Coronavirus Australia: Debt and deficit disaster

The forced closure of the Australian economy, with millions facing unemployment and tens of thousands of businesses going to the wall, has brought the government to this point. But as Prime Minister Scott Morrison says often, the virus will pass and normality will return. When that normality returns, however, the budget will be a smoking ruin. Just on the perfunctory figures released by the government outlining its general costs, more than $60 billion is being spent this financial year to prop up the economy. Next year is $127 billion. That’s…

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Wage subsidy a relief for many but a warning of what’s to come

Just as the government has been the lender of last resort to banks in the past, it is now the employer of last resort to workers. Loading The program is structured carefully to encourage big companies to halt redundancies because they know the federal money will be paid in the first week of May. In a win for small business, the money also goes to sole traders and small companies where the owner can be considered an employee. These are reasonable conditions on huge outlays. The payment is not as…

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Businesses told to rehire after $130 billion wage subsidy

The $194 billion in coronavirus stimulus and survival packages are now worth more than four times the response to the global financial crisis, or up to 10 per cent of the economy. AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said the debt could take at least a decade to recoup, but it was better than going into a coronavirus-driven depression. Loading “We will be paying back the debt for a long time to come,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said. Professor Alan Duncan, the director of the Bankwest Curtin Economics Research Centre, said the…

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Greg Hunt intervenes to save private hospitals at risk of collapse

“The Australian public needs to have confidence that deferred activities, such as non-urgent elective surgery, will be able to be resumed and accelerated at the appropriate time.” Mr Hunt wrote that each private hospitals must retain its full workforce in exchange for the Commonwealth guarantee. State governments, which last week agreed to negotiate bailout deals with private hospitals to ensure their capacity to help respond to an influx of COVID-19 patients in coming weeks, are split over whether to cover running costs or simply pay to hold a limited number…

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Retailers breathe sigh of relief at government’s wage subsidy

“The ability to retain team members during this challenging time will give businesses the best possible opportunity to bounce back and thrive,” Mr Lew said. Casuals who have been with a business for more than 12 months and all permanent staff are entitled to the payment if their employer has taken at least a 30 per cent hit to revenue because of coronavirus, or a 50 per cent hit if its revenue is normally more than $1 billion annually. Both union and industry groups, who generally welcomed Prime Minister Scott…

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JobKeeper wage subsidy to help part-time workers most

The most at-risk jobs are in the accommodation and food services sector. There are more than 95,000 businesses in this group of which the vast majority are small firms. But this group, along with general retail, will do the best out of the Morrison government plan. Of the nation’s 81,400 general sales assistants, 72 per cent are part time with an average weekly income of $451. The $1500 payment will actually boost their normal wage. Part-time kitchenhands, whose average wage is $469 a week, part-time waiters ($489 a week) and…

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Best of cartoons, March 31, 2020

Best of cartoons, March 31, 2020 Skip to sections navigationSkip to contentSkip to footer 9 Images The news of the day as interpreted by our talented artists, illustrators and cartoonists. March 30, 2020 — 9.54pm 1/9 Dionne Gain 2/9 Andrew Dyson 3/9 Matt Golding 4/9 Matt Golding 5/9 Matt Golding 6/9 John Shakespeare 7/9 John Shakespeare 8/9 Andrew Weldon 9/9 Matt Golding Politics

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Calls for retention bonuses, protective equipment for disability workers

Loading “With limited access to personal protective equipment, low wages and an ageing workforce concerned for their own health and safety and the health and safety of their families, we risk seeing many leave the disability sector when they are needed the most,” Mr Williams said. Opposition NDIS spokesman Bill Shorten said the Morrison government needed to immediately extend an aged care-style retention bonus to disability workers. “Many of these workers are low paid, facing major risks from the coronavirus, and with the boost to the JobSeeker payment are earning…

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Australian economy could take 22% hit from sutdown, says OECD

The OECD found in the case of Australia, economic activity would be sliced by 22 per cent once a widespread shutdown was put in place. The worst-hit nations would be Greece (a 35 per cent hit), Mexico (30 per cent) and Germany (29 per cent) while the least-affected would be Ireland (15 per cent). The report’s authors noted economies heavily dependent on mining or agriculture suffered the smallest impacts but even at 15 per cent, they were quite significant. “In all economies, the majority of this impact comes from the…

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Stephen Jones says Andrew Bragg’s super fund criticism ‘not helpful’

But Mr Jones defended Australia’s superannuation sector, which he said was “consistently in the top rankings” of global privately funded retirement systems. Loading “This is not helpful,” he said of Senator Bragg’s comments. “If it was unfair to expect the banks, the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and major Australian companies to expect a downturn of this magnitude, why is it reasonable to expect super funds to, whose whole methodology is investing for the long term?” He said super funds had returned an average of 6 to 8 per cent a…

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