Grow business or be swamped: SEEK boss

Original article by Damon Kitney, Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 2 : 29-Aug-19

SEEK CEO Andrew Bassat­ and Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayak have backed a recent call by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for Australian companies to lift productivity by reinvesting in their business rather than returning capital to shareholders. Bassat says Australian companies will be less competitive internationally if their level of capital investment continues to lag that of their global peers. However, Boral CEO Mike Kane is amongst the business leaders who have rejected Frydenberg’s comments.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, SEEK LIMITED – ASX SEK, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, BORAL LIMITED – ASX BLD, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG

Treasurer tells CEOs: get positive

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 26-Aug-19

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will use a Business Council of Australia speech on 26 August to stress the need for the corporate sector to take action to boost productivity and wages. He will argue that lifting the nation’s average annual rate of productivity growth from about 1.1 per cent at present to 1.5 per cent would boost the economy by $70bn over the next decade and increase real wages by four per cent. Frydenberg will also urge business leaders to increase capital investment, including in new technologies, rather than focusing on returning capital to investors via share buybacks and special dividends.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

Energy policy, IR changes urgent

Original article by Richard Ferguson
The Australian – Page: 7 : 26-Jul-19

Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox has backed comments by top bureaucrat Martin Parkinson on the nation’s declining productivity rate. Willox says that uncertainty regarding energy and carbon emissions policy has contributed to Australia’s underperformance in terms of productivity growth, and he has urged action on these issues. Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry CEO James Pearson has in turn stressed the need for industrial relations reforms in order to lift productivity. Parkinson will shortly retire as the head of the Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet.

CORPORATES
THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU

Top bureaucrat’s warning on threat to living standards

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 25-Jul-19

The Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet’s outgoing secretary Martin Parkinson says Australia’s productivity growth has fallen below global standards. He warns that growth in Australia’s living standards will decline over the next decade unless action is taken to boost productivity. Parkinson adds that political instability and policy uncertainty may have contributed to the fall in productivity over the last decade.

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

Stubborn workers keep lid on wages

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 16-Jul-19

Analysis by the Treasury suggests that the reluctance of workers to leave unproductive companies has been a major contributor to Australia’s low wages growth. Treasury’s deputy secretary Meghan Quinn says the research shows that there is a link between the frequency of job switching and higher real wages, including for people who stay in their existing job. The national rate of job-switching is now about eight per cent, compared with 11 per cent in the early 2000s.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, ECONOMIC SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Public service growth hurting the economy

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 2 : 26-Jun-19

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has released a report which shows that the public sector accounted for 85 per cent of jobs that were created in the year to May 2019. CBA economist Gareth Aird notes that a rise in public sector employment tends to result in a short-term increase in demand in the economy, but it does little to boost productivity. Aird adds that the non-productive nature of most public sector work is a key reason why GDP growth is slowing while jobs growth is strong.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Weaker unions not the problem

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 20-Mar-19

University of Sydney economist Stephen Kirchner contends that Australia’s low level of wages growth is not linked to the decline in union membership. In a paper that has been published by the US Studies Centre, Kirchner also disputes the ACTU’s claim that wages growth is no longer linked to productivity increases. Kirchner adds that the rise in house prices has been the major contributor to the decline in labour’s share of income over the long-term.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY. UNITED STATES STUDIES CENTRE, ACTU, CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK

Finance riddled with rent seekers

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 2 : 7-Nov-18

Productivity Commission chairman Michael Brennan says much of the Australian banking and wealth management industry’s revenue can be attributed to excessive fees that are a result of limited competition. Financial services is now the biggest sector of the domestic economy; it accounts for nearly nine per cent of economic output, compared with around four per cent in the early 1980s. Meanwhile, Brennan says that health and education reforms will be essential in lifting the nation’s productivity rate.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION

Technology’s part in the puzzle of why wages won’t rise

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 19-Sep-18

The Reserve Bank still anticipates a gradual increase in wages growth, according to the minutes of its monthly board meeting. Meanwhile, independent economist Geoff Weir has suggested that the rate at which companies adopt new technologies is contributing to the low growth in wages. The central bank will publish a paper by Weir in which he notes that companies which act more quickly to embrace new technologies tend to enjoy higher productivity and profits, with some of these gains being passed on to employees via wage rises.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Productivity blamed for low wage growth

Original article by Sid Maher
The Australian – Page: 2 : 21-May-18

Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox has rejected claims by ACTU president Sally McManus that low wages growth is the result of a shift in the industrial relations system in favour of employers rather than unions. Research by the AiG suggests that low growth in productivity is a major contributor to flat growth wages. Willox says low wages growth is a global trend, and he notes that there has been strong wages growth in some sectors due to supply and demand considerations.

CORPORATES
THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, ACTU, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA