Why Australia’s planning system is busted

By Leith van Onselen The Property Council of Australia (PCA) has released a report claiming that Australia’s large cities are suffering from “governance fragmentation”. With the exception of Brisbane, the PCA argues that local councils in Australia’s big cities only cover a very small percentage of their overall population, and have limited ability to influence

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Coaliton wedges self as energy loons takeover asylum

It’s all bodice ripping, hair pulling and hysteria now, at The Australian: Craig Kelly, backed by Tony Abbott, called for the competition watchdog to be given new powers that would make it “crystal clear” that closing down a essential service utility when there were “other options”, such as selling to another player, was anti-competitive behaviour.


Westpac’s blind, illiterate customer mirror image of bank

Swithed on banking at the AFR: The trail of documents used by Westpac to support a business loan for a failed franchise and led the loan’s guarantor to lose her home were haphazard, inconsistent and incomplete the Hayne royal commission has heard. It follows earlier hearings on consumer credit and financial services that also highlighted the insufficient and


Public transport’s modal share has barely increased

By Leith van Onselen The ABS has released commuting data from the 2016 Census, which reveals that private vehicle transport continues to dominate Australians’ commute to work, with public transport’s share of commutes barely increasing: Of the 9.2 million commuters on Census day, 79% travelled to work by private vehicle, 14% took public transport and


Think tank demands more permanent migrants

By Leith van Onselen It seems 15 years of turbo-charged ‘skilled’ permanent migration is not enough: Today, the Regional Australia Institute has demanded the federal government expand Australia’s permanent migration program even further in a bid to ease skills shortages in the regions. From The ABC: Expanding Australia’s permanent migration program would help regional communities


Essential poll: Coalition closes the gap

Via The Guardian: Voters are more attracted to Bill Shorten’s tax and economic plans than Malcolm Turnbull’s but the contest between the major parties appears to be tightening, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll. The new survey of 1,025 voters found 45% of the sample backed Shorten’s tax plan outlined in budget week compared with 33% supporting the


China muffles Turnbull megaphone

Chinese soft power can be amusing at times, via The Australian: The scene was Shanghai’s Hyatt on the Bund last Thursday night. Ciobo, the first minister from Malcolm Turnbull’s government to visit China in eight months, had just taken the stage in an attempt to add some balm to recent wounds to the China-Australia relationship.


China Raby hit “peak panic” with “cringing myopia”

Via Peter Hartcher today: For the first time, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force on Friday landed heavy bombers on an island in the South China Sea. Three weeks ago it installed anti-ship and anti-aircraft cruise missiles on some of the islands. …”There’s no conceivable defensive rationale for putting these things on these islands,” says Lowy’s


Young Americans left behind in post GFC recovery

By Leith van Onselen The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) has released research examining “Home Prices, Housing Wealth and Home Equity Extraction”, which reveals that US home prices has finally rebounded above their pre-GFC peak: Home ownership has returned to is long-run (lower) ‘normal’ level: But like in Australia, has collapsed for younger


If only the banks had the RBA’s protection racket

More pain for the banks today, via Chanticleer: Hodge assured those in the room and others watching the live stream that commissioner Kenneth Hayne, who built a distinguished career ruling expertly on black letter law, wants to draw out the personal and emotional impact of banking misconduct. The commission has become a venue for reminding


Queen Lucy’s dystopian Sydney reaches congestion “tipping point”

Via Domainfax: Sydney is approaching a tipping point that would see people abandon public transport and choose to drive to work as the city struggles to cope with population growth. The stark warning from the chairman of Transport Management at Sydney University, Professor Stephen Greaves, comes as a new report shows Sydney lags comparable cities


Labor opens path to middle-income tax cuts

By Leith van Onselen The Labor Opposition has indicated it may support the second stage of the Turnbull Government’s proposed income tax cuts package. This would raise the upper threshold for the 32.5% tax rate from $90,000 to $120,000, which would primarily benefit people on middle incomes. Labor’s finance spokesman, Jim Chalmers, claims the party


Put Pauline in charge!

It appears One Nation has killed the company tax cut. Via The Australian: Pauline Hanson has dealt what appears to be a fatal blow to the government’s company tax cuts by withdrawing support for the package and producing a list of near impossible demands, declaring that Malcolm Turnbull has failed to sell the reform’s benefits.


The problem mass immigration is supposed to solve does’t exist

By Leith van Onselen The AFR published an interesting article showing that while Australia’s population is ageing, there are a rising number of women and older Australians working that mitigates this impact, in turn maintaining excess supply in the labour market and holding down wages: A potent combination of more women entering the workforce and


Why is unemployment rising again?

Via Westpac: •Employment rose 22.6k in April beating both market (20k) and Westpac’s (17k) expectations. Full-time employment rose by 32.7k while part-time fell 10.0k. Past employment results were revised with March now –0.7k (was +4.9k) and February is now –7.4k (was reported as –6.3k last month and originally reported as +17.5k). This trend for downward


Despite price falls, there’s almost no affordable houses left in Sydney

By Leith van Onselen The most recent Mapping the Market report from CoreLogic revealed that just 0.9% of Sydney suburbs had a median house value below $500,000 as at March 2018, well down on the 33.8% of suburbs that were priced below $500,000 five years earlier: Now, CoreLogic has released new research showing that there



Via The Australian: The Australian arm of Toys ‘R’ Us was placed into administration on Monday night, putting the future of more than 700 staff in doubt. McGrathNicol was appointed voluntary administrator of Toys ‘R’ Us (Australia) and Babies ‘R’ Us by a resolution of the company’s Australian directors. The move follows the collapse of


Links 22 May 2018

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: The Theranos deception – CBS America beware: dollar supremacy is not forever – FT Monopsony in online labour markets – VOX Monopsony, Rigidity, and the Wage Puzzle (Wonkish) – NY Times Crypto Bull Tom Lee Owns Up After Bitcoin Prediction Goes Awry – Bloomberg Freeing Econ 101: Beyond the


Macro Afternoon

A generally positive day across Asia to start the trading week. The USD advanced against the major currencies and gold, helping inversely correlated Japanese stocks while local shares floundered. The Shanghai Composite is up nearly 1% or about 25 points at 3215, finally out of the shadow of very strong overhead resistance at 3200 even, giving the impetus for a