Weekly Digest – 27 March 2024

Welcome to our Weekly Digest – stay in the know with some recent news updates relevant to business and the economy.

Australia’s job boom sees unemployment rate fall

Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen to 3.7% in February, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), with around 116,000 people starting jobs in February.

Resilience of Australian Households and Businesses

In its latest Financial Stability Report released today, the RBA said the Australian economy is in a strong position to weather the risks coming from overseas.

Australia’s biggest chemist is merging with a giant wholesaler. Could we soon be paying more?

All eyes are on two titans of the pharmacy industry – Chemist Warehouse and Sigma Healthcare. They are poised to join forces under an A$8.8 billion deal, which could radically reshape the way Australians access medication and other health products. What could this deal by “Australia’s cheapest chemist” mean for everyday Australians and their wallets?

RBA reveals concerning number of Aussies who can’t afford their mortgage

One in every 20 mortgage holders in Australia is spending more on repayments and other living expenses than what they earn, with tens of thousands at risk of running out of savings this year, according to the Reserve Bank.

Shrinkflation: hot cross buns, chips and cereals among products being downsized for the same price, Choice report finds

Research from consumer advocacy group Choice has called out the Australian supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles for retaining or lifting prices for shrunken products.

Business leaders are worried about productivity

Leaders at The Australian Financial Review Business Summit spoke about the factors in the Australian economy that keep them up at night.

Australia tightens student visa rules as migration hits record high

Australia will begin enforcing tougher visa rules for foreign students this week as official data showed migration hit another record high, which is likely to further exacerbate an already tight rental market. From Saturday, English language requirements for student and graduate visas will be increased, while the government will get the power to suspend education providers from recruiting international students if they repeatedly break rules.

SMSFA calls on government to stop Better Targeted Superannuation Bill amendments

The SMSF Association has called on the government to stop the proposed amendments to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Better Targeted Superannuation Concessions and Other Measures) Bill 2023 and the Superannuation (Better Targeted Superannuation Concessions) Imposition Bill 2023. In its submission to Treasury’s inquiry into the combined Bills, the SMSFA said the changes have been rushed and rely too heavily upon regulations.

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