Australia’s banking and insurance regulator has estimated the country should be spending about $3.5bn a year to limit damage from climate-related natural disasters, warning the cost of responding to them after the fact is likely to be 11 times greater.



a close up of an old building: Photograph: James Gourley/AAP


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: James Gourley/AAP

In a speech on Wednesday, Geoff Summerhayes, an executive board member of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, said the cost of pre-emptive action to avoid the impact of disasters exacerbated by the climate crisis was far cheaper than dealing with the aftermath.

Addressing the issue of rising insurance premiums in northern Australia due to an increasing number of claims caused by storms and cyclones, Summerhayes said Apra was concerned general insurance could become unaffordable or unavailable in parts of the country.

He said it heightened the need to both cut greenhouse gas emissions and increase community resilience to extreme climate events, such as last summer’s catastrophic bushfires.

Related: Investors lead push for Australian business to cut emissions more than government forecasts

“Investing in the types of resilience, mitigation and hazard reduction measures needed to better protect Australian communities – and keep insurance affordable and accessible – comes at a cost,” he told an Australian Business Roundtable webinar. “But as we witnessed last summer, failing to take action can be far more costly in the long run, and the price paid is often far more valuable than can be measured in dollars.”

Summerhayes cited research by the business roundtable that predicted the total economic cost of natural disasters in Australia would reach $39bn a year by 2050. Based on evidence from the US that every $1 spent on resilience measures saves up to

$11 in response and recovery costs, he said covering those losses would require the community to invest about $3.5bn a

History is littered with women brought undone by the actions of men, women who have seen their lives upended when their partners behaved like scoundrels.

But Gladys Berejiklian?

Will she become the third premier of New South Wales whose career is ended by events before the Independent Commission Against Corruption?

It seems likely.

The revelations of Berejiklian’s “close personal relationship” with the former MP for Wagga Daryl Maguire, who is before the commission over allegations of corrupt conduct, have come as a bombshell.

Even more astounding is that the relationship, begun in 2015, continued until August this year. This was after Berejiklian sacked Maguire from the Liberal party, forced him to sit on the crossbench and prevailed on others to get him to resign as the member for Wagga Wagga.

The allegations against Maguire are in the public domain and in substantial detail.

In her press conference on Monday after giving evidence to the commission, Berejiklian said she continued the friendship because Maguire was in “a very dark place” and he had lost everything. She is appealing to the desire of all of us to support friends.

But she is the premier, and she sets the standards of her government.

Among the conduct under investigation is whether Maguire ran a business, G8way, out of his parliamentary office, offered visa services to Chinese business partners and was involved in paid lobbying for various landholders, including one at Badgerys Creek, the site of Sydney’s second airport.

Over several hours on Wednesday Berejiklian, a notoriously private person, had her personal life laid bare, as the counsel assisting, Scott Robertson, played telephone intercepts of her personal calls with Maguire during 2017 and 2018.

Berejiklian is single. Maguire is now separated. This is not a question of morality. It is one of judgment: whether Berejiklian

Gladys Berejiklian knew that disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire, with whom she was in a relationship, stood to make hundreds of thousands of dollars on a Badgerys Creek land deal that he lobbied her office to intervene in.

Appearing before the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Monday, the NSW premier revealed she was in a “a close personal relationship” with Maguire when he was forced to resign from parliament amid a corruption scandal in 2018.

During a morning of stunning revelations, the inquiry heard intercepted phone calls in which Maguire told Berejiklian that he potentially stood to make hundreds of thousands of dollars if land owned by the racing heir Louise Waterhouse near the site of the new Western Sydney airport was rezoned.

The payment would have been enough to pay off “about half” of his $1.5m personal debt, Maguire told Berejiklian in one phone call.

Berejiklian responded: “I don’t need to know about that bit”.

In a sometimes tense exchange with counsel assisting the inquiry, Scott Robertson, Berejiklian denied she had been trying to limit her knowledge of Maguire’s activities, saying she: “probably would have firstly not regarded it as interesting to me, it was not something I paid particular attention to”.

She said if she had felt there was “wrongdoing on the part of Mr Maguire” she would have reported it.

“If I did regard anything as a concern, I would have reported it or dealt with it, and I want to make that very clear,” she told the inquiry.

The inquiry has previously heard Maguire had been lobbying government officials on behalf of Waterhouse, and had given the racing heir access to Berejiklian’s direct email address.

Another intercepted phone call played on Monday revealed that Maguire told Berejiklian that Waterhouse was going to email her, saying she

By Byron Kaye

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian casino billionaire James Packer on Thursday said international tour operators helped Chinese gamblers circumvent Chinese capital controls, and that his company gave incorrect public statements distancing itself from the so-called junkets.

The Crown Resorts Ltd <CWN.AX> founder and one-third owner shared his perception of the travel agents who bring gamblers, often from China, to casinos at an Australian government inquiry. The inquiry is being held to determine whether the company should be allowed to run a A$2.2 billion ($1.6 billion) casino in Sydney’s tallest building.

So far during the inquiry, taking place just two months before the 75-floor tower’s scheduled opening, Packer has agreed that he sold a stake in Crown to Hong Kong’s Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd <MLCO.O> contrary to a ban on doing so.

In his third day testifying, Packer was asked about Crown’s relationships with junket operators after the company placed full-page advertisements last year attacking media reports saying Crown dealt with junkets linked to organised crime.

Asked if he knew China’s government had started limiting the flow of money offshore in 2013, Packer said he did. Asked if he viewed junket operators at the time as able to help Crown customers move money out of China, he said: “Yes I believe so”.

He said he never turned his mind to the possibility that junket operators were involved in money laundering. He said he had heard “rumours” about junkets being linked to organised crime but did not know if they were true.

In the newspaper advertisements, Crown described the media reports as “a deceitful campaign”, and said its only junket was Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings Ltd <1383.HK>.

The lawyer questioning Packer, Naomi Sharp, told the inquiry that Crown used at least four junkets at the time including one

Video: Australia faces economic challenge ’45 times more severe’ than Labor during 2008 GFC: PM (Sky News Australia)

Australia faces economic challenge ’45 times more severe’ than Labor during 2008 GFC: PM

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia has nominated outgoing Finance Minister Mathias Cormann as its candidate for the next secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.



Mathias Cormann wearing a suit and tie: FILE PHOTO: 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos


© Reuters/DENIS BALIBOUSE
FILE PHOTO: 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos

Cormann will be up against candidates that include U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee, deputy White House Chief of Staff Christopher Liddell.

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“We believe the OECD needs the sort of leadership that we think Australia and an Australian can provide,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

“I can think of no finer candidate that Australia can put forward – with his experience.”

The OECD is a organisation of countries that works to promote economic growth, prosperity, and sustainable development.

Belgium-born Cormann will retire from Australian politics this month after seven years as the country’s minister for finance.

Once he has left office, Australia will formally nominate him to lead the OECD, Morrison said. Cormann said he plans to travel to Europe in November to begin lobbying for support.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will assume the finance portfolio when Cormann leaves parliament.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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