Chinese made ‘Aussie Beer’

BeerFrom March 2014 – August 2014, a product called ‘Aussie Beer’ was being sold to consumers with assurance that the beer was actually made in Australia. The green and gold packaging representing that of the Australian sporting colours and also marked with ‘100% owned’ and a map of Australian could definitely make many believe that the product was made in Australia.However, the ACCC has found that the product was in fact made in China.

The Independent Liquor Group (ILG) has been forced to pay a penalty of $10,200 because there were reasonable grounds to believe that “ILG had made false or misleading representations about the country of origin of the “Aussie Beer” product, in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL)”.

Juniper Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Juniper EstateThe Margaret River enjoys and enviable reputation as a producer of top shelf Cabernet, but it’s generally vineyards like Cullen, Vasse Felix and Moss Wood, that receive all of the accolades. And I have to admit to historically being a card carrying and flag waving member of the West Australian Cabernet fan club, especially when it comes to the wares of the big name and well established wineries.

But in every industry, it seems there is a young up and comer whose star is on the rise and I suspect I’ve found the next superstar of Margaret River Cabernet.

It’s not an Estate that I managed to find on my last visit to the region, but Juniper Estate in the Wilyabrup sub region are a small producer making outstanding wines that have somehow managed to fly beneath my radar.  At the entry level, their Juniper Crossing range drinks much better than its $20 prize point, but at the top end, their Estate Cabernet is a serious collectable in waiting.

The 2010 Juniper Estate Cabernet Sauvignon sells at close to $50 a bottle and while that might seem steep, you need to put it in perspective when you are talking about a future icon of Australasian wine making. For example, the Moss Wood Cabernet from the same region sells at over $100 a bottle while the Cullen Diana Madeline sells at about the same price. Their quality and reputation is such that they are highly sought after by collectors and have had a tendency to appreciate in value every year and, at least my view (in expert) opinion, the Juniper Estate is  equally as elegant and refined as its higher priced cousins. I reckon it is probably only a matter of time before the laws of supply and demand see its price point matching that of the more established Cabernet from the Margaret River.

For the moment, the 2010 Juniper Estate release is still purple and quite vibrant in the glass. On the palate, there is a youthful exuberance to the intense black current, blackberry and ripe cherry fruits that stamp their authority on the first sip you take. But as the regional characters developed through the finish, there are savory herbs, tobacco, a touch of vanilla and the most delicious “claytons” tannins (so fine that you’d hardly know they were there) you will ever find.

Flavour meets austerity in a glass and I reckon it has at least 10 to 30 years ahead of it. The only criticism I can make is perhaps the understated packaging – but then again, if the bottle, cap and label were more sophisticated, I suspect it would already be more than twice the price!

So my tip is to buy, but not drink, the 2010 Juniper Estate Cabernet. I suspect that it is destined for greatness and I am sure that a decent capital gain awaits the patient buyer.
 

CAR SALES TELL ALL

Car SalesWhile there are exceptions to every rule, I have long held the belief that the statistics surrounding the sale of new cars in Australia give a genuine insight as to how the economy, and subsections of it, are really travelling.  And perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but if the February 2015 sales figures are anything to judge by, business trading conditions and consumer confidence might actually be on the decline.

The February 2015 results have a positive headline with new vehicle sales being up by 4.2% for the month.  At face value, that would seem to suggest that things are improving given that now two of the last three reported months have had positive gains in terms of sales.  Also on a positive trend line are sales in Tasmania and the ACT where those States have seen sales increases of 11.6% and 10.9% respectively from where they sat a year ago.

Manufacturers of cars in the sports utility vehicle market (SUV) would also be air punching all the way down the main street as that sector has seen a rise in sales of 23.8%.

And while all of that might seem very promising, I would argue that, in fact, there are some worrying signs amongst the data.  The ones of greatest concern are:-

  • sales of locally made vehicles has fallen by 10%;
  • passenger vehicle sales have fallen by 6.6%;
  • purchases by business buyers fell by 3%;
  • Government sales fell by 0.5%;
  • Ford sales were down 20.1%;
  • Holden sales were down 10.2% (from February 2014);
  • Western Australia had negative growth with a fall of 6.1%.

But perhaps what is most telling are the statistics on which vehicles are actually being sold.  The top two selling vehicles were both small cars, most likely because of their good fuel consumption and low running costs, namely Toyota Corolla with 3,939 vehicles sold and the Mazda 3, with 3,598 sales.

So to my mind, whilst any increase in sales is a positive sign, that’s probably to be expected when interest rates are at historical lows and still heading south.  The big concern, however, is that both business and Government seem to be tightening their belts and the few penny pinching consumers who are lashing out on a new car, are only doing so in the thrifty end of the motor vehicle spectrum.  I guess you could put whatever spin you like on it, but to my mind, it’s not all beer and skittles out there!

Travis Schultz,
Practice Group Leader
Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers, Part of the Slater & Gordon Group
Ph: (07) 5413 8900
Fax: (07) 5413 8958

March 2015 Young Achievers – Tim & Sam Aitken hoo8hoo

hoo8hooThis morning we were at Caloundra City Private School for the Young Achievers Awards. Today we awarded brothers, Tim & Sam Aitken for their outstanding music achievements. Tim & Sam are a talented duo who write and perform their own songs as well as covers, their band is called Hoo8Hoo – Tim Aitken Sam Aitken. The boys play at many community events such as the Walk for Daniel, Wishlist Run Sunshine Coast and many more. Well done Tim & Sam! For your chance to be a Young Achiever, make sure to enter the awards via the Sunshine Coast Daily Website http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/yaa

Get on board and download the boys album which is available on iTunes https://itun.es/au/BOc35.

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Samantha Quinney Takes Part in RACQs Careflight HUET Demonstration

Samantha QuinneyA couple of weeks ago, Lawyer Samantha Quinney who is also the President Elect of the Brisbane Airport Rotary Club, volunteered to take part in the Helicopter Underwater Escape Training demonstration at RACQ Careflight’s training centre at Aviation Australia.

Sam and a few other volunteers went through a pre-briefing involving the intended procedures, which were to include a simple submersion in the helicopter simulator, a submersion with a complete inversion of the simulator, and a submersion whilst blindfolded.

“The whole experience was extremely exhilarating and it was not until you are actually inside the helicopter, being submersed, holding your breath and then turning upside down, do you realise and appreciate the invaluable training provided by the RACQ Careflight team” said Sam.

“The procedure to open the door and get of your seat becomes an automatic process. I would certainly volunteer to do it again. I’m so proud that our Rotary club can support such a great cause.”

ACCC Takes Europcar to Court

Car InsuranceLate last year, the ACCC took rental car company Europcar to court due to the ‘unfair’ conditions stipulated in their contracts.  The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have said that the unfair contract terms could lead customers to excessive liabilities for damages.

Rod Sims, Chair of the ACCC has said “vehicle rental contracts are complex in nature and are often entered into during time-sensitive situations, such as airport departures,”

“Consumers have little time to properly assess their rights and obligations under these rental agreements, and no opportunity to negotiate.”

It is also alleged that Europcar has mislead its customers by providing false information on their website about the liability covered by customers and the maximum penalties that would be incurred if their rental car was damaged or stolen.

South Australian Retailers To Cut Penalty Rates

RetailThe South Australian retail sector is about to see weekend penalty rates slashed after a “landmark agreement between the shop assistants’ union and Business SA.”

This new agreement means Saturday penalty rates will be gone and Sunday rates will be halved. However, retail employers will receive a high base rate of pay and improved conditions. These conditions include the right to refuse working on public holidays and Sundays and a guaranteed pay increase of 3% annually.

To read more about the penalty rate cuts in South Australia visit the news.com.au website.

What do you think of this new SA retail agreement?

Restaurant ordered to back pay workers $3.43 million

Chef CookingA restaurant in New York has been ordered by a Judge to back pay 11 workers $3.43 million.

The Korean restaurant had paid the employees ‘grossly substandard wages’ with tips also being diverted which is a violation of their rights.

The same company ‘Kum Gang Inc’ had previously been investigated and order to pay 66 workers US$1.95 million in back pay, however the New York Times has said the company is yet to pay.

Slater & Gordon named the Official Law Firm of the Australian Olympic Team

As part of the Slater & Gordon Group we are very excited to share this fantastic news with you all, “Slater and Gordon join Australian Olympic Team as the Official Law Firm”.

This is very exciting for the entire Slater & Gordon Group which will see the long-term partnership support the Australian Olympic Team from Rio Olympics in 2016 through to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Hayden Stephens, senior executive has said “We are a proud Australian company and welcome the opportunity to support Australian athletes from all backgrounds to compete and excel on the world stage.”

You can read more about this exciting partnership on the Australian Olympic Committee website.

Public Holidays and Penalty Rates

shutterstock_131353031With Easter is just around the corner, Fair Work Australia is urging small business owners to check up on public holiday penalty rates and entitlements that may apply.

The Fair Work website has been updated to ensure that employers and employees can clearly understand their rights and obligations and that they are complied with.

In Queensland, Good Friday (3rd April) and Easter Monday (6th April) are both public holidays. However, may vary in other states.