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Howard touches BAS with farmers

FARMERS and small busineses were last week’s big winners when the Federal Government announced more changes to the GST business activity statements.

The changes mean eligible taxpayers who average their incomes for tax purposes will only have to lodge GST or pay-as-you-go instalments in the March and June quarters.

And small businesses will now be able to vary their estimated tax liability to within 25 per cent, instead of 15 per cent, without facing penalties.

The latest reforms are designed to simplify the BAS by reducing the reporting requirements but the Federal Government maintains it is not an election gimmick.

The Howard Government may yet face more GST woes with newly appointed Australian Democrat leader Natasha Stott Despoja flagging a renewed party push for a GST rollback.

Senator Stott Despoja indicated she would also support the Australian Labor Party in its rollback policy if put in power at the impending Federal election.

RECORD production numbers are being used as ammunition by Anaconda Nickel in its struggle to retain board control of the Murrin Murrin nickel project over major shareholder Anglo American Corp.

Last month the laterite nickel mine, in WA’s Goldfields region, generated $9 million at operating costs just above those forecast.

The mine produced nickel and cobalt at world competitive prices and Murrin Murrin general manager Sandeep Biswas said operating costs would start to fall once full capacity was reached.

Anglo American Corp has been calling for the heads of the project’s four directors, including Anaconda’s founder and chief executive Andrew Forrest.

DIFFERENCES between the Subiaco City Council and the WA Football Commission over the public transport levy issue could hurt the State.

With many Subiaco residents expressing concern about parking in the suburb on game days, the council suggested the WAFC promote public transport by including a public transport fare in the ticket price of next season’s matches.

But the WAFC has refused this, prompting the city council to adopt the policy of rejecting any unscheduled games at the oval.

This includes the rugby union match between the Australian Wallabies and the South African Springboks.

The Australian Rugby Union has signalled it would move the scheduled Perth game to Brisbane if the dispute was not resolved this week.

Australian Hotels Association executive director Bradley Woods said if the dispute led to the ARU pulling out of the five-year deal, the State would lose millions in economic spin-offs.

It has been estimated the five-year ARU deal to hold games in Perth is worth around $30 million to WA.

PLANS for a Harris Scarfe city store have been put on hold with the South Australian retail icon finding itself in serious financial difficulty when it was discovered senior staff had been cooking the books.

The company halted share trading two weeks ago and is now in the hands of voluntary administrators KPMG.

To add to the troubled retailers woes, SA law firm Duncan Basheer Hannon has called on Harris Scarfe Holdings’ shareholders to join in a class action against the company for compensation against any losses incurred.

GOLDEN days are over for Joseph Gutnick and Centaur Mining & Exploration with the Mt Pleasant gold operation, near Kalgoorlie, set to be sold off by receivers Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Centaur owes bondholders $US225 million and was last month put into administration, and then receivership, as Mr Gutnick tried to appease bondholders.

Receivers last week refused to allow a deal between Centaur and US bondholders, leaving Mr Gutnick with few options to resuscitate the ailing company.

THE US spy-plane saga continued this week with Uncle Sam still refusing to apologise over a mid-air collision between its EP-3 propjet and a Chinese aircraft.

Tensions are high between the two protagonists with China demanding the US apologise for the loss of its fighter plane and pilot.

The US has refused to apologise, saying the Chinese pilot was at fault. It is also bitterly opposed to Chinese intelligence experts inspecting the top secret equipment aboard the EP-3.

And while Australia desperately wants to stay out of this one, the US has started to put pressure on its ally to show its support.

Headaches are now on the horizon for Australian companies earning their dollars in the Asian market.

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