Call to end retrospective R&D audits for business

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 12-Dec-19

Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has recommended changes to the administration of R&D tax incentives following a review of the scheme. Amongst other things, she has proposed that the federal government cease requiring recipients to undergo retrospective audits, often some years after they received the tax incentive. Carnell notes that the Australian Taxation Office has frequently required small businesses to repay the full amount of the tax incentive after an audit, including harsh financial penalties.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND SCIENCE, AIRTASKER PTY LTD

No senior minister but mega department will work

Original article by Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Dec-19

The Department of Agriculture, Water & the Environment will be formally established on 1 February, as part of the federal government’s plans to streamline the bureaucracy. The existing ministers for each portfolio – Bridget McKenzie, Sussan Ley and David Littleproud – will remain in these roles, and McKenzie has confirmed that the new department will not have a senior minister. She is confident that the three ministers will work well together and that the new department will deliver "real outcomes" for regional communities.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY

Time for Adani to deliver on jobs

Original article by Greg Brown
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Dec-19

Labor leader Anthony Albanese says Adani’s Carmichael coal mine has been approved, so the company should begin creating the jobs that it has promised. Adani in turn argues that it already employees hundreds of people. Albanese has also used his tour of regional Queensland to call for labour-hire workers in the mining sector to receive the same pay as direct employees, contending that some are paid up to 40 per cent less. He has also criticised the federal government for its lack of action regarding the low wages of labour-hire workers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ADANI MINING PTY LTD, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, MITSUBISHI CORPORATION

Carbon accounting trick a no-go for ALP

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Dec-19

Energy Minister Angus Taylor says the federal government will only use Kyoto carry-over credits to the extent necessary to meet its 2030 carbon emissions reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has reiterated that Labor will not use the carry-over credits if it wins the next federal election. Meanwhile, a report produced by Climate Analytics on behalf of the Australia Institute has questioned the legality of using carry-over credits.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, CLIMATE ANALYTICS, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED

Federal budget could be set for $30b boost: CBA

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 12-Dec-19

The Commonwealth Bank has upgraded its federal Budget surplus forecasts. Chief economist Michael Blythe says the surplus for fiscal 2020 is now likely to be $17.1bn rather than $7.1bn, while the surplus for the following year is set to be $19.1bn rather than $11bn. Blythe adds that factors such as strong jobs growth and the low inflation rate will boost the Budget bottom line by about $30bn over the next four years. He notes that government revenue will also be bolstered by a much higher iron ore rice than was forecast in the April 2019 Budget.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS

Google hit for billions but EU chief regrets not going harder

Original article by Zoe Samios
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Dec-19

The federal government will release details of its formal response to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s digital platforms inquiry on 12 December. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher says the government is working through its response to issues raised by the ACCC. Meanwhile, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says that in retrospective she would have taken a "bolder" approach to the anti-trust case against Google. The digital giant was fined more than EUR8bn.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, EUROPEAN COMPETITION COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, PRIME MEDIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX PRT

Slide in wages could risk tax cuts, surplus

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 10-Dec-19

The Wage Price Index growth rate for 2019-20 is forecast to be 2.75 per cent, but wages increased by just 2.2 per cent in the September quarter. Westpac economist Bill Evans expects the federal government to downgrade its wage growth forecast in the mid-year budget update; he warns that this in turn may affect the size of the surplus and the Coalition’s ability to bring forward the second stage of its income tax cuts package. Evans notes that the price of iron ore is trading well above the government’s forecasts, which will help offset any revenue shortfall from slowing wages growth.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, DELOITTE ACCESS ECONOMICS PTY LTD, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE

Labor MP pushes industry bargaining to fix IR system

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 2 : 10-Dec-19

Labor senator Tim Ayres says Australia’s long period of sustained economic growth has led to complacency with regard to industrial relations. He argues that factors such as low wages growth and the decline in enterprise bargaining means Labor needs to rethink its policy on IR. Ayres adds that Labor should consider the sector-wide bargaining model of Scandinavian countries. Former Labor leader Bill Shorten had flagged a shift to sector-wide bargaining, although employer groups warned that it would lead to the levels of industrial unrest of the 1970s.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, UNITED WORKERS UNION, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP

Leaders say fiscal stimulus is the answer

Original article by James Thomson, Tony Boyd
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 27 : 10-Dec-19

Tax cuts and increased spending on infrastructure are among the suggestions from business leaders to help stimulate the Australian economy. Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques has urged the federal government to revive its push for corporate tax relief, while Woodside Petroleum CEO Peter Coleman has called for the introduction of an investment allowance to boost business confidence. Meanwhile, Telstra CEO Andy Penn has stressed the importance of innovation to Australia’s future economic growth.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, COCA-COLA AMATIL LIMITED – ASX CCL, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, ENERGYAUSTRALIA PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, SEEK LIMITED – ASX SEK, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

New heart drives Morrison agenda

Original article by Simon Benson, Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 5 : 9-Dec-19

A senior Coalition source has indicated that a streamlined Expenditure Review Committee is now the ‘heart of government’. The source claims that the federal government’s major decisions and broad economic strategies are made by the ERC, and it now comprises just six permanent members, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Meanwhile, some cabinet ministers have highlighted the extremely close relationship between Morrison and Frydenberg.

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