Handouts hide strains in economy

Billions of dollars in federal government cash handouts have masked weakness in the economy, with flagging retail sales pointing to a slowdown over the rest of the year. The Aus

Schools crusade sparks state row

Another major row is brewing between Julia Gillard and Colin Barnett after the Prime Minister flagged WA would have to stump up $450 million a year to pay for her school education reforms. The West

$100bn mining projects under threat

A plunge in the prices of Australia's export commodities as well as high labour and construction costs will stall $100 billion of mining and energy projects, as companies scramble to reassess their long-term investment guidelines. The Fin

Samsung eyes nickel play

One of South Korea's biggest conglomerates, Samsung, is set to inject a much-needed boost of confidence into WA's frail base metals sector with an ambitious plan to arrange funding for the $2.5 billion Wingellina laterite nickel project in the state's north-east. The West

Jobs to go as Argyle Diamonds cuts costs

Mining giant Rio Tinto is set to slash staff at Argyle Diamonds as part of cost cutting intended to position its flagship Australian diamond mine for sale, or before it is floated on the stock exchange. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Another major row is brewing between Julia Gillard and Colin Barnett after the Prime Minister flagged WA would have to stump up $450 million a year to pay for her school education reforms.

Page 5: Barriers that prevent sharks from entering sheltered water could be tested under state government plans that have all but given up on the idea of netting Perth's most popular swimming beaches.

Page 6: Mining giant Rio Tinto is set to slash staff at Argyle Diamonds as part of cost cutting intended to position its flagship Australian diamond mine for sale, or before it is floated on the stock exchange.

Page 9: Federal environment minister Tony Burke has announced tough conditions on a super trawler docked in South Australia.

Page 13: The state government could expect the Commonwealth to match its spending on Perth's light rail project dollar for dollar if it put construction out for private tender, according to a key adviser to the Federal Government on transport infrastructure.

City of Vincent mayor Alannah MacTiernan has criticised the state government for delaying construction of the light rail network until after another three years of feasibility studies, saying there had already been three years of planning.

Page 14: Organisers of the ill-fated Kimberley ultramarathon have warned several government agencies that they face being counter-sued if race victims take legal action against the Hong Kong-based company.

Page 16: Average household water use in Perth has fallen for the third time in as many years as the higher cost of drinking supplies and a run of exceptionally dry years force people to rethink their consumption habits.

Page 17: A poll showing entrenched opposition to using foreign labour on mining projects looms as a black cloud over the federal government's visit to WA this week.

Page 18: The state election is still six months away but the Liberal Party has already fallen foul of at least two Perth councils over unauthorised campaign signs.

Business: One of South Korea's biggest conglomerates, Samsung, is set to inject a much-needed boost of confidence into WA's frail base metals sector with an ambitious plan to arrange funding for the $2.5 billion Wingellina laterite nickel project in the state's north-east.

Global Construction Services is blaming poor advice for a plunge in its share price last week ahead of a $32 million capital raising that will dilute the holdings of some of its founders.

Speculation is mounting that Fortescue Metals Group is poised to announce that it is cancelling major port works, pushing back its plans to be exporting 155 million tonnes through Port Hedland by the middle of next year.

Miners are spending less time searching for minerals for the first time since the global financial crisis and are expected to cut their exploration further after the recent plunge in commodity prices.

The blue sky surrounding junior exploration projects continued yesterday with Perth-based Peel Mining and market darling Sirius Resources gaining further share traction after consolidation of their respective exploration projects.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: A plunge in the prices of Australia's export commodities as well as high labour and construction costs will stall $100 billion of mining and energy projects, as companies scramble to reassess their long-term investment guidelines.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has foreshadowed a new assault on middle class welfare and on tax concessions for the wealthy to fund a “national crusade” to lift Australia's education performance, as she confirmed education is the chosen platform for Labor's political fightback.

Page 2: Business leaders say the government's plan to offer a $1000 bonus to employers to take on older people is misguided and may not work.

Page 3: Former Reserve Bank of Australia board member Warwick McKibbin has scrapped his call for an official rate rise, saying the government's rush to deliver a short-term surplus threatens to crunch the economy as prices for important exports tumble.

Page 5: Western Australian public schools, where principals have been given more power over budgets and staff appointments, will serve as the template for the Gonski plan to improve schools' performance.

Page 6: Experts warn that it is too early to call a housing market recovery despite relatively upbeat auction results over the first weekend of spring.

BHP Billiton has not asked the South Australian government for an extension of the agreement covering royalties for the $US20 billion-plus Olympic Dam expansion, amid expectations it could take years for the miner to finalise a viable new development plan.

Page 13: Australian companies must make “critical” investments in Asia today or risk their future, the global head of one of the world's largest insurers, AIA Group, has warned.

Page 18: A six-month delay at Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill project could put further pressure on the mine's funding case, say analysts, as questions mount over whether iron ore prices can recover to more than $US100 a tonne.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Billions of dollars in federal government cash handouts have masked weakness in the economy, with flagging retail sales pointing to a slowdown over the rest of the year.

Labor's political momentum has suffered a small setback, although voter satisfaction with Julia Gillard's performance has jumped to a seven-month high as the Prime Minister crusades on core ALP issues.

Page 3: Optus will reignite the battle to sign-up speed-hungry mobile customers today when the nation’s No 2 telco switches on its 4G network for consumers to challenge Telstra’s lead in the nascent market.

Page 4: Public spending on indigenous Australia jumped to $25.4 billion in just two years amid a growing debate over whether the cash is improving education, health and employment for 575,000 people.

Greens leader Christine Milne has attacked the federal government over last week’s cabinet decision to put about $2 billion worth of grants on hold, lashing the approach as a ‘‘slash and burn’’ move typical of Tony Abbott.

A bleak outlook has been presented by BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers for an expanded Olympic Dam mine ever operating in South Australia.

Page 7: The West Australian government has sought to break an impasse over the launch trial sites for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, offering to set up four sites over two years if the federal government matches the $135 million the state is spending.

Business: China's economic growth this year could now come in below 8 per cent, its lowest rate for 13 years, as economists continue to pare back their forecasts.

Retailers are hopeful of improved trading conditions in the lead-up to Christmas after experiencing a disappointing sales performance in July as the industry failed to benefit from household assistance payments.

National Australia Bank has been ordered by a court to write to about 230,000 shareholders, issuing them with a fresh invitation to join a class action over $1 billion of losses

The chief executive of UGL, Richard Leupen, has flagged new acquisitions for the company’s property services division in the next year as it looks to grow its market share in the US.

Engineering contractors are continuing to fill their order books on the strength of the committed expansion plans of the Pilbara iron ore producers despite the free fall in prices for the steelmaking raw material since April.

New figures show a major slowdown in freight and passenger growth at Asia-Pacific airlines in July that outpaced a fall in global growth caused by the uncertain economic conditions.

 

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD:

Page 1: A motorway under the inner west and dedicated bus corridors to the northern beaches and on Victoria Road will be included in a draft version of the state's next transport plan, to be released on Tuesday.

Page 2: The coalition is vowing to turn back all asylum seekers from Sri Lanka after unauthorised arrivals from the country increased fourteenfold this year despite the country's civil war ending.

Page 3: One of the state's top homicide investigators engaged in "whitewashing" and "fabrication" in preparing a report into the police shooting of the mentally ill Sydney man Adam Salter, the Police Integrity Commission has heard.

World: A sordid tragedy involving a 20-something playboy, two scantily clad women and a Ferrari has again exposed the Chinese Communist Party's challenges in hiding its dirty laundry in the information age.

Business: Retailers hoping consumers would return to the shops after big government handouts have had their hopes dashed.

Sport: NRL chief medical officer Ron Muratore has warned that headgear does not protect players from damage inflicted by a shoulder charge after Johnathan Thurston revealed he had been left "dazed" from the hit that has Cronulla's Ben Pomeroy facing a season-ending suspension.

 

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH:

Page 1: A $100 billion transport masterplan will be announced on Tuesday without a clear idea of what will be built first or how it will be paid for.

Page 2: The number of children in family day care has reached record levels, pushing total pre-school enrolments over a million for the first time.

Page 3: Russell Crowe claims he hitched a ride with the US Coast Guard after spending 4.5 hours paddling his kayak off New York's Long Island.

World: A bomb has exploded near the office of the United Nations refugee agency in Pakistan, killing at least two people.

Business: A sharp drop in department store spending has dragged retail sales down as the boost from federal government handouts fizzle out.

Sport: NRL stars have become embroiled in a taxation office row on the eve of the finals over State of Origin payments.

THE AGE:

Page 1: Victoria accuses the Gillard government of trying to take over the running of schools with its Gonski review response. Liam Jurrah in switch from Melbourne to Port Adelaide. Baillieu government urged to consider a massive new container port near Werribee, with a new terminal at Hastings.

Page 2: Attorney-General Nicola Roxon backs controversial plan to capture the online data of all Australians.

Page 3: Baillieu government joins Grocon in pursuit for heavy damages from the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) after it refused to lift a blockade of the Myer Emporium. TV promises more episodes in the life of Kerry Packer. Baillieu government commits to building a bridge for cyclists over the Yarra at Abbotsford. Research shows combat can cause brain damage in soldiers. Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man drawing could settle blade runner debate at Paralympics.

World: Evicted Israeli settlers from unauthorised West Bank settlement of Migron vow to return.

Business: Consumers have not returned to the shops after big government handouts leaving retailers in despair.

Sport: Geelong risks losing Steve Johnson for two weeks of finals football if they appeal against his one match ban.

 

THE HERALD SUN:

Page 1: Under Prime Minister Julia Gillard's education plan struggling students will get personalised learning plans and would-be teachers face tough tests to get into a classroom.

Page 2: International crime gangs stealing mobile phone numbers to steal from bank accounts. US Coast Guard gets Russell Crowe back to land after he got lost kayaking.

Page 3: Fans will be allowed back on the MCG after the AFL Grand Final. Footballers dress up for Mad Monday.

World: The self-styled messiah from South Korea, Sun Myung Moon, has died at the age of 92.

Business: BHP Billiton chief Marius Kloppers says he will work with "undiminished vigour" to extend Olympic Dam despite spiking its colossal expansion plan.

Sport: Geelong faces a dilemma on whether to risk getting Steve Johnson ban extended to two weeks if they challenge the one game ban.