Unconventional Economist


Australian households face 400% increase in water bills

Infrastructure Australia’s audit of the nation’s requirements highlights water as a key pressure point arising from the 24% projected increase in Australia’s population to 31.4 million people by 2031: Population growth is ramping up pressure on limited water supplies While climate change is tightening water supplies in many parts of the country, our population has


Let Australia’s international student market collapse

Robert Gottliebsen has rung the alarm that Australia’s international student trade risks falling over if Chinese international students stop arriving in record numbers: Universities are funded by taking in foreign students who pay full fees. Many of these students come from China. Chinese universities have adapted their courses to fit the modern world… In other


“Tiny homes” are a marketing con

The growing “tiny home” movement must be one of the greatest marketing cons pulled off in recent years. With home ownership on the decline across much of the developed world, and homelessness rising, policy makers and the media have managed to convince the general public into believing that stuffing people into glorified caravans and trailer


Links 14 August 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: The World’s Wealthiest Family Gets $4 Million Richer Every Hour: “The 25 wealthiest dynasties on the planet control $1.4 trillion” – Bloomberg Former NYU Business School Standout, New to Wall Street, Charged With Insider Trading – WSJ New Investigation Claims Many Companies Used Blockchain to Boost Stocks – Be


Morrison Government spruiks new “high skill” fast track visas

Federal Immigration Minister David Coleman is to release details of its Global Talent Scheme (GTS) visa program today, with visas for 5,000 “high-skilled” people from around the world to be fast-tracked each year. Coleman says the Global Talent Independent Program will focus on no more than five or six sectors, with fintech, quantum computing and


Why the public sector wage push is misguided

Last month we witnessed Labor’s shadow financial services minister, Stephen Jones, demanding the federal government stimulate the economy and wage growth by lifting public sector salaries: Mr Jones said Australians needed a pay rise and the government should “lead by example” by boosting the wages of federal workers. “The government has got a role to


LVO talks pharmacy reform on Radio 2GB

This morning I gave the above interview on Radio 2GB whereby I explained why Australia needs to reform pharmacy ownership rules to boost competition and lower prescription drug costs. This interview is based largely on an article published last week entitled, Chemist Warehouse declares war on rent-seeking Pharmacy Guild.    


Department of Employment: Australia to become a bed pan economy

Since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) struck in 2008, the lion’s share of Australia’s jobs growth has come from Healthcare & Social Assistance, which has accounted for 590,000 jobs created: The Department of Employment has released its Australian Jobs Report, which projects that Healthcare & Social Assistance will continue to dominate jobs growth, alongside other population-driven


Infrastructure Australia forecasts dystopian “Big Australia”

An Infrastructure Australia audit of the nation’s requirements across areas like roads, rail, schools, electricity and water has found that almost two-thirds of the burden from population growth will fall on the mass immigration epicentres of Sydney and Melbourne. The report also predicts that traffic delays on roads and public transport will balloon despite $200


Anger erupts as cracking apartment owners left destitute and bankrupt

Yesterday was the first day of the inquiry into NSW building standards, which was set up last month after major faults appeared in apartment buildings such as Mascot Towers and Opal Tower. The inquiry heard tails of woe from owners of apartments in the Mascot Tower, who have been left destitute and facing potential bankruptcy.


Migrant visa tsunami pushes older Australians onto dole queue

Recall Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor, Phil Lowe’s, testimony on Friday to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, whereby Lowe wrongly claimed that increased labour force participation from older Australians is one of the key reasons for excess capacity in Australia’s labour market and why wage growth has stuck to historically low


Links 13 August 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Student Loans Keeping You From Saving for Retirement? You’re Not Alone. – Barrons World Economy Edges Closer to a Recession as Trade Dread Deepens – Bloomberg Asia shares decline as trade war concerns dampen investor sentiment – CNBC Cathay Pacific shares drop after China orders carrier to suspend staff


If you buy apartments off-the-plan, you are off-the-planet

In the video above, Martin North and property insider Edwin Almeida delve deeper into the high-rise apartment crisis, which they have previously claimed is a $1 trillion problem for Australia. In particular, North and Almeida discuss the collapse of developer Ralan and what the implications are for home buyers of off-the-plan buyers. Two months ago, Edwin Almeida


Is tightened credit behind the crash in new car sales?

Earlier this month, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reported that annual new car sale had hit the lowest level since November 2012: Today, The AFR blames part of this decline on tightening automotive credit: In a post-royal commission world, where the banks are struggling to come to grips with what “responsible” lending really means,


More proof superannuation benefits the wealthy

One of the biggest knocks on Australia’s compulsory superannuation system is that because of Australia’s flat 15% tax on contributions, those on lower incomes receive minimal concessions (or are penalised), whereas those on higher incomes receive the biggest tax concessions on contributions: Division 293 remedies the situation for those very high income earners above $250,000.


The slow painful death of the Australian Treasury

When I and other graduates arrived at the Australian Treasury in 2003, we were inducted by Secretary Ken Henry and his deputy secretaries who drilled into us the Treasury’s rich history of giving “frank and fearless” advice to the federal government, based upon rigour and evidence. We were told to examine issues rationally with a


Australia’s federation is failing

The Australian’s Judith Sloan has taken direct aim at Australia’s federation, arguing that states and territories have become increasingly reliant on the federal government for funds, while the federal government in turn is getting involved in areas that have been traditionally been the domain of the states and territories. Researchers have suggested that Australia’s GDP


Grattan: Young Aussie men should ditch university for VET

The Grattan Institute has released a new report, entitled Risks and rewards: when is vocational education a good alternative to higher education?, which recommends that male students with lower school results would be better off doing vocational education and training (VET) rather than going to university: Vocational diplomas in construction, engineering, and commerce typically lead


RBA boss: Strong immigration fueled Australia’s property bubble

In Friday’s testimony to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor, Phil Lowe, explicitly blamed mass immigration for fuelling the strong house price inflation experienced over the past decade: Chair: Since its peak in 2011, the cash rate has fallen from 4¾ per cent to 1½ per cent…


RBA fail: Migrant visa boom crushing Australian wages

In testimony on Friday to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor, Phil Lowe, blamed increasing labour supply from females and older Australians for holding down Australian wages: What’s happened is that increased demand for labour has been met with more labour supply, especially by women and older


Auction clearances continue to strengthen

Auction clearance rates continue to strengthen, with the preliminary rate nationally rising above 70% and Sydney’s rising above 80%: As shown below, the preliminary national auction clearance rate rose to 70.4% versus 68.3% last weekend. Clearances were also way above the 54.9% recorded in the same weekend last year: Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate rose to


Hong Kong international students intimidated by angry Chinese

The fallout from last month’s protests at the University of Queensland, which saw nationalist Chinese students attack Hong Kong students protesting in favour of independence, continues to fester across Australia’s universities. In the weeks following these protests, we have witnessed pro-Hong Kong Lennon boards across Australia’s university campuses, which offer messages of support in favour of