December 11th, 2006 at 07:29am
Here are just a few news stories which are just a tad amusing.
New South Wales Opposition Leader Peter Debnam wants to sell New South Wales Lotteries for about $800 million to help fund the $1 billion water strategy (whatever that may be). Sounds reasonable on the surface, but dig a bit deeper:
NSW Lotteries has sold lottery tickets since 1931. Last year it sold tickets worth more than $1.1 billion, and paid out about $662 million in prizes. Its lotteries have helped to pay for the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
That’s a $438 million profit last year, not bad.
Mr Debnam said the privatised company would still be required to pay annual lottery duties of almost $300 million to the Government, and might be required to pay additional taxes to offset the company tax it would begin paying to the Federal Government.
Take out the lottery duties and the profit drops to $138 million per annum, even less once you take out the federal company tax and the state based “additional taxes”.
I’m not a tax expert, so I’m not going to try and calculate what these taxes might cost, but once you take away the operating costs (staff, ticket paper, dedicated communication lines between sales terminals and head office, commissions payable to agents etc etc etc) as well, it’s really not a very profitable company.
Somehow I think Mr. Debnam’s $800 million money grab is either sheer optimism which should never have been mentioned in the company of a journalist, or a blight on Mr. Debnam’s economic credentials.
Based on this multiple, NSW Lotteries, with earnings of $38.6 million this year, could be worth as much as $800 million. But the Opposition expects it to have a much lower value.
Thankfully Mr. Debnam dosn’t think he can get $800 million for the company, but that still leaves the question of why he mentioned the figure in the first place.
The Victorian bushfire crisis has engulfed a mountain by the name of “Mount Terrible”. Not surprisingly, journalists are having fun with it, saying things such as “it’s living up to its name”.
I would like to know why it was named Mount Terrible. Did the person who named it have a bad experience there? Or did they know something we could have used before the bushfire crisis?
From our good friends at the “funny news presented in a serious manner” Ananova News agency comes the news that a job centre in the UK has banned Christmas decorations in case they offend the unemployed.
Job Centre bans Xmas
A Job Centre has banned Christmas decorations – in case it offends the unemployed.
Area manager of South London Chris Nicol says he doesn’t want to upset benefit claimants who can’t afford tinsel.
His staff are not happy about the decision, reports The Sun.
One worker said: “All the shops and offices around us are happily putting up their Christmas decorations but ours are in the cupboard.
“Most people have complained about the lack of decorations. The twinkling lights and tinsel always seemed to lift people’s spirits. Now we are all glumly sitting in the dark in case someone takes offence.”
Mr Nicol refused to back down and added: “It’s about considering the feelings of people who might not to be able to afford Christmas.
“Because of their circumstances they might not have decorations at home. I don’t think they should have their noses rubbed in it by walking into a Job Centre. I haven’t heard that staff are unhappy but it is impossible to please everyone.”
Not surprisingly, the story has been doing the rounds on talkback. Some of the highlights:
Mr. Nicol: “It’s about considering the feelings of people who might not to be able to afford Christmas.”
Stuart Bocking: “Since when has anyone been able to afford Christmas?”
Mr. Nicol: “I haven’t heard that staff are unhappy but it is impossible to please everyone.”
Mike Jeffreys: “Especially if you’re an idiot!”