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BRIEFS: June 27

Canon EOS M autofocus fix…Retail leasing webinar…LVIT Howard’s fault…’You’ve changed your hair’…Group buying sites stink…

Canon EOS M autofocus fix available
Canon Australia has announced availability of the free firmware upgrade for the EOS M (announced on June 6), boosting autofocus speed performance. The new firmware makes One Shot AF up to 2.3x faster.

Canon encourages all existing EOS M users to download the new firmware to take advantage of the improved performance.

Retail leasing webinar
lease_4When negotiating rents with landlords, small retailers often find themselves on an uneven playing field, making it seem near impossible to negotiate effectively.

The ARA is conducting a free webinar on retail leasing featuring keynote speaker Phil Chapman, founder and chairman of Lease 1, Australia’s leading retail lease consultancy firm.

In this webinar, Mr Chapman will explain how retailers can get back some power at the lease negotiating table and secure manageable rents, particularly during times of poor retail trade.
Date: Thursday August 8
Time: 10.30am – 11.30am

Email to register and a link will be sent to you

LVIT Howard’s fault!
A report in Inside Retailing claims that John Howard was the father of the $1000 Low Value Import Threshold (LVIT) on goods bought from overseas retailers.

The report, based on letters accessed from 2005 as part of a Fairfax freedom of information request, indicate that Mr Howard set the GST-free threshold on goods arriving in Australia at $1000 despite advice by two ministers.

Assistant treasurer Mal Brough, writing on behalf of then treasurer Peter Costello, told Howard a $1000 threshold could damage local businesses.

‘The implementation of a $1000 across-the-board threshold could create an incentive for consumers to import low-valued products…from overseas to avoid paying Australian taxes,’ said Mr Brough.

Customs minister Chris Ellison also said at the time the threshold should be set much lower, but Howard opted for $1000 to reduce the ‘burden of regulation’.

However, 2005 is long time ago, and government inaction in the face of exponential increases in online retailiing since then can hardly be sheeted home to the bloke in the track suit.

The ARA is calling for immediate action on the LVIT; ‘Industry groups are calling for whoever is in Government to make the decision as soon as the costing reports are handed to them by the end of September,’ said Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, in April.

‘You’ve changed your hair’
teddyIn a story which underscores why digitised passports are the way of the future, a niine-year-old girl from Wales had the ‘passport’ she made for her pink soft toy stamped by immigration officials while on a holiday to Turkey!

Emily Harris’ mother Nicky said she accidentally handed over the soft toy’s passport instead of Emily’s. It was only after the passport was stamped and returned that she realised her mistake.

‘I didn’t realise until I was putting the passports away. There was a moment of panic when I thought someone would come chasing after us, but nothing,’ Ms Harris told the New York Daily News.

‘The passport doesn’t even look real – it’s got gold teddy bears on the front and was a completely different size from mine and my husband, Allen’s.

‘The man even asked Emily how old she was, and she told him nine, before he stamped it.

‘The picture ID wasn’t even of Emily, it was of a pink unicorn.

‘And to make it worse, the unicorn wasn’t even on holiday with us!’

‘This may be the basis for a story in Photo Counter on why DFAT wants the biometric checking here and wants it NOW,’ noted Shane Martin, Australian Photo Supplies, who brought the story to our attention.

Group buying sites stink 

To good to be true: $250 worth of portrait services for just $25 -including the original image files!
To good to be true: $250 worth of portrait services for just $25 -including the original image files!

Canadian portrait studio operator John-Paul Darko recently had an offer from a group buying organisation to run a portrait package offer.

While it’s not entirely clear whether he took up the offer (he seems sufficiently grumpy to have done so) he did conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the deal, concluding that, ‘there is no—none, zero, nada—value in additional sales or promotional value from participating in a group buying deal. Ask anyone who has ran one. I have.’

He also explains why not only is it a bad idea for photographers, but not particularly good for customers, neither, because in attempting to at least break even on the deal, the photographer will be tempted to dud the client.

To read his well-argued assessment, click here.


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