PM: cut fire fuel, not just emissions

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 22-Jan-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison argues that undertaking bushfire hazard-reduction burns is just as important as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, he notes that unlike carbon emissions, there is no national system for reporting progress on reducing fuel loads in national parks and forests. The issue of prescribed burning has come under scrutiny in the wake of the bushfires crisis, which has claimed 29 lives to date. Labor leader Anthony Albanese claims that climate change has contributed to the intensity of the bushfires and the length of the bushfire season.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Bushfire loans, grants should be easier to get, small businesses say

Original article by Nick Bonyhady
The Age – Page: Online : 22-Jan-20

Small business owners in bushfire-affected areas have criticised the excessive amount of paperwork required to apply for the federal government’s concessional loans and grants. Shadow small business minister Brendan O’Connor says the government needs to provide greater clarity as to eligibility for the grants and loans, and when businesses will begin to receive financial assistance. The government will also make 10 financial counsellors available, but O’Connor says this is clearly inadequate given that the bushfires have affected about 200,000 small businesses.

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AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Big business, blazes put heat on surplus

Original article by Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 21-Jan-20

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has stressed that it is too soon to estimate the likely impact of the bushfires crisis on the economy and the federal government’s projected Budget surplus for 2019-20. He is believed to be considering whether to include new tax incentives for the business sector in the May Budget. However, Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox says the government should introduce an investment allowance immediately in order to stimulate the economy. The Business Council of Australia also recently called for a new investment allowance.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

$100m sport grants biased

Original article by Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 16-Jan-20

Auditor-General Grant Hehir has released a report which shows that marginal seats held by the Coalition were among the biggest recipients of grants to ‘grassroots’ sporting groups ahead of the May 2019 federal election. Former sports minister Bridget McKenzie approved the grants, and Hehir found that she failed to take into consideration the recommendations of Sport Australia when allocating the money. The report notes that the grants also favoured seats that the Coalition believed that it could win at the election.

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AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL, AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE, SPORT AUSTRALIA

Morrison doubles family aid payments

Original article by Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 4 : 16-Jan-20

The federal government has announced changes to its family assistance payments for bushfire victims. Families have already received a disaster recovery payment of $400 per child; Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated that they will shortly receive an additional $400 for each child, at a cost of $7.9m. The government will also relax the paperwork requirements of volunteer firefighters who claim compensation for loss of income while serving on the bushfires frontline.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

No more carbon cuts, PM warned

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 16-Jan-20

Some Coalition MPs say that the federal government must not make significant changes to its carbon emission reduction targets in response to the bushfires crisis. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated that the nation will exceed its 2030 target of reducing emissions by 26-28 per cent; he has also emphasised that a range of measures in response to climate change are needed, rather than simply reducing emissions. Former National Party leader Barnaby has called for the construction of nuclear power plants in Australia, as well as clean-coal power stations. Sources within the government have suggested that reviving the national energy guarantee policy is unlikely.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

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.

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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.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Technology is the key to climate policy

Original article by John Kehoe, Andrew Tillett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 14-Jan-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated a slight shift in the federal government’s approach to climate change in the wake of the bushfires crisis. This follows community angst about the apparent link between climate change and the hotter and drier summer weather that contributed to the crisis. The government sees investments in low-emissions technology as the best way to cut carbon emissions and meet its 2030 carbon emissions targets, and it may not need to use Kyoto carryover credits to reach these targets.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Climate threatens ratings: Moody’s

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 14-Jan-20

A report from Moody’s Investors Service has concluded that the bushfire crisis will reduce GDP growth by less than 0.1 per cent. The ratings agency adds that the federal and state governments have sufficient fiscal buffers to cope with the current crisis, but it warns that an increase in climate change-related natural disasters in the future could negatively affect their credit ratings. Meanwhile, Anthony Walker of S&P says the federal government’s return to a Budget surplus may be delayed by the bushfire emergency, although he adds that this would be unlikely to have any effect on Australia’s credit rating.

CORPORATES
MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS