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Australian News

Sydney bushfire causes evacuations, halts Big Brother production


An out of control bushfire caused evacuations on Sydney’s northern beaches on Saturday – and forced production crews to flee the Big Brother house.

The fire at North Head, near Manly, started as a hazard reduction burn before turning into an emergency when flames were blown past containment lines.

The blaze sent smoke billowing across Sydney Harbour, leaving a haze hanging over the city.

NSW Fire and Rescue said about 200 people were forced to evacuate from locations close to the fire in the national park, including the historic Quarantine Station.

That included the 50-strong production team from Big Brother – including host Sonia Kruger – which is working on the 2021 edition of the reality show.

“Due to the impact of a prescribed hazard reduction burn at North Head, the Big Brother crew onsite were safely evacuated,” a spokesperson for production company Endemol Shine Australia said.

“Filming is yet to commence and production will resume when it is safe to do so.”

Text messages sent to staff show filming was meant to begin on Saturday, when contestants were expected to arrive on site.

On Sunday the Rural Fire Service said the fire was “pretty much contained” after a night of backburning and rain.

It had burned through about 10ha of the national park by the time it was brought under control.



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Business

Budget is big on political correctness, weak on job creation


First, give tax breaks and incentives to businesses, in the hope that this will induce them to expand their operations, spending more on capital equipment and new employees.

Second, give tax cuts (or maybe one-off cash grants) to individual taxpayers or welfare recipients, in the hope that they will spend most of the money and thereby generate economic activity and jobs.

Those two categories involve the government making “transfer payments” from itself to households or firms. The third category is the government spending money directly by paying someone to build a house or an expressway or to work for the government and perform some service.

As a rule, economists expect direct spending to yield a greater stimulus (and thus have a higher “multiplier” effect) than transfer payments. That’s because all the government’s spending adds to demand for goods and services in the “first round”, whereas some of the money you transfer to a firm or individual may be saved rather than spent, even in the first round.

Economists consider saving a “leakage” from the various rounds of the “circular flow of income” round and round the economy. Other leakages occur if the money is spent on imports rather than locally made goods and services.

Still on direct spending, if your primary goal is not so much to add to the production of goods and services (real gross domestic product) as to increase employment, you’d be better off directing your government spending to a labour-intensive purpose (employing an extra uni tutor or aged-care nurse, for instance), rather than a capital-intensive purpose, such as a new expressway.

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Credit:Illustration: Matt Davidson

Now let’s look at how the budget’s main measures fit these three categories. Its temporary measure to allow firms an immediate write-off of the cost of new equipment (costing the revenue $26.7 billion over four years), its temporary measure allowing firms to carry back current losses for tax purposes ($4.9 billion), its research and development tax incentive ($2 billion) and its temporary JobMaker “hiring credit” – wage subsidy – ($4 billion) add up to total revenue forgone under the first category of tax breaks to businesses of almost $38 billion.

This is far bigger than the money going to individual taxpayers and welfare recipients in the second category: personal tax cuts ($17.8 billion over four years) and “economic support payments” to pensioners ($2.5 billion), a total of just over $20 billion.

Under the third category, direct government spending on goods and services, the main measures are various infrastructure programs – mostly via grants to state governments – worth more than $10 billion over four years.

So you see how much the budget’s fiscal stimulus measures have been affected by the government’s “core values”. No less than $38 billion goes as tax breaks to business, three-quarters of the $20 billion in transfers to individuals comes as tax cuts, leaving about $10 billion in direct spending going to the least labour-intensive purpose – transport infrastructure.

Liberal "core values" over "bang for buck": Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg before the budget announcement.

Liberal “core values” over “bang for buck”: Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg before the budget announcement.

Now, according to the budget papers – or according to the budget “glossies” fudged up by ministerial staffers with lots of colour photos of good-looking punters – the government and its minions have estimated the number of jobs the top programs are expected to create.

The immediate asset write-off and loss carry-back for businesses is expected to create about 50,000 jobs. Is that a lot? Well, remembering we have a labour force of 13.5 million, it doesn’t seem much. And dividing the 50,000 into the budgetary cost of $31.6 billion gives a cost of $632,000 per job.

That’s infinitely more than any of those extra workers are likely to be paid, of course, and absolutely pathetic bang per buck. Giving money to business in the hope it will do wonders for “jobs and growth” is a classic example of “trickle-down economics”. Clearly, a lot of the money doesn’t.

But, when you think about it, it’s not so surprising that so much money produces so few extra jobs. Why not? Because almost all the capital equipment Australian firms buy is imported. And because firms get the concession even if they don’t buy any more equipment than they would have done.

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Next, the budget documents imply that the personal tax cuts worth $17.8 billion will create a further 50,000 jobs. That works out at $356,000 per job – still terrible bang per buck. Why so high? Too much of the tax cut is likely to be saved.

Finally, the budget documents tell us the $4 billion cost of the JobMaker hiring credit will yield “around 450,000 positions for young Australians”. That’s a much better – but still high – $8900 per “position” – which I take to mean that a lot of the jobs won’t be lasting or full time.

So, what measures would have yielded better job-creation value? The ones rejected as politically incorrect: big spending on social housing, a permanent increase in the JobSeeker unemployment benefit – or even just employing more childcare workers.

Ross Gittins is the Herald’s economics editor.

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The next big shift in economics is taking shape under pandemic shadow


Financial markets, where bond vigilantes were once reckoned to exert a powerful check on deficit-spending governments, are ready to lend them money at very low interest rates. The short-run concern for investors is that politicians will stall the recovery by spending too little. JPMorgan predicts that this year’s big fiscal boost to the global economy may turn into a 2.4 percentage-point drag on growth in 2021, as virus relief programs expire.

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The same worry weighs on monetary authorities, whose autonomy from the rest of government was designed so they could push back against too-loose fiscal policy. Running short of their own tools to juice economies, with interest rates already at zero or below, central banks are now doing the opposite. They’re calling for more deficit-spending, buying up swathes of the resulting debt, and promising low borrowing costs far into the future.

“Fiscal policy is the big game in town now,” said Stephen King, senior economic adviser to HSBC. “As a central banker, you have to accept in that sense you’ve lost a bit of power to the political process.”

Fiscal stimulus packs a bigger punch than the monetary kind because it can channel cash directly to households or businesses, and it’s better suited for delivering targeted aid to those who need it most in a crisis, like the unemployed. Central bankers can only inject more spending power into the economy via an indirect channel: the price of borrowing from banks or financial markets.

But they can at least act fast and decisively. Budget processes, by contrast, can get messy -as illustrated in the US For months now, both parties have accepted that more spending is needed. Because they couldn’t agree on how much, or what kind, the result has been no further stimulus at all.

Even if a deal isn’t reached before November’s election, economists at Goldman Sachs and other banks expect the fiscal support to resume after it.

Fiscal policy is the big game in town now. As a central banker, you have to accept in that sense you’ve lost a bit of power to the political process.

Stephen King, senior economic adviser to HSBC

President Donald Trump is promising more tax cuts if he wins. Democratic challenger Joe Biden, who leads opinion polls, has outlined a $US3.5 trillion spending program – and signalled he won’t be bound by the idea that economies necessarily do better when governments are less involved. “Milton Friedman isn’t running the show anymore,” Biden told Politico in April.

In Europe, where fiscal caution has deep roots in German fears of debt and inflation, leaders took a big step this year toward pooling their budget resources – an idea long seen as a non-starter, and one that still faces hurdles – as the pandemic threatened to overwhelm the European Central Bank’s ability to prop up economies.

German officials say there’ll be no return to balanced budgets in their own country anytime soon. In the UK, governing Conservatives who championed austerity after the 2008 crash are ruling out a repeat, though they’ve started talking about tax increases to finance pandemic relief efforts.

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Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s new prime minister, has said debt consolidation will have to wait until growth is back – and suggested there’s no hard limit to how much his government can borrow.

Japan was the first major country in the modern era where interest rates fell to zero, after a credit bubble burst some three decades ago. Monetary policy was left with no easy way to stimulate growth by making borrowing cheaper – and households and businesses weren’t keen to take on more debt anyway, while the government could and did. It was an early-warning sign that the world’s central banks might run out of steam, and bring fiscal policy back to the fore.

After 2008, much of the developed world found itself in a similar predicament. Unable to lower short-term rates, central banks tried to cap longer-term borrowing costs by buying securities – mostly public debt, since governments were the main borrowers in depressed economies. That exposed them to new criticisms.

“Buying assets has all sorts of political and distributional side effects,” said Charlie Bean, a former Bank of England deputy governor. “We have to move out of the world where central banks are seen as the solution, to one where the government and fiscal policy will often have to pick up the ball and run with it.”

Governments boosted spending in response to the 2008 crash too. There’s now a consensus among economists that they pivoted to austerity too early, holding back growth in the decade before the coronavirus struck. Plenty of fiscal advocates fear that history could repeat itself.

The start-stop approach “contributed to discrediting fiscal policy” in the past, said Robert Skidelsky, an economic historian known for his biography of the British economist and champion of fiscal activism John Maynard Keynes.

Japan was the first major country in the modern era where interest rates fell to zero, after a credit bubble burst some three decades ago. It was an early-warning sign that the world's central banks might run out of steam, and bring fiscal policy back to the fore.

Japan was the first major country in the modern era where interest rates fell to zero, after a credit bubble burst some three decades ago. It was an early-warning sign that the world’s central banks might run out of steam, and bring fiscal policy back to the fore.Credit:AP

After the Great Depression of the 1930s, Keynesian policy became the orthodoxy for most Western governments, who used their budgets to stimulate demand and create jobs. But the edifice came crashing down in the 1970s when unemployment and prices surged at the same time, and inflation-targeting central banks emerged as the primary macro-economic managers.

The watershed moment came with Fed Chair Paul Volcker’s interest-rate hikes at the start of the 1980s, according to Catherine Mann, Citigroup’s global chief economist, who was working on her PhD around that time. She’s not yet convinced that the policy response to COVID-19 falls into the same game-changing category.

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For that to happen, governments would have to start using fiscal policy not just for the short-term purpose of “getting the economy out of the doldrums” but in pursuit of longer-term goals, like lowering inequality or carbon emissions, Mann said.

There are signs they are headed that way. Some recovery programs in Europe have put job-creation and environmental sustainability at their heart, and Biden is promising a $US2 trillion ($2.8 trillion) green-energy overhaul in the US.

And in the world of economics, the new school of Modern Monetary Theory – which says governments usually have more room to spend in times of low inflation – has gained traction by advocating bold fiscally financed programs like a Green New Deal.

It all points toward the revamp of economic management that should have happened after the financial crisis a decade ago, according to Paul McCulley, former chief economist at bond giant Pacific Investment Management. Back then, politicians balked at the size of deficits and debt, he told Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast. Now he thinks the coronavirus has completed the regime-change.

“Any pretense is over,” he said. “We’re clearly living in a fiscal-policy dominated world.”

Bloomberg

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Why the attack on Big Tech could be destined to fail


The report also suggested that platforms should assume a role akin to a utility like the electricity grid.

Sam Bowman, director of competition policy at the International Law Economy Centre, said the proposed changes read like the “most extreme wish list” for anyone who hated Big Tech. “It’s ridiculous, it ends up reading like they tried to frame every single possible behaviour by these companies as harmful and anti-competitive, which is far-fetched,” he said. “No neutral reader could look at that report, and not realise that they’re reading a political document.”

Without core law changes, we believe this antitrust momentum hits a brick wall.

Dan Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities

Bowman said there was nothing in the report that demonstrated or alleged consumer harm. Instead, it focused on harms to competitors which were “alien” to American and British policy and “much more in line” with European norms. The European Commission has taken a hard line on Big Tech, and imposed heavy fines for anti-competitive behaviour.

“I think where this will probably land – and this is still really bad – is this kind of forced interoperability, basically treating platforms as a utility,” Bowman said.

Some Republicans back elements of the report, but do not go so far as to endorse Congress to intervene and restructure tech firms. Colorado’s Ken Buck said he agreed with three quarters of the report, but not with recommendations around breaking up the giant businesses.

Dan Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities, said the differences between Republicans and Democrats on how to tackle tech’s dominance made wide-scale change unlikely. “Without core law changes, we believe this antitrust momentum hits a brick wall,” he said. He added that both parties had struggled to gain a consensus on “more pressing issues” and, as a result, made agreeing to new laws on tech unlikely.

The subcommittee spoke to employees at the companies and their rivals to determine if competition had been unfairly crushed. As the inquiry neared its conclusion, the heads of all four firms were called to testify against allegations of monopolistic behaviour.

Big Tech has undergone exponential growth over the past decade with the combined valuation of all four now at more than $US5 trillion ($6.9 trillion).

Christopher Rossbach, fund manager at London-based investor J Stern & Co, said that the report provided a “blueprint for regulation” if Democratic Joe Biden was elected. “It confirms our view that the Democrats will investigate past acquisitions like Instagram by Facebook and Doubleclick by Google, and raise the possibility of breaking up parts of the companies as one of the remedies,” he said. “Traditional antitrust focuses on harm to consumers. The simplest harm is higher prices. However, the Big Tech platforms are free to consumers, have increased choice and lowered prices.”

A range of investigations into the tech firms are ongoing across the US, with the contents of the report likely to encourage prosecutors.

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The justice department and several states are looking into Google while the Federal Trade Commission is examining Facebook’s moves for Instagram and WhatsApp. Both are believed to be exploring if Amazon is abusing its position of power to promote its own products. Apple has also drawn the attention of the justice department for its commission charged on App Store sign-ups.

Telegraph, London

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Australian News

Anthony Albanese pledges big savings on childcare


Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s big budget pitch on childcare could leave some parents with out-of-pocket costs as little as $10 a day.

In his budget reply speech, Mr Albanese has pledged to cover the cost of up to 90 per cent of the cost of childcare for low income families.

For a family spending $110 a day on childcare the out-of-pocket cost could be slashed to just $10.

But cost of living relief will also be offered to the vast majority of families using childcare with Labor pledging the changes will leave 97 per cent of families better off.

Even the rich will get a more generous deal, with Labor lifting the income threshold where childcare subsidies are scrapped to a combined family income of $500,000.

“Working mothers should be able to afford child care for their kids. It’s as simple as that,’’ Mr Albanese said.

“Women are the key to kickstarting our economy again. In the worst recession in a hundred years, we have to make sure women aren’t forced to choose between their family and their jobs.”

“We can’t just let fees and out-of-pocket costs keep skyrocketing. Only Labor has a plan to put more money in the family budget and help women get back to work, quickly.”

But by pitching childcare as an issue for “working mothers”, rather than parents, Mr Albanese was reverting to the same script that prompted a fiery confrontation between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the ABC’s Leigh Sales this week, after she challenged the idea that childcare was an issue for working mothers rather than fathers too. (LINK)

In parliament, Labor leader Anthony Albanese hammered the Prime Minister over the failure to tackle child care in the budget and mocking him for suggesting the budget was good for women if they also liked driving on roads.

“Women have suffered most during the pandemic, but are reduced to a footnote. The best the Government can offer is they can drive on a road. And if you are over 35 you have certainly been left behind,’’ he said.

Currently, the childcare subsidy offered by the Morrison Government is worth up to 85 per cent for low income families but Labor’s plan would lift that to 90 per cent.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Scott Morrison’s big mistake during COVID-19

RELATED: Albanese says Budget ‘leaving too many people behind’

“What children learn at childcare is so vital for giving our kids the best possible start. But the current system of caps and subsidies and thresholds isn’t just confusing and costly, it actually penalises the families it’s meant to help,’ Mr Albanese said.

“If I’m elected Prime Minister, I’m going to fix this.”

Labor’s plan would remove the annual cap on the childcare subsidy, eliminating once and for all, the disincentive to work more hours.

Under the plan an Albanese government would:

• Scrap the $10,560 child care subsidy cap which often sees women losing money from an

extra day’s work;

• Lift the maximum child care subsidy rate to 90 per cent; and

• Increase child care subsidy rates and taper them for every family earning less than

$530,000

“This means 97 per cent of all families in the system will save between $600 to $2,900 a year. No family will be worse off,’’ Mr Albanese said.

Mr Albanese’s big-spending budget-in-reply speech also unveils a huge boost to apprenticeships, jobs and bringing down power prices with a big investment in the nation’s electricity network.

Under a plan to reduce power prices, Mr Albanese said Australia should be a renewable energy superpower, updating the electricity transmission system.

“Labor’s Rewiring the Nation will invest $20 billion to rebuild and modernise the grid, in line with a blueprint already completed,’’ he said.

“Australia’s electricity network was designed for a different century, and transmission systems themselves are operated by monopoly providers who keep taking households and businesses for a ride.”



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School sport the big winner in Federal Budget 2020, while elite sporting bodies secure funding until Paris Olympics


The Sporting Schools program has become the big winner in the sports sector of the Federal Budget, with almost $20 million committed for this year and next.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will receive $2.4 million towards setup costs with more to come pending confirmation of State Government contributions.

The Australian Sports Foundation, a government-established charity to help raise tax deductible donations for sport, will receive $4.7 million to support community sporting clubs through enhanced IT and cybersecurity to grow their fundraising capabilities.

There is also $4 million for the Organ and Tissue Authority to partner with community, corporate and sporting partners to raise awareness and encourage donors.

The Acting CEO of Sport Australia, Rob Dalton, told The Ticket the commitment to the Sporting Schools program was fantastic.

Through Sport Australia, national sports bodies are married with service providers to offer a range of free sports to primary school children and targeted high school students in years seven and eight.

Elite sport funding secure until Paris Games

A man looks at the camera and smiles.
Acting CEO of Sport Australia Rob Dalton says the commitment to the Sporting Schools program is “fantastic”.(Supplied: Sport Australia)

Since it began in 2015, Sport Australia says 7,500 schools have received funding with the aim to encourage kids to be active and hopefully develop a life-long desire to remain so.

“We were really excited … it’s a really important program for the Government, for us, where we’ve had a record number of schools take it up in term 4, so that’s a great sign,” Mr Dalton said.

“We’re going to really work hard to try and connect the Sporting Schools program with our participation in sport so that we can try and get those kids that are participating in the program through into clubs so we can continue the cycle.”

The Government’s total commitment to sport, through funding of the Australian Sports Commission, is budgeted at $322 million for 2020-2021 with forward estimates showing a $50 million decrease in each of the following two years.

Mr Dalton said the downward projection was usual as programs complete their cycle and new programs have not been granted or are yet to re-apply for funding.

“We haven’t got any clarity at this point which is not usual as to what the funding is going to be.”

He says commitment to high-performance sport has already been guaranteed after the delay earlier this year of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“All national sporting organisations who do receive funding have got the certainty going into the Paris cycle [2024].”

Olympic Committee did not want more funds during pandemic

A sports executive stands at a lectern during an annual general meeting.
Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll says he did not ask for more funding.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi, file photo)

The peak body for 52 summer and winter Olympic sports, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), has welcomed the certainty provided in the budget even though no increase was sought or given.

The AOC’s CEO Matt Carroll said the Government had a lot on its plate.

“We saw from the budget last night how much they are investing to ensure Australia comes through this safely,” he said.

“Sport took the view that we weren’t asking for any additional investment but if we could just have the level of funding maintained.

“That’s exactly what the Government has done so we welcome that certainty because that’s exactly what the sports were looking for.”

The AOC, Paralympics Australia and Commonwealth Games Australia submitted a three-point plan to the Government earlier this year looking at potentially changing future funding models. They did not seek any immediate funding change.

A number of Olympic sports are also partners in the Sporting Schools program and Mr Carroll said continued funding was important.

“Sporting Schools is very important in ensuring our kids stay active,” he said.

“Quite a few of the Olympic sports participate in Sporting Schools and apart from the Government’s program, the sports themselves are then going into schools with their own development programs.”

The AOC has its own self-funded program — Olympians Unleashed — where athletes have been speaking to students virtually.

“We normally put Olympians into the classrooms but we can’t do that so we have them virtually, inspiring kids and giving them the tenacity and strength to keep on keeping on and also to make sure they’re active over this COVID time,” Mr Carroll said.

The Government has also allocated $27.4 million for Sport Integrity Australia, the new and more powerful body replacing the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.



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Big problem with Andrews, Biden and Trump


I have a running joke with my wife. Every time she comes home she surveys the wreckage of the house with an exasperated sigh and then inspects the kids for evidence and injuries. Her first words are always something along the following lines:

“Why is there Milo in the toilet?” or “What happened to my grandmother’s necklace?” or “How did the baby get on the roof?”

And with clockwork regularity I look up from the couch and say: “Don’t ask me darling, I was here the whole time!”

The premise of the joke is pretty obvious – the only thing worse than a f**k-up on your watch is the admission that you weren’t watching at all.

And then I saw the ministerial testimony at the inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine fiasco and realised the joke had become real. And it wasn’t that funny.

In fact it was just plain sad – not just for the tragic facts themselves but the notion that hard-nosed political operatives would so desperately cling to their jobs by admitting they didn’t know what their jobs actually were.

We have all seen people attempt to whitewash history. Never before have I seen people so desperate to whitewash themselves. It is unbecoming to say the least.

RELATED: Six brutal words that sum up politics

Compare this sorry spectacle to another political trainwreck this week, namely the first US presidential debate. Obviously the word “debate” can from now on only be used with inverted commas but at least its participants used words apart from “I don’t know”.

The most striking similarity is that both cases the political leaders involved were completely disconnected from reality.

In Victoria it was a monumental lack of awareness of what was happening within the ministers’ and Premier’s own departments to combat what they themselves had cast as a once in a century public health and economic disaster.

It honestly defies comprehension that the state government which went so far beyond all scientific evidence and advice to zealously destroy the coronavirus at all costs would have political leaders so utterly uninterested in and ignorant of the hopelessly inadequate measures being taken to do so. Not just in a general sense, mind you, but within their very portfolios. It is nothing short of staggering.

RELATED: Private moment that could see Trump win

And even when the Health Minister finally resigned – as she ought to have many months ago – it was not from a sense of profound regret and accountability for her inaction but because she sulkily objected to her Premier throwing her under the bus. The Americans are lucky they only had one shitshow this week. Australia has been forced to witness two.

Meanwhile in Cleveland, Ohio the two candidates for Leader of the Free World have also demonstrated they have little to no connection with the real world.

On the all-important matter of the economy, the most significant area of domestic politics over which the US President has real direct power, both were disingenuous – at least insofar as either could keep speaking long enough to be disingenuous.

Obama and Biden did indeed pull the economy and jobs growth out of the jaws of the GFC. They deserve full credit. Likewise it is unfair to blame Trump for the brutal economic crunch born of COVID-19 lockdowns instigated by state governors.

Sure, you can argue that people died because he wanted to keep the economy open, but you can’t then say that it’s his fault the economy tanked because they shut it down anyway. Attack Trump by all means but at least pick a side and stick to it.

RELATED: Why Dan Andrews is punishing Victorians

Still, at least there was life in the US presidential debate, however angry and ugly that life may look. That’s a very different scenario to the deadened state of Victoria where everyone just seems to be fleeing the crime scene. At this rate it will soon be a chalk outline searching for a body.

It’s a choice that no citizen should ever be forced to make but I’d much rather have a leader claiming credit for something he didn’t do than a leader begging for survival by claiming he didn’t do anything at all.

Ultimately all politicians are sharks: When they stop swimming, they die. And the rest of us are left treading water in a sea of hope and fear.

Joe Hildebrand is the co-host of the US politics podcast I’m Usually More Professional and Nights with John Stanley at 8pm Thursday on 2GB.



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Blokes big winners under tax cut plan but women get screwed


Men will secure double the tax cut cash that female workers secure under a budget plan to bring forward tax relief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new analysis of the proposal to bring forward tax cuts early to help stimulate the economy has warned blokes will be the biggest winners but women will miss out.

The reason is based on the simple arithmetic that men tend to earn more than women and are more likely to be high income earners.

But that‘s raised fresh concerns the tax cut plan is unfair to women who have already been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australia Institute has urged the Morrison Government to reconsider the tax cuts on the basis that many female workers will secure little or no relief from the billions of dollars in cuts that the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is considering bringing forward to stimulate the economy.

“Bringing forward the tax cuts will mainly benefit high income earning men, with men getting more than twice the benefit of women. This will lead to more gender inequality,” Matt Grudnoff, Senior Economist at The Australia Institute said.

“Our research has shown that bringing forward these income tax cuts will mainly benefit high income earners which, in Australia, are overwhelmingly male. Giving tax cuts to the wealthy will have a very limited stimulatory effect on the broader economy, but it will significantly widen the economic divide that already exists between men and women in this country.

“Rather than spending billions of dollars bringing forward tax cuts that mainly go to men on high incomes, the Government could better target that stimulus.“

The Australia Institute analysis confirms that for every dollar of tax cut that women get, men get $2.28.

In other words, men get more than twice the tax cut that women get.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus coverage

RELATED: How much you’ll save from tax cuts

If the tax cuts were divided between men and women, blokes get 70 per cent of the tax cut cash and women secure only 30 per cent of the tax cut.

The Australia Institute‘s analysis argues that well targeted stimulus should focus on those most disadvantaged by the pandemic recession.

Unemployment figures have previously confirmed that women were more likely to lose their jobs this year with employment falling in March and April by 3.9 per cent for men and 5.3 per cent for women.

Women were also more likely to lose shifts and working hours than men, in some cases due to the pressure of homeschooling children.

Speculation over the Morrison Government bringing forward benefits has centred on bringing forward the ‘Stage 2’ tax cuts from 2022 to 2021.

But it’s the Stage 3 tax cuts that could prove a hard sell for the Prime Minister because the lion’s share of the tax cut cash goes to high income earners.

For example, part-time workers will score a measly $255 per year under the Stage 3 tax cuts the Morrison Government is considering bringing forward, but the wealthy, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, will ultimately secure a stunning $11,640-a-year windfall.

ANU Associate Professor Ben Phillips has previously told news.com.au that the rich are more likely to stash tax cuts into savings accounts and pay off personal debts including credit cards and big mortgages, rather than spending the money and stimulating the economy.

“We know that people are saving at higher rates than ever. It will have some small impact. But most people would say you get a bigger bang for your buck with tax cuts at the lower income end or welfare,’’ he said.

As the Australia Institute analysis notes, despite the discussion about bringing forward the tax cuts, there are no firm proposals for when and how each stage should be used.

Previous Australia Institute modelling has confirmed high income taxpayers are the big winners of Stage 3.

For example, the top 10 per cent of taxpayers would get 52 per cent of the benefit of the tax cuts while the top 20 per cent would get 91 per cent of the benefit.

Those on low incomes get little to no benefit.

The budget will be handed down on October 6 in Canberra.



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Blokes big winners under tax cut plan but women get screwed


Men will secure double the tax cut cash that female workers secure under a budget plan to bring forward tax relief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new analysis of the proposal to bring forward tax cuts early to help stimulate the economy has warned blokes will be the biggest winners but women will miss out.

The reason is based on the simple arithmetic that men tend to earn more than women and are more likely to be high income earners.

But that‘s raised fresh concerns the tax cut plan is unfair to women who have already been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australia Institute has urged the Morrison Government to reconsider the tax cuts on the basis that many female workers will secure little or no relief from the billions of dollars in cuts that the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is considering bringing forward to stimulate the economy.

“Bringing forward the tax cuts will mainly benefit high income earning men, with men getting more than twice the benefit of women. This will lead to more gender inequality,” Matt Grudnoff, Senior Economist at The Australia Institute said.

“Our research has shown that bringing forward these income tax cuts will mainly benefit high income earners which, in Australia, are overwhelmingly male. Giving tax cuts to the wealthy will have a very limited stimulatory effect on the broader economy, but it will significantly widen the economic divide that already exists between men and women in this country.

“Rather than spending billions of dollars bringing forward tax cuts that mainly go to men on high incomes, the Government could better target that stimulus.“

The Australia Institute analysis confirms that for every dollar of tax cut that women get, men get $2.28.

In other words, men get more than twice the tax cut that women get.

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RELATED: How much you’ll save from tax cuts

If the tax cuts were divided between men and women, blokes get 70 per cent of the tax cut cash and women secure only 30 per cent of the tax cut.

The Australia Institute‘s analysis argues that well targeted stimulus should focus on those most disadvantaged by the pandemic recession.

Unemployment figures have previously confirmed that women were more likely to lose their jobs this year with employment falling in March and April by 3.9 per cent for men and 5.3 per cent for women.

Women were also more likely to lose shifts and working hours than men, in some cases due to the pressure of homeschooling children.

Speculation over the Morrison Government bringing forward benefits has centred on bringing forward the ‘Stage 2’ tax cuts from 2022 to 2021.

But it’s the Stage 3 tax cuts that could prove a hard sell for the Prime Minister because the lion’s share of the tax cut cash goes to high income earners.

For example, part-time workers will score a measly $255 per year under the Stage 3 tax cuts the Morrison Government is considering bringing forward, but the wealthy, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, will ultimately secure a stunning $11,640-a-year windfall.

ANU Associate Professor Ben Phillips has previously told news.com.au that the rich are more likely to stash tax cuts into savings accounts and pay off personal debts including credit cards and big mortgages, rather than spending the money and stimulating the economy.

“We know that people are saving at higher rates than ever. It will have some small impact. But most people would say you get a bigger bang for your buck with tax cuts at the lower income end or welfare,’’ he said.

As the Australia Institute analysis notes, despite the discussion about bringing forward the tax cuts, there are no firm proposals for when and how each stage should be used.

Previous Australia Institute modelling has confirmed high income taxpayers are the big winners of Stage 3.

For example, the top 10 per cent of taxpayers would get 52 per cent of the benefit of the tax cuts while the top 20 per cent would get 91 per cent of the benefit.

Those on low incomes get little to no benefit.

The budget will be handed down on October 6 in Canberra.



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Small investors defy market jitters as big end deals retreat


RCA’s managing director for Asia Pacific David Green-Morgan said the lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria have hit commercial landlords doubly hard.

“Office and non-grocery retail rentals have dried up with non-essential businesses not allowed to operate, while a moratorium on the eviction of financially distressed commercial tenants has hampered landlords’ ability to repurpose their properties,” Mr Green-Morgan said.

“This might explain why mainly logistics and student housing properties have been trading of late.”

At the smaller end, while retail is doing it tough, there are signs emerging of deals in the sector with a focus on the food-anchored neighbourhood centres as consumers opt to work and shop closer to their home.

Development sites are also being viewed with gusto to garner longer-term revenue opportunities.

One of the latest being offered is at 104-108 Church Street, Parramatta. No price was given but similar properties have sold for about $20 million.

The 1067 sq m site sits on a total 4115 sq m net lettable area, and is being marketed by Ray White Commercial Western Sydney senior sales executive Jai Sethi, principal Peter Vines, associate director Victor Sheu and director Joseph Assaf.

“Parramatta is absolutely thriving, with Parramatta Square coming on really well, and the recent announcement of Sydney Metro West as well as the light rail on its way, there are always keen investors looking at getting into this market,” Mr Vines said.

Primewest paid $34.75 million  for the Woolworths Spring Farm Shopping Centre.

Primewest paid $34.75 million for the Woolworths Spring Farm Shopping Centre.

The offering also comes off the back of the sale of 2-4 Palmer Street in Parramatta for $8.5 million by Ray White Commercial – Metropolitan Sydney in conjunction with Khoury & Partners.

In the midst of the pandemic, Colliers International’s agents have transacted 15 small to medium retail assets (being an individual asset worth more than $15 million and less than $75 million) valued at a combined $400 million, from the beginning of 2020. A majority were off-market transactions.

James Wilson, national director, retail investment services at Colliers International, said supply for on market investment opportunities are likely to remain relatively constrained in the short term.

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“However, a combination of factors including low cost of debt, a fluctuating share market and strong performance of supermarket and hardware operators has resulted in renewed syndicator investor appetite, with a key focus on non-discretionary retail investment opportunities anchored by major supermarket operators and ASX-listed covenants,” Mr Wilson said.

“Middle market retail investments’ popularity has continued to grow during testing conditions given the combination of the centre’s income profile, security of income through long leases to ASX listed tenants together with their large strategic land holdings being very attractive for generational investors.”

Mr Wilson said sales included a portfolio of assets held by Woolworths, including the Spring Farm Shopping Centre, in Sydney’s south-west, Coles, Altis, Stockland and the Kaufland National Portfolio.

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