The Border Watch : January 9th 2018
14 Small business challenge looms THE small business sector enjoyed some notable achievements in 2017, but challenges loom on several policy fronts, according to Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell. Ms Carnell said her inquiries this year into small business loans and payment times had yielded significant benefits for small businesses. “A highlight was the Federal Government announcing it will introduce 15-businessday payment terms for small business suppliers,” she said. “There has also been improved payment performance from many big businesses following my inquiry and the adoption of a voluntary code. “Cash flow is king for small business - delayed payments can cripple operations, increase costs and restrict growth.” Ms Carnell said her small business loans inquiry had resulted in the major banks introducing fairer, plain-English contracts. “This was a major step forward and will end the practice of banks calling in a loan when all repayments are up to date just because they feel like it,” she said. The ombudsman’s office continued to record an increased number of calls for assistance from small businesses in 2017. In the July-September quarter, there were 614 contacts requesting help with resolving disputes. This represented a 27pc increase on the previous three months. Of these requests, the vast majority (577) were business-to-business disputes. Ms Carnell said her office had mapped out an ambitious program for 2018 to elevate small-business issues on the national policy agenda. She said ASBFEO was currently looking at access to justice and government procurement. “We will continue to argue for red-tape reduction and simplified workplace relations,” Ms Carnell said. FARM PET: A cat finds a home in a box on Echo Farm. 14 - The Border Watch, Tuesday, January 9, 2018 ANIMALS: Native and farm animals share the habitat at Echo Farm. Pictures: OCKERT LE ROUX VISIT US ONLINE borderwatch.com.au Pioneer farm experience South East animal sanctuary under new management TOURISTS and locals alike now have the chance to experience a pioneer farm only kilometres from the heart of the Blue Lake city with the re-opening of Echo Farm. Under new management, the 17-acre property is the perfect place for those young and old with a range of native and farming animals and vintage and antique items. Originally managed by Jenny Butcher, the farm was recently taken over by couple Bruce and Linda Hay, who fell in love with the property when visiting in 2016. “The thought of taking over Echo Farm was as daunting as it was exciting,” Mr Hay said. “We have some ideas to grow the experience for visitors, but in the meantime we hope our guests will enjoy it as much as we did when we first arrived.” Steeped in history, Echo Farm’s origi- nal cottage was built in the 1890s from stones collected in the paddocks, while the harness shed and cottage veranda were made from locally hand quarried limestone blocks in the 1920s. Filled with everyday items from Australian pioneering families collected by Ms Butcher, Ms Hay said they intend to build on her passion by offering a chance for visitors to interact and learn about animals, while preserving and sharing some local history. “I’m a bit of a history buff and Bruce was brought up on farms and loves that side of it, so the lifestyle choice suited us,” she said. Visitors can stroll through the Echo Farm walking trail and enjoy the company of a multitude of animals from chickens, turkeys and ducks to sheep, pigs and goats, as well as wallabies, emus and a few kangaroos who all call the farm home. Echo Farm is located on the edge of the city at 249 Tollner Road, Compton, and is open from 10am to 3pm daily until January 28. Group bookings can be made by appointment at other times. Visit www.echofarm.com.au for more information. HISTORY: Statues in remembrance of World War II add to the experience at Echo Farm.
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