Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘serious’

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

Read Full Post »

Shopping centres in Perth are handing out cards warning youths they could be banned from the venues in a bid to crack down on antisocial behaviour.
   
Security guards at Westfield’s Innaloo, Carousel and Whitford City centres also carry photographs of those already banned.

The youth cards  introduced at the beginning of the year  were not a punishment and were available to all members of the public on request.
   
The cards warned teenagers what behaviour was expected of them, how they could expect to be treated by security guards and the consequences of antisocial behaviour — including bans of 24 hours to six months.
    
Youths are encouraged at the centres but they should not detract from other people’s safety or comfort. Currently there are no serious problems with youths at the shopping centres.
   
Security guards carried photographs of banned youths so they could be easily recognised if they returned before permitted.   

Ms Laschon said shopping centres were a natural, safe meeting place for people of all ages. She said the conditions of Westfield’s youth cards should apply to all shoppers.
   
“The whole idea of screaming at the top of your voice and running around happens with lots of people at the beginning of sale time. It’s not only teenagers that get excited,” she said. 
  
AMP Capital Shopping Centres communication manager Scott Gillespie said the company’s Karrinyup, Garden City and Ocean Keys complexes did not have a similar system in place.

Read Full Post »

A PLAN to help up to 124,000 retrenched workers has united the states but drawn criticism in Canberra.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signed a deal with the states and territories to give intensive help to unemployed people aged over 25.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) conference in Darwin agreed to give the jobless access to government-subsidised vocational training.

Labor says the “compact with retrenched workers” will help up to 124,000 people.

“Workers who have been retrenched as a consequence of this global recession have lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” Mr Rudd said.

“Acting to support young Australians who are finding it hard to enter the labour market … represents an important intervention by government.”

Under the agreement, the Federal Government’s new employment agency Job Services Australia matches retrenched workers, aged over 25, with a path to a qualification.

The state and territories would set aside training places.

The training is for people who have been out of work since January 2009 and who are registered with a Job Services Australia provider.

The entitlement is available from now until the end of 2011.

It follows an “earn or learn” COAG agreement reached in April to make youths aged 15 to 19 undertake training and guarantee places for 20-24 year-olds in skills development.

The Rudd Government says it has invested $300 million in programs to help retrenched workers, but it did not provide a cost for the latest one.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said COAG’s new scheme would prepare Australia for economic recovery.

“We know only too well how quickly this country can find itself in a situation of serious skills shortage.”

But Opposition employment participation spokesman Andrew Southcott said training programs for the unemployed had failed when Labor last took that approach in the mid-1990s.

“Training for training’s sake, without a job at the end of it, is cruel to the unemployed,” Mr Southcott said.

“The experience around the world is that a skills-first approach for the unemployed tends to be very expensive and you have poor outcomes.”

Source  :  www.news.com.au

Read Full Post »

Two more swine flu cases in WA, Scotch College student ill

NEARLY 100 staff and students at WA’s exclusive Scotch College are being tested for swine flu after an 11-year-old boy fell ill with the virus.

Eleven-year-old Scotch College student, Harry, who returned from Melbourne on June 1, has tested positive for the H1N1 virus.

A 23-year-old woman, who returned from Melbourne on June 3, was also confirmed to have it.

Harry had flown to Melbourne with a youth football team and on returning to Perth went on a school music camp before developing symptoms.

He did not return to school after the camp because he was feeling sick.

“I had a really burning temperature,” Harry said yesterday from home quarantine.

“It was really hot. I was sweating.”

Harry’s mother, Jennifer, said: “It was a really big shock. If there was no talk of swine flu and no Melbourne issue I would have just thought it was the same old cold or flu he has had before.”

Eighty-nine students and 10 staff also on the Scotch College camp are being tested for the virus and anyone with flu-like symptoms is being urged to stay home.

Four teammates suffering “flu symptoms’

It is believed four other boys in Harry’s football team are suffering from flu-like symptoms.

Scotch College acting principal Peter Freitag said there were no immediate plans to close the school down.

“It would be very difficult to close the school,” he said.

“It’s a boarding school, we have 170 boarders.

“We wouldn’t want to close the school unless we have to.

“At this stage we’re not anywhere near that.”

However, Health Department’s communicable disease control director Paul Effler did not rule out temporarily closing the school if students on the music camp tested positive to swine flu and had since been to school.

WA flu tally reaches four

The Health Department confirmed that WA’s swine flu tally had reached four.

“We are contacting the students, parents and teachers who participated in these events with the young boy and the close contacts of the young woman,” Dr Effler said.

“The close contacts of the cases have been asked to remain in home quarantine and have been provided with anti-viral medication as a precaution.

“The school has been very co-operative in helping us reach students, families and staff in a timely manner.”

More than 1000 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Australia, with the most in the eastern states.

On Thursday the Health Department issued a statement extending its voluntary quarantine policy for children who have recently travelled to areas affected by swine flu, including Victoria.

Dr Effler said there was no need for the public to panic because in most instances the swine-flu virus appeared to cause a relatively mild illness.

“I would encourage people to make sure they cover their nose and mouth if sneezing or coughing, to wash their hands frequently (and) most importantly, stay home if you are sick to limit the spread of the viruses in our community,” he said.

Dr Effler said people should continue to get their annual influenza vaccine, particularly people in vulnerable groups, including those aged over 65 and under five.

While the influenza vaccine won’t protect against the new strain of swine influenza, it will protect against serious illness caused by seasonal influenza.

If you think you have swine flu phone your doctor or call healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222. For more information on swine flu visit 

Department of Health website  www.health.wa.gov.au

Source  www.news.com.au

Read Full Post »