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THE NEWS WRAP: Abbott hoses down GST speculation

Friday, 14 March 2014 | By Andrew Sadauskas

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has hosed down speculation of a GST increase after former treasury secretary Ken Henry called an increase to the tax “necessary”.


“Raising the GST rate one day will be seen as necessary to underpin fiscal sustainability in the Australian federation,” Henry said.


In response, Tony Abbott said the views of Henry were those of a private citizen.


“Ken Henry is a distinguished, retired federal public servant, he's a distinguished former secretary of the Treasury; he deserves to be listened to with respect.


“But they're just private views of a private citizen. We have a tax reform program, and tax reform begins with repeal of the carbon tax, the repeal of the mining tax.”


Reject Shop chairman says chief executive wasn’t pushed


The chairman of discount retailer The Reject Shop, Bill Stevens, has denied rumours former chief executive Chris Bryce was pressured to resign, after the chain announced a 16% slide in half-year profits last month.


On Thursday, Bryce announced his resignation from the retailer, effective this financial year, with the sudden announcement sparking speculation he had been pressured by the board to stand aside.


“The answer to that question [of Bryce being pressured] is unequivocally 'no'. This is entirely Chris' decision, and he has clearly looked at it from his perspective. Chris has his own reasons and part of it is it has been a solid four-and-a-half years as CEO,” Stevens says.


Qantas chairman blames Labor for productivity drop


Qantas chairman Leigh Clifford has lashed out at former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, claiming the repeal of Work Choices led to a drop in Labor productivity, in a speech to the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.


“The re-regulation of the labour market a few years back stalled the productivity improvement. Productivity went backwards – just as demand was softening and capital spending was slowing down.


“It is already too late for governments to invest the proceeds of the boom. Those proceeds have gone. We are now in need of major infrastructure investment like the second Sydney airport, as well as major roads and rail, at a time when government budgets are under pressure.”




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down to 16108.9. The Aussie dollar is up to US90.27 cents.