Wages growth Labor’s priority

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 7 : 6-Dec-19

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers will urge the federal government to address issues such as low wages growth, underemployment and falling productivity in its mid-year economic outlook. He will tell a Chifley Research Centre conference that the economy is not working for ordinary Australians, while warning of the dangers associated with the rise of populism. Chalmers will also emphasise the need for Labor to reengage Australians in the ‘politics of progress’ in the wake of its election defeat in May.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, CHIFLEY RESEARCH CENTRE

Low interest rates aren’t enough to boost wages growth: Economists

Original article by Euan Black
The New Daily – Page: Online : 4-Dec-19

With official interest rates left unchanged at 0.75 per cent on 3 December, some economists contend that further rate cuts are necessary for the Reserve Bank to deliver on its employment and inflation targets. However, others argue that interest rates are already so low that further cuts will not do not much to stimulate the economy. Instead, they contend that wage increases are needed, and this in turn requires measures to boost labour productivity. Growth in productivity has averaged 1.1 per cent annually over the last five years, and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has estimated that lifting it to 1.5 per cent would boost incomes by $3,000 a year.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Construction the drag on productivity

Original article by David Marin-Guzman, Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 4-Dec-19

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s analysis shows that the construction sector was the biggest contributor to the decline in the nation’s labour productivity in 2018-19. The central bank’s Statement on Monetary Policy notes that this may be due to construction firms retaining idled workers in the hope that the residential development sector will rebound. However, the RBA’s analysis could weaken the CFMMEU’s recent proposal for annual pay rises of five per cent for New South Wales building workers.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS

Forget tax and spend, go for productivity: Albanese

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 22-Nov-19

Labor leader Anthony Albanese will emphasise the need to prioritise increased productivity in a speech on 22 November. He will identify microeconomic reform, fiscal management, infrastructure, and investment in people through skills and training as the key policy initiatives to lift productivity. He will also argue that the legislated increase in the superannuation guarantee must proceed, as it will encourage super funds to invest in productivity-boosting infrastructure.

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

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