by Alan Thornhill
Colin Johns, of Transformer Services, hired a mature age worker last year, under the Federal government’s Restart Program, which now offers wage subsidies of up to $10,000.
Senator Michaelia Cash, who launched improvements to that program, at the Canning Vale markets near Perth today, said it is yielding great benefits for both job seekers and employers.
Mr Johns agrees with the Federal Employment Minister.
“It’s been great for our business,” he said today.
The gentleman we hired really hit the ground running.
“He knows how to solve problems, coach other employees and look after our customers,” Mr Johns said.
“And I am personally very pleased to have been able to give a mature aged worker a chance to stay in the workforce and earn an income.”
Senator Cash said employers will now be able to get the$10,000 subsidy, available to those who take on a mature age worker, as Mr Johns did, over 12 months, instead of the 24 month period that previously applied.
She said too that:“The Government understands that there are mature-aged Australians with an enormous amount of knowledge and experience to offer employers.
“The reforms that came into force yesterday will incentivise businesses to employ this very experienced, yet often overlooked workforce,”Senator Cash said.
Restart offers employers up to $10,000 in wage subsidies to help with recruitment and related costs when they hire an eligible job seeker aged 50 or over.”
by Alan Thornhill
Labor says it will accept the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, after it won concessions on jobs, skills and pay rates.
The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten and Senate Opposition Leader Penny Wong announced the breakthrough, in joint statement they issued today.
They said they had secured a comprehensive package of safeguards for Australian jobs.
“These safeguards are complementary to the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA),” the two leaders said.
They said Labor had argued for safeguards in three specific areas.
- labour market testing
- protecting Australian wages and conditions and
- upholding workplace skills and safety standards.
“Today Labor has delivered new legal safeguards in each of these areas,” they said.
“Labor has stood up for local jobs and a safety net of decent wages and conditions for all workers.”
So what happens now?
Mr Shorten and Senator Wong said:Having secured these outcomes, Labor will support the ChAFTA enabling legislation in Parliament.”
They said this would will allow Australian exporters to gain improved access to the Chinese market at the earliest opportunity.
“The new obligations will be written into the Migration Regulations, ensuring they are legally binding,” they added.
by Alan Thornhill
Industry has welcomed the Federal government’s broad acceptance of the recommendations of the Murray Committee’s review of Australia’s financial system.
Kate Carnell, Chief Executive officer of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the reforms it recommends would strengthen growth and jobs.
“The set of balanced reforms announced today will help deliver a stronger, more competitive and resilient financial system to underpin greater business investment and personal retirement savings,” Ms Carnell said.
She said business could be seen as the engine room of the economy and the financial system as its fuel pump.
“And we need to keep it finely tuned for the best performance,” she added.
”The government has set out a clear plan for strengthening the resilience and effectiveness of Australia’s financial system to help underpin stronger business growth and job creation.
“We welcome progress on long awaited proposals and urge the Parliament to support this important reform agenda, including ensuring robust capital adequacy for banks,” Ms Carnell said.
“The Australian Chamber noted earlier this year that merchant service fees were the largest component of bank fee growth for the second year in a row.
“This highlights the importance of action to improve regulation of banking fees,”she added.
We are pleased to see Treasurer Scott Morrison’s statement that future credit card surcharging will need to pass a type of ‘fair dinkum test’ and urge the government to extend similar reforms to bank interchange fees.”
“Business welcomes the Government’s intention to secure crowd sourced equity funding legislation through the Parliament by the end of 2015.
“This will give greater scope to widen its focus to crowd sourced debt funding, which done correctly would also be very positive for small business growth and start-ups.”
John Osborn, the Chamber’s Director of Economics & Industry Policy, said: “A more open and competitive superannuation system with greater choice for employers and employees will foster innovation and deliver better value for businesses and consumers.
“The current default superannuation fund rules are outdated and not in keeping with the demands of a modern and competitive finance industry. This includes forcing default fund selection though a Fair Work Commission process and the treatment of employees covered by agreements,” he added.
“Currently, an employee who is subject to an enterprise agreement cannot redirect contributions to a personally nominated fund. It no longer seems appropriate or necessary to supress personal choice and we cannot ignore the broader competition implications of limiting the ability of people to vote with their feet.”
“We welcome the government’s commitment for the Productivity Commission to examine this issue more closely. Super funds already require approval by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority – the body with the expertise to assess product suitability – and whatever comes from the Productivity Commission’s process must keep duplication to an absolute minimum.”
“We continue to support the proposal that requires superannuation fund trustee boards to have a minimum of one-third independent directors – including an independent chair – and believe this strikes the right balance for superannuation governance,” Mr Osborn concluded.
by Alan Thornhill
Australia’s unemployment rate remained at 6.2 per cent in September, despite a fall of 0.1 percentage points based on unrounded estimates from the August results.
This is shown in the latest seasonally adjusted figures from the Bureau of Statistics, which were published today.
The Bureau also said the seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate fell 0.2 percentage points on the same basis to 64.9 per cent.
It reported too that number of people employed fell by 5,100 to 11,769,900 in September.
There were falls in male full-time and part-time employment and female full-time employment, with the largest decrease in male full-time employment (down 11,000).
The Bureau’s seasonally adjusted estimate of hours worked in all jobs series in the month rose by 12.2 million hours or 0.7 per cent in September.
The seasonally adjusted number of people unemployed in September fell by 8,100 to 772,500.
In trend terms, employment increased to 11,775,800 in September 2015 and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.2 per cent for the third consecutive month.
Trend employment increased by 232,400 since September 2014 while the civilian population aged 15 years and over increased by 286,400 over the same period.
by Alan Thornhill
The Federal government is to buy 1,100 locally built Hawkei protected vehicles and more than 1,000 trailers to strengthen Australia’s defence force.
The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Minister, Marise Payne,who made the announcement today, said waa a great day for the army.
They said: “under a $1.3 billion agreement, the vehicles will be manufactured at Thales Australia’s production line in Bendigo, creating 170 jobs there and another 60 jobs in Victoria.”
The Opposition welcomed the announcement, saying it would secure 170 jobs for five years.
Mr Turnbull also said there is a “very big export potential” for this type of vehicle.
It is light enough to be transported by helicopter.
“The addressable market for a vehicle of this kind is enormous,” the Prime Minister said.
But he warned that the market is “very competitive.”
by Alan Thornhill
Australian shoppers spent 0.4 per cent more in August, than they did in July.
This is shown in seasonally adjusted figures the Bureau of Statistics published today.
The rise followed a 0.1 per cent contraction in July.
Food sales – which rose by 0.6 per cent – were the biggest contributor to the rise seen in August.
However the Bureau also noted we also spent more that month in the nation’s department stores and household goods stores.
We spent less, though,on clothing, shoes and personal accessories.
We also reduced our spending in cafes, restaurants and take away food stores.
The Bureau also reported that, on trend estimates, retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in August, following a 0.3 per cent rise in July.
It said, also, on trend figures, retail turnover in August this year was 4.3 per cent higher than that seen in the same month last year.
by Alan Thornhill
Almost half of all Australian firms expect to increase their profits over the next 12 months.
This is shown in the results of a survey conducted jointly by the Westpac Bank and the Australian Chamber of Commerce.
These results, published today, confirm that the lower $A has boosted these expectations.
The Westpac-AusChamber Actual Composite index moderated in the September quarter easing 1.7 points from 58.4 in the June quarter to 56.7.
This is a still solid reading, above the historic average of 49.
The index is averaging 57.4 in 2015, up from 52.4 in 2014.
And expectations are positive.
These are centred on new orders and output.
Firms expect to respond to this strength by increasing overtime and – for the first time in two years – by increasing staffing numbers.
The Expected Composite index is at 59.8, up 1.4pts on June.
In addition, a net 19 per cent – as in June – expect the general business environment to strengthen over the next six months.
Expectations are positive, centred on new orders and output.
Firms expect to respond to this strength by increasing overtime and, for the first time in two years, by increasing staffing numbers.
The Expected Composite index is at 59.8, up 1.4p points on June..
The survey also showed that businesses are looking to 2015/16 to be a better year for profits, driven by increased turnover and a lower $A export returns, with a net 42 per cent expecting profits to increase.
There are also tentative signs that investment by the sector is nearing a turning point, consistent with a trend reduction appearing its spare capacity
A net 18 per cent of firms expect to increase spending on equipment in the next 12 months.
The improvement, to date, is centred on fewer firms looking to reduce spending.
by Alan Thornhill
Malcolm Turnbull gave some clues, about how he intends to operate, when he me reporters shortly after his election as Australia’s new Liberal leader.
He said he would try some “Trans Tasman wisdom.”
Australia’s Prime Minister elect said the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Keys, had adopted the habit of explaining complex economic issues to the public of that country in very simple terms, then moving forward “through advocacy.”
Great progress had been made in that way.
Mr Turnbull also spoke of a need for “the Australia of the future” to be competitive.
But that might be difficult in a country with a slow, second rate internet system, which was chosen because it was cheap.
Even if it, too, has since run into some – quite substantial – cost over-runs.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce was among the first to congratulate both Mr Turnbull and his new deputy, Julie Bishop.
The chamber also urged them to adopt the reforms necessary to improve Australia’s “productivity and competitiveness.”
Its CEO, Kate Carnell, also urged the Coalition to get behind Mr Turnbull “for the sake of the country and the economy.”
A big public service union, though, is proving less co-operative.
It is about to launch what it calls another round of industrial action, to press its pay claims.
This will start with a lunch time rally, involving staff from the Department of Human Services today.
It is expected to spread to other pressure points, such as international airports, later.
Weathercoast by Alan Thornhill
A novel on the murder of seven young Anglican Christian Brothers in the Solomon Islands.
Available now on the iTunes store.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
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