Building approvals data exceeds expectations: Midday roundup

Building approvals data has exceeded expectations in June even though the total number of approvals fell.

According to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of dwellings approved fell by a seasonally adjusted 2.5% per month, but analysts had expected a fall of 14%.

Compared to last year, building approvals are now 10.2% higher.

Queensland to cut 2,000 public service jobs

Two thousand public service jobs in Queensland will be scrapped under new reforms, the Queensland Government announced today.

TransLink will no longer operate as a statutory authority, but will instead by absorbed into the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Transport minister Scott Emerson said it would still oversee the bus network, and other services including TravelTrain, school bus services and the subsidised regional airline.

“All Queensland government passenger transport services will be integrated for the first time under the Translink banner. No longer will there be two separate government agencies … doing the same task in different areas of the state,” he told parliament.

“These were the type of additional costs that Labor was passing on to passengers.”

Swan defends NDIS funding

Treasurer Wayne Swan has defended the funding method for a proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme, while once again ruling out a levy.

“It’s a perfectly logical way to do it, and it’s the way these programs are done,” Swan said in Canberra today, referring to the funding details.

“We will find the savings in the budget to make sure it is affordable, sustainable and implemented in the interests of all Australians with disabilities and their families,” Swan said.

But the Opposition has come out against the funding method, saying it should be funded by the Commonwealth totally rather than by the states.

Swan defended the funding against the Opposition criticism.

“The problem here is Mr Abbott has a $70 billion crater already in his budget bottom line before he even gets to the point of funding the launch sites for a national disability insurance scheme,” Swan said.

Shares higher after positive European leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened higher this morning after a strong lead in Europe, although stocks have remained flat in the United States.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 13 points or 0.3% to 4258.7 at 11.45 AEST, while the Australian dollar has topped $US1.05 for the first time in months.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.6 points or 0% to 13,073.




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