Parental leave a $5bn earner

Original article by Joe Kelly, Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 26-Apr-21

The Business Council of Australia has called for paid parental leave to be increased to 26 weeks for couples who agree to more equally share the amount of time they take off work. The BCA has also proposed increasing the childcare subsidy for lower-income households from 85 to 95 per cent; it notes that modelling by KPMG suggests that this would boost the economy by about $5bn a year. The BCA contends that the high cost of childcare is deterring many women from returning to the workforce. Some Liberal MPs have urged the federal government to include childcare reforms in the Budget on 11 May.

CORPORATES
BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

Business calls to fast-track tax cuts

Original article by Joe Kelly
The Australian – Page: 2 : 26-Apr-21

The third stage of the federal government’s income tax cuts package is slated to take effect from 1 July 2024. Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott says the government should consider bringing forward the tax cuts in order to boost the economy and create jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie recently called for the third-stage tax cuts to be dropped, arguing that they will benefit people on high incomes the most.

CORPORATES
BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SERVICE

‘Ideology gone mad’: Silk slams super veto laws

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 17 : 9-Apr-21

AustralianSuper CEO Ian Silk has criticised key elements of the federal government’s proposed superannuation reforms. He is particularly concerned about provisions of the ‘Your Future, Your Super’ bill which allow the government to block an investment by a super fund, even if it is in members’ best financial interests. Silk says that amongst other things, this raises genuine concerns about sovereign risk. David Knox of consultancy firm Mercer in turn warns that subjecting super funds to performance tests will result in lower returns over the longer term, as trustees will be reluctant to invest in some asset classes.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIANSUPER PTY LTD, MERCER INVESTMENTS PTY LTD

Printing body blasts Ovato over restructure, redundancies

Original article by David Ross
The Australian – Page: 13 & 19 : 12-Jan-21

Listed printing and marketing services firm Ovato has attracted further scrutiny over its restructuring plan. Taxpayers will bear most of the cost of 330 redundancies at Ovato, via the federal government’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme; this follows the company’s decision to transfer these workers to corporate entitles that have insufficient funds to pay creditors. Members of the print industry have described Ovato’s restructuring plan as an ‘asset strip’, while Print & Visual Communication Association president Walter Kuhn says the government should have stepped in and insisted that Ovato must pay all redundancy costs.

CORPORATES
OVATO LIMITED – ASX OVT, PRINT AND VISUL COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION

Don’t cut support too quickly: Judo

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Weekend Australian – Page: 19 & 24 : 9-Jan-21

Judo Bank’s joint CEO Joseph Healy has warned of the potential for a surge in small business insolvencies in the June quarter. Healy notes that insolvencies are currently about 35 per cent lower than comparable periods due to factors such as COVID-19 support measures, and he has cautioned the federal government against phasing out support packages for the small business sector too quickly. Meanwhile, Healy is upbeat about the outlook for the small business-focused ‘challenger’ bank, despite the recent decision of rival Xinja to withdraw from the banking sector.

CORPORATES
JUDO BANK PTY LTD, XINJA BANK LIMITED

Business must lead China peace mission, top executives say

Original article by Damon Kitney, Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 13 : 5-Jan-21

Company directors taking part in a round table discussion organised by the Australian Institute of Company Directors contend business should take the lead in trying to improve Australia’s strained ties with China. Penny Bingham-Hall, who is a director of BlueScope Steel, Fortescue Metals and Dexus, says there are very good personal relationships between Australian businesses and Chinese businesses, while Coles director Wendy Stops said "upfront criticism" is not the way to deal with China. Amcor chair Graeme Liebelt says there is a risk Australia could get "caught up in the crossfire" between the US and China.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF COMPANY DIRECTORS, BLUESCOPE STEEL LIMITED – ASX BSL, DEXUS – ASX DXS, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, COLES GROUP LIMITED – ASX COL, AMCOR LIMITED – ASX AMC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

Smelter offered millions to stay put

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 2 : 14-Dec-20

Alcoa’s aluminium smelter at Portland in Victoria will receive $76.8m from the Australian Energy Market Operator for load-shedding during periods of peak demand for electricity. The payments from AEMO’s Reliability & Emergency Reserve Trade scheme will be guaranteed by the federal government. Energy Minister Angus Taylor stresses that the payments do not constitute a subsidy; instead, they will compensate Alcoa for its role in stabilising the electricity grid. The deal will in itself not ensure the future of the smelter, which remains under pressure due to high energy costs.

CORPORATES
ALCOA INCORPORATED, ALCOA OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY MARKET OPERATOR LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, SCIENCE, ENERGY AND RESOURCES

Upgraded NBN a more attractive takeover target

Original article by Sally Patten
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 2 : 28-Sep-20

Telstra chairman John Mullen has welcomed the federal government’s decision to upgrade the national broadband network by rolling out fibre-to-the-premises to more households and businesses. He says the NBN will be easier to maintain than the current hybrid system, which includes fibre-to-the-node and the existing copper network. Amid speculation that the NBN will eventually be sold, Mullen says the upgraded network will be more attractive to potential investors, including Telstra’s own infrastructure division. However, InfraCo would need to be demerged in order to buy the NBN.

CORPORATES
TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS,INFRACO,NBN CO LIMITED

Stimulus sparks 15pc surge in company profits

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 4 : 1-Sep-20

Government stimulus measures such as the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme contributed to a sharp rise in gross operating profits in the corporate sector during the June quarter. Seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that operating profits rose by 15 per cent overall. However, sectors whose sales have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic recorded much bigger growth in profits; these include hospitality (86 per cent higher than the March quarter), arts and recreation (up 84 per cent) and retailing (up 31 per cent). Economists had expected a six per cent fall in profits.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS

Migration, tax reform key to revival

Original article by Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 4 : 24-Aug-20

The Australian Industry Group has urged the federal government to pursue major changes to the nation’s tax system. The employers’ group says long-term tax reform measures should include an overhaul of the goods and services tax, the abolition of mining royalties and replacing fuel excise with road-user charges. It has also called for scheduled personal income tax cuts to be brought forward and business income tax relief to be extended. The AiGroup also wants the migrant cap to be increased, with priority given to skilled migrants.

CORPORATES
THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP