The Federal Government won’t confirm reports it is planning to spend $1.4 billion topping up the private sector wages of childcare workers following a union campaign.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard will meet with the United Voice union this afternoon to discuss the union’s push for $1.4 million more in pay for childcare workers.
Treasurer Wayne Swan has told reporters that the government has not made a decision on the issue, and he “won’t play that silly game” of ruling things in or out.
Economic activity below trend in August, leading index shows
The Australian economy will still remain subdued into 2013, according to the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index.
The index measures the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months in the future.
The most recent survey shows the index fell 2.2% in August, well below the long-term trend of 2.7%
“Westpac anticipates that more robust growth outcomes for 2013 will require further interest rate relief, particularly given global fragilities and also given the strength of the Australian dollar at a time of weakening global commodity prices,” Westpac economist Bill Evans said in a statement.
“The contributors to the improved growth performance have been: materials prices; productivity; overtime worked; corporate profits; as well as the share market and the real money supply.
“Partially offsetting this improvement was a fall in US industrial production.”
Shares flat on weak offshore leads
The Australian sharemarket has opened weaker this morning following a flat lead from offshore markets.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.9 points or 0% to 4,395.6 at 12.00 AEST, while the Australian dollar remained steady at $US1.04.
In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 11 points or 0.1% to 13,564.6.
Myer executive resigns after two-decade tenure
Myer executive general manager Nick Abboud has announced his resignation from the company.
A spokesperson has told Fairfax the decision was not unexpected.
“He goes with the company’s best wishes as he goes on to his next challenge joining a private equity firm looking at retail opportunities,” she said.
The resignation comes after the company delivered a 14.3% decline in net profit for the year to June.