Australia's 3rd Largest Economy

Member News


  • 13-Jul-2022 16:32 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    By Anton Lukito, Manager at William Buck

    Inflation is the talk of the town, and its affects are becoming more apparent, impacting groceries, fuel, and interest rates, as well as the purchasing power of your customers. As a business owner, labour shortages, supply chain bottlenecks and wage hikes are likely adding to your concerns. To succeed in a rapidly changing economic environment, your business will need to be agile, and you should closely monitor three key economic indicators over the next 12 months.

    Inflation

    Inflation is a general increase in prices and a consequential decline in the purchasing value of money. There are several reasons why we are experiencing a rapid rise in inflation.

    1. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) Quantitative Easing (QE) program: This program consisted of the RBA essentially pumping money into the economy through the purchase of government bonds. This was part of a suite of measures put in place by the RBA to provide support to the economy during its economic recovery from COVID-19. While the RBA ceased its QE program in February 2022, its impacts are still being felt.

    Additionally, the RBA has slashed interest rates to record lows to create an environment that encourages individuals and businesses to take out a loan for purchasing assets (property, commodity, equipment, machinery) to stimulate the economy.

    2. COVID-19 lockdowns have created massive supply chain issues with goods now more difficult to transport and production disrupted. This undersupply has led to higher prices. As an example – the recent lockdown in China lead to 260,000 20-foot cargo containers having to remain in Shanghai in April as they were unable to be exported.

    3. Various COVID-19 stimulus provided by the government, including the JobKeeper scheme and HomeBuilder grants, increased liquidity in the economy, driving demand and hence inflation.

    4. The Ukraine-Russia war has led to higher commodity prices because of sanctions from many countries pushing up the price of oil and gas.

    Australia’s latest March 2022 quarter inflation rate jumped to a 21 year high of 5.1% more than the RBA’s target of 2-3%. It is tipped to increase even further to peak at 6-7%.

    Rising interest rates

    Inflation is tightly linked to interest rates. The RBA ‘cash’ rate interest rate is a monetary tool of the RBA which allows for the RBA to increase its cash rate to cool inflation when inflation runs too high. The RBA has increased the cash rate twice recently, in May 2022 and June 2022, bringing the RBA rate from a record low of 0.1% to 0.85%. The big four banks expect the RBA rate could rise above 2% by the end of year, with some banks expecting the rate to increase to 2.6% in the first half of 2023.

    Record low unemployment

    Australia’s latest April 2022 unemployment rate stood at a 50 year low of 3.9%. The unemployment rate is expected to decline further to 3.5% in early 2023. This is largely because of the pandemic, as border closures and uncertainty caused some of Australia’s workforce on temporary visas to leave the country, while Australia’s soaring debt level has fuelled a rapid rebound.

    What does this mean for my business?

    It is more important than ever for businesses to keep track of their cashflows. Inflation will increase the cost of inputs and therefore increase operating costs. Pair this with both rising interest rates pushing up the repayments on loans and widespread labour shortages, and its imperative businesses plan for success.

    Some strategies you might want to consider to boost or at least maintain cashflow include:

    • Reviewing your prices and increase where possible/appropriate
    • Increasing wages or providing extra benefits to retain staff
    • Reviewing the interest rate on current bank loans and/or considering business funding options
    • Securing stock amid tight supply chains
    • Review operating costs and identifying any unnecessary spending

    It is especially important to prepare your cashflow forecasts and budget, as these will help you to determine the impact economic factors are having on your business and will also assist you to secure funding, if required. Further, they will demonstrate which levers you can adjust over the next 12 to 24 months to better position your business. If you would like more information on positioning your business for growth through instability, please contact your local William Buck Business Advisor.


  • 12-Jul-2022 15:33 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    By Simone Rennocks, CEO of My Skills Australia 

    I have a big vision.

    I believe to find meaningful work and a strong sense of security is one of the foundations of human happiness. With change comes opportunity, that I believe anyone regardless of their age, gender, background or prior education can learn to thrive though.

    We know that the new experience of work has spun traditions on their head. Hybrid working, remote teams and virtual working mean that there is no longer an average workplace environment. The skills we need for work are based on transferable skills that we can build upon and take with us across careers and industries. The way these skills are currently taught in school and in vocational education is under the spotlight.  Lockdowns, financial and health crises have only shown us how fragile our society was, or still is. Leaders of tomorrow's companies must be people-centric. Work health and safety obligations now need to include mental health and physical wellbeing, not just risk management and site safety. Corporate social responsibility must consider the needs of the employees, their families and the community as a whole. 

    The notion that we are regularly discussing the term ‘disengaged’ too is disheartening. Disengaged students, disengaged workers, how did we get to this point? So many of our youth are categorised and shuffled out the door of education well before being prepared for working life. Even adults with years of experience in their chosen profession, like nursing, care sector and teaching, are leaving their jobs in droves. Neither patient, student or caregiver is feeling fulfilled. 

    Disparities still exist in Australia (and the world) when it comes to equality, access to educational resources and reliable technology. Closer to home than you think. In 2022, there are still High Schools in Western Sydney, middle socio-economic areas, whose students still use textbooks and workbooks rather than the laptops and digital classrooms that are used 20 minutes away. There is a major digital skills crisis across all generations of the current workforce. This means as we currently stand, a sustainable future is still only hoped for, not guaranteed. Rapid technology changes are not inclusive or equally accessible. Yet there is hope. The pandemic has shown us that change is possible. We can change. It has also shown us how connected we all are. Reimagining skills and vocational education are a matter for all of us to collaborate on. 

    Life skills (rather than calling them skills for work) should be taught from a younger age: 

    • Team work
    • Ethics
    • Social responsibility
    • Pride in a job well done
    • Thinking critically
    • Collaborating 
    • Communicating
    • Digital Literacy

    Work experience programs must be expanded. Internships and extracurricular activities such as volunteering and community projects should be commonplace. 

    Vocational education should be designed as scenario-based learning. Targeted skills that are delivered in ‘just the right way, just for the right duration, just using the appropriate tech’. The model for career transition pathway learning should be ever evolving. Like a spiral that can be jumped onto and jumped off again when needed. The core skills should be revisited time and time again in response to emerging technologies and societal needs. 

    Education shouldn’t stop once the learning is complete. Ongoing mentoring and support should be provided. Change management and transition planning between school and work and between career gaps should be a subject taught. Change isn’t always comfortable. The support that a new hire needs in their first 30 days is vital. The mental and emotional challenges of a new role or job must be acknowledged and leaders must be trained in mentoring for change.

    Communication skills should be a priority as care industries become such a vital part of our community. Having difficult conversations, managing socially diverse teams and empathy are just as important today as technical skills. 

    The same level of innovation that is applied in business, must be applied to education. The new experience of work must be people-centric. A leader's role is to hold the space for people in their charge to learn, collaborate and grow. Young workers should be encouraged to mentor older workers. We need to encourage diverse thinking to get the best perspectives possible. Accounts teams need to work through roadblocks they face, not with other accounts team members, but with customer services and vice versa.  A company’s values shouldn’t be set by management. Values should be a conversation that is inclusive. Sit and determine your values together with employees. If leaders are required to consult workers on safety issues, why don’t they consult workers on values?

    We must foster innovation from within our organisations. Intrapreneurship is one step towards entrepreneurship. Intrapreneurs are self-motivated, proactive and action-oriented people who take initiative to pursue an innovative product or service. Intraprenuership is a system that allows an employee to act like an entrepreneur within a company or organization. Intraprenuerships foster autonomy and independence, while attempting to find the best resolution. It gives employees the freedom to experiment, as well as the potential for growth of both organization and the employee. They are often able to solve problems on their own, and come up with their ideas that lead to process improvements, using their creativity to enhance existing goods and services within the context of the business. To which an intrapreneur is comfortable being uncomfortable while testing ideas until achieving the desired results. 

    Intrapreneurs are often considered inventors. While inventors come up with new products, intrapreneurs come up with new processes that get that product to market. Another reason for why they are considered similar to inventors is that they are creative and are risk-takers in the sense that they are stepping out of their traditional role within the business. Intrapreneurship helps employees with good ideas to better channel the resources of a corporation to develop more successful products.

    No organisation or employee can afford to stand still. The new experience of work requires us to understand change, plan for it, accept it and communicate it well. A strong economy and future careers must be anti-fragile. 

    We must thrive on change. 

    How can we create a system of vocational education to support the new experience of work? What does an Anti-fragile education look like?

    To be truly ready for today’s job market our model of education must be inventive and robust. Just as it is a leader’s role to hold the space for teams to collaborate, grow, fail and succeed, it is the role of Vocational Education to create a similar space. Our role in the ‘chain of responsibility’ is foundational step for all humanity.

    My Skills’ students are voting with their feet. Our learning experience design LXD has made us a leader in vocational education. Our student satisfaction and skill preparedness out shine our competitors. Our results speak for themselves: P&J Wade Pty Ltd trading as My Skills Australia

    In order to blaze a new path in vocational education, educators must address, more than ever before, the ‘whole’ process as a dynamic living ecosystem. Anti-fragile education starts with inclusion. The learns voice must be present from the learning pathway, skills assessment, right throughout the design of the content. Learning experience design LXD must be flexible, people-centric and customised.

    My Skills Australia is a custodian of the new workplace experience.


  • 12-Jul-2022 10:24 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    The Welcome Here Project supports businesses and services throughout Australia to create and promote environments that are visibly welcoming and inclusive of LGBTIQ+ communities.

    City of Parramatta has partnered with Woolworths Group to increase the number of Welcome Here sites within the community.

    Register your business to join the Welcome Here Project.

    Expressions of interest close 8 August.

    Find out more: https://www.cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au/welcome-here

           


  • 08-Jul-2022 12:30 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    My Skills Australia has a mission to promote learners who can learn, find productive work; make wise decisions; and actively engage in their communities.

    Their RTO has two fantastic business short courses that are available fully funded under Smart and Skilled for existing workers and staff:

    SG00009015 Statement of Attainment in Business (Digital Solutions, Develop Web Presence and Review/Maintain Organisations Digital Presence)

    • BSBTEC403 - Apply digital solutions to work processes
    • BSBTEC405 - Review and maintain organisation's digital presence
    • ICTWEB306 - Develop web presence using social media

    SG00009421 Statement of Attainment in Business Administration (Business Software Applications, Design/Produce Business Documents and WHS)

    • BSBTEC201 - Use business software applications
    • BSBTEC301 - Design and produce business documents
    • BSBWHS211 - Contribute to the health and safety of self and others

    These are both delivered online as self-paced.

    If you feel your staff may benefit from this training, please contact My Skills Australia:

    P: 02 8814 8640

    E: hello@myskillsaustralia.edu.au

    W: myskillsaustralia.edu.au


  • 04-Jul-2022 17:08 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    The Connection chats with Energy Action’s CEO Bruce Macfarlane about the current Australian energy market. During this video, Bruce shares his insight on why energy prices are so high, the impact it could have on businesses and what they can do about it.


  • 04-Jul-2022 16:17 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    With some of the world’s best graduate outcomes and support tailored to your needs, the University of Wollongong (UOW) can help you turn the page to your next chapter in 2022.

    Apply for UOW’s South Western Sydney campus in Liverpool and start classes as soon as 25 July.

    Midyear intakes in:

    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • International Studies
    • Information Technology

    Click here for further information or to apply.  

          


  • 22-Jun-2022 16:45 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)
    - Do you have an idea for a startup?
    - Are you at the early stage of your startup?

    - Are you ready to scale up your business?

    Western Sydney University’s Launch Pad startup accelerator programs are flexible. Start your side hustle and keep your 9-5. Their part-time delivery makes it suitable for founders who have other work and study commitments.

    Launch Pad is proud to be one of the few university incubators that are open to the community. To get involved, you don’t have to be a Western Sydney University student or alumnus – if you are an entrepreneur at heart, and are driven to the startup ecosystem, then submit your application now! Launch Pad deliver 3 programs depending on the stage of your startup.

    Click here for further information. 


  • 22-Jun-2022 10:18 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    A new financial year is upon us, and many businesses have already started planning business growth around the hiring of new staff and upskilling the current staff as a strategy for retention and achieving higher productivity. There are several options for businesses regarding upskilling, some of which have Federal and NSW Government subsidies available.

    A Traineeship combines formal study with on-the-job learning and offers benefits to both employees and businesses. A Traineeship normally runs for about 12 months. On successful completion of a Traineeship, participants receive a nationally recognised qualification. There are subsidies available around Traineeship, and we encourage you to enquiry about this as early as possible in the hiring process.

    Subsidised qualification (course only) is another option. One of the several criteria options needs to be met, which has been set by the NSW Government. The virtual courses normally run over several months, so the staff members’ normal work has minimal disruption. On successful completion, the participants receive a nationally recognised qualification.

    Do you find that your staff/team has a skill gap in a particular area? Then a Short Course, which can be tailored, might be the best option to increase overall business performance, efficiency, and bottom line.

    Whether fresh out of school or emerging leaders in the business – the Institute of Strategic Management (ISM) have various options available!

    Give ISM a call to see if you are eligible for any funding/subsidies!

    • Linda Jonsson – Head of Partnerships – 0408 250 105 or lindaj@ism.edu.au
    • ISM have courses around Business, Finance, Project Management and more!
    • ISM works regularly with industry leaders
    • All trainers are industry experts
    • All material is written by industry experts
    • Support from start to finish
    • Want to know more about ISM? www.ism.edu.au


  • 21-Jun-2022 15:01 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Australia’s wholesale electricity and gas prices are at unprecedented high levels and it’s having an impact on households and businesses across the country. We’ve seen the closure of some energy retailers and it’s only a matter of time before some businesses meet the same fate.

    Energy Action are here to help you navigate the energy crisis and secure the best energy prices on your next contract. Their Reverse Energy Auction platform is designed to give clients the best possible price on the day. On average, customers who use Energy Action's Reverse Auction to procure their energy end up paying 20% less than the retailers initial offer. These prices are something you won’t find anywhere else on the market.

    Don’t sit back and watch prices rise even higher. Click here to find out more about how Energy Action can help you navigate these times.


  • 21-Jun-2022 14:44 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    NEC Australia is proud and excited to help create a more connected, sustainable and smart future for Australia.

    They’re collaborating with other leading Australian businesses and government agencies in their partner ecosystem to develop innovative new technologies and processes to help develop Western Sydney into a region of the future.

    Learn more about how NEC Australia is helping to drive the development of Western Sydney's from Dylan Alcott OAM and Stuart Ayres MP.



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