Hockey to kick along debate on future

Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants a bipartisan approach to dealing with the challenges of an ageing population. Treasurer Joe Hockey released his five-yearly review of the 40-year outlook for the Australian economy on Thursday, a report he hopes will spark a national conversation about the future. Mr Hockey has left open the possibility of tax cuts if all the government's measures from his first …

  • Reserve Bank wants new rules for property investor … Newstalk ZB - 2 hours 16 minutes ago

    Landlords are again in the spotlight, following confirmation the Reserve Bank wants new rules for loans to property investors.

  • Gorgon given green light for expansion AAP - 7 hours ago
    Gorgon given green light for expansion

    Chevron's Gorgon liquefied natural gas project has been given the green light to expand production capacity. The West Australian Environmental Protection Authority has recommended conditional approval ...

  • Mortgage rates lowest since 1968 AAP - 8 hours ago
    Mortgage rates lowest since 1968

    Home loans have dropped to their lowest level in almost half a century after the Reserve Bank's surprise interest rate cut in February. Mortgage rates fell to 4.9 per cent after the cut, levels not seen since 1968 - the year Martin Luther King Jnr was shot in the United States and Hey Jude by the Beatles was at the top of Australian music charts. Home owners with a $400,000 mortgage in late 2011 - before interest rates started falling - paid about $27,200 a year in interest. Mr Lawless said with the housing market running so hot, the Reserve Bank and regulators faced the challenge of trying to keep a lid on soaring property prices.

  • Pension gender gap shrinking, but remains AAP - 10 hours ago

    Women still face significantly bigger challenges to funding their retirement than men - but the pension gender gap is shrinking. According to an annual state of retirement report from LV=, women who have occupational or private pensions are reaching retirement with pots worth on average STG107,000. One in four (23 per cent) women approaching retirement has only the state pension to rely on, compared with less than one in 10 (nine per cent) of men, according to the study. The report warned that both sexes are facing a STG3,744-a-year shortfall between what they need to live on during their retirement and what they will actually have.

  • Uber heads in new mapping direction AAP - 10 hours ago
    Uber heads in new mapping direction

    Uber Technologies is buying digital mapping specialist deCarta in a deal that might help the rapidly growing ride-hailing service lessen its dependence on navigation services from Google and Apple. Although deCarta is not as well known as Google Maps, its technology is used extensively by consumers. In its early years, Google Maps even tapped into deCarta's technology, according to deCarta. The acquisition confirmed on Wednesday will provide Uber's drivers with another way to find passengers summoning rides on the company's mobile app and deliver them to their destinations more quickly.

  • Qld Labor under fire for assets promise AAP - 10 hours ago

    Queensland's Labor government has reworded its key election promise, but insists it hasn't backflipped on public assets sales. Throughout the January election campaign, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's overarching promise to voters was that "Labor will not sell your assets". Deputy Premier Jackie Trad insisted Labor was keeping its word, even if its wording has changed three times this week. "What we said was that we would not sell assets that deliver dividends to the Queensland state budget," she said.

  • Japan orders Uber to stop pilot program AAP - 11 hours ago
    Japan orders Uber to stop pilot program

    Japanese authorities have ordered ride-sharing app Uber to suspend its pilot program, saying it violates the country's laws, local media reports. The San Francisco-based firm that uses an app to put passengers in touch with private car owners launched a pilot program in early February in Fukuoka in southern Japan, in collaboration with a local university. It also expressed concern about potential problems that could arise from Uber's activities, such as the identification of legal responsibility and liability for compensation in traffic accidents. The US company has said that it will try to resolve these issues in order to continue the pilot program.

  • Low rates having delayed impact, RBA says AAP - 11 hours ago
    Low rates having delayed impact, RBA says

    The Reserve Bank is confident record low interest rates and a weaker Australian dollar are helping the economy, it's just taking a little longer than usual. RBA deputy governor Philip Lowe said the RBA's surprise February rate cut was partly caused by economy's sluggish response. "This was not because things had turned for the worse, but rather because of the lack of compelling signs that economic growth was picking up as was earlier expected," he said. Dr Lowe said efforts to boost economic growth by overseas central banks have put downward pressure on their currencies and have slowed the fall in Australian dollar.

  • Federal funding for Cadbury melts AAP - 11 hours ago
    Federal funding for Cadbury melts

    A $16 million election promise for Hobart's Cadbury chocolate factory has fallen through, but the federal government vows the funds will go towards creating jobs for the island state. During the 2013 campaign, then-opposition leader Tony Abbott pledged the funds in conjunction with $50 million from Cadbury operators Mondelez International. "Although we've been working with the government ... it reached a point where it was clear that we could not satisfy the grant criteria," Ms Banfield told reporters. "We don't have that kind of volume increase available to us from confirmed export orders," Ms Banfield said.

  • Rio Tinto looking to slash more jobs AAP - 11 hours ago
    Rio Tinto looking to slash more jobs

    Mining giant Rio Tinto is looking to slash hundreds of jobs as a new round of cost cutting gets underway. Iron ore managers have reportedly begun cutting dozens of positions at the company's Pilbara operations in Western Australia as part of a process unions fear will leave up to 800 employees out of work. Workers in the Pilbara are worried the axe will fall on hundreds of jobs over the coming weeks and have called for the company to release details of any layoffs. The losses may not be confined to Western Australia as plunging commodity prices increase the urgency of cost cutting across the company's global operations.

  • Investors welcome Fortescue's debt moves AAP - 11 hours ago

    Fortescue Metals Group is bolstering its balance sheet and wooing investors by refinancing $US2.5 billion ($A3.2 billion) of debt. Fortescue will launch a senior secured debt issue that will push back the date at which its large debt pile matures. "The refinancing will extend Fortescue's debt maturity profile while maintaining flexibility and minimising interest cost," Mr Power said.

  • $A steady as data meets expectations AAP - 11 hours ago

    The Australian dollar is slightly lower after a brief rise on expectations the Reserve Bank's next rate cut may come later than expected. It peaked after comments from the Reserve Bank's deputy governor that moves by regulators to stop risky lending to housing investors would take a while to work through the system, said Western Union Business Solutions currency strategist Steven Dooley. The Australian dollar did not react to retail spending figures, which met expectations with a rise of 0.4 per cent in January. Mr Dooley said the Australian dollar has remained above 78 US cents this week as there had been very few surprises for traders, other than the RBA's 'on hold' interest rate decision, which pushed back rate cut forecasts by a few months.

  • No federal sweetener for Cadbury AAP - 12 hours ago
    No federal sweetener for Cadbury

    The federal government has been handed an easy escape from a $16 million election promise, with the operators of Hobart's Cadbury chocolate factory unable to stump up funds for a co-investment plan. During the 2013 campaign then-opposition leader Tony Abbott pledged the funds in conjunction with $50 million from Cadbury operators Mondelez International. Together, the money would have developed a new visitor centre at the factory site in Hobart's northern suburbs and generated some 300 jobs by 2017. "Although we've been working with the government ... it reached a point where it was clear that we could not satisfy the grant criteria," Ms Banfield told reporters.

  • Retail rally drives share market rebound AAP - 12 hours ago

    The share market has closed flat as consumer related stocks led an afternoon recovery on a rise in retail spending during January. The afternoon rebound caught investors by surprise, as the market in Shanghai had lost one per cent, OptionsXpress market analyst Ben LeBrun said. Department store Myer gained 6.5 cents, or 4.05 per cent, to $1.67, JB Hi-Fi rose 30 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $17.62 and Harvey Norman added three cents to $4.54.

  • Aust bonds flat despite positive data AAP - 12 hours ago

    Official retail spending figures for January, out on Thursday, rose 0.4 per cent, which met market expectations, as did the $980 million trade deficit for January. Westpac senior market strategist Damien McColough said bond futures prices failed to show much movement after the release of the data or a speech by Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe. At 1630 AEDT on Thursday, the March 2015 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 97.410 (implying a yield of 2.590 per cent), up from 97.405 (2.595 per cent) on Wednesday. The March 2015 three-year bond futures contract was at 98.080 (1.920 per cent), down from 98.100 (1.900 per cent).

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  • Vince Vaughn coming to a free stock image near you Entrepreneur - Thu, Mar 5, 2015 6:23 AM NZDT
    Vince Vaughn coming to a free stock image near you

    Getty Images teams up with the cast of the upcoming film 'Unfinished Business.'

  • McDonald's to use chicken without human antibiotics Associated Press - Thu, Mar 5, 2015 5:08 AM NZDT
    McDonald's to use chicken without human antibiotics

    McDonald's says it plans to start using chicken raised without antibiotics important to human health and milk from cows that are not treated with the artificial growth hormone rbST. The company says the ...

  • Honey, we shrunk the SUV _ and Europe loves it Associated Press - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 11:21 PM NZDT
    Honey, we shrunk the SUV _ and Europe loves it

    In Europe, SUV now stands for: Shrunken Utility Vehicle. An array of ever-smaller sport-utility vehicles and SUV crossovers is going on display this week at the Geneva Auto Show. Automakers are piling ...

  • Popeyes CEO on rivals, why deep-fried wins on menus Associated Press - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 11:15 AM NZDT
    Popeyes CEO on rivals, why deep-fried wins on menus

    Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder isn't shy about sharing her opinion of competitors' chicken. The 58-year-old executive's frankness isn't surprising considering Popeyes turnaround during her tenure represents ...

  • Target to cut thousands of jobs in restructuring CNBC - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 9:46 AM NZDT
    Target to cut thousands of jobs in restructuring

    Target's chief executive said Tuesday the company will cut several thousand jobs within the next two years as part of a $2 billion cost-savings plan.

  • GENEVA AUTO SHOW PHOTO GALLERY: Speed and luxury dominate Associated Press - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 6:19 AM NZDT
    GENEVA AUTO SHOW PHOTO GALLERY: Speed and luxury dominate

    These cars may come with outrageous price tags, but it doesn't cost to goggle. Here's a look at some of the models showcased at the car show in Geneva, where automakers focused on powerful sports cars ...

  • WIRELESS SHOW PHOTO GALLERY: Gadget fans in Barcelona Associated Press - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 5:44 AM NZDT
    WIRELESS SHOW PHOTO GALLERY: Gadget fans in Barcelona

    Gadget lovers from around the world are in Barcelona to view the latest in handheld and wireless technology. Here's a look at the event, where BlackBerry unveiled its new Leap, which has a five-inch display ...

  • Game Developers Conference offers creators a sporting chance Associated Press - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 5:16 AM NZDT
    Game Developers Conference offers creators a sporting chance

    With tens of millions of gamers now regularly spectating video games online and in real-world arenas, game developers looking to create the next "StarCraft" or "League of Legends" might ...

  • New FDA official inherits raft of projects, challenges Associated Press - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 11:28 AM NZDT
    New FDA official inherits raft of projects, challenges

    One of the nation's leading medical researchers joined the Food and Drug Administration on Monday, taking on the agency's No. 2 leadership job at a critical juncture for prescription drugs, medical devices ...

  • France wants companies to make appliances that last longer Associated Press - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 5:36 AM NZDT
    France wants companies to make appliances that last longer

    France is ordering manufacturers to inform consumers how long they can expect their TV, cell phone or other appliance to last — before they buy it. A new French government decree that came into effect ...