As it happened: RBA warns interest rates will see-saw in coming years; Labor industrial relations bill questioned – Sydney Morning Herald

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The price of food is set to rise again in the next 12 months according to the national food supply chain alliance, which has urged the government to provide a national food security plan.
Food prices could increase by about 7 per cent in the next months according to an industry alliance.Credit:James Alcock
They primarily blame long-term supply chain issues, caused by ongoing natural disasters and labour shortages, for a 27 per cent increase in food supply chain cost of operations over the past 9 months.
That could result in a seven per cent increase in food prices, said the group, made of representatives from the red meat, vegetable and seafood industries, farming federation, food distributors, restaurants, grocers, convenience stores and transport.
The alliance’s Richard Forbes said a national food map could identify where crop shortages would be if natural disasters struck, and audit the national supply chain.
Agriculture Minister Murray Watt defended his government’s record on fixing supply chain issues.
“As a government we are taking action with targeted measures to deal with these issues, by getting more skilled people into the workforce and mitigating the impacts of natural disasters,″⁣ he said.
“I have also asked the House Standing Committee on Agriculture to inquire into and report on strengthening and safeguarding food security in Australia.”
The local share market has pushed to a fresh five-month high after gaining ground for a second day in a row, lifted by mining heavyweights including BHP, Rio Tinto and Woodside Energy.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Wednesday up 51 points to 7231.8, its highest finish since June 3.
The index was also buoyed by a $100 million lift in Qantas’ profit forecasts for the first half of the financial year. Qantas stocks surged 5.2 per cent on the news.
The broader All Ordinaries gained 46 points to 7422.4, a 0.62 per cent rise.
The ASX200 is up 5.4 per cent so far this month, building on a six per cent gain in October.
It is still down 2.9 per cent for the year but is only 401 points, or 5.3 per cent, from its all-time high set in August 2021.
Share values for Software company WiseTech and Star Entertainment Group were both down at market close.
The Australian dollar was buying 66.42 US cents, from 66.18 US cents at Tuesday’s ASX close.
With AAP and Billie Eder
Looking to the money market, and there will be fines of up to $1.1 million for banking executives who fail to take reasonable steps to prevent systemic conduct under strengthened laws, Rachel Clun reports.
The amendments require senior bank, insurance and superfund executives to ensure their institution’s culture and practices do not lead to failures such as those uncovered by the commission, such as charging dead customers fees.
It came after the Hayne royal commission three years ago uncovered issues in the banking sector including systematic use of fraudulent documents to sign up home loans and bonuses for financial performance that incentivised putting profit over customers.
The Greens won government support for the changes, which will be added to the legislation before parliament ends next week.
Here’s what Greens financial justice spokesman Nick McKim had to say:
“We’re really happy to have secured million-dollar fines for dodgy bank executives.
This will send a very clear message to bank executives that if they rip off their customers, they will pay.
We think that ultimately that’s going to lead to a significant improvement in culture, and the processes and frameworks that are in place within banks to make sure that customers are not being ripped off.”
Returning to federal parliament, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has told question time he is working on proposals about the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
West Australian independent Kate Chaney asked Dreyfus whether he would publish a 2020 report by the nation’s attorneys-general that backed raising the age.
Dreyfus replied the decision not to release it was made by the previous government.
“The paper was not written by the Commonwealth Government, so there are steps that have to be taken in order for it to be released,” he said, adding it would be discussed during the next meeting in December.
“I am working to develop proposals about the minimum age of criminal responsibility. I’m also working closely with the Minister for Indigenous Australians to address the very serious issue of over-representation of First Nations children in the criminal justice system.”
Over to world news, and the US Supreme Court has cleared the way for the imminent handover of former president Donald Trump’s tax returns to a congressional committee after a three-year legal fight.
The US Supreme Court has cleared the way for Congress to get hold of Mr Trump’s tax returns.Credit:AP
The court, with no noted dissents, rejected Trump’s plea for an order that would have prevented the Treasury Department from giving six years of tax returns for Trump and some of his businesses to the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means committee.
Alone among recent presidents, Trump refused to release his tax returns either during his successful 2016 campaign or his four years in the White House, citing what he said was an ongoing audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Last week, he announced he would run again in 2024.
It is Trump’s second loss at the Supreme Court in as many months, and third this year. In October, the court refused to step into the legal fight surrounding the FBI search of his Florida estate that turned up classified documents.
Democrat congressman Richard Neal, the committee chairman until the next Congress begins in January, said in a statement that his committee “will now conduct the oversight that we’ve sought for the last three and a half years.”
There’s a need for speed in grocery shopping, and it’s pushed supermarket giant Coles to launch one-hour click-and-collect offers across the country.
Food delivery businesses are ramping up their delivery times.Credit:Joe Armao
As Emma Koehn reports, click-and-collect orders will be made available to pick-up within 60 minutes at 400 stores across Australia.
It comes as food delivery platform DoorDash launched a fleet of corner stores only accessible to its contracted couriers, aimed at serving as bases to rapidly deliver fresh groceries. You can read more about that from Jessica Yun and Nick Bonyhady here.
Earlier this year, Woolworths also expanded its “Metro60” delivery app — promising shoppers delivery in under 60 minutes — to Melbourne after a successful launch in Sydney.
But not all businesses have been able to keep up with increasing competition, including Deliveroo which made a shock decision to exit last week.
The key for food delivery businesses looking to speed up their offering is to find a sustainable business model including offering realistic delivery times, according to Coles boss Steven Cain, who believes the “sweet spot” is 60 minutes.
Over in federal parliament, Small Business Minister Julie Collins has told question time the government is negotiating with stakeholders over the threshold for including small businesses in multi-employer bargaining provisions.
Businesses with less staff than the eventual threshold will be able to opt in and out of multi-employer deals.Credit:Rhett Wyman
A Senate committee report recommended raising the definition of a small business from 15 to 20 staff after employer groups and crossbenchers claimed the low threshold was unworkable.
Collins said: “We are currently negotiating and discussing given the Senate recommendations on that number of employees.”
Businesses with less staff than the eventual threshold will be able to opt in and out of multi-employer deals.
Liberal MP Jenny Ware asked Collins about an apparent calculation error in the forecast costs businesses will bear in the regulatory impact statement for the Secure Jobs, Better Pay bill.
She asked whether it was a mistake or whether the government was deliberately trying to hide costs.
Collins said it was a question more appropriate for Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke.
Burke told question time the government was considering the committee’s recommendation about small business.
“If the Government does accept that recommendation it means 97.5 per cent of businesses are excluded from that [bargaining] stream. [That’s] 2.5 million business to be excluded from that stream. That’s a pretty big difference. That’s a pretty significant difference,” he said.
Good afternoon, I’m Millie Muroi, and I’ll be anchoring our live blog coverage for the rest of the day.
Starting in the streets of Sydney’s CBD, nurses and midwives have walked out of NSW hospitals, calling for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios and an end to wage caps.
NSW Nurses and Midwives Association general secretary Shaye Candish said staff were “incredibly burnt out”.Credit:Renee Nowytarger
At about midday today, hundreds marched from Hyde Park towards the state parliament, chanting about being understaffed and overworked.
It comes as WA nurses plan a statewide strike for Friday after rejecting the government’s pay and conditions offer.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) is demanding a ratio of one nurse to every four patients, saying the NSW government has refused to accept it, despite evidence of the measure improving patient outcomes in other states.
NSWNMA general secretary, Shaye Candish, said staff were “incredibly burnt out” and could drop out of the state’s health system.
“States like Queensland and Victoria are actively encouraging NSW nurses and midwives to go and work interstate because they have provisions like ratios,” she said.
The Greens have committed to implementing union supported ratios, while Labor has agreed to safer patient ratios without legally mandating nurse numbers.
NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns said he understood the decision by health staff to walk off the job, but cited budget constraints.
“The budget situation in NSW is tough. We’re $180 billion in debt which is the largest figure the state has ever had,” he said.
Minns said rather than passing legislation, safer ratios should be achieved through the awards system.
With AAP
Thanks so much for joining me today. Millie Muroi will be looking after the blog for the rest of the afternoon, but for now, let’s take a quick look at the main headlines.
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