Labor stares down barrel of WA rout

The Labor Party enters the federal election well behind in the polls and could be reduced to just two seats in WA if the current swing against the government is sustained. The West

Big rise in Perth house prices

Growing confidence in the WA economy has helped underpin a surge in Perth house prices, which are tipped to return to record highs within months. The West

Costs endanger mega projects

Huge resources projects of the kind that have underpinned economic growth in recent years may be an “endangered species” as rising construction and labour costs threaten future ventures and commodity prices look volatile, a forecaster says. The Fin

Forrest loses latest round

Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest faces the prospect of other miners moving in on his ancestral land, after the mining magnate lost the latest round of a running fight to prevent a sand mining company operating on his cattle station. The West

Coles rings up $7.7bn sales result

Supermarket major Coles has continued to set the pace for bigger rival Woolworths, yesterday racking up a 15th straight quarter of sales growth from existing stores in a result that also underlines some green shoots for the battered retail sector.The Aus

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN

Page 1: Australian voters face the longest election campaign in history after Prime Minister Julia Gillard broke with tradition yesterday to reveal polling will be on September 14.

Page 3: Growing confidence in the WA economy has helped underpin a surge in Perth house prices, which are tipped to return to record highs within months.

Page 4: The Labor Party enters the federal election well behind in the polls and could be reduced to just two seats in WA if the current swing against the government is sustained.

Tony Abbott has declared the coalition is ready for the election campaign despite Julia Gillard springing a surprise by setting polling day so far in advance.

Page 5: Perth's most expensive roads upgrade – the $83 million per kilometre rebuild of a section of Great Eastern Highway - is six months ahead of schedule and will be finished in June.

Page 9: Prolific travel writer and US comedian Tom Rhodes – who described Perth as “a slice of heaven at the end of the Earth” after a recent visit – is surprised that locals “seem to be bored with the place”.

Perth is being urged to pursue more migrant-friendly social, housing and planning policies after figures suggested it had overtaken Sydney as Australia's most multicultural capital city.

Page 11: The state government will not stand in the way of the City of Fremantle after it last night became the first council in Australia to outlaw non-biodegradable, lightweight plastic bags at its supermarkets, markets, retail stores and fast food outlets.

Page 12: Labor yesterday returned to the scene of the Barnett government's unfulfilled pledge to build a rail line to Ellenbrook and promised for the second successive election to make Perth's north-east accessible by train.

Business: Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest faces the prospect of other miners moving in on his ancestral land, after the mining magnate lost the latest round of a running fight to prevent a sand mining company operating on his cattle station.

Wesfarmers chief executive Richard Goyder has hit back at critics of Coles' $1/litre milk promotion, claiming their anger is misdirected and suggesting they are in denial over the dairy market.

Sam Walsh has surrendered his directorship of Seven West Media as he moves to London to take the helm of Rio Tinto.

Premier Colin Barnett will not rule out using the state's petroleum approvals system to block offshore processing of gas from Woodside's $40 billion Browse project.

The long-winded delay in expanding the Esperance Port is costing the state government royalty payments of $95 million a year, a report into the economic impacts of the expansion claims.

Investment chiefs behind WA's biggest superannuation fund GESB have warned the sharemarket could be getting ahead of corporate earnings, as the leading S&P ASX200 index powers towards the crucial 5000 level.

Angry farmers are refusing surveyors access to their properties as they try to block moves to store carbon dioxide in an aquifer which sits under prime agricultural land.

The lethargic initial public offering market surrounding small cap stocks is continuing from last year as investors shy away from the challenging market conditions, a leading IPO business accountancy firm says.

Shares in troubled miner Bass Metals surged yesterday after it announced a company-saving deal to sell its failed Tasmanian base metals subsidiary to unlisted Ivy Resources.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW

Page 1: Julia Gillard has sought to buy the Labor government precious time to rebuild its stocks and to flush out Tony Abbott with a shock announcement that the election will be held on September 14.

The business community has an overriding fear about the unprecedented election campaign: another year to fix the economy will be lost.

The Gillard government is considering ending the tax-free status for superannuation withdrawals for a small minority of people with very high superannuation balances.

Page 3: Median house prices increased by 1.9 per cent in the last three months of 2012, setting the scene for a modest recovery in many residential markets this year.

Australia squirreled away as much as $4 billion when the Reserve Bank of Australia embarked on an unprecedented increase in note printing during the global financial crisis.

Page 13: Huge resources projects of the kind that have underpinned economic growth in recent years may be an “endangered species” as rising construction and labour costs threaten future ventures and commodity prices look volatile, a forecaster says.

Page 17: Wesfarmers plans to step up the pressure on rivals Woolworths, Metcash and Aldi by cutting prices and costs and opening new stores, as the retail and resources group moves into the next phase of its 10-year turnaround of Coles.

Fund managers believe to 10-day stock rally that has brought on a bull market is beginning to spread beyond defensive stocks with high dividends, showing that investors have become more optimistic about equities and are willing to take on more risk.

Page 19: Fairfax Media's second-largest shareholder has warned that an activist approach at the publisher could prove “very difficult” as speculation mounts that an investment group led by Mark Carnegie could use the proceeds from the sale of Qantas Airways shares to lift its stake in Fairfax.

Page 21: National Australia Bank chief executive Cameron Clyne has denied that he is planning to slash jobs as part of a bid to cut costs and boost profits.

Page 24: Global engineering and design group Parsons Brinkerhoff is angling for a bigger slice of the Australian infrastructure market after teaming up with Transfield Services to pitch for performance-based contracts.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN

Page 1: Julia Gillard has blindsided her cabinet by announcing a general election for September 14 in a bid to pressure Tony Abbott to release costed policies and stamp her authority on the Labor Party.

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has rolled back Labor’s proposed anti-discrimination reforms to remove the prohibition on causing offence, which has been criticised by the media, judicial figures and the human rights lobby as an attack on free speech.

Page 2: Consumers will be hit with price rises and shortages of fruit and vegetables following last week’s devastating floods and tornadoes along the Queensland and northern NSW coast.

Page 4: Reforms to electoral laws are back on the agenda after Julia Gillard yesterday named an election date more than seven months in advance, reigniting calls for a shift to fixed federal terms.

Tony Abbott said the opposition would release costings of its policies after the May budget but before the election as he declared the Coalition was ready to fight an election campaign.

Business has warned Julia Gillard that the longest election campaign in history should not be used as an excuse for deferring urgently needed policy reform, as some corporate leaders claimed the September poll date would only increase uncertainty and delay any recovery in consumer confidence.

Page 5: The Gillard government has dumped the long-awaited inquiry into construction costs and productivity, risking a backlash from business and raising further questions about the efficacy of the Council of Australian Governments process.

Labor has stepped up its warnings over the state of the federal budget as it commits to major new spending plans ahead of the election, triggering Coalition predictions of a tax hit on ‘‘every Australian’’ to pay for the promises.

Rail workers have offered to hold off on strike action that threatens to disrupt coal exports if Pacific National agrees to resume negotiations over a long-running pay dispute.

Business: Supermarket major Coles has continued to set the pace for bigger rival Woolworths, yesterday racking up a 15th straight quarter of sales growth from existing stores in a result that also underlines some green shoots for the battered retail sector.

Australian businesses need to seize the opportunity presented by the relative strength of the local economy to advance innovation in their organisations and get in front of rivals in other developed economies, according to GE Australia and New Zealand chief executive Steve Sargent.

Nine Entertainment has become the latest media company forced to trim costs during the advertising downturn, as ‘‘unprecedented change’’ triggers a company-wide search for cost savings and voluntary redundancies.

Rio Tinto’s billion ($2.87bn) writedown of its Riversdale Mining acquisition appears to have been driven by Rio’s push to make the Mozambique project much larger and may also have technological roots, according to the target’s former chief Steve Mallyon.

The impact of cyclone Oswald on Queensland’s coal exports continues to worsen, with Xstrata and Rio Tinto warning customers they cannot guarantee contracted shipments and Wesfarmers cutting its full-year coal sales forecast by 500,000 tonnes.

Goldminers plan an unusual mix of cost-cutting and dividend increases to win back favour with investors.

Market forces could be about to achieve what the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, the Senate, food manufacturers and hundreds of angry dairy farmers couldn’t — stop Coles and Woolworths from saving customers money.

One of the nation’s most respected executive remuneration advisers says more boards will freeze pay for directors and executives over coming months in response to the sluggish economy and the uncertain market and investment outlook.

The new conservatism of mining majors BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto is underpinning market expectations that the pair plan to extract as much as billion ($9.6bn) from operating costs over the next two years.

US-based private equity firm Denham Capital Management is set to open a Perth office next month, unlocking a new source of funding for junior miners struggling to tap traditional sources of capital.

 

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Page 1: Australians will go to the polls on September 14 after Julia Gillard called a federal election on Wednesday.

Page 2: Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott will both be trying to win the respect of the electorate in the lead up the September 14 election.

Page 3: The economy is forecast to be in worse shape by the time the federal election takes place. Julia Gillard wore a new pair of glasses on Wednesday. Her early election call could be a "game changer" political move.

World: A mass grave has been found in the Syrian city of Aleppo containing the bodies of many rebel fighters.

Business: Coles is geared to beat Woolworths in the battle for customers, with a five per cent jump in sales in the second quarter.

Sport: Shane Warne has issued a "manifesto" which contains the changes that he'd like to see made to Australian cricket.

 

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Page 1: Julia Gillard has announced September 14 as the date that Australians will go to the polls for the next federal election.

Page 2: Julia Gillard made a number of changes to her appearance on Wednesday, including sporting a pair of "designer" glasses.

Page 3: As Julia Gillard announced the election Kevin Rudd was cutting trees with a chainsaw to help out flood affected Queensland residents.

World: John Kerry is succeeding Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State for the Obama administration's second term.

Business: Shoppers are back spending at stores, with Coles reporting impressive second quarter sales figures.

Sport: Shane Warne has revealed his blueprint for how he'd go about fixing cricket in Australia.

 

THE CANBERRA TIMES

Page 1: It's on: Gillard plays the long game

Page 2: Reaction from Abbott was positively Howard-esque

Page 3: Designer floats idea of Burley Beach

World: Clinton bids adieu in global interview

Business: Qantas shake up fizzles as suitors exit with millions

Sport: Manuka Oval beefed up for historic one-day clash

 

THE ADELAIDE ADVERTISER

Page 1: Prime Minister Julia Gillard has switched the nation into election mode for a record-breaking eight months in a surprise move variously branded as a masterstroke and an act of desperation.

World: US President Barack Obama has declared that "now is the time" to fix the broken immigration system by recognising millions of illegal immigrants.

Finance: South Australia will "reshape its on-the-ground presence in India" following the state government's decision to close its only representative office in Chennai in November last year.

Sport: Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas was among a group of club bosses who lobbied for access to an annual profile of the club's drug testing results, without any names, to have a better handle on whether a problem exists.