- All households feeling grocery, power bill pain
- NDIS consistently overestimated future costs of the scheme
- Oil and gas taxes in Chalmers’ sights
- This morning’s headlines at a glance
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UK PM reverses decision not to attend UN climate talks
To international news now, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says he will attend this month’s United Nations climate summit in Egypt – reversing a previous decision to skip it that had drawn criticism at home and abroad.
Sunak’s office previously said he had to skip the gathering, known as COP27, which starts in Egypt on Sunday. Staffers had cited “pressing domestic commitments”, including preparations for a major government budget statement scheduled for November 17.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.Credit:AP
But Sunak has since said he will attend the two-week gathering because “there is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change”.
“There is no energy security without investing in renewables,” he wrote on Twitter.
Sunak’s earlier decision to skip the talks was criticised by many, including British government climate adviser Alok Sharma, who is this weekend due to hand over the presidency of the Conference of the Parties, or COP, at the summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The UK hosted last year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
Sunak’s about-face came a day after former prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed he will be going to the climate talks at the invitation of the host country. Under Johnson, who left office in September, the UK committed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and to eliminate coal from its energy mix by 2024.
Environmentalists worry there could be backsliding on those commitments because of the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The opposition Labour Party’s climate spokesman, Ed Miliband, said Sunak had been “shamed into going to COP27”.
“His initial instinct tells us about all about him: he just doesn’t get it when it comes to the energy bills and climate crisis,” Miliband said.
All households feeling grocery, power bill pain
The rising costs of mortgages, groceries and insurance are squeezing workers and putting some households under increasing financial stress as they face growing inflation and the Reserve Bank’s continued interest rate rises.
The value of new owner-occupier loans fell for the fourth month in a row as households around the country tightened their budget belts over October, and inflation reached 7.3 per cent.
The value of new owner-occupier loans fell for the fourth month in a row as households around the country tightened their budget belts.Credit:Peter Rae
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found all household types, from workers to age pensioners and self-funded retirees, were affected by the largest annual increase in living costs on record.
Worker households experienced a 6.7 per cent increase in living costs, driven mainly by mortgage interest charges increasing as the Reserve Bank lifted rates. The bank has lifted the official cash rate from 0.1 per cent to 2.85 per cent since May.
Head of price statistics at the ABS Michelle Marquardt said the effect of price changes varies between household types because they spend differently, but some cost increases were felt across all groups.
More on the data here.
NDIS consistently overestimated future costs of the scheme
The National Disability Insurance Agency overestimated the future cost of the NDIS by more than $15 billion over just three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20, according to new figures released by the agency that suggest the future cost might not be as severe as projected.
Yesterday, the agency for the first time published previously secret annual financial sustainability reports that show how the projected future cost of the National Disability Insurance Scheme has changed over time.
Australian Paralympian and disability advocate Kurt Fearnley, AO, is the new chairman of the National Disability Insurance Agency.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
Those documents showed, for example, the 2013-14 financial sustainability report projected that in 2017-18 the scheme would cost $10.26 billion, 90 per cent – or $4.86 billion – more than the $5.4 billion it actually ended up costing three years later.
Similarly, the 2014-15 financial sustainability report projections for three years ahead were out by 60 per cent, or $6.31 billion, while the 2015-16 report’s projections for three years ahead were out by 24 per cent, or $4.17 billion.
The fact the projections consistently overestimated the future annual cost of the NDIS when looking more than two years in the future calls into question warnings from the former Morrison government and the current government about the cost of the scheme.
Read the full story here.
Oil and gas taxes in Chalmers’ sights
Soaring gas prices have crossed a threshold that now risk strangling Australian businesses, Treasurer Jim Chalmers has warned, while signalling changes to the way oil is taxed and ramping up scrutiny of the nation’s largest companies and richest people.
As the Greens released new data showing Labor’s decision to abandon changes to negative gearing will cost the budget almost $100 billion over the next decade, Chalmers said the government is considering all options to reduce the cost-of-living squeeze caused by high energy prices.
Changes to the petroleum resource rent tax are on the agenda as the government seeks to bring down the price of gas.Credit:Michele Mossop
The October budget revealed the government expects electricity prices to climb by 56 per cent over the next 18 months while gas prices are tipped to rise by more than 42 per cent. Overall inflation is now forecast to peak close to 8 per cent by year’s end, remaining higher than expected over the next two years.
Chalmers, speaking to the Melbourne Institute yesterday, said the surge in energy prices meant the government is contemplating options that would have been unpalatable just a few years ago.
His key remarks are available here.
This morning’s headlines at a glance
Good morning and thanks for your company.
It’s Thursday, November 3. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.
Here’s what you need to know before we get started.
- Treasurer Jim Chalmers has warned that soaring energy costs are strangling Australian businesses. He’s also suggested he is weighing up changes to oil and gas taxes.
- Speaking of rising bills, new data shows all household types – from workers to self-funded retirees – have been affected by the largest annual increase in living costs on record.
- Meanwhile, the National Disability Insurance Agency has previously overestimated the future cost of the NDIS by billions of dollars, according to James Massola. It comes after warnings from the federal government about spiralling costs.
- And thousands have attended rallies across Australia to remember Noongar Yamatji boy Cassius Turvey.
- In international news, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has walked back his decision not to attend Egypt’s COP27 climate summit.
- And the US Federal Reserve has increased local interest rates to their highest level in 15 years.
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