Australia’s Westpac to exit China, other Asia markets as focus swings to home

By Paulina Duran

a sign on the side of a building: An office building with Westpac logo is seen in Sydney

© Reuters/Loren Elliott
An office building with Westpac logo is seen in Sydney

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Westpac Banking Corp is exiting banking operations in China and some other Asian markets to focus on its core domestic and New Zealand businesses, as it grapples with capital constraints amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country’s second-largest lender, whose capital has been eroded by a record lawsuit settlement and a surge in bad-debt provisions due to the pandemic, said on Wednesday it will exit operations in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Jakarta, where it does business with institutional clients.

It will instead consolidate its international operations into branches in Singapore, London and New York.

Under pressure from regulators to increase their capital bases, and from investors to show higher returns from their investments, Australian banks have been selling non-core assets, including their offshore operations.

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Australia’s home affairs secretary says state security must be ‘ubiquitous without being oppressive’

The head of Australia’s home affairs department contends security in 2020 is no longer a matter of protection or survival, but increasingly a shared societal responsibility – a question of “how we should band together and pool our capacities for living”.

a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Mike Pezzullo, the high-profile and periodically controversial head of Peter Dutton’s mega department, used a university lecture on Tuesday evening to float his concept of “the extended state” as a relevant construct for managing contemporary threats.

The “extended state”, Pezzullo told the National Security College at the Australian National University, was “a networked and dynamic conception of security which comprehends sectors across society and the economy”.

Pezzullo said the concept was comprised of public institutions in the executive analysing risks and threats and deploying operational capacity – the “vital centre” as he put it.

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Snaidero goes green with Australia’s first sustainable porcelain kitchens at Seafarers Residences

As consumers become more sustainably conscious, the typical kitchen design has been turned on its head by revered Italian kitchen brand Snaidero.

The company recently unveiled its first Australian project to feature precision-engineered porcelain fronted joinery at Seafarers, the new Yarra River waterfront residences in Melbourne developed by Riverlee.

Designed and crafted in Italy, the fully integrated Snaidero kitchens at Seafarers combine porcelain benchtops with beautiful lacquered joinery to create an eco-friendly, high-end quality finish that is unmatched in the local market.

When designing the Seafarers kitchens, the Snaidero research and design team worked closely with Italy’s most renowned designers and architects, including Paolo Pininfarina, Massimo Iosa Ghini, Michele Marcon, Lucci & Orlandini, Gae Aulenti, Virgilio Forchiassin and Angelo Mangiarotti.

The team looked for a material that was sustainable and innovative yet still functional for the kitchen environment. The end result is porcelain stoneware made from natural raw materials including

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