The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, of which I am a member, has completed its inquiry into whether banks deliberately forced small business and commercial customers into default to clean up their loan books. The committee found no evidence that CBA, in its purchase of Bankwest, and ANZ, in its purchase of Landmark, took any action that caused the impairment of loans, but made it clear the banks’ desire to deliver ever-increasing returns to shareholders led to irresponsible lending. Customers were offered high risk credit facilities such as credit cards instead of secured loans, and banks displayed unconscionable conduct in their treatment of customers who were in financial distress. ANZ was proactive in recompensing customers who they believe were treated badly, but the committee said CBA did not display the same consideration and consistently denied there were issues with the way they dealt with customers. There are eleven very good recommendations to government including penalties for receivers who cannot demonstrate they made every effort to sell a property at or near its market value; improving the ethics and standards of valuers; a further inquiry to examine the remuneration of insolvency practitioners; and lenders to review their contentious cases and if they don’t then the independent Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman will review them.
ABC Regional will reinstate livestock sales information to their morning Rural Reports.
At the Senate estimates in February, the Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams queried why the reports had been removed from the breakfast broadcasting schedule earlier in the year.
He said it was a backward step because the farming community in rural areas relied on the ABC to broadcast such information and he had already starting receiving complaints about the decision.
Senator Williams asked ABC management to review it, and today in Senate estimates the new Managing Director Michelle Guthrie confirmed the reports will return in six regional listening areas from next Monday.
Ms Guthrie said as a result of the subsequent investigation that included consultations with Meat and Livestock Australia, the Nationals Farmers Federation and peak farming bodies, selected livestock market reports will return at 6.25am from next Monday.
Mum and dad trucking operators are relieved today with the abolition overnight of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.
On the heels of weekend rallies in Canberra which attracted independent owners from five States, the Government secured the numbers in the Senate to pass the legislation which consigns the Tribunal to history.
The Nationals Duty Senator for Richmond John Williams said the Tribunal was set up by the Gillard Government in 2012 but proved to be nothing more than an attempt to rid the roads of the 36,000 owner drivers and shore up the Transport Workers Union.
The Federal government has delivered a responsible economic plan that will take Australia on a productive path according to the Nationals Duty Senator for Hunter John Williams.
He said the Treasurer Scott Morrison has made it clear that just like the Australian people, the Government has to live within its means and the Budget contained no rash promises that couldn’t be delivered.
Senator Williams said the 870,000 small businesses employing more than 3 million workers and with a turnover of up to $10 million will get a lower tax rate of 27.5 percent from the 1st of July,
Those businesses with turnover between $2 and $10 million that were previously unable to access the instant write-off for equipment purchases of up to $20,000 will be able to do so.
For individual taxpayers the upper limit for the middle income tax bracket will be raised from $80,000 to $87,000, helping around 500,000 taxpayers avoid paying more than the 32.5 percent marginal tax rate next financial year.
Senator Williams said $560 million per year will be allocated from 2019-20 to support the Roads to Recovery, Bridges Renewal, Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity and Black Spot programmes.
The Deputy Prime Minister and the Member for New England Barnaby Joyce has congratulated Warra-li’s Northern Region E-Waste Recycling Facility and Aboriginal Employment Initiative on receiving $1,026,273 in funding from the Federal Government.
Mr Joyce said the funding would help to establish a Regional E-Waste Recycling Facility and Buy Back Centre in Inverell that will partner with eight local governments in the New England and North West, including Inverell, Narrabri, Moree, Gwydir, Tenterfield, Guyra, Glen Innes and Walcha.
Mr Joyce said he’d had several meetings with the Warra-li team in Tamworth, Inverell and Canberra and had been talking with Minister Scullion about this proposal for some time.
“I am pleased that Minister Scullion has taken my advice to support the local region and Warra-li with this significant grant to get the E-Waste Recycling Facility running,” Mr Joyce said.
“This builds on the positive investment this Government has provided Warra-li over the past 12 months.