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‘Painful and chaotic’: Community groups warn against U-turn on free childcare

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing a grassroots campaign to extend fee-free childcare as community groups warn of unintended consequences from a "snap-back" to the old funding system during the coronavirus-driven economic downturn. With childcare attendance rebounding faster than expected as people go back to work and schools reopen, the government has signalled the temporary relief package for the sector will need to change. It maintains th..

NBN Co in no rush to use extra funds on network upgrades

NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue has dismissed suggestions that he will use the company's recently announced $4.1 billion in private financing to accelerate upgrades to the National Broadband Network. Mr Rue told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that the government-owned company would spend the "coming years" deciding how to use the $4.1 billion in funding it received in addition to a $2 billion loan facility earlier this week. NBN Co..

Jobless queues will grow without direct help

The April job figures are terrible. But they are going to get worse. While 104,500 people "officially" became unemployed, so dire is the nation's jobs market that total employment collapsed by almost 600,000. That's 600,000 people without work, suffering financial pain as governments deal with the health threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Some of these people, if past recessions are a guide, will never work again. The April joble..

Unemployment figures are bad. Here’s why the reality is worse

Official figures on employment are out but a series of factors cloud the true state of the jobs market. Why?Normal text sizeLarger text sizeVery large text sizeThe long queues outside Centrelink offices were a stark early sign of how many people had lost work during this pandemic. Across suburban Australia, thousands of people lined footpaths as they waited for financial assistance in late March and early April. Prime Minister Scott Morrison desc..

Trans-Tasman flights on the agenda when Jacinda Ardern joins national cabinet

Travellers could fly between Australia and New Zealand without undergoing 14 days of quarantine at either end of the journey, under talks between New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the national cabinet to resume flights between the two countries. The discussions will put a priority on flights across the Tasman before Australia relaxes curbs on other international travel during the coronavirus pandemic, with the option of opening travel..

Investors urge governments to go green for coronavirus recovery

Major investors, Australian superannuation funds and the International Energy Agency are urging governments to seize the green opportunity to drive economic growth after the coronavirus pandemic and avoid the risks they see in high carbon emitting projects. "Recovery plans that exacerbate climate change would expose investors and national economies to escalating financial, health and social risks in the coming years," said a statement from the In..

Bridget McKenzie denies ‘special treatment’ in $100m sports affair

Former sports minister Bridget McKenzie has denied using taxpayer funds to favour marginal seats in a new response to a scathing audit of a $100 million sports funding program. In her most detailed defence to date, Senator McKenzie rejected claims of favouritism and denied seeing a contentious memo sent by one of her advisers with a spreadsheet listing projects by their electorates. Former minister Bridget McKenzie has denied using taxpayer funds..

Chinese consul general crashes Hunt’s press conference

Big business has swooped in on high-stakes political negotiations with China, parachuting in one of China’s top diplomats to speak at a Commonwealth office event as relationships between Canberra and Beijing deteriorate. Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest surprised Health Minister Greg Hunt by inviting Victorian China Consul General Zhou Long to speak alongside him on Wednesday after the mining billionaire secured 10 million coronavirus tests from..

Morrison wants restaurant openings and domestic travel under eased restrictions

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia is committed to a suppression strategy on COVID-19 and not a more hardline push to eradicate the virus, after a report from leading researchers laid bare the trade-offs of the two approaches. Mr Morrison said he could foresee relaxation of nationwide restrictions to allow people to go out for meals and travel domestically and go to New Zealand, but warned it would not be situation normal. Most internat..

Budget blues for Frydenberg as revenue evaporates

The federal budget was $10 billion behind the Morrison government's target at the end of March as measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus hit key parts of the economy. In a sign of the trouble facing Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the budget bottom line deteriorated by almost $7.5 billion in the month as the government's key revenue streams started to dry up. Treasurer Josh FrydenbergCredit:Alex Ellinghausen Finance Department figure..

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