The federal budget deficit could reach $20 billion next financial year, following a $17 billion shortfall in the current budget. The news has prompted speculation about pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut rates at its official board meeting today. “That case is the high Australian dollar, the lack of consumer confidence, the lack of business confidence, and the relatively low level of growth that's in the economy," Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly told The Australian. Speculation George Soros could be shorting the Australian dollar There is mounting speculation in financial markets that financier George Soros could be shorting the Australian dollar and was planning a raid ahead of the Reserve Bank’s official rate announcement later today. “Someone ... seems to be betting on a rate. I've heard the George Soros rumour tonight. A billion dollars sounds like a lot, but it's not enough to move the Australian dollar and it's not a lot for George Soros, but there is a play happening in the FX market,” one Sydney-based foreign exchange trader told Fairfax. "If it is him, it's probably a bet on a rate cut. These days a billion bucks can't do much to the Aussie.” Tabcorp and Tatts threaten to sue the Victorian government over poker machine levy demands Victorian Treasurer Michael O'Brien is demanding the full-year rate of $82 million in poker machine levies, rather than a pro-rata rate, despite the fact the companies ceased operating the machines 46 days into the financial year. “The Health Benefit Levy is applied consistent with the Gambling Regulation Act, and has been levied in the same way for more than a decade. There is no discretion under the (legislation) to apply the levy in any other way,” a government spokesperson said. The news has prompted the gaming giants to threaten legal action against the state government unless a lower pro-rata rate is applied. “Tabcorp is considering whether to commence legal proceedings to ensure the levy is applied on a pro rata basis,” a Tabcorp spokesperson said. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down slightly to 14968.9. The Aussie dollar is up to US102.53 cents.
The founder of Victorian company FreshBins has highlighted the importance of having a good patent attorney, after lamenting the lack of local investment in FreshBins’ patented technology.
Two weeks after his appointment, Chris Bowen has finally spoken up as the country's newest small business minister, but his criticism of the Coalition's small business policies hasn't been wholly accepted by the community he has been chosen to represent.
Calls for a nationwide ban on sports betting would cripple an entire industry, says the chief executive of horseracing site Punters Paradise, but he is adamant the move will never go ahead.
Mining giant BHP Billiton has called on the Gillard government to overhaul current executive pay disclosure laws.
The Victorian Government has unveiled the $8 million Technology Voucher Program in a bid to drive the use of cutting-edge technologies, offering vouchers worth up to $250,000.
Australian software developers will gain access to a new Melbourne-based development centre set up by Zendesk, which will serve as a hub for the development of cloud technologies.
Employers are being encouraged to offer flexible working arrangements to reduce workplace stress, which is believed to be costing the Australian economy $730 million a year in lost productivity.
Tech start-ups are set to benefit from the launch of a new $6 million “innovation laboratory”, opened by the Victorian Government, as the state seeks to rival NSW in the ICT innovation stakes.
Government grants are notoriously hard to snare for start-up businesses and can involve completing a mountain of time-sapping paperwork in the application process.
The National Business Name Register only began in late May but is already causing headaches for home-based businesses, which are required to include a physical address on the register.
Business groups have welcomed the Victorian Government’s $6 million Streetlife program, launched yesterday, which is designed to inject new life into small retail businesses.
Applications are now open for round one of the Victorian Government’s Investing in Manufacturing Technology program, providing manufacturers with grants of up to $250,000.
A Victoria-based company plans to commercialise breakthrough technology for patients with Parkinson’s disease, after securing $3.5 million in equity funding and government grants.
A mobile X-ray machine and a HIV diagnostic test are among the latest recipients of the Small Technologies Industry Uptake Program, which includes up to $250,000 in goods and services.
Victoria-based ICT start-ups are being encouraged to apply for the Victorian Government’s $11 million Digital Futures Fund, which will offer successful applicants up to $500,000 in funding.
The small business sector is continuing to lose confidence in the economy, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as it calls for changes to unfair dismissal laws.
Applications are now open for stage one of the Health Market Validation Program, a $15 million competitive grants program encouraging innovation in healthcare among Victorian SMEs.
The Victorian Government has opened applications for funding of up to $250,000 for the state’s small businesses to trial and develop productivity-boosting technology.
The Victorian Government plans to spend more than $50 million on the state’s biotechnology sector, just days after IBM announced a new R&D lab to strengthen Victoria’s ICT industry.