold would mean more costs for SMEs.

“That’s another 10%, [if someone earns $450] that’s $45 you have to plan for. $45, well, someone will say it’s not enough much money, but it is,” he said.

Topshop Australia franchisee reveals what went wrong

Retail magnate Hilton Seskin has revealed what he believes went wrong with TopShop Australia, the recently collapsed franchise he brought to the local market six years ago.

Speaking at an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch in Sydney last Thursday, reports Seskin told the conference “you make some mistakes in life”, and criticised the Topshop franchise arrangement as one where the franchisor had “basically no responsibility”.

He also criticised the stock which came in from the UK operation, calling it outdated and saying the Australian arm had “very, very little control over what inventory came into the market”.

“Products that were made in Asia were shipped to the UK, put through a recycling plant, as you call it, a warehouse facility in the UK, converted from US dollars to GBP [British Pounds], flying it out to Australia. So, the model was just broken,” he told the conference.

As the business is currently in the hands of administrators, Seskin says he’s working to keep it alive and said he still believed the business to be successful.

“I still believe it’s a great business that touches the hearts of the millennial customer. Right now I’m trying to protect as many jobs as I can, try and keep the business alive, and that’s my sole focus right now,” he said.

Internet speeds in ACCC’s crosshairs

Some businesses may still have to wait years before they even have access to the National Broadband Network, but in the meantime the consumer watchdog has internet speeds firmly in its sights.

The ACCC has asked Australians to put their hands up for a four-year study of the typical speeds of fixed-line NBN services, asking for volunteers to place devices on their connections to measure the speed of service across the day.

“The program will allow the ACCC to determine if issues are being caused by the performance of the NBN, or by ISPs not buying sufficient capacity,” ACCC chair Delia Rickard said in a statement.

Concerns around the difference between advertised and actual internet speeds have emerged since the start of the NBN rollout, while NBN Co chief Bill Morrow said in February there was little market demand for services faster than the 100 Mbps speed that the network can currently offer.

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