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Welcome to our February e-Bulletin

In this issue ...



Calling local food producers: important lunch date on 8 March at Wild Dog Winery

Small-scale producers have a chance to network with Malaysia's top chefs visiting Gippsland early in March in search of top-quality ingredients.

They can meet the seven chefs over a superb eight-course degustation lunch at Wild Dog Winery on 8 March.

The lunch will feature prime Gippsland offerings in beef, seafood, game, fruits and cheese matched with premium wines. The total cost, including drinks and GST is $100. It is already 25% booked.

The event is tax-deductable for food-promoting businesses. Attending producers will also be able to set up a trade stall at the venue. Among the guests are the executive chefs of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, the Sheraton Imperial, Hilton's Double Tree and the Best Western Kuala Lumpur, as well as several restaurant chains.

Agribusiness Gippsland Inc (AGI) is organising the lunch with support from ANZ Bank, Radfords Meats and Maffra Cheese Company.

AGI Chairman, Paul Ford, says that the
'... chefs are here to discover exquisite and rare offerings' and '... The rising Asian middle class is a marketplace of growing sophistication. They appreciate quality and will pay handsomely for it. '

Further, t
his is a great opportunity for small food producers, with '... an unparalleled networking opportunity not only among the visiting chefs but also among the gourmet diners attending the lunch.'



Places are filling fast.

To book, phone Sue on 0402 267 802, email
or visit

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Commenting on contentious issues can be a tricky business

Adelaide's Bombay Bicycle Club (BBC) found recently that expressing an opinion about sensitive issues can be detrimental to business.

When faced with changes to penalty rates for South Australian hospitality workers on public holidays, increasing them to 2.75 times the base rate, BBC reacted by placing a 'fake' menu outside its doors with menu items increased by 2.75 times and asked patrons how they would feel about having to pay such an increased price for their meal. The exercise was meant to reflect the impact that such a rise could have on their business. The result was a severe social media backlash from the public, who accused BBC of demeaning their employees and not being mindful of their rights.

This lead to a response on social media from BBC's owner, who called the people who criticised their stunt 'stupid' and suggested that they not frequent the restaurant anymore, with many people obligingly vowing to never return.

Ultimately, BBC apologised for the stunt, and their subsequent reaction on Facebook and said they had the utmost respect for their workers; they were simply trying to make the point that no business could sustain such a jump in penalty rates. Unions say BBC has overreacted to the penalty rates announcement, saying that wages are not rising by 2.75 times - it is simply a higher rate than previously imposed, and that in some cases, casual workers will actually be paid less on ordinary work days. under the new rates.

Either way, this experience shows that while it is important to address issues of concern, more thought needs to be given to how those concerns are addressed and using the right forum for having constructive discussions.

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Get your business off to a galloping start in the Chinese Year of the Wooden Horse

With the start of the Chinese New Year, businesses in Asian countries are promoting specific lucky charms to boost your luck in the Year of the Wooden Horse: beads and sculptures in the form of lettuce to attract good fortune and prosperity; miniature horse statues (especially those that are made of wood) to attract luck and fortune; bamboo plant sculptures to attract wealth, happiness, love and good health; charms with jade stones to reverse the fate of those people whose zodiac signs are deemed 'unlucky' in the Year of the Horse; and so on

Not one for charms? How about a grant?

With an expectation of continued recovery in the world economy, and an optimistic outlook for the stock markets, it could be a good time to make the most of our cultural, education, business, and people-to-people relations with China.

The Australia-China Council (ACC) was established by the Australian Government in 1978 to promote mutual understanding and foster people-to-people relations between Australia and China. Each year, the ACC delivers around A$700,000 in grants for organisations and individuals across Australia. The Council's funding is determined by the Government, and is subject to scope and availability of funding in each financial year.

The 2014-15 Grants open in mid February. These are the dates:

Opening date - Expressions of Interest (EOI) online – Monday 17 February 2014

Closing date for submitting EOI – Sunday 16 March 2014 (Midnight, end of day AEST)

The Council's grant application process is in two stages. The first stage involves applicants submitting an Expression of Interest online. The Council Board then short lists Expressions of Interest and invites selected applicants to proceed to the second stage and submit a Full Grant Application online.           

Visit the website at for all dates, full details and the application process.



STOP PRESS: Agribusiness Gippsland is running a free lunch forum on Friday, February 21 at Morwell.

Keynote speaker will be Barry White, board member of the Australia China Business Council since 1996.

The free forum, at the Nambur Wariga Meeting Room, Latrobe City Corporate Headquarters, will go from 11.30 to 2.30. A light lunch, supplied by Suncorp Bank, will be served. Bookings are essential for catering purposes. Book at

Or email
More? Sue Webster 0402 267 802

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Expense reporting and management made easy with an app

Expensify provides a streamlined way for your employees to report expenses, the way expenses are approved, and the way in which you export that information to your accounting package. In addition, it provides easy storage of receipts and provides the capacity to 'process hundreds of reports in one click'.

For an individual, the benefits are similar. It provides an easy way to track and organize all your expenses, at home or on the go. The best part? - It's free!

With free mobile apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone, it makes life on the go simple. You can snap a picture of your receipts and not worry about losing them. You can create and submit expense reports from your phone too.

Whether working in 'not-for-profit', a professional organisation or starting a new enterprise, Expensify offers a simple and streamlined way of managing your expenses and reporting requirements.

It also offers a seamless integration with accounting, payroll, CRM or ERP solution, such as XERO, Oracle and QuickBooks.


To find out more asbout Expensify, visit the website at:

or contact the sales team by emailing:

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Can you really rely on the FWO?

A word from David Bates, our specialist employee relations partner          

On 30 December, the Minister for Employment announced employers could now 'rely' on the advice provided to them by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

According to the Minister's press release: 'In a win for small business…small business operators will now be able to rely on advice from the Fair Work Ombudsman without fear of prosecution, should the information be incorrect.'

The key thing I'd like you to know is that this immunity isn't really an immunity at all. It's a Clayton's immunity – the immunity you have when you're not really having an immunity ...

Let's pretend that as soon as you finish reading this article, you call the FWO's Infoline to find out which Modern Award applies to one of your employees. After speaking to the operator at length, an Award is confirmed and you are provided with a reference number for your enquiry ...

Read here for more information.



To find out more about Workforce Guardian, jump onto their website - Workforce Guardian offers subscriptions to access expert advice and resources:

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Price-to-earnings ratio

Our market analyst Fred Strauss takes a closer look at the price-to-earnings ratio tool and the different factors that affect outcomes.

Among the most familiar and widely used tools to value shares is the Price-to-Earnings Ratio (P/E).

The formula for calculating the P/E of a company is:

        Share Price       
Earnings per Share

The idea behind P/E is that we need to evaluate a share price in relation to what it buys in terms of earnings and to help us judge whether a company is fairly valued, overvalued, or undervalued. The scaling of price per share to value per share also makes comparisons possible among different listed shares. For example, an investor pays more per unit of earnings for a share with a P/E of 20 than for another share with a P/E of 12. If the two companies are otherwise closely similar (if they have similar risk, profit margins, and growth prospects, for example), the investor may conclude that the shares of the second company are undervalued (or cheaper) relative to the first.

Determining Earnings

In calculating a P/E, the current share price for a listed company is generally easily obtained and unambiguous. Determining the earnings figure to be used in the denominator, however, is not straightforward. The following two issues must be considered ... 

For the full details, read here.



Fred Strauss is an independent and highly regarded investment expert, and is part of our investment committee.

Fred keeps a close eye on international markets, and USA in particular.

If you would like to get more of Fred's insights or to discuss your individual investment strategy, contact our financial advisors on 03 5144 5207.
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Beware scammers: Australia Post and more ...

Australia Post has warned of an email that advises customers that a 'courier company' was unable to deliver a parcel to their address. The email has a sender of

The email instructs the customer to print a label before they can collect it from the local post office and the customer has to make a payment to be able to print the article label.

This is a scam and Australia Post advises that it does not request customers to remit a payment for parcel collection, so if you receive this email, please delete it.

Another scam doing the rounds involves a caller claiming to be from a credit card company (VISA and/or MasterCard for example) and telling the customer that their account is currently being hacked by someone from another country; in order to stop the transaction currently taking place, the customer is asked to supply account details. You should never supply personal or banking details to callers. Banking organisations will never ask for details via email or over the phone. You should only supply details where you have made the call and you know that you are talking to a legitimate organisation.


Find out more about Australia Post scams and frauds and how you can help protect yourself in future at: online security, scams and frauds.

For more information on a range of other scams, visit the Scam Watch website at:

If you have fallen victim to a scam, please call the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on 1300 795 995 to report the matter to SCAMwatch.

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And finally, a word from the editor ...

They say, 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going' ... Holden and Toyota think that to remain tough, they need to get out of Australia. What does that mean for small business? Maybe not much depending on your industry, but it is definitely a sign of fundamental change in our economy and something that can't be ignored.

Stay in touch with your market, supplier base and financiers – a shock to your business can come from any direction.

On that sobering note, all the best for the month and look forward to bringing you more tips and ideas next month.


Kurt Best
General Manager


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