Today's Business Headlines

15/12/2008 - 07:00

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Premier takes on Mid West port push; Barnett says power merger has merit; $1.4bn to soften pain of carbon trading scheme; Arabs in multi-billion plan to buy WA farms; Up in smoke - share funds set for worst year on record

Today's Business Headlines

Premier takes on Mid West port push
Premier Colin Barnett has taken direct control of the $1.6 billion Oakajee port process amid suggestions the project's timetable may be pushed back yet again to await a final decision on federal government funding. The West

Barnett says power merger has merit
Colin Barnett has given his strongest sign yet that the state government will reverse Labor's contentious split of the old Western Power, saying yesterday a merger of electricity generator Verve with retailer Synergy had much merit. The West

$1.4bn to soften pain of carbon trading scheme
The Rudd government hopes to soften the blow of its emissions trading scheme with a $1.4 billion compensation package over five years that will assist businesses and community organisations to invest in energy-efficiency projects and low-emissions technologies. The Australian

Arabs in multi-billion plan to buy WA farms
Middle East countries flush with profits from selling oil are looking to spend billions of dollars buying WA farms in a bid to secure long-term supplies of crops and livestock, the Department of Agriculture and Food has revealed. The West

Up in smoke - share funds set for worst year on record
Australian share funds are set to record their biggest annual loss on record in 2008 after equity prices collapsed due to the credit crisis and the gloomy economic outlook. The Fin Review

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Middle East countries flush with profits from selling oil are looking to spend billions of dollars buying WA farms in a bid to secure long-term supplies of crops and livestock, the Department of Agriculture and Food has revealed.

Page 4: The federal government's emissions trading scheme should be delayed until 2012 because the damage to Australia's resource-dependent economy would weaken the fight against global warming, according to Premier Colin Barnett.

Vauxhall, owned by crisis-hit US carmaker General Motors, says it will offer staff in Britain sabbaticals of up to nine months in a bid to cut costs.

Page 5: Grain farmers on the south coast will learn tomorrow the cost of damage to their barley crops caused by a mysterious pink mould when results of a toxicity analysis are released.

Page 6: Colin Barnett has given his strongest sign yet that the state government will reverse Labor's contentious split of the old Western Power, saying yesterday a merger of electricity generator Verve with retailer Synergy had much merit.

The global economic slowdown may allow WA to win back a lost $25 billion gas processing plant originally planned for the Kimberley, Colin Barnett says.

Page 14: A bank group has said it is interested in taking over the 241 ABC Learning childcare centres deemed by the receiver to be unviable.

Page 17: Construction union heavyweight Joe McDonald has been accused of talking Boddington gold mine workers into industrial action that cost hundreds of them thousands of dollars each in fines without warning that they risked penalties.

Business: Premier Colin Barnett has taken direct control of the $1.6 billion Oakajee port process amid suggestions the project's timetable may be pushed back yet again to await a final decision on federal government funding.

The founding shareholders of BC Iron will reach a milestone on Thursday when the Pilbara iron ore junior celebrates its second birthday.

Supermarket giant Woolworths says it will continue to open new stores to expand its reach despite the global economic crisis and expectations Australia's growth will take a hit.

Banker the financially stricken Centro Properties are expected to sign a deal today to throw the retail landlord a financial lifeline to give it more time to repay its mountain of debts.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The Bush administration has moved closer to providing General Motors and Chrysler with access to funds from the $US700 billion bank bailout package to stop the two troubled carmakers from going bankrupt and plunging the US economy into a deeper recession.

Australian share funds are set to record their biggest annual loss on record in 2008 after equity prices collapsed due to the credit crisis and the gloomy economic outlook.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will today attempt to appease small business concerns about emissions trading by unveiling a $1.4 billion climate change investment and innovation fund as part of the government's long-anticipated white paper.

BHP Billiton has attempted to break the stalemate in iron ore price talks, telling Chinese customers it will reprice contracts three months early if they accept its plans to overhaul the pricing system.

Page 3: The federal government faces an uphill struggle to finalise its plan to inject $2 billion into the car finance market by January 1 and to avert closures of dealerships and job losses.

Page 4: The federal government will press ahead with its controversial decision to exempt petrol from emissions trading even though fuel prices have crashed by more than 65 cents a litre since the plan was announced in July.

Page 6: Small businesses looking to improve cash flow during the downturn should think beyond the federal government's discount on their tax payments in January and February, advisers said.

Business has backed plans by the federal government to bolster and speed up the injection of funds into infrastructure in an effort to stimulate the economy and fend off recession.

Page 7: Struggling retailers face an even bleaker year in 2009, despite a momentary Christmas respite as pensioners and families spend some of the federal government's $10.4 billion in economic stimulus handouts.

Page 10: There are signs that time is running out for at least one of the Detroit three, General Motors.

Page 13: OZ Minerals is set to become the subject of competing class actions, with listed law firm Slater & Gordon joining litigation funder IMF Australia to represent shareholders seeking compensation for losses resulting from the company's failure to disclose debt issues.

Page 15: Smaller copper miners are struggling to refinance debt as cash flows dwindle and the price of the red metal falls closer to $US1 a pound.

Page 16: Seven Network executive chairman Kerry Stokes is not planning to buy more shares in West Australian Newspapers, insisting his focus now is on improving the performance of the company.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Rudd government hopes to soften the blow of its emissions trading scheme with a $1.4 billion compensation package over five years that will assist businesses and community organisations to invest in energy-efficiency projects and low-emissions technologies.

Childcare centres will have to hire more qualified staff or turn children away to comply with a proposed federal government ban on carers looking after more than three babies at once.

The global financial crisis will cause only modest cuts to next year's immigration program, which is at an all-time high.

Page 2: Toyota has assured Australian employees it has not current plans to cut jobs amid reports the carmaker's global operations are facing a $1.7 billion loss in the next six months.

Skilled New Zealanders who call Australia home are being wooed back across the Tasman by Prime Minister John Key, who has pledged to halt the Kiwi brain drain with generous tax cuts and better infrastructure.

Interest rate cuts and the increase to the first-home buyers' grant appear to have failed to restore confidence to the property market with auction clearance rates dropping sharply over the month.

Page 6: Two-thousand potential buyers have flooded ABC Learning's receivers with expressions of interest to take over all or part of the failed childcare chain.

Business: International banks, hedge funds and some of America's most prominent and wealthy private investors have emerged as potential victims of Wall Street veteran Bernard Madoff's alleged giant Ponzi scheme, and could face tens of billions of dollars in losses.

Billionaire developer Lang Walker is running a ruler over everything from CBD office buildings, industrial sites and residential land subdivisions to even the odd listed company.

Local shares are poised for an upbeat start to the week on the back of a positive lead from Wall Street and the prospect of bankers to Centro Properties delivering a lifeline to the struggling shopping centre owner.

Australian accounting firms are preparing for a tough 12 months as lucrative corporate finance and IPO work dries up in the financial crisis.

Supermarket operator Woolworths says it is well placed to weather the current economic downturn and expects to open more stores and create more jobs despite lower business confidence.

Australian mining companies are in many cases operating at well below 50 per cent efficiency when it comes to transport coal to the coast by rail, two senior executives at management consultant McKinsey & Co say.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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