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Australian News

Hiker dies after falling from cliff in Queensland


A bushwalker has died after falling from a cliff in Queensland’s Scenic Rim.

The incident occurred in Mount Barney National Park, around 90 kilometres southwest of Brisbane, on Saturday morning.

Emergency services were called to Lower Portals Rd at Mount Barney about 10.45am.

The victim is believed to be a man aged in his 30s.

RELATED: Young woman dies in fall at Manly

Mount Barney is the second highest peak in the state’s south east.

Police, paramedics and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service all attended the scene.

The man’s next of kin were yet to be notified by police as of Saturday night.



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Business

Avoiding an economic ‘cliff’ will require more spending


Just how much “fiscal space” a country has is a judgment call, but it’s safe to say Australia has a fair bit more up its sleeve. The same report said our projected government debt for 2021 as a share of the gross domestic product was about half the average for advanced economies.

But how far should governments go in propping up businesses and jobs that have been destroyed by measures to contain COVID-19? And when should we start to worry about the risks of taking on even more public debt?

So far, Australia’s economy has fared better than most in this crisis. The government rightly responded to the pandemic with one of the biggest stimulus packages in the world, relative to our size, which prevented much economic and social misery.

However, economists are still pretty gloomy when looking at what we’re facing in a few months’ time.

The sheer size of Australia’s stimulus effort, and the fact the spending is concentrated in the six months to September, means that removing it will have a big impact. ANZ Bank has even forecast the economy will shrink in the three months to December because of stimulus being withdrawn.

Business leaders are nervously awaiting this final quarter of the year, with National Australia Bank chief executive Ross McEwan last week supporting targeted packages to support the hardest-hit industries.

Illustration: Simon Letch

Illustration: Simon LetchCredit:

And Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indeed signalled there will be some targeted support for the sectors that have been forced to effectively close, such as aviation and international tourism.

The questions are how much extra support there will be, who will get it, and when does the downside of all that debt outweigh its benefit?

There are clearly limits on how much we can and should borrow, but the view of most market economists is we’re not there yet, especially in an era of ultra-low interest rates. More to the point, attempting to rein in debt through “austerity” would make a bad economic situation even worse.

Independent economist Saul Eslake says one of the key lessons of the aftermath of the global financial crisis overseas was the damage caused by withdrawing stimulus too early. “Germany, Britain and to at least some extent the United States tightened fiscal policy too early in 2010 and dealt their recoveries an unnecessary setback, and we don’t want to do that,” he says.

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ANZ Bank head of Australia economics David Plank, who is forecasting a budget deficit of $200 billion for the coming financial year, also says the debt being racked up is worthwhile. “I don’t think a deficit of $200 billion in 2021 is inappropriate. I think what would be inappropriate would be sharply withdrawing government spending,” he says.

Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson says that with official interest rates at rock bottom and unemployment high, it is a time for government spending to step into the breach. “A given dollar of government spending can do more good today than at any other time that Australians have ever known,” Richardson says.

Importantly, none of this is to say we should be writing a blank stimulus cheque, nor that every business can be saved. Further public spending to get the economy off a “cliff” is a far cry from what proponents of modern monetary theory advocate – expanding the money supply to finance government spending.

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It is also a sad reality that many businesses are likely to fail during this recession. It won’t be in the economy’s interests to have a series of so-called “zombie” companies – those that only survive because debt is extremely cheap, but are unable to invest.

Indeed, Eslake points out that part of improving Australia’s low productivity growth will involve allowing capital and labour to move to more productive uses. “We don’t want to adopt a suite of policies that inhibit the movement of labour and capital from low productivity uses to higher productivity uses,” he says.

Australia’s economy still faces a highly uncertain outlook as it tries to avoid the”cliff”, and there will no doubt be many hard decisions facing economic managers in the months ahead. But whether to provide more targeted stimulus to the economy should not be one of them.

Ross Gittins is on leave.

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Australian News

Car drives off cliff and crashes into water


A car has crashed into the sea after veering off a cliff while driving along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road this afternoon.

Multiple emergency crews have been called to the scene in Lorne following reports a vehicle had gone over the edge of a cliff near Lorne.

Victoria Police Sergeant Megan Stefanec is it is not known how many people were inside the vehicle when the crash occurred.

“Investigators have been told a car travelling on the Great Ocean Road left the roadway and veered over a cliff into the ocean about 1.20pm today,” she said in a statement.

“The cause of the crash is yet to be determined and the investigation is ongoing.”

An SES spokesperson told Nine a “very serious incident” was unfolding along the coastal road.

“VICSES crews are assisting police with a high angle rescue following a vehicle rollover from the road to the beach,” the spokesperson said.

“It appears the vehicle is in the water, with crews with multiple agencies there to assist.”

Anyone who witnessed the crash or has any dashcam footage of the incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

More to come.



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Australian News

Mountain climber left clinging to cliff face after Blue Mountains fall


A man has spent a perilous night in icy conditions clinging onto a one metre wide rock ledge, after falling 40 metres while rock climbing with friends in the Blue Mountains yesterday.

The man, who’d been climbing in the National Park with a group of three friends, fell at about 4pm and became stranded on the ledge.

NSW Police told news.com.au they attempted to rescue the man yesterday after he fell at about 4pm, but were hampered by poor vision. He spent the night on the ledge with a thermal blanket.

Police told news.com.au they are working to try and rescue the man again this morning.

The rock climber is believed to have a fractured arm and spent the night stranded in place.

Last night ambulance crews awaited the man above at Point Pilcher in Medlow Bath as police helicopters tried to winch him to safety, but the rescue was abandoned until first light.

More to come.



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Australian News

Climber rescued from rock cliff in Blue Mountains


A climber is being rescued from a rock cliff in the Blue Mountains after falling and breaking his bones earlier in the day.

Rescue crews are dangerously helping get the climber to safety at Point Pilcher lookout in Medlow Bath this evening.

He is wrapped in a thermal blanket, sitting on a 1m rock ledge, halfway down the 150m cliff face.

He was part of a group of three climbing the cliff.

A rescue helicopter is being used to winch the injured man to paramedics at the top of the cliff.

He is believed to have a “significant” arm injury.



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