Qantas eyes Japan Airlines tie-up to kick-start COVID revival

Virgin Australia was set to start flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in March this year and had a codeshare with ANA but the pandemic put those plans on ice.

Virgin has since shut down its long-haul international operations after going into administration in April and does not expect to restart them for another 18 months to two years.

In its application to the ACCC, however, Qantas argues that Virgin has flagged its intention to eventually fly to Japan, while ANA was a “particularly aggressive and effective competitor”.

One-stop carriers Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, which had a respective 7 and 6 per cent market share on Australia-Japan routes in 2019, would also compete aggressively, Qantas said.

“The [joint venture] is inherently geared to maximise consumer interest,” the submission says. “It will deliver greater public benefits faster and with more certainty than a future without it, in an intensely competitive market.”

Qantas said the tie-up would encourage the two airlines to “expand rather than restrict capacity and to invest in an improved product offering which is likely to stimulate innovation and price competition from others”.


If Qantas and JAL try to price gouge, the application says travellers would simply fly with one of the other airlines or in the case of holidaymakers, choose other destinations.

ACCC approval would allow Qantas and JAL to coordinate on pricing, schedules and marketing, which the airlines say would result in “improved travel products, delivering more choice for customers”. Frequent-flyer members would also receive better benefits when travelling with the other airline. The ACCC waved through a similar joint-venture arrangement between Qantas and American Airlines in 2015.

Qantas said it expected the ACCC to make a decision within six months and that the joint venture could start around July 2021 when it expects international travel will resume.

Mr Joyce said that if approved, the joint venture would be a “win for our customers, a win for trade and a win for the one million people who work in tourism across Australia”.

“Around half a million people visited Australia from Japan in 2019. We want to see that tourism resume and grow even further by making it easier for Japanese travellers to visit,” Mr Joyce said.

“It also helps us diversify our portfolio of joint businesses among Australia’s key trading partners.”

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Creating and supporting jobs through targeted stimulus measures, billions of dollars for infrastructure and maintenance, tax cuts for business and record health funding are at the centre of today’s 2020-21 NSW State Budget.

The Budget reinforces our world-class health system that has made NSW a global leader in tracking, tracing and containing COVID-19 to keep our people safe, as part of a record $29.3 billion health budget.

Job creation is front and centre with a record $107 billion infrastructure pipeline targeting shovel and screwdriver-ready projects, while a skills and training blitz will help people get back into the workforce after this year’s significant job losses.

Hip-pocket support will give families peace of mind, with 15 hours of free preschool per week extended to the end of 2021, and $100 worth of Out & About vouchers for every adult resident to inject new energy into the economy, help businesses doing it tough and encourage employment.

More assistance is being fast-tracked to help those most affected, with the biggest mental health budget in NSW’s history, and a major investment to provide intensive tutoring in schools to help students overcome the challenges of a rollercoaster school year.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the Budget takes decisive action to meet the needs of people across NSW, as we emerge from an unprecedented health and economic crisis.

“The people of NSW have done it tough over the past 12 months, faced with the triple crises of drought, bushfires and COVID-19,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We are doing whatever it takes to stay ahead of the pandemic and provide the support our households, businesses and communities need to get back on their own two feet.”

The NSW economy contracted by 1 per cent in 2019-20, with negative growth of ¾ per cent projected for 2020-21, followed by a projected return to growth of 2½ per cent in 2021-22.

The Budget will make targeted investments to turbo-charge jobs over the next five years with the unemployment rate projected to fall to 5¼ per cent by June 2024 as up to 270,000 people return to the workforce.

“With so many people out of work this year and more predicted to become unemployed, we’re in a race against time to help create as many new jobs as we can,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This Budget has workers at its heart, with temporary, targeted stimulus to generate jobs and get businesses booming again.”

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said nine years of strong financial management had put the Government in a strong position to deploy its fiscal firepower, which would be coupled with record low interest rates, to stimulate a strong recovery through responsible borrowing.

“The risk of long-term economic damage is too great if we do not take action, so we are taking advantage of record low interest rates and a strong balance sheet to turbo-charge our recovery,” Mr Perrottet said.

“That doesn’t mean abandoning our firm commitment to fiscal responsibility. This Budget includes measures to chart a course back to surplus by 2024-25, and a strong economic recovery will support that goal.”

The Budget takes the next steps to secure greater prosperity for current and future generations, continuing to deliver large-scale infrastructure to build a better future, investing in our people through education and skills, and securing the quality services everyone in NSW can rely on.

Employers will get a major recovery boost with $2.8 billion in payroll tax cuts including increasing the threshold to $1.2 million to lower the cost of creating jobs, and businesses that are under the payroll tax threshold will receive $1,500 vouchers to cover government fees.

A new push to cut red tape will make it easier to run a business, and through the Government’s Jobs Plus initiative we will support companies who want to relocate their head offices to NSW or expand their jobs footprint in NSW.

The Budget also supports a broad-ranging reform agenda including planning, education and digital reform, and examining reform to the state’s property tax system.

The record investment in this Budget sets us up for a prosperous, post-pandemic NSW

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Kickstart – Royal Enfield’s Indian motorbikes are going global | Business

DESPITE THE autumn chill, a group has gathered in front of the Iron Horse Royal Enfield dealership, a small stone building set in the Connecticut hills. A woman sits on a motorcycle, its single-cylinder engine thumping with a distinctive sound. In the window a striking chrome-and-black model looks much like what would have rolled out of Enfield’s original factory in Redditch in the British Midlands in the company’s heyday in the 1950s.

Enfield, dating back to 1901, boasts of the longest lifespan of any motorcycle manufacturer. But Iron Horse only began selling its bikes in 2018 and the name remains relatively unknown in America and other markets outside India. The company’s original British operations closed in 1970; the surviving Indian remnant was heading the same way before a stunning revival that saw annual sales grow from 31,000 units in 2006 to more than 800,000 in 2019, transforming the value of Enfield’s parent company, Eicher Motors, a tractor-maker, from just a few hundred million dollars to $8.5bn. Now the company is accelerating into the wider world.

Enfields are a throwback, devoid of modern frills and with the looks of a classic bike. Engines ranging from 350cc to 650cc are large for India but small compared with machines from firms such as of Triumph and BMW. Enfield declined to enter the largest part of the Indian market, which is for small and cheap bikes, and will not attempt to make the expensive, tech-laden machines that bikers generally hanker after in rich countries. Improvements have tackled mechanical shortcomings without undermining the existing sound, feel and look. They must, says Siddhartha Lal, Eicher’s boss, provide “everything you need and nothing you don’t”.

A consequence of this approach is that production is confined to a limited number of straightforward motorcycles produced at high volume which enhances economies of scale and enables profitability at low prices. The most expensive Enfield in America is $6,400, making the bikes accessible to a wider potential market. Machines from Harley-Davidson, which has suffered falling sales in recent years, often cost more than three times as much.

Enfield is aiming to sell 20% of its production abroad. Over the past five years, it has added 700 dealers worldwide to its 1,600 in India. Exports doubled to 39,000 units in the year to the end of March and in June, admittedly an odd month because of the covid-19 lockdown, an Enfield 650cc motorcycle topped the British sales chart.

A sign that it might succeed as an exporter is that the bikes are becoming part of popular culture outside India. A YouTube diary by a young Dutch woman, for example, begins with her purchase of an Enfield in Delhi and follows her journey back to theNetherlands. More than 100,000 people subscribe to her posts. The urge to cross borders is shared not only by Enfield but, apparently, its customers as well.

This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Kickstart”

Reuse this contentThe Trust Project

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Made for Manufacturing programme offers SMEs chance to kickstart 2021

Manufacturers in Greater Manchester are being invited to start 2021 with a fully-funded programme aimed at enhancing manufacturing excellence and enabling growth.

Made for Manufacturing will empower leaders from small, medium and large businesses across the city region to improve their quality of service and product, ensure better lead times, and reduce their overall business costs.

Run by GC Business Growth Hub, the second Made for Manufacturing programme launches in January, with applications open now to manufacturers who are focused on improving efficiencies and growing their workforce.

The group-based course will take place over a 10-week period. It offers tailored advice and support from expert speakers, peer-to-peer learning, plus one-to-one support from an expert Manufacturing Advisor based within the Hub, part of the Growth Company.

What sets Made for Manufacturing apart from more time-intensive courses is that it is delivered in short dynamic online sprints; this enables leaders to identify opportunities and put them into practice quickly without halting business momentum.

Its combination of virtual tours looking at good industry practice, workshops and engaging practical activities enables manufacturing leaders to hold a mirror to their company – and commit to actions that will lead to continuous improvements.

Andy Mosley, Print Manager at Manchester Manufacturing Group Ltd, one of the businesses in the first programme, said: “We hope the course will help us to benchmark our current procedures against industry best practice – identifying processes that fall short, then using the techniques learned to implement and make the necessary changes.

“We’re looking at finding brand new ideas to take away to further improve ‘right-first-time, on-time delivery’, product quality, waste management and environmental impact, whilst also helping us to strengthen communication within the company.”

Programme Manager and Manufacturing Advisor, Nick Brandwood, said: “One of the major benefits of Made for Manufacturing is that it enables manufacturers to build a support network with other high calibre business leaders on the course.

“Having the support of alumni who share the same passion will be most valuable as these businesses look to the future, after a turbulent year for the industry.

“Anyone interested in taking part should get in touch soon because we have just 10 places that will go quickly. There’s no better way to start 2021 than by showing you your business really is Made for Manufacturing.”

Over the past five years, GC Business Growth Hub’s Manufacturing Team has worked with 600 manufacturing companies, delivering a £20m-plus increase in sales and supporting the creation of more than 300 jobs.

Made for Manufacturing sessions are designed to share ideas, offer support, and pinpoint practical actions as a prelude for manufactures to return to the shop floor, engage with their teams and deliver long-lasting improvements.

The 10-week programme begins w/c 11 January and ends in May. Businesses have until 27 November to apply at

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Business groups unite to call on Victorian government to kickstart the state’s economy

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) and the Council Of Small Business
Organisations Australia (COSBOA) have come together to call on the Victorian
government to implement a plan to open up the state’s economy, citing the
economic and social impact on the ongoing lockdown laws.

“Extreme lockdowns and border closures are papering over the urgent need
for a workable plan to live safely with this virus,’’ Business Council of
Australia chief executive, Jennifer Westacott, said.

“We all recognise that in the long run there can be no trade-off between
health, social and economic recovery, but our strategy must deliver on all
fronts, or it will fail. Victoria needs to lead and bring forward its timetable
to open up so people can get on with their lives and learn to live safely
side-by-side with the virus.”

Westacott urged the Andrews government to declare a timetable – with an immediate relaxation of some restrictions – so that businesses can plan to reopen, saying that it’s not viable for Victoria to remain mothballed indefinitely and cut off from the rest of the country.

A tale of two states

“NSW’s different approach to managing and living alongside the virus has
balanced the health and economic imperatives,’ Westacott said. “This means
schools are open so kids can continue their education and their parents can
work, small businesses can make plans for the busy Christmas period and people
can visit their family and friends.

“With Victorian infection numbers stabilising to a level similar to NSW,
people are entitled to ask, ‘why isn’t Victoria doing the same?’. Every day of
delay and ongoing restrictions only deepens the devastating social and economic
harm Victorians are experiencing”, Westacott added. “The fallout in Victoria
from the second wave has left it in a worse place than after the first wave.
Today’s data show 120,000 Victorians have either lost a job or been stood down
with no work since early July.’’

COSBOA chief executive officer Peter Strong said that measures developed
by computer models do not take into account the human and economic impacts of
prolonged restrictions.

“Delaying – instead of accelerating – plans to relax restrictions would further undermine public confidence,” Strong said. “We are calling on all states to publicly spell out robust plans for how they will manage this virus going forward while allowing people to get on with their lives.

A new way of working

“This means having secure hotel quarantine systems, adequate monitoring
of self-isolation, effective and reliable digital tracking and tracing to
contain outbreaks locally, and a proper and dignified system for people in aged
care and vulnerable situations,’’ Strong said.

The BCA and COSBOA are adamant that the business community has
COVID-safe plans in place and is ready and willing to work with the state governments
to put in places that allow economic activity to resume while protecting the

“Lockdowns were necessary in the early stages of the virus because they gave us time to build capacity in our hospitals, stock up on vital health equipment such as masks and sanitiser, and put testing and contact tracing regimes in place,” Westacott said. “Now, they produce a false sense of security and a lack of preparedness to live side by side with the virus. Mental health, domestic violence and social issues in Victoria have risen steeply and some children haven’t been to school since March. This is especially acute for disadvantaged students without adequate access to technology.”

Christmas crucial to small businesses’ survival

Strong highlighted the need for the owners of small and family-owned
businesses to plan for Christmas, as that is their busiest trading period of
the year.

“They deserve to know now if they will be able to open up their doors
and given time to stock up their inventory,” Strong said. “Failure to implement
a staged reopening of the Victorian economy from this Sunday will result in
many small and family businesses in Victoria being forced to close their doors
permanently – even before the Christmas trading season begins.”

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Popular production to kickstart NORPA’s return

NORPA is set to welcome back their first show on the main stage as Sprung!! present O’ How I Dreamt of Things Impossible in October.

COVID-19 restrictions had scuppered NORPA’s 2020 production calendar but recent changes to restrictions will see the show performed live in front of an audience with a second round of tickets now on sale.

The performance focuses on showcasing the everyday life of the ensemble and how they deal with their disabilities. The show has proven popular with the public after the first round of tickets sold out quickly.

“Ultimately their experiences are what make the show so profound,” Artistic Director of Sprung!!, Michael Hennessy said.

“One dancer was hospitalised in his youth and unable to move, so to see him fully expressing himself in movement is a feat in and of itself, but to see him perform at this level is astounding.”

NORPA’s Artistic Director and CEO, Julian Louis said he had been impressed by the company’s dedication to their craft.

“Sprung!! is a great testament to the drive and commitment that a small, independent dance and performing arts company needs to have to succeed. I’m endlessly impressed by their dedication to their craft and to the dancers. Sprung!! is one of the only dedicated performance ensembles in our region, that in itself is something to celebrate.”

Sprung!! President and the show’s producer, Robyn Brady emphasised how grateful the company was for the support which will enable the show’s live performance.

“We held a successful crowd-funding campaign to which many people generously donated, it was matched by Brady Marine. NORPA has provided significant financial, creative and production support, and we’ve also gained support from the NSW Government through Create NSW and the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.”

For tickets and more information:

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Arts sector gets $250m for virus kickstart

Artists and entertainers will be able to apply for a slice of a $250 million support package to help the sector recover from coronavirus restrictions.

The package is made up of grants and loans, with a focus on helping touring artists, actors and producers on the stage and screen.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has acknowledged the sector was one of the earliest hit by coronavirus restrictions and will be among the last to return to normal.

He says the package will help a range of jobs throughout the sector while helping tourism and hospitality more broadly.

“This package is as much about supporting the tradies who build stage sets or computer specialists who create the latest special effects, as it is about supporting actors and performers in major productions,” he said.

Critics say it’s far too little, too late.

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance boss Paul Murphy said it was a slap in the face for workers in the industry who remain ineligible for JobKeeper.

“There is absolutely no relief for freelance and casual workers who have lost their jobs and suffered significant reductions in income,” he said.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the package fell well short of what was needed.

“The industry itself was calling for a package of close to a billion dollars,” she said.

Arts Minister Paul Fletcher defended the time taken to deliver the support package.

“We think this comes at the right time to get the sector restarted,” he told Nine.

“What we now need to do is get the sector back to work so Australians can see the bands they love, see the performers they love.”

The long-anticipated package includes $75 million worth of grants to help productions and tours return, with funding slices ranging from $75,000 to $2 million.

It also includes measures to help local screen productions and organisations.

A task force on the creative economy will be announced in coming weeks, working with the government and the Australia Council to implement the plan.

The grants and loans will be delivered over the next year.

The government says some of the sector’s 645,000 workers are already receiving $100 million in support measures.

Social distancing requirements have played havoc with the arts and entertainment scene, forcing performance venues to shut their doors.

Mr Morrison will work with the national cabinet to develop a timetable for the entertainment industry with regard to the lifting of restrictions, so they can plan when to reopen.

There remains no clarity on when crowds of more than 100 can gather.

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Instant asset write-off scheme extended to kick-start investment

Instant asset write-off scheme extended to kick-start investment

Businesses will be able to access a boosted instant asset write-off scheme for a further six months, in a move aimed at kickstarting investment.

Under the scheme – which was extended in order to boost the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak – businesses with a turnover of up to $500 million will be able to buy equipment, machinery and office fit outs for under $150,000.

The government estimates the scheme will benefit about three and a half million businesses, costing the budget $300,000 over the next four years.

Meanwhile, the government is poised to present more ambitious targets on reducing Indigenous incarceration, in response to mass protests at the weekend.

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Germany Unveils 130-bn Stimulus To Kickstart Virus-hit Economy

Germany will plough 130 billion euros ($146 billion) into a stimulus package to kick-start an economy severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday.

Under the wide-ranging measures outlined in a 15-page document, value-added tax will be temporarily slashed, families will receive 300 euros for each child, while those who purchase electric cars will see a government rebate doubled to 6,000 euros.

“The size of the package will reach 130 billion euros for 2020 to 2021, 120 billion of which will be borne by the federal government,” said Merkel.

“We have an economic stimulus package, a package for the future and in addition, we’re now dealing with our responsibility for Europe and the international dimension.”

Noting that millions of employees in Germany have been put on shorter working hours, Merkel said that “shows how fragile the whole thing is, and why we must succeed in giving the economy a push so that jobs can be secured.”

“We need to get out of this crisis with an oomph,” said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

The fresh stimulus comes on top of a massive 1.1 trillion euro rescue package already agreed in March, comprising loan guarantees, subsidies and a beefed-up shorter-hours programme to avoid job cuts.

To fund the unprecedented package, parliament had approved new borrowing, marking a sea change in German economic policy, upending a financial-crisis-era constitutional rule drastically limiting budget deficits.

With borders slamming shut, employees kept home, and shops and restaurants forced to close to halt transmission of the coronavirus, Germany is headed for the worst recession in its post-war history.

Bavaria state premier Markus Soeder had pushed for help to the country’s automobile sector

Disruptions to trade and travel have also weighed on the export powerhouse.

Latest data released earlier Wednesday showed that the unemployment rate rose to 6.3 percent in May, the equivalent of some 2.8 million people, from 5.8 percent in April.

With new infections sharply dropping, Europe’s biggest economy began easing social restrictions in early May, allowing shops to reopen while restaurants and tourist businesses are taking the first tentative steps.

Factories too are restarting their production lines.

Merkel has said the support programme will help “the economy to find its feet and grow again”.

To boost consumer spending, VAT will be cut from 19 to 16 percent from July 1 to December 31 this year.

But a controversial plan for a cash-for-clunkers scheme that also covers petrol and diesel cars did not materialise after noisy environmental protests.

The youth environmental movement “Fridays for Future” had organised some 60 protests nationwide on Tuesday, with demonstrators asked to wear masks and keep their distance in line with coronavirus-fighting measures.

Bavaria state premier Markus Soeder, who had pushed for help to the automobile sector, defended the package, saying the VAT cut will benefit sales of all classes and types of vehicles.

The increased rebate for electric cars is aimed meanwhile at giving consumers the incentive to switch to cleaner vehicles, said Soeder, whose state hosts BMW and Audi.

Meanwhile, companies in sectors hardest hit by the crisis — including hospitality, tourism and entertainment — will receive “bridging help” worth 25 billion euros in total from June to August.

Under the measure, restaurants, hotels or event management companies could get up to 80 percent of their fixed operating costs reimbursed if revenues had plunged by more than 70 percent compared to a year ago.

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