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Business news and updates: Exporters, farmers fear market loss amid high sea freight costs

Dynamic Business brings you a daily rundown of the most recent business news and developments from Australia and around the world. Here’s the roundup for October 8:

No change to GST: Morrison amid state feud

 Prime Minister Scott Morrison has categorically said that there would be no more adjustments to the GST carve-up. The war of words between New South Wales and Western Australia is heating up over the distribution of GST funds made by the federal government. 

When asked about the disagreement, Mr Morrison was unequivocal. “There will be no change to the GST,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Aussie payroll jobs below pre-pandemic levels

Weekly payroll jobs and earnings; Over the fortnight ending September 11, 2021, national payroll jobs declined by 0.7%. The AiGroup Performance of Services Index (PSI) rose in September, climbing from 45.6 in August to 45.7 in September. 

In the first half of September, payroll jobs decreased, with stay-at-home restrictions in Australia’s southeast leading to big job ‘losses’ in both the ACT and Victoria. In fact, Victoria accounted for over three-quarters of all employment losses in the two weeks leading up to September 11, 2021.

Exporters, farmers fear market loss amid high sea freight costs

The NFF warns exporters that they face the risk of becoming uncompetitive. Shipping costs are rising due to container shortages, restricted ports, and more lucrative routes in the northern hemisphere. There are calls for the government to assist exporters in lowering their sea freight expenses. 

According to the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), average freight prices for Australian exporters have increased six times in the last 18 months.

Union threatens national delivery strike

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has warned that if major Australian transport operators do not agree to secure work arrangements in ongoing enterprise bargaining negotiations, thousands of workers will walk off the job throughout the country. 

In the following week, StarTrack, FedEx, Toll, Linfox, and BevChain are expected to return to the negotiation table with the union. TWU members from those companies have already voted to strike. According to the union, operators are cutting permanent jobs to deal with the “Amazon effect.”

India’s power plants are running dangerously short of coal

China isn’t the only major Asian economy in the grip of an energy crisis. Because coal stocks at most of India’s power plants have plunged to critically low levels, the country may face electricity shortages in the coming months. 

According to a report by India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA), as many as 63 of the 135 coal-fired power facilities in the region have two days or less of coal supplies. Coal inventories at 17 of them have been depleted to zero, according to the report.

Oil eases as the U.S. mulls strategic reserve sales

Oil prices extended losses from the previous session on Thursday, as the United States said it was considering selling oil from its strategic reserves and as Russia said it was ready to stabilise the natural gas market.

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