Today's Business Headlines

14/01/2009 - 06:42

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Unions want wider IR changes; Premier 'no' to gas pipeline; Miners trigger big cuts; World falls deeper into recession; Oil sinks for a sixth day

Today's Business Headlines

Unions want wider IR changes
The union movement has stepped up its attempts to secure changes to the federal government's planned industrial relations laws, accusing Labor of breaking an election promise to allow wage bargaining on any matter and warning that some aspects of the reforms leave employees worse off than under Work Choices. The Fin Review

Premier 'no' to gas pipeline
Colin Barnett has dismissed an ambitious $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion plan by the influential owners of the Dampier-to-Bunbury gas pipeline to shift a proposed Kimberley LNG precinct to the Pilbara. The West

Miners trigger big cuts
Miners Rio Tinto, Oz Minerals and Xstrata unveiled major cost-cutting measures yesterday, as the stream of bad economic news out of China continued to roll in. Herald Sun

World falls deeper into recession
The world economy has taken a sharp turn for the worse, with early estimates showing global output fell more than 4 per cent in the last three months of last year, with further decline expected over the next six months. The Australian

Oil sinks for a sixth day
Lacklustre demand and burgeoning energy stockpiles in the US have driven down oil prices for the sixth consecutive day, dragging the price of crude below $US38 a barrel. The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Unions have demanded greater entry rights to workplaces for their officials, permission for pattern bargaining and fewer limits on unfair dismissal claims in a range of changes they want made to the Rudd government's proposed industrial relations laws.

Page 3: WA dairy farmers are reeling after one of the state's major mil processors announced it would cut farm-gate milk prices by 20 per cent because of the global economic downturn.

Page 4: The Barnett government's plan to merge electricity generator Verve with retailer Synergy has been shot down in a damning report prepared at the request of the premier.

The national executive of the Australian Labor Party has not ruled out a full takeover of the WA branch after three disastrous elections campaigns and a scathing report on the local party by former Senator Robert Ray.

Page 6: WA's tourism operators are pushing for a $100 million stimulus package including taxpayer-subsidised flights within the state, to avert what they claim is the biggest crisis to face the local industry.

Page 17: Private transport contractor GSL faces tough questioning during a coronial inquest in March after it was revealed yesterday that heatstroke caused the death of an Aboriginal elder in the back of a prison van while being transported in the Goldfields in searing heat last year.

Page 19: The federal government's first homebuyer's grant, which was made much more generous last year to help stimulate the economy, has failed to trigger a buying frenzy in WA, new figures show.

Business: Colin Barnett has dismissed an ambitious $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion plan by the influential owners of the Dampier-to-Bunbury gas pipeline to shift a proposed Kimberley LNG precinct to the Pilbara.

Great Southern has pinned its hopes of survival on asset sales or a corporate tie-up after failing to win over investors to its controversial $700 million restructure.

Shares in Spitfire Oil, which hopes to turn a big coal deposit north of Esperance into a $US1.3 billion ($1.9 billion) oilfield, have jumped 250 per cent on news it had produced first oil from a test reactor.

Embattled miner OZ Minerals has shut another mine, announcing yesterday the suspension of half its Golden Grove zinc-copper operation in the Mid West and the loss of 70 jobs.

The Australian Federal Police yesterday confirmed insider trading charges against a senior Perth stockbroker resulted from a wide, long-running investigation.

A slump in global financial stocks could force ANZ to issue write-downs across some of its $2.6 billion in holdings of Asian banks that span from Malaysia to Vietnam.

Rio Tinto insisted yesterday its much-hyped remote-control "Mine of the Future" concept remained alive despite shelving a $US371 million ($553 million) driverless train.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Pay excesses in the financial sector could be curbed if regulators forced banks to make a link between short-term incentives and capital reserves, says Future Fund chairman David Murray.

Boards are more likely to place companies into voluntary administration as the corporate regulator steps up enforcement of insolvency trading laws and directors become concerned about their own liabilities.

Businesses are reneging on graduate job offers to cut costs, with some cancelling employment contracts, while others are enforcing delayed start dates, paying compensation of up to $10,000 and even offering international airline tickets to entice graduates to take a gap year.

Page 5: Home loans have ticked up only slightly over the past year, but are expected to climb as the jobless rate rises.

The economy is set to weaken in coming months as the downturn among the world's major developed and emerging markets appears likely to deepen, underlying warnings from a leading ratings agency that the federal budget will reach a deficit of about $10 billion this financial year.

Page 7: Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson has ruled out providing tax breaks for people taking annual leave to assist the tourism sector, but has urged businesses to encourage employees to take a break.

Page 8: The union movement has stepped up its attempts to secure changes to the federal government's planned industrial relations laws, accusing Labor of breaking an election promise to allow wage bargaining on any matter and warning that some aspects of the reforms leave employees worse off than under Work Choices.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: One of the final links to early aviation in Australia has been broken with the death of Nancy Bird Walton.

The world economy has taken a sharp turn for the worse, with early estimates showing global output fell more than 4 per cent in the last three months of last year, with further decline expected over the next six months.

Unions have demanded a return of pattern bargaining under the Rudd government's revamped workplace laws, warning that workers' wages and conditions are under threat.

The Nationals are set to defy Malcolm Turnbull and vote in the Senate against the Rudd government's planned emissions trading scheme.

Page 2: An independent audit of the defence budget recommends cutting spending by $3 billion and slashing the number of civilian staff.

Shoppers spent $37 billion with retailers over the Christmas period, up 2 per cent from the previous year, thanks partly to the Rudd government's $10 billion fiscal package.

Page 3: Raw meat being sold in Australia is laden with potentially harmful bacteria, some of which have morphed into antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Business: The Australian mining industry took another hit from the economic crisis with 570 jobs lost across three states.

Lacklustre demand and burgeoning energy stockpiles in the US have driven down oil prices for the sixth consecutive day, dragging the price of crude below $US38 a barrel.

Myer's private equity owner is putting pressure on management by increasing its board presence amid fears of tough times in the retail sector this year.

Only a day after financial planning firm Storm Financial Group fell into administration, law firm Slater & Gordon is preparing action on behalf of 230 Storm clients against a number of banks, including the Commonwealth Bank and Bank of Queensland.

Rio Tinto is expected to shelve aluminium expansion plans in coming weeks and has announced the early retirement of aluminium boss Dick Evans, who as chief of Alcan helped to negotiate the $US38.1 billion 2007 takeover that now weighs on Rio's balance sheet.

China may miss its growth target of 8 per cent this year.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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