News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s wrap: China ushers in “dog days” for Australia; New South Wales kicks off ports privatisation; and rate cut “critical to save jobs, industry”
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Lou Caruana

China ushers in ‘dog days’ for Australia

Prominent Labor government adviser and noted economist Professor Ross Garnaut has warned of a long and tough China-induced downturn in Australia that will require restraint in government spending and wages growth for the rest of the decade, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Prof Garnaut, who forecast the rise of China in 1989, said the “salad days” of the boom were rapidly becoming “dog days” of faltering incomes and living standards in Australia.

He cited an urgent need for Australians to make “shared sacrifices”, such as in 1983 when the Hawke government slashed spending and introduced the wages accord. He also suggested the easy money tax breaks for the well-off and elderly should end.

NSW kicks off ports privatisation

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird will today launch the privatisation process for Port Botany and Port Kembla, as the Coalition’s top infrastructure adviser prepares to release a multibillion dollar state infrastructure plan for the next two decades, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Baird will call for expressions of interest in 99-year leases of the ports in Sydney and the Illawarra region over the next three weeks. It will be followed by indicative bids and a shortlist of bidders before the end of the year, with final bids due in April next year.

“Port Botany is the gateway to Australia’s largest economy and is Australia’s second largest container port,” Baird said. “Port Kembla offers a diversified revenue base with bulk products, including grain, steel, coal and iron ore and is Australia’s largest vehicle import hub.”

Rate cut 'critical to save jobs, industry'

Union leaders have demanded that the Reserve Bank moves to cut interest rates today, accusing board members of "sitting on their hands" while jobs are lost and industries suffer further declines, according to The Australian.

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said a rate cut was further justified by research indicating that an accelerating contraction in manufacturing and new figures showing a majority of households were struggling to save.

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