Queensland Smoke Alarm Laws and you

Whether you are a home owner, a renter, a landlord or a renovator/builder, the smoke alarm legislation introduced by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services from 1 January 2017 will affect you!

As a landlord….

  • Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014. All smoke alarms should be interconnected within the property.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on each storey including – in every bedroom; in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the property and if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm should be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the property.
  • Any person can legally install a battery powered alarm, but 240-volt hard-wired smoke alarms must be connected by a licensed electrician.
  • Within 30 days before the start of a tenancy in a domestic residence, you must test and clean each smoke alarm in the property.

As a tenant….

  • During the tenancy, you must test and clean each smoke alarm in the property, at least once every 12 months. To test a smoke alarm, press the ‘test’ button.

As a home owner….

  • Existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standards (AS) 3786-2014.
  • Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.
  • It is recommended that smoke alarms be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery, and ionisation smoke alarms be replaced with a photoelectric type as soon as possible.

As a renovator/builder….

  • All new or substantially renovated homes or units require hardwired, photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms. For existing dwellings, the smoke alarms can also be powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.
  • Smoke alarms must be installed on each storey, in each bedroom, in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling, and if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
  • It is essential to also have a well-practiced fire escape plan.

For further details, refer to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ website at www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/ smokealarms

Single Touch Payroll is here

The biggest change to payroll in history is here and compulsory for businesses with 19 or fewer employees.

What is it?

Single Touch payroll (STP) is an ATO compliance regulation which requires employers to send employee payroll information, including salary, wages, PAYG withholding and superannuation to the ATO at the same time as their standard pay run.

Why is it happening?

The government likes STP for a number of reasons.

  • It’s a much more efficient way to operate the taxation system.
  • It will make the black economy more difficult…at least in theory…because the ATO will know who is being paid, how much they’re being paid and when.

What are the benefits?

The ATO will be able to pre-fill the BAS for employers, eliminating errors and double handling.

Online access to Payment Summaries means that employers no longer have to provide Payment summaries at the end of the year, as the ATO will already have this information.

What’s the scale of this?

ABS data reveals that there are approximately 782,000 businesses with 19 or fewer employees in Australia…about 37 per cent of all Australian businesses.

What are the concerns?

Worries range from businesses not being aware of the changes to some employers not even having digital payroll software. A lot of small businesses are struggling to come to grips with why the change is needed.

What’s the ATO approach?

The ATO has said that they weren’t interested in cracking the whip to ensure short-term compliance and are instead taking a long-term view, but they certainly want to bring all businesses into the digital world.

What’s the solution?

A number of third party software providers have introduced low cost solutions for micro-businesses, while larger businesses should have already have updated software to deal with the changes.