State, Federal Govt invest $275 million in local Holden operations: Midday roundup

Holdens will continue to be made in Australia for another decade, with the car company injecting $1 billion into its local operation, in addition to state and federal government spending of $275 million.

The Federal Government contribution totals $215 million, with Victoria and South Australia chipping in the rest.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the money is “not a handout.”

“It is a strategic investment that will boost our economy, foster innovation, build new business opportunities and promote adoption of new fuel saving and safety technologies.”

The company will produce two new vehicles in SA.

Shorten says super increase will be absorbed in wages

Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten says the increase in mandatory super payments to 12% by 2020 will be part of wage claims, not an addition to them.

Responding to criticisms from business bodies that the gradual three percentage point increase in super will be borne by employers, Shorten says there will plenty of time for companies and employees to adjust.

“An increase in super means an increase in remuneration or wages by another name,” Shorten says.

The lift in super, to be funded by the mining tax, is supported by the Coalition.

Sharemarket edges up after mixed offshore leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened slightly higher this morning, after mixed results from offshore markets and comments from US Fed chairman Ben Bernanke that higher energy prices could hurt consumer spending.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 18 points or 0.4% to 4272.8 at 11.50 AEST, while the Australian dollar has dropped in early trade due to fears around European bond yields.

The dollar fell to $US1.04c this morning, with analysts saying weaker housing data in the US is also putting pressure on currency markets.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 45 points or 0.4% to 13,124.

Banks lifting rates to complement rising costs: RBA

Banks are lifting borrowing rates to complement rising costs after the global financial crisis, the Reserve Bank says.

RBA assistant governor Guy Debelle said in a speech this morning that “financial institutions have increased their lending rates in the face of the increase in costs to maintain their net interest margins within the range observed in recent years.”

“In turn, this has been with the aim of maintaining profitability.”

ACCC approves Virgin tie-up with Skywest

The competition regulator has approved a tie-up between Virgin Australia and regional Western Australian carrier Skywest.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said the deal would “result in public benefits such as enhanced products and services for corporate customers, increased choice of integrated service providers and potentially lower prices due to closer competition.”


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