Gillard says Opposition will back budget: Daily roundup

Prime Minister Julia Gillard expects the Opposition to back the government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

The government has been forced to find $16.4 billion in its budget update and Gillard has dismissed Opposition criticism of the revenue-raising measures outlined by the government.

“The Opposition is full of its usual negative huff and puff,” Gillard says.

“Our experience in the past has been even though they are negative until they are blue in the face … they have come into the parliament and backed the government’s legislation.”

Australia among top-three most expensive countries to do business

Only Norway and Switzerland are more expensive to do business than Australia, according to \the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF revealed Australia has the third most expensive currency in the world, and the most expensive of the world’s 20 largest economies.

Since 2002, the dollar has turned Australia from a relatively low-wage, low-cost country to a high-income, high-cost one, outpacing even Japan.

The IMF’s database shows goods and services costing $US100 ($A97) to produce in the US now cost $US41 to produce in India, $US67 in China, $US105 in Germany or Britain – but $US161 in Australia.

Pacific Brands sales down

Pacific Brands says sales have been down so far this financial year, with the clothing and homewares retailer not expecting any significant improvement.

The group, which owns brands including Bonds, Rio and Sheridan, posted a $451 million loss in the 2011/12 financial year. Chief executive John Pollaers told Pacific Brand’s annual general meeting today that underlying sales in the 2012/13 financial year so far had been down on the previous corresponding period.

“There has been no noticeable improvement in the operating environment so far this year,” Pollaers says.

“Time will tell whether the latest interest rate cut has much impact, but, prudently, our plans assume more of the same.”

This article was first published on LeadingCompany’s sister site, SmartCompany

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