Optus offers free data to customers affected by outage


Optus doles out data - not refunds, one in three biggest companies paid zero tax, and ASIC names and shames dodgy investments.

Here are 5 things you may have missed this week.

Optus refuses refunds over outage

how to get free data from optus after outage

Wednesday's marathon Optus outage impacted around 10 million customers including an estimated 400,000 businesses gearing up for the festive season.

Plenty will be crying "Optus dropped us" as the telco giant apologised for the prolonged outage but is not sorry enough to pay compensation.

Instead, Optus has agreed to hand out 200GB of free data.

Head to the Optus website on Monday, when the telco will provide details on how to add the data to your plan.

Prepaid customers will get unlimited data on weekends for the rest of the year.

Federal Communications Minister Michelle Rowland, who has announced a review of the outage, has suggested that small businesses should hang onto receipts in the event they are entitled to any redress.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has raised a hand to say it is available to help with claims for refunds or compensation.

Tax Office pockets record $84 billion haul

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has reported a record corporate tax take for the 2021-22 financial year, with the nation's largest companies collectively paying $83.8 billion in tax.

The big miners dominate the ATO's corporate tax take.

BHP Group paid a whopping $9.4 billion in tax for 2021-22, followed by Rio Tinto ($9 billion).

Fortescue Metals came in a distant third, paying tax of $3.5 billion.

Among the 2713 companies listed in the ATO's report, one in three - more than 800 - of the nation's largest companies, paid zero tax.

ATO Deputy Commissioner Rebecca Saint says, "There are legitimate reasons why a company may pay no income tax, for example they may not have made a profit for the year or may be in the start phase of their business.

She adds, "The Australian community can be assured we pay close attention to those who pay no income tax to ensure that they are not trying to game the system."

ASIC names and shames scam 'investments'

This week saw money watchdog ASIC launch a new investor alert list.

Available on the MoneySmart website, the list shows whether an entity you may be thinking about investing in could be fraudulent, a scam or unlicensed.

ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court, says, "There are bad actors out there, and while we can't avoid being targeted, having access to the right information can help consumers better protect themselves.'

The new investor alert list includes "impostor" entities that impersonate or falsely claim to be associated with a legitimate business (also known as impersonation scams).

ASIC is calling on consumers to help keep the list up to date by reporting suspect investment websites to Scamwatch.

How to boost your home's value? Green it up

A recent CommBank survey indicates 71% of Australians believe energy efficiency can increase a property's value.

According to the research, the top energy-efficient features nominated by homeowners include insulation, solar panels and water-efficient fixtures.

Other features such as solar hot water systems, double-glazed windows, heat pump hot water systems and battery packs also ranked highly.

With almost eight out of 10 homeowners saying they plan to install green/clean energy products in the future, CommBank's executive General Manager Home Buying, Michael Baumann, says, "Energy efficient features are moving from a nice-to-have to an essential for many Australians."

CommBank provides a Green Home discount on its standard variable loan, with a rate of 6.26%.

But it is not the cheapest on the market.

Gateway Bank's Green Home loan offers a discounted interest rate of 5.99%.

Or pay 5.64% with a Green Home Loan from loans.com.au.

Employer super contributions not enough - unless you're a high-income earner

It's long been recognised that relying on the boss's compulsory super contributions alone may not be enough to fund a decent retirement.

Now, super body ASFA has crunched the numbers and found that you may be able to get by with employer contributions if you earn at least $90,000 annually and work for 35 years continuously.

If your income is more modest - say, $65,000 annually, you'll need to be at the coalface for at least 45 years to be able to rely solely on employer contributions.

It's worth noting that ASFA says a comfortable retirement requires super savings of at least $690,000 for couples, and $595,000 for singles.

How is your super tracking? The table below shows the current median super balances.

how much super should you have at your age
Source: ASFA

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.