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IndyWatch Australian Economic News Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.

Thursday, 17 March


Expect great things from Turnbull’s first budget. No, seriously Peter Martin

While the media has been obsessing about tax, Malcolm Turnbull has been focused on setting Australia up. To do it, he'll need to borrow big sums of money for exceptionally long periods at at extraordinarily low interest rates.

We should have done it sooner. Right now Australia can borrow for 10 years at 2.7 per cent, just a few points above the the Reserve Bank's inflation target of 2.5 per cent, meaning we are able to get money for close to nothing. But it's still unattractive for long-term projects because there's a risk that in a decade's time when the loans have to be refinanced, the new rates will be higher. So Turnbull's looking at borrowing for 30 years.

Australia has never before issued 30-year bonds, although we have been experimenting with borrowing for 24 and 25 years. The US and Britain borrow for 30 years and get certainty for their repayments right through the life of very big projects.

What will Turnbull want the money for? Here's where it gets interesting. He dropped broad hints in a speech in Sydney on Friday.

The mining boom was made possible by investment in physical infrastructure such as mines, railways and ports. Over time it will make Australia rich. Turnbull believes the next boom will also require physical investment. If it's the result of people providing services in fields such as finance, law, health and othe...


Beyond the market fetish: Using renewables to build political momentum for climate action Renew Economy

We need a new strategy to cut emissions and there is a strong argument that renewable energy is that strategy.


The mismatch in current demand charge-based network tariffs Renew Economy

Current cost-reflective tariffs drive a significantly lower reduction in network peaks than in customer peaks.


What will shake Malcolm Turnbull from his climate coma? Renew Economy

Global energy emissions flat for second year in a row, as Australia's energy emissions soar. Still, Malcolm Turnbull declares himself satisfied with the Coalition's climate change policies.


Construction begins on second solar farm in ACT Renew Economy

Construction begins on 13MW Mugga Lane solar farm in ACT, including tracking technology to boost output.


Australian labour market – the dismal picture unfolds further Bill Mitchell – billy blog

Last month, employment growth was basically flat (slightly negative). Participation decreased. The signs were ominous. This month, the dismal picture unfolded further. Today’s release of the – Labour Force data – for February 2016 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that those ominous signs have worsened. Total employment growth was zero (well 300 net jobs). A pathetic result. Unemployment fell but only because the participation rate fell by 0.2 points – thus the idle labour arising from the weak employment growth just left the labour force and is now hidden unemployment. Working hours fell further – the trend is flat and has been for the last few years. The teenage labour market continued to deteriorate with the adjusted unemployment rate (taking into account the sharp fall in participation since the downturn) of 29.1 per cent rather than the official estimate for February 2016 of 17.8 per cent. Overall, with private investment forecast to decline further over the next 12 months, the Australian labour market is looking very weak and the Federal government should be introducing a rather sizeable fiscal stimulus in its upcoming fiscal statement. This should include large-scale public sector job creation which would ensure teenagers regained the jobs that have been lost due to the fiscal drag over the last several years.

The summary ABS Labour Force (seasonally adjusted) estimates for February 2016 are:

  • Employment increased 300 (0 per cent) with full-time employment increasing by 15,900 and part-time employment decreasing by 15,600.
  • Unemployment decreased by 27,300 to 732,600.
  • The official unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.8 per cent but only because the participation rate fell sharply. Hidden unemployment thus rose.
  • The participation...


My Tesla Powerwall: Tales of an early adopter Renew Economy

A Sydney household's perspective on pairing home battery storage – a 6.4kWh Tesla Powerwall – with a 5kW rooftop solar system. How much solar power is being exported, how much is being imported... and when to bake cake.


Nissan sees future with EV-powered grid. But if they build it, will consumers connect? Renew Economy

Nissan explores how vehicle-to-grid, battery storage, wireless charging, autonomous drive technology and the internet could combine to revolutionise how consumers use energy. But how close is this to reality?


Peak electricity demand and going off the grid: the cooking dilemma Renew Economy

Whether you are on or off the grid, it is important to minimise peak electricity demand.


Port Augusta pushes for federal support for solar tower power plant Renew Economy

Port Augusta community pushes for $100m of federal funds for solar tower with storage power plant, but doesn't get to meet ministers.


Battery storage for households: How products compare in price and performance Renew Economy

The Australian market is seen as a global testing ground for battery storage products, which is why nearly all the major battery storage developers are releasing products here. One product, however, emerges as a clear leader.


100% solar-powered buses arrive in London as UK eyes zero emissions by 2050 Renew Economy

Emissions-free electric Double Decker buses will shortly begin operating in London as UK government to enshrine in law zero carbon pledge.


NY Times: The era of free trade might be over. That's a good thing AFTINET

16 March 2016

The era of free trade might be over and that's a good thing, writes Jared Bernstien for the New York Times.

It's a good thing, he argues, because FTAs had "long devolved into handshakes between corporate and investor interests on both sides of the border, allowing little voice for working people."

Read the full article here


Asia’s Boards: Where Are The Women? The Diplomat » Pacific Money

Despite progress, Asian women are yet to crack the corporate “rice-paper ceiling.” Are arbitrary quotas the answer?

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Monday, 14 March


Will China’s State-Owned Enterprise Reform Go Far Enough? The Diplomat » Pacific Money

In attempting reform while maintaining control, authorities are trying to have it both ways.

Thursday, 10 March


TPP: It's not a done deal. Take action! AFTINET

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been signed and tabled in Parliament - but it's not a done deal yet.

Labor, Greens and independent representatives could still block the deal by voting against its implementing legislation in the Senate.

The easiest thing you can do right now is send a message to your Senators and MP asking them to block the TPP.

It only takes a couple of minutes and could have a big impact.

Want to do more? You can also:

1. Visit your Senator or MP: 
The most powerful thing you can do is visit your Labor or independent Senator or MP. We’ve designed a step-by-step guide to take you through the process.

2. Join AFTINET! 
We're a network of organisations and individuals representing around two million Australians. The stronger our numbers, the greater power we have! Plus, your small annual membership fee will go directly towards supporting our campaigns. Join here

3. Spread the word 
Help raise awareness by liking AFTINET on Facebook, following us on Twitter and sharing our updates. You can also download and distribute our latest leaflet Crunch time in Parliament

4. Find out more
Stay informed! You can read a short summary of the main issues in the TPP...

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