Australia Sydney news: NSW Government criticised for spending $78m on consulting firms to privatise WestConnex
With overseas travel out, Australians splurge at home and the economy soars
A tidal wave of consumer spending has boosted the domestic economy by 10% compared with last year. But will it last?“Where’s the shade?” I asked.
Here's what you need to know this morning.
NSW Government spends millions to sell WestConnex
The State Opposition has questioned why NSW Treasury is spending millions of dollars on private consulting firms to help sell its final stake in the WestConnex Motorway.
The NSW Government sold 51 per cent of the asset to a consortium led by Transurban in 2018, pouring about $9 billion into the state coffers — but spent $62 million on consultants at the time.
Treasury has spent a further $16 million in the past year on advisory firms as it prepares to sell the remaining 49 per cent, including contracts with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Allens, RBC Capital Markets and Citigroup.
Satellite boom attracts technology giants
Tech giants promise faster, wider access to data thanks to cheaper satellite launches.Earlier this month, 10 payloads were lofted on the Virgin Orbit rocket, which was launched from under the wing of one of the entrepreneur's old 747 jumbos.
Shadow Finance spokesman Daniel Mookhey said it showed department staff were underused and demonstrated the dangers of privatisation of public assets.
He said it was "costing taxpayers a motza just to hire the advisors to sell public assets".
A Treasury spokeswoman said some of the work included environmental and safety assessments.
Sam Burgess stalking case
A decision is expected in a NSW court today, in a case involving former South Sydney NRL skipper Sam Burgess and his ex-father-in-law.
Mr Burgess is accused of assaulting and intimidating his former father-in-law Mitch Hooke during a disagreement about Mr Burgess's children in October 2019.
Mr Burgess pleaded not guilty to stalking or intimidating Mr Hooke.
PRESENTING: 17 consulting firms where you can earn more than $200,000 right out of business school
Business school graduates can earn well over six figures at a leading consulting firm. Using data from Management Consulted's2021 salary report, we compiled a ranked list of the 17 highest-paying firms for MBAs. Accenture, Ernst & Young (EY), and McKinsey are among the top firms offering hefty salaries. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Consultants are still earning hefty salaries despite the losses the industry has suffered during the pandemic. The market for consultants shrunk from $US160 billion to $US132 billion in 2020 due to decreased client demand, according to research platform Statista.
He retired in 2019 after a 270-game NRL and English Super League career.
Victorian travellers monitored
Passengers arriving at Sydney Airport from Melbourne are continuing to be screened after a locally acquired case in Victoria's hotel quarantine system.
An Australian Open hotel quarantine worker tested positive two days ago, with the Victorian Government quickly introducing further coronavirus restrictions.
Jeremy McAnulty from NSW Health said the situation was being watched closely, as the state recorded 18 consecutive days of no community transmission.
Passengers will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and asked if they have been to any of the affected Victorian venues, he said.
Gambling profits surge during pandemic
Almost a third of the NSW's poker machine losses took place in six Western Sydney areas, according to NSW Government data looking at the second half of last year.
Biggest UK companies have no black top executives: study
Britain's biggest businesses have very few ethnic minorities in the boardroom -- and no black top executives, according to research published Wednesday. Recruitment firm Green Park revealed in its 2021 report that there are no black chief executives, chairs or chief financial officers in FTSE 100 firms for the first time in the six years that it has conducted the annual study. And only 10 out of 297 executives -- 3.4 percent -- in those top three roles at FTSE 100 companies have other ethnic minority backgrounds.
Gamblers in Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Blacktown, Penrith and Campbelltown.
Sydney University Associate professor Sally Gainsbury said closure of venues could be why gaming profits were up 7 per cent across the state.
"When venues reopened there might have been a pent-up demand because people had been on a forced break from gambling," she said.
Rescue after boat sinks
Two fisherman were forced to tread water for more than an hour after their boat sank near Port Botany, in Sydney's south.
Emergency crews including two rescue helicopters, marine rescue, police and paramedics were called to Port Botany at about 5:30pm on Thursday after reports two men had capsized in a small boat.
It took rescuers more than an hour to find the men.
The fishermen, aged 53 and 30, tried to swim to shore but got tired and treaded water until rescue crews were able to reach them shortly before 7:00pm.
Both men were treated at the scene by paramedics but did not have to be taken to hospital.
McKinsey to pay $573 mn to settle charges of fueling US opioid crisis
Global consulting firm McKinsey will pay $573 million to US states to settle claims that it contributed to the deadly opioid crisis through its advice to pharmaceutical giants, including OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma. The settlement is rare in the history of the massive firm that advertises its ability to solve problems worldwide, but has found itself accused of having a hand in creating a massive public health crisis in the United States. Under the terms of the settlement announced Thursday, McKinsey will not admit fault, and the agreement protects the company from future civil claims.
Aged-care worker arrested over alleged fraud
An aged-care worker has been charged after allegedly using elderly residents' credit cards to make more than $10,000 in transactions.
The 35-year-old man from Ryde is accused of committing more than 350 fraudulent transactions involving two aged-care residents in Marsfield, in Sydney's north, last year.
Police will allege the man took credit cards belonging to an 87-year-old woman and an 88-year-old man.
He has been charged with two counts of dishonestly obtain property by deception and will appear at Hornsby Local Court on February 17.
Inmates charged over corrections officer assault
Two inmates have been charged over a brutal assault on a corrections officer at a jail on the mid north coast last year.
Police allege the inmates — aged 20 and 23 — armed themselves with makeshift weapons and held two guards against their will at the Kempsey facility on December 19.
One guard escaped and police allege the inmates assaulted and stabbed the remaining officer over several hours.
The guard suffered serious injuries including a fractured eye socket, a punctured left lung and chemical burns.
The prisoners have been charged with seven offences, including cause wounding/grievous bodily harm to a person with intent to murder, cause grievous bodily harm to law enforcement officer reckless as to actual bodily harm and detain person in company with intent to obtain advantage.
Zombie nation: UK risks creating unviable firms, think-tank warns .
Resolution Foundation says government loan guarantees incentivise banks to lend to firms with weak prospects.The Resolution Foundation said most of the support given by the government to businesses and workers was useful and more would be needed when finance minister Rishi Sunak sets out his 2020/21 budget on March 3.