Australia news LIVE: PM says nation’s cybersecurity process ‘not at level it needs to be’; ASX falls as inflation fears hit Wall Street

Key posts

  • Australia tipped to avoid recession this year
  • Minister wants states to back ban on engineered stone
  • Clash brewing over sports betting ads
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Australia tipped to avoid recession this year

Australia will avoid a recession this year but for many households it will feel like one, some of the nation’s top economists have predicted while warning the Reserve Bank’s aggressive interest rate rises are the largest economic risk.

Members of The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age Scope survey panel believe the RBA and its fight to bring down inflation will be the key influence on the strength of the economy through 2023 and into next year.

The Reserve Bank is forecasting the economy to grow by just 1.5 per cent this calendar year and through 2024.Credit:Fairfax Media

Data to be released tomorrow is expected to show the economy expanded another 0.8 per cent through the final three months of 2023, taking annual growth to 2.8 per cent.

Figures released yesterday showed a drop in the volume of manufacturing and wholesale trade sales through the quarter but a 10.6 per cent jump in company profits, while wages and salaries increased by 2.6 per cent to be 11.6 per cent higher through the year.

More on this issue can be found here.

Minister wants states to back ban on engineered stone

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke will urge state ministers to bring forward a decision on whether to ban the domestic use of engineered stone as pressure mounts from federal Labor MPs, unions and health experts to stem the tide of workers contracting deadly silicosis.

At a meeting of state and territory workplace safety ministers today, Burke will recommend all governments consider banning the manufactured stone slabs used for kitchen benchtops, while the Commonwealth explores blocking its importation.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke wants states and territories to consider a domestic ban on engineered stone.Credit:James Brickwood

“If a children’s toy was harming or killing kids, we’d take it off the shelves. How many thousands of workers have to die before we do something about silica products?” Burke said ahead of the meeting.

Read more on what the minister will say here.

Clash brewing over sports betting ads

The NRL, AFL and other major sports are on a collision course with governments over tighter rules on sports betting advertising, prompting the head of a parliamentary inquiry to say the codes are failing to grasp the concerns of the public and experts.

The sporting bodies say bookmakers’ ad spending – which grew from $89.7 million in 2011 to $287.2 million in 2021 – boosts the value of TV rights deals that help fund grassroots sport.

Labor MP Peta Murphy says parliamentarians are inundated with complaints about betting ads.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

But Labor MP Peta Murphy, chair of a parliamentary inquiry into societal damage caused by online betting, said parliamentarians were inundated with complaints from citizens frustrated by betting ads, paving the way for the committee to recommend tighter rules.

The full story on the issue is available here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning, and thanks for your company.

It’s Tuesday, February 28. I’m Caroline Schelle, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started:

  • Australia is expected to avoid a recession as top economists warn the RBA’s interest rate rises are the largest economic risk
  • The country’s workplace relations minister is set to push states to  ban engineered stone
  • Major sporting codes could clash with governments over tighter rules on sports betting advertising
  • A Liberal backbencher has backed a debate on proposals to overhaul superannuation in Australia 
  • In NSW, where the premier flagged changes to how land is valued ahead of the state election
  • To Victoria, where a minor political party received $250,000 in membership fees from a company
  • As flagged yesterday, the UK and EU were met over trade rules for Northern Ireland, and have struck a deal
  • Staying with international news, where New Zealand will launch an international appeal for the massive reconstruction work needed after Cyclone Gabrielle tore across the country
  • And in the latest on the war in Ukraine, where the US treasury secretary made an unannounced trip to Ukraine to reinforce the Biden administration’s support
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