12/12/2008 - 06:58

Today's Business Headlines

12/12/2008 - 06:58

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Sinosteel losses shut Rio mine; Investors hail Rio's cost cuts, asset sales; Christmas tax break for small businesses; No relief in sight as China dips; Shire planner reject Smiths Beach project

Today's Business Headlines

Sinosteel losses shut Rio mine
Huge losses at Sinosteel, China's dominant metals trading company, caused the shutdown of Rio Tinto's joint venture Channar mine and will jeopardise the development of the entire Midwest iron ore region in Western Australia, industry sources say. Sydney Morning Herald

Investors hail Rio's cost cuts, asset sales
Investors have given Rio Tinto a $6.9 billion tick of approval in response to the beleaguered mining giant's drastic proposal to axe 14,000 jobs, slash capital expenditure and sell a raft of billions worth of assets. The West

Christmas tax break for small businesses
The Rudd government will give about 1.3 million small businesses a tax break to help them ride out the economic slowdown, in a sign it expects conditions to deteriorate early next year.
The Fin Review

No relief in sight as China dips
China's rapidly deteriorating economy, with trade volumes collapsing and a trend towards deflation is fracturing Australia's resources industry and support sectors, increasing the chances of a local recession. The Australian

Shire planner reject Smiths Beach project
The bitter saga over a huge tourism development at Smiths Beach is set to go into its ninth year after Busselton Shire Council released a long-awaited report yesterday saying the project should be rejected. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Farmers in the state's south may have to dump grain worth millions of dollars because weeks of unseasonal rain has left them battling a mysterious new crop disease, sparking fears it could damage export markets.

Page 3: Swan Valley grape growers are furious at plans to extend the Dampier-to-Bunbury gas pipeline through their properties, saying it will destroy vines and infrastructure valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Page 4: The Rudd government will grant more than a million small businesses a tax break worth $440 million to help them cope with the economic slump.

Unemployment has risen to its highest level in 12 months but employers are retaining full-time workers despite the slowdown in the national economy.

The Fair Pay Commission has given its strongest signal that it will not deliver a significant pay rise in its last minimum wage decision next year.

Page 5: Colin Barnett has lashed out at mining giant Rio Tinto for flagging job cuts in WA's iron ore industry, claiming the decision is more to do with bad investments in America than the world economic crisis.

Two senior public servants were charges yesterday with stealing more than $1 million from a government department.

Page 6: Two of WA's best known corporate bosses were appointed to the board of West Australian Newspapers Holdings yesterday in a series of changes that included Seven Network chief Kerry Stokes taking the reins of the company as chairman.

The Rudd government faces a battle with the Senate over its emissions trading scheme after the Opposition hardened its stance yesterday and refused to support doing anything during the global economic crisis.

A bid to give unions the right to access staff records has emerged as one of the most contentious issues of the federal government's new Fair Work Bill.

Page 7: The bitter saga over a huge tourism development at Smiths Beach is set to go into its ninth year after Busselton Shire Council released a long-awaited report yesterday saying the project should be rejected.

Page 12: The electricity industry regulator has raised concerns about Wester Power's maintenance program, sparking fears of a return of the plague of pole-top fires that struck the state in 2005, which at one stage left up to 70,000 Perth homes and businesses without power.

Page 14: Parents face paying hundreds of dollars a year more for child care as they are forced to move children into new services because of the mass closures of ABC Learning centres.

Page 18: The consumer watchdog has warned there are no hiding places for those with cartels after potential merger partners Qantas and British Airways were ordered to pay $25 million for price fixing millions of dollars worth of freight.

Business: Investors have given Rio Tinto a $6.9 billion tick of approval in response to the beleaguered mining giant's drastic proposal to axe 14,000 jobs, slash capital expenditure and sell a raft of billions worth of assets.

Westpac executives responsible for writing $400 million in loans the failed Allco Finance and ABC Learning centres will remain in their jobs, the bank said yesterday.

Huge losses at Sinosteel Corp, China's dominant metals trader, caused the temporary shutdown of Rio Tinto's joint-venture Channar mine in the Pilbara and will jeopardise the development of the entire Mid West iron ore region, industry sources say.

After experiencing big falls over the past year and a half, the uranium sport price could rise modestly early next year as project delays and deferrals reduce supplies, according to analysts from Resource Capital Research.

Bank of Queensland has declared all options are open as it pushes ahead with a major review of its business that could lead to the regional lender merging or forging a joint venture with a bigger rival.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The treasure trove of a legal partnership is moving further out of reach for the swelling ranks of senior associates, as pressure to preserve partner equity forces many firms to slice costs and consider staff cuts in uncertain economic times.

The Rudd government will give about 1.3 million small businesses a tax break to help them ride out the economic slowdown, in a sign it expects conditions to deteriorate early next year.

The nation's anti-money laundering regulator has warned he will not accept financial services and gaming companies blaming the global economic downturn for failing to prepare for tough new requirements to report on the activities of their clients.

Page 3: Credit experts have urged the federal government to scrap its wholesale funding guarantee for banks amid evidence it is pushing up borrowing costs and crowding out demand for federal and state debt just when governments are trying to raise funds.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Australian universities would be merged and a national voucher system introduced, if the recommendations of a report commissioned by the Rudd government are implemented.

Vulnerable people who have been mistreated by bureaucrats have the most to gain from a bill of rights, according to prominent human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC.

Page 4: The number of unemployed people has climbed to highest level since February last year as the downturn starts to bite.

Kevin Rudd will slash quarterly tax instalments from small businesses up to 20 per cent in a fresh move to counter the effects of the global financial crisis.

Business: China's rapidly deteriorating economy, with trade volumes collapsing and a trend towards deflation is fracturing Australia's resources industry and support sectors, increasing the chances of a local recession.

Westpac plans to scale back lending to high-risk, high-debt companies to protect itself from a projected increase in the rate of corporate defaults.

Corporate governance experts have criticised the elevation of Seven Network chairman Kerry Stokes to the equivalent role at West Australian Newspapers Holdings, saying the group should have an independent chair.

Diversified miner OZ Minerals, which once described itself as a major mining house, is deteriorating quickly as BHP Billiton and Chinese companies prey on its assets.

Commonwealth Bank shares slid again yesterday as investors digested details of the bank's plan to lift its tier-one capital ratio towards 8 per cent.

Bank of Queensland has joined the rush for capital with planes to raise up to $100 million from shareholders in a market which accessing wholesale funding has become difficult and expensive.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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