Labor stews over fix for mining tax

The federal government is considering plugging the royalties hole in its mining tax but will leave any changes until close to, or after, the election to avoid triggering another damaging campaign by the mining industry. The Fin

Buswell questions transport guru's role

A rail spur line to Perth Airport would do nothing to ease the city's traffic congestion, public transport expert Peer Newman said yesterday. The West

It's deja vu as Labor calls in the accountants

WA Labor will use a second-tier accounting firm to test the cost of its election commitments, avoiding scrutiny by the Treasury department and its knowledge of developing large infrastructure projects. The Fin

Cameco takes Kintyre hit

Canadian uranium giant Cameco has slashed the value of its massive Kintyre uranium project by million, fanning further industry speculation that the project will not be developed within the next decade. The West

Discount grocery chain Aldi looks to westward expansion

Discount supermarket chain Aldi is set to announce a significant expansion of its Australian operations this week with plans to open its first stores in South Australia and Western Australia. The Aus

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN

Page 3: Bus drivers will walk off the job this week amid safety fears over gas fuelled buses, as documents reveal there have been at least 13 fires on Perth buses in the past five years.

Page 4: Environment Minister Bill Marmion has conceded the Liberal Party has no plans to ban soluble fertilisers entering the Swan and Canning rivers, despite their roles in algal blooms.

Page 5: A rail spur line to Perth Airport would do nothing to ease the city's traffic congestion, public transport expert Peer Newman said yesterday.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan has promised to spend up to $100 million patching up high schools built in the 1950s, 60s and 70s if elected.

Liberal Party strategists have begun to turn the blowtorch on Mark McGowan with new campaign material that paints him as indecisive and unable to stand up to his “Labor mates” in Canberra.

Page 9: Reviews of underperforming public schools have raised concerns about poor teaching, lower than expected results in national tests and a lack of planning for the national curriculum.

Page 16: Workplace bullying victims are to be given a new right of complaint as part of the Gillard government's rewrite of employment laws.

The mining industry has signalled it will take on the federal government in the lead up to this year's election if it moves to change the mining tax.

Page 18: Perth's appalling customer service needs a good spit and polish to give people more of the attention they deserve, according to WA car-yard giant John Hughes.

Page 25: Criminals in Africa have tried to sell another two Perth homes without the owner's knowledge – taking the number of attempted property frauds reported to authorities since 2008 to seven.

Business: Canadian uranium giant Cameco has slashed the value of its massive Kintyre uranium project by million, fanning further industry speculation that the project will not be developed within the next decade.

The benefits of Perth-based credit provider ThinkSmart hitching its wagon to JB Hi-Fi were highlighted yesterday when the computer and electrical goods retailer posted a small profit that sparked a 17 per cent surge in its share price.

Junior iron ore miners in the Pilbara will have to rely on building their own rail lines, or cutting deals with Fortescue Metals Group, after a landmark win for Rio Tinto in its efforts to prevent rivals gaining access to its crucial rail network.

Egyptian-owned La Mancha Resources moved yesterday to take full control of the Frog's Leg gold mine after agreeing to buy Alacer Gold's 49 per cent stake in a $141 million deal.

Fleetwood Corporation has shielded its interim dividend despite yesterday confirming a sharp profit fall which sent its shares on a rollercoaster ride.

A government department overseen by Premier Colin Barnett pushed for pollution restrictions on Woodside Petroleum's $40 billion gas hub to be lifted just weeks before WA's Environment Minister axed them.

A Swiss company's move to offer WA grain growers an insurance safety net from next year has won universal support from farm lobby groups and politicians.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW

Page 1: The federal government is considering plugging the royalties hole in its mining tax but will leave any changes until close to, or after, the election to avoid triggering another damaging campaign by the mining industry.

Yancoal Australia chief executive Murray Bailey will depart when his contract expires in July following speculation of tensions with the company's Chinese-controlled board.

Page 3: Aluminium giant Alcoa and the Victorian government have engineered an almost $400 million escape hatch from the carbon tax that lands the liability for increased power costs on the federal government.

Page 4: Tech giants Apple and Microsoft, among others, have been ordered to attend a parliamentary inquiry into allegations of price gouging against Australian customers.

Page 5: WA Labor will use a second-tier accounting firm to test the cost of its election commitments, avoiding scrutiny by the Treasury department and its knowledge of developing large infrastructure projects.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd plans to stay away from the West Australian state election, but he will campaign in WA ahead of the federal poll on September 14.

Page 6: Treasury and the Department of Finance have told the Gillard government they will include long-term spending such as the national disability insurance scheme in their independent pre-election assessment of the budget, and not just examine spending over the next four years.

Page 8: The federal government will vastly increase the number of people who have the right to request flexible working hours, in a move designed to put workplace policy centre stage in the election year and put the Coalition on the back foot.

Page 9: Only a small portion of the dramatic fall in the energy sector's greenhouse gas emissions since July 1 can be attributed to the carbon tax, according to federal government advisers.

Page 10: First-home buyers are pulling back from the property market, as reductions in state government incentives offset the impact of lower interest rates.

Page 15: ASX Limited has moved to allay investor fears it will be harder to pull off an international deal while it has a monopoly on the clearing of trades, claiming the government's decision to block competition actually lifts uncertainty for buyers.

JB Hi-Fi has warned that conditions in the consumer electronics sector remain tough as suppliers and rivals cut prices to compete for market share, although the company expects to return to profit growth this year.

Page 17: Whitehaven Coal has been granted long-awaited federal environmental approval for its $766 million Maules Creek project in NSW, reviving hopes it will be in production next year.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN

Page 1: TheAustralian Crime Commission has examined records of every drug given to Essendon footballers by scientist Stephen Dank, who last night alleged he provided club management and medical staff with a breakdown of the players’ treatment schedules and held ‘‘detailed discussions’’ with senior coach James Hird about the program being investigated by anti-doping authorities.

Julia Gillard has sought to blame state governments for the failure of the mining tax to hit its revenue targets amid new calculations that show its net contribution to the budget bottom line is likely to be no more than $88 million in its first six months.

Pope Benedict XVI will resign as leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics at the end of the month, becoming the first pontiff to stand down in nearly 600 years.

Page 2: The Gillard government has put a five-month ‘‘pause’’ on its wage subsidy scheme, depriving long-term unemployed people of subsidised job placements until July because the program has been overwhelmed by demand.

Julia Gillard is planning to make up for previous Australian government snubs to China with a visit to Asia’s premier financial forum in the first week of April.

Page 4: The nation’s commercial television industry has ruled that the election campaign has begun and declared that all political advertising will now be officially vetted.

Budget outlays would swell by $13.1 billion over four years under a Greens plan to increase more than a dozen welfare programs, according to previously secret government costings released last night.

A peak business group has accused the Gillard government of ‘‘hazing’’ the facts over an increase in the superannuation guarantee linked to the mining tax and is urging Labor to rethink the plan.

Labor is being urged to reveal the wider budget impact of the superannuation regime amid growing fears of a hit to tax breaks in the May budget, including an option that would fall hardest on those with the biggest savings.

Page 5: Rio Tinto has forced the Northern Territory government to release public gas supplies to power the company’s loss-making alumina operations in a move that exposes taxpayers to billion-dollar risk.

Page 6: West Australians have withdrawn their endorsement of the state Labor Party as better managers on issues repeatedly rated the most important of the state’s election campaigns — health and education.

Page 7: A federal magistrate has accepted that wind farms slash the value of surrounding properties, saying she found it ‘‘hard to imagine’’ any prospective buyer could ignore such development.

Apple, Microsoft and Adobe will be forced to explain why they charge Australians up to 50 per cent more than Americans for software and hardware.

Business: Electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi has renewed hope of a turnaround in consumer spending, upgrading profit forecasts in a move that underscored the Reserve Bank’s decision last week to leave interest rates on hold after 125 basis points of easing over the past nine months.

Discount supermarket chain Aldi is set to announce a significant expansion of its Australian operations this week with plans to open its first stores in South Australia and Western Australia.

This summer’s spate of natural disasters has slugged the nation’s insurers for claims worth more than $650 million, with IAG yesterday revealing that it now expects to take a $140m hit from Cyclone Oswald.

Low interest rates and government handouts failed to tempt first-home buyers back into the market before Christmas, as loan approvals fell for the third month in a row.

Emirates has moved to align its frequent flyer program more closely with Qantas and says it expects its Skywards loyalty program to continue to grow in Australia under the proposed alliance with the flying kangaroo.

Alacer Gold has sold its stake in the Frog’s Leg goldmine in Western Australia and flagged a writedown in the value of its underperforming Australian business as it looks to turn around its operational record.

Engineering group Coffey International says it is on a stronger footing than it was 18 months ago, despite a downturn in the mining sector eating into first-half earnings.

 

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Page 1: Decisions by former ALP mining minister Ian Macdonald stand to enrich the family of his former colleague Eddie Obeid between $75 million and $175 million.

Page 2: The former boxer Lucky Gattellari could spend a number of weeks giving evidence against his former friend and business partner Ron Medich with a court being told that his statements in the Michael McGurk murder case are "exceptional".

Page 3: The main operator of speed and red light cameras in NSW has been dealt a blow after it was declared unfit to bid for contracts in Chicago on corruption grounds.

World: Several journalists who cover Burma say they have received warnings from Google that their email accounts have been hacked by "state sponsored attackers".

Business: JB Hi-Fi boss Terry Smart has called an end to the aggressive price war in home electronics that last year delivered shoppers big discounts on TVs and other entertainment goods but which hacked away at retailer margins and cost hundreds of millions of dollars in sector profits.

Sport: Fairfax Media prints a document that confirms Sonny Bill Williams' opponent Francois Botha had a banned substance in his system when he submitted to a drugs test before the pair fought on Friday night in Brisbane.

 

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Page 1: Former ALP mining minister Ian Macdonald smiles as he enters a corruption hearing to answer questions over rorting a coal exploration lease.

Page 2: Australia's most decorated soldier, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, says he is taking extended personal leave and will never walk away from the force.

Page 3: Australian singer Gotye walks away with three Grammys.

World: At least 22 people have died in a stampede as Hindu pilgrims headed home from India's giant Kumbh Mela festival.

Business: Electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi has heralded an end to the aggressive discounting that has plagued the sector.

Sport: The World Anti-Doping Agency has called on the federal government to come clean on its investigation into drug use and match-fixing in Australian sport.

 

THE AGE

Page 1: Former Hawthorn star Trent Croad was involved in a peptide supply deal linked to an outlaw bikie gang. Former Essendon performance scientist Stephen Dank says some Bomber coaching staff were taking supplements that contravened the code of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Government under pressure to change its underperforming mining tax.

Page 2: Victims of domestic violence among those to get the right to request changes to their working hours.

Page 3: Claims that Victoria's emergency departments have missed out on $12 million in Commonwealth funding this month because the Baillieu government failed to submit the right paperwork. Grammy awards cap 18 months of dizzying chart and sales success for Melbourne boy Wally "Gotye" De Backer. Gotye's mum and dad live a quiet life on the Mornington Peninsula and heard of his Grammy wins via text. Scepticism about Julia Gillard's warning to telcos to stop gouging on roaming charges or face new regulation.

World: China takes hardline on foreign musicians, after Elton John dedicated a performance to the outspoken artist and activist Ai Weiwei in Beijing last November.

Business: Retailers surge as JB Hi Fi calls an end to deep discounting in home electronics.

Sport: Essendon president David Evans and coach James Hird were given a presentation on the peptide AOD-9604, which is not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, by the products manufacturer last year.

 

THE HERALD SUN

Page 1: AFL concerned about the growing links between players and bikie gangs. Gotye joins greats like Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston in winning Grammy record of the year.

Page 2: 500 truck drivers caught in an alleged licence rort.

Page 3: Bullied employees will be able to complain directly to the Fair Work Commission to get a faster and cheaper hearing under the Gillard government's IR policies. Princess Mary in Switzerland's ski fields with her family.

World: France pulls product from the shelves as horsemeat scandal spreads.

Business: JB Hi-Fi shares soar as an end in sight to the aggressive discounting that has been eroding profits.

Sport: German lab specialising in peptides could be used to test Essendon players' frozen blood.

 

THE ADELAIDE ADVERTISER

Page 1: The pope will resign in two weeks, becoming the first pontiff to quit in almost 600 years.

Page 3: Snoozing MPs could literally be caught napping by new rules for Parliament House which allow the media to film anyone in the parliamentary chamber at any time.

World: Daniel Day-Lewis triumphed again, winning the BAFTA award for best actor, but Australia's Hugh Jackman missed out.

Business: Hills Holdings shareholders will be called to an extraordinary general meeting in April to discuss the company's transformation.

Sport: Embattled sports scientist Stephen Dank has claimed Essendon Football Club officials knew players were being treated with supplements.

 

THE CANBERRA TIMES

Page 1: Pope Benedict resigns. New ACT Liberal leader Jeremy Hanson has vowed to tackle what he calls the most radical left-wing government in the nation.

Page 2: A group of angry Canberra Liberal Party members have gathered enough signatures to force a challenge under the party's constitution over the handling of the preselection for the Senate.

Page 3: The drowning death of a Canberra man has caused heartbreak for his family in the two months since he died.

World: An outgoing US general has declared the transition to local forces in Afghanistan a victory, as his successor took command of all foreign forces in the country, as the NATO withdrawal draws closer.

Business: Fortescue Metals Group has been dealt another blow in its lengthy court battle to gain access to Rio Tinto's Pilbara rail infrastructure.

Sport: The Canberra Raiders have drawn an easy schedule in the first six weeks of the NRL draw.