Today's Business Headlines

11/08/2009 - 06:46

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Pilbara ports look to more record trade; Coalition's emissions trading plan a 'mongrel'; New arena doubt on cost, timing; Split banks, Senate told; Acid test for China bid

Today's Business Headlines

Pilbara ports look to more record trade
Two major ports in Western Australia's Pilbara shrugged off the effects of the global trade downturn to export a record $38 billion worth of commodities in 2008-09, ensuring they remain the world's largest bulk export ports. The Fin Review

Coalition's emissions trading plan a 'mongrel'
The Rudd government has dismissed Malcolm Turnbull's rival emissions trading plan as "unworkable" and a "mongrel", despite the Coalition's claim it could double emission reductions, boost jobs in the regions and cost the economy almost $50 billion less over the next 20 years. The Australian

New arena doubt on cost, timing
New doubts have emerged over the final cost of the Perth Arena after it was revealed that detailed interior engineering designs have yet to be drawn up. The West

Split banks, Senate told
As official figures confirmed that Australia's banks have all but displaced other mortgage providers, a leading competition expert has told the Senate the competition regulator should take court action to force Commonwealth Bank to sell BankWest, and Westpac to sell St George. The Age

Acid test for China bid
Chinese coal miner Yanzhou is reportedly poised to launch a $3.7 billion-plus bid for Felix Resources, in a deal that will test the federal government's increasingly strained relationship with Beijing. Herald Sun

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has moved to portray himself as a greener alternative to Kevin Rudd on climate change, doubling the prime minister's greenhouse emissions reduction target with a plan to slash emissions by 10 per cent at a far lower cost to consumers.

Page 4: Alannah MacTiernan will stay in state parliament as the MLA for Armadale while she campaigns for the federal seat of Canning.

Page 5: Teachers and school staff suffering mental stress because of job pressures have cost WA taxpayers nearly $4 million in compensation.

Page 6: Detailed conditions of the state environmental approval for Chevron's revised $50 billion plan for the Barrow Island gas project were released yesterday, clearing the way for federal approval and a final investment decision.

Page 10: Miners in Collie are paying close attention to the debate over an emissions trading scheme - and know a change is in the air.

Page 11: New doubts have emerged over the final cost of the Perth Arena after it was revealed that detailed interior engineering designs have yet to be drawn up.

Page 18: Hong Kong media accused Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu yesterday of accumulating a personal fortune on the back of bribes from Chinese steel mills, stepping up a Chinese language media campaign against Rio Tinto.

Business: Fortescue Metals Group said yesterday it was keeping its marketing team in China, despite growing tensions between Australia's biggest iron ore customer and Pilbara miners.

Receivers for failed plantation manager Great Southern will head to court this morning in a bid to get the ball rolling on millions of dollars worth of "critical maintenance" needed to preserve the group's forestry and horticultural assets.

Australia has secured its first long-term LNG supply contract with India after Gorgon part-owner ExxonMobil last night agreed to supply Petronet LNG for about $10 billion worth of gas over 20 years.

The under-pressure board of Indago Resources has pulled the plug, paving the way for dissident shareholders Miles Kennedy and Karl Simich to take control orf the Africa-focused gold junior.

Perth company NewSat insists it is getting closer to realising its ambition to launch Australia's first non-government, locally-owned satellite.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The states are increasing their push for wholesale reform of the national tax system as the economic downturn carves billions of dollars from their revenue base, increasing pressure on governments to protect earnings.

The Rudd government has warned that taxpayers and business could bear the cost of a radically revised emissions trading scheme being considered by the federal opposition.

Page 3: Demand for home loans has increased for a ninth consecutive month and first-homebuyers taking up new loans have created a pipeline of construction work to support economic activity throughout 2009.

Page 6: Two major ports in Western Australia's Pilbara shrugged off the effects of the global trade downturn to export a record $38 billion worth of commodities in 2008-09, ensuring they remain the world's largest bulk export ports.

Page 7: The number of companies going broke in June rose 7 per cent compared with the same period last year, led by NSW, which recorded a 2.5 per cent rise compared with May while the other states recorded falls.

Page 9: The Rudd government and mining giant Rio Tinto refused to be drawn into a fresh row yesterday with China over the Stern Hu affair, amid allegations the company had cost China $123 billion over six years spying during sensitive iron ore price negotiations.

Page 12: West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has warned that a union turf war in the Pilbara could discourage investment in the resources industry and jeopardise the state's ability to reduce its rapidly rising unemployment rate.

Page 19: Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group is confident of maintaining cordial relations with its Chinese customers in spite of the escalating diplomatic crisis engulfing rival iron ore producer Rio Tinto and the Asian economic powerhouse.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Rudd government has dismissed Malcolm Turnbull's rival emissions trading plan as "unworkable" and a "mongrel", despite the Coalition's claim it could double emission reductions, boost jobs in the regions and cost the economy almost $50 billion less over the next 20 years.

The Chinese government tried to pressure the National Press Club into cancelling a nationally televised speech by Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, scheduled to take place today.

All chronically underperforming schools should be closed and principals sacked under "tough love" proposals to be put to Education Minister Julia Gillard by leading education policymaker Ken Boston.

Page 2: China has distanced itself from claims in an online article that Rio Tinto spied on Chinese steel mills for six years and cost the nation $US100 billion ($120bn).

Page 3: Australia's drug regulator has accepted that it is safer for women to terminate pregnancy than to give birth, clearing the way for dramatically wider use of the abortion pill, RU486.

Page 4: The Nationals are to cement their opposition to the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme by creating a climate change policy separate from that of the Liberal Party.

The massive Gorgon liquefied natural gas project planned for Western Australia's Barrow Island continues to gather steam, with part-owner ExxonMobil completing a deal to supply India with as much as $19 billion worth of offtake.

Treasury believes has debunked bureaucrat Godwin Grech's defence that the disputed email central to the OzCar affair did exist.

More new homes are in the pipeline, with a continued strong rise in lending for dwelling construction in June tipped to ease the nation's housing shortage.

Page 5: Some of the biggest names in Queensland lobbying are considering their future after former deputy premier Terry Mackenroth yesterday eschewed a lobbying career in favour of staying on as chairman of the Gold Coast Indy Car motor race.

More voters oppose than support organisations and groups making donations to political parties, but there is even stronger opposition to election campaigns being funded by taxpayers.

The federal government's "build it and they will come" mentality to its ambitious $43 billion national broadband network has fallen on deaf ears in Tasmania, where a business seminar to explain details of the project's construction was cancelled due to lack of interest.

Gareth Evans is planning meetings on nuclear disarmament in some extraordinarily challenging venues -- including Tehran and Pyongyang -- in the next few weeks.

Page 6: Almost half of South Australian voters are yet to make up their minds about Isobel Redmond, the first female to lead a major political party in the state, which heads to the polls in seven months.

Business: After nearly a year of talks, state-controlled Yanzhou Coal has agreed to buy coalminer Felix Resources for about $3.5 billion, in China's biggest acquisition in Australia to date.

The first major sharemarket float since the global financial crisis began was effectively launched yesterday as Carsales.com.au quietly unveiled an initial public offering to institutions that values the company at $800 million-$850m.

Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group has reported a maiden full-year profit of $US508 million ($604m) after its first full year of iron ore production and continued its attempts to increase iron ore output from Western Australia's Pilbara.

The curtain may soon be drawn on the public company status of Village Roadshow, the well-known cinema, theme park and radio station owner.

The global financial crisis has taken its toll on Macquarie Leisure Trust, with the company forced to slash the value of its assets by 9 per cent to $620 million.

The International Monetary Fund has warned Australia's prudential regulator to increase the stress-testing of the major banks to ensure the sector could withstand deeper shocks caused by the global financial crisis.

Australian businesses see light at the end of the tunnel with expectations for sales, profits, employment and capital investment surging back into positive territory for the first time in more than a year.

Houston-based Apache has agreed to provide natural gas for export to Asia through a proposed project in Canada, the latest sign that huge gas discoveries in North America are reshaping global energy markets.

The Australian sharemarket closed flat yesterday after pulling back from a 10-month intra-day high, with the banks and big miners trading lower as the start of the reporting season began.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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