JobSaver boosted as Sydney COVID outbreak worsens

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Labor changes its policy on negative gearing, and JobSaver gets a boost as the NSW COVID outbreak deteriorates.

Here are five things you might've missed this week.

Labor changes course on negative gearing

jobsaver boosted nsw covid outbreak

Federal Labor has pledged to leave negative gearing rules as they are, should they win the next election.

The about-face is in the name of "certainty and clarity".

"Our focus is on making sure Australia emerges from this crisis stronger and more resilient - with an economy that works for working families, not the other way around," says opposition leader Anthony Albanese.

"Over eight long years in government, the Coalition's record is clear in the lives of everyday Australians: stagnant wages, insecure jobs, increased costs for health care and childcare, longer waits to see a GP and a trillion dollars in debt."

The concession drew a stinging rebuke from the government, however, with assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar describing it as a power play.

"After spending years trying to sell the lie that abolishing negative gearing would benefit Australians and the housing industry, Labor have realised that the Australian people aren't having it."

The Federal Government and Labor Opposition's mutual commitment to high-end housing tax cuts drew a strong rebuke by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS).

"It's unbelievable that in the middle of a third round of lockdowns, with over a million people on social security payments excluded from disaster payments, we've paused to discuss whether people on $200K plus should get a tax cut of $180 a week," says ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie.

On the other side of the fence, Master Builders Australia welcomed the shift.

"The Opposition Leader's pledge that Labor will not restrict negative gearing or increase capital gains tax should they win government at the next federal election is good news for the building industry, the economy and the community," says Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia.

"This announcement shows the Opposition's recognition that new home building and increasing homeownership is vital to economic recovery and people's financial security."

JobSaver boost

The joint NSW Government and Commonwealth JobSaver program has been expanded. Payments will now be available to businesses with an annual turnover of between $75,000 and $250 million, up from $50 million, which have experienced a revenue decline of 30% or more.

The maximum weekly payment has also been increased. Businesses that maintain their current employee headcount can receive between $1500 and $100,000 per week, up from $10,000, with payments based on 40% of their weekly NSW payroll.

"We know these restrictions are tough but necessary to get the current situation under control and that is why we are coming to the table to help businesses and individuals with more financial support," says NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

"We don't want people to have to worry about how they are going to keep the lights on or reopen their businesses when restrictions ease, which is why we are investing billions to give people that peace of mind."

Childcare costs skyrocket

The latest consumer price index figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that out-of-pocket early learning and care costs have increased 10% in the last 10 years. This comes as the annual inflation rate rises 3.8% for the year ending June 2021.

Georgie Dent, executive director of The Parenthood, says the figures speak to the inadequacy of government policies that seek to make early learning and childcare more affordable.

"Out of pocket childcare costs have risen by 10% as parents are caught in the vice of rising childcare fees and inadequate government subsidies that leave Australian families paying more than virtually any industrialized country," she says.

"Out of pocket early learning and care costs are now 7.6% higher than when the government's signature childcare legislation took effect four years ago, and higher in every state except Victoria."

Superhero enters superannuation game

Trading platform Superhero has launched a superannuation fund, Superhero Super, that will allow investors to select individual stock exposures.

It will be Superhero Super is offered under OneSuper, an APRA-regulated public offer fund.

The fund is intended to bridge the gap between a traditional superannuation fund and self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs).

It will do this by offering investors two modes. 'Control' invests 25% in a diversified global index fund to meet the minimum level of diversification. The member can then choose how the remaining 75% is allocated between ASX 300 shares or ETFs.

The 'Autopilot' mode lets members choose a portfolio and then automate the investment process. They can allocate up to 30% to themed investments across tech, global healthcare or sustainability, while the other 70% is invested in a global diversified index fund.

"It's clear that Australians want transparency, and they want control over how their superannuation is invested," says Superhero co-founder and CEO John Winters.

"A lack of transparency and investment choice has left younger Australians feeling disengaged with their super despite being very engaged in other areas of their finances, with more young Aussies than ever investing in shares with their savings."

Brisbane rents to rise

Brisbane rental prices are set to take off due to a shortage of supply relative to demand, according to market research firm and buyer's agency Propertyology.

"There were only 4520 residential dwellings advertised for rent across Greater-Brisbane at the end of June 2021. That is a massive reduction from 9222 dwellings five years earlier when 230,000 fewer people lived in Brisbane," says Propertyology head of research Simon Pressley.

Mr Pressley described it as a "perfect storm" of insufficient rental supply coinciding with a higher than a normal volume of tenants looking to move.

"As with most locations across Australia, the high volume of tenants searching for rental accommodation is akin to seagulls fighting over a chip."

According to Propertyology, advertised rents for Brisbane houses have already increased from $475 to $515 per week over the first seven months of the 2021 calendar year.

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David Thornton is a journalist at Money magazine and is one of the hosts of the Friends With Money podcast. He previously worked at Your Money, covering market news as producer of Trading Day Live. Before that, he covered business and finance news at The Constant Investor. David holds a Masters of International Relations from the University of Melbourne.