Abbott leads PM as Labor mired at 31

Tony Abbott has a clear lead over Julia Gillard as preferred prime minister for the first time since July last year, as Ms Gillard’s personal support collapses and Labor’s primary vote languishes at a seven-month low. The Aus

Fortescue outlines plans for Nyidinghu

Fortescue Metals Group has given its first major insight into the development of its Nyidinghu project, outlining plans for a 30 million tonne-a-year operation from the deposit, which sits about 35km south of its Cloudbreak operations. The West

BHP eyes $3.9bn nickel float

BHP Billiton has cranked up the potential for a billion ($3.89bn) spin-off of its ailing nickel division by making a big high-grade nickel discovery near its Perseverance mine at Leinster, 375km north of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. The Aus

Chevron moves on Cooper

Proving that it does not feel weighed down by billion of LNG projects under way in the West, Chevron has staked a claim in the Cooper Basin that could see the US giant become a feedstock supplier to Queensland's coal seam revolution. The West

WA business set to miss out on tax relief

The West Australian Liberal government will upset small businesses by refusing to overhaul the unpopular payroll tax system in the lead-up to the March 9 state election. The Fin

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN

Page 1: Public buildings were boarded up, flights cancelled and people evacuated from outstations as the North West braced last night for severe tropical cyclone Rusty.

Page 5: One of WA's most popular food and wine events, the Mundaring Truffle Festival, has been cancelled after a legal stand-off between the Shire of Mundaring and the state government.

Average petrol prices across Perth have climbed to their highest level in almost a year amid fears they will rise further.

Perth Zoo is still looking for a location for WA's first open-range zoo to house big animals such as lions, elephants and zebras.

Page 7: The state's peak farm lobby group has delivered a slap in the face to the WA Nationals and Agriculture Minister Terry Redman in the countdown to the election.

Prison officers are threatening to walk off the job during the next fortnight in a dramatic escalation of their pay dispute with the state government.

Labor leader Mark McGowan vowed yesterday to drive down the public hospital waiting list with a promise of $45 million over three years for an extra 8,300 elective surgeries and 200 more nurses.

The Opposition will this morning submit its Metronet rail plan for Treasury costing as the transport debate turns nasty, with Labor threatening to sue radio stations airing a “misleading” Liberal advertisement.

Page 9: The future of the City of Perth Life Saving Club is in doubt after talks with the local council over new clubrooms broke down last week.

Page 14: Voters are so fed up with federal Labor they are prepared to hand the keys to The Lodge to Tony Abbott even though they don't think he'd be good for jobs, interest rates, the environment or the cost of living.

The federal government's promised sweeping media reforms are unlikely to pass before the election with Parliament running out of sitting weeks.

Business: Proving that it does not feel weighed down by billion of LNG projects under way in the West, Chevron has staked a claim in the Cooper Basin that could see the US giant become a feedstock supplier to Queensland's coal seam revolution.

Fortescue Metals Group has given its first major insight into the development of its Nyidinghu project, outlining plans for a 30 million tonne-a-year operation from the deposit, which sits about 35km south of its Cloudbreak operations.

Industry leaders representing the state's 70,000 small businesses have called for a reduction in payroll tax that would free up the equivalent of a part-time wage every year.

Chevron has rejected speculation it is preparing to unveil another blowout in the cost of its massive billion Gorgon project, despite handing Leighton Contractors another $975 million to finish earthworks and drainage on Barrow Island.

A writedown on a NSW retirement village has clouded a strong underlying profit by Aspen Group for the December half.

The next four weeks will be crucial for determining insurance bills for the state's motorists and businesses, according to the RAC's new head of insurance.

Plans by Minbos Resources to find a strategic partner for development of its African phosphate projects took a hit yesterday, after Minbos admitted it was in dispute with its local joint venture partner in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW

Page 1: Prime Minister Julia Gillard will forgo her harbourside residence of Kirribilli House for a hotel room in Rooty Hill next week as part of a five-day blitz of western Sydney designed to lift Labor's plummeting support.

QBE Insurance Group is considering sending 3000 jobs to Manila from its offices in Australia, North America and Europe by 2015 as chief executive John Neal moves to slash million in costs a year.

A star business recruit to the Liberal Party is trying to convince the Coalition to reduce its support for green power projects, particularly win farms that are deeply unpopular with farmers in his rural electorate.

Page 3: Labor MPs have urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard to go on the offensive against newspapers controlled by Rupert Murdoch as his News Corp media conglomerate said it was opposed to further regulation and didn't plan to buy the Ten Network.

Page 4: The West Australian Liberal government will upset small businesses by refusing to overhaul the unpopular payroll tax system in the lead-up to the March 9 state election.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett could face a wave of copycat industrial action less than two weeks out from the state election after bowing to demands from nurses for a 14 per cent pay rise.

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has raised the prospect of compensating businesses adversely affected by the repeal of the carbon tax from funds set aside to pay for the Coalition's Direct Action policy.

Page 5: The militant maritime union is pushing for unprecedented guarantees that companies servicing the massive offshore oil and gas sector will only employ local workers under new four-year workplace agreements.

Page 10: A long-mooted class action against Vodafone Australia by disgruntled customers is finally about to start.

Page 11: The three major iron ore ports in Western Australia's Pilbara region have been closed because of Tropical Cyclone Rusty, which is shaping up as a severe storm that could also dump heavy rainfall on inland mining areas.

Page 15: Banks are earning record profits from new home loans and out-of-cycle interest rate cuts are now “inevitable”, or otherwise competitors will move in to take advantage, the country's top-rated bank analyst says.

Page 17: US energy major Chevron has struck Australia's biggest shale gas deal so far and launched itself as a potential East Australian gas player, joining Beach Energy's promising exploration venture in the Cooper Basin.

News Limited has distanced itself from Ten Network, saying it has “no plans” to acquire the broadcaster, amid fresh political concerns about the close links between the two companies.

Page 18: Caltex Australia chief executive Julian Segal has forecast further growth in fuel retailing and wholesale earnings, despite a tougher competitive environment due to heavy shopper discounts and new entrants.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN

Page 1: Tony Abbott has a clear lead over Julia Gillard as preferred prime minister for the first time since July last year, as Ms Gillard’s personal support collapses and Labor’s primary vote languishes at a seven-month low.

PrinceCharles has become personally involved in Australia’s most sensitive consular case, lending his weight to the push to save two Australian businessmen trapped in Dubai for four years on discredited bribery charges.

Page 2: Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick has called for a broad ProductivityCommission inquiry into childcare and the care sector generally, to investigate a range of bold options to overhaul the system.

Page 3: A university professor who used research grants to pay for reflexology treatment, massages, wine, cosmetics, tourist attraction tickets and a noodle-maker is set to win compensation after the Fair Work Commission ruled his dismissal was harsh.

Page 4: A union deal delivered Labor preselection to a former country mayor for the Gillard government-held central Queensland seat of Capricornia despite his rival, a factional ally of KevinRudd, convincingly winning the rank-and-file vote on the weekend.

Labor's long and slow recovery after the disastrous impact of the carbon tax has been lost as the government’s polling trends back down pushing into the election year.

Tony Abbott is shoring up his northern flank, campaigning in Cairns and Townsville yesterday and moving on to Rockhampton today.

Page 5: The massive mining port at Port Hedland has been shut down and communities along the Pilbara coast are preparing for destructive winds, major flooding and dangerous storm tides when Cyclone Rusty makes landfall tonight or tomorrow morning.

Page 6: Labor has vowed to legislate a ‘‘public interest test’’ to vet media company owners amid a widening political row over the upheavals at the TenNetwork, even as cabinet holds back from deciding the detailed reforms.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has again voiced complaints about Australia’s high labour costs, citing increased competition from foreign countries as a threat to the industry.

The former ACTU deputy picked to lead Labor’s advisory group on foreign workers has fired a warning shot, declaring that unilaterally changing the 457 visa scheme is in nobody’s interest.

The head of Australia’s largest health fund has warned that his industry is setting up members for disappointment by allowing them to scale back their coverage to save money.

Business: BHP Billiton has cranked up the potential for a billion ($3.89bn) spin-off of its ailing nickel division by making a big high-grade nickel discovery near its Perseverance mine at Leinster, 375km north of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

The US shale gas boom and the emergence of North America as a gas exporter for the first time is unlikely to significantly affect Australia’s coal-seam gas and liquefied natural gas industry for some time, according to the chief executive of one of the world’s largest power companies.

Australia's major banks are making more profit from new mortgages than they have in a decade, according to new analysis, setting the stage for out-of-cycle interest rate cuts.

New NetworkTen chief executive HamishMcLennan has backed his ability to turn around the fortunes of the struggling network by buying a stake in the company as the shake-out of top management continues.

Oil refiner and fuel distributor Caltex has delivered a record underlying full-year profit and tipped continued earnings growth from its marketing division as its focus on distribution at the expense of refining moves into gear.

The majority of Australia’s nickel producers continue to struggle to turn a healthy profit, and analysts say there is little relief in sight unless there is a fundamental change, such as BHPBilliton closing its West Australian operations.

Westpac looks set to comfortably grow full-year cash earnings to $6.8 billion and may issue a special dividend, after the bank yesterday posted a strong quarter of capital generation.

Accounting firm WHKGroup is considering a scrip merger offer from financial advice group SFGAustralia after posting a 22 per cent fall in first-half net profit.

A three-month trading halt on NewSat shares was lifted yesterday as the listed satellite operator completed a long-sought million ($592m) capital raising to launch Australia’s first privately owned satellite into orbit.

A Qantas director linked to a corruption investigation at Italy’s Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank resigned from her board seat over the weekend.

Mastercard is using Australia as a testing ground for an ambitious strategy to tap into a potential massive market of mobile shoppers.

 

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Page 1: Hunters would be allowed to use silencers on their guns while shooting feral animals in national parks to minimise the disturbance to other users under plans being developed by the state government.

Page 2: Union leader Paul Howes has likened nanotechnology to asbestos and called for more research to ease fears the growing use of the particles could endanger manufacturing workers.

Page 3: Taxi travel in Sydney is among the most expensive in the world, according to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, which is considering a recommendation that the government cut fares by 2.5 per cent.

World: Britain's most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has been accused of committing "inappropriate acts" in his relations with three priests and one former priest.

Business: New Ten Network boss Hamish McLennan confirms he will bid to take the broadcasting rights to cricket.

Sport: Bulldogs superstar Ben Barba's indefinite suspension may last for the rest of the season.

 

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Page 1: Rugby league superstar Ben Barba's life spiralled into a world of gambling and drinking, sparked by the painful break-up with his childhood sweetheart.

Page 2: The Gillard government has been left facing the prospect of a $15 billion budget black hole as businesses struggle with the end of the mining boom and the slowdown in spending, economists warn.

Page 3: Five-hour rescue operation after baby decides to arrive early in the middle of a flood in northern NSW.

World: A complex trial has begun to determine how much oil giant BP should pay for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Business: Incoming Ten Network chief Hamish McLennan has ploughed almost $1 million into the group, backing himself to revive the ailing broadcaster.

Sport: Ben Barba's battle with binge drinking, gambling and coming to terms with splitting from his young family have burned out rugby league's brightest star.

THE HERALD SUN

Page 1: Baillieu government signed off on measures to add thousands of sick Victorians to soaring surgery waiting lists before federal cuts were announced, secret documents show.

Page 2: Gillard government faces $15 billion budget black hole, economists warn.

Page 3: Thousands of Australians downgrading their health insurance or ditching it completely because they can't afford it. Class action accusing Vodafone Australia of poor mobile network performance set to go ahead within three months.

World: Greek prisoner shot in failed jailbreak.

Business: Incoming Ten Network chief Hamish McLennan has ploughed almost $1 million into the group, confident he can revive the broadcaster.

Sport: AFL set to be confronted by a spate of former players seeking to draw a link between head knocks and brain disease.

 

THE AGE

Page 1: The coalition will consider compensating big companies that are part-way through reducing their carbon price liability after the carbon tax is abolished. Brownlow medallist Greg Williams says complaints of long-term brain disease among former AFL players are widespread. More lines and tracks in the outer suburbs and faster signalling would do more to ease Melbourne's rail congestion than a new under-city tunnel, a public transport lobby group says. Ben Affleck claims Oscar glory as producer, director and star of Argo.

Page 2: Union leader Paul Howes has likened nanotechnology to asbestos, calling for more research to ensure worker safety.

Page 3: Elderly Victorian man who tried to kill himself and his terminally ill wife after realising he could no longer care for her is convicted but spared jail. Banks are making bigger profits from writing new mortgages today than at any time since 2004, research suggests. Julian Assange successfully enrols on the federal and state electoral rolls in Victoria. Up to 40,000 speeding motorists dodge their fines because there are too few public servants to cope with the review process, union hears.

World: Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric steps down following allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards priests dating from the 1980s.

Business: New Ten chief executive Hamish McLennan ignites a bidding war over cricket.

Sport: AFL and Carlton organise deal allowing more than half of Chris Judd's payments as a Visy ambassador to be paid as part of the Blues' injury payments allowance.

THE ADELAIDE ADVERTISER

Page 1: Live Twitter coverage of trials in South Australian courts could be a reality by the end of the year if the state's judges approve it.

Page 3: March is the most dangerous month of the state's roads, new figures shows.

World: Reeva Steenkamp was snapped grinning broadly behind the wheel of her car in the last image capture of her, hours before she was killed by Oscar Pistorius.

Business: Global super-major Chevron sought Beach Energy out in order to make a $349 million deal with the Adelaide company.

Sport: Adelaide Crow's raging bull Patrick Dangerfield is being forced to rethink his head-over-the-ball game.