After a summer of tennis and cricket, we have been reflecting on how different the current attitudes are to sport versus taxation competitiveness. 

For instance, ask an Australian about how competitive they expect our cricket, rugby union or Olympic team should be, and the possible answers range from “it would be embarrassing if we weren’t” variously: in the Top 10, competitive with Great Britain…, dominating New Zealand, to punching above our weight for our population.

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When it comes to taxation competitiveness and particularly corporate taxation, we have pretty modest goals and aims – to be a bit competitive (but not too much)

Managing costs and building profitable revenue are strategic priorities for Australian banks as they face operational challenges and increasing regulatory requirements. There is no doubt that better managing governance, supervision, resilience and technology remain critical foci for the sector.

Cost-to-income ratios for the major banks are around 45-46%, (significantly lower than some of their global peers’ 60-70%). However, resource and regulatory pressures contribute significantly to costs, with regulatory spend exceeding $1.3bn p.a. for the big four banks.

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There is no doubt that better managing governance, supervision, resilience and technology remain critical foci for the sector.

The rise of the ‘data exclusive’

Over a quarter of all Australian mobile consumers have not used their phone to make a traditional voice phone call in a given week. This new mobile consumer segment, the ‘data exclusive’[1], is redefining what it means to communicate via the smartphone. We appear to be moving toward a time where traditional voice calling is seen as the exception rather than the norm – with a nuanced world of communication emerging.

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We appear to be moving toward a time where traditional voice calling is seen as the exception rather than the norm

After hitting a 10-year record low (deficit) of -$4.3 billion in December 2015, Australia’s monthly trade position steadily improved over 2016. By November a trade surplus of $1.2 billion was achieved – the first since March 2014, and only the fifth since 2010. The strength of the trade balance turnaround is seen below.

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No matter which you look at it, the story for Australian commodities in 2017 will be all about China

Much has been said recently about the opportunities and benefits of maximising our strengths and past successes to transform Australia into a standout innovation economy. The Australian National Science and Innovation Agenda shines a spotlight on the need to increase our linkages with key economies around the world to enable Australia to improve research, commercialisation and business performance.

The role global value chains and collaboration play in this strategy cannot be underestimated. This mindset applies equally to a “whole of country” approach, as it does to individual businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups looking to launch, strengthen or scale their ventures.

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For many Australian businesses looking to access international markets, the process of finding the right in-market connections and understanding the local eco-system can be daunting.

My passion for mathematics and logical problem solving has led me into a career in analytics at Deloitte. Recently this opened the door to travel internationally to assist on a large forensic investigation.

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Data can tell subtle things about how a business is operating. Mathematics has given me the skills to extract and share those insights – and do so internationally.

Looking back from early in the New Year, 2016 ended up  a year of black swans – from the rise of Donald Trump and to Brexit (not to mention the Western Bulldogs and Cronulla Sharks winning the AFL and NRL premierships respectively), events showed how orthodox opinion and expectations often missed the mark.

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What does 2017 hold for the Australian and global economies?

2016 was an eventful year in terms of high profile breaches revealed by Yahoo and Ashley Madison, large technology companies challenged by Government institutions such as Apple and regulatory changes such as the adoptions of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) and the Chinese Cyber Security Law.

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Now is the time for organisations to pay attention to how information is managed and protected – read our privacy trends for 2017

The quality of life in Sydney and Melbourne is under threat from traffic congestion and the time wasted in commuting to work, school and other social activities.

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‘Looking forward, Deloitte believes that technology has a strong role to play in enabling significantly better management of congestion in cities and increased reliability.’

It’s been a big year for privacy for organisations, with a bigger year to come. It’s comforting to know that even Santa has his own challenges when handling our personal information.

Here are 10 things we can learn from Santa about privacy:

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It’s been a big year for privacy for organisations, with a bigger year to come. It’s comforting to know that even Santa has his own privacy challenges.