16/03/2009 - 06:33

Today's Business Headlines

16/03/2009 - 06:33

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State to shed 500 public servants; Rio Tinto deal faces extra scrutiny; Jobs plan to save lost generation; House sales crash as spooked owners stay put; G20 baulks at US push for spending

Today's Business Headlines

State to shed 500 public servants
The WA government wants to axe 500 public service jobs in the next 15 months in a further bid to rein in rampant growth in the state's bureaucracy. The West

Rio Tinto deal faces extra scrutiny
Chinalco's proposed $US19.5 billion ($29.6 billion) investment in Rio Tinto will receive an extra 90 days of scrutiny from the Foreign Investment Review Board. Sydney Morning Herald

Jobs plan to save lost generation
Julia Gillard is planning a massive program of skills training and Year 12 retention, fearing that the global recession could create a lost generation of young people stuck on dole queues for so long that they become unemployable. The Australian

House sales crash as spooked owners stay put
Home sales have plummeted nationally as middle and high-end owners avoid listing their properties as the financial turmoil continues. The Australian

G20 baulks at US push for spending
Finance ministers from the world's leading economies have resisted United States pressure for additional co-ordinated spending commitments, but pledged to take "whatever action is necessary" to boost global growth and cleanse banks of toxic assets. The Fin Review

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The WA government wants to axe 500 public service jobs in the next 15 months in a further bid to rein in rampant growth in the state's bureaucracy.

Former News Ltd executive Brett McCarthy has been appointed editor of The West Australian.

Page 5: The RAC has accused petrol giants BP and Caltex of trying to fleece customers after both companies today raised the price of unleaded petrol by 14 cents a litre to as much as 122.9 cents a litre in Perth.

Page 6: The world's richest nations, including Australia, have vowed to take whatever action is necessary to prevent the global recession from deepening but remain split on how best to get the world's economy growing again.

Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group is facing a multi-million-dollar legal action over 30 homes being built in the Pilbara to house the mining company's workers.

The ANZ bank says it does not expect to make any material cuts to jobs this year, including jobs in Australia, and will not be shifting 500 jobs to India.

Page 7: The federal government will defy business concerns and cut the number of skilled migrants allowed into the country this financial year by more than 18,000.

Page 11: House prices are expected to stagnate this year, but highly unusual market conditions have led to the best investment opportunities in decades, according to leading property valuers.

Page 12: The $6.5 million new rail underpass at Karrakatta remains blocked to traffic and unused four months after it was completed, as serious questions are raised over a reported 100 design and engineering flaws and how they were allowed to occur.

Business: Plans to boost port capacity for the Pilbara's junior miners by 50 million tonnes a year have been delayed by at least a year amid uncertainty over how the multi-million-dollar development will be funded.

Chinalco's proposed $US19.5 billion ($30 billion) investment in Rio Tinto will receive an extra 90 days of scrutiny from the Foreign Investment Review Board amid heated debate over the growing level of Chinese investment in Australia's resources industry.

Administrators of Babcock & Brown will seek meetings with the key players behind the collapsed infrastructure financing house, including former chief executive Phil Green and long-time executive chairman James Babcock.

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Finance ministers from the world's leading economies have resisted United States pressure for additional co-ordinated spending commitments, but pledged to take "whatever action is necessary" to boost global growth and cleanse banks of toxic assets.

Some of Australia's largest employers including AMP, Qantas Airways, Virgin Blue and Santos are among major companies that have implemented pay freezes in an attempt to cut costs and stave off massive job losses.

Page 3: the Rudd government will slash this year's permanent skilled migrant intake by about 20,000 places and close off entry to overseas trades workers in response to growing local unemployment as the economy slows.

Page 5: The influential Australian Industry Group has appealed to the crossbench senators who this week will decide the fate of the Rudd government's workplace laws for a string of amendments to further dilute union influence in the new system.

The Rudd government has hit back at the coalition's vow to vote against the proposed emissions trading scheme, saying it would start next year despite doubts about its ability to get the legislation passed.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Julia Gillard is planning a massive program of skills training and Year 12 retention, fearing that the global recession could create a lost generation of young people stuck on dole queues for so long that they become unemployable.

While it is undoubtedly an important time for Queensland, Saturday's state election is also a defining moment for Labor nationally and will be critical to the future of Malcolm Turnbull's leadership of the federal opposition.

The Australian Industry Group has stepped up its campaign against Julia Gillard's industrial relations reforms by lobbying independent senators to water down key sections that enhance union power.

Page 2: Kevin Rudd's pledge to start an emissions trading scheme next year looks doomed after the Greens vowed to oppose the scheme unless the prime minister makes fundamental changes.

Page 3: Home sales have plummeted nationally as middle and high-end owners avoid listing their properties as the financial turmoil continues.

The crisis gripping South Australian racing dramatically widened yesterday with a finding that $40,000 was paid to allegedly rig the election of directors to the state's top gallops club.

Consumers have snubbed a new regime allowing ATM owners, rather than the card-issuing bank, to charge fees on so-called foreign ATM transactions.

Page 4: The Australian Industry Group is lobbying independent senators to water down key sections of Julia Gillard's industrial relations reforms that enhance union power.

Thokozani Landa, 30, is a devout Christian who spends 12 hours a day riding the equipment that delivers Queensland coal to the world.

Page 5: Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman has slammed the Bligh Government's handling of the Pacific Adventurer oil slick, as authorities estimate the spill is 10 times worse than first thought.

Page 6: The Liberal National Party will use money saved from its 3 per cent "efficiency dividend" plus cancelling Traveston dam to provide a $700 million capital works injection in its first year in office.

The best performance on Wall Street this year and a renewed commitment by leading nations to take "whatever action is necessary" to restore global economic health have raised hopes that the nadir for financial markets could be in sight.

Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo has a previously undisclosed board seat with a California bank that last year accepted a $US5 million ($7.6 million) deposit from one of the phone company's biggest suppliers.

Miners may be doing it tough - with project finance worldwide evaporating at the end of last year - but Australia is well placed to benefit from China's aggressive drive to shore up long-term supply.

American International Group is giving its executives tens of millions of dollars in new bonuses even though it received a taxpayer bailout of more than $US170 billion ($258 billion).

ANZ has a new regional strategy for its troubled institutional division, as it sets an ambitious target of becoming the most profitable institutional banking business in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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