Dubbo Photo News - - The Big Picture. -

And the best state econ­omy award goes to…

RES­I­DENTS of the Orana re­gion will be happy to know that NSW has ex­tended its lead as the na­tion’s best per­form­ing econ­omy ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Com­msec State of the States re­port.

The quar­terly re­port shows “The Premier State” re­tains the ti­tle of the na­tion’s num­ber one state econ­omy, con­tin­u­ing to edge out our neigh­bours in Vic­to­ria.

The big­gest change over the past quar­ter has been the im­proved per­for­mance of the ACT, jump­ing from sixth spot to equal third with the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

Western Aus­tralia has slid down the rank­ings from equal third po­si­tion last quar­ter to be now ranked fifth. While the state is top ranked on eco­nomic growth, it is let down by last placed rank­ings in both equip­ment in­vest­ment and un­em­ploy­ment.

Queens­land has dropped one spot from fifth to sixth, with South Aus­tralia re­main­ing in sev­enth place. Tas­ma­nia re­mains at the bot­tom of the eco­nomic per­for­mance ta­ble in eighth place.

The rank­ings are based on eight key eco­nomic per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors: eco­nomic growth; retail spend­ing; equip­ment in­vest­ment; un­em­ploy­ment; con­struc­tion work done; pop­u­la­tion growth; hous­ing fi­nance and dwelling com­mence­ments.

Of the eight in­di­ca­tors Com­msec ex­am­ines, NSW came out on top in six. Our im­proved per­for­mance in the rank­ings was driven by the in­di­ca­tors for growth, retail trade, dwelling starts and hous­ing fi­nance. It also helped that equip­ment in­vest­ment and un­em­ploy­ment were added to the list of best per­form­ing mea­sures, given NSW is the only state to have a job­less rate lower than the decade av­er­age.

The out­look for all the states and ter­ri­to­ries in 2016 is pos­i­tive, un­der­pinned by low in­ter­est rates, con­sumer spend­ing and home build­ing, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

School’s in for NSW

STU­DENTS across Dubbo and the re­gion will be among the nearly 800,000 stu­dents head­ing back to school as the sum­mer hol­i­days­draw to an end this week in NSW.

More than 300 new teach­ers and 42 prin­ci­pals also be­gan new roles in pub­lic schools across the state yes­ter­day as the bells rang to sig­nal the start of the 2016 school year. Schools will get an ex­tra $113 mil­lion of ad­di­tional needs­based fund­ing this year, while $224 mil­lion will be in­vested to al­low more teach­ers to men­tor their col­leagues in 2016, state Education Min­is­ter Adrian Pic­coli says. AAP SVM/TM/SMW

In­fla­tion one less worry for RBA

AUS­TRALIA’S sov­er­eign wealth fund is wor­ried that pol­i­cy­mak­ers around the world have only lim­ited “fire­power” to fend off an­other eco­nomic down­turn.

Fu­ture Fund man­ag­ing di­rec­tor David Neal says the fact that fi­nan­cial mar­kets have a list of wor­ries - in the present case China, oil prices, US in­ter­est rates and the im­pact of the refugee cri­sis on Europe - is not un­usual.

But re­leas­ing the fund’s quar­terly port­fo­lio, Neal is more cau­tious this time around be­cause of the lim­ited “pol­icy fire­power” than in the past.

“In­ter­est rates are al­ready ex­tremely low ... and per­haps fis­cal pol­icy more re­strained across the globe, the abil­ity to deal with a down­turn is lower,” he told re­porters in Mel­bourne on Wed­nes­day.

The Re­serve Bank (Rba)will make its first re­sponse to those con­cerns that have dogged mar­kets and un­der­mined con­sumer con­fi­dence since the start of the year when its board meets next Tues­day.

But it’s clear cen­tral bank gov­er­nor Glenn Stevens doesn’t have to worry

about in­fla­tion.the De­cem­ber-quar­ter con­sumer price in­dex rose to an an­nual rate of 1.7 per cent, up slightly from the 1.5 per cent at the end of Septem­ber and re­main­ing below the cen­tral bank’s two to three per cent tar­get band for a fifth straight quar­ter.

“The Re­serve Bank can com­fort­ably ig­nore in­fla­tion and dis­cuss mer­its of an­other in­ter­est rate cut on the econ­omy if needed,” Com­mon­wealth Se­cu­ri­ties econ­o­mist Sa­vanth Se­bas­tian said. How­ever, he is not ex­pect­ing a move this year.

Other fig­ures showed the West­pac lead­ing in­dex con­tin­u­ing to point to an econ­omy trav­el­ling below its po­ten­tial for at least the next six months.

Both Trea­sury and the Re­serve Bank now be­lieve po­ten­tial growth is 2.75 per cent, rather than the 3.25 per cent view that was held for some time, while West­pac had been look­ing for this pace of growth in the first half of 2016.

“The sig­nal from the lead­ing in­dex in­di­cates that our fore­cast may be some­what op­ti­mistic,” West­pac chief econ­o­mist Bill Evans said.

Con­sumer con­fi­dence, as gauged by the ANZ and Roy Mor­gan, also fell 0.9 per cent in the past week - a to­tal 3.6 per cent drop in the past three weeks.

On a more pos­i­tive note, job va­can­cies posted on the in­ter­net grew by a sea­son­ally ad­justed 0.7 per cent in De­cem­ber to be 9.4 per cent higher than a year ear­lier.

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