General News

Lamb market open

A BIGGER market could be open to WA lamb farmers following the World Trade Organisation’s dispute panel finding the US was unfairly blocking Australian exports. Despite the WTO ruling, the US tariffs have not been removed and the dispute could drag on until April. WA Farmers Federation meat executive officer Robert McFerran said the US could ignore the WTO ruling. The US had been a growing market for the grower-owned WA Meat Marketing Corporation until the tariffs came in. The WAMMCO has increased its volume by more than 70 per cent over the past two years.

Poor WA harvest

WA FARMERS are expecting a poor harvest this year compared with last year’s record 12 million tonne crop. According to Cooperative Bulk Handling, the expected receival from all regions this year will be 7,143,500 tonnes. The lack of finishing rains in most districts is believed to be the main cause for the poor expectations. The locust plague, expected to be worse than the outbreak 10 years ago, has also been taken into account. However, locust effects could be worse than anticipated. Encouraging reports have been received from growers in some regions, particularly Esperance and Geraldton. Several southern districts have received much welcome rain during the past week.

BAS extension

TAX agents now have until November 30 to submit up to 50 per cent of their client’s first quarterly Business Activity Statements. Small Business Development Corporation managing director George Etrelezis said while the majority of small business operators said they were fully prepared to complete their first BAS may still turned to tax agents for guidance. Accounting bodies such as the CPA Australia had been warning for weeks that a BAS backlog existed. To qualify for the extension, tax agents have to lodge around 50 per cent of their BAS by November 11 and the balance by November 30.

Compo probe

TWO teams have been set up to investigate how to implement recommended changes to the workers’ compensation system. This follows a review of medical and associated costs and a second report into insurance arrangements in the workers’ compensation system. The reviews were ordered after the 1999 Pearson Review of the workers’ compensation system that found escalating treatment costs for services provided to workers who sustained a work-related injury was a major issue for the system. The subsequent reviews found nine per cent of claims accounted for 61 per cent of costs and raised options for addressing this and other facts including insurance arrangements.

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