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Saturday 23rd July 2016 - 8:14 pm
Comments Off on Bill Shorten gives Labor women big jobs

Bill Shorten gives Labor women big jobs

by Alan Thornhill

The Opposition leader Bill Shorten spoke of his “education dream team” today, as he announced that Tanya Plibersek is to become shadow minister for education. in a reshuffle   announced today.

 

Penny Wong, who previously held that post, will now become, labor’s shadow minister for foreign affairs,

 

These changes, effectively a swap, were the most important on Mr Shorten’s long list of new responsibilities.

 

Ms Plibersek also remains Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

 

She is one of Labor’s most effective speakers.

 

And her new appointment is being taken as a sign that Labor is planning to make education the spearhead of its next election campaign.

 

She will be supported by ministers with expanded responsibilities.

 

Mr Shorten said:  “Kate Ellis will expand her responsibilities as the Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development to include TAFE and Vocational Education.

 

And “In addition to being Shadow Cabinet Secretary, Jacinta Collins will also be assisting Kate with Early Childhood.

 

“As a staunch advocate for blue-collar jobs, Doug Cameron will be the Shadow Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships.”

 

Introducing his new  team, Mr Shorten said: “education from the early years to schools, university and of course TAFE and vocational education, is a first-order economic and social priority for Labor in the 45th parliament.

 

” Investing in education is the key to Australia’s future prosperity, and it is one of the sharpest contrasts between us and the Turnbull Government.

 

” So I present to Australia, the education dream team: Tanya and Kate – supported by Doug, Jacinta, Terri and Andrew.”

 

Mr Shorten also said  Penny Wong will continue as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and she will bring her considerable talents and intellect to the important post of Shadow Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

 

“Claire Moore will work alongside Penny as Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific.

 

“Stephen Conroy will remain Deputy Leader in the Senate and take on the new job of Shadow Special Minister of State, putting a new emphasis on scrutiny of government and the accountability of the executive. Stephen will also be the Shadow Minister for Sport

 

“It’s great to have a Collingwood supporter in that role at last.

 

“As I made clear during the campaign, Chris Bowen will continue to lead the economic debate as Shadow Treasurer.

 

“Andrew Leigh will serve as Shadow Assistant Treasurer, with additional responsibilities as Shadow Minister for Competition and Productivity and Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits.

 

“Sam Dastyari will join the Shadow Ministry with the portfolio of Consumer Affairs.

 

“And Katy Gallagher will bring her wealth of experience to her new role as Shadow Minister for Small Business and Financial Services.

 

I’m combining these responsibilities to drive improved access to capital for small business and better accountability in our banking sector.

 

“This is a Cabinet position, as it should be.

 

“It deserves a heavy hitter, as Katy is.

 

“Julie Owens, representing the small business heartland of Parramatta, will be the Assistant Minister. Matt Thistlethwaite will be an Assistant Minister in the Treasury Portfolio.

 

“Jim Chalmers will enjoy a well-deserved promotion to join the Shadow Cabinet with responsibilities for Finance.”

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Friday 22nd July 2016 - 6:38 pm
Comments Off on Federal government acts on steel jobs

Federal government acts on steel jobs

by Alan Thornhill

The Federal government says it has “struck a deal” to secure the jobs of South Australian steel workers.

 

In a joint statement late today, the Prime Minster, Malcolm Turnbull, said  his government “is delivering” on its its “election commitment to support South Australia’s steel sector and workers at Arrium .“

 

He said the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation would provide a loan of $49.2 million for new machinery at the Iron Knob and Iron Baron mines.

 

This would be done under the National Interest Account.

 

Mr Turnbull said this would enable Arrium’s OneWhyalla business to process iron ore to export quality and is expected to boost Arrium’s cash flow by more than $200 million over the next five years.

 

The Prime Minister said this investment would build on his government’s ongoing commitment to support Australia’s steel industry.

 

He said the measurers already announced included:-

  • Using Australian steel across our naval shipbuilding program
  • Upgrading 1200 kilometres of rail line between Adelaide and Tarcoola, a project worth approximately $80 million to Arrium
  • Strengthening Australia’s anti-dumping system.

 

 

Mr Turnbull  said his government would continue to work closely with the administrators as they prepare Arrium’s businesses for sale.

Wednesday 20th July 2016 - 9:09 am
Comments Off on Australia:the entepreneurial

Australia:the entepreneurial

by Alan Thornhill

Thinking of starting a new small business?

 

You are not alone.

 

A new survey, that the National Australia Bank published today, shows that one Australian in three shares your ambition.

 

The bank says this shows that the start-up culture is alive and well, in this country.

 

So what did the survey find?

 

The key conclusions, according to the bank, were:-

 

  • Around 1 in 3 Australians would like to own their own business with young Australians clearly the most aspirational (nearly 1 in 2)
  • Over 1 in 2 men and 41 per cent of women say they have “good” to “excellent” levels of entrepreneurship
  • The most popular new businesses are cafés and retail, followed by IT and personal services
  • Most budding entrepreneurs would go it alone or with their spouse or partner
  • Around 40 per cent of budding entrepreneurs and 75 per cent of existing business owners need or needed less than $50,000 to get their business off the ground
  • Over 1 in 3 aspirational and existing business owners would be keen to be part of “community” of other entrepreneurs

 

The NAB’s Executive General Manager for Micro and Small Business Leigh O’Neill said a healthy start-up sector is critical to fostering a new wave of growth for the Australian economy.

 

“Small businesses are so important to creating future jobs and economic growth, and understanding their motivations and needs means we can help support the right ecosystems for growth,” Ms O’Neill said.

 

“We’ve got a huge community of budding entrepreneurs eager to get their ideas off the ground, and it’s clear that they need more than money.”

 

The release of the research coincides with the launch of NAB Startup, a service that allows aspiring small business owners to become operational quickly, with guidance on setting up an ABN, ACN, business and domain name registrations, as well as website creation and invoicing functionality.

 

“We see plenty of small business owners juggling full time jobs while setting up their new ventures.

 

 

“They have huge amounts of excitement and energy, but very little time, so they need things to be simple, quick and connected,” said Ms O’Neill.

 

“Services like NAB Startup, our new unsecured $50,000 QuickBiz Loan and digital marketplace for small business Proquo, help entrepreneurs get their business ideas off the ground more quickly and connect with other small businesses.”

 

The full survey ‘The Lure of Entrepreneurship – Australia’s Start-up Culture’  in available at www.news.nab.com.au.

Tuesday 19th July 2016 - 3:30 pm
Comments Off on Buying a home? Why it’s still a struggle

Buying a home? Why it’s still a struggle

by Alan Thornhill

Australians planning to buy new homes are still finding them less affordable.

 

However, a new survey, by the Housing Industry Association confirms that significant differences between the various State capitals persist.

 

The association’s Affordability Report, published  today,  showed that affordability overall  fell by 3.7 per cent in  the June quarter.

 

It was also 2.1 per cent less favorable than that of the same period a year earlier.

 

The Association said the capital city housing affordability index fell by 4.3 per cent during the quarter, while regional market index experienced a 1.9 per cent improvement.

 

“Home price growth moderated in the early part of the year and the HIA Housing Affordability Index showed an improvement in affordability during the March 2016 quarter,” HIA Economist, Geordan Murray said.

 

“However, in the June quarter dwelling price growth returned and the index reverted to the level we saw at the end of 2015,” he added.

 

“While there was a decline in the headline index tracking the national picture, there was substantial variation around the country – with substantial differences between states, and also differences between capital city markets and regional markets.”

 

“The geographic variation in affordability is most evident in the comparison between Melbourne and Perth,” Mr Murray said.

 

Over the last year, the median dwelling price in Perth has fallen by 4.7 per cent while Melbourne’s has grown by 11.5 per cent,” he added.

 

This has seen the affordability index for Perth increase by 6.2 per cent over the last year, while the index for Melbourne has fallen by 6.2 per cent.”

 

“These differences in affordability align with the relative economic performance of these two states.

 

“The Western Australian economy is navigating the tail end of the mining boom which has seen conditions in the local labour market deteriorate and consequently the rate of population growth has fallen quite sharply.

 

“ In contrast, Victoria has experienced a healthy level of growth in the labour force and continues to record the strongest rate of population growth in the country,”  Mr Murray said.

 

During the June 2016 quarter, improvements in affordability were observed in three capital cities with the largest improvement in Perth (+3.2 per cent), Darwin (+2.9 per cent) and Hobart (+2.2 per cent).

 

Affordability worsened in the remaining five capital cities during the March 2016 quarter with the largest decline recorded in Melbourne (-7.4 per cent), followed by Canberra (-5.7 per cent), Sydney (-1.6 per cent), Adelaide (-1.3 per cent), and Brisbane (-1.0 per cent).

Tuesday 19th July 2016 - 1:10 pm
Comments Off on RBA”waiting”

RBA”waiting”

by Alan Thornhill

The Reserve Bank is waiting for fresh information, before it decides whether to cut interest rates again, as it did in May.

 

The bank clarified its position in the minutes from its July 5 Board meeting which it released today.

 

It said growth in Australia’s major trading partners appeared to have remained slightly below average over recent months.

 

This was  in line with earlier forecasts.

 

“ GDP growth in China appeared to have eased further, which was continuing to affect economic conditions throughout the Asian region,” the bank added.

 

It said, too,  that:  “monetary policy remained very accomodative across the major economies.”

 

That was expected to remain so given that inflation was below most central banks’ targets.

 

However, the bank added, this was despite improvements in labour markets leading to full employment in several large advanced economies.

 

It said: “ GDP growth in China appeared to have eased further, which was continuing to affect economic conditions throughout the Asian region.

 

“Monetary policy remained very accommodative across the major economies.

 

And it is expected to remain so given that inflation was below most central banks’ targets, despite improvements in labour markets leading to full employment in several large advanced economies, the bank added

 

It said:  “the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union had led to considerable financial market volatility, which had since settled.

 

“Financial markets had functioned effectively throughout the episode and borrowing costs for high-quality borrowers remained low.
Any effects of the referendum outcome on UK and global economic activity remained to be seen.

 

In any event, the referendum result implied a period of uncertainty about the outlook for the United Kingdom and the European Union. In the absence of significant financial dislocation, the staff’s central case was that this uncertainty was expected to have only a modest adverse effect on global economic activity.

 

 

Commodity prices had generally increased since the previous meeting. At the time of the present meeting, the Australian dollar (in trade-weighted terms) was around the levels assumed in the forecasts at the time of the May Statement on Monetary Policy

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 19th July 2016 - 9:07 am
Comments Off on The news:Tuesday July 19

The news:Tuesday July 19

by Alan Thornhill

Malcolm Turnbull’s big new ministry and cabinet to be sworn in today

 

 

 

Pauline Hanson has made a controversial appearance on ABC’s Q&A as police clashed with a handful of protesters who demonstrated for and against her on the street outside, arresting up to six people theage

 

 

Donald Trump’s camp calls Republican’s staying away from their party’s convention in Cleveland “childish”  BBC

 

The black former Marine and Iraq war veteran who shot dead three police officers in the southern US city of Baton Rouge at the weekend planned his attack for days and then “assassinated” the men, officials say. ABC

Monday 18th July 2016 - 7:17 pm
Comments Off on Tony Abbott:off the team

Tony Abbott:off the team

by Alan Thornhill

Tony Abbott has missed out on a place in Malcolm Turnbull’s new ministry and Christopher Pyne is to become Australia’s new minister for defence industry.

 

The Prime Minister has also named Josh Frydenberg Australia’s new environment minister.

 

This has angered environmentalists who say Mr Frydenberg has always favoured the  coal industry over the Great Barrier Reef.

 

Mr Turnbull’s new ministry and cabinet are to be sworn in next week.

 

The Prime Minister’s decision to leave his predecessor, Mr Abbott, off his front bench comes as no surprise, even though hard right MPs, within the Liberal Party, would have welcomed such a move.

 

As he  promised do before the election, Mr Turnbull generally avoided unecssary changes changes when he announced his new team today.

 

But Mr Frydenberg will become minister for the environment and energy.

 

Mr Turnbull said all his previous cabinet ministers had been reappointed although there had been some changes and expansions in their duties.

 

He said:  “Senator Fiona Nash will add Local Government and Territories to her Regional Development and Regional Communications roles.

 

“Christopher Pyne will be appointed to the new role of Minister for Defence Industry, within the Defence portfolio.

 

“Mr Pyne will be responsible for overseeing our new Defence Industry Plan that came out of the Defence White Paper.

 

“This includes the most significant naval shipbuilding program since the Second World War.

 

“This is a key national economic development role. This program is vitally important for the future of Australian industry and especially advanced manufacturing.

 

“The Minister for Defence Industry will oversee the Naval Shipbuilding Plan which will itself create 3,600 new direct jobs and thousands more across the supply chain across Australia.

 

“Beyond shipbuilding, there is a massive Defence Industry Investment and Acquisition Program on land, in the air and inside cyberspace.

 

“This is a massive step change set out in the Defence White Paper. This investment in Defence Industry, as you know, is a key part of our economic plan.

 

“It will drive the jobs and the growth in advanced manufacturing, in technology, right across the country. And I’m appointing Christopher to be the Minister to oversee that and ensure that those projects are delivered.

 

“As I said at the outset, this is a term of government for delivery.

 

“We will be judged in 2019 by the Australian people as to whether we have delivered on the plans and the programs and the investments that we have promised and set out and described in the lead-up to the election.

 

Greg Hunt will move from Environment to become the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, where he will drive the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

 

“Can I say that Mr Hunt has been an outstanding Environment Minister and he served in that portfolio in Government and indeed, in opposition.

 

“He has a keen understanding of innovation, he has a keen understanding of science and technology and he will give new leadership to that important portfolio and those important agendas so central to our economic plan.

 

“Josh Frydenberg will move to the expanded Environment and Energy portfolio combining all the key energy policy areas.

 

“These include energy security and domestic energy markets for which he has been previously responsible in the current portfolio. Renewable energy targets, clean energy development and financing and emission reduction mechanisms which are part of Environment.

 

“Senator Matt Canavan will be promoted to Cabinet as the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia and I welcome Senator Canavan to the Cabinet in this key economic development role,” Mr Turnbull said.

 

 

 

 

Sunday 17th July 2016 - 6:52 pm
Comments Off on Turnbull “backs away” from promised super changes

Turnbull “backs away” from promised super changes

by Alan Thornhill

By late tomorrow (Monday), we should know what the new Turnbull government will look like, but not what it will do about its proposed changes to superannuation.

 

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, signalled yesterday that a decision on that matter is still some way off.

 

Labor called that a “humiliating back down.”

 

Its superannuation spokesman, Jim Chalmers noted that Mr Turnbull had  had said before the July 2 election that the government’s proposed changes to superannuation were “absolutely ironclad”.

 

There are many critics, including some critical ones within the Liberal party, who don’t like the caps the government is proposing to put on tax free contributions to super.

 

Mr Turnbull, though, insists that they are needed, to make the system fairer.

 

But he warned reporters in Sydney today not to expect a quick resolution of this issue.

 

That’s  good advice, as those internal critics, in particular, are very powerful.

 

And they would seriously embarrass the Prime Minister if they forced him to back down, from a position that he, himself, has described as “fair,” so soon after an election.

 

Mr Turnbull told reporters today that he is listening “very carefully” to the concerns that “my colleagues and others” have raised at the proposed superannuation tax reforms.

 

“And they will go through the normal Cabinet and party room process.

 

“We are listening very keenly, I am listening very keenly and carefully to concerns that have been raised by my colleagues, and of course by other people in the community as well,” he said.

 

But Mr Turnbull added that he would not say more at a press conference.

 

Mr Chalmers ridiculed Mr Turnbull’s new stance.

 

“Well, it will be champagne flutes at twenty paces tonight at The Lodge as the members of the Turnbull Government gather to brawl about their superannuation changes,”  he said.

 

“ No amount of taxpayer-funded champagne and prawns will fix the deep divisions in the Liberal Party, in the Turnbull Government, over the mess they’ve made of superannuation,” Mr Chalmers added.

 

Mr Turnbull also coonfirmed today  that there would be some changes between his old ministry cabinet and cabinet and his new ones.

 

His junior Coalition partner, the Nationals, for example, are expected to get at least one extra seat, because they polled well in the July 2 elections.

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