Federal government set to announce casual worker shake-up

Regular casual employees, including retail and hospitality workers, will have the right to request full-time or part-time employment, under a federal coalition shake-up to neutralise key attacks from Labor and unions. Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer is expected to announce on Tuesday the government will aim to legislate the changes before the next federal election … Continue reading “Federal government set to announce casual worker shake-up”

Regular casual employees, including retail and hospitality workers, will have the right to request full-time or part-time employment, under a federal coalition shake-up to neutralise key attacks from Labor and unions.

Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer is expected to announce on Tuesday the government will aim to legislate the changes before the next federal election due in May.

A recent decision by the Fair Work Commission provided eligible award-reliant casual employees with a right to request to convert to full-time or part-time employment.

“If award-reliant employees have the right to make a request and it is subject to reasonable safeguards for employers, it is only fair that the same right is extended to other casuals who currently do not have the same right,” Ms O’Dwyer said.

While the commission’s decision affected 1.5 million workers, another 500,000 mining, retail and hospitality casuals are expected to be covered by the new laws.

Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer is expected to announce the government will aim to legislate the changes before the next federal election due in May. Picture: iStockSource:istock

Ms O’Dwyer will also move to allay concerns over a recent Federal Court decision which business groups argued opened the door to so-called “double-dipping” of entitlements.

The ruling found truck driver Paul Skene was entitled to an annual leave payout from labour-hire firm WorkPac despite being a casual employee because of his long-term regular pattern of work.

The new regulation will mean where an employer has paid a casual loading to an employee engaged as a casual, it may potentially be offset against any claim for National Employment Standards entitlements.

“Every employer must comply with their legal obligations, but being forced to pay for entitlements twice is unfair and potentially crippling for many small businesses,” Ms O’Dwyer said.

The minister has intervened in a separate test case, with WorkPac seeking declarations a former employee, Robert Rossato, was a casual employee and not entitled to be paid leave entitlements.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions is also weighing an intervention, with secretary Sally McManus accusing Ms O’Dwyer of defending companies rorting the system.

The union movement has been targeting increased casualisation of work as one of the key planks of its ongoing Change The Rules campaign.

Alastair Clarkson receives life membership at Hawthorn

It might have taken him 14 years but Alastair Clarkson is finally a life member at Hawthorn.

The Hawks coaching legend, who has been in charge since the end of 2004, on Tuesday night was one of four new inductees to the exclusive club.

Clarkson, who has coached the Hawks to four AFL premierships (2008, 2013, 2014 and 2015), was recognised along with former high performance boss Andrew Russell, former head of football strategy and innovation David Rath and club physiotherapist Andrew Lambart.



The majority of Hawthorn’s premiership stars from their dynasty have received the honour — club criteria states any players to complete 10 years’ service or play 150 senior games are eligible — but on Tuesday it was a night for the men who do their work off the field.

Alastair Clarkson holds the 2015 premiership cup aloft with former captain Luke Hodge. Picture: Wayne LudbeySource:News Corp Australia

“These four individuals have given so much of themselves to the Hawthorn Football Club over the journey,” Hawks CEO Justin Reeves said.

“They all joined the Hawks at the end of 2004, at the beginning of Alastair’s tenure, and each has played a significant role in our history … Although David and Andrew Russell no longer work for the club, they will always be Hawthorn people, and we will be forever grateful for the impact they and their families made on the brown and gold.

Clarkson upon his appointment in 2004.Source:News Corp Australia

Clarkson at Hawthorn training earlier this month. Pic: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“We are thrilled that we have the opportunity to acknowledge both Alastair and Andrew in this way while they are both still actively involved in helping the Hawks achieve its next premiership.”

Clarkson, who has coached the club in 329 matches, signed a contract extension after the 2018 season meaning he will remain in charge of the Hawks until at least the end of 2022.

Originally published as Clarko receives Hawks’ top honour

Banks taking existing customers for granted, according to ACCC

Most banks don’t reward loyalty so haggle for a better mortgage rate now or miss out on $850 a year in your pocket, the ACCC’s latest inquiry has found.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission Residential Price Inquiry – out today – has found that “only 11 per cent of borrowers with variable rate mortgages had the price of their current residential mortgage reduced by one of the five banks under review in the year to 30 June 2018”.

It found banks were generally not rewarding loyal customers, instead offering bigger discounts to new customers coming on board.

“As at 30 June 2018, an existing borrower with an average-sized mortgage could initially save up to $850 a year in interest if they negotiated to pay the same interest rate as the average new borrower at the five banks under review. For many borrowers the gain will be much larger,” the ACCC report said.

And it found that part of the reason for such a small take-up — and why banks have not moved to reward existing customers as much — was that it was hard to get information on better rates, let alone change deals.

Five banks were monitored between May 9 last year and June 30 this year with ACCC finding “unnecessarily high search costs or effort required by borrowers to find better prices”.

How to check if your loyalty is being taken for a ride:

1. Check the interest rate you are paying;

2. Check the rate your bank is offering new customers for the same product;

3. Use a comparison site like RateCity to find a list of 3 lenders willing to offer lower rates;

4. Call your bank and present them with the evidence. Use RateCity’s guide for how to haggle.

(Source: RateCity)

ACCC chair Rod Sims said: “Pricing for mortgages is opaque and the big four banks have a lot of discretion. The banks profit from this and it is against their interests to make pricing transparent.”

“Borrowers may not be aware they can negotiate with their lender on price, both before and, particularly, after they have established their mortgage.”

RateCity research director Sally Tindall said now was a good time for those on variable mortgages to haggle for the same rate as new customers.

“You’re entitled to haggle for that rate. Find out what your bank is offering new customers, and if its lower, ask them to match it. It’s the least they can do for a loyal customer.

“The slowdown in home lending has made the banks hungry for business. Owner occupiers paying down their debt are a hot commodity in this market and can use the competition to their advantage.”

Ms Tindall said NAB and ING were among those rewarding loyalty, recently raising rates for new customers only.

“NAB and ING should be singled out for putting their existing customers first. It’s a refreshing change after a year of rate hikes for existing homeowners.”

RateCity’s lowest ongoing variable home loan rates:

Reduce Home Loans 3.44 per cent

Easy Street Finance 3.49 per cent

Homestar Finance 3.49 per cent

(Source: RateCity)


How to lose money investing1:52

How to lose money investing

  • September 10th 2018
  • 3 months ago
  • /display/newscorpaustralia.com/Web/NewsNetwork/REA – Real Estate/

    Originally published as Haggle a lower mortgage rate: ACCC

Private equity boss Craig Cartner buys Macquarie Residences penthouse

FROM TV stars to CEOs and the general movers and shakers of Aussie business — here is your guide to all the latest luxury listings and celebrity property merry-go-round movements.

Craig Cartner, managing partner at private equity firm Archer Capital, buys Macquarie Residence penthouse.Source:Supplied

Private equity boss buys Macquarie Residences penthouse

CRAIG Cartner, who runs The Growth Fund — the venture capital firm that has backed car share innovation Go Get — has upgraded in the CBD, emerging as the $8.2 million buyer of the north penthouse in Macquarie Residences.

Imagine waking up to this view.Source:Supplied

MORE: Cheapest boom suburbs for 2019

Surfer’s South Coast tree change retreat for sale

Burgess brother’s botched property play

The 380 sqm, two-level penthouse, with infinity pool, overlooks the Royal Botanic Garden towards the harbour and is just a walk around the corner from his Chifley Square office.

Ray White Sydney CBD agent Michael Lowdon secured the sale to Cartner and his partner, Dr Kerri-Ann Chow. They also own an apartment two floors below.

The chic living room with grand windows.Source:Supplied


The do’s and don’t’s of buying property1:22

Love it or List It’s Andrew Winter gives some handy tips for buying at both an auction and private sale.

  • December 4th 2017
  • a year ago
  • /display/newscorpaustralia.com/Web/NewsNetwork/REA – Real Estate/

    A Grand let-down

    THERE were no bids when the architect-turned-magazine publisher Marcello Grand tested the Sydney market at the weekend by attempting to flip his Victorian terrace in Paddington.

    Veteran magazine publisher Marcello Grand tested the Sydney house price market by attempting to flip his Victorian terrace.Source:Supplied

    Veteran magazine publisher Marcello Grand is testing the Sydney house price market by attempting to flip his Victorian terrace at 154 Underwood Street, PaddingtonSource:Supplied

    Grand, who established Studio Magazines in the early 1980s, paid $2.215 million for the terrace just over 18 months ago.

    MORE: Couple turn $5 into more than $3 million

    Sell-off leads to stylish buy

    Dad’s generous show of love buying home for each of four kids

    He spent months renovating the property, which was offered at auction as a likely $1350-a-week rental opportunity.

    Marcello Grand owner of Studio Magazines Picture: LinkedInSource:Supplied


    Behind its bright yellow front door, he’s reconfigured each of the three levels, adding a bathroom. It still has three bedrooms, but the master suite now comprises two levels, including an ensuite and dressing room.

    Originally published as Private equity boss buys luxe penthouse

Pound falls to 20-month low with no vote

Sterling has tumbled to its weakest since April 2017 after Prime Minister Theresa May pulled a parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal with the European Union, panicking investors about deepening political uncertainty in Britain.

May said on Monday she was delaying the planned vote as her deal would likely be rejected "by a significant margin". Colleagues had told May that she faced a rout in the vote, that was set for Tuesday.

The move thrusts Britain's exit from the European Union into turmoil, with possible options including a disorderly no-deal Brexit, another referendum on EU membership, or a last minute renegotiation of May's deal with Brussels.

May said she would do all she could to secure further assurances from the EU on the so-called backstop arrangement, a crucial part of the deal bitterly opposed by many of her fellow conservatives and opposition parties.

"Uncertainty is the only thing hitting the pound at the moment," said Kallum Pickering, an economist at Berenberg.

The pound fell 1.6 per cent against the US dollar to as low as $US1.2507, most of the loss coming after May confirmed she was delaying the vote.

Against the euro, the pound dropped 1.5 per cent to as weak as 90.875 pence, its lowest since August, before recovering some ground in late European trading.

Britain's exporter-heavy FTSE 100 index, which usually rises when sterling falls, succumbed to widespread selling pressure and fell 0.8 per cent as investors fretted about the consequences of the political chaos for UK companies.

The more domestic FTSE 250 index tumbled 2 per cent.

Perceived safe-haven British government bonds rallied, with 10-year British government bond yields falling 7.5 basis points to 1.19 per cent, the lowest since mid-August.

While the government considers when to next hold a parliamentary vote, it is stepping up contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit when it is due to leave on March 29.

The pound has fallen for four consecutive weeks, with traders struggling to comprehend the vote options and consequences of more political instability.

Analysts said sterling's weakness on Monday reflected concerns about May's future as prime minister and the worsening uncertainty.

"In our – admittedly low confidence – base case, stress in financial markets and pressure from businesses should lead to a last-minute approval of the deal in parliament," said Silvia Dall'Angelo, senior economist at Hermes Investment Management.

"However, the situation is fluid and other outcomes carry significant probabilities."

Some analysts saw a silver lining in May's decision to postpone the vote.

Pickering at Berenberg said the delay would end with the British parliament gaining a greater say on the withdrawal agreement and the sort of Brexit that the UK gets.

"This is ultimately a process towards softer Brexit so the pound is reacting more to the uncertainty because, from my point of view, this is mostly a positive development," he said.

Aldi confirmed as cheapest supermarket for Christmas essentials

The numbers have been crunched and if keeping the Christmas dinner as cheap as possible is your priority, then get thee to Aldi.

Consumer organisation Choice has said that in a Santa’s sack of Christmas goodies, the German-owned retailer comes up trumps – though there is a small catch.

Adding up the bill for 22 items, Aldi was cheaper by a not-to-be-sniffed-at $30 or about 14 per cent.

But Choice said the difference between Aldi and Coles and Woolworths was narrowing. Also, the two Aussie-owned supermarkets had a bigger range, with some items in their basket not available to Aldi.

Christmas pudding is one of 22 items Choice surveyed for its annual Christmas price survey.Source:Supplied

Choice’s Christmas list included a half leg ham, frozen turkey breast, smoked salmon, cooked prawns, brandy snaps, raspberries, cream, a wedge of creamy brie and even some wrapping paper and tinsel.

At Aldi, the shopping bill rang up at $175.16; Coles came in second at $205.24 and Woolworths a touch behind at $207.30.

“Choice’s team looked at comparable products across Coles, Woolworths and Aldi and found that the gap in price has closed a little bit this year,” said Choice spokesman Jonathan Brown.

Year on year, Aldi’s basket has actually come down by $2. The Christmas bill at Coles has increased by about $5, according to Choice’s figures, while Woolworths’ total has come down by about $10 between 2017 and 2018.

Aldi came out on top, again.Source:Supplied

“Last year there was a significant difference between Aldi and Woolworths and this year we’ve found the difference between Coles and Woolworths negligible,” Mr Brown told news.com.au.

Choice had hoped to put candy canes and baubles in the basket, but as they couldn’t find them in Aldi they left those items out for all retailers.

He said while Aldi had come up cheaper, other factors might be more important to some customers.

“If you want to save some time and get online orders or delivery, Coles and Woolworths may be worth the extra expense and we did find a bigger range at them,” Mr Brown said.

“While we didn’t test for quality, this is often a subjective measure — it’s important to remember that brands do impact how we perceive products. You never know, without the packaging, your kids might never know the difference.”

A Coles spokesman told news.com.au the firm has lowered prices for “nine consecutive years” and an average annual household food and liquor spend today would be $1300 cheaper compared to 2009.

“This year Coles has unveiled its biggest and most delicious Christmas yet, with more than 150 new and improved products to provide a new twist on the classic Christmas.”

Coles insisted its process were coming down/Source:News Corp Australia

A Woolworths spokeswoman said the firm was committed to providing customers with choice at Christmas.

“We know every dollar counts and work hard to offer great value across our customers’ total shop.”

According to research by the Australian Retailers Association, shoppers will spend $21 billion on food in the run up to Christmas, an increase of 3.7 per cent on last year.

Choice’s Christmas basket

•Half leg ham (closest to 5kg)

•Turkey breast roast, frozen (1kg)

•Smoked salmon (200g)

•Australian tiger prawns, cooked (1kg)

•Christmas pudding (700g)

•Fruit mince pies (6 pack)

•Brandy snaps (8 pack)

•Raspberries, frozen (500g)

•Thickened cream (600mL)

•Brie (125g or closest)

•Mixed nuts, dry roasted (375g or closest)

•Mixed nuts in shell (550g or closest)

•Chocolate coins (150g)

•Favourites chocolates (320g)

•Mars Celebrations Tub (692g)

•Lindt balls or equivalent (150g or closest)

•Christmas cards (10 pack)

•Christmas gift wrap (single roll, 5m)

•Tinsel (3m or closest)

•Outdoor LED fairy/icicle lights (250 pack or closest)

•Christmas crackers/bonbons (12 pack or closest)

Why savvy Sydney investors will keep buying over the holidays

With the number of Sydney property transactions down and the number of listings up, the coming holiday period is offering great conditions for savvy buyers and investors.

According to CoreLogic’s Monthly Housing & Economic Chart Park for November, the number of settled sales in Sydney has fallen by 16.7 per cent over the past year as the Harbour City’s market came off the boil.

However, conversely, the number of listings on the market are 18.6 per cent higher than last year, which means plenty of stock to choose from for those keen to make the most of market conditions.

MORE NEWS: Bruce Willis finally sells Idaho ski home

Donald Trump’s first mansion for sale

Strand Property Group director and Sydney buyer’s agent Michael Ossitt said the need for people to sell their properties didn’t stop just because it was Christmas.

“December and January might be advertised as slower months by selling agents in particular, but most vendors need to sell for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with the current market conditions,” Mr Ossitt said.

Investors will be out looking for property this holidays. Picture: Julian AndrewsSource:News Corp Australia

Starting your hunt for a dream home0:51

Starting your hunt for a dream home

  • September 10th 2018
  • 3 months ago
  • /display/newscorpaustralia.com/Web/NewsNetwork/REA – Real Estate/

    “Perhaps they have a new job in another city or there is a new baby on the way — whatever the reason, properties come on the market all the time.

    “The thing is, over the holidays, there is generally a lack of buyers, which means fewer competitors for sound properties.”

    While a significant proportion of Sydney’s population heads off on holiday locally, interstate or internationally, the savviest of investors and buyer’s agents were cherrypicking the very best properties on and off the market, he said.

    He said he had always secured top-shelf properties in suburbs such as Cremorne and Surry Hills for clients over the December to January period, but this year provided the

    best buying conditions for many years.

    “Not only are there more properties on the market to choose from, vendors are discounting by about 7.3 per cent on average to secure a sale,” Mr Ossitt said.

    “This year, I believe the numbers are better than ever for anyone interested in taking advantage of the soft market conditions in Australia’s largest capital city.”

    Originally published as Savvy investors to cash in on holidays

New Taco Bell push to test Aussie appetite

Australia’s burgeoning burrito appetite is set to be tested in 2019 with New South Wales and the ACT set for a share of 60 new Taco Bell locations, adding to the Tex-Mex goliath’s single store in Brisbane.

Dual-listed frachisee operator Restaurant Brands New Zealand announced on Tuesday it had reached agreement with Taco Bell's Asian arm to bring 60 stores to New Zealand, NSW and the ACT, starting in 2019, adding to a down-under Tex-Mex landscape that includes Guzman y Gomez and Mad Mex.

Restaurant Brands, which currently owns and operates 36 Taco Bell stores in Guam and Hawaii, also holds the right of first offer to establish new Taco Bell restaurants in Australia and NZ.

"Bringing the Taco Bell brand to this part of the world aligns with our strategy of focusing on global tier one brands in markets we understand," Restaurant Brands' group chief executive Russel Creedy said on Monday.

In October Brisbane-based Collins Foods also announced plans to roll out 50 Taco Bell restaurants across Australia over the next three years, adding to the sole store it operates in Brisbane.

Taco Bell mounted previous unsuccessful attempts to crack the Australian market in the 1980s and 1990s.

Restaurant Brands said it expects the initial 60-store build to be funded from internally generated cash flows and completed by 2024.

However, it predicted that "it will take several years for the brand to make a significant contribution from the Australian and New Zealand markets".

The company said the Taco Bell deal was not conditional on the 75 per cent takeover offer from Mexican investor Finaccess Capital.

Restaurant Brands also operates Pizza Hut, KFC, and Starbucks franchises across Australia and New Zealand.

Shares in Restaurant Brands were last trading on the ASX at $7.33, down from a June 2018 peak of $8.05.

Popular Aussie blogger shares her genius money-saving hacks

When Olivia White and her husband decided to renovate their home, they were determined to do it without taking out a bank loan.

The couple got serious about tracking their spending and coming up with strategies to cut costs — and ended up saving a staggering $30,000 in just one year.

Now, the blogger and mum-of two from regional Victoria has shared some simple hacks designed to help anyone boost their bank balance.

• Mistakes behind Meghan’s fall from grace

• MPs caught rating colleagues’ ‘f**kability’

• How to bag a $500k property bargain

“The savings were for a purpose — we decided to renovate, and didn’t want to take out a loan for it — so we knuckled down and started to look at where we were currently spending our money,” she told news.com.au.

“We downloaded our statements and categorised everything including entertainment, utilities, clothing and groceries, and worked out where we could save money.”

Olivia White says groceries are a common trap. Picture: Instagram @houseofwhite_Source:Instagram

The couple soon realised their grocery bill was one of their biggest expenses.

“Our grocery bill was well in excess of $200 per week. I never really planned it, I just shopped willy-nilly, so I started meal-planning and worked out how to make things go further each week,” Mrs White said.

“I saved well over $5000 on groceries alone because you don’t realise how much you spend week by week, but it adds up over a year.

“Another thing I’ve done is switch to shopping online now which really helps to just buy what’s on the list because you’re not walking down the aisles and seeing everything — this way I only buy what I need and it also shows the per-unit price which means you don’t have to work it out in your head.”

Mrs White also made some serious coin by selling unused items on online marketplaces such as Gumtree — especially tech products and kitchen appliances.

View this post on Instagram

Just three little girls enthralled in their Polly Pockets 😍🙋🏼‍♀️ I'll give you one guess who's loving it the most 💁🏼‍♀️🤣 can confirm they are just as fun the second time around 👌🏻 {SEE STORIES FOR GIVEAWAY} . . #PollyPocket #PollyPocketAu #Spon

A post shared by ✖️ OLIVIA WHITE ✖️ (@houseofwhite_) on Nov 28, 2018 at 6:13pm PST

Since selling off a slew of items, the family has embraced minimalist living by resisting the urge to buy more stuff to replace sold items.

“I went on a course of decluttering and a lot went out while nothing came back in,” she said.

“I also saved on little things like being more mindful with my purchasing and staying away from fast fashion, because they may be cheap but you need to buy them more often.

“My clothing rule is now one in, one out — I have a certain amount of hangers and I’m not overwhelmed by choice anymore.”

The wider family has also stopped buying Christmas gifts for adults, instead planning a big family holiday once a year which avoids a lump sum leaving their accounts every December.

She also recommended picking up extra work online such as blogging or filling out surveys to boost earnings — and said it was important to resist the urge to keep up with the latest trends which was often triggered by social media.

View this post on Instagram

Today marks the start of Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week. As many of you know this is an issue very close to me and something I’ve advocated tirelessly for since experiencing it first hand in both my pregnancies and beyond… I’ve used this platform numerous time to share my story and the stories of others and I’m grateful for the stage it gives me to shed a light on it 💕 But I won’t go on too much here today other than to remind everyone that you are not alone, whether it be your first, your third or even your tenth. It could be during your pregnancy or after a loss, it could be right after having a baby or it could even be years down the track… it can happen to anyone, at any time, and it can look different for everyone… The gorgeous @lattemamava sent me one of her gorgeous mugs a few weeks back, something she humbly created to raise awareness for this very cause! I absolutely love not just the message this mug has printed upon it (because all mamas are bosses & queens) but also the idea that simply asking a mama if they’re ok?! A cuppa and chat just to see how they’re going?! Could mean the absolute world to them and help open up a conversation that can help them find the help they need 💕 because it is okay to not be okay, even if you think you have no reason to feel the way you do, your feelings are real and they are valid – remember that!! PS. The beautiful @notsomumsy also recreated this print as a sleep tee over at @notsomumsy_thelabel 👌🏻 an essential for all boss mamas and queens out there 😘

A post shared by ✖️ OLIVIA WHITE ✖️ (@houseofwhite_) on Nov 11, 2018 at 1:50am PST

According to Groupon, 39 per cent of Aussies spend over $1000 on Christmas-related items due to unrealistic expectations set over social media — but Mrs White said it was important to focus on “presence over presents” and remember Christmas was about spending time with family, not creating a perfect picture for Instagram.

“We need to remember it’s OK not to keep up with the Joneses — if you’re buying something for Christmas, think about how you will use it for the rest of the year and if it will make your life better by buying it,” she said.

“If it’s something you will use every day or will bring you a lot of joy then fair enough, but I think a lot of what is sold to us these days is good for one use only and after that rush of adrenaline there’s not much longevity from it.”

Continue the conversation @carey_alexis | alexis.carey@news.com.au

QBE flags $130m cost-saving program

QBE Insurance has announced a three-year operational efficiency program targeting savings of S130 million in 2021, with the company also flagging better profits in 2019.

The country's third-largest listed insurer by market capitalisation also said it had completed the sale of its insurance operations in Puerto Rico, Indonesia and the Philippines as it makes good on its word to streamline business to be smaller and less complex.

QBE said its 2019 reinsurance programme had increased catastrophe protection for better profit outcomes in years such as 2017, when earnings were mauled by massive disaster claims.

"Reflecting the company's strengthened catastrophe protection, the new structure delivers a modest uplift in both our S&P and APRA (Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority) capital ratios," QBE said in a statement.

The insurer said its 2019 programme is expected to save around $125 million in reinsurance costs but also flagged a rise in its allowance for large individual risk and catastrophe claims to around $1.4 billion, up from about $1.2 billion currently.

Despite this increase, QBE expects higher overall profitability in 2019, compared with 2018.

The operational efficiency programme will incur around $95 million of restructuring costs over 2019-20 and an expense ratio of around 14 per cent by 2021, QBE said.