Matt Mckenzie joined Business News in June 2014 and reports on projects, energy, agribusiness, infrastructure, small business, manufacturing and economics. He completed bachelor of arts and bachelor of economics degrees at the University of Western Australia, majoring in political science and international relations, economics, and money and banking. In 2018, Matt won a WA Media Award for business reporting.
Late on Friday afternoon, the state government revealed a $205 million contract with Chinese telco Huawei and contractor UGL to replace radio systems in the rail network had been cancelled because of trade restrictions.
Movement in major city centres has dropped 80 per cent in the past two weeks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today, while flagging development of a policy to hibernate businesses until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Woodside Petroleum will delay investment decisions on the Scarborough and Browse LNG developments after a big fall in oil prices amid the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, but three projects under way will continue.
Decisions on two LNG projects worth a combined $22 billion are likely to be delayed from this year to 2021, according to analysts Wood Mackenzie, while many producers have cut back to only essential staff.
A $20 billion loan guarantee for small businesses, $31.9 billion of grants to encourage small businesses to keep workers and $18 billion of support for welfare recipients and people who lose their jobs are the key elements in the federal government’s second round COVID-19 economic response.
BHP will hire 1,500 temporary workers across the country on six month contracts, with at least 400 to be at Western Australian iron ore operations, Business News understands, while Woodside has pledged to cut payment times for contractors.
Two new facilities to support lending worth a combined $105 billion are key elements of the Reserve Bank and federal government’s plans to support the economy in response to COVID-19, while the RBA cut rates to 0.25 per cent and promised an unprecedented target on government bond yields.
Support for businesses to hold on to workers should be prioritised over cash handouts for households, according to Deutsche Bank, which forecasts Australia’s economy will fare better than most with a contraction of only 0.1 per cent in 2020.
A freeze on household bills, a slight rise of the payroll tax threshold and small businesses grants will form part of a $607 million state government stimulus package, while the Commonwealth and the Reserve Bank are considering further steps.
Chinese consul general Dong Zhihua is confident international trade won’t suffer long-term disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, and is pitching for local businesses to come to a trade fair in November.
Santos has already offloaded a portion of the Darwin LNG operation for $US390 million ($620 million) to South Korean SK E&S, in line with plans flagged during an acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ northern Australian assets in October.