Brisbane City Council budget: rates up, debt down

June 18, 2014 – 11:27AM

Kim Stephens

Journalist

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has handed down the 2014/15 budget Brisbane City Council budget.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has handed down the 2014/15 budget Brisbane City Council budget. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Brisbane City Council’s finance chairman Julian Simmonds had one message for the city’s residents about today’s annual budget.

Think unsexy.

As promised the 2014-15 budget has delivered little in the way of surprises.

Asset maintenance, infrastructure and public and active transport investment are the key expenditure focuses, though its the slashing of the city’s debt that is perhaps its biggest achievement.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the city’s $2.4 billion debt – accrued mainly through its recent large-scale infrastructure investment program – will drop to $1.6 billion by the end of this financial year.

Cr Simmonds said this equated to a reduction in net debt from its current financial year peak of $2107 per person to $1411 per person.

It is then forecast to drop below $1000 in 2016-17.

Yet the council has achieved this without any significant rates rise.

This year 3.85 per cent will be added to annual rates notices or an average of nearly $50 per household and businesses.

The debt repayment will come largely from two sources – a $400 million funding contribution from the Federal Government upon the completion of the Legacy Way tunnel in early 2015 and a new funding arrangement between water authority Queensland Urban Utilities and the Queensland Treasury Corporation.

Cr Quirk said it would eliminate the council as the “middle man” between the two entities, producing savings across the next three years.

Due to the debt reduction there is a $1 million reduction in general purpose borrowings to fund bread and butter council services.

It is forecast to fall from $2.5 million in 2013-14 to $1.5 million in 2014-15.

Cr Quirk said although there were no new project announcements infrastructure was again a key focus, with $1 billion budgeted for ongoing projects.

“This is a budget with a  strong emphasis on infrastructure, fees and charges remain at CPI level, it doesn’t cut the delivery of services and pensioners are looked after,” he said.

“There is also a significant reduction in debt … which will be down 55 per cent by 2016-17 to less than $1000 per person.”

Both Cr Quirk and Cr Simmonds defended the lack of new projects in the budget, saying its prudent focus was to ensure the LNP administration did not leave a legacy of debt for future administrations.

“We’re very conscious of making a firm, solid foundation on which to build the budget,” Cr Simmonds said.

Source : The Brisbane Times

Economy set to lose momentum with below trend growth ahead

June 18, 2014 – 11:28AM

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Australia’s economy will lose momentum later in the year, not helped by a fall in consumer confidence after May’s tough federal budget.

The Westpac/Melbourne Institute Leading Index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months into the future, rose in May but is still at a level low enough to indicate a below-trend rate of economic activity in the second half of the year and into 2015.

Westpac senior economist Matthew Hassan said the local economy is suffering a number of challenges.

“The sustained high Australian dollar in the face of falling commodity prices, the sharp fall in consumer sentiment since May and signs of slowing in consumer spending and housing markets,” he said.

“This month’s Leading Index highlights just how much these and other shifts have affected growth momentum with a slowdown likely over the remainder of 2014 and early 2015.”

Mr Hassan said the potential slowdown in economic growth wouldn’t be enough for the Reserve Bank of Australia to chance its stance of keeping the cash rate unchanged for some time to come.

“We expect the bank to again leave rates on hold at its July meeting and through the remainder of 2014 and the first half of 2015,” he said.

The minutes of the RBA’s board June meeting said there were “uncertainties” over what impact the tough federal budget and expected declines in mining investment would have on the economy.

Westpac’s Leading index rose by 0.37 percentage point in May to 0.75 per cent.

AAP

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

The Voice Australia star Elly Oh told to ‘fix’ her face

June 18, 2014 – 11:27AM

Face it ... Elly Oh is considered cute on <i>The Voice Australia</i>.

Face it … Elly Oh is considered cute on The Voice Australia.

The Voice‘s Elly Oh has revealed she was told to “fix her face” if she ever wanted to become a K-pop sensation.

Speaking to SBS Pop Asia, the reality show contestant said she’d tried to break onto the K-pop scene as a teenager, but was told she wasn’t pretty enough.

“I wanted to become a K-pop singer when I was 18,” she said. “(But) some management company said I have to fix my face first.

“In Korea … I’m not the pretty face, honestly.”

Now, the 29-year-old says she feels lucky that people tell her she is “very cute”.

Oh said she’d love to work with Psy, the South Korean popstar whose video Gangnam Style has been viewed more than two billion times on YouTube. The video became a global sensation and brought the K-Pop trend to the world after it was uploaded in July 2012.

She also revealed her mentor, Ricky Martin, is so good looking in real life it’s like gazing upon “a Michelangelo”.

Oh was tipped as a possible Voice victor this season after her powerhouse performance of Jessie J’s Mamma Knows Best.

AAP

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

Call to ditch big airlines, launch Otago Air

7:27 AM Wednesday Jun 18, 2014

Dunedin man Fred Doherty wants Dunedin to go it alone and start its own air company as the city continues to lose flights. Photo / ODT

Dunedin man Fred Doherty wants Dunedin to go it alone and start its own air company as the city continues to lose flights. Photo / ODT

A Dunedin man has called for the city to ditch major airlines, ”do the job ourselves” and begin a local air service providing international flights.

And the idea for city residents and organisations to get together and develop ”Otago Air” has been declared ”possible” by a former airline boss.

Outram farmer and cafe owner Fred Doherty has responded to recent news Virgin has grounded Dunedin’s only flights to Sydney and Melbourne.

The move by Virgin, which has a transtasman alliance with Air New Zealand, left Dunedin to Brisbane as the only international flight from Dunedin.

Mr Doherty has made clear he is a ”dreamer” but, in an opinion piece for the Otago Daily Times, he has called for organisations from the Dunedin City Council to the Otago Chamber of Commerce to get behind his idea.

Setting up Otago Air would involve floating a company to lease a plane and pilots, giving the city direct services to Australian cities, promoting the city and attracting tourism.

Funding would require 1000 people investing $1000 each for start-up capital of $1 million, an investment that could be returned in the form of air fares.

”If you are going to dream, dream big,” he said.

”Nothing will happen if someone doesn’t start the ball rolling,” he said, adding he would put up the first $1000.

Former Kiwi Air chief executive Ewan Wilson, now a Hamilton city councillor, said the idea was not out of the question.

Kiwi Air collapsed after intense competition and Cr Wilson was later convicted of fraud.

He said yesterday the model he used could work.

That meant starting up a ”virtual airline”, as Kiwi Air did.

The company would lease planes and pilots from a nearby high-frequency airline with the necessary infrastructure and capacity.

”You then negotiate with them to operate your service, with your brand.”

That model meant less capital was required, and less time, because issues such as regulatory approval were the leasing airline’s responsibility.

There was a cost, as that airline would take a profit.

But Cr Wilson said it could be done with a start-up cost of about $2 million.

As well, there was nothing to stop other cities left out of the international flight loop, such as Palmerston North and Hamilton, ”embracing” the idea.

Regular flights might ”irritate” existing carriers but might also prompt them to reinstate services.

”In a broader sense, that might not be so bad.”

Asked to respond to Mr Doherty’s idea, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said Air New Zealand had said it had limited planes and pilots, and there was insufficient demand in Dunedin to push the city as a priority.

”That’s the reality of it.”

However, the idea was ”not completely silly”.

Mr Cull said the Dunedin to Auckland route was the major problem for the city, because the schedule made it difficult to do business there in one day.

The high cost of the Dunedin to Christchurch route was ”Air New Zealand being quite cynical”. In a situation where there was no competition, ”they screw us”, Mr Cull said.

Mr Doherty said last night he was ”absolutely” serious in a promise to put up the first $1000, and chair an inaugural meeting on the idea.

Air New Zealand did not respond to questions on the issues yesterday.

 

Source : The New Zealand Herald

Classificação do GRUPO H da Copa do Mundo da FIFA Brasil 2014 após a primeira rodada

Mundial-2014-Brasil-1.svg

Pos.

Seleção

Pts J V E D GP GC SG
1 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Bélgica 3 1 1 0 0 2 1 +1
2 Flag of Russia.svg Rússia 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
3 Flag of South Korea.svg Coreia do Sul 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
4 Flag of Algeria.svg Argélia 0 1 0 0 1 1 2 –1

Rússia 1 x 1 Coreia do Sul

Kerzhakov salva Akinfeev e dá prenda a Capello

A Rússia regressou a uma Copa do Mundo da FIFA 12 anos depois, mas não conseguiu vencer na estreia no Grupo H, empatando 1 a 1 com a Coreia do Sul. Mas a noite dos russos na Arena Pantanal, poderia ter sido bem pior se não fosse a inspiração de Alexandr Kerzhakov.

Após falhar os Mundiais de 2006 e 2010, a expetativa para a volta dos russos ao grande palco mundial era grande, especialmente depois de ter superado Portugal no grupo daseliminatórias. Porém,  a Coreia do Sul foi um adversário bem difícil e esteve muito perto de conseguir o triunfo em Cuiabá.

Após um primeiro tempo sem gols, a partida teve um momento bem estranho aos 23 do segundo tempo. O chute de Lee Keun-Ho de fora da área parecia inofensivo, mas o goleiro Igor Akinfeev deixou a bola passar entre os dedos o ofereceu a festa aos coreanos.

Fabio Capello lançou o experiente Kerzhakov – o único da equipe russa que tinha atuado na Copa de 2002 – e o efeito foi imediato. Na raça e apenas três minutos depois de entrar em campo, o atacante aproveitou uma série de rebotes e atirou para o empate, oferecendo uma pequena prenda ao técnico italiano que, esta quarta-feira, celebra o 68º aniversário. Depois da vitória da Bélgica sobre a Argélia, o empate foi um mal menor para a Rússia e Coreia do Sul, que teve a satisfação de ver Son Heungmin ser eleito o Craque do Jogo Budweiser.

 

FIFA .COM

Confira as audiências de todos os jogos da Copa do Mundo 2014

A partida entre Estados Unidos e Gana é o destaque.

QUINTA-FEIRA, 12 DE JUNHO

Brasil X Croácia
Globo: 36.3   Band: 8.7

SEXTA-FEIRA, 13 DE JUNHO

México X Camarões
Globo: 13.6   Band: 4.0

Espanha X Holanda
Globo: 15.1  Band: 5.1

Chile X Austrália
Globo: 20.7   Band: 4.8

SÁBADO, 14 DE JUNHO

Colômbia X Grécia
Globo: 14.2   Band: 4.0

Uruguai X Costa Rica
Globo: 14.3  Band: 4.9

Inglaterra X Itália
Globo: 19.4  Band: 5.9

Costa do Marfim X Japão
Globo: 18.1  Band: 5.0

DOMINGO, 15 DE JUNHO

Suíça X Equador
Globo: 15.5  Band: 3.7

França X Honduras
Globo:  17.2  Band: 5.4

Argentina X Bósnia
Globo: 21.5   Band: 5.4

SEGUNDA-FEIRA, 16 DE JUNHO

Alemanha X Portugal
Globo: 16.1  Band: 4.5

Irã X Nigéria
Globo: 14.6  Band: 4.4

Gana X EUA
Globo: 21.8  Band: 5.8

Um ponto no Ibope equivale a 65 mil domicílios na Grande São Paulo.

O Planeta TV