CBA: GDP to plunge, unemployment to spike

By Gareth Aird, senior economist at CBA: Key Points We expect the Australian economy to contract by 7.5%/qtr in Q2 20 and by 3.4% in 2020. The unemployment rate is forecast to lift sharply to 7.8% in Q2 20. We expect the Commonwealth fiscal position to deteriorate to a deficit of $A72bn in 2019/20 (3.7%


Australia’s retirement system needs radical reform

From The Conversation: The government’s retirement income review is being told our current tax and benefit treatment of retirement incomes is a mess. Much of financial planning industry is devoted to structuring affairs to maximise access to the age pension. The means test and other requirements that control access to it are a bureaucratic nightmare


Proof superannuation robs workers of wages

By Brendan Coates, Matthew Cowgill and Will Mackey from The Grattan Institute, cross-posted from The Conversation: A key question for the government’s retirement incomes review is who ultimately pays for compulsory super contributions, especially since they are set to climb from 9.5% of wages to 12% over the next five years. Legally, they come from


CBA: Business investment to remain in gutter

By Gareth Aird, Senior Economist at CBA: Key Points: Non-mining business investment in Australia has eased. And forward looking investment intentions were downgraded in the mostrecentABS Capex Survey. We expect non-mining business investment to be sluggish in 2020. But this outcome is not locked in and there are policy levers that couldbe pulled to help


NBN faces grim future amid mounting financial pressures

Cross-posted from Independent Australia: The future of the NBN looks grim with entrenched poor outcomes, increasing financial pressures and no solutions from the Morrison Government, writes Paul Budde. OVER THE LAST WEEK, I had an interesting discussion on the NBN with several long-term colleagues. What triggered this discussion – we have had many more of


Infrastructure deficit impossible to fix without tackling immigration

Cross-posted from Online Opinion: Australian politicians never tire of telling the public how they are investing record amounts in infrastructure. Barely a day goes by without a minister announcing a new “congestion busting” infrastructure project designed to ease bottlenecks in Australian cities. Malcolm Turnbull said he wanted to be known as an “infrastructure prime minister”.


It’s time for a rational, mature debate on Australia’s population

By Kelvin Thompson, National Media Spokesperson for Sustainable Australia Party: When the economist Leith Van Onselen was recently asked on ABC radio whether his support for a substantial cut in Australia’s migration program meant he was xenophobic, he replied that he supported a return of our migration program to the numbers we had when Gough


2019: A year of fake growth

By Kelvin Thomson, National Media Spokesperson, Sustainable Australia Party We’ve just had another bout of breathless reporting from journalists, economists and commentators about our economic growth, accompanying the release of the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Remarkably, people who ought to know better continue to talk about GDP, but make no mention of GDP


Marketisation of education has failed

Cross-posted from The Conversation: The Morrison government’s waiving of almost A$500 million in dodgy vocational education and training debts holds many lessons about the nature of education and public services being provided by for-profit enterprises. The debts were collected by about 38,000 students unwittingly locked into federal VET FEE-HELP loans by dodgy for-profit education providers.


Who will be held responsible when visa privatisation fails?

Cross-posted from The Conversation: The Department of Home Affairs has begun taking steps to outsource its visa processing to private service providers. This move has sparked an important national debate on transparency, accountability and profiteering in the immigration system. The proposed changes will involve private service providers processing certain “low-risk” visas, rather than department staff.


CBA: Mortgage equity injection highest in living memory

By Gareth Aird, senior economist at CBA: Key Points RBA cuts to the cash rate have generated both a lift in new housing‑related lending and an acceleration in debt repayment. We expect national dwelling prices will continue to grow faster than household income in 2020 but any increase in household leverage is likely to be


The density dilemma

By Ross Elliott, cross-posted from The Pulse: A recent decision by Brisbane City Council to restrict townhouse and similar ‘missing middle’ housing product to areas actually zoned for it has been met with hostility from some parts of the urban planning community. It has been exaggerated as a “total ban” and labelled variously as “terrible


Australia’s retirement system unprepared for home free future

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Asked to conduct an independent review of Australia’s retirement income system, the panel appointed by treasurer Josh Frydenberg reported on Friday that it was all tied up with the family home. At every age range, Australians have more money saved through home ownership than they do through superannuation or anything else,


First home buyers are on the rise. But for how long?

From CoreLogic’s Tim Lawless: According to ABS housing finance data for August 2019, first home buyers comprised the largest proportion of national owner occupier mortgage activity since early 2012. The data showed first home buyers comprised 29.8% of the national market for owner occupier home loans; almost five percentage points above the decade average of


Coalition mortgages Australia’s economic future

Via Independent Australia: IN A RECENT SURVEY conducted by the Australian Financial Review, every single economist who participated had the same message for the Morrison Government: the Reserve Bank should not have to rescue the economy on its own. However, despite the mounting evidence of domestic economic slowdown and the growing risk of a potential


Aussie voters reject Labor’s immigration extremists

Cross-posted from Independent Australia: At the May Federal Election, Labor and the Greens overbid the already-high Coalition position on immigration and population. Post-election, Labor muffles the topic, targeting instead Home Affairs and its Minister, Peter Dutton. Is that the right play? For this year’s Federal Election, Labor offered virtually open-ended migrant-parent visas. This would have


Lower-income households are priced-out of housing

By Cameron Kusher, CoreLogic Research Analyst: Last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released their biennial Housing Occupancy and Costs data for the 2017-18 financial year. The release has too much data to cover off in full in just one blog post so this week’s blog will cover off on some of the details


Fed confusion throws spanner into bond rally

By Damien Boey at Credit Suisse: Over the past few days, we have witnessed some very confusing signals from Fed officials: Vice Chair Clarida suggested that the Fed should not wait until things get so bad to have a dramatic series of rate cuts. These comments followed and potentially reinforced dovish comments from the New


Westpac auction preview: July 13-14

From Westpac Senior Economist, Matthew Hassan: Given the intense focus on Australia’s housing markets at the moment and in light of our recent commentary around the best way to interpret auction market results (see here) we are now providing short previews each Friday and summary updates the following Monday setting out how results should be viewed. Key


Household wealth falling but debt trap remains

By Cameron Kusher at CoreLogic: The ABS data showed that at the end of the March quarter, household net worth was $10.243 trillion. CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher observed that while a large figure, household wealth has now fallen for two consecutive quarters and is -0.7% lower year-on-year. The $10.243 trillion in net worth is


Aussie household confidence takes another dive

From Martin North at Digital Finance Analytics: After the slight twitch of positive sentiment following the election in May, the DFA Household Finance Confidence Index fell again, to a new low of 85.54. Whilst the RBA rate cut may offer some borrowers the prospect of improved cash flow (when the changes propagate through to the


Challenging the dogma of GDP and population growth

By Michael Bayliss, communications manager for Sustainable Population Australia and Co-founder of Population, Permaculture and Planning Australia’s economy is centred on the belief that we need Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a means of measuring prosperity. For this to happen, we need to maintain a culture of consumption coupled with a continually growing population. While


Getting out of liquor and pokies good for Woolworths

Cross posted from The Conversation by Jason Pallant Lecturer of Marketing, Swinburne University of Technology The Woolworths Group proclaims it celebrates “family-friendly values”. Within its supermarkets the company has sought to demonstrate this commitment. Woolies gives out free fruit to kids, for example, and no longer gives out plastic bags. Its goal, the group states, is to


“Congestion busting” just got harder under ScoMo’s immigration boom

Cross-posted from Independent Australia: THE ELECTION OFFERED no respite from Australia’s radical immigration economy. We could crank it up higher, under the Coalition. Even more so, via Labor. In 2017 and 2018, net migration clocked about 240,000. The Budget grows that by 30,000. But permanent migration drops by 30,000. How good are bridging visas? The long haul is real news. Only


Ponzi Pallas serves up land taxes to fill stamp duty black hole

By David Collyer Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has pre-announced Land Tax changes ahead of Monday night’s state budget. Expect a dramatic budget contraction as Victoria’s key ‘own revenue’ source, Stamp Duty, has shrunk with the fall in both property transaction volumes and prices. “The government says stamp duty revenue will collapse by an average of


Political trouble for the bubble down under

By Ross Elliott, cross-posted from New Geography: In a remarkable and most unexpected outcome, Australia’s conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison has retained the country’s leadership at the recent Australian Federal Parliamentary election (18 May, 2019). Morrison’s victory confounded a wide array of commentators, academics, advocacy groups, industry groups, all of the opinion polls, most of