Cutting through the noise – In the news

With so much misinformation out there, we have decided to do our best to share with you some of the better articles and data we have digested recently. Our goal is to help you ‘cut through the noise’ and provide snippets of the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

We constantly read, review and analyse articles, information and data relating to the economy, government policy, financial and property markets. Our aim is to  educate and empower you, our clients and readers, to make great property, mortgage and money decisions.

We will endeavor to increase the frequency of our updates, which is also supported by our weekly Property Planner, Buyer and Professor Podcast Covid-19 specials. We trust this helps to keep you well informed, whilst also saving you time deciding where to get information from.

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Australia’s virus testing rate leads world 
Australia’s extensive Coronavirus testing – the leading per capita rate in the world – has been a key factor in lowering the growth rate of new cases, amid early signs of the flattening of the curve.

More than 244,000 tests had been performed across the country, or almost 1000 tests per 100,000 people in the population, by the end of March.

Australia’s positive test rate is the lowest in the world at 1.9 per cent, compared with 2.4 per cent in South Korea and 3.3 per cent in Canada.

CSIRO begins testing COVID-19 vaccines on ferrets 
The CSIRO has begun first-stage testing of two vaccine candidates for COVID-19 on ferrets housed at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong.

These animals have similar respiratory systems to humans and testing is expected to take three months in this “high-containment biosecurity facility”. The CSIRO is now playing a key role in the global response and testing of more candidate vaccines may soon follow.

The public urgently needs more clarity on virus data 
The first communication principle in the Australian Pandemic Plan (prepared just last year) is “openness and transparency”. The public and health experts not inside the Canberra bubble (i.e .not privy to Australian Health Protection Principal Committee papers) are out of the loop. So much for openness and transparency.

What has happened here? There are confidentiality clauses in contracts that give the government the whip-hand to control the flow of information.

Calls for rental subsidies for tenants, rent pause criticised 
Property experts have urged the government to implement immediate rental subsidies for tenants, warning that property owners, too, are experiencing financial hardships.

The call follows the Prime Minister’s announcement of a six-month freeze on evictions of tenants who are unable to pay rent as a result of COVID-19.

Wage subsidy to ease mortgage stress, ‘minimise’ defaults 
On Monday (30 March), Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a new support package worth a historic $130 billion, aimed at helping employers retain their staff.

Under the new package, the government will subsidise wages with a flat fortnightly “JobKeeper” payment of $1,500 per employee for businesses adversely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Coronavirus eviction ban: Industry calls for details on moratorium 
Victoria’s real estate industry has welcomed the moratorium on evictions to help tenants struggling through the Coronavirus crisis, but says further details and support for landlords are urgently needed.

Details surrounding how the moratorium will work, when it will kick in and how landlords will be supported are scarce, with the National Cabinet agreeing to “consider advice from treasurers” at its next meeting this Friday, April 3.

The banks are acting decisively in a time of national crisis 
With Australian Competition and Consumer Commission oversight, the CEOs of Australia’s banks have been meeting multiple times each week through the Australian Banking Association. We have agreed to allow repayment deferrals for home loans and small businesses, and have now extended support to allow all small businesses with loans up to $10 million to defer repayments for up to six months. This covers 99 per cent of all Australian businesses.

How a resilient financial system is cushioning the viral shock 
A key lesson from the global financial crisis was the importance of resilience. Since the GFC, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has pursued an agenda of building financial sector resilience with substantial reforms to strengthen capital frameworks and liquidity requirements, and mitigate operational and contagion risk.

As a result, the banking system’s capital adequacy was at a historical high at the end of 2019. Compared with their international peers, Australia’s largest banks are well capitalised and benefit from strong credit ratings. These banks are well within the top quartile of banks globally from a capital adequacy perspective, and currently among a select group of internationally active banks with AA credit ratings.

Property under fire: tenants, property owners and older Australians bear brunt of Covid-19 
Property experts are urging the government to implement immediate rental subsidies for tenants as financial hardships continue to wreak havoc for property owners and older Australians.

Chairman of PIPA and co-host of the Property Planner, Buyer and Professor podcast, Peter Koulizos provides some insights on why we should be looking after tenants experiencing significant financial hardship, but not ignoring the other side of the equation with older Australians, property owners and tenants all feeling the heat.

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