09/04/2009 - 06:36

Today's Business Headlines

09/04/2009 - 06:36

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KPMG axes Perth jobs as audit work slows; Banks won’t budge on rate cut; Packer sends adviser packing; Consumers seeing the bright side; Telstra in talks over role it will play in NBN plan

KPMG axes Perth jobs as audit work slows
KPMG has slashed the size of its WA audit division, cutting up to 30 staff at its Perth office as the global economic meltdown crimps demand for the previously in-demand professional service industry. The West

Banks won't budge on rate cut
The big banks are refusing to bow to pressure from angry home buyers and politicians to pass on the latest official interest rate cut. Daily Telegraph

Packer sends adviser packing
A major restructure at the boards of James Packer's main public companies, including Consolidated Media Holdings and gaming group Crown, has seen the departure of former high-level adviser Chris Anderson from all of his listed board roles at Packer interests. The Australian

Consumers seeing the bright side
A big jump in consumer confidence and a return of buyers to the housing market are raising hopes that Australia will avoid the worst of the global downturn. The Australian

Telstra in talks over role it will play in NBN plan
Telstra's chairman and chief financial officer met Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's right-hand man yesterday, as the telecommunications giant starts to negotiate the radically transformed broadband landscape. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 3: Sensitive personal details of thousands of West Australians - including phone numbers, medical records and financial information - have been exposed to internet hackers because of lax computer controls at government departments, according to Auditor-General Colin Murphy.

Page 4: The Australian Taxation Office will delve into the car-buying habits of 2.5 million Australians as part of a wide-ranging sting targeting the cash economy and fringe benefits.

Page 6: WA should not be pushed to the back of the queue under the Rudd government's plans to roll out the world's fastest internet, Commerce Minister Troy Buswell said yesterday.

Page 7: Motorists could pay up to $1 million extra in the lead-up to Easter as petrol stations follow BP and Caltex in lifting their unleaded petrol prices, according to the RAC.

Page 10: No BHP Billiton employee is safe to work in WA after another near-miss which prompted the company to suspend its rail operations at Port Hedland, the Australian Workers Union has warned.

Page 11: Woodside Petroleum's liquefied natural gas development in the Browse Basin will be as lucrative as the North West Shelf project and empower indigenous communities in the Kimberley, Federal resources Minister Martin Ferguson says.

Page 12: A powerful Chinese bureaucrat vowed to get back at Andrew Forrest and Fortescue Metals Group for not giving up enough of the iron ore company in exchange for developing its projects, a court has been told.

Page 14: The humble market stall is experiencing a revival as cost-conscious consumers look to reduce their shopping bill during the economic downturn.

Business: The future if hundreds of unitholders in BrisConnections hangs in the balance with Macquarie Group, Deutsche Bank and the Queensland government at loggerheads over a proposal to excuse small investors their instalment liabilities.

KPMG has slashed the size of its WA audit division, cutting up to 30 staff at its Perth office as the global economic meltdown crimps demand for the previously in-demand professional service industry.

Telstra's chairman and chief financial officer met Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's right-hand man yesterday, as the telecommunications giant starts to negotiate the radically transformed broadband landscape.

Australia's northern neighbours, Indonesia and Singapore, polled worst and best respectively in a survey of Asian corruption, with last year's cellar-dweller the Philippines making a marked improvement.

Shares in Equinox Minerals plunged 20 per cent yesterday as the miner emerged from a trading halt to reveal the terms of its deeply discounted $180 million raising.

The Australian Securities Exchange is expected to investigate the leaking of details of a $500 million contract won by a joint venture between Macmahon Holdings and Leighton Holdings at BHP Billiton's RGP5 iron ore expansion in the Pilbara.

Great Southern is pushing ahead with its assets sale program "in an orderly manner" and is working closely with its bankers as it seeks to reduce debt and stay within its banking covenants.

Iluka Resources shares have sunk to their lowest level in more than a year as analysts warned the WA mineral sands miner could post a loss in 2009 because of the weak zircon market.

The Perth dealmakers behind last year's attempted boardroom coup at Victoria Petroleum have teamed up to make a $3.6 million play for WA's Target Energy.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 2: Treasurer Wayne Swan says banks deserve a "good kick up the bum" but they seem determined not to pass on the Reserve Bank of Australia's interest rate cut of 0.25 of a percentage point in full.

Page 3: Investors should brace themselves: financial conditions will not improve soon.

Page 7: The number of people going broke increased 18 per cent compared with the same period last year and the number of people having trouble paying their tax bills rose 15 per cent, latest statistics show.

Page 8: The food and grocery lobby group wants simpler regulations and a national policy framework for the grocery industry.

Page 21: Telstra has begun the charm offensive with the federal government over the national broadband network amid signs that the former monopoly could be softening its stance towards so-called functional separation of its local network and its retail assets.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: A second influential ALP figure has been accused of spending union money on escorts, with enemies of Victorian union boss Jeff Jackson releasing bank statements showing payments to the same Sydney brothel where federal MP Craig Thomson's credit card was allegedly used.

A big jump in consumer confidence and a return of buyers to the housing market are raising hopes that Australia will avoid the worst of the global downturn.

The funding costs for Australia's major banks have fallen sharply, undermining their argument they cannot afford to pass on the latest Reserve Bank interest rate cut in full.

Senior Liberals in two states have delivered Malcolm Turnbull an embarrassing rebuff, rejecting his staunch opposition to Kevin Rudd's proposed $43 billion high-speed broadband service.

Page 3: The Queensland government investment arm is behind moves to protect the BrisConnections project from investors desperate to avoid being bankrupted by $2 instalment payments on shares they bought for as little as 0.1c.

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett says violence and binge drinking in Perth's central restaurant and nightclub district is a symptom of a fundamental problem - the state's lack of sophistication.

Business: A major restructure at the boards of James Packer's main public companies, including Consolidated Media Holdings and gaming group Crown, has seen the departure of former high-level adviser Chris Anderson from all of his listed board roles at Packer interests.

Origin Energy's $35 billion liquefied natural gas project in Queensland, which has the potential to create 5,000 jobs, has been declared "significant" by the state government.

The upward surge that Telstra shares experienced on the back of the government's $43 billion NBN announcement petered out yesterday as investors came to grips with the realities of the decision.

The debt-plagued Canadian controlling shareholder of television's Ten Network, CanWest Global Communications, has won another fortnight's reprieve from its bankers as it continues its battle to avoid filing for protection from creditors.

QBE Insurance Group has flagged a 4 per cent increase in overall average premiums this year as the number of weather-related catastrophes rises and the global financial crisis continues to unfold.

Rupert Murdoch's second-eldest daughter Elisabeth has become the latest Murdoch sibling to create an Australian base, yesterday announcing that her Shine TV production group would launch here next year.

Chinese authorities decided to teach Fortescue Metals Group a lesson after Andrew Forrest refused to let them have a majority stake in his massive Pilbara iron ore project, Perth's Federal Court has been told.

The $2 million dividend payment Storm Financial founders Emmanuel and Julie Cassimatis paid to themselves last year will remain frozen until at least May 14.


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