2017 set a record for losses from natural disasters. It could get worse

Insurers are set to pay out a record $US135 billion ($172 billion) to cover losses from natural disasters in 2017, the world’s largest reinsurer said, driven by the costliest hurricane season ever in the United States and widespread flooding in South Asia. Overall losses, including uninsured damage, came to $US330 billion, according to the reinsurer, … Read more

Sydney-founded software startup LiveTiles strikes deal with Victorian government to create 500 jobs at Geelong headquarters

Sydney-founded, US-based software startup LiveTiles has come home to roost, striking a deal with the Victorian government to establish an Asia-Pacific headquarters and innovation centre in Geelong. LiveTiles is a cloud-based educational software platform aimed at corporates and other organisations, launched in 2014 by founders Karl Redenbach and Peter Nguyen-Brown. The company raised $12 million earlier … Read more


High-profile entrepreneur Mark Bouris will head up a taskforce established by the Federal Government to encourage small businesses to adopt digital technologies that will streamline their operations. Bouris will be joined on the Small Business Digital Taskforce by Spiro Pappas (Executive General Manager of Global Institutional Banking at NAB), Pip Marlow (former MD, Microsoft Australia), … Read more

Naomi Simson’s Red Balloon fined $43,200 by consumer watchdog: “It’s a very expensive lesson”

Corporate gift company Red Balloon  has been fined $43,200 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for allegedly overcharging four customers for “excessive payment surcharges” on credit card purchases. The company, founded by Shark Tank investor Naomi Simson, was found to have fallen foul of the nation’s excessive surcharges ban which has applied to large businesses since September … Read more

This app judges if a person can legally work in Australia — by scanning their passport

A Melbourne startup has claimed to have built an app that can instantly determine the visa eligibility of a person wanting to work Australia, just by scanning their passport identification page. CheckWorkRights, which recently launched in the Apple App Store, can return a job candidate’s visa status in “just seconds”, including information on visa type, … Read more

Financial literacy is a public policy problem

It’s pretty common nowadays to see the likes of the Reserve Bank of Australia or the Australian Bureau of Statistics issue warnings about the size of Australian household debt. The reason is that the consequences of poor financial decisions often reach far wider than an individual or family. The global financial crisis showed us how rapidly financial contagion can spread – … Read more


The Federal Court has found that accommodation provider Meriton engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by implementing a strategy to minimise the number of negative reviews its guests posted on the TripAdvisor website. In November 2016, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) instituted proceedings against Meriton in the Federal Court, alleging that between November … Read more

Why big projects like the Adani coal mine won’t transform regional Queensland

Queensland election campaigns often focus on big projects for the regions, such as for roads, power plants and mines. But research suggests that mega projects, such as in gas and coal, have not transformed skills or improved employment prospects in regional Queensland. Take away the temporary booms from construction and other short-term jobs, and employment growth overall is no better … Read more

Why the RBA would want to create a digital Australian dollar

The Reserve Bank of Australia could join the likes of Estonia and Lebanon in creating a cryptocurrency based on the Australian dollar, to reap the benefits of technology like the blockchain but with more stability than other well known currencies like Bitcoin. The RBA has already been approached by interested startups to create this new digital currency, known as … Read more