Aged care tax killed off

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 5-Mar-21

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has acknowledged that funding for the aged-care sector needs to be increased, but he says that growing the economy is the best way to do this. The final report of the aged-care royal commission has recommended increasing funding for the sector via the tax system; however, Tony Negline from Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand says this is not appropriate, given that the bulk of aged-care funding already comes from taxpayers. Negline has proposed options such as requiring nursing home residents to use the equity in their family home and a reduction in the capital gains tax discount.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO AGED CARE QUALITY AND SAFETY, CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

Record trade surplus adds to recovery

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 5-Mar-21

Australia’s trade surplus rose to a record $10.2bn in January, compared with market expectations of just $8.3bn. Strong growth in the resources sector’s exports was a key driver of the record trade surplus; the value of iron ore exports rose by 14.2 per cent month-on-month to $16.1bn, while LNG and coal exports rose by 7.9 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg notes that in addition to growth in iron ore export volumes in January, the price of the steel input remains well above the Budget forecast of just $US55 a tonne free on board.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Italy blocks export of 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Australia

Original article by Daniel Boffey
The Guardian – Page: Online : 5-Mar-21

The Italian government has ruled that AstraZeneca cannot ship 250,000 doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to Australia. Italy has become the first country to invoke the European Union’s export authorisation mechanism with regard to coronavirus vaccines. The EU has ordered some 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine; problems at the biotechnology group’s plant in Belgium means that it has now committed to supplying just 40 million doses in the March quarter, well down on the 120 million doses that it was meant to supply.

CORPORATES
ASTRAZENECA PLC, EUROPEAN COMMISSION

PM backs Reynolds despite offensive slur on ex-staffer

Original article by Rosie Lewis, Sharri Markson, Tom Dusevic
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 5-Mar-21

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds faces renewed scrutiny and potential legal action as the fallout from the alleged rape of an ex-staffer continues. The media has reported that Reynolds described Brittany Higgins as a "lying cow" in her office on the same day that the former media adviser publicly revealed that she had been raped by a colleague in March 2019. Higgins’ lawyers has raised the threat of legal action if Reynolds does not publicly withdraw her comment and apologise. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described Reynolds’ comment as ‘inappropriate and wrong’, but stresses that she not referring to Higgins’ rape allegation.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF DEFENCE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

National cost of pandemic response to reach $327bn over five years

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 4 : 5-Mar-21

The Parliamentary Budget Office estimates that the combined net debt of Australia’s three levels of government will blow out to almost $1.3tn in the five years to 2024. Federal, state and local governments are forecast to collectively spend some $327bn on COVID-19 measures over the five-year period. The independent budget watchdog now expects the national net operating balance across all levels of government in 2020-21 to be a deficit of 11.1 per cent of GDP; it had previously forecast a surplus of 1.7 per cent of GDP for the current financial year.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE

Inflation Expectations increase to 3.7% in February – higher in Country Regions than Capital Cities

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 5-Mar-21

In February, Australians expected inflation of 3.7% annually over the next two years, up 0.1% points on January, and the highest since February and March 2020 (4.0% for both). Inflation Expectations are now 1% point below their long-term average of 4.7%. Inflation Expectations have now increased by 0.5% points in the last six months, the fastest increase for the index since late 2016/early 2017 when the index increased by 0.6% points in only two months. Inflation Expectations are higher in Country Regions of Australia (4%) than in the Capital Cities (3.5%) and this is borne out in each mainland State. The largest gap of 1% point is within South Australia with Inflation Expectations of 4.4% in Country SA (the highest figure for any area) compared to only 3.4% in Adelaide. The next largest gap of 0.8% points is within Western Australia, with Inflation Expectations of 4% in Country WA compared to only 3.2% in Perth – the lowest figure for any Capital City. In both Victoria and Queensland there is a gap of 0.6% points between Country Regions and the respective Capital Cities. Inflation Expectations are 4.2% in Country Victoria compared to 3.6% in Melbourne and 3.9% in Country Queensland compared to only 3.3% in Brisbane. The smallest gap of only 0.3% points between the two areas is in NSW. Country NSW has Inflation Expectations of 4% compared to 3.7% in Sydney and in-line with the national average.

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ROY MORGAN LIMITED

No liquidity crisis at Arrium: directors

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 22 : 5-Mar-21

Marcus Pesman has told the New South Wales Supreme Court that collapsed steelmaker Arrium was not in a liquidity crisis. He is representing eight former members of the Arrium board in a lawsuit brought by liquidator KordaMentha for alleged insolvent trading. Pesman is also representing former Arrium CFO Robert Bakewell in the same action, along with two other actions brought by lenders to which the eight former board members are not defendants. Pesman told the court that the lenders had sufficient information available to make their own assessment of Arrium’s financial state at the time, while he noted that the Arrium board met 21 times between December 2015 and April 2016, indicating that the directors took their responsibilities seriously.

CORPORATES
ARRIUM LIMITED, KORDA MENTHA AND COLLEAGUES PTY LTD, SUPREME COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES

Rare earth miners want plan backed with cash

Original article by Jacob Greber, Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 5-Mar-21

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a 10-year ‘road map’ for the creation of more mineral processing operations in Australia. His plans have won backing from rare earths and critical minerals producers and from green groups such as the Climate Council and WWF-Australia, but producers have called on the government to back up its plans with actual money and support. Charlie Richardson from Accenture notes that Australia has over 90 per cent of the raw materials used to make lithium-ion batteries, but no manufacturers producing them. He says this is both a "both a missed opportunity and a sovereign risk".

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, ACCENTURE AUSTRALIA LIMITED, LYNAS RARE EARTHS LIMITED – ASX LYC, HASTINGS TECHNOLOGY METALS LIMITED – ASX HAS, WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE AUSTRALIA, CLIMATE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, ARAFURA RESOURCES LIMITED – ASX ARU

Returns the world’s best over 121 years

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 20 : 5-Mar-21

Data from Credit Suisse shows that the Australian sharemarket has outperformed other bourses over the long-term, with real annual returns of 6.6 per cent since 1900 in US dollar terms. The ASX’s annualised return over this period was 6.8 per cent in local currency terms, behind the 7.1 per cent return from the South African bourse. Looking ahead, Credit Suisse says Generation Z can expect annualised equity returns of about three per cent, compared with annualised returns of 7.1 per cent since 1950 for Baby Boomers.

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CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED

Porter’s alleged victim insisted we shut the case: police

Original article by Rosie Lewis, Sharri Markson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 5-Mar-21

The family of the woman who was allegedly raped by Attorney-General Christian Porter in 1988 has expressed support for an inquiry into the circumstances that led to her death. Labor leader Anthony Albanese has also pushed for an independent inquiry into the allegations against Porter, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison says there is no precedent for such an inquiry. Meanwhile, New South Wales police say the alleged victim advised that she did not want to make a formal statement on 23 June, citing medical and personal reasons. The woman took her own life the following day.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, NEW SOUTH WALES POLICE FORCE