CoSBA – Combined Small Business Alliance of WA Inc


The president of the Malaga and Districts Business Association  Frank Stackowicz is  a member of this governing board.

This page has all the information released by COSBA




In this issue:  Monday ‘sickies’ to cost $7m Why low numeracy and literacy rates are hurting SMEs  GOVERNMENT FOCUS STILL ON JOBS, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SMALL BUSINESS Grant-getters make easy work of applying for government funding  Five tools to help schedule social media posts for your business  Hairdresser stung with $21,000 fine after ignoring Fair Work Ombudsman  RECOGNITION FOR HEALTHY WORKPLACES   YER NOT A LEGEND!  DEFRIENDING IS BULLYING?

International Business Council Activities/Information


CoSBA_Broadcast_22_1_16 (002)


7th May 2015


A recent Fair Work Commission decision involving dismissal of a manager of a retail outlet again has shone a light on the need for employers to apply correct procedures in terminating an employee’s employment.

The manager was dismissed for poor work performance. In addition, after having dismissed the manager, the employer found inappropriate material breaching the employer’s mobile phone use policy on the manager’s company-provided phone.

In considering the evidence, the Commission found the employer justified in dismissing the manager including the discovery of the mobile phone material. However, the Commission also looked at the employer’s process in ending the employment and found it seriously flawed. The consequences of that resulted in the Commission finding the manager unfairly dismissed.

The decision sets out the two-part test employers need to follow to avoid unfair dismissal of an employee. First, the reasons for dismissal must be valid, and second, the process applied by the employer must be correct. Employers need to be mindful of the obligation to meet both planks of the unfair dismissal test to successfully defend themselves against claims of this type

In this case, the Commission found the employer simply told the manager his employment was ended due to poor work performance with no opportunity provided to the manager to defend or challenge the employer’s claims.

Previous case law involving unfair dismissal shows employers need to apply the concept of ‘natural justice’ as part of the dismissal procedure. That means the employer advises the employee of the concerns, sets out what improvement the employer is looking for in performance, sets a reasonable time frame for improvement, imposes a review period, advises the employee a poor review may result in termination of employment, and importantly, allows the employee opportunity to provide a defence against any claim of poor work performance. The employer is not bound to accept the employee’s defence but at least must allow the opportunity to provide the response

As this case demonstrates, absent that natural justice aspect to the dismissal, the employer faces a difficult task in overcoming an unfair dismissal claim. Each matter needs to be assessed on its own merits and employers are recommended to seek expert advice before dismissing employees to minimise the risk of claims of either unfair or unlawful dismissal. (SOURCE: MASTER BUILDER, May-June 2015)

Miner loses his battle of the beard

The days of sweaty bearded miners are coming to an end, with the industrial umpire backing BHP Billiton’s decision to sack a worker for refusing to shave off his goatee.  Olympic Dam underground truck driver Jim Felton was fired last October after repeatedly refusing requests to shave off his 10crn goatee and moustache, despite a policy requiring workers to be clean shaven, The company demands men go beardless so their face masks seal properly.

Mr Felton had worked at the uranium mine for six years and previously used another type of facemask, which he, would roll his goatee inside.  He offered to buy this mask at his own expense when he was told he would have to shave, but Fair Work Commissioner Peter Hampton said there was conjecture about how effective it was as he rejected Mr Felton’s unfair dismissal case

Mr Felton aped that workers had not been adequately consulted about the clean-shaven policy and a, different mask would have alleviated any work health and safety risk.  He told the commission he had had his goatee and moustache since he was 19 years old and considered the facial hair a “personal attribute”.  (SOURCE/EXTRACT: The Weekend Australian, 2.515)


In the past, many underperforming companies managed to slip under the radar and escape insolvency. With market conditions changing, these businesses need to change course if they want to avoid going under.

In 2014, many indebted companies were able to repay the interest on their debts but not able to reduce the actual debt itself or invest in maintaining or updating equipment or make strategic investments. Low interest rates let these zombie companies maintain their commitments to their financiers. As such, it is unlikely that these financiers will seek to enforce their security any time soon and this is how zombie companies will continue to battle on. The number of zombie companies might even increase, given there is no expected increase in interest rates in the near future.

There are four signs, which indicate a company might be heading for zombie-status.

Covering the bare minimum

Companies that can only cover the bare minimum, such as running costs and interestonly repayments, might be heading for zombiestatus if they can’t improve their position in a reasonable time frame.

Paying interest but not the debt

After paying initial costs such as rent and wages, companies at least should be able to repay interest on outstanding debts. However, if the business is incapable of paying down the actual debt to an agreed timeline then it might already be a zombie. So, unless their operating practices improve dramatically, they are likely to become insolvent in the end regardless of bailouts and support.

Put a hold on growth

Zombie companies generally are not able to invest in new business or hire new staff. When organisations need to put a prolonged stop to growth and expansion, especially if market conditions are average, this can be a warning sign.

Financiers will be reticent

When companies have reached the point where they are covering only interest and not paying off the actual debts, smart financiers and investors will become more hesitant to continue funding the business. This might in turn lead to additional debt from alternate sources (e.g. creditors including the ATO) which might go largely unpaid if the company is declared insolvent and will leave lenders and investors without their money.

Some companies need support or even a bailout because of extraordinary circumstances, while others simply need a longer foundation period before they can start to turn a profit. But when an organisation consistently underperforms financially and is doing the bare minimum to meet its financial obligations, it could be a sign that the business is about to reach zombie status.

When this happens, there are two options. The first is to try to save the company with an overhaul of management practices and operational procedures. The second is to put an end to the cycle and shut down the business. Either way, zombie companies cannot be allowed to continue to wander aimlessly, potentially taking others down with them. (SOURCE: MASTER BUILDER, May-June 2015)

International Business Council Activities/Information

For IBC activities/information go to the IBC web site at: or contact them at: E-Mail:                Fax: 9356 9437   Tel: 9451 9449     Mob: 0413 437 708            PO Box 691, BENTLEY WA 6982

     To read more on the following recently added articles, go to <>FDI – Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global InterestsCombined Small Business Alliance (CoSBA) – News & Updates

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Are Assad’s military forces on the verge of collapse?



7th May 2015


THE Eastern Region Business Enterprise and Arts Centre (ERBEAC) is helping entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable businesses.  Following the closure of the Small Business Centre in Midland, ERBEAC has been appointed to ensure local small businesses have access to business support and advice until a replacement is appointed.

It promotes innovation and job creation by providing emerging companies with business support services and resources tailored specifically to increasing the chances of success.  Business manager Dean Starbuck said the organisation provided a valuable service.

Mr Starbuck said any entrepreneur would agree that starting a new business was not easy.  “Most business owners know every detail of their product or service but many can lack the skills needed to turn their ideas into successful and sustainal5le businesses,” he said. “Small business advice and support service’ programs are uniquely positioned to help entrepreneurs


7th May 201530th March 2015

Government and media indifference to union hearings is scandalous

The royal commission into union corruption started hearings again this week, but many people would hardly know. When royal commissions are under way, governments generally do not comment.

This year, with this royal commission, government practice should be varied. Last year, silence did not serve any of us well. If we do not achieve legislative change before this government gets voted out, our country is going to be governed by a handful of unaccountable and untouchable men, the mostly invisible bosses of Australia’s super unions.

The super unions and the people running them are vulnerable to even the slightest scrutiny. The inexplicable membership figures, staggering income streams, plethora of business entities and associates, governance and operational practices, and employer group lackeys are all worth shaking down.

The commission ran for all of last year, yet the super-union bosses remain unscathed. When the commission kicked off, these people were terribly nervous, but the word on the street is now they have few concerns. It has all been a bit of a laugh.

This is not all the commission’s fault; the government of the day could have done better. The hands-off approach to the dirt coming out of the commission did not work for any of us.

If the Abbott government wants to build the case for change, then that case must be built using the material coming out of the commission, bit by bit, via the media on a weekly basis.

This year, at all times, the commission should insist on a proper courtroom with timber panelling and all. When trying to cut through on television, images are important.

Last year the visuals were terrible; a media crew confessed to me it was not motivated to cover the event because it looked like a bunch of people were sitting around having boring conversations in a grey, badly decorated office.

This is a shame because for every week it sat the commission uncovered disturbing information.

But every week, right when we needed it most, government people refused to comment or even show interest. It was as though the commission were a group of undesirables gathering in public to make trouble, an event no respectable government types would walk past, associate with, or even pass comment on.

The media took its cues from this lack of interest and responded in kind. A few stories broke through, those that were colourful but not necessarily important, and many important stories of national significance, tragically, slipped through the cracks.

On several occasions, when incredible material was being heard but going unreported, in frustration I would make a phone call and ask, when are you guys going to start talking about this? The standard response was always given: comment would be provided at the end, when a report was finally produced.

Eventually, just before Christmas last year, the commission’s interim report came through. As promised, a comment was made. Members of the public saw a short grab, at a busy time of year, on the news for just one day.

After all that time and all that money, there was no impact in the minds of the public; no case had been made for legislative change. The long-awaited report featured for just one day, then sank without a trace.

In terms of the media messaging, for all of last year there should have been a weekly drip, drip, drip. It should have been relentless. Instead, there was resolute silence followed by one hopeless little plop. This year, it must be managed properly — the consequences of failure for our democracy are so great.

The easiest way to get issues elevated in the media is for someone important to make comment. A few words here and there push a message along, give a headline or two. The Prime Minister’s office should have assigned a team of people to gather material, co-ordinate talking points and get out the message of the week.

This government has a tendency to subcontract out, delegate and expect others to sell their lines. The Coalition is the only government placed to break the union-employer corruption model and the only government that will benefit. This job is its trash to take out. No one else, not even the media, is going to do it for it. The government must roll up its sleeves, get down and dirty, and do it all itself.


You’re invited… to be part of something big, for something small.
Introducing Small Business Matters – and WA’s inaugural Small Business Day – Saturday 11 July 2015. Click below for more details
From.docx cosba small business

The Training Council would like to request your feedback regarding requests for variations to two traineeships:

 Certificate III in Business

 Certificate III in Business Administration

Click here to read more From


23 rd March 2015

A LACK of federal funding has prompted the Small business [Centre] (SBC) in Midland to close its doors after 28 years but the operators of a new state-based model are keen to assure small business operators they will still get support. READ MORE CLICK LINK BELOW



Trading hours for Easter 2015

All general retail shops in the Perth metropolitan area will be allowed to open from 8am until 6pm on Easter Monday, April 6, and the Anzac Day public holiday, April 27. Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the decision provided more flexibility for retailers, who previously were only allowed to open between 11am to 5pm on these public holidays. READ MORE CLICK LINK BELOW

Media Statement-Easter & Anzac Day Trading Hours – Released 20th March 2015



Further to our letters of 2 January 2015 and 18 February 2015 concerning the subject of ’Red Tape’, we wish to express our profound disappointment with the Government’s proposed legislation as set out in the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bill 2015, in particular with the ‘Dispute resolution function’ as described in the Explanatory Materials document, which states in part: READ MORE CLICK LINK BELOW

CORRESPONDENCE-Bruce Billson 20.3.15



SERIAL entrepreneur Simon McNamara, who has been launching businesses for 15 years, says that over that time it has become much more difficult to start a business in Australia.

“As a society we have become more and more bureaucratic. There is much more arse-covering than when I started out,” he says.

McNamara nominates this as the biggest problem for family businesses, SMEs and entrepreneurs — that the regulatory environment is now too complex, because Australia has become “more risk averseREAD MORE CLICK LINK BELOW

Cutting red tape, or dodgy spin



The CoSBA Broadcast Small Business News The Week in Review READ MORE CLICK LINK BELOW