Joe Hockey cops flak for ‘poor people don’t drive’ comments; Optus revenue slips as main rival soars: Midday Roundup

Joe Hockey cops flak for ‘poor people don’t drive’ comments; Optus revenue slips as main rival soars: Midday Roundup

Treasurer Joe Hockey has come under fire for suggesting poor people don’t drive as much as those on higher incomes when defending the government’s plan to reintroduce the indexation of the fuel excise.

During a radio interview yesterday, the treasurer argued the budget would hit high-income earners because they drove their cars further than those on low incomes.

“The poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far in many cases,” Hockey said.

But the federal opposition has joined members of the public in criticising the Treasurer’s comments, saying he is out of touch with the community.

Some members of the Coalition are also unhappy about the comments, with Queensland Liberal National senator Ian Macdonald telling ABC radio yesterday people in regional Australia often don’t have access to public transport.

“You have to have a car whether you’re rich or poor, you need a vehicle to be able to get from one place to the other,” he said.

“Regional Australians don’t have the alternative of public transport of other means or getting there.”

Optus revenue slip as main rival soars

Optus has reported a 1.8% fall in net profit in the June quarter, as its main rival Telstra announced its profits for the same period were up by 14.6%.

Optus reported a $164 million net profit, down from $167 million in the same quarter last year. 

Optus said total mobile revenue declined 1.5% due to the continuing effect of the industry-mandated reduction in mobile termination rates and lower equipment sales.

Its customer base sunk by 25,000 in the quarter to 9.4 million customers, down from 9.43 million reported in the March quarter.

There was a silver lining for the telco however, with its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) growing by 4.4% to $597 million for the quarter.

Shares up on open

Aussie shares have again opened higher this morning, with strong profit increases from Telstra, Fairfax and Crown pleasing local investors.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 25.3 points to 5540 points at 12.06pm AEST. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones closed 26.50 points higher, up 0.48% to 5534.3 points.

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