23/02/2009 - 06:37

Today's Business Headlines

23/02/2009 - 06:37

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ALP call for crisis plan as 5,300 mine jobs lost; Australians to set iron ore price; Gold expert warns on selling farm cheaply; No rental relief as Perth crashes; Turnbull lifts stakes on climate

Today's Business Headlines

ALP call for crisis plan as 5,300 mine jobs lost
More than 5,300 West Australians have lost their jobs because of mine closures and cutbacks in less than four months, according to the opposition, which has called on the Barnett government to develop a state-wide plan to protect the mining industry and affected communities. The West

Australians to set iron ore price
Rio Tinto or BHP Billiton will be expected to set the benchmark iron ore price this year after the traditional price-setter, Vale of Brazil, said it would cede the role to its Australian rivals. Sydney Morning Herald

Gold expert warns on selling farm cheaply
Record gold prices have triggered a renewed warning about the rising foreign ownership of Australia's mineral wealth amid a growing debate over China's investment push. The West

No rental relief as Perth crashes
Perth house prices are in freefall after a fourth consecutive quarterly fall in the median price - something not seen in 25 years - but renters are yet to see any benefit. The Australian

Turnbull lifts stakes on climate
Malcolm Turnbull has revealed he will advocate a tougher greenhouse gas reduction target than Labor as he prepares to embarrass the Rudd Government by resurrecting a parliamentary inquiry into the merits of the scheme. The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: More than 5,300 West Australians have lost their jobs because of mine closures and cutbacks in less than four months, according to the opposition, which has called on the Barnett government to develop a state-wide plan to protect the mining industry and affected communities.

Page 3: Powerful shop assistants' union boss Joe Bullock has attacked the state government's decision to allow WA stores to open on the Anzac Day long weekend but he is confident its is not a sign the Liberals are about to cave in on trading hours.

Page 4: Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has attacked the policy demands of the Greens and conservation groups as economically destructive and environmentally irresponsible because they would drive jobs and pollution offshore.

Page 5: Qantas has lost control of crucial maintenance staff and their qualifications, the airline safety regulator has warned in the latest criticism of the airline's safety performance.

The Mongolian government has asked for Australian help to recover a $4 million gold knife it believes was stolen from a museum and smuggled out of Mongolia by a wealthy Perth businessman.

Page 17: Solar installation companies face up to a 12-week wait as the federal government battles to process millions of dollars in sola panel home rebates.

Business: Record gold prices have triggered a renewed warning about the rising foreign ownership of Australia's mineral wealth amid a growing debate over China's investment push.

For all the commentary about China Inc's emergence as the lender of last resort, two of the Middle Kingdom's most sough-after deals are facing a very real risk of unravelling.

With the US economy in the throes of an historic meltdown, financial workers everywhere fear layoffs.

The federal government has recognised the pivotal role that small businesses will play in reviving the economy by offering investment tax breaks worth an estimated $2.7 billion as part of the $42 billion stimulus package.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Companies will be forced to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into defined benefit superannuation schemes, as plunging sharemarkets and falling interest rates blow a $10 billion holes in employee funds.

The Australian Taxation Office would be subject to new controls and tax officers bound by a tough code of conduct under a proposal by finance executives from the nation's biggest companies designed to boost investment and improve certainty for big business.

President Barack Obama will pledge this week to halve the "exploding" $US1.3 trillion ($2 trillion) budget deficit by the end of his first term, as renewed fears about the health of the US banking system drove Wall Street down to six year lows.

Page 3: Pressure is mounting within the federal opposition to take a tougher line on the Rudd government's workplace relations reforms, with a significant number of coalition MPs and senators pushing to amend provisions that they say would drive up unemployment.

Page 6: Some taxpayers may miss out on the federal government's $900 tax bonus because of a backlog of tax-agent paperwork and inflexible rules dealing with unexpected mishaps and illness, tax agents have warned.

Page 9: Hundreds of small Australian Securities Exchange-listed companies will have their half-yearly accounts flagged by auditors over the next fortnight because of concerns they may fail to stay in business over the next 12 months.

Page 13: Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group is planning to raise at least $500 million in new equity to be issued to institutional investors, and Chinese steelmaker Hunan Valin Iron and Steel which is targeting a strategic 14 per cent stake in the iron ore miner.

Australian investors could get the chance to grill Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese as early as next week on the merits of the company's controversial proposed transaction with Chinese government-controlled Chinalco.

Creditors of Nylex could receive less than they bargained for because of the company's key suppliers, Gardena Australia, is considering taking further legal action.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Malcolm Turnbull has revealed he will advocate a tougher greenhouse gas reduction target than Labor as he prepares to embarrass the Rudd Government by resurrecting a parliamentary inquiry into the merits of the scheme.

Maybe it was too soon, perhaps their grief was still too raw to be revealed publicly, but for whatever reason, many of the survivors of the Black Saturday bushfires chose to stick close to home yesterday rather than attend the memorial service at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena.

Australian governments have been warned to cut recurrent expenditure if they want to maintain high infrastructure investment and not face the same fate as Queensland, which has lost its coveted AAA investment rating for borrowings.

Hints from the White House suggest the Obama administration is considering a move that was unthinkable just months ago: nationalising some of the US's ailing banks.

Former Liberal leader and foreign minister Alexander Downer has told colleagues that Peter Costello should quit politics at the next election.

Page 2: The Commonwealth Bank will tighten borrowing rules for first-home buyers to insist they contribute at least 3 per cent of the purchase price in their own money, in addition to any available government grants.

Perth house prices are in freefall after a fourth consecutive quarterly fall in the median price - something not seen in 25 years - but renters are yet to see any benefit.

The property market has slowed to a whimper, with sales crashing to less than a third of last year's levels, despite a surge in first-home buyers capitalising on low interest rates and grants.

Western Australia has refused to hit the panic button despite fellow resources-based state Queensland plunging into a $1.6 billion deficit after predicting a surplus just two months earlier.

Page 4: The nation's agricultural output would be slashed by $2.4 billion a year by 2020 under Kevin Rudd's carbon pollution reduction scheme.

Most Australians have no idea how Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme will work, and do not realise individual efforts will make no difference to stopping climate change.

Business: Plunging US and European equity markets have set the stage for another volatile week on the Australian share market as concerns about the health of the global banking system intensify.

There is an economic case for restricting Chinese investment in Rio Tinto, but not in OZ Minerals or any other smaller resource company, an OECD analysis shows.

Wayne Swan yesterday reiterated that the Government would closely examine a proposed $US19.5 billion ($30.37 billion) deal between Rio Tinto and Chinalco.

When the Bank of Queensland appointed corporate advisers in December to review acquisitions, strategic partnerships, mergers and possible takeover offers, it sent a clear message that any rival outside the Big Four banks needed a new set of tricks to compete.

The talk among the judges at Victoria's premier journalism awards, the Quills, in Melbourne at the weekend should have been all about the stories submitted.

Australia's annual gold production hit a 19-year low in 2008 despite a surge in the market value of the precious metal.

Norwegian LNG shipper Golar has signed the first offtake agreement for liquefied natural gas produced from coal seam gas, agreeing to take a 40 per cent stake in LNG Ltd's $US500 million ($779 million) Gladstone LNG plant and buy all its product.

Forget all the jokes about actuaries being boring. In Trevor Thompson's view, actuaries should have a vital role in dealing with issues ranging from the global financial crisis to climate change to wealth management.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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