Economy the great unknown in viral era

Original article by Nick Cater
The Australian – Page: 10 : 7-Apr-20

New Zealand and Australia have adopted vastly different strategies in their efforts to combat COVID-19. Many have urged Scott Morrison to adopt NZ Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern’s comprehensive lockdown, but he has preferred to adopt social distancing rules that aim to minimise restrictions on economic activity. Australians were asked by Roy Morgan recently if they believed things would get worse before they get better; 85 per cent said yes. It is starting to appear they are wrong so far as COVID-19 goes, but perhaps not so the economy. Modelling suggests adopting the NZ strategy would have a much more negative impact on the economy that those measures adopted by Morrison, while it is forecast that unemployment could rise by 1.2 million if the federal government’s current measures remain in place for six months or longer.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, ROY MORGAN LIMITED

Covid casuals: money for jam

Original article by Rosie Lewis, Geoff Chambers, Joe Kelly
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 7-Apr-20

The federal government has reached a compromise with the ACTU regarding the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme. Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter negotiated a deal with ACTU ­secretary Sally McManus to address the union movement’s concerns about draft legislation to amend the Fair Work Act. Labor still favours implementing the scheme via the Fair Work Commission, but it intends to vote for the legislation when parliament reconvenes for a one-off sitting on 7 April. Meanwhile, new data suggests that some casual workers may be paid significantly more under the JobKeeper scheme than they earned prior to the pandemic.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, ACTU, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Unions push for reasonable test in JobKeeper compromise deal for casuals

Original article by Samantha Maiden
The New Daily – Page: Online : 6-Apr-20

Attorney-General Christian Porter has indicated that he is open to a compromise regarding casual workers’ access to the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme. All eligible employees will be paid $1,500 per fortnight, regardless of their current income; this may include some part-time casuals who earned less than $750 a week prior to the pandemic. ACTU secretary Sally McManus has urged the federal government to introduce a ‘reasonable test’ for casual employees who had expected to work over the next year but had been with their current employer for less than 12 months.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, ACTU

Regional outlets plead for government help

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 19 : 6-Apr-20

Free TV Australia CEO Bridget Fair has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to reduce revenue across the media sector by 40-50 per cent. Regional broadcasters are holding talks with the federal government regarding financial assistance; they are believed to have cited factors such as the complexity of their operations, their large broadcast areas and the fact that metropolitan affiliates receive a significant proportion of their revenue. The print media is also struggling, with publication of some regional and community newspapers having been suspended due to the pandemic.

CORPORATES
FREE TV AUSTRALIA LIMITED, WIN CORPORATION PTY LTD, SOUTHERN CROSS MEDIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX SXL, PRIME MEDIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX PRT, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY MEDIA, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, BAUER MEDIA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, PACIFIC MAGAZINES PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT, REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS

Qantas monopoly risk if Virgin is allowed to fail, warns boss

Original article by Lucas Baird, Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 18 : 3-Apr-20

Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah has dismissed suggestions that the struggling airline is seeking a federal government bailout. He argues that the $1.4bn loan facility that Virgin is seeking would have to be repaid eventually. Scurrah also warns that Qantas could emerge with a long-term monopoly in the domestic market if Virgin collapses. The government would allow a new entrant to the market, but CAPA Centre for Aviation chairman Peter Harbison says regulatory approvals would take some time, which would further entrench Qantas’s market dominance.

CORPORATES
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX VAH, QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN, CAPA – CENTRE FOR AVIATION

Free childcare in $3bn family relief package

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 3-Apr-20

Nearly one million families will be eligible to receive free childcare under a coronavirus package announced by the federal government. The package is expected to cost over $3 billion and run for six months, with children of essential workers, vulnerable children and parents with existing childcare placements to be given priority under the scheme. Liz Christie, the director of a Goodstart long daycare centre in Brisbane’s CBD, says the government’s announcement is a huge relief. She says the centre’s numbers have fallen from more than 200 to around 60, and that many of the parents are essential workers.

CORPORATES
GOODSTART EARLY LEARNING LIMITED

Unions warn huge chunk of casual workforce could miss out on coronavirus wage subsidy

Original article by Euan Black
The New Daily – Page: Online : 31-Mar-20

Full-time and part-time workers will be eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy, as will casual workers who have been with the same employer for at least 12 months. However, ACTU secretary Sally McManus says the wage subsidy should be available to all casual workers, adding that it should be increased to $1,375 per week rather than $1,500 per fortnight. Gerard Dwyer, the national president of the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association, also supports extending the payment to all casual workers, as well as visa workers.

CORPORATES
ACTU, SHOP, DISTRIBUTIVE AND ALLIED EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION

Federal Government offers $130b in coronavirus wage subsidies for businesses to pay workers

Original article by Brett Worthington
abc.net.au – Page: Online : 31-Mar-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison expects about six million Australians to access the federal government’s JobKeeper payment. He says there will be a legal obligation on employers to pass the full wage subsidy of up to $1,500 per fortnight on to employees. Morrison adds that unlike the UK wage subsidy, it is aimed at keeping people in jobs rather than targeting workers who have been stood down. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the subsidy equates to about 70 per cent of the median wage and around 100 per cent of the median wage for sectors that have been impacted the most by the coronavirus pandemic.

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

$1.1bn boost for GPs, Medicare

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 6 : 30-Mar-20

The federal government has announced a $1.1 billion package aimed at dealing with the secondary impact of the health and economic crisis. The package comprises $669 million to be spent on Medicare support at home, $200 million for vulnerable Australians, $150 million for domestic violence support and $74 million for mental health support. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the package aims to help the many Australians who are currently enduring hardship.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

‘This is radical’: Gatherings in Australia reduced to two people in bid to slow coronavirus spread

Original article by Biwa Kwan
sbs.com.au – Page: Online : 30-Mar-20

Skate parks and public playgrounds will be closed as the federal government moves to cut the size of gatherings to two people as part of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The restrictions will not apply to schools, households or workplaces, while the number of people that can gather at funerals and weddings remains at 10 and five respectively. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it will be up to the states and territories to enforce the two-person rule; he also said that shopping should be about just getting what people need and then going home, rather than an excuse to browse or have long conversations.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET