Tag: Australias

Australia’s Budget Lacks Big Ideas, Despite the Stimulus Sugar Hit

This week: A sugar-hit budget lacking in big ideas, James Packer faces the music (sort of), and Jacinda-mania part II.

 

A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.

Australians were reminded of this political maxim when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday unveiled a record A$213.7 billion ($153 billion) budget deficit, equal to 11% of GDP, for the financial year started July 1.

The optics couldn’t be more different from last year, when Frydenberg proudly forecast the first budget surplus in more than a decade. (The Liberal Party even started selling A$35 “Back in Black” coffee mugs to mark the occasion). But that was before Covid-19 upended the world and before a government that won an election on promises of fiscal rectitude once again discovered we’re all Keynesians now.

relates to Australia’s Budget Lacks Big Ideas, Despite the Stimulus Sugar Hit

The centerpiece of the budget was a near-A$100 billion cash splash of personal tax cuts, wage

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Australia’s central bank keeps rate steady, signals easing ahead

A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks past the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) building, during a partial lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus, in Sydney, Australia, on Monday, May 18, 2020.

David Gray | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Australia’s central bank left its cash rate at a record low on Tuesday but hinted at further monetary easing to bolster the coronavirus-hit economy, which is suffering its worst contraction since the Great Depression.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept the rate unchanged at 0.25%, as widely expected in a Reuters poll, and at the level it has stood since an emergency cut in mid-March.

“The Board views addressing the high rate of unemployment as an important national priority,” RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a statement announcing the outcome of the policy meeting.

“The Board continues to consider how additional monetary easing could support jobs as the economy opens

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Business Innovation visa holders exempt from Australia’s COVID-19 travel ban

All visa holders in Australia have been subject to the country’s COVID-19 travel ban, apart from the exemptions currently in place for diplomats, maritime and air crew, and those simply transiting through the country for less than 72 hours.

But since the end of August, there has also been an exemption in place for holders of the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (BIIP) (subclass 188) Visa, which has had an “automatic exemption” on par with Australian citizens and permanent residents. 

Prior to this date, Individual BIIP visa holders were still able to apply for an individual exemption of the travel restrictions.  

The Australian Border Force (ABF), part of the Home Affairs superministry, was asked by the COVID-19 Select Committee why such visa holders were granted an exemption when others, such as holders of the Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa, have not been extended the same privilege.

“The Business Innovation and

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SBS Language | Visa holders ‘exempt by policy’ can take up spots under Australia’s international arrival caps, confirms ABF

The Australian Border Force commissioner’s confirmation to the Senate committee means there is no guarantee that the additional 1,600 spots added to the weekly cap on international arrivals will only be allocated to Australian citizens and permanent residents stranded overseas.

This means they can in fact also be taken up by holders of Business Innovation and Investment visa (Subclass 188) – who now fall into the ‘exempt category’, as a result of a policy change that started to reflect on the Department of Home Affairs website on 19 September, earlier this month.


Highlights:

  • Visa holders ‘exempt by policy’ can take up spots under the cap on international arrivals, confirms ABF
  • Business (subclass 188) visa holders no longer need to apply for individual travel exemptions
  • 25% of people sent into hotel quarantine were non-Australian citizens or non-residents

Responding to a question raised by Labor frontbencher Kristina Keneally during a public hearing

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S&P cuts rating of Australia’s AMP to ‘BBB-minus’ on strategic uncertainty

By Paulina Duran

SYDNEY, Sept 7 (Reuters)Ratings agency S&P Global downgraded by a notch on Monday the credit rating of Australian financial planning giant AMP Ltd AMP.AX, to ‘BBB-minus’, moving it closer to “junk” status, citing challenges to its strategic direction.

The agency said AMP, which announced last week that it was considering a sale of its assets, was exposed to challenges that could disrupt its strategic direction, while its governance standards were weaker than previously thought.

“In our view, uncertainty hangs over the strategic course that has been set for the various business units,” S&P said in an emailed statement.

The BBB-minus credit rating is the last “investment” grade, with bonds rated below that considered highly speculative, or “junk”, by the agency.

S&P added that the departure of some senior executives and board members from parts of the group had fed into its decision.

AMP

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