Squiz Today / 11 April 2017
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 11 April
TREASURER LINES UP ON HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison had a brisk start to the week. He was out and about yesterday talking about housing affordability. But the only thing we know for sure - changes to negative gearing are off the table. Morrison said two million people own investment properties, around 1.3 million of them negatively gear, and 90% of them have two properties or less. That’s a lot of people who would be mega-irritated if the arrangements were changed.
IS HOUSING AFFORDABILITY REALLY A NEW PROBLEM?
Anyone who’s taken the plunge will no doubt remember getting into the market was harder than salvaging a broken relationship with Ray Hadley. But, in fact, it is more difficult now:
- between 2002-14, home ownership fell by 10% for people aged 25-44 to 30-50%.
- the share of income spent on mortgage payments by people aged 25-44 is about 25%, an increase of 50-100%.
- since 2006, the average number of years required to save for a deposit increased from 5 to 8 years in Sydney, and 4 to 6 years in Melbourne.
SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?
There will be a lot of speculation but we won't really know until the budget is announced in May. Morrison did call out a couple of areas yesterday – first-home buyers and housing for low-income renters. The big issue that experts agree on is the need to increase housing stock. Land releases are mostly a state and local government issue. But the federal government can place further restrictions on foreign buyers, particularly when homes are left empty. There’s also the possibility retirees can be encouraged to downsize their homes giving them more money to play with if the tax and pension settings are right. Reports also said there won’t be changes to allow first home buyers access to their superannuation, so take that one off the list.
SQUIZ THE REST
THE END OF WORK FOR THE DOLE?
Chalk it up to speculation, but Fairfax Media reports this morning say cutting the $650 million program has been discussed by those putting together the budget. It was a signature policy of the Howard government, and implemented by former PM (and in those days, former Employment minister) Tony Abbott. Watch this space.
CENTRELINK’S ROBO-DEBT NOTICES WERE NOT 'ERRORS'
Debt notices were sent by Centrelink to people who didn't owe any money over last summer. The Commonwealth Ombudsman looked into it and yesterday announced it found that even though one in five people were incorrectly sent notices, these were not ‘errors’. Huh? That’s because the faulty notices were based on incomplete information in the system at the time, and that was mainly because the customer hadn’t complied with a notice to update their income details. The investigation did find there were transparency and usability issues with the system and Centrelink promised to better explain itself to customers in the future.
VALE JOHN CLARKE
We loved him so much we forgot he was a Kiwi. That was one wag’s assessment of Australia’s affection for satirist John Clarke. He died from natural causes while bushwalking in Victoria’s Grampians over the weekend. One-half of Clarke and Dawe, the duo produced many years of mock interviews that impaled politicians and public figures. Clarke has a large body of work here in and in NZ, one favourite is The Games, a mockumentary on organising the 2000 Sydney Olympics. We’re dusting it off over Easter.
ABC STANDS DISTRACTED NEWSREADER DOWN
Everyone loves a harmless newsreader gaffe, except the management of ABC 24 it seems. Natasha Exelby, a freelance presenter and producer, was told she won’t receive any more on-air slots in the 24-hour news channel after being caught on the weekend staring at her pen and then giving a startled intro to the sports update. Former colleagues, politicians and plenty of others took to Twitter last night to voice their disappointment over the severity of the penalty for what many saw as a minor slip. Neither Exelby nor the ABC would comment.
AN ASPIRING RAPPER, 2 LOBSTERS AND A SWIM
It was a quiet Sunday night out on the Goldie for aspiring local rapper Terry Peck. He downed two lobsters, a baby octopus, 21 oyster shots (apparently that’s a thing) and six Coronas. On his own. And then allegedly stole more beer and legged it into the water to avoid paying the $620 bill. Staff chased him into the water, and police had to pick him up on the lifesaver’s jet ski. He was yesterday released on bail… on the condition he doesn’t return to the restaurant.
CHINA TAKES A SHINE TO POT BLACK
Sure, golf and tennis are great, but what world sporting competition currently underway will attract a viewing audience of more than 400 million (about the same as a tennis grand slam event)? Snooker! The main attraction is China’s Ding Junhui; he's largely responsible for China's embrace of the sport (can you call snooker a sport?) and the huge new following. Ding is front-and-centre in the World Championships currently underway in Sheffield, UK. Another name to drop into your regular snooker conversations is Mark Selby, he’s the world champ. It’s a long comp so settle in; the finals aren’t until 1 May.
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS to release a preview of the 2016 Census results (unless the website goes down)
National Australia Bank's business confidence survey for March
World Parkinson's Day
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