Daily News Roundup

November 20, 2019

Wednesday, November 20

The Federal Government has decided to pump nearly $4 billion worth of infrastructure spending across the country to help boost the economy.

The massive investment has been brought forward in response to Australia’s struggling economy.

In a speech at a Business Council tonight (Wednesday), Prime Minister Scott Morrison will describe how the Government will respond to “uncertain” economic times.

The package includes bringing forward $3.8 billion in infrastructure spending, including $1.8 billion in the next two years.

“This will support the economy in two ways — by accelerating construction activity and supporting jobs in the near term and by reaping longer run productivity gains sooner,” he is expected to say, according to a draft of his speech provided to the ABC.

“Taken together, the Government’s actions since the election — legislating the tax cuts, the bring-forward of infrastructure investment and additional drought relief — has provided significant near-term support of $9.5 billion to the economy [over the next two years] at a challenging time.”

Some, like Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe, have been arguing the economy can’t rely on reduced interest rates alone.

In October, Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy said the economy was growing modestly but stated there was opportunity to bring forward infrastructure spending.

In his speech Mr Morrison will take aim at those calling for more aggressive economic stimulus.

“A panicked reaction to contemporary challenges would amount to a serious misdiagnosis of our economic situation,” he is expected to say.

“A responsible and sensible Government does not run the country as if it is constantly at DEFCON 1 the whole time, whether on the economy or any other issue.”


A New Zealander has been appointed as the new coach of the Wallabies.

Dave Rennie, 55, will lead the Wallabies to the 2023 Rugby World Cup after agreeing a three-and-a-half-year deal with Rugby Australia.

Rennie, who was also linked with the vacant All Blacks role, will finish his contract with the Glasgow Warriors before taking up his position with Australia at the end of the current Pro14 season.

He replaces Michael Cheika, who did not have his contract renewed after the Wallabies’ disappointing defeat to England in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle said Rennie was a “clear standout” in the field of contenders.

“This is a massive coup for Australian Rugby, Dave Rennie was the clear standout candidate for the job, and we’re thrilled to have secured his services.”

A two-time Super Rugby winning coach with the Chiefs, Rennie will resume his coaching relationship with Australia director of rugby Scott Johnson, who was Scotland’s performance manager when he was appointed by Glasgow in 2016.

“Between now and June, the Wallabies assistant coaches and director of rugby, Scott Johnson will take the lead in working with the players under Dave’s guidance and direction,” Castle said.


South Australia faced cauldron conditions today as temperatures spiral above 40C in many areas, more than 100 schools and kindergartens closed and firefighters watched fearfully as the fire danger was labelled catastrophic.

Catastrophic conditions have been forecast for the eastern and lower Eyre Peninsula, the Yorke Peninsula, the west coast, the Mid North, Kangaroo Island and the Mount Lofty Ranges, while the rest of the state has an extreme or severe rating.

A total fire ban is in place across South Australia for Wednesday, with many locations set to reach temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius.

Adelaide is tipped to reach 42C while Oak Valley is heading for 48C

CFS assistant chief officer Brenton Eden said the terrible conditions would be unrelenting.

“From sunrise until well past midnight, this state is going to experience very difficult fire conditions,” he said.

“They will challenge the fire service to control them and, as people will have seen in NSW, should a fire start, the fire activity will be intense, it will be fast and it will be difficult to control.”

This morning Mr Eden said while the CFS was prepared, the conditions were expected to be as bad as the state has experienced for several years.

“These are the worst fire conditions we’ve experienced since going back to Pinery four years ago where we lost 85,000 hectares and [had] two fatalities in that tragic accident,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.

The Department for Education has announced 111 schools and kindergartens will be closed today, including 65 in the Mount Lofty Ranges.

The department’s executive director for infrastructure Ross Treadwell said the closures would allow families in high-risk areas to enact bushfire plans.

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