Today's Business Headlines

07/10/2008 - 06:39

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Backflip on Varanus may see state government gag report findings; Crisis sparks bank shake-up; Pilbara workers to strike; Investors hammer oil giants on global worries; Banks turn to fund for cheap cash

Today's Business Headlines

Backflip on Varanus may see state government gag report findings
The state government, which demanded in opposition that Labor release everything it knew about the Varanus gas crisis, is preparing for a blatant reversal by warning yesterday that it may withhold some or even most of the report on the explosion. The West

Crisis sparks bank shake-up
The Australian banking industry will undergo a major overhaul as the credit crisis triggers a likely break-up of the banking and general insurance arms of Suncorp and Commonwealth Bank of Australia finalises its $2 billion acquisition of BankWest. The Fin Review

Pilbara workers to strike
Strike action will interrupt Rio Tinto's Pilbara operations for the first time in 16 years, as Australian Workplace Agreements expire and locomotive drivers earning up to $210,000 a year engage their union in a push for collective agreements. The Australian

Investors hammer oil giants on global worries
The share prices of two of the world's biggest oil and gas companies, BP and Royal Dutch Shell, were savaged by investors last night amid fears the turmoil engulfing financial stocks would spread to paralyse the global economy. The West

Banks turn to fund for cheap cash
Three of Australia's biggest banks tapped long-term loans from the Future Fund as cash dried up from other sources in the wake of the collapse of US investment giant Bear Stearns. The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: There was a bloodbath on sharemarkets around the world last night as the New York exchange plunged almost 5 per cent in early trading, taking Europe's leading markets with it.

Page 3: Perth City Council is set to award a $330,000 contract to a company which employs councillor Chris Hardy, despite council staff recommending it be handed to a competing company for almost half the cost.

Page 6: State school teachers will get an immediate 6 per cent increase in their pay packets in a decision the government hopes will ease tensions over the long-running pay dispute.

The Water Corporation is on the verge of striking a pay deal which would pay some staff almost 10 per cent more a year in a three-year deal with unions.

Page 7: The state government, which demanded in opposition that Labor release everything it knew about the Varanus gas crisis, is preparing for a blatant reversal by warning yesterday that it may withhold some or even most of the report on the explosion.

Page 10: The Rudd government should delay its planned emissions trading scheme by at least a year, the Australian Industry Group has demanded, warning up to one million jobs are at risk if the scheme's introduction is botched.

Page 11: Beleaguered Cockburn mayor Stephen Lee will stand down from council for three months on full pay while he seeks and external review of damning Corruption and Crime Commission findings that he deliberately engaged in misconduct by concealing the source of his 2005 electoral funding.

Business: Suncorp Metway will push ahead with a formal sales process of its banking and wealth management arm after approaches for the businesses from three of Australia's biggest banks.

The share prices of two of the world's biggest oil and gas companies, BP and Royal Dutch Shell, were savaged by investors last night amid fears the turmoil engulfing financial stocks would spread to paralyse the global economy.

Beleaguered mum-and-dad investors of Darrel Jarvis' Palandri wine group will this morning have their final chance to quiz administrators about what triggered the collapse of the high-profile group, who is to blame and whether it could have been prevented.

Heinz Australia has gone the whole pineapple, not just a slice, bidding $210 million to buy fruit juice and canned fruit maker Golden Circle.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Global markets tumbled following a German government rescue of one of its biggest lenders, which stoked fears that Europe had emerged as the new front in the credit crisis.

The Australian banking industry will undergo a major overhaul as the credit crisis triggers a likely break-up of the banking and general insurance arms of Suncorp and Commonwealth Bank of Australia finalises its $2 billion acquisition of BankWest.

Page 3: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has hit back at opposition claims that a $20 billion infrastructure scheme is a giant slush fund for Labor states.

The administrators of failed stockbroker Opes Prime have recommended investors - who are now nearly $200 million worse off because of the stockmarket crash - vote to put the company into liquidation on October 15.

Page 4: Small businesses have so far escaped the insolvency woes of highly-leveraged large companies, but insolvency practitioners forecast a darkening outlook if slower economic conditions persist.

One week after West Australian Treasurer Troy Buswell promised an urgent round of public sector cuts in a bid to slash record recurrent spending, the new Liberal government has decided to spend an extra $120 million this year on teachers' salaries.

Page 5: Banks are expected to deny borrowers the full benefit of any rate cut today as overseas turmoil pushes funding costs higher amid an intensifying political debate about bank funding costs.

World: John McCain's campaign for president has ratcheted up its attacks on Barack Obama's character at the start of a 30-day countdown to polling day.

Markets: The Australian sharemarket tumbled to its lowest in almost three years, following regional markets down as investors were spooked by further signs that the credit crisis was spreading.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Three of Australia's biggest banks tapped long-term loans from the Future Fund as cash dried up from other sources in the wake of the collapse of US investment giant Bear Stearns.

Strike action will interrupt Rio Tinto's Pilbara operations for the first time in 16 years, as Australian Workplace Agreements expire and locomotive drivers earning up to $210,000 a year engage their union in a push for collective agreements.

The indigenous work-for-the-dole scheme will be abolished in all regional areas, and Aborigines will no longer receive higher welfare payments to do community work, under a radical Rudd government plan to toughen the welfare system.

Page 2: Deregulation minister Lindsay Tanner says Australia's red-tape burden is due to bad regulation rather than too little regulation, for the financial crisis.

Page 3: Teachers in Western Australia will get an immediate six per cent pay rise on top of a substantial three-year deal still being negotiated, as the new Barnett government tries to end a bitter pay dispute.

Business: Global equities plunged and the Australian dollar lost US3c yesterday as problems engulfing European banks heightened fears that Washington's US$700 billion bailout would do little to soften the economic downturn.

Sub-prime's reformation of Australian banking has so far been substantially less bloody and chaotic than that being wrought in the US and European financial systems, but by the time this liquidity ice age thaws, the impact here may be no less profound.

Queensland-based insurer and banking group Suncorp Metway appears likely to be broken up after the company confirmed yesterday it had received several approaches regarding a buy-out of its banking and wealth management operations.

An emergency plan to pump billions of pounds of taxpayers' cash into Britain's banks emerged yesterday as the global financial crisis deepened.

Uranium deposits in Alice Springs, once fought over by more than 30 hopefuls -- including one claim by a midnight pegger -- are a step closer to being developed, with Paladin Energy and its Canadian joint venture partner granted an exploration licence to further examine the land.

Oil and gas producer Santos said yesterday it had completed a $300 million off-market buyback at a 14 per cent discount.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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