Skip navigation

Daily Archives: May 6th, 2009

KIM WHEATLEY
April 29, 2009 12:01am

SOUTH Australia has the country’s worst record for the amount of money spent on infrastructure over the past 20 years, an engineering report card has found.

Engineers Australia’s analysis of roads, bridges, harbours, electricity and gas pipelines, water, sewerage and telecommunications has found the inferior investment is making the state uncompetitive.

“SA has grown the least of all the states and territories,” Engineers Australia (SA) president Doug Gillott said.

“These figures do look over a 20-year period and the trend is quite consistent, so this is a concern that over a time we are falling behind the rest of the country.”

The report found that for every $100 spent in 1988-89, SA is now spending $140 per head of population. But Australia is spending $230.

So, in 2007-08 Australia spent 1.6 times more than SA per head of population on infrastructure.

The gap between SA and the rest of Australia has widened in the past nine years, even though construction activity increased within the state.

While the report does not blame any governments, it shows from 1999- 2000, after the Labor Government came to power in SA, spending on infrastructure lagged further behind the nation and “there is now the widest ever gap between the two trends”.

“If we consistently under-invest, then as a community we’ll become less efficient and it becomes less attractive for projects to go ahead and also for people to live here because they have less amenity,” Mr Gillott said.

Western Australia and Queensland were the shining lights when it came to infrastructure spending.

But the one area where SA approached the national trend was in the construction of electricity and gas pipeline facilities.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25400810-2682,00.html

May 5, 2009

Australia could be facing a shortage of more than 150,000 carers for dementia sufferers within 20 years, according to a new report.

It is estimated that 465,000 Australians will be living with dementia by 2030.

Analysis by Access Economics, based on current polices, points to a major shortage of both paid and unpaid carers.

The chief executive of Alzheimer’s Australia, Glen Rees, says governments cannot afford to ignore the issue.

“Those beds that exist in hospitals in residential care will be harder and harder to access; the wrong people will be in them,” he said.

“The better approach would be for governments now to realise that support for carers good community care will in the end lead to more cost-effective and quality of life solutions.”

Mr Rees says the number of dementia sufferers will almost double over next two decades and governments must act swiftly.

“If the Government starts thinking now about the community services it needs, the residential care services it needs and support programs for carers into the future, we believe that the problem could be manageable,” he said.

“But it certainly won’t be if we leave it another 10 years.”

The former New South Wales deputy premier, John Watkins, is now head of Alzheimer’s Australia in that state.

He says the Government must act now to address the huge financial impact that dementia will have on the economy.

“It’s an extraordinary situation we are facing; Australia has never faced a social health issue like the threat of dementia before,” he said.

“It seems trite to say it but this is an avalanche that is coming our way.”

The report recommends a national savings scheme be introduced, on top of superannuation, to help fund the future care of people with dementia.

Tags: community-and-society, aged-care, government-and-politics, health, diseases-and-disorders, alzheimers-and-dementia, australia, act

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/05/05/2560757.htm

New article…in press but cuurrently only in corrected proof…

Time banditry: Examining the purloining of time in organizations

Human Resource Management Review, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 1 May 2009
Laura E. Martin, Meagan E. Brock, M. Ronald Buckley, David J. Ketchen Jr.

Abstract:

Time banditry, a variant of counterproductive work behavior, is defined as the propensity of employees to engage in non-work related activities during work time. We extend past research on time banditry in two ways. First, we develop a model of time banditry. It is posited that a significant number of employees engage in time banditry despite their level of engagement with their job and even when productivity levels remain at an acceptable level. Implications of the model are described and testable propositions are developed. Second, we suggest that time bandits as a group are not monolithic, but instead there are at least four types of bandits.
Supervisors need to manage each type with different human resource management practices.

The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey
You are here: HigherEducation > Publications > The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey
“The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey: Graduates’ education and employment outcomes five years after completion of a bachelor degree at an Australian university“ reports the findings of the 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey. It contains information on the outcomes and pathways of bachelor graduates five years after graduation.

Abstract
The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey was designed to gain information on employment outcomes five years after completing a bachelor degree, how these changed from graduates’ initial outcomes, the pathways taken and the factors that influence outcomes. 9,238 graduates from all Table A higher education providers (with one exception) as well as Bond University and the University of Notre Dame participated in the survey. The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey was the first national study of its kind in Australia.

The Key findings were that:

Graduates can take a few years to establish their careers: the rate of participation in paid work among graduates rose from 84% to 91% between the first and fifth year following graduation;
At the national level, the median graduate salary rose from $38,000 to $60,000 in the first five years post-graduation – a 58% increase;
Graduate outcomes and pathways varied for different fields of education, with some graduates taking longer to settle into their careers; and
Graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds achieved outcomes on par with the general graduate population.

http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Publications/Pages/The2008GraduatePathwaysSurvey.aspx

6/5/2009

Three-quarters of Australian workers believe their current skills will be out of date within five years, according to a recent survey.

The survey of almost 100,000 people in 34 countries, including more than 13,000 in Australia, shows that even in an economic recession, training and skills development are still important.

The Kelly Global Workforce Index finds that almost one-half of the respondents believe the training currently provided by their employers will not meet their future career needs.

Competitive advantage

Kelly Services managing director James Bowmer said that in an increasingly competitive global economy, investing in training for vital employees can become a key competitive advantage for firms.

‘Training may not seem a priority in the present economic climate, but organisations which devote the resources will be more likely to see higher productivity and profitability in the future,’ Bowmer said.

Changing labour market

The survey highlights the significance that employees across the generational age groups place on training and skills development to sustain them in a rapidly changing labour market.

Among the key findings of the survey:
Baby boomers (aged 48–65) are most worried about the level of training, with 59% saying it is not sufficient to upgrade skills and advance their career.
83% of Gen X (aged 30–47) say that within the next five years, their skills will need to be upgraded to keep pace with changes in the workplace.
73% of Gen Y (aged 18–29) see the provision of training as a joint responsibility between the employer and employee.

On-the-job training is the preferred form of training nominated by employees.

Human resource professionals come under scrutiny, with almost one-half of all respondents saying their HR department has not helped them to achieve their employment goals.

Across generations, women generally are more concerned than men about their skill set and have a higher expectation of their employers’ HR departments in managing their careers.

Among respondents, almost three-quarters (74%) say that training should be a joint responsibility between an employer and employee.

On-the-job training preferred

The preference among those surveyed is for on-the-job training (48%), followed by professional development courses (31%), self-initiated learning (11%) and formal university or college qualifications (10%).

Bowmer said the findings reveal the depth of concern across the population at the capacity of the current skills base to meet new workforce challenges.

‘The current economic environment has made people very aware of their skills and whether they will be sufficient to survive the recession and beyond, into a period of economic recovery,’ Bowmer said.

‘It is only very recently that we faced skills shortages across many industries, and unless skills and training are enhanced, that situation may occur in the future.’

‘Increased competition for jobs combined with technological change makes it vital that employees are assisted to become even more productive, through the best training possible.’

LSAY 55: Varying pay-offs to post school education and training
Posted on 20 January 2009 at 09:16AM

MEDIA RELEASE

For immediate release Tuesday 20 January 2009

Varying pay-offs to post school education and training

Social background plays only a small role in accounting for differences in occupational status and earnings at age 24, indicating that education is enhancing social mobility, a recent Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) study found.

The study, released today, found that, in general, post-school education and training leads to higher status occupations and higher earnings, compared to not doing any further study or training.

However, not all forms of post-secondary education and training are equally beneficial. In terms of earnings, a bachelor degree had the largest impact, increasing earnings by about 31 per cent on average. Apprenticeships increased earnings by about 23 per cent, a TAFE diploma increased earnings by about 14 per cent, and a university diploma by about 17 per cent. Completing a traineeship increased earnings by about 8 per cent and a TAFE certificate by about 5 per cent.

Generally, young women had slightly higher levels of occupational status than did young men, but even during their early career weekly earnings were about 20 per cent less. Possible reasons for this include the higher proportions of young women in part-time work and gender differences in the types of jobs.

ACER chief executive, Professor Geoff Masters, said “Although the overall results are positive for education and training, some TAFE certificates are not delivering sustained increases in earnings. This is in part due to the types of jobs some vocational education is directed towards.”

“However, it may be that young people who had experienced difficulties in the labour market are pursuing TAFE certificate courses or that they are not always choosing appropriate courses.”

The young people were first surveyed in 1995 when they were in Year 9. More than 4200 remained in the study when they were last surveyed in 2005 at about 24 years old. By then, 77 per cent of the cohort was in full-time work. In all years, the incidence of full-time work was substantially higher among young men than among young women.

Further information and additional findings are available in the report, The Occupations and Earnings of Young Australians: The Role of Education and Training by Gary N. Marks. The study is research report number 55 in the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY), a program funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) with support from state and territory governments.

Download full report from: http://www.acer.edu.au/documents/LSAY55.pdf

http://www.acer.edu.au/1/index.php/news-item/lsay55

Blogistic Digression was referred to by the Blog Of Offical Record, the Huffington Post, the other day. This blogmeister can die happy.

Taxing times to come for business

Marc Moncrief
May 6, 2009

THE Victorian Government expects to make more money from taxing employers over the next four years despite rising unemployment.

The state budget handed down yesterday shows that the take from payroll tax — which business leaders disdain as a tax on jobs — is expected to increase by nearly 20 per cent over the next four years, from $4.08 billion to $4.73 billion.

The increase is set against a forecast for unemployment to increase from the current rate of 5.7 per cent, to 7 per cent by June 2010, and 7.75 per cent the following year.

In the published estimates, unemployment will remain at 7.75 per cent until 2013, even as the take from payroll tax continues to climb.

Last year’s budget included a cut to payroll tax that took the rate to 4.95 per cent — the first time payroll tax has been below 5 per cent since the 1970s.

However, as employers have felt the financial crunch hit home, lobbying for further cuts has been fierce.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Wayne Kayler-Thomson had demanded a payroll tax rate cut to 4.75 per cent in the budget but, despite no such cut emerging, VECCI chief economist Stephen Wojtkiw yesterday gave the budget a stamp of approval.

“While Victorian business will be disappointed that there was no tax relief in today’s budget, it is clear that the Government are putting their eggs into the infrastructure basket this time around, and we are pleased that the Government is committing to resuming the tax reform process down the track,” he said.

“When the economy recovers, we look forward to getting back on track with the tax reform agenda, and some more direct relief for small business — we will be holding the Government to account on this.”

A similar line was taken by Australian Industry Group’s Victorian director Tim Piper.

He was disappointed that the budget lacked tax cuts, but said the Government’s focus on new infrastructure spending would “help stimulate the economy, industry, and create job opportunities”. “We understand the need for the Government to raise debt, both as a result of the impact of the recession on revenues, and in relation to its substantial investments in infrastructure,” he said.

“The important factor is that the debt is related to a temporary deficit on the operational budget, or facilitates productive investments in inter-generational assets.”

But Craig Whatman, executive director of the tax consulting division at Pitcher Partners, said the Government had missed an opportunity to use its tax policy to make it easier for businesses to keep their employees through the downturn.

Mr Whatman said that, while the Government had cut the payroll tax rate from 5.35 per cent to 4.95 per cent since 2002, it had held the exemption threshold steady at $550,000.

“The static exemption threshold has resulted in an increased number of small businesses becoming subject to payroll tax simply through organic growth,” Mr Whatman said.

“Many small businesses will be at the coal face of the economic recovery, and could have had an opportunity to employ more people if they didn’t have to worry about payroll tax.”

By Mark Felsenthal and Alister Bull in Washington
Reuters
May 06, 2009 08:00am

FEDERAL Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the three-year US housing bust may be near a bottom and the recession should end this year, as long as there is no relapse of the credit squeeze that has strangled the economy.

In March, Mr Bernanke had pointed to “green shoots” of economic recovery, but in testimony to US Congress overnight he was more explicit in saying the pieces were in place for a rebound.

Still, he acknowledged that growth would remain subdued and unemployment high even after the recession ends.

He also said “stress tests” to assess the capital needs of the 19 largest US banks will provide an accurate reflection of the firms’ financial positions, and he expected those which need a bigger buffer to raise the money from private sources.

“We continue to expect economic activity to bottom out, then to turn up later this year,” Mr Bernanke told the congressional Joint Economic Committee.

DO you think the US recession will be over this year? Tell us below.

Related Coverage
US economy set to rebound
Courier Mail, 6 May 2009
Bernanke foresees slow recovery
The Australian, 6 May 2009
Bernanke, Obama see hope
The Australian, 16 Apr 2009
Fed survey signals industry stability
The Australian, 16 Apr 2009
Fed chief sees recovery ahead
Herald Sun, 17 Mar 2009 “An important caveat is that our forecast assumes continuing gradual repair of the financial system; a relapse in financial conditions would be a significant drag on economic activity and could cause the incipient recovery to stall.”

US stock markets have rallied in recent weeks, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 index up 35 per cent from an early March low, on hopeful signs that consumer spending was stabilising and the decline in the housing market was abating. A somewhat stronger than expected reading on the US services sector overnight bolstered that view.

Senator John Ensign said Mr Bernanke told Republican lawmakers that the US economy could grow 2 per cent next year and 4 per cent in 2011. That was slightly less optimistic than a Fed forecast released in February.

Mr Bernanke said that even when recovery takes hold, it is likely to be tepid and unemployment may not peak until 2010, although it would likely not climb into double digits.

Excess economic slack should keep inflation low, he said, suggesting the Fed – the US central bank – will keep interest rates low for some time as well.

The Fed dropped benchmark overnight interest rates to near zero in December. After a two-day meeting last week, it repeated that it would likely hold borrowing costs at an unusually low level for “an extended period.”

Stephen Stanley, an economist at RBS Securities, said Mr Bernanke’s comments were “undoubtedly significantly more upbeat than his last congressional appearance in February.”

Economists think the United States is further along the road to economic recovery than Europe, thanks in part to the Fed’s aggressive response. The International Monetary Fund last month said Europe’s recession will drag into 2010.

Despite Mr Bernanke’s brighter economic view, Wall Street slipped overnight giving back some of the gains racked up a day earlier, while prices for government debt were slightly higher.

http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,27753,25436957-462,00.html?referrer=email&source=eDM_newspulse

Barry Fitzgerald
May 6, 2009

FORMER high-flyer OZ Minerals is to undergo wholesale board and management change to better reflect its greatly reduced size following the forced asset sales required to rid itself of its debt refinancing woes.

Five of the eight-member board, including chairman Barry Cusack and managing director Andrew Michelmore, plan to ride off elsewhere, but won’t be able to forget their time at OZ in a hurry.

Shareholders’ litigant IMF Australia plans to make sure of that, saying yesterday a $1 billion class action claim being handled by legal firm Maurice Blackburn on behalf of “hundreds” of OZ shareholders remains in the pipeline.

The potential class action was first flagged in December, but nothing has been heard since, and as of yesterday OZ had not received any statement of claim or other documents from IMF or Maurice Blackburn.

IMF would not reveal the proposed timing of the class action but it is believed to want to see OZ complete its $US1.2 billion ($A1.6 billion) in asset sales to China’s Minmetals. The deal is subject to a shareholder vote on June 11. Without the deal, OZ faced the prospect of administration.

OZ was created by the friendly merger of Oxiana and Zinifex last year, implemented by an Oxiana scrip offer for Zinifex.

IMF’s proposed class action involves alleged misleading and deceptive conduct and alleged breaches by OZ of its continuous disclosure obligations between February 28 and December 3 last year. OZ has continued to strongly refute the allegations and plans to vigorously defend itself against any legal action proposed by IMF.

Announcing its board changes yesterday, OZ said director Tony Larkin had submitted his resignation on Monday. Another director, Ronnie Beevor, will not seek re-election at the June 11 meeting.

Assuming the Minmetals deal proceeds, Mr Michelmore will resign and take up a senior executive role with the Chinese group. A search for a replacement managing director is now under way.

Mr Cusack and another director, Peter Mansell, plan to resign from the board once the new managing director is appointed. The slimmed-down OZ would then seek to appoint two replacements, who will face shareholders at OZ’s 2010 annual meeting for election.

The result is that OZ will end up with a board of six, down from the current eight. OZ shares closed 2.5¢ higher at 82¢.

The reporter owns OZ shares and is not party to any class action.

http://business.theage.com.au/business/ceo-and-others-to-go-as-oz-minerals-slims-down-20090505-atyh.html