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MUM and dad investors will receive generous concessions to park their savings with banks and building societies as part of sweeping tax reforms.

The Rudd Government is preparing to unveil a new savings scheme offering tax breaks similar to superannuation’s discount rate of 15 per cent, The Daily Telegraph reports.

It will encourage investors to deposit savings with the four major banks and other respected financial institutions.

But investors will have to “lock up” their savings — perhaps for between five and 10 years — to qualify for the special rate.

The new savings deal will be announced as part of the Government’s much-anticipated response to the Henry tax review.

It will be part of a suite of measures aimed at building a new savings culture in Australia.

But it is also hoped it will generate billions of dollars in bank deposits, cutting the need for finance houses to borrow from overseas.

The Government expects it will be popular with voters who currently face punishing tax rates on savings. Some taxpayers can pay up to 50 per cent on interest earned from their bank deposits.

Australia is one of the few countries in the world to tax bank savings at the full rate.

Among key reforms, taxpayers will be able to lodge their annual tax returns with a few clicks of a mouse.

And Australia’s antiquated tax system — containing 125 different taxes — will be streamlined to simplify arrangements.

It is understood the Reserve Bank and other financial authorities have raised concerns about the steady decline in deposits.

Bank CEOs have been lobbying Canberra for changes to taxation on ordinary bank deposits, claiming the superannuation industry gets a huge advantage.

And they have a strong ally in Treasury boss Dr Ken Henry, who has also raised concerns over the punitive rates faced by those who save with banks.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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FURTHER official interest rate rises could choke off consumer spending and grind the economy to a halt, economists warn.

Herston Economics chief economist Clifford Bennett says if the Reserve Bank raises the cash rate to five per cent by year’s end, the economy would “grind to a standstill”.

The current cash rate is 4.25 per cent, after the RBA lifted the rate by a quarter of a percentage point on Tuesday in an effort to further rein in expansionary pressures.

It was the fifth monthly interest rate rise by the central bank since October last year.

“If the cash rate gets to 5 per cent … the domestic economy will grind to a standstill,” Mr Bennett said.

“We’re seeing in the Sydney press examples of them having to choose between buying groceries and paying their electricity bill and the added burden from the RBA is completely unwarranted, unnecessary and unwanted.”

RBA governor Glenn Stevens said it was appropriate to raise the cash rate towards its long-run average given that “the risk of serious economic contraction

Most economists say the average long-run cash rate is around 5 per cent.

Nomura Australia economist Stephen Roberts said rising interest rates meant consumers were paying a greater proportion of their income in servicing debt.

Data compiled by the central bank showed that when the cash rate was 3.75 per cent at the and of the December quarter of 2009, the average household was paying more than 10 per cent of its income, minus taxes and some other regular payments, on interest payments.

When the cash rate topped 18 per cent in December 1989, the average household was spending just under nine per cent of its income on interest payments.

The figures also show that in December quarter of 1989, household debt was slightly less than half household yearly income.

Twenty years later it was equal to one and a half times an average household’s yearly income.

“That data is from fourth quarter (2009) and you have to remember we’ve had two more interest rate rises already,” Mr Roberts said.

He said a lower interest rate of 3.75 per cent to 4 per cent would be more appropriate given the current difference between the cash rate and the interest rates of major lenders.

Official economic data now points to a slowing economy, with building approvals, employment and retail sales data for March all coming in under market expectations.

Mr Bennett said the data suggested Australia’s economic performance post the global financial crisis was weaker than first thought.

“When you look at the domestic economy, there are patchy elements,” he said.

“There are storm clouds on the horizon.”

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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  • Banks say they will be forced to lift rates
  • Will be more than official RBA rises
  • Facing higher costs of raising money
  •  

     

    BANKS have confirmed homeowners’ worst fears: they will increase mortgage rates by more than the official Reserve Bank rises in the coming months.

    The Big Four banks claim they will be forced to lift interest rates beyond the official RBA cash rate increases because they are facing higher costs of raising money in the wholesale markets.

    Full story  :  http://www.news.com.au/business/money/story/0,28323,26194165-5013952,00.html

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    AUSSIE Home Loans has recorded a strong rise in the number of borrowers looking to refinance their mortgages, as home owners try to take advantage of record low interest rates.

    The non-bank lender said refinancing accounted for 38.5 per cent of home loans written in June, up from 30.2 per cent in March.

    “There have been plenty of home owners who have been complacent about their mortgages,” Aussie founder and executive chairman John Symond said.

    “But our figures show that more and more of them are taking advantage of record interest rate lows and are actively seeking out the best deal.”

    However, the number of first home buyers settling home loans dropped to 21.3 per cent of total loans written in June, from 32 per cent in March.

    “The steam has abated in the first home buyer market as many of them realise that the properties available are probably already at full price,” Mr Symonds said.

    “They are re-assessing the market.”

    Aussie is one of Australia’s largest non-bank providers of financial services and has a loan book of more than $30 billion.

    Source  :  www.news.com.au

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     Welcome to Schools Online, a directory of public schools in Western Australia.

    Whether you are a parent keen to find information on programs available at your children’s school, or interested in enrolling your children at a school in your local area, you will find a range of information.

    We hope you find Schools Online useful and encourage you to visit other parts of the Department of Education and Training website for information on other special events, initiatives and programs that may be of interest to you.

    Source  :  http://www2.eddept.wa.edu.au/schoolprofile/home.do

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    EXCLUSIVE: SUPER 7s Oz Lotto has jackpotted to a staggering $90 million next week.

    The new, all-time record lottery draw will take place next Tuesday after there were no first division winners in last night’s $50 million draw.

    A rush for tickets for last night’s game saw the division one prize pool boosted to a massive $59 million.

    Tattersall’s Lotteries PR manager Karen Anning said next week’s Super 7s Oz Lotto
    draw will shatter all existing records for lotto games in Australia.

    “We were expecting the game to jackpot to $60 million next week if there were no first division winners but, due to the unprecedented level of interest in last nights draw, the decision has been made to offer a minimum guaranteed jackpot level of $90 million, Ms Anning said.

    “The lotto frenzy we have already experienced over the past week is expected reach epic proportions in the lead up to next Tuesday nights draw.”

    source  :  www.news.com.au

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    THE receiver of ABC Learning Centres has sold the childcare group’s UK arm for an undisclosed sum.

    ABC’s UK business, called Busy Bees Group, was purchased by Singapore-based company Knowledge Universe Education, Chris Honey of McGrathNicol said today.  abc

    Mr Honey said Busy Bees Group, which is the UK’s largest children’s nursery group, will continue to be operated by its existing senior management.

    “As receivers, we are very happy with the value realised for this business, and are pleased to have sold it to an internationally respected childcare provider,” he said.

    He said Busy Bees Group was in a similar situation to ABC’s business in New Zealand, as it was not itself in receivership and had continued to trade profitably.

    Mr Honey said the sale of the ABC in New Zealand was progressing well and that strong interest from a number of bidders had led to an extension of the sale timetable.

    Mr Honey said no decision had been made yet on a timetable for the sale of the Australian business.

    “The ABC Learning centres in Australia continue to trade well, with the focus remaining firmly on providing high quality childcare, driven by the local ABC centre staff at a community level,” Mr Honey said.

    ABC, Australia’s largest childcare centre operator, went into administration and receivership in November 2008, owing more than $1 billion.

    Source www.news.com.au

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    HOUSE prices could rise by as much as 22 per cent during the next three years, an economic forecaster says.   house price

    ”The conditions are ripe for a sustained recovery in residential property prices,” according to BIS Shrapnel’s Residential Property Prospects, 2009 to 2012, report.

    ”Low interest rates, solid growth in rents and housing shortages are evident in most markets.

    ”However, the current economic malaise will mean confidence will only recover slowly during 2009/10.”

    BIS Shrapnel senior project manager and study author Angie Zigomanis said that, at this stage, all of the action was occurring at the lower-priced end of the market.

    This is due to a surge in first-home buyer demand as a result of the federal government’s first home owner boost scheme and low interest rates, he said.

    BIS Shrapnel forecasts there will be 180,000 first-home buyers in 2009.

    Although first-home buyer demand was expected to ease after the expiry of the government’s boost scheme at the end of 2009, upgraders and investors were expected to take the baton, Mr Zigomanis said.

    ”We expect rising confidence in the prospects for an economic recovery in 2010, so investors are likely to return in greater numbers, attracted by increased rental returns and low interest rates.”

    Among the state capitals, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide will show the strongest price growth over the next three years, at 19 per cent.

    More moderate growth is expected in Brisbane, Hobart, and Canberra, while price growth in Perth and Darwin is expected to be weak as the local economies of these cities are impacted by a decline in investment spending in the resources sector.

    BIS Shrapnel estimates Sydney’s median house price at June 2009 to be $530,000, and predicts it will rise by mid-2012 to $630,000. Melbourne’s current median house price is estimated at $425,000, rising to $507,000 by June 2012.

    In Adelaide, the median price is estimated at $360,000 and predicted to climb to $430,000 over the three years.

    Among other cities around Australia, Newcastle and Wollongong are expected to benefit from the migration of residents from Sydney over the coming years.

    The median house price in Newcastle is expected to soar 22 per cent over the three years, while Wollongong is forecast to see growth of 20 per cent in the same period.

    In Brisbane, the average house is estimated to cost $391,000 now and is expected to cost $455,000 by mid-2012, an increase of 16 per cent.

    Hobart’s median house price is estimated to be $335,000 and will rise by 15 per cent to $385,000 over the three year period.

    An average house in Canberra is estimated to cost $440,000, increasing to $515,000 by 2012, a rise of 17 per cent.

    In Perth, the estimated median house price is $425,000, expected to reach $475,000 in three years, up 12 per cent.

    Darwin’s forecast median house price is $470,000, predicted to show an increase of 11 per cent over the three years.

    For the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Cairns, BIS Shrapnel forecasts prices will increase by 14 per cent, while Townsville prices are expected to grow 13 per cent over the three years.

    Source  :  www.news.com.au

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