Raiders demolish dire Dragons to sound NRL finals warning


The result improved Canberra’s for-and-against, which could prove telling given the logjam at the top of the ladder. If the Eels stumble in their final regular-season games, the top four may not be out of reach after all.

Dean Young, warming the chair for incoming Dragons coach Anthony Griffin, said he was “embarrassed” by the performance.

“We’ve been losing a lot this year – we’ve been losing a lot the last two years – and our confidence is down,” Young said. “We’re not nailing the stuff with the ball we need to. Defensively we try hard some of the time, just not all the time.”

You’ve got to give props to the Raiders props. In Josh Papalii they have a brute of a man with an engine to match. The Maroons forward tackled Cameron McInnes so hard he knocked the football loose – and also Dragons captain into the head bin.

Canberra’s Semi Valemei scores during the Raiders’ romping win over the Dragons.Credit:Getty

‘Big Papa’ did enough in the first half to earn a rest for the second. Dunamis Lui, meanwhile, underscored his reputation as a kleptomaniac. He stole the ball from an attacking player twice in the first five minutes alone – that’s nine strips in 2020 to date – and later prevented a four-pointer by holding up opposing front-rower Josh Kerr over the try line.

It was a vast improvement on last week’s performance against the Roosters, but Stuart indicated his side still has more to give.

“There are areas in our attack that we still have huge improvement on,” Stuart said. “Whether we get there or not, that’s up to the players.”

This was a clash with a high attrition rate. Referee Adam Gee also did not emerge for the second half, prompting fears the NRL would go from two refs to one to none. Matt Cecchin came off standby to finish off for his injured comrade. And then Dragons teammates Kerr and Billy Brittain knocked each other out of the game after being involved in a sickening head clash.

In the same week they announced a new coach, a cult hero announced himself at the Dragons.

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Cody Ramsey, an apprentice plumber, made an NRL debut he will forever remember. The winger bagged two tries in the opening half, a tally he would have added to had Zac Lomax not been offside in the lead-up to what would have been a runaway hat-trick before the break.

Watching on in the stands were 57 family members and friends, including proud mum Kim Stojanov.

“I’ve started crying again, just can’t believe it,” Stojanov told Fox Sports. “His dream has come true, he’s out there doing what he loves. It’s just amazing, everyone is here to celebrate with him.

“Cody has worked so, so hard. He used to get up at four o’clock in the morning and get home at nine o’clock at night. He’s done it himself. I know it takes a lot of family, it takes a lot of friends, it takes a village to raise a child, but Cody’s done it himself too.”

The family hotel, the Freemasons in Orange, did a roaring trade – though some of the beers may have been on the house.

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REIT investors bracing for a dire reporting season


Andrew Parsons, the founder and chief investment officer of real estate securities manager Resolution Capital, said any notion or clarity would be appreciated “but I’m not holding out too much hope”.

“Obviously there’s some exceptions, such as most logistics-related real estate, but investors will be trying to ascertain the extent to which rent cashflows are lost, deferred and permanently reset lower,” Mr Parsons said.

Due to COVID-19, the majority of A-REITs have already withdrawn their 2020 financial year guidance, cut distributions and several raised equity. Many in the retail sector have slashed asset values by as much as 11 per cent.

While the macro environment is supportive, fundamentals vary by asset class with retail and office he harder hit.

Sholto Maconochie, the head of real estate research at Jefferies, says he expects a “big divergence” in underlying earnings on a funds-from-operations basis versus cash-flow.

He said investors will be paying “close attention” to the treatment of rent abatement and deferral.

“We also expect many A-REITs may provide only limited or no 2021 financial year guidance,” Mr Maconochie said.

He said while the virus will make it difficult for A-REITs to provide meaningful guidance, he will be seeking updates on rent collection rates; the level of rent abatement/waivers agreed; and the direct and indirect impacts on the results in the year ahead.

SG Hiscock & Co. portfolio manager of Australian real estate investment trusts Grant Berry said for the retail-focused trusts, while it has been in the front line of the lockdown and there has been income implications, “there may be encouraging signs of foot traffic improving from the low levels in March/April”.

“As investors we will be looking for progress and information on Small Medium Enterprise [SMEs] lease negotiations under the National Code of Conduct and any lease negotiations with tenants that reside outside the Code and how these have been structured,” Mr Berry said.

The office sector has also been hard hit with staff working from home and recent surveys indicating that the trend will continue, leaving towers half empty.

Mr Maconochie believes the “death” of the office is overdone, and he remains contrarian on his buy recommendations for landlords Dexus and Centuria Office REIT.

“But I concede negative office sentiment on work from home and structural shifts may see Dexus underperform in the near term,” he said.

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For Mr Berry, rent collection has been better in the office subsector, with a smaller proportion of SMEs and companies less impacted by the shutdown measures, as they have been able to predominantly work remotely.

“Our interest will be in the office sublease environment and changes in tenant preferences and requirements for space,” he said.

“The longer-term implications of [working from home] and how the landlords will adapt to work with this in order to enhance the appeal of the office environment will be another area of interest in the reporting season.”

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Economic recovery post-COVID-19 looks dire without a healthy migrant population


Australia’s economic future will suffer post-COVID-19 if predicted falling migration numbers prevail, writes Abul Rizvi.

THE CORONAVIRUS crisis brings to an end 20 years of high migration to Australia. On current policy settings, net migration in 2020 and 2021 will be close to zero, if not in negative figures.

If significant numbers of long-term temporary entrants in Australia follow the Coalition Government’s instruction to “go home“, and are able to do so, net migration could be a very large negative. It is unlikely to recover quickly as border restrictions may only be gradually eased from 2021. History shows us net migration recovers only very gradually after a deep recession or depression.

Contrary to forecasts in the 2019 Budget, net migration in 2020 will not rise to 271,000 and average 268,000 for the period 2019-22. It was already falling in the second half of 2019 off a lower base.

The fertility rate will not rise to 1.9 babies per woman as forecast in the 2019 Budget — it had already fallen to 1.74 babies per woman in 2018. Early indications are that fertility fell further in 2019 and possibly below 1.7 babies per woman. The coronavirus crisis will push the fertility rate down further, as has been the case in past recessions, both in Australia and overseas.

Australia is looking at the biggest turning point in its population history — bigger than the Great Depression. But how far will net migration fall and what does that mean for Australia’s population future?

An estimate of temporary entrants by end December 2020

Including NZ citizens and visitors, there were 2.4 million temporary entrants in Australia at end-December 2019. This follows a steady growth for over 20 years.

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge announced in early April 2020 that the number of temporary entrants had fallen to 2.17 million, with some visa categories falling while others increased.

There are a further 60,000 overstayers who are not included in the above figuring. The number of overstayers may rise as various temporary entry visa applicants – including over 100,000 onshore asylum seekers who have arrived on tourist visas in recent years – are refused but cannot depart Australia.

The key public policy question is what will happen to the 2.17 million temporary entrants in Australia at end-March 2020 by end-December 2020? 

I have prepared a detailed analysis of this with results summarised in Table 1 below:

Table 1: Temporary Entrants in Australia

*Bridging visa holders are onshore applicants for further visas yet to be processed. The estimated 279,000 bridging visa holders in March 2020 surpasses the previous record of around 230,000 (Source: data.gov.au Temporary Entrants in Australia, Visa Statistics and Media Release Home Affairs)

Key questions relating to Table 1 are:

  1. How many temporary entrants will either find a job or some other form of support?
  2. How many will become destitute because they resist leaving Australia for as long as possible, using up any savings they have and/or won’t have enough money to afford tickets to leave? 
  3. How many will be able to find flights and afford the skyrocketing ticket prices to get home?

Given the forecast weak labour market during the rest of 2020, a substantial portion of the 1.82 million temporary entrants forecast to be in Australia at end December 2020 are likely to be unemployed and reliant on charity to survive. If just over 70% are employed or have some form of support, including all remaining NZ citizens, that would still leave over 500,000 people reliant on charity.

At that level, it is likely governments will either assist people to depart or provide some form of social support to ease pressure on charities. The Morrison Government cannot continue to ignore an additional 500,000 people becoming destitute.

Net migration

Of the 612,000 forecast decline in the number of temporary entrants in Australia during 2020, only those who were in Australia long-term (that is, 12 months or more over the past 16 months) will be counted as a net migration departure. And that is only if they subsequently stay out of Australia for the following 12 out of 16 months.

The significance of this is that changes in net migration are how the ABS counts the contribution of immigration to population change in Australia.

Of the 485,000 forecast decline in the number of visitors in Australia during 2020, only a small portion will be counted as a net migration departure — perhaps as little as 5%.

In addition, there will be further arrivals of Australian citizens, existing permanent residents and new permanent residents (that is, people who secure a new permanent resident visa offshore and then travel to Australia if they can) over the rest of 2020. These people are not counted in the temporary entrant figures in Table 1 but are included in net migration arrivals.

On the other hand, it is highly likely the Government will cut back on formal migration and humanitarian programs from 2020, as governments have done so during each recession for the past 50 years. Moreover, there will be few, if any, additional temporary entrants for the rest of 2020 and perhaps also much of 2021.

The overall impact is likely to be a net migration outcome in 2020 – and possibly also 2021 – that is close to zero and more likely negative. This would particularly be the case if the Government decides to assist long-term temporary entrants who become destitute to leave Australia.

What does that mean for long-term population directions?

If the Great Depression and the recession of the early 1990s are any indications, both net migration and the fertility rate will remain low for the rest of the current decade.

While net migration will gradually recover after 2020-21, the combination of a weak economy and immigration policy settings that had already been driving down net migration in the second half of 2019, will ensure net migration in the decade of the 2020s will be well below that of the past 20 years.

    Source: ABS Cat 3222

The ABS’ Series B in Chart 1 reflects a fertility rate of 1.8 babies per woman and net migration of 225,000 per annum. It would result in the population growth rate steadily falling from 1.6% per annum (or over 400,000) to 0.8% per annum (or less than 350,000) by 2066. 

While the net migration and fertility assumptions in Series B are both significantly above those used in the 2019 Budget and in Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s ten-year budget plan, even Series B is now totally implausible.

Series C in Chart 1 assumes a fertility rate of 1.65 babies per woman — most likely still on the high side. It also assumes net migration of 175,000 per annum — also on the high side if economic growth remains weak.

Net migration was around 180,000 per annum during the Abbott Government, even though immigration policy settings were highly facilitative; the low net migration outcome in those years was the impact of a weak economy and a weak labour market.

Series C would result in the population growth rate falling to 0.5% per annum (less than 200,000) by 2066 and natural increase becoming negative later in the century (that is, positive net migration would be needed to prevent the population going into absolute decline).

The zero net migration option would lead to Australia’s population peaking in the mid-2030s and then declining to 23.8 million by 2066, and continuing to decline after that at an accelerating rate.

In terms of population ageing (see Chart 2), Series B would see the portion of the population 65+ rising from 15.6% in 2018 to 20.9% in 2066.

Series C, with its more plausible fertility and net migration assumptions, would result in the portion of population 65+ rising to 23.0%. The zero net migration option – including fertility at 1.65 babies per woman – would lead to the population 65-plus peaking at around 30% by 2060. That would be around five percentage points higher than the current situation in Japan.

  Source: ABS Cat 3222

Drawing on the consensus research findings, a higher rate of ageing would, all other things equal, lead to lower employment to population ratio, slow productivity growth, weak private consumption and insipid levels of business investment.

That would be similar to the last decade when the working-age to population ratio of all developed economies had simultaneously been in decline. It would make it impossible for the Government to maintain its already quite unrealistic – and largely election-driven – forecast of real GDP growing at 3% per annum for the decade of the 2020s.

Forecast economic growth rates for the decade of the 2020s are likely to be closer to those used in earlier intergenerational reports — that is, 2% in the 2002 Report (Costello); 2.3% in the 2007 Report (Costello) and 2.5% in the 2010 Report (Swan). The 2.7% assumed in the 2015 Report (Hockey) also appears highly optimistic.

A faster rate of population ageing would also reduce per capita income tax, GST and company tax collections. At the same time, the ageing population would be putting upwards pressure on government expenditure, particularly health and aged care. The ongoing surpluses forecast in the 2019 Budget ten-year plan were silly to begin with and are now simply ridiculous.

The idea of repaying government debt, if not already a fantasy, would become a pipe dream.

It should be noted the decade of the 2020s will be the second successive decade in which the working-age to population ratio of all developed nations – plus China and Russia – will simultaneously be in decline.

In modern history, the developed world has never before experienced two successive decades of simultaneous population ageing.

For an open trading economy such as Australia, that represents a further obstacle to any return to positive per capita economic growth.

Abul Rizvi is an Independent Australia columnist and a former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Immigration, currently undertaking a PhD on Australia’s immigration policies. You can follow Abul on Twitter @RizviAbul.

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As unemployment spikes, the dire job market for young Australians is ‘imploding’


Key Minister Scott Morrison suggests youthful persons have been the worst strike in the latest jobless figures – with extra than 311,000 of all those aged amongst 15 and 24 now out of work.

The Australian Bureau of Studies figures clearly show 15 to 24 yr olds have been seriously impacted by the financial downturn and recession forced by coronavirus shutdowns.

Prime Minister Morrison has recognised the impact remaining felt by youthful folks, declaring the government “have to get Australians back again to function”.

Key Minister Scott Morrison.

AAP

“Young persons have been most influenced in these numbers,” he said on Thursday.

“But my hope is that, equally as the overall economy opens up, they will ideally also be the first to reward from economy opening up.”

Small business shutdowns pressured by the coronavirus pandemic have disproportionately hit young men and women, presented their reliance on everyday work in sectors like the hospitality and retail industries.

The youth unemployment level has risen from 14.1 for every cent to 16.1 for each cent, nicely previously mentioned the national ordinary of 7.1 for each cent.

Meanwhile, the youth participation charge is at its lowest on document with only all over a few in five younger people today taking part in the labour sector.

For each Capita exploration economist Shirley Jackson informed SBS News the difficulty is acquiring even worse as the pandemic exposes the insecurity of the labour current market for younger people today.

“This is completely an implosion of the youth labour marketplace – the COVID disaster has just revealed the fractures and fissures that were being presently (there),” he said.

“The labour market place has been collapsing for youthful persons and it is not in a position to give secure and sustainable work.”

Mr Jackson stated the youth unemployment crisis precedes the impact of the pandemic and a new solution is expected to make confident young persons can return to additional protected perform.

“It definitely is an ongoing difficulty in the youth labour current market and this has just uncovered all of people difficulties,” he claimed.

Australia’s unemployment amount jumped to a seasonally modified 7.1 for each cent in May, with 227,700 employment misplaced for the duration of the thirty day period.

The jobless figures are the worst considering that October 2001.

Labor’s work spokesman Brendan O’Connor stated youthful individuals have been the major casualties of the unemployment disaster.

“Behind all of these stats are younger individuals who no for a longer period have a office to go to, are having difficulties to pay for the basic principles like foods and hire, and are facing an unsure and terrifying upcoming,” he said.

“The less completed to defend positions and guidance susceptible staff, which include our young people today, in the coming months, the more challenging and extended the recovery will be.”

The opposition has identified as on the key minister to demonstrate management on the youth unemployment disaster by ensuring people today are not remaining at the rear of.

Economist Stephen Koukolos mentioned that, even with the financial system commencing to reopen as coronavirus constraints simplicity, it could still be sometime until eventually employment rebounds, specially for youthful personnel.

“The disaster and the economic downturn that’s absent with it have really impacted younger men and women,” he claimed.

“We really need to have the overall economy to not just reopen but to fire to actually get some momentum likely for these work opportunities to be recreated and all those unemployment quantities to appear back down.”

He mentioned past activities of monetary crises has proven there is a possibility those who turn into unemployed can facial area a hard time returning to the function drive.

The federal government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy, which handles some 3.5 million staff, has also held back again the youth unemployment determine, Mr Koukoulas reported.

Mr Morrison mentioned he was decided to get young individuals out of do the job and back into a occupation.

“If you have young men and women not in a career before they are amongst 22 and 25… that can lead to a lifetime (of) welfare dependency,” he explained.

“Getting folks again into positions correct across the board, and we have got to seem at almost everything we can do.” 

With AAP





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Wall Street plummets on rising number of virus cases, dire economic forecast


The Federal Reserve dimmed some of the optimism investors have had about a swift economic rebound on Wednesday, warning that the road to recovery from the worst downturn in decades would be long.

That, coupled with the recent run-up in stock prices, set the stage for the wave of selling on Thursday, said Sal Bruno, chief investment officer at IndexIQ.

“It’s not surprising to see a bit of a sell-off, given the furious rally we’ve had coming out of the lows, despite the fact that the economy was not doing great,” Bruno said. “The fact that (the Fed) is talking about keeping interest rates this low through 2022 is a little eye-opening for a lot of folks.”

In late trade, the Dow was down 5.9 per cent to 25,412. The Nasdaq composite, which rose above 10,000 for the first time a day earlier, slid 4.5 per cent.

Small company stocks continued to bear the brunt of the selling, a signal that investors are becoming more pessimistic about a broad recovery in the economy. The Russell 2000 index lost 6.7 per cent. European and Asian markets also fell.

Bond yields fell sharply, a sign of increasing caution among investors. The price of oil also dropped as investors again worried that a slumping economy would need less energy.

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Nearly all of the companies in the S&P 500 were down. Technology, financial, industrial and health care stocks accounted for much of the market’s broad slide. Energy stocks were the biggest losers as crude oil prices fell sharply. Bond yields fell and the price of gold surged as worried investors shifted money into the traditional safe-haven assets.

Emergency rescue efforts by the Fed and Congress helped arrest the market’s staggering 34 per cent skid in February and March. Since then, the market had been riding a wave of investor optimism that the economy will bounce back by the end of the year, if not sooner, as businesses reopen and people go back to work. But confidence in that scenario is waning as infections and fatalities continue to climb in the US and elsewhere.

In the US, Texas and Florida were among the states reporting jumps in the number of coronavirus cases after precautions were relaxed last month. The total number of US cases has now surpassed 2 million, and cases are rising in nearly half the states, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Investors are still waiting for more data to see whether the spike in COVID-19 cases are a sign of a possible second wave of the infection, said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management.

“We think the recovery is largely underway, but there is still some considerable uncertainty on the path we have ahead,” Ripley said. “If we see some more follow-on of people coming back to work and consumer sentiment picking up, that will be a positive sign for a faster recovery.”

The fact that (the Fed) is talking about keeping interest rates this low through 2022 is a little eye-opening for a lot of folks.

Sal Bruno, chief investment officer at IndexIQ

Anxious investors shifted more money into government bonds Thursday, sending yields broadly lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury yield slid to 0.66 per cent from 0.74 per cent late Wednesday, a big move. Last Friday it briefly rose above 0.90 per cent.

The Labor Department said on Thursday that about 1.5 million people applied for US unemployment benefits last week, another sign that many Americans are still losing their jobs even as the economy begins to gradually reopen. The latest figure marked the 10th straight weekly decline in applications for jobless aid since they peaked in mid-March when the coronavirus hit hard. Still, the pace of layoffs remains historically high.

Other jobs data have been more encouraging. A report on Friday showed that the US job market surprisingly strengthened last month as employers added 2.5 million workers to their payrolls. Economists had been expecting them instead to slash another 8 million jobs.

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That report helped stoke optimism among investors that the economy can climb out of its current hole faster than forecast. But the Fed estimated on Wednesday that the economy will shrink 6.5 per cent this year, in line with other forecasts, before expanding 5 per cent in 2021. It also expects the unemployment rate at 9.3 per cent, near the peak of the last recession, by the end of this year. The rate is now 13.3 per cent.

AP

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New deputy chief medical officer Ruth Vine warns of long road ahead, as experts fear dire mental health risks



There will be “rolling phases” of mental health despair for Australians during the recovery phase of the coronavirus pandemic, with the nation’s newly appointed deputy chief medical officer warning the impacts from COVID-19 will be long-lasting.

Ruth Vine, a leading psychiatrist elevated to oversee the mental health response to the pandemic, said the virus had come at a time when many Australians were struggling in the wake of the summer bushfire season.

While initial concerns were around isolation and loneliness, Dr Vine said widespread apprehension was “turning towards employment and other financial impacts”.

“The mental health response to that is very varied,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“Many people will get through this and they’ll use their local contacts, they’ll use their families. But for some they’ll need more expert help.

“The impact is not going to be short-lived.”

‘Too soon to say’ if suicide rate has increased

The Australian Medical Association and leading advocates have argued clinical leadership will be crucial in tackling the mental health response to the pandemic.

Professor Patrick McGorry described Dr Vine’s task as “enormous”, with the mental health system already overloaded before mass lockdowns began.

Other modelling from the Brain and Mind Centre suggested that, in a worst-case scenario, deaths by suicide could increase from 3,000 a year to 4,500.

Dr Vine said it was “probably too soon to say” if there had been additional suicide cases because of the pandemic, but stressed “we need to really make sure we’ve got the best data available”.

Dr Vine, whose previous roles included being Victoria’s chief psychiatrist and director of health in Victoria, said the pandemic served as an opportunity to improve the coordination between state and national services.

“I feel very strongly about getting a better integrated mental health system.

“We do have a lot of duplication that sits between the privately funded and the publicly funded.”

Experts at odds over mental health roadmap

Dr Vine said she had been pleased to see an increase in telehealth services, and was encouraged by the Federal Government’s release of its Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan.

The plan has three main goals: to monitor data and predict mental health scenarios from the pandemic, ensure services are available to the community, and to connect those services.

Former national mental health commissioner Ian Hickie said the $48 million plan did not go far enough, and said Australia was facing a mental health “disaster”.

“It [the plan] doesn’t yet seem to reach the scale or the immediacy really required now to be ready for the really significant mental health problems that we will face over the next two years,” he said.



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