Today's Business Headlines

25/08/2009 - 06:48

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Resources tax plan row flares; IR culture holding back productivity - Gillard; Conflict resolved - ASX powers shifted to ASIC; Wiluna mine production woes put more pressure on Apex; Galaxy tees up Great to bankroll lithium project

Today's Business Headlines

Resources tax plan row flares
The peak oil and gas industry group said the federal taxation regime for the sector was flawed and warned that some leading companies believed any move to impose a new tax on energy producers could force the deferral of resource developments. The Fin Review

IR culture holding back productivity - Gillard
Julia Gillard has conceded that Australia's industrial relations culture is holding back the productivity boost promised by her new workplace system. The Australian

Conflict resolved - ASX powers shifted to ASIC
In shake-up of market regulation, the Australian Securities Exchange is to be stripped of its powers to detect insider trading and market manipulation. Sydney Morning Herald

Wiluna mine production woes put more pressure on Apex
Fresh production woes at Apex Minerals' flagship Wiluna mine and news it is considering raising cash for the second time in three months are expected to see shares in the gold miner come under pressure today. The West

Galaxy tees up Great to bankroll lithium project
Galaxy Resources has secured China's Great Group as a cornerstone investor to help underpin a $200 million funding deal to bring its lithium project into production within a year. The West

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: WA Police has been ordered by the state government to cut about 140 cars from its fleet in a move the police union says will reduce patrols, increase response times and put lives at risk.

Page 6: As maritime officials brace for a long clean-up at the stricken West Atlas oil rig, its owners has confirmed details of the seven-week plan to cork the flow of oil and condensed gas into the Timor Sea.

The disastrous oil and gas spill off northern WA will not influence the federal government's decision on whether the Gorgon gas project should get final approval, Environment Minister Peter Garrett says.

Page 10: Malcolm Turnbull's grip on the Liberal leadership has slipped after he infuriated backbenchers by asserting he had "overwhelming" party room support to seek amendments to Labor's emissions trading scheme.

Page 17: The values of vineyards in the South West have fallen up to 30 per cent with established estates selling for much less than the cost of planting vines.

Page 19: One of WA's biggest public works builders has called for Treasurer Troy Buswell to step down from the housing and works portfolio, accusing him of trying to turn the construction sector into a sweatshop.

Business: Fresh production woes at Apex Minerals' flagship Wiluna mine and news it is considering raising cash for the second time in three months are expected to see shares in the gold miner come under pressure today.

A decision to hand Australia's corporate watchdog responsibility for detecting insider trading and market manipulation has been largely welcomed by brokers and industry groups, despite concerns it may not yet be up to the job.

Galaxy Resources has secured China's Great Group as a cornerstone investor to help underpin a $200 million funding deal to bring its lithium project into production within a year.

The ratings dominance of 92.9 and Mix 94.5 and an advertising market that held its head above water have helped Austereo's Perth operations trump expectations to book double-digit earnings growth in 2008-09.

John Grill expects his engineering giant, WorleyParsons, this year to post its first profit fall since its 2002 listing as the effects of project deferrals and delays seep into the first half.

Shares in Mermaid Marine soared more than 7 per cent yesterday after the oil and gas services company delivered a 48 per cent increase in annual net profit to $26.5 million.

World gold demand fell 9 per cent in the second quarter of this year compared with the first, but identifiable investment demand still saw the buying of 222.4 tonnes of bullion, according to the World Gold Council.

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The peak oil and gas industry group said the federal taxation regime for the sector was flawed and warned that some leading companies believed any move to impose a new tax on energy producers could force the deferral of resource developments.

The federal government has stripped the Australian Securities Exchange of its role as market supervisor, transferring responsibility to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and taking the first step towards breaking the sharemarket operator's monopoly.

The sharemarket posted its biggest one-day gain in more than a month yesterday, underpinned by US central bank optimism about prospects for a global recovery as well as earnings upgrades flowing from the local profit reporting season.

Page 3: Banks are to be spared a major bankruptcy reform they feared would increase loan defaults during the economic downturn, as the federal government pursues a compromise plan to help consumers struggling with credit card debt.

Page 4: A likely collapse of investment in commercial building threatens to undermine hopes for a sharp rebound in growth.

The states have joined big business in welcoming the prospect of a federal takeover of the nation's tax collecting but the proposal has enraged local government.

Page 5: Union visits to worksites had increased markedly since the new industrial relations regime came into force on July 1, employer groups said, with some alleging unions were turning up only to flex muscle and remind employers that times had changed since the election of a Labor government.

Page 9: Banks and non-bank lenders have called for changes to proposed federal reforms to consumer credit laws, which they claim impose unfair costs on small financiers and bury them in red tape.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Julia Gillard has conceded that Australia's industrial relations culture is holding back the productivity boost promised by her new workplace system.

Malcolm Turnbull's beleaguered leadership has received a welcome boost, with the latest Newspoll showing a four-point rise in his personal support, despite deepening divisions in the coalition on climate change and "bizarre" attacks on the opposition leader from Labor.

Australia's securities and investment watchdog will gain sweeping powers from late next year, and the stock exchange will be stripped of its regulatory role as it faces the possible loss of its trading monopoly.

Business: Market participants and former regulators were divided yesterday about an expansion of the corporate watchdog's powers to include supervision as well as enforcement of misconduct in financial markets.

Fairfax Media chief executive Brian McCarthy said yesterday the 2008-09 financial year had seen the "worst environment" he had ever experienced in the media sector, after the company posted a significant fall in full-year operating profit.

The creditors of Babcock & Brown, the failed investment bank, have been asked to fund a campaign to have liquidators forensically examine whether directors acted solely in their own personal interests instead of their shareholders' during the final months as the empire crumbled.

Engineering group WorleyParsons has posted its first full-year profit fall since its 2002 listing, as its minerals and metals business continues to be hard-hit by fallout from the global economic crisis.

ING Office Fund has reported a net loss of $764.2 million for 2008-09 and unveiled plans to sell its $550 million stake in an unlisted Dutch office fund.

Ten months after China unleashed a massive economic stimulus program, worries are building about what happens to the world's third-biggest economy when the government money runs out.

The Australian market closed around 3 per cent higher yesterday for its biggest one-day percentage rise in six weeks.

Despite a stockmarket rally, the proportion of Australians holding shares directly, rather than in superannuation or managed funds, has continued to decline this year.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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