10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Good morning!

1. Welcome to rate day. The Reserve Bank of Australia will today announce its decision about what to do with interest rates in September. 27 of the 31 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the RBA to keep current rates on hold, but say it’s only a matter of time until that changes.

2. Smoke and mirrors. As the RBA prepares to meet regarding the cash rate, the government is anticipating some poor economic figures to be released. But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is saying not to worry about the shoddy growth rate in the last financial year but that instead we should all be focusing on September, the Australian Financial Review reports.

3. Corporate climate warriors. Atlassian co-founder and billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes has signed his company up to Future Super’s ‘Not Business as Usual’ campaign, which sees Aussie companies publicly support the upcoming Global Climate Strikes ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. Atlassian employees are being encouraged to take part in the protests or use their special charity leave entitlement to support climate change initiatives.

4. No Djoke. Novak Djokovic has retired injured from the US Open, unable to retain his crown at the grand slam. The Serb was booed by the crowd at Flushing Meadows after calling it early in the third set after losing two to Stan Wawrinka.

5. Do or Die for Boris’s Brexit. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will go to a general election rather than allow MPs to prevent Britain from leaving the EU in October or seek an extension, Downing Street has confirmed. Meanwhile, a number of his own Conservative Party colleagues are rebelling against him.

6. A public-private partnership. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is collaborating with NASA to find suitable locations on Mars to land its ambitious Starship rocket missions, designed to ferry people and goods to the red planet. The company is on the hunt for landing sites with few hazards, especially buried frozen water, with 9 locations currently being considered.

Nine candidate landing sites on Mars. NASA/USGS/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum via Google Earth Pro; Business Insider)

7. National home sales officially on the rise. In sad news for first home buyers who didn’t take advantage of the lull period, national property prices have risen to the highest level since October 2017. The resurgence is being led Sydney and Melbourne which have seen the sharpest falls in the last two years.

8. Saudi Arabia accused of ‘sportswashing’. Saudi Arabia has reportedly consulted NBA star Kobe Bryant and top industry experts Churchill Ripley about boosting its domestic sports infrastructure. The revelation has sparked concerns that the oil-rich nation is trying to ‘sportswash’ i.e. distract from human rights abuses and other issues on which it has a poor record by investing in sports.

9. The foreign exchange rip-off . Consumer watchdog the ACCC has found Australians are paying way too much in foreign exchange fees and – surprise, suprise – the big four banks are almost certainly to blame. Currency exchange platform Transferwise estimates Aussies are paying as much as $2.14 billion in hidden FX fees each year.

10. What would Ja Rule do? Aussie travel agency Flight Centre has been roped in the scandal surrounding Fyre Festival, as the trustee for the botched event sues its US subsidiary in the New York court. The festival was promoted by big names including rapper Ja Rule and was an unmitigated disaster.

BONUS ITEM

Have you had breakfast yet? These cheese toasties – or ‘grilled cheese’ as the Americans call them – are out of this world.