Australia to spend more on jobs in budget based on COVID-19 vaccine

Australia to spend more on jobs in budget based on COVID-19 vaccine
A handout picture received on June 28, 2016, shows an artist impression of how Australian mogul James Packer's towering six-star hotel and casino (tallest building in image), will sit in the Sydney skyline once completed. (File/AFP)
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Updated 04 October 2020

Australia to spend more on jobs in budget based on COVID-19 vaccine

Australia to spend more on jobs in budget based on COVID-19 vaccine
  • Australia’s A$2 trillion economy suffered its deepest slump on record in the June quarter
  • Earlier on Sunday, the government said the budget would include a wage subsidy aimed at creating up to 100,000 apprenticeships

MELBOURNE: The Australian government said on Sunday it will earmark an additional A$1.2 billion ($859 million) in wage subsidies in the 2020/21 budget and that its frameworks assume that there will be a novel coronavirus vaccine next year.
In the run up to the Oct. 6 budget, which is set to forecast a record deficit of about A$200 billion, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said a vaccine was a factor in his fiscal considerations.
“The budget takes into account the possibility that is the case,” Frydenberg said when asked in a Sky News television interview whether the budget would be based on an assumption that a vaccine would be ready.
“We have worked hard with international counterparts to secure the vaccine for Australia.”
Australia’s A$2 trillion economy suffered its deepest slump on record in the June quarter as coronavirus curbs crippled business activity, and the government has sought to soften the blow this year with A$314 billion of fiscal stimulus.
The government plans to roll out a coronavirus vaccine cost-free to citizens, expecting its first batches possibly in January.
Earlier on Sunday, the government said the budget would include a wage subsidy aimed at creating up to 100,000 apprenticeships.
“We want to continue to recover what has been lost and get young people into work,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison was cited as saying in a press release announcing the A$1.2 billion scheme.
While the overall jobless rate fell to 6.8 percent in August, unemployment for those aged 15 to 24 hovered near 20 percent.
“This budget is all about jobs,” Frydenberg said in a separate interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) public television.
In an interview with Channel Nine television Frydenberg reiterated that the budget would include the bringing forward of already legislated income tax cuts.


Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs

Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs
Updated 17 January 2021

Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs

Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs
  • Palm oil constitutes 30 percent of the global oils and fats production

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is taking legal action at the global trade watchdog against the EU and member states France and Lithuania for restricting palm oil-based biofuels, the government said.

The world’s second largest palm oil producer, which has called a EU renewable-energy directive “discriminatory action,” is seeking consultations under the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism, the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry said in a statement.

Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the EU proceeded with implementing the directive without considering Malaysia’s commitment and views, even after Malaysia gave feedback and sent economic and technical missions to Europe.

The EU directive “will mean the use of palm oil as biofuel in the EU cannot be taken into account in the calculation of renewable energy targets and in turn create undue trade restrictions to the country’s palm oil industry,” he said in the statement.

The ministry filed the WTO request with cooperation from the Attorney General’s Chambers and the International Trade and Industry Ministry, taking action it had warned of in July against EU Renewable Energy Directive II.

Malaysia will act as a third party in a separate WTO case lodged by neighboring Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, as a sign of solidarity and support, the ministry statement said.

Indonesia and Malaysia, together account for 85 percent of the global output of palm oil. Palm oil constitutes 30 percent of the global oils and fats production, and plays a significant role in fulfilling the demand in the global oils and fats market.

It is the world’s most produced and traded edible oil, and its versatility can be seen through its use in a wide range of food and nonfood products, which led to the remarkable palm oil consumption growth.

The US imported approximately $410 million of crude palm oil from Malaysia in 2020, CNN reported.