Today's Business Headlines

12/03/2009 - 06:31

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Greens and Chevron set to face off over Gorgon vision; Unions opt for jobs over pay; Sacked workers rejected pay cuts; Coal price cut hits export earnings; China hit raises fear of great recession

Today's Business Headlines

Greens and Chevron set to face off over Gorgon vision
Chevron is set for fresh battles with WA's powerful green lobby group after the US giant said yesterday it wanted to nearly double the size of the $50 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas project on environmentally fragile Barrow Island off WA's North West. The West

Unions opt for jobs over pay
Pay rises for thousands of workers in the nation's struggling retail and hospitality sectors could be deferred for up to five years, as unions concede the need to minimise cost pressures on employers during the economic downturn. The Australian

Sacked workers rejected pay cuts
More than 150 workers have been sacked from Western Australia's biggest beef producer just days after they rejected a new workplace agreement put forward by the company to cope with the financial crisis. The Australian

Coal price cut hits export earnings
Export earnings from coal and iron ore could slump by up to $35 billion after the first major contract settlement for 2009 resulted in prices for thermal coal being slashed for Japanese buyers, putting more jobs at risk and undermining official forecasts for the economy. The Fin Review

China hit raises fear of great recession
The "great recession" is hitting China harder than expected, threatening to prolong the bust in the commodities sector and worsen domestic downturn. Sydney Morning Herald

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 3: Former treasurer Peter Costello has decided to recontest his seat in Parliament and is manoeuvring to replace Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal leader.

Page 5: Treasurer Troy Buswell has been forced to go cap-in-hand to Parliament for an extra $1.2 billion this financial year as election promises and public service wages blowouts put even more pressure on state finances.

Sacked workers at the state's biggest abattoir claim union members were punished for refusing a deal to cut workers' pay more than 20 per cent.

Page 6: WA faces a shortfall of up to 32,000 houses over the nex five years, a federal agency has warned.

Page 11: Motorists have paid tens of millions of dollars to councils in parking fines and fees this financial year.

Page 12: The state government's demand for 3 per cent budget cuts across al departments came under fire yesterday after it was revealed 27 agencies were exempt because their annual budgets are less than $6.6 million.

Page 17: The government's chances of getting its emissions trading scheme through the Senate by the middle of the year took another hit yesterday when Family First Senator Steve Fielding said he believed the scheme should be delayed.

Business: Chevron is set for fresh battles with WA's powerful green lobby group after the US giant said yesterday it wanted to nearly double the size of the $50 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas project on environmentally fragile Barrow Island off WA's North West.

WA millionaire Ric Stowe's Griffin Energy's troubled summer has continued, with the company confirming it has shelved plans for a 330MW gas-fired power station nears Wanneroo.

Two more WA explorers were fighting for survival last night after Zambezi Resources warned its $13 million company-saving deal was at risk and tungsten hopeful Vital Metals was left struggling for a cash lifeline.

One of the key players looking to break the Australian Securities Exchange's equities monopoly has cautioned that recent market turmoil should not be used as an excuse to put on hold the opening up of the market.

Cathay Pacific has racked up its first annual loss in 10 years as bad bets on jet fuel costs and plummeting demand took a toll on Asia's third-biggest airline.

Oil and gas group Nexus expects to be back trading by Wednesday after being suspended as it seeks a life-saving funding deal.

Small business advisory bodies are experiencing an upsurge in demand for their services from workers who have lost their jobs in the economic downturn and are exploring opportunities to strike out their own.

The Perth company backed by veteran dealmakers Luke and Dominic Martino has returned to the boards in its fourth incarnation, this time as a molybdenum player.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Export earnings from coal and iron ore could slump by up to $35 billion after the first major contract settlement for 2009 resulted in prices for thermal coal being slashed for Japanese buyers, putting more jobs at risk and undermining official forecasts for the economy.

The Rudd government has flagged possible further spending on housing in the May budget as it claims vindication for its economic stimulus strategy from a surge in first-home buyers entering the property market.

The US could emerge from recession in the second half of the year, provided the banking sector stabilised, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said as he outlined steps to limit further crises.

Page 3: The federal government has signalled its willingness to help the states raise billions of dollars in debt amid concerns that a funding shortage will force state premiers to scale back major infrastructure projects.

Page 4: Independent senators Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding are being besieged by business groups, unions, the government and opposition as all sides step up lobbying over possible amendments to the Fair Work Bill.

Page 5: The federal government's emissions trading scheme will be scrutinised by two separate senate inquiries over the next two months, adding to growing confusion over its future.

Page 7: The West Australian government will spend $1.2 billion this financial year outside the normal budget process to meet its election promises and other spending commitments, in a move that highlights its failure to arrest the state's massive blow-out in public spending.

Page 10: Leighton Holdings chief executive Wal King is expected to call on federal and state governments to dramatically change how they plan private-public infrastructure projects as blunders and a shrivelling credit market threaten key initiatives.

Western Australia's biggest meatworks, Harvey Beef, has blamed a severe slump in export demand for its decision to sack 160 workers, despite official data released last week that shows Australian beef producers are shipping record volumes overseas.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Pay rises for thousands of workers in the nation's struggling retail and hospitality sectors could be deferred for up to five years, as unions concede the need to minimise cost pressures on employers during the economic downturn.

The Rudd Government is resisting requests to extend its highly successful increase in the first-home buyer's grant, raising fears of a housing slump once the scheme is terminated on June 30.

Former ATSIC chief Lowitja O'Donoghue has unleashed a furious attack on the disbanded body, claiming its male leaders were preoccupied with drinking, gambling and womanising.

Page 2: The federal opposition yesterday hardened its stance on Labor's emissions trading scheme, claiming it would cost tens of thousands of jobs in a deteriorating economy.

Treasury is exploiting hard times in the finance sector by recruiting the best and brightest workers to the public sector.

Page 3: Sales of CDs and music DVDs in Australia dropped 14.32 per cent last year, a slump that further threatens the conventional CD store in the face of digital music distribution.

Page 4: Telstra's move to turbocharge its city broadband network will make it impossible for the nation to have a single information superhighway, a key Rudd Government adviser said yesterday.

Page 6: More than 150 workers have been sacked from Western Australia's biggest beef producer just days after they rejected a new workplace agreement put forward by the company to cope with the financial crisis.

One-third of Queensland newsagent workers could be sacked, with employment costs tipped to rise by as much as 31 per cent under the Rudd Government's industrial relations reforms.

Business: Australian coal producers have taken a 44 per cent cut in the first major price deal with Japan in 2009, a move that represents a $5 billion hit to national export revenues.

Global sharemarkets roared yesterday after Citigroup helped lift the gloom in the banking sector by revealing it had returned to profit in the first two months of the year.

Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff is expected to plead guilty today to 11 felony charges stemming from his decades-long Ponzi scheme, and is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Former PMP chief executive Brian Evans - whose reasons for suddenly departing the beleaguered printing group in January have remained a mystery - has filed a $1.56 million lawsuit against his former employer, after it refused to pay him a termination benefit.

China's exports slumped last month by 25.7 per cent compared with the previous year, shrinking its trade surplus to $7.5 billion, from $61 billion in January.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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