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6 things you need to know today

  • The government secured an agreement with Senator Nick Xenophon on Wednesday night which is expected to clear the way for its long-awaited media ownership reform package to pass the Senate today.

    The package's centrepiece will allow a proprietor to control more than two out of three platforms - TV, radio or newspaper - in one licensed market. It will also repeal the reach rule, which prevents a proprietor exercising control of commercial television broadcasting licences where the combined licence area exceeds 75 per cent of Australia's population.

    In exchange for Senator Xenophon's support, the government has agreed to establish a $60.4 million fund for regional and small publishers and increased training for journalists.

    Labor and the Greens continue to oppose the "two out of three" rule being scrapped, arguing it will lead to a higher concentration of media ownership. "The sun comes up in the morning, the sun sets at night, and the Xenophon party will do a deal for some baubles," Labor senator Doug Cameron told reporters.
  • Weekly household spending rose 15.3 per cent over the past six years from $1,236.28 to $1,424.03, according to data released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Household income has lifted by 24 per cent (disposable income up 19.6 per cent) over the same period. The average Australian family has wealth (assets less liabilities) totaling $929,400. Assets total $1,097,400 and loans average $168,600.
  • However, the ABS also reported yesterday that average household debt has almost doubled since 2003-04 according to the latest figures from the Survey of Income and Housing, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The proportion of over-indebted households has climbed to 29 per cent of all households with debt in 2015-16, up from 21 per cent in 2003-04. Over-indebted high income and high wealth households (with property debt) owed the most, with around $912,700 and $924,400, respectively, on average in property debt.
  • Also released yesterday, the Westpac/Melbourne Institute survey of consumer sentiment rose by 2.5 per cent to a 4-month high of 97.9 in September. The confidence index is down 4.4 per cent on a year ago. A reading below 100 denotes pessimism.
  • Overnight all three of the main US indices closed at record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.18 per cent to 22,158.18, the S&P 500 edged up 0.08 per cent to 2498.37, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.09 per cent to 6460.19. In Europe, the FTSE 100, edged down 0.28 per cent at 7,379.70 points after hitting a low of 7,336 points at the beginning of the session. Germany's DAX gained 0.23 per cent to finish at 12,553.57.
  • At 0700 AEST on Thursday, the share price futures index was up one point, or 0.02 per cent, at 5,747.


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Published on: Thursday, September 14, 2017

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