Prime Minister Julia Gillard has warned “every reasonable option is on the table” to deal with a $12 billion budget shortfall and fund the Gonski school funding reforms and NDIS, in a speech delivered to the Per Capita Institute yesterday.
“I have expressly determined we need to have every reasonable option on the table to meet the needs of the times – even options previously taken off the table… The nation and the government must have maximum flexibility to deal with these complex, and rapidly changing, events … that is my approach,” Gillard said.
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“All options are on the table, so increased tax on superannuation, increased taxes on the family home, death duties, which Wayne Swan ruled out in Parliament – all options are on the table,” Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey said in response.
Merrill Lynch downgrades Woolworths over $800 million Masters loss
Merrill Lynch has downgraded its earnings estimates for retail giant Woolworths over concerns its home improvement chain Masters is set to lose $800 million over the next four years.
Despite Masters generating gross margins of 42%, compared to 32% at rival Bunnings, the brokerage firm predicts losses for the chain of $135 million this financial year, rising to $265 million in 2015/16.
“The problem for Masters is, despite its very high gross margin… its costs per store are currently inhibitively high,” analyst David Errington said.
BHP sells US Pinto Valley mine for $629.5 million
Mining giant BHP Billiton has announced it has sold its Pinto Valley copper mine in Arizona to Canadian firm Capstone Mining for a better-than-expected price of $629.5 million.
Pinto Valley was one of 10 non-core assets or offshore assets flagged for sale by BHP in response to weaker cashflows as a result of lower commodity prices.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.72% to 14,818.75. The Aussie dollar is down to US103.51 cents.