Here is a preview of the Inside Canberra Newsletter published 27 April 2018. To read the full edition, and access back copies, video content and more subscribe to our newsletter.
The Week in Politics: The Treasurer Addresses the Australian Business Economists
Scott Morrison spoke to Australian Business Economists on Thursday about the objectives for the budget and told his audience that the economy was doing better than anticipated in the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO). The Treasurer pointed to the fact that more jobs were being created than at any time since statistics have been kept. Last week the International Monetary Fund upgraded its forecasts. The economy is shaking off the hangover of the mining investment boom. ( Subscribe to read more)
Richard Marles at the Press Club
Shadow Defence Minister Richard Marles has just returned from Israel where he was impressed with the development of the Israeli Defence industry. Addressing the National Press Club on Tuesday he revealed that Israeli defence companies employed 12,000 people and sold product all over the world. He said he’d been amazed at what Israel had achieved but he was concerned that Australia had not developed similar companies. Mr Marles pointed out that, with the exception of the Australian Submarine Company and Austal in Western Australia, all the tier one defence suppliers were foreign-owned companies. (Subscribe to read the full article)
Defence Industry Minister Launches a Defence Capability Plan
Christopher Pyne has launched the new Defence Industrial Capability plan in Canberra this week. The first-ever Defence Industrial Capability Plan has been released, outlining Australia’s long-term vision and objectives for Australia’s defence industry, and how the Government and Defence will partner with industry to achieve that vision. (Subscribe to read the full article)
Australia Joins The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre Of Excellence
On Monday Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop opened Australia’s first pop-up embassy in Tallinn, Estonia. She joined the launch via live video streaming, in recognition of Estonia’s most successful start-up, Skype.
The Embassy will be a temporary presence for 12 months.
The Embassy will support Australia becoming a participating member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), based in Tallinn. (Subscribe to read the full article)
Feasibility design contract awarded for Inland Rail in New South Wales
On Wednesday the Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann the Minister for Finance announced The Australian Government is continuing to progress the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail, with a $6 million contract awarded for feasibility design work between Illabo and Stockinbingal in New South Wales. (Subscribe to read the full article)
US Ambassador to Australia Reassigned to South Korea
U.S officials confirmed the plan to nominate Admiral Harry B Harris Jr as United States Ambassador to Australia will be postponed indefinitely. President Donald Trump announced that Harris would be nominated to serve as United States Ambassador to Australia in February 2018, but reports say that he will be reassigned to be Ambassador to South Korea. (Subscribe to read the full article)
Connecting Innovation Ecosystems
On Thursday Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo announced Australia’s best and brightest mining technology (METS) businesses are encouraged to apply for a position in Austrade’s LATAM Passport program. (Subscribe to read the full article)
Global Supply Chain Contracts Showcase Australian Export Success
On Thursday Minister for Defense Industry Christopher Pyne announced the Global Supply Chain Program continues to support Australia’s defence industry to grow and export internationally, with the Program celebrating over $1 billion in contracts being awarded to date. (Subscribe to read the full article)
Australian Government General Government Sector Monthly Financial Statements March 2018
· The underlying cash balance for the 2017-18 financial year to 31 March 2018 was a deficit of $19,666 million.
· The fiscal balance for the 2017-18 financial year to 31 March 2018 was a deficit of
Care needs to be taken when comparing monthly or cumulative data across years and to full-year estimates, as revenue and expenses vary from month to month.
Super Support For Supercomputer
PM Malcolm Turnbull, Senator Michelia Cash the Minister for Jobs and Innovation and Senator Simon Birmingham the Minister For Education announced the government will provide $70 million for the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre to secure the next generation of supercomputers. (Subscribe to read the full article)
Captain James Cook’s Landing Site to be Recognised for 250th Anniversary
PM Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison the Treasurer and Member for Cook in conjunction with Gabrielle Upton the NSW Minister For Environment And Heritage and Mark Speakman MP the NSW Attorney-General and Member For Cronulla announced the Australian and NSW Governments have joined together to properly recognise and commemorate the meeting of two cultures at the landing site of then Lt James Cook and the HMB Endeavour on 29 April 1770 at Kurnell as part of the 2020 250th Anniversary. (Subscribe to read the full article)
The Economics of Immigration
Last week the Treasury and the Department of Home Affairs released a working paper entitled ‘Shaping the Nation – Population Growth and Immigration over Time’. In a nutshell, the paper says the population is increasing but not as rapidly as in the 1960s and 70s. The difference is that, in the current circumstances, population growth is predominantly due to immigration. As the paper acknowledges, this is not without costs and the theme of the paper is where these costs should fall.
On balance, the paper argues, immigration is good for the economy. On the other hand, the paper is alive to the downsides of rapidly increasing immigration, in particular, the cost of retrofitting infrastructure that was installed decades ago and which is now inadequate for current and future population needs.
The Prospects for a Trade Agreement with the European Union are Looking Good
OThe signs for the finalisation of a free trade agreement with Europe look promising. When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met with the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, on Tuesday European time, they agreed that a new free trade agreement was a good idea. There are mumblings from old trade hands that the negotiation will be a slow process because of the reluctance of French and Italian farmers to make concessions on agriculture although this may not be the case.
The National Energy Guarantee Takes One Step Forward
Last Friday the COAG Energy Council met in Melbourne and agreed to commission further work on the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) from the Energy Security Board (ESB) chaired by Dr Kerry Schott. The ESB had prepared a paper for the meeting which set out the elements of the NEG but it did not establish the roles and responsibilities of the various jurisdictions.
The Great Green Hedge Fund Proposal
The Greens have come up with a brilliant new scheme to help balance the budget: the nationalisation of the marijuana industry. The Greens’ idea is that dope will be produced and sold by a new government agency, the Australian Cannabis Agency. It would be the sole wholesaler and provide the link between private producers and retailers. (Subscribe to read the full article)
Photos from Christopher Pyne’s Doorstop Interview at ASPI
Following the launch of the Defence Industrial Capability plan, Christopher Pyne held a doorstop interview at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Below are photos from the interview. More photos can be viewed at the Keating Media photos website.