Economy

Greens to strike deal on fuel tax; Myer cuts 80 jobs from head office: Midday Roundup

Broede Carmody /

The Australian Greens will back the federal government’s bid to increase the petrol tax as long as some of the revenue is funnelled into public transport.

Last year the Greens ruled out supporting the Abbott government’s proposed fuel excise increase because it would not reduce carbon pollution.

But the party’s new leader, Victorian senator Richard Di Natale, has now said a deal could be struck as long as a portion of the funds raised by the tax increase goes towards public transport.

“I’ll have a different style and approach [to Christine Milne],” Di Natale told Fairfax.

“Where we can find areas to agree, we’ll agree, where we can find areas to get a good outcome for people, we’ll do that.”

The announcement comes after Di Natale indicated a shift in the Greens’ rhetoric from focusing on climate change to a broader set of issues, telling reporters his party was the natural home for “mainstream” progressive voters.

However, should a potential deal go ahead, an increased tax on fuel could drive up costs for small business and therefore make it harder to compete with larger companies.

The chief executive of the Australian Automobile Association, Andrew McKellar, previously told SmartCompanyany increase to the fuel tax was unacceptable.

“Any increase would break the government’s commitment to motorists, with no suggestion before the election that fuel tax would be increased,” McKellar said last year.

“Motorists already pay too much tax and are not getting fair value for money with only a fraction of fuel excise being returned to spending on transport infrastructure by the federal government.”

 

Myer cuts 80 jobs from head office

 

Myer has slashed around 80 jobs from its head office in a bid to lift profits and finalise a planned restructure under chief executive Richard Umbers.

“They are mainly middle-management jobs, with one or two exceptions,” a Myer executive told Fairfax

“It’s a clean-out, so to speak, of some of the last remnants of Bernie’s era.”

Bernie Brookes stepped down as chief executive and managing director of Myer in March after spending close to nine years in the top job.

At the time, Myer told the Australian Securities Exchange the shake-up at the top level would see a “significant program of change and reinvigoration within the company” in order to adapt to the changing retail landscape.

 

Shares up on open

 

Aussie shares are up this morning, shrugging off a poor showing from international markets overnight.

“Today looks like being a day of consolidation for the stock market,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, in a statement.

“There’s not a lot to be optimistic about. On the other hand low interest rates limit the alternatives, particularly given the prospect that rates could get even low.”

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 70.6 points to 5783.7 points at 11:45am AEST. On Thursday, the Dow Jones closed down 0.20%, falling 36.87 points to 18,126.12 points.

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior reporter at SmartCompany. Previously, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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