THE NEWS WRAP: Labor edges closer to forming government

Labor edged closer to forming government after securing the support of independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who has secured a promised crack-down on poker machines.

The support of Wilkie, who also won a pledge for extra funding for the Royal Hobart Hospital, means that Labor has 74 votes on the floor of parliament, still needing the support of two more independent MPs to form government.

Julia Gillard agreed to Wilkie’s request that ‘smartcard’ technology be introduced to the 4,000 registered clubs with pokies. ATM transactions will also be limited to $250. According to The Australian, the RSL has said the move would hit the revenues of small clubs.

ASIC plans crackdown on credit providers.

Small businesses looking for or offering credit could be affected by new guidelines issued by the Australian Securities & Investment Commission.

According to a report in The Australian, credit providers will face strict new compliance reviews and applicants for new licences will be confronted by stringent checks. More than 14,700 credit providers have registered with ASIC’s new set-up and now have until December 31 to apply for a credit license or face penalties.

Victorian liquor outlets under the microscope

A Victorian parliament committee has called for restrictions on the growth of liquor outlets and a minimum price for standard drinks. The proposals, aimed at curbing excessive drinking, calls for federal action to modify taxes surrounding alcohol.

The changes could potentially impact small independent retailers as well as bottle shop chains controlled by Woolworths and Coles, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Overnight The Dow Jones industrial average rose by 50 points overnight, with the Australian dollar buying US91.1 cents.

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