THE NEWS WRAP: Budget surplus under threat amid declining tax base

Treasurer Wayne Swan says the Federal Government will need to cut and cancel whole spending programs to return the budget to surplus next financial year, as it fights a structural decline in the tax base that will keep revenue at depressed levels for years.

 

Federal tax receipts, including GST, are forecast to stay at historically low levels – below 23% of gross domestic product – for at least the next three years, partly as a result of a record level of tax losses depressing receipts.

 

Swan is set to give a major speech today in which he will outline the parameters of the May 8 budget. He will confirm that there have been further revenue write-downs since the mid-year budget review in May.

 

Conroy urges probe into News Corp piracy claim

 

The Federal Government has called for allegations of pay TV piracy against Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to be referred to the Australian Federal Police.

 

The Australian Financial Review has reported that News Corp engaged in corporate hacking and piracy in a bid to damage its pay TV competitors in Australia.

 

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy described the allegations as serious and has called for them to be referred to the AFP.

 

Apple offers iPad refunds

 

Tech giant Apple has offered to refund people who bought its new iPad, which it admits is not compatible with Telstra’s 4G network.

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken legal action against Apple for what it claims are misleading statements over its new iPad.

 

Lawyers for the ACCC accused Apple of breaching consumer law by promoting the device as being able to connect to high-speed 4G mobile networks using a sim card.

 

Overnight

 

The Australian dollar was more than a third of a US cent lower after global stock markets dropped overnight.

 

At 7am, the Australian dollar was trading at 103.96 US cents, down from 104.35 cents yesterday afternoon.

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