It's the economy, stupid!

 
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Harry Triguboff, still the richest man in Australia but unhappy that he's not making as much money as he used to and complaining that the Labor Party has changed its policy on the virtually unlimited supply of cheap labour coming into the country by restricting the 457 visa program (The Australian - paywall):

“Bill Shorten’s stance on 457 visas for (skilled) foreign workers is not good,” Mr Triguboff said…

“Our prices (average for a two-bedroom unit) are down to $950,000,” he said. “It was over a million”…

Despite the Reserve Bank repeatedly flagging risks of an apartment oversupply in inner Brisbane and Melbourne and keeping a close watch on housing prices, Mr Triguboff said its concerns where unfounded.

“There is no housing bubble, I promise you,” he said.

I still fail to fathom how $950,000 for a two-bedroom apartment in a country as big as Australia is fair value. Maybe in Valcluse or Double Bay but Chatswood or Parramatta - I just can't see how you would consider yourself lucky to pay that much for an apartment.
don_dunstan
Sounds like Harry is the one who is living in a "bubble".

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  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Jamie Packer assembles a "war room" of lawyers in response to the arrest of 18 of its staff in China - but not to help the staff get out of jail (Fairfax):

Fairfax Media has been told Minter Ellison will determine what potential exposure Crown has to lawsuits or class actions from the families of arrested staff or disgruntled shareholders, who have seen Crown's share price tumble in the wake of the crisis.

The review will also examine allegations that Crown had persisted with its sales and marketing activities within mainland China despite being warned explicitly by local authorities to stop.

"There is a view that once the families of the employees detained come to a realisation that Crown has failed massively in its duty of care, there will be conflicts of interests," another source familiar with the internal review told Fairfax Media.

"They [Crown directors and management] are all obviously worried about their own personal liability. That is, paper trails that prove they knew China had warned them not to market into China."

Who on earth would want to work for Crown Casino in China now? Their only concern seems to be about protecting the company from legal action or investigation - not in protecting the staff members who were doing the recruiting of the gambling "whales" for their casinos. And it sounds like the Australians in jail in China are going to be going away for a very long time - once you have been formally charged with a crime in China (which actually happened to the detainees this week) then the conviction rate is 99%.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
More on the disastrous push in India to root out corruption by abolishing large denomination notes - New York Times.

Also, the big four banks' tightening of lending requirements for foreign investors (especially Westpac apparently) has caught many Chinese nationals off guard and they may not be able to settle their purchases in time (ABC News). My question is: Why on earth is the speculation in Aussie real estate being rescued by the Australian government - surely they have a duty to their own citizens and not the banks and property developers who are making a quid from foreign nationals speculating on our residential property?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Talking of Chinese investors running out of cash: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/tech/2016-11/22/content_27448085.htm

And it looks like the bubble is beginning to burst on car loans in the U.S with up to 32% of loans now 'underwater' when it comes to trading in: http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/2016/11/26/underwater-car-loans-sales/94234050/

We might be getting perilously close to GFC Mk2 IMO.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Talking of Chinese investors running out of cash: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/tech/2016-11/22/content_27448085.htm
Carnot
Fairfax's Micahel Hatcher was a delegate at the "Australia-China High Level Dialouge" meeting and penned a very interesting article about his experience here. As usual, the thinly-veiled threats against Australia's traditional alliance with the United States, especially salient since the election of Donald Trump - but at the same time there were impassioned pleas for Australia to follow China's economic trade bloc and abandon other trade pacts (carrots and sticks?):

"China supports liberalisation of investment and trade," said Zhou Wenzhong, former ambassador to the US and to Australia and a former vice-minister for foreign affairs and current secretary-general of the Boao Forum.

"TPP is dead," he told me, "but China supports the alternatives, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific," both of which include China and Australia, among others. The US is not a member of the negotiations towards RCEP and FTAAP is wider but in its very early days.

"We support the opening policy because it's been very successful – it's made it possible for China to come this far."

Peter Costello, current chair of the Future Fund, added: "It's an opportunity for Australia and China to show that open and free trade can be beneficial. One door closes and another door opens."

Peter Costello is an idiot if he thinks that the message is actually not related to economic colonisation and using that entrenchment to wedge Australia further down the track... given that the Chinese rhetoric against America has ramped up since the election of Trump I think we should be very wary of these proposed Chinese economic blocs and talk of following the Chinese 'economic caravan'.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Peter Costello is an idiot if he thinks that the message is actually not related to economic colonisation and using that entrenchment to wedge Australia further down the track...
"don_dunstan"
Well, Keating did describe him as "all tip, and no iceberg."
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Peter Costello is an idiot if he thinks that the message is actually not related to economic colonisation and using that entrenchment to wedge Australia further down the track...
Well, Keating did describe him as "all tip, and no iceberg."
Valvegear
I don't particularly like Keating either but at least he had the stones to challenge Hawke when they were down in the polls. "Smirky" had his chance in 2006 when it was obvious they were going to lose and lose hard and instead he sat on his hands. Yet another Liberal Party luminary who is in reality a timid also-ran, all too happy to sit back and let their old boys networks and privileges do all the hard work for them.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
I had the misfortune a few nights ago to watch Senator Penny Wong and her defence of the Gillard government's decision to let McDonalds, Hungry Jacks and KFC import hundreds of burger-flippers on 457 visas (Lateline):

Emma Alberici: “But if there were these safeguards under Labor, how do you explain the fact that foreign workers were allowed to come in here under 457 visas to work in fast food outlets?”

Penny Wong: “Because what I would say to you is that if the Labor approach is: if there are skills shortages, or if there are jobs that Australians are not able to do, then it is appropriate to ensure we enable overseas workers to be employed in those areas. The key principle is the one I have outlined”.

I can guarantee you that not one of those jobs would have been jobs that Australians could not do - is she seriously trying to defend the importation of workers to run fast food outlets? And this woman wonders why voters are abandoning her party in droves. There is not a fig of difference between the Labor and Liberal parties when it comes to appeasing big business at the expense of local unemployed workers.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

I had the misfortune a few nights ago to watch Senator Penny Wong and her defence of the Gillard government's decision to let McDonalds, Hungry Jacks and KFC import hundreds of burger-flippers on 457 visas (Lateline):

Emma Alberici: “But if there were these safeguards under Labor, how do you explain the fact that foreign workers were allowed to come in here under 457 visas to work in fast food outlets?”

Penny Wong: “Because what I would say to you is that if the Labor approach is: if there are skills shortages, or if there are jobs that Australians are not able to do, then it is appropriate to ensure we enable overseas workers to be employed in those areas. The key principle is the one I have outlined”.

I can guarantee you that not one of those jobs would have been jobs that Australians could not do - is she seriously trying to defend the importation of workers to run fast food outlets? And this woman wonders why voters are abandoning her party in droves. There is not a fig of difference between the Labor and Liberal parties when it comes to appeasing big business at the expense of local unemployed workers.
don_dunstan
She really dropped a whopper with that answer....  Even more ironic is that before she was a Senator she was a legal officer for the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union.  Let's bring in Lawyers on 457s.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
She really dropped a whopper with that answer....  Even more ironic is that before she was a Senator she was a legal officer for the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union.  Let's bring in Lawyers on 457s.
Carnot
Wasn't sure what her background was - funny how these people seem to ring-fence their own professions and skills at the expense of everyone else.

The thing with the "highly skilled" professions is that they sometimes have unions (professional associations) behind them that go ballistic if the government tries to add them to the "shortage" list. They also put lots of barriers in place to prevent overseas-trained people coming in and obtaining registration to practice, usually by refusing to recognise their training.
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
and try and get a skill off that list - can anyone name one that has been removed?

for example the IT profession was put on in the 1990's and despite not having hired all the available IT graduates since 1998 and unemployment around 4 times the national average they are still there! I know of one company that was paying it's 457 visa holders less than $15 an hour when the minimum rate was over $19.  They fixed it but that company hasn't had any work for me since!
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
~99% of those working at McDonalds where I live are Filipinos. Lots of Filipinos employed in piggeries in my area too.
  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
She really dropped a whopper with that answer....  Even more ironic is that before she was a Senator she was a legal officer for the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union.  Let's bring in Lawyers on 457s.
Wasn't sure what her background was - funny how these people seem to ring-fence their own professions and skills at the expense of everyone else.
don_dunstan
Wasn't she the Climate Change expert in the last Labor gubmint?
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
She really dropped a whopper with that answer....  Even more ironic is that before she was a Senator she was a legal officer for the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union.  Let's bring in Lawyers on 457s.
Wasn't sure what her background was - funny how these people seem to ring-fence their own professions and skills at the expense of everyone else.
Wasn't she the Climate Change expert in the last Labor gubmint?
apw5910
She was climate change honcho under Rudd but changed to being "finance & deregulation" under Gillard. She remains leader of the opposition in the Senate so she is the most senior Labor-ite in the upper house.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
and try and get a skill off that list - can anyone name one that has been removed?

for example the IT profession was put on in the 1990's and despite not having hired all the available IT graduates since 1998 and unemployment around 4 times the national average they are still there! I know of one company that was paying it's 457 visa holders less than $15 an hour when the minimum rate was over $19.  They fixed it but that company hasn't had any work for me since!
HardWorkingMan
I don't understand what the Labor Party is doing supporting these visas, the system remained pretty much unchanged during Rudd and Gillard's goverments; surely their priority should be towards those people who are unemployed/under-employed and trying to get them work?
~99% of those working at McDonalds where I live are Filipinos. Lots of Filipinos employed in piggeries in my area too.
Graham4405
It tends to be Indians, Pakistanis and Nepalese in South Australia. As I understand it McDonalds has some kind of arrangement to bring in lots of Nepalese... you have to wonder why they have been allowed to do this for those traditional entry-level jobs when youth unemployment is already very high here.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
and try and get a skill off that list - can anyone name one that has been removed?

for example the IT profession was put on in the 1990's and despite not having hired all the available IT graduates since 1998 and unemployment around 4 times the national average they are still there! I know of one company that was paying it's 457 visa holders less than $15 an hour when the minimum rate was over $19.  They fixed it but that company hasn't had any work for me since!
I don't understand what the Labor Party is doing supporting these visas, the system remained pretty much unchanged during Rudd and Gillard's goverments; surely their priority should be towards those people who are unemployed/under-employed and trying to get them work?
~99% of those working at McDonalds where I live are Filipinos. Lots of Filipinos employed in piggeries in my area too.
It tends to be Indians, Pakistanis and Nepalese in South Australia. As I understand it McDonalds has some kind of arrangement to bring in lots of Nepalese... you have to wonder why they have been allowed to do this for those traditional entry-level jobs when youth unemployment is already very high here.
don_dunstan
If this is true, you would think any political party that opposes excessive use of 457 would be up in arms and scoring alot of political bonus via the media points..
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
If this is true, you would think any political party that opposes excessive use of 457 would be up in arms and scoring alot of political bonus via the media points..
RTT_Rules
They have been - ABC News.

Hard to know if One Nation actually forced that change or not though - I think there's been a lot of back-benchers on both sides of the duopoly agitating for "skilled" visas to be wound back. As hardworkingman said earlier, there's no way that the IT category is being policed properly and I would probably add lots of hospitality and service industry workers to that list (early childhood workers, cooks and chefs, hairdressers etc).

There is simply no shortage in many of these 650+ jobs on the list, it's being rorted to get access to cheap labour, end of story.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
How are you supposed to get a job when your own government won't even employ skilled locals any longer? Fairfax reports that the NSW Baird government has replaced 32 government IT workers with outsourced 457 visa foreigners with the privatisation of the government ServiceFirst IT branch:

The 32 were described as domain experts who would continue in their role with the NSW government.

The government has said it expects to save $13.4 million over the first six years of its privatisation of ServiceFirst.

Of the 254 people who worked for ServiceFirst, only 22 were transferred to jobs with the new Infosys/Unisys service. There are 144 staff members employed offshore.

I'm sure there would be hundreds of suitably qualified IT graduates in NSW who could fill those jobs but what's the bet that the $13.4 million "savings" are from paying those imported workers less than award rates? I have to ask - is there any way the voting public could bring in new politicians from the Philippines or Thailand on half the wages that our own politicians are getting - it would be good if the outsourcing could be evenly distributed.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
The bad news continues for Western Australia in the post mining boom world, the only state to record an official increase in unemployment (WA Today). Some of the worst hit parts of WA include the traditionally struggling northern suburbs of Balga and Girrawheen but also places like Mandurah with a surprisingly high unemployment rate of 21%.

Meanwhile the rush to the eastern seaboard capitals continues with Sydney showing signs of bursting at the seams... Fairfax is reporting today that patronage on Sydney Trains has gone up 10.7% and Sydney Buses up 12.8% in one year. Almost every train line in Sydney is now considered to be overcrowded during peak times; this follows on from reports earlier this year that the Melbourne train system is also failing to cope with the crowds during peak times. From the ABC:

Public Transport Victoria (PTV) figures show 20 per cent of all morning peak-hour Metro trains were overcrowded during its May survey, with the Craigieburn, Sunbury, Cranbourne and Pakenham lines bearing the brunt of the load.

The percentage of Craigieburn services breaching the load standard jumped from 40 to 50 per cent in the past year. On the Sunbury line, 40 per cent of morning peak-hour trains were overcrowded, along with 37.5 per cent of Cranbourne and Pakenham line trains running along the busy Dandenong corridor…

However, the unemployment rates in Sydney and Melbourne are the lowest in Australia... so the solution for those unemployed people in Western Australia is obvious isn't it? Move to the eastern states and squeeze onto those already overflowing trains.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Russians and OPEC have agreed to cut oil production and force prices to rise somewhat. Industry expects are confident all parties will stand by their commitment (for how long), but its in their best interest to raise the price of their once off resource.

Now, imagine if in almost any developed country and many apsiring to be developed countries if the key suppliers got together and held back supply to raise prices. How long before they would be in court?
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Now, imagine if in almost any developed country and many apsiring to be developed countries if the key suppliers got together and held back supply to raise prices. How long before they would be in court?
RTT_Rules
Depends on what kinds of official channels you've gone through to set up your cartel - some are legal anyway (power distribution companies, single desk marketing boards) while others just resolve not to get caught in the act colluding (petrol, supermarkets).

Sad news about Portland Alcoa's pot line seizing up - being in the industry I'm interested to know if you have any comments about whether or not it will spell the end for the plant? My concern would really be for the future of the people who work there - it's not just the 1000 or so jobs that depend on the smelter - it's the fact that people with those skills are going to find it really tough out there. And we can't all move to Sydney and Melbourne, as I was discussing earlier.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Now, imagine if in almost any developed country and many apsiring to be developed countries if the key suppliers got together and held back supply to raise prices. How long before they would be in court?
Depends on what kinds of official channels you've gone through to set up your cartel - some are legal anyway (power distribution companies, single desk marketing boards) while others just resolve not to get caught in the act colluding (petrol, supermarkets).

Sad news about Portland Alcoa's pot line seizing up - being in the industry I'm interested to know if you have any comments about whether or not it will spell the end for the plant? My concern would really be for the future of the people who work there - it's not just the 1000 or so jobs that depend on the smelter - it's the fact that people with those skills are going to find it really tough out there. And we can't all move to Sydney and Melbourne, as I was discussing earlier.
don_dunstan
Insurance company will force a restart of line 1, not the first time this has happened.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Perth's residential property market continues to stink and it's not going to turn around any time soon. From the Property Observer:

Due to the decline of the mining sector in Perth, prospective buyers are unwilling to invest in property, according to WBP Property Group's latest report. The downturn in the Western Australian mining sector has resulted in a "palpable" reduction of consumer confidence as individuals realise the impact of the unfolding crisis...

..."This has led to a glut of sale listing in greater Perth and the Peel region, with data estimating around 14,000 home currently for sale, and a further 10,000 properties available for rent...

Meanwhile, the apartment market in Perth is oversupplied, which will be further compounded as developments currently under construction come online over the next two years, many during the same period.

"Unsurprisingly, many properties purchased off the plan during the past 18 to 24 months are struggling to meet current market values," the report stated.

I love the spin that's still inherent in this article. I mean, if a newly-completed property is "not meeting market values" then doesn't this mean that the market has actually shifted and the properties are not priced reasonably? Because the 'market' is what they're actually selling for, not what some valuer appraised the property at three years ago when the boom was still in full swing.
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
any goods are only worth what they will sell for.  Housing, cars, whitegoods and electrical equipment is where most people will haggle with new items.  With second had goods it's always fair game and the rarer or more individual the item the harder it is to compare against others to determine trends
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Consistent with what I've been seeing, Melbourne is going gangbusters while Regional Vic is going broke:
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/extreme-victoria-melbourne-rides-high-while-the-rest-of-the-state-goes-backwards-20161205-gt42qy.html

"Victoria has become Australia's most divided state as the economic fortunes of Melbourne soar while those in the rest of the state crumble faster than anywhere else in the nation.

New calculations of capital city and rest-of-state economic growth derived from the national accounts show Melbourne's economy grew at a blistering 4.4 per cent in 2015-16, faster than anywhere else apart from Sydney, whose economy grew 4.5 per cent.

The economy of regional Victoria shrank for the fourth consecutive year, slipping another 1 per cent in response to a sharp decline in manufacturing. Victoria is the only state whose regional economy went backwards in 2015-16."

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