Million to face the dole queue; Clarke quits AMP's board; Laws force scrutiny of ability to repay loans; ASIC leniency for business failure; Allco crash blot dogs Eddington
Million to face the dole queue
Up to one million Australians are likely to be out of work next year and house prices will probably drop another 5 per cent, one of the nation's most respected forecasters has predicted. The West
Clarke quits AMP's board
AMP has lost a second director within a week after David Clarke followed Meredith Hellicar out the door, leaving the financial services giant facing a board revamp. The Australian
Laws force scrutiny of ability to repay loans
Homebuyers applying for a mortgage or investors seeking loans to buy shares will face tougher scrutiny of their ability to repay under draft national lending laws revealed yesterday. The West
ASIC leniency for business failure
The corporate regulator has flagged offering directors of small to medium companies leniency in any actions for insolvent trading if they can show they took appropriate advice from an accountant and acted in good faith as they grapple with the fallout from the recession. The Fin Review
Allco crash blot dogs Eddington
Sir Rod Eddington will sound out ANZ's institutional shareholders and hold talks with the bank's board over plans for him to take charge as chairman later this year as resistance builds to his taking on new roles following his involvement in collapsed asset manager Allco Finance. The Age
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:
Page 1: Up to one million Australians are likely to be out of work next year and house prices will probably drop another 5 per cent, one of the nation's most respected forecasters has predicted.
Page 4: Homebuyers applying for a mortgage or investors seeking loans to buy shares will face tougher scrutiny of their ability to repay under draft national lending laws revealed yesterday.
Consumers were out in force at Perth's shopping centres and precincts for the Anzac Day holiday yesterday, dispelling fears they would not take advantage of widespread retail trading hours.
Page 6: Qantas is expected to cut many premium seats after it announced yesterday a review of aircraft seating plans as business travel plummets.
Page 7: Fears that the swine flu outbreak would extinguish a fragile economic recovery played havoc with financial markets yesterday, with the Australian dollar and airline stocks among the casualties.
Page 9: Colin Barnett vowed yesterday never to preside over a deficit state budget for as long as he was premier.
Page 16: Organic growers have warned they will seek compensation in any lose their hard-won accreditation because of trials of genetically modified canola at 20 sites across the state.
Page 18: Mining contractor Macmahon Holdings said yesterday it would lay off another 360 workers and freeze wages.
Thousands of building workers will walk off the job today to attend a rally for those killed and injured at work.
Business: Shares in Macmahon Holdings plunged 41 per cent yesterday after the mining contractor delivered its fourth profit downgrade in little more than six months and warned it may not do more than break even this half.
There may be no benchmark iron ore price set at all this year because Chinese mills cannot be trusted to honour their contracts, say mining executives involved in negotiations.
Futuris Corp will head back to the drawing board with plans to offload its remaining 19.9 per cent stake in Australian Agricultural Company, after shareholders in the cattle producer vetoed a complicated property deal which would have paved the way for the sale.
Karoon Gas set the Australian sharemarket alight yesterday, after it and partner ConocoPhillips announced a potential blockbuster discovery in the gas-rich Browse Basin off WA's Kimberley coast.
Lion Nathan shares soared more than 42 per cent yesterday on news the trans-Tasman brewer had accepted Japanese major shareholder Kirin Holdings' $3.3 billion takeover offer.
The future of another long-troubled WA gold mine could be known within weeks as administrators for the Australian subsidiary of London-listed Mercator Gold push ahead with refinancing plans for its Meekatharra gold project.
THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:
Page 1: The corporate regulator has flagged offering directors of small to medium companies leniency in any actions for insolvent trading if they can show they took appropriate advice from an accountant and acted in good faith as they grapple with the fallout from the recession.
The global agribusiness industry faces a wave of consolidation as Canadian group Viterra seeks to acquire ABB Grain, one of Australia's largest grain handlers and owners of export infrastructure, including storage silos and loading terminals.
Australia will be experiencing only an anaemic recovery when it goes to the 2010 election, according to federal Treasury, which has advised the government to change the forecasting approach in next month's budget to show a faster return to surplus.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions dropped its criminal prosecution of Richard Pratt yesterday because of the dying billionaire's ill health, claiming the case could never be concluded.
Page 3: The Rudd government will seek agreement from the states at the Council of Australian Governments meeting to fast-track wide-ranging national reform of the complex and costly regulations governing the legal profession with new draft legislation within a year.
Page 5: Close to one million workers will be out of a job by the end of next year and the budget deficit will soar to $50 billion, forecaster Access Economics has warned.
Insolvency practitioners are preparing for an increase in small business collapses as companies enter to most demanding quarter of the year for tax liabilities, with business activity statements, superannuation guarantee payments, company tax payments and a looming deadline for company tax lodgement all falling within a quarter.
Page 6: The Kimberley Land Council has signed off on an in-principle agreement to develop a liquefied natural gas precinct near Broome.
Page 7: The tourism industry is likely to shed 29,000 extra jobs if the recession deepens, forcing hoteliers to shut entire floors, airlines to curb flights and restaurants to reduce trading hours.
Page 10: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission will be given $66 million by the federal government and increased powers to enforce federal credit laws.
Page 1: Wayne Swan is banking on a rapid recovery from recession within two years to get the budget back towards balance, repay the national debt and cut the unemployment rate.
Australia is investigating five possible cases of swine flu and vetting inbound passengers from the Americas for symptoms amid fears the mutant strain that has killed up to 103 people has breached our borders.
Yesterday, former protester Frank Sebastian was among traditional owners who welcomed Woodside and the state and federal governments to his country, on the Kimberley coast north of Broome, for what is intended to be a $185 billion, 30-year Kimberley gas project.
Late yesterday, a smiling Jeanne Pratt leaned across the bed of her dying husband and billionaire Richard Pratt in their Raheen mansion and whispered the words he desperately hoped to hear: that he was free of all criminal charges.
Page 2: The Australian Defence Force will spend $167 million to buy a special satellite payload to boost its tactical communications for military serving in Afghanistan and nearby theatres in the Indian Ocean region.
Page 4: The Rudd government is carrying generous personal tax cuts to high-income earners on more than $100,000 a year that it may now regret, as the search for budget savings forces it to consider giving with one hand and taking back with the other.
Rules for the Rudd government's $4 billion job network tender dictate that successful agencies will not get the paper records of unemployed people from centres that lose business.
Kevin Rudd will not act to prevent politicians receiving an extra $90 a week while the rest of the country faces a difficult budget in a fortnight.
Mortgage brokers and lenders face jail or hefty fines if they place borrowers in unsuitable loans they cannot repay, and for the first time they will be forced to obtain a credit licence, under a planned government crackdown.
Page 6: A million-dose stockpile of vaccine amassed to protect Australia against a feared bird flu pandemic will be useless against the emerging threat of swine flu.
Business: Lion Nathan chairman Geoff Ricketts says the Tooheys and XXXX beer brands will remain "Australasian icons" despite the trans-Tasman brewer yesterday agreeing to a $3.5 billion bid by Japanese giant Kirin Holdings.
The first thing to say about Lion Nathan's decision to go Japanese is that its board, management and advisers have designed an elegant solution that extracts full value for shareholders without overly denting precious self-esteem at Kirin.
Futuris's 19.9 per cent stake in Australian Agricultural Co is back on the market, after shareholders in AAco yesterday overwhelmingly voted down a proposal to purchase the Tipperary and Litchfield cattle stations from prominent barrister Allan Myers.
AMP has lost a second director within a week after David Clarke followed Meredith Hellicar out the door, leaving the financial services giant facing a board revamp.
Shares returned to the black late yesterday despite the swine flu panic in Asian markets and a fall in Dow futures.
Macmahon Holdings has been hit by BHP Billiton production cutbacks that have forced it to slash profit guidance, its workforce and to treble net debt.
Almost two-thirds of the embattled Stella global tourism empire's $2.2 billion of assets are "intangible" and based on estimated values of goodwill, brand names and trademarks.
Babcock & Brown Capital has severed ties with its failed investment banking parent, but shareholders have voiced their dissent against an attractive pay packet for new chief executive Andrew Day.
After years of research and millions of dollars, tuna baron Hagen Stehr has finally hit the jackpot - the world's first southern bluefin tuna bred in tanks.
Two unprofitable Japanese banks that have major investments by US funds, Shinsei and Aozora, are in talks to merge.
General Motors continue to reduce its workforce and dealer network and eliminate its Pontiac brand by the end of next year.