Politics & the Economy

Rate cut likely as inflation stays low

The Australian dollar has fallen and economists say a Reserve Bank rate cut is more likely next Tuesday following the release of data showing annual inflation is at its lowest level since June 1999.

No great surge in inequality as economy grows

The richest 1 per cent of Australians have become less well off in the past eight years, while net wealth in the bottom 10 per cent of households has continued to grow, according to the Melbourne Institute's Hilda survey report.

RBA shrugs off Brexit, rate cuts loom

The Reserve Bank says Brexit fears won't hit the global economy too hard, but more sluggish local consumer prices could set the scene for an August rate cut.

WA confidence down but not out

More than half of respondents to a survey of 1,200 Business News subscribers and users believe the state's business environment deteriorated in the 2016 financial year.

Canavan promoted to resources ministry

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promoted little-known Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan to a cabinet position as resources minister, with Josh Frydenberg moving from that role to the portfolios of energy and environment.

Nahan touts Horizon plans

Treasurer Mike Nahan has said encouraging private investment in the Pilbara electricity grid could reduce its excess capacity and also energy prices in the north west, at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia lunch today.

Federal failings mould state strategy

Malcolm Turnbull's campaign failings have highlighted the danger of giving your opponent a free kick, and WA Liberals are sure to heed the warning.

State govt wins Roe 8 appeal

The state government plans to cancel a new environmental review of the controversial Roe 8 highway extension project after winning a legal appeal today, but it remains unclear when contracts for the project will be awarded.

Asbestos find sparks building review

The state government has flagged the possibility of a broad inquiry into the use of imported building materials after confirming today that roofing panels supplied by Chinese company Yuanda to Perth Children's Hospital contained asbestos.

WA jobless rate falls while national rate rises

Unemployment in Western Australia retreated slightly last month, while the national jobless rate edged higher, new figures have shown.

Three state departments to Joondalup

Moving state government departments out of Perth's central business district into regional and urban centres will have social benefits, according to Environment Minister Albert Jacob, as the government announced today the shift of 800 staff to a Primewest development in Joondalup.

Tax hikes a no for deficit reduction: KPMG

A credit rating downgrade could cost more than $1 billion in extra interest bills, but higher taxes to balance the budget is not the solution, according to KPMG Economics.

Exports up at Pilbara Ports

A ramp-up of iron ore exports has lifted annual throughput at Port Hedland to a new record of 460.4 million tonnes, with the combined Pilbara Ports Authority tracking for a figure of 633.5mt per year.

More fines added to CFMEU's 'egregious record'

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union WA assistant secretary Joe McDonald was among 29 union representatives fined a total of $61,000 for unlawful industrial action at Lakeside Joondalup in 2014.

Govt expects lower iron ore prices

A government body has slashed its 2017 iron ore price forecast by nearly 20 per cent on expectations of slowing demand growth in an oversupplied market, underlining the threat to the federal government's finances.

Turnbull looks set to be returned as PM

Malcolm Turnbull will be returned as prime minister, according to renowned election analyst Antony Green, as postal vote flows strongly favour the coalition parties and three lower house independents have offered him supply and confidence.

Ratings action not inconsequential

There's a one in three chance the Commonwealth government's credit rating could be downgraded within the next two years, according to Standard & Poor's, a move which would be expensive for taxpayers and may have flow on effects for other borrowers.

Barnett unsure of Western Power sale

Premier Colin Barnett has softened his position on the proposed privatisation of Western Power, saying it could be used by Labor as a scare campaign in the state election next year.

Election outcome begets ratings warning

Standard and Poor's has lowered Australia's sovereign debt ratings outlook from AAA stable to negative, citing the ambiguous outcome of the recent federal election potentially delaying fiscal consolidation, although it affirmed the strength of the economy broadly.

New directors for development commissions

The state government has announced new directors for the Gascoyne, Peel and Pilbara development commissions.