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Day: September 22, 2018

No improvement in home affordability: report

No improvement in home affordability: report

Single mother, Patricia Finkel of Monash spends almost half of what she earns on housing costs.Almost half of what Patricia Finkel earns is consumed by housing costs.
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Despite having a good education and a steady job in the public service, the single mother spends 47 per cent of her wage on keeping her Monash home.

Ms Finkel had moved to Canberra for her husband, but found herself a single mother with little savings after her marriage ended.

”It’s a tough situation and I’m at the positive end of the scale,” she said.

”If I’m finding it tough when I’m educated with a good job, imagine how others are doing … It’s a scary situation.”

The issue of affordable housing has been highlighted in a report issued by the Council of Australian Governments Reform Council, which stated there was no indication that housing affordability had improved in recent years.

Ms Finkel said the precarious housing situation was of particular concern in Canberra, where some of her friends in the expensive rental market were living from pay cheque to pay cheque. ”Rents in Canberra are high and buying a home is a dream at this point,” she said.

”I mean, we’ve all watched The Castle. That’s the dream, to have your own home. But I don’t know how it’s ever going to happen in Canberra.”

The COAG report stated that nationally rental affordability worsened significantly for the lowest 10 per cent of households by income, with the rate of rental stress jumping from 49.2 per cent in 2007-08 to 60.8 per cent the following year.

Sarah Toohey, from Australians for Affordable Housing, is calling for action from both Commonwealth and ACT government.

”While the report shows that the ACT is more affordable than the national average for low to middle income home buyers, just 19 per cent of properties are affordable to 40 per cent of Canberra’s households,” Ms Toohey said.

”For three years in a row the COAG Reform Council has reported that housing affordability in Australia is getting worse, particularly in the rental market.”

The Housing Industry Association is also calling for urgent action from government bodies to address the housing shortage across the country, reported as 186,800 dwellings.

HIA chief executive officer Graham Wolfe said the report highlighted the shortfall created after the estimated underlying demand for housing outpaced the supply of new homes by 13.5 per cent from 2001 to 2010.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Local stocks eye solid early gains

Local stocks eye solid early gains

Join the Markets Live blog from 9.30am
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Australian shares are expected to rise in early trade after Wall Street was mixed on weak manufacturing data but European markets rose strongly.

On the ASX24, the SPI futures index was 20 points higher to 4117. The Aussie has held well above the $US1.02 mark. It was recently buying $US1.0248, up from $US1.0226 late yesterday.

What you need to knowSPI futures are 20 points higher at 4117The $A is higher at $US1.0251In the US, the S&P500 rose 0.25% to 1365.51In Europe, the FTSE100 rose 1.25% to 5640.64Gold rose to $US1597.70 an ounceWTI crude oil fell $1.32 to $US83.64 a barrelReuters/CRB index is up 0.01% to 284.21

All 28 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the RBA to hold rates steady at 3.5 per cent today. The RBA cut rates by a total of 75 basis points at the last two monthly meetings but a run of stronger economic data since the June decision has made another downward move today less likely. Financial markets give a 25 basis points rate cut only a 15 per cent chance, according to Credit Suisse data.

Concern about the US economy grew after the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index fell to 49.7, showing contraction for the first time in almost three years and trailing the median economist estimate of 52.

Making news today

In economics news:Reserve Bank of Australia board meeting and interest rate decisionAustralian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) building approvals for May

In company news:Image Resources NL general meetingIndochine Mining Ltd extraordinary general meeting

Analyst rating changes:Bandanna Energy rated new outperform at Credit SuisseAristocrat Leisure raised to hold at Deutsche bankSt Barbara downgraded to neutral from buy at Goldman SachsInvocare rated new buy at Nomura

Offshore overnight

Bonds

Bond market pressure on Spain increased on Monday despite a plan that should cut Madrid’s debt by allowing a eurozone rescue fund to directly aid troubled Spanish banks.Italy’s 10-year bond yield tumbled a third day, dropping eight basis points to 5.74% after earlier losing as much as 19 basis pointsSpanish 10-year securities rose five basis points to 6.38%German 10-year bond yields lost six basis points to 1.52%

Treasuries and the dollar gained after a report showed American manufacturing unexpectedly shrank in June. Bloomberg reports that investors are plowing cash into new Treasuries at a record pace, making economic growth rather than budget austerity a key issue as President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney face off in November’s presidential election.US 10-year Treasury yields lost six basis points to 1.5%

United States

US stocks edged higher on Monday, shaking off a surprise contraction in US manufacturing, which some investors took as a signal the Federal Reserve will take more forceful actions to boost the economy.

Key numbers:S&P500 added 0.25% at 1365.51Dow Jones Indus Avg lost 0.07% at 12871.39Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.55% at 2951.23

Europe

European stock markets have rallied while the euro has fallen against the dollar, as a trend sparked by last week’s surprise EU deal was underpinned by anticipation of an ECB rate cut, analysts say.

Key numbers:London’s FTSE 100 added 1.25% to 5640.64 In Frankfurt’s the DAX 30 added 1.24% to 6496.08 In Paris the CAC 40 added 1.36% to 3240.20

Asia

Asian stocks rose for a fourth day in the longest winning streak since March as economic data from China to Japan and steps by European leaders to address the sovereign-debt crisis eased concern global growth is slowing.

Key numbers:MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4% to 117.67Japan’s Nikkei 225 was flat at 9003.48Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 2.2% to 19441.46China’s Shanghai composite was flat at 2226.11

How we fared yesterday

The Australian sharemarket has closed higher, but local gains remained below those on US and European markets in the wake of last week’s summit of European Union leaders.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 38.4 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 4133.0, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 37.0 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 4172.5.

BusinessDay with agencies

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Cummins vulnerable: coach

Cummins vulnerable: coach

AUSTRALIA’S coach Mickey Arthur is adamant that broken teenage quick Patrick Cummins will continue to be used in all three international formats, warning that it was anticipated he could battle with injury for the next two years.
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In a worrying sign ahead of the Ashes series here next year, Arthur indicated that he expected the electric Cummins to be vulnerable to breaking down for the forseeable future. It was announced that the 19-year-old New South Wales fast bowler was being sent home about an hour before the start of Australia’s second one-day international against England at the Oval.

Cummins was replaced by Mitchell Johnson, whose own return to international cricket after more than eight months was blighted by an early spate of over-stepping the mark in the host’s six-wicket win.

England took a 2-0 series lead ahead of tomorrow’s third game at Edgbaston and with Michael Clarke’s side lacking real firepower in attack, James Pattinson is expected to come into contention.

Losing Cummins for the rest of the campaign was a significant blow, not only for the series, which England is thoroughly on top of, but in the context of what he could have learnt in these conditions in the lead-up to the Ashes.

The express bowler was making his comeback from a heel injury, having not played at international level since his match-winning performance on Test debut in Johannesburg last November, but picked up a medium-grade side strain in the series opener at Lord’s last Friday.

While Cummins insisted via Twitter that the latest problem was only minor – it is hoped he can return for Australia’s limited-overs contest against Pakistan in Dubai next month – there remain questions about how best to manage him.

But Arthur is insistent that Cummins will be considered in all three formats – Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 – for Australia and he is a priority for the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September.

”We forget he is only 19. He is still growing, his body is still growing,” Arthur said. ”It’s disappointing him coming back and then picking up another injury but we’re going to have to live with that for another couple of years until he gets stronger, until his body is used to the workloads. We’ve just got to keep giving him the quality opportunities because he is going to be very, very good. I definitely see him playing all three forms.

”We’ve just got to find out what works for him. We’ve got to expose him to conditions around the world. It’s really important that he gets exposed to English conditions. We’ve got a pretty important tour here next year so it’s really important that he has a look at these conditions. Hopefully he’ll be ready for the Twenty20 championship, which will expose him to bowling in the subcontinent a little bit. We know he’s proficient in our own conditions.

”It’s just about giving him experience all around the world, but we’ve got to live with the fact that he is going to break down. He is only 19.”

Aside from the Test in South Africa in which he starred, Cummins has played only three first-class games. He broke down with a back injury following a marathon bowling stint in the 2010-11 Sheffield Shield final.

Of Johnson, who finished with 0-43 from seven overs after conceding 20 runs in a disastrous first two overs marred by no-balls, Arthur said patience was required. ”We just have to realise that it is his first time back,” he said.

”Hopefully Mitch will just get better and better. He’s still a world-class performer.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

ABS job figures wrong, but it’s too big a job to fix

ABS job figures wrong, but it’s too big a job to fix

THE Bureau of Statistics has got the official employment figures wrong, and although it is happy to acknowledge the errors, it won’t correct them in the official record because it will cost too much money.
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Officially, employment grew not at all in 2011 after surging 363,500 in 2010. Yesterday in an invitation-only seminar attended by The Age, assistant statistician Paul Mahoney said employment probably climbed 30,000 to 35,000 more than officially acknowledged in the first nine months of 2011 and climbed 60,000 to 70,000 less than acknowledged in 2010.

This means official figures overstated the weakness in the labour market that led the Reserve Bank to cut rates at the end of 2011 and overstated the strength that led it to push up rates at the end of 2010.

“We acknowledge we have problems with the way we are benchmarking the labour force at the moment,” Mr Mahoney said. “We are not hiding behind this, we are being very open about it. This is a public seminar, this is going to be repeated a few times.”

The problem arises because, in order to convert the results of its survey into figures for the whole nation, the ABS has to estimate the size of the Australian population.

Usually it gets the estimate right. But at times when the rate of population growth is changing rapidly it can get it wrong. Instead of revising the official employment figures when more correct population information comes to hand, it instead revises its estimate of future population growth. This means incorrect employment figures remain on the public record and future employment growth figures are adjusted in the opposite direction to compensate.

This meant that in 2011 the ABS biased down what it believed to be the true rate of population growth, biasing down the official employment growth figures reported by The Age and other media.

Mr Mahoney said yesterday the changes were not “statistically significant”, but acknowledged they were significant in terms of presentation, making it look as if jobs growth had stopped in 2011 when it almost certainly had not.

“Yes, it does change the story,” he told The Age.

To improve the bureau’s processes might cost $1.5 million. It would take more than a year and be defined as capital expenditure. The bureau had its capital budget cut 25 per cent.

“We are certainly considering changing our processes and looking at how we might fund it,” Mr Mahoney said.

“But we are far more capital constrained than we were. This is just one system within the organisation. There are competing demands.”

The ABS will try to save money by moving its monthly employment survey online, posting passwords and login codes to the 29,000 households that take part rather than visiting them and following up with phone calls.

It will also abolish or make less frequent a number of less-important labour force surveys.

The unemployment rate – 5.1 per cent – is unaffected by the Bureau’s problems with its measure of employment.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Long wait for smuggling suspects

Long wait for smuggling suspects

ACCUSED people smugglers can be held in detention for three to nine months before formal charges are laid and their status as adults or children is raised, a parliamentary committee has been told.
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The Northern Territory government lodged a submission with a committee looking into the incarceration of Indonesian minors in Australian prisons, saying that once formal charges were laid, suspected people smugglers were sent to adult jails to await trial. But this could take up to nine months, it said.

The NT government said 36 Indonesians were serving sentences at Darwin Correctional Centre, the youngest of whom was 20.

The committee will hold hearings this month, and is taking submissions, to establish whether any Indonesian children remain in adult prisons, and to explore compensating minors who have been charged (contrary to government policy).

On Friday, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon announced a review into 28 cases of Indonesians suspected to have been minors when they arrived in Australia had been completed.

She said seven more Indonesian people-smuggling crew members suspected of being children would be released from adult prisons and sent back to Indonesia.

It brought the number returned to Indonesia since the start of the inquiry to 15.

But Ms Roxon said it was government policy to release from custody any crew members thought to be under 18.

It was only the efforts of The Age, in tracking down the birth certificate of a child, Sam, that secured his release last month after two years’ detention. He repeatedly claimed he was a child, but no Australian official or police bothered to check or inform his family.

A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said authorities did everything possible to establish the age of boat arrivals.

The government established the review into smugglers held after the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Indonesian government raised concerns that children were being locked up in adult jails.

Of the 28 cases reviewed, as well as the 15 released over reasonable doubt they were adults when they arrived in Australia, another two were released early on parole, three completed their non-parole periods and eight remain in prison, with no evidence found to support their claims they were minors when they arrived in Australia.

The West Australian-based Indonesia Institute said minors who had been incarcerated in adult jails should be financially compensated for having been detained.

It recommended that adult crew members should be released on ”bail” within the Indonesian community in Australia while their age was determined.

The Indonesia Institute claims that young children and adult fisherman in remote parts of Indonesia have been targeted by smuggling syndicates.

”The current law as applied in Australia therefore treats these fishing people – by definition – as people smugglers,” the institute said.

Follow the National Times on Twitter: @NationalTimesAU

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.