08/12/2008 - 07:04

Today's Business Headlines

08/12/2008 - 07:04

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Tax board targets GST red tape; Oil price plunge alarms OPEC; Iron contracts in jeopardy; Spanish airline a barrier to Qantas merger; Garnaut warns - don't go alone

Today's Business Headlines

Tax board targets GST red tape
The federal government's key tax advisory board will recommend changes to the administration of goods and services tax to reduce compliance costs and simplify the system for business. The Fin Review

Oil price plunge alarms OPEC
Crude oil prices have collapsed to their lowest level in four years, just above $US40 a barrel, as the global recession deepens in the United States, Japan and Europe. Herald Sun

Iron contracts in jeopardy
Lucrative iron ore contracts with China held by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are potentially under threat following reports that Chinese steel companies want to terminate 2008 agreements three months earlier than scheduled. The Australian

Spanish airline a barrier to Qantas merger
A mooted $8 billion Qantas merger with British Airways would be structured to ensure compliance with the Qantas Sale Act, but any deal could be jeopardised by BA choosing to merge first with Spanish airline Iberia. The Australian

Garnaut warns - don't go alone
Climate change adviser Ross Garnaut has warmed that developed nations will be unable to avert global warming by simply setting exemplary emissions targets in the hope that developing nations will follow, saying China and India must join a global action plan from the start if there is to be any hope of success. The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Australia will avoid recession, one of the nation's leading economic forecasters predicts, as more than 400,000 WA families, pensioners and carers prepare to share $669 million in federal payments to boost the economy.

Page 4: Climate Change Minister Penny Wong yesterday stuck by a policy that could deny the multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas industry protection from the full carbon price imposed in an emissions trading scheme.

The Rudd government has rejected a plea by prominent economists to cut the 9 per cent compulsory superannuation contribution by employers to kick-start the economy.

Page 5: Food prices will jump under federal government plans to offer tax breaks for carbon sink-forests because prime farming land will be replanted with more lucrative tree crops, according to WA's main farming body.

Page 6: Perth motorists could be paying less than 90 cents a litre for petrol before Christmas after international oil prices took another sharp dive at the weekend.

Business: Mine suspensions and project deferrals are gathering pace as the mining industry deals with the sharpest slowdown in living memory, with more WA operations facing cutbacks over the next few months.

Deutsche Boerse, faced with the worst annual decline in its share price since it went public seven years ago, is exploring a merger offer for NYSE Euronext, operator of the world's biggest stockmarket.

British Airways appears to have put Qantas to the top of its priority list of merger partners, amid signs it would prefer to bed down a dual-listing with the Australian airline before consummating its marriage plan with Spain's flag carrier Iberia.

Aquila Resources has bitten the bullet in its long-standing attempt to convince Clive Palmer to share his proposed iron ore port at Cape Preston in the Pilbara.

Bloomsbury, the company which bought a novel about a boy wizard at Hogwarts Academy 12 years ago, has bought the sporting periodical in order to capitalise on cricket's resurgence in popularity.

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The federal government's key tax advisory board will recommend changes to the administration of goods and services tax to reduce compliance costs and simplify the system for business.

The United States government is under mounting pressure to speed up plans for a massive economic stimulus package and finalise a Detroit automotive bailout after an employment report showed the economy in November suffered its deepest one-month loss of jobs in 34 years.

Marketing directors have spoken: the $12 billion media sector is going to get uglier next year.

An exodus of foreign institutions from the corporate lending market is stretching capacity of local banks to provide more than $50 billion of refinancing for Australian companies over the next two years.

Page 3: Treasurer Wayne Swan and Trade Minister Simon Crean have made a lightning trip to Beijing at the weekend as the Rudd government searches for ways to fund its ambitious infrastructure plans - after proposals for an infrastructure bank were quietly dumped last week.

Page 4: A jump in unemployment could undermine federal government hopes for a pre-Christmas shopping spree by consumers if it prompts them to save rather than spend much of the almost $9 billion in hand-outs due to be doled out in the next fortnight.

Page 5: Federal cabinet will finalise the government's emissions trading system today, with details of how the trade-exposed emissions-intensive sector of the economy will be compensated to be determined by cabinet ministers.

Page 6: Scrip takeover bids have received a boost as the federal government presses ahead with changes to tax consolidation rules, reversing a bungled announcement made on the eve of last year's federal election by the former Howard government.

Page 7: Australia's largest free-trade deal will be signed before Christmas, despite the East Asian Summit being postponed due to Thailand's political and social unrest.

Page 9: Telstra is bracing for a campaign of strikes in coming weeks as strategic parts of its huge workforce step up their push for a new union-negotiated workplace agreement.

Page 15: Australia's iron ore exporters BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto face a substantial cut in revenues in the first quarter of 2009 if China's steel mills are successful in their push to terminate iron ore contracts three months ahead of schedule.

The board of Qantas Airways will meet on Wednesday to discuss plans to merge with British Airways, as political tension mounts over the $8 billion proposal.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Climate change adviser Ross Garnaut has warmed that developed nations will be unable to avert global warming by simply setting exemplary emissions targets in the hope that developing nations will follow, saying China and India must join a global action plan from the start if there is to be any hope of success.

Kevin Rudd has urged the nation's pensioners and families to "go out and spend the money" as the first wave of his cash handout plan to avert a recession hits banks accounts from today.

Austrade's multi-million-dollar export promotion programs and trade offices have failed in their appointed task - increasing the number of Australian exporters.

Page 2: Federal grants to the states and territories will be cut off unless they do more to tackle water problems, Water Minister Penny Wong has warned.

Page 3: Telstra will next year roll out set-top boxes, which will allow Internet customers to download films and play them on television.

Page 4: Australia's biggest banks were "relaxed" about the high number of mortgage defaults in western Sydney and "sanguine" about the quality of secured housing stock, according to Reserve Bank accounts of confidential meetings with the lenders.

Page 5: Qantas is heading into negotiations with British Airways amid new evidence that public faith in the airline's safety record has taken a hit and that some Australians no longer view the airline as safe.

The resort town of Esperance is battling a new health scare after local shellfish were found to have lead concentrations up to 1,500 times the Australian standard for human consumption.

The world economy is in tatters but the push to bring Tiger Woods to Australia is gathering momentum despite his $4 million price tag.

Page 6: Premier Colin Barnett has vowed to press ahead with fixed four-year terms in Western Australia, despite voter anger in NSW that the system has protected the Labor Government in that state from judgment at the ballot box.

Business: British Airways' plans to merge with Qantas could be jeopardised if it merges with Spanish airline Iberia.

Lucrative iron ore contracts with China held by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are potentially under threat following reports that Chinese steel companies want to terminate 2008 agreements three months earlier than scheduled.

Australia's current account deficit is shrinking rapidly as households mend their spendthrift ways, and it will fall further next year when the ambitious investment plans, born of visions for a never ending resources boom, fall victim to the reality of global recession.

A mooted $8 billion Qantas merger with British Airways would be structured to ensure compliance with the Qantas Sale Act, but any deal could be jeopardise by BA choosing to merge first with Spanish airline Iberia.

Australian markets are expected to open stronger this week, buoyed by a late rally on Wall Street on Friday and facing potential fillip as the federal government's multi-billion-dollar recession-busting fiscal stimulus package begins to trickle through.

The team behind Little Creatures beer has unveiled manor expansion plans for 2009 including a new drop from an east coast brew house.

A Leighton Holdings-backed company has won a $2 billion contract to build a new terminal at Dubai Airport with its partners.

Job advertisements have dropped for the fifth consecutive month in November, with employees' fear of being fired widespread, a survey shows.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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