Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has warned that further savings are needed if the government is to achieve its projected $1.5 billion surplus, amid challenges such as changing consumer behaviour and the high Australian dollar.
Swan said that these two factors, along with the weak global economy and declining commodity prices, will “significantly” impact the national budget.
Treasury has forecast a $1.5 billion surplus for 2012/13, with several cuts, such as the freezing of new Commercialisation Australia grants, already made in order to reach this goal.
Murdoch under new pressure to stand down
Rupert Murdoch has come under fresh pressure to stand down as chairman of News Corporation, with two large US pension funds calling for his departure.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System have both voted in favour of Murdoch to step down, adding their names to a list of investors keen to see leadership change at the media giant.
Craft beer on the rise
The growing boutique beer market is increasingly proving to be the bright light in a declining overall industry, according to reports.
Beer consumption has hit a 50-year low in Australia, but more than 200 microbreweries are now operating in the country, providing the only positive growth in the sector.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 2.46 points, or 0.02%, to 13,328.85 on Friday. The Australian dollar rose to US102.54 cents.