Abbott declares end to ‘government-knows-best’ approach; Hungry Jack’s triples profits: Midday roundup

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will use his keynote speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland to call on the public sector to abandon a ‘government-knows-best’ approach to policy-making, The Australian reports.

“The challenge, right around the world, is to promote sustainable private sector-led growth and employment and to avoid government-knows-best action for action’s sake,” Abbott will reportedly say.

“As always, stronger economic growth is the key to addressing almost every global problem.”

Australia will take the lead in cutting taxes, raising productivity and reducing regulation, Abbott will say, while calling on other nations to do the same.

The speech comes just ahead of Australia’s assumption of the G20 leadership this year. The last Australian prime minister to visit the Davos forum was John Howard in 2005. 

Hungry Jacks still hungry

Jack Cowin’s Competitive Foods Australia has trebled its profits in the 2013 financial year, with revenue breaking through the $1 billion mark.

The franchisee for brands like Hungry Jack’s and KFC made $21.4 million in profits, according to documents lodged with ASIC.

Rich Lister Cowin played down the result, telling the Australian Financial Review it wasn’t the first time his company had been that profitable before.

“We had a good year but people still are only eating three meals per day,” he said.

ASX modestly lower as traders prepare for quiet day on market

Australian markets opened slightly lower this morning, with the S&P/ASX200 down 15% to 5312 points at 11am this morning, a fall mirrored in the broader All Ordinaries index.

This followed weak Wall Street leads and mixed closes on European bourses.

“The Australian market is in a tough spot at the moment,” says Rivkin global analyst Tim Radford. “Offshore equity markets continue to trade at or near all-time highs while inflation rates remain very low, thus allowing central banks to keep their highly accommodative policies in play.

“Meanwhile in Australia, inflation rates are moving higher while, on a relative basis, our central bank is rather unaccommodating in its policies.

“Until economic conditions improve significantly both locally and in countries such as China, the Australian market will likely continue underperforming its global counterparts for the foreseeable future.”

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