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.

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

Bushfire claims could double

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 13 & 14 : 8-Jan-20

The insurance industry has received some $700m worth of bushfire-related claims since September, according to data from the Insurance Council of Australia. More than 3,700 claims have been submitted to Insurance Australia Group to date, and CEO Peter Harmer says this figure could rise significantly in coming months. Harmer is among the insurance industry executives who met with federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on 7 January to discuss the need for a nationally co-ordinated response to the bushfire crisis. He has described the talks as "very constructive".

CORPORATES
INSURANCE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, INSURANCE AUSTRALIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX IAG, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, QBE INSURANCE GROUP LIMITED – ASX QBE

Bashing business damages economy

Original article by Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 13 : 23-Dec-19

Former Business Council of Australia president Graham Bradley says that "anti-business rhetoric" within government is having a negative impact on the economy and deterring capital investment. He has also criticised the federal government for aligning itself with small and medium business and denigrating big business. Meanwhile, Australian Investment Council CEO Yasser El-Ansary says weak consumer confidence is deterring companies from investing, adding that the BCA’s proposal to include a business investment allowance in the May 2020 Budget would only provide a short-term economic stimulus.

CORPORATES
BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN INVESTMENT COUNCIL

Business to PM: Get economy moving

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 20-Dec-19

The Business Council of Australia has called on the federal government to maintain its surplus goal as part of its Budget submission. The BCA has urged the government to help stimulate the economy through the adoption of an investment allowance, reducing red tape for infrastructure projects, and by making structural changes to the tax system over the longer-term. The BCA’s submission also calls for measures to boost workers’ skills, along with a new industry policy.

CORPORATES
BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL

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

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

Investment strike keeps growth low

Original article by Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 17 & 27 : 5-Dec-19

Commonwealth Bank economist Michael Blythe says the latest GDP data shows that Australia has a two-speed economy, with private sector spending down 0.1 per cent in the September quarter and 0.3 per cent year-on-year, while public sector spending increased by 1.1 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively. Master Builders Australia has urged the federal government to fast-track smaller infrastructure projects, with chief economist Shane Garrett noting that businesses and consumers lack the confidence to spend at present.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, WAGNERS HOLDING COMPANY LIMITED – ASX WGN

Coalition wary of content tax on tech giants

Original article by Leo Shanahan, David Swan
The Australian – Page: 5 : 4-Dec-19

Facebook says it supports 15 of the 29 recommendations in the final report of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s digital platforms inquiry. Facebook also rejects suggestions that it has hired lobbyists to influence the federal government’s response to the report, and states that the ACCC’s proposed code of conduct would "unfairly shield" media companies. Meanwhile, the government is said to be concerned that requiring digital players to pay media companies for the use of their content could be perceived as a new tax, which could in turn prompt digital companies to relocate offshore.

CORPORATES
FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT

‘QE will do nothing’: fundies back infrastructure spending

Original article by Robert Guy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 28 : 27-Nov-19

Quay Global Investors portfolio manager Chris Bedingfield contends that the Reserve Bank of Australia should not implement quantitative easing. He argues that the federal government should instead prioritise increased spending on infrastructure, noting that this will create jobs in the short-term and boost productivity in the long-term. Sarah Shaw of 4D Infrastructure also advocates investing in infrastructure to stimulate the economy.

CORPORATES
QUAY GLOBAL INVESTORS PTY LTD, 4D INFRASTRUCTURE PTY LTD, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, BENNELONG FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD

High energy prices force Rio to the table

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 26-Nov-19

The future of Rio Tinto’s Tomago, Boyne and Bell Bay aluminium smelters in Australia remains under scrutiny amid high energy prices and weak demand for aluminium. CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques notes that energy costs accounts for a third of the company’s cost structure, adding that energy costs in Australia are very high by global standards. He says Rio Tinto is holding talks with governments at federal and state level regarding energy costs. The future of Alcoa’s Portland smelter in Victoria is also uncertain, with a state government subsidy due to expire in 2021.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, ALCOA OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, CSR LIMITED – ASX CSR, RUSAL