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Australian population figures

The following information covers Australia's recent population trends and movements.






Population at end Sep qtr 2016

Change over previous year

Change over previous year





New South Wales

7 757.8




6 100.9




4 860.4



South Australia

1 710.8



Western Australia

2 623.2







Northern Territory




Australian Capital Territory





24 220.2



(a) Includes Other Territories comprising Jervis Bay Territory, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.




§  The preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) of Australia at 30 September 2016 was 24,220,200 people. This is an increase of 348,700 people since 30 September 2015, and 91,300 people since 30 June 2016.

§  The preliminary estimate of natural increase for the year ended 30 September 2016 (155,500 people) was 5.1%, or 7,500 people higher than the natural increase recorded for the year ended 30 September 2015 (148,000 people).

§  The preliminary estimate of net overseas migration (NOM) for the year ended 30 September 2016 (193,200 people) was 8.9%, or 15,800 people higher than the net overseas migration recorded for the year ended 30 September 2015 (177,400 people).


§  Australia's population grew by 1.5% during the year ended 30 September 2016.

§  Natural increase and NOM contributed 44.6% and 55.4% respectively to total population growth for the year ended 30 September 2016.

§  All states and territories recorded positive population growth in the year ended 30 September 2016.

§  Victoria recorded the highest growth rate of all states and territories at 2.1%. The Northern Territory recorded the lowest growth rate at 0.3%.


Source:  Australian Bureau of Statistics


Lessons learnt – often the hard way

Important:  A summary of what a number of experts with many years experience helping people manage their investments have to say about the lessons they've learnt.




Unfortunately, many of us learn the principles of sound saving and investment practices the hard way through trial and error. And often these lessons are finally learnt, if ever, by the time we are in the countdown to retirement.

Just imagine the possible state of your investment portfolio if you had understood and followed these principles – which can be disarmingly simple – at the beginning of your working and earning life. If only you could make up for any lost years of investment opportunities.

Online investment newsletter Cuffelinks asked 37 well-known investment and economic specialists to briefly answer this question: “What investment insights would you give your 20-year-old self if you could go back in time?” Their responses – with a 200-word limit really focussing their thinking – are published in the newsletter's 200th issue.

While their insights certainly vary in places, some clear principles and themes emerge from the contributions that should help point today's youngest investors, along with numerous older ones, in the right direction. These include:

Keep to a budget: This should enable you to save and invest more. Smart budgeting includes keeping your credit card under control; maybe a tough ask for any free-spending millennial.

Make the most of the “magic” of compounding returns: Compounding occurs when investors earn investment returns on past investment returns as well as on their original capital. And the compounding returns can really mount (or compound) over the long term – compounding needs plenty of time to release its awesome power. So, compounding is highly rewarding for young investors with decades of investing ahead. 

Start saving and investing as early as possible: This is closely linked to the previously point on compounding returns. Making salary-sacrificed contributions each month is an excellent way to start.

Understand the relationship between risk and return: The higher the potential returns, the higher the potential risk. Manage risk in accordance with your risk tolerance. (See the related points below on portfolio asset allocation and diversification.)

Hold an appropriately diversified portfolio: A typically-diversified portfolio with exposure to at least the main asset classes of equities, fixed interest, property and cash spreads your risks and your opportunities for returns.

Set an appropriate strategic or target asset allocation: Setting and adhering to a strategic asset allocation provides your investing with an anchor that is focused on meeting your long-term goals. Repeated research has found that a broadly diversified portfolio's strategic asset allocation is by far the primary driver of its variations in returns over time. 

Don't overlook that investment markets always move in cycles: There will be plenty of rises and falls in asset values during your investing life; and a basic principle for investment success is to look through inevitable market turbulence along the way to meeting your long-term goals. And regularly undertake a counter-cyclical rebalancing of your portfolio back to its target or strategic asset allocation.

Control wealth-destroying behavioural traits: These include panicking when markets are falling and being greedy when markets are rising, making emotionally-driven investment decisions, dwelling excessively on past losses, and over-reacting to prevailing investment and economic conditions. And then there's over-confidence in your ability to consistently beat the market.

Avoid chasing the investment herd: Following the investment herd typically results in selling when prices are sharply falling and buying when prices are sharply rising. This goes back to being a disciplined investor, keeping your undesirable behavioural biases in check and investing for the long term. 

Block out distracting market “noise”: Again, focus on your long-term goals, adhering to your strategic or target asset allocation. And an appreciation of the rewards of compounding returns is an excellent way to turn down the distractions of market noise.

Don't pay excessive funds management fees: The handicap of high annual fees keeps compounding over time to erode the benefits of compounding returns.

Other valuable tips from these specialists include: don't invest in anything you can't understand, take professional advice, remember that blue chips come and go – underlining why you should have a diversified portfolio, and never overlook that gearing works two ways – magnifying both gains and losses.

Perhaps most of these investment pointers can be summarised in a few words: Concentrate on what you can control to your advantage without being distracted by what you can't control.


Robin Bowerman ​Head of Market Strategy and Communications at Vanguard.
12 May 2017

Women still in the dark about finances

The gender pay gap and divorce were some of the issues that were stopping women from understanding how to thrive financially, according to AFA Inspire national chair Dianne Charman. 



Speaking at her first roadshow, Charman said 64 per cent of women “didn’t feel they understood the financial language” and added how rearing kids, carer duties and time away from the workforce were “some of the things that keep her awake”. 

The 20-year industry veteran provided insights from the latest research on the cost of divorce, the retirement gap and the impact of financial bullying. She also made a case for planning during the pre-separation, separation and divorce stages. 

The pay gap remained a key topic of conversation, with Charman saying the gap currently sat at 16 per cent and 33 per cent at an executive level. 

She said women avoided talking about finances at the beginning of a relationship, however, she believed that was the most crucial time to enter into that discussion “as one in three marriages end in divorce and the time from separation to divorce is three-and-a-half years on average”. 

“Wealth took five years to recover from the impact of a divorce, with 66.4 per cent of income going to household necessities,” she said.

A large share of the budget was spent on alcohol and cigarettes to deal with the stress, she added.

The roadshow opened with an address from Association of Financial Advisers chief executive Philip Kewin, who said the aim of the event was to encourage more women to become advisers. 

Kewin said the AFA recognised the success of thought leaders by “bringing to the fore those professionals who lead the way”.

The Inspire program was launched in 2013, with the number of women in the AFA membership increasing by nearly 30 per cent since then. 

In a live poll at the event, guests were asked if they thought advisers could shorten the five-year recovery time frame for clients who were divorcing and if lawyers and advisers could collaborate to achieve the same outcome. Both answers received a majority yes verdict.

By Megan Tran
25 May 2017

Federal Budget – 2017-18 – Overview

Comprehensive Budget overview : 27 sections covering every aspect of this year's Budget plus 6 Appendix of support information.



Through this link you'll be able to access a comprehensive breakdown of this years Budget.


There are 27 sections that can be accessed by either a drop down menu in the right panel or a Next button at the bottom of each section.


The main themes of this year's Budget are: 


  •   Stronger growth to deliver more and better jobs
  •   Guaranteeing the essential services that Australians rely on
  •   Tracking cost of living pressures
  •   Ensuring the Government lives within its means
  •   Budget at a glance
  •   Budget aggregates and major economic parameters





The three core pillars of this year’s budget

The following links give you access to the specific issues and topics addressed in the 2017-18 Budget.



While there is much information in the other two Budget articles the following three links provide far more detail, via a number of sub pages, on the three core pillars of this year's budget.

When on the site click on the drop down in the right panel for access to sub-pages or use the Next button at the bottom of each sub-page.

Australia in a nutshell

The following information is derived from ABS data.





Period Last 
National Accounts  
Gross domestic product GDP, Chain volume measures – Trend Dec Qtr 2016
421 338
Gross domestic product GDP, Chain volume measures – Annual 2015-16
1 659 783
International Accounts  
Balance on Goods and Services – Trend Feb 2017
3 320
Total Goods and Services Credits – Trend Feb 2017
32 957
Total Goods and Services Debits – Trend Feb 2017
29 637
Balance on Current Account – Trend Dec Qtr 2016
-5 437
Net International Investment Position (IIP) – Original Dec Qtr 2016
1 021 612
Net Foreign Debt – Original Dec Qtr 2016
1 023 055
Consumption and investment
Retail turnover at current prices – Trend February 2017
Actual New Capital Expenditure in volume terms – Trend Dec 2016
Inventories held by Private Businesses, in volume terms – Trend Dec 2016
155 921
Total new motor vehicle sales – Trend March 2017
96 023
Income from sales of goods and services by Manufacturers in volume terms – Trend Dec 2016
81 807
Dwelling unit approvals – Trend Feb 2017
17 639
Building approvals -Trend Feb 2017
8 725.3
Total dwelling units commenced – trend Dec 2016
56 357
Building work done – Chain Volume Measures – Trend Dec 2016
26 619.7
Engineering construction work done – Chain Volume Measures – trend Dec 2016
19 269.7
Consumer price index (2011-12 = 100.0) – Original Mar Qtr 2017
Index no.
Producer Price Indexes, Final Demand (2011-12 = 100.0) – Original Dec Qtr 2016
Index no.
Import price index (2011-12 = 100.0) – Original Dec Qtr 2016
Index no.
Export price index (2011-12 = 100.0) – Original Dec Qtr 2016
Index no.
Wage Price Index (2008-2009 = 100.0) – Original Dec Qtr 2016
Index no.
Labour Force and Demography
Employed persons – Trend Mar 2017
12 033.4
Participation rate – Trend Mar 2017
0.0 pts
-0.4 pts
Unemployment rate – Trend Mar 2017
0.0 pts
0.0 pts
Employment to Population ratio – Trend Mar 2017
0.0 pts
-0.3 pts
Job Vacancies – Trend Feb 2017
Estimated resident population – (Preliminary) Sep Qtr 2016
Short-term overseas visitor arrivals – Trend (a) February 2017
For unemployment and participation rates, the changes are given as percentage points.
Company gross operating profits (in current price terms) – Trend Dec 2016
74 291
Average weekly earnings, full-time adults: ordinary time – Trend Nov 2016
Housing Finance
Housing finance for owner occupation, dwellings financed – Trend February 2017


na not available
np not published
. . not applicable or not available
(a) Data revised from July 2004 to December 2013. For information see Explanatory Note 12 & 13.

Most Aussies shun super advice

Less than 30 per cent of Australians have sought advice on a financial matter, including superannuation, in the past two years, new research has revealed.




The MLC Wealth Sentiment Survey found that more than 70 per cent of respondents received no guidance on superannuation, savings, investments, retirement or tax planning over the last two years.

In contrast, Australians who sought the advice of a financial planner rated their services highly, with 82 per cent rating the advice as ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ because it was tailored to their specific needs, the planner identified and understood their investing purposes and goals, and because the planner looked at risk and ways to minimise it.

“The decisions we make about our money affect us every day of our lives, and they really impact our happiness, so we need those decisions to be good ones that are based on our unique circumstances and goals,”  Greg Miller, said.

“While some people are well-equipped to go it alone, money matters are complex for some but critical for everybody, and over time the decisions you make can have huge implications.”

The survey also found that Australians were unsatisfied with their levels of wealth, with respondents rating their income four out of ten, their net worth 4.1 and their lifestyle 4.7.

Men were slightly more satisfied than women and satisfaction levels were higher across all aspects of wealth as income increased.

Wednesday, 11 April 2017

Tax headache relief: Here’s more help with pension assets changes

Let’s take a look at a practical example of how the new capital gains tax relief will operate for pension assets.




In particular, let’s focus on unsegregated pension assets, for three reasons. Firstly, unsegregated pension assets receive a different CGT relief than segregated pension assets. Secondly, unsegregated pension assets are more common than segregated pension assets. And finally, the CGT relief for unsegregated pension assets is more complex than that for segregated pension assets.


From July 1, 2017, major changes will take effect with respect to the taxation of superannuation. One change is that fund assets supporting transition-to-retirement income streams will no longer be eligible for an income-tax exemption. Another change is the introduction of the transfer balance cap, which (at the risk of oversimplifying things) limits the amount capital that can be used to commence a pension to $1.6 million). As a relief, certain legislation has been introduced that, as stated in (s 294-100), is designed to provide temporary relief from certain capital gains that might arise as a result of individuals complying with the following legislative changes:

The introduction of a transfer balance cap (as a result of Schedule 1 to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Fair and Sustainable Superannuation) Act 2016)
The exclusion of transition-to-retirement income streams (and similar income streams) from being superannuation income streams in the retirement phase (as a result of Schedule 8 to that Act).

A practical example

Assume that on November 9, 2016, (i.e., the start of what the legislation defines as the ‘pre-commencement period’), a sole member fund called the Sample Superannuation Fund had a total of $2.1 million in assets, of which $1.8 million was supporting pensions and $300,000 was not. Further assume that the fund did not have any ‘segregated current pension assets’ or ‘segregated non-current pension assets’ (i.e., the fund was using the proportionate method – also known as the actuarial method – to calculate and obtain its income-tax exemption).

Assume that the fund has the following assets:

  • $400,000 in cash
  • 5000 shares in BigCompany Ltd, which were purchased as a parcel in 2012 for $40 each (assume that shares are now worth $150 each, that is, a total of $750,000)
  • 1000 more shares in BigCompany Ltd, which were purchased as a parcel in 2014 for $70 each (similar to the above, these shares are worth $150,000)
  • real estate, purchased in 2003 for $200,000, which is now worth $800,000.

Note that the CGT relief for unsegregated pension assets results in a cost base reset as at ‘immediately before 1 July 2017’. This is different than CGT relief for segregated pension assets, where there is the ability to choose (within certain parameters) when the cost base reset occurs. Accordingly, let’s assume that the current market values of the assets as set out above will continue to be the market values as at immediately before July 1, 2017.

Also, note that the operative provisions (i.e., ss 294-115 and 294-120) do not expressly require than an asset be commuted out of a pension in order to obtain the relief. Although the ATO disagreed with this in the draft version of Law Companion Guideline LCG 2016/8 (see paragraph 21), it changed its position in the final version (see example 4 for an illustrative example of this).

Next, let’s say the fund partially commutes $200,000 of the pension and internally rolls the resulting lump sum back into accumulation.  

Subject to certain other assumptions – for example, that the fund is at all relevant times a complying superannuation fund, etc. – the fund will have the ability to choose to apply the CGT relief to some or all of its assets. Consistent with ATO Taxation Determination TD 33, the fund chooses to apply the relief to 700 of the shares in BigCompany Ltd that were purchased in 2012, and to the real estate.

Accordingly, the following ‘notional’ net capital gain arises:

  • 700 x ($150-$40), that is, $77,000, less a one-third discount, that is, $51,333.
  • $800,000-$200,000, that is, $600,000, less a one-third discount, that is, $400,000 (I assume that the grandfathered rules regarding trading stock do not apply).

Accordingly, the total ‘notional’ net capital gain is $451,333. In order to then derive the ‘deferred notional gain’, it is necessary to multiple this figure by the proportion that the actuary advises is not in pension mode. More specifically, assume the fund’s actuary advises that in respect of the 2017 financial year, the proportion calculated by dividing the fund’s ‘Average value of current pension liabilities’ by the fund’s ‘Average value of superannuation liabilities’ is 60 per cent. Therefore, to then derive the ‘deferred notional gain’ it is necessary to multiply $451,333 by 40 per cent (100 per cent minus 60 per cent). In light of this, the deferred notional gain is $180,533.

Assuming the 700 shares in BigCompany Ltd and the real estate are both disposed of in the same financial year (for example, the 2019 financial year), the net capital gain of the fund is increased by $180,533. Similarly, the cost base of the 700 shares is treated as being 700 x $150 and the cost base of the real estate is treated as being $800,000.

Some traps

Choosing the relief will reset the 12-month period when it comes to eligible for being a discount capital gain. In short, that means relief probably should not be chosen for some assets that will be sold during the 2018 financial year. Consider the following example of when it is detrimental to a fund to choose the relief: An asset was purchased during the 2016 financial year for $120. On June 30, 2017, its market value is $130. It will be sold on January 1, 2018, for $160. If relief is chosen, this will give rise to $4.50 of tax (i.e., [$160–$130]*15%). However, if relief is not chosen, this will give rise to $4 of tax ([$160–$120] x 10%).

Naturally, remember the role of pt IVA (i.e., the general anti-avoidance provision). As the ATO states in Law Companion Guideline LCG 2016/D:

Broadly speaking, schemes which do no more than that which is necessary to comply with those reforms will not be the subject of determinations under Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA 1936) (Part IVA). Schemes which abuse the relief are another matter …

The kinds of arrangements that the commissioner will scrutinise carefully with a view to determining whether Part IVA applies will exhibit the following features:

  • They place the taxpayer in a position to make the choice
  • They go further than is necessary to provide temporary relief from CGT because members comply with the reforms, and They exhibit contrivance of manner, a lack of correspondence of form with substance, or other matters relevant under section 177D of the ITAA 1936, that point to the purpose of avoiding tax.

I suspect that the largest pt IVA concerns will occur for account-based pensions, not transition-to-retirement income streams, particularly those eligible for the segregated pension asset CGT relief, not the relief described in this article. 

For full details, see subdiv 294 B of the Income Tax (Transitional Provisions) Act 1997, which was inserted by the Treasury Laws Amendment (Fair and Sustainable Superannuation) Act 2016. Also instructive is the ATO’s Law Companion Guideline LCG 2016/8.

This article is for general information only and should not be relied upon without first seeking advice from an appropriately qualified professional.


BY:  Bryce Figot
April 12, 2017

More withdrawals from ‘the bank of mum and dad’

Think about what has happened in the six months since Treasury secretary John Fraser spoke of his concerns for retirement savings of parents who help their children into housing by making withdrawals from “the bank of mum and dad”.




House prices in Sydney and Melbourne have continued to accelerate and, anecdotally at least, so has parental financial assistance with their children's first home.

Fraser is worried that helping children into costly housing, as homebuyers or tenants, may inhibit their own abilities to save for retirement, including through their super.

Parents can find themselves trying to cope with something of a balancing act: trying to save to finance their own retirement and understandably wanting to help their children into the high-cost housing market.

It is difficult to gain other than an anecdotal impression of just how much parents nearing retirement or already in retirement are helping to finance their adult children's housing – particularly with that elusive deposit on first homes.

Clearly, a growing personal financial issue is whether parents can afford to provide this financial assistance given their circumstances.

Perhaps an appropriate starting point for parents is to realistically assess the adequacy of their retirement savings and overall financial position, perhaps with the assistance of an adviser who understands their family circumstances.

Much-publicised high levels of home ownership among older Australians can lead to inaccurate conclusions about the state of their financial wellbeing.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that close to 80 per cent of households aged over 65 “own” their homes, based on the Commonwealth Census. However, these particular statistics do not make a distinction between “home owners” who own their homes outright and those with outstanding mortgages.

And the Reserve Bank observed almost two years ago in a submission to a Senate committee inquiry on home ownership that “older age groups are now less likely to own their home outright than in the past”.

The much-quoted retirement standard from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) – providing estimates of living costs for retirees to meet different standards of living – is calculated on the basis that retirees own a home with no outstanding mortgage.

Ideally, we would enter retirement as debt-free homeowners with sufficient retirement savings to finance a satisfactory lifestyle – with perhaps enough money left to assist our children into a first home.

There's much to think about before making withdrawals from “the bank of mum and dad”.

Robin Bowerman
​Head of Market Strategy and Communications at Vanguard.
25 April 2017

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