THE NEWS WRAP: Banks push for “notional” weekends

Australia’s major banks are pushing for the definition of ordinary working hours to be extended to include Saturday afternoons and all of Sundays, in a bid to improve flexibility of rostering employees on weekends.


The banks argue the changes would promote “flexible and efficient modern work practices in a way that has proper regard to the considerations of productivity and employment costs”.


While the banks – ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and GE Capital Finance – say they will retain penalty rates, unions argue the application is a precursor to cutting pay and dismantling the weekend.


Palmer plans another Queensland casino


Queensland’s richest man, Clive Palmer, wants to build a casino on the Sunshine Coast.


The mining magnate – who last month removed Hyatt as manager of the Regency Coolum resort, which he bought last August – registered the name as the Coolum Resort and Spa a day before the March 24 state election.


In renaming the resort, he took a trademark on the name Coolum Casino. It’s believed Palmer wants to attract international visitors to the resort by including the casino.


Capitals unprepared for freight growth


Australia’s capital cities are not prepared for the growth in demand for their ports and airports, according to a review of state planning systems headed by a former deputy prime minister.


The Council of Australian Governments Reform Council’s expert panel on cities – which includes former deputy prime minister Brian Howe – also found the states need to ensure infrastructure plans are economically viable to attract private sector partners.


Sydney and Melbourne were among the worst performing cities when their strategic planning systems were assessed against criteria agreed by COAG in 2009.




The Australian dollar is more than half a US cent higher after the release of some encouraging economic data from the United States and China.


At 6.30am, the local unit was trading at 104.52 US cents, up from 103.95 cents on Friday.


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