Survey reveals catastrophic damage to productive land

Original article by Ean Higgins
The Australian – Page: 4 : 15-Jan-20

An analysis of satellite mapping data by Digital Agriculture Services has highlighted the impact of the bushfires crisis on the agricultural and forestry sectors. DAS has revealed that almost one million hectares of prime agricultural land in the bushfire zones have been burnt, as well as some 1.6 million hectares of logging forests and tree plantations. DAS also notes that the bushfires are largely in areas that have been hard hit by the drought. The analysis only covers bushfire zones in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

CORPORATES
DIGITAL AGRICULTURE SERVICES PTY LTD

James Murdoch criticises father’s news outlets for climate crisis denial

Original article by Jim Waterson
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 15-Jan-20

The climate coverage of News Corp Australia’s newspapers has come under scrutiny in the wake of the bushfires crisis. James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn have issued a joint statement in which they criticise the media group’s continued climate change denial stance. Murdoch is a director of parent company News Corporation, and he stepped down as CEO of 21st Century Fox when it was sold to Walt Disney Company. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch told shareholders at New Corp’s 2019 AGM that there are no climate change deniers at the company.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, FOX NEWS, 21ST CENTURY FOX INCORPORATED, WALT DISNEY COMPANY

Maxsted hastens BHP exit in retreat from blue chip boards

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 19 : 15-Jan-20

BHP director Lindsay Maxsted will step down later in 2020, after nine years on the board. He was re-elected at BHP’s annual meeting in late 2019, and gave no indication that he intended to retire. Maxsted has declined to comment on the reasons for his impending exit from the board; however, a major BHP shareholder has indicated that they had expected Maxsted to step down in the next year or so given the money-laundering scandal at Westpac, where he has also stepped down. BHP says the timing of Maxsted’s departure is linked to tenure guidelines which suggest that directors should not serve for more than nine years.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

News, Murdochs give millions to aid victims

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich, Lachlan Moffet Gray
The Australian – Page: 5 : 15-Jan-20

News Corporation has announced a number of initiatives to assist communities that have been affected by the bushfires. It will donate $5m to bushfire relief programs, while executive chairman Rupert Murdoch will personally donate another $2m. Co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch recently donated $2m to the bushfire relief fund. News Corp Australia will also donate all revenue from metropolitan newspaper sales and advertising on 21 January to the bushfire relief appeal, while Foxtel will donate the proceeds from special advertising packages for its broadcasts of charity sports events and the Fire Fight concert.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, FOXTEL MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, CRICKET AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE, NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE

State review not in conflict with PM’s

Original article by Rachel Baxendale
The Australian – Page: 4 : 15-Jan-20

The Victorian government has advised that its bushfires inquiry will be headed by Tony Pearce, the state’s Inspector General for Emergency Management. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says this inquiry will have no impact on the federal government’s plans for a bushfires royal commission, stating that he had always expected the states to undertake their own bushfire reviews. Premier Daniel Andrews says he recently held talks with Morrison with regard to the proposed federal inquiry.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

Recovery funds to hit budget

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Rosie Lewis, Patrick Commins, Ean Higgins
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 15-Jan-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that the Budget bottom line will be impacted by the federal government’s disaster relief measures. However, Morrison has stressed that his priority is to provide bushfire victims with the support they need, now and over the next several years. The government has announced an initial $100m funding package to support farmers, fishers and foresters who have been affected by the bushfires. Details of a $50m funding package for charities and financial counsellors to assist bushfire victims will be announced on 15 January.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Open banking rules too tough, say start-ups

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 16 : 15-Jan-20

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is responsible for the accreditation of financial services providers under the federal government’s ‘open banking’ regime. However, Fintech Australia has criticised the complexity of the process, and notes that it is expected to cost financial technology companies between $50,000 and $100,000 to gain accreditation. Fintech Australia contends that this cost will be prohibitive for many business start-ups. The open banking regime will commence in July, after initially being slated to begin in February.

CORPORATES
FINTECH AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

Health funds fear surge in fire claims

Original article by Jared Lynch
The Australian – Page: 15 & 16 : 15-Jan-20

Private health insurers expect the bushfire crisis to result in a sharp increase in insurance claims, particularly from customers who have been affected by the smoke haze. However, they say it is too soon to determine the exact impact of the fires. Latrobe Health Services CEO Ian Whitehead anticipates a big increase in claims related to mental health issues arising from the bushfires, as well as physical health problems. Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone says the longer-term effects of inhaling hazardous smoke will not be known for some time.

CORPORATES
LATROBE HEALTH SERVICES, AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION LIMITED, BUPA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, MEDIBANK PRIVATE LIMITED – ASX MPL, AUSTRALIAN UNITY LIMITED

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence bounces to 107.3

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 15-Jan-20

ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence rose 1% to 107.3 in the week ended 12 January, recovering a bit more than half the loss seen in the prior survey. Current economic conditions gained 6.1% after a fall of 12.9% in the previous reading, while future economic conditions gained 8.6%. Current finances declined by 5.5%, dropping to its lowest level since June; future finances gained 0.6%, for a third consecutive increase. The four-week moving average of inflation expectations was down by 0.1ppt to 3.9%.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Investors ready to turn savage

Original article by Melissa Yeo
The Australian – Page: 21 : 15-Jan-20

The sharemarket rally has seen the S&P/ASX 200’s price-to-earnings multiple rise to a record high of 18 times. Mirrabooka Investments’ MD Mark Freeman says high valuations means that stocks which fail to meet expectations in the February reporting season will be punished by investors. Meanwhile, Mirrabooka has reported a 2019-20 interim profit of $4.4m, compared with $4.6m previously. Shareholders will receive a first-half dividend of $0.35 per share.

CORPORATES
MIRRABOOKA INVESTMENTS LIMITED – ASX MIR, STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX