Today's Business Headlines

26/08/2009 - 06:38

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Small business hit as states ignore federal pay freeze; 'Budget curb' on crisis chopper; Labor rebuffs business over tougher consumer laws; Location, location, location, is Woolies' hardware quest; Suncorp freezes senior salaries, cuts bonus pool

Small business hit as states ignore federal pay freeze
Thousands of small businesses will be forced to pay wages of up to $25 a week higher than the federal minimum wage as a result of state tribunals ignoring a federal pay freeze and awarding rises that employers warn could cost jobs. The Australian

'Budget curb' on crisis chopper
St John Ambulance is under pressure not to send WA's rescue helicopter to some emergencies because of budget concerns, leaked emails reveal. The West

Labor rebuffs business over tougher consumer laws
The federal government has rejected business demands that it scale back national consumer laws, and will instead accelerate the consolidation of federal and state legislation to boost economic output by an estimated $4.5 billion. The Fin Review

Location, location, location, is Woolies' hardware quest
Woolworths may struggle to secure the sites needed to dent the dominance of Bunnings in the $24 billion hardware sector, but its bid for Danks Holdings would give it a running start against established rivals, analysts said yesterday. The West

Suncorp freezes senior salaries, cuts bonus pool
Suncorp Metway has signalled it will boost premiums by up to 10 per cent on most insurance products this year after suffering a dramatic slide in full-year profit. Daily Telegraph

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 3: St John Ambulance is under pressure not to send WA's rescue helicopter to some emergencies because of budget concerns, leaked emails reveal.

Australia's search for a single, new identity to match New Zealand's 100% Pure and South Africa's Rainbow Nation brands will see the federal government spend $20 million over four years to find it.

Page 4: There are just five more beds in the WA public health system compared with almost two decades ago, the Australian Medical Association claimed at a parliamentary inquiry yesterday.

Page 7: A Curtin University investigation has revealed that WA has been monitored closely by the world's biggest tobacco companies for more than 50 years, with internal memos warning of the state's "alarming" anti-tobacco stance.

Page 9: Up to 40 per cent of the state's mining sector - WA's biggest industry - has been made redundant since late last year, with an extra 70 job losses at BHP Billiton's Mt Keith operations yesterday.

In a fresh blow to the car industry, hundreds of more jobs are to be axed at struggling manufacturer Holden in the coming months, with most of the positions set to be lost from Victoria and its Port Melbourne headquarters.

Page 11: Firepower boss Tim Johnston has been ordered to pay more than $12 million to WA mining entrepreneur Ross Graham over the collapse of the fuel technology company.

Page 12: Woolworths has set the scene for a war over Australia's $24 billion hardware sector, teaming up with a US giant for an assault on the WA-owned Bunnings chain.

Business: Woolworths may struggle to secure the sites needed to dent the dominance of Bunnings in the $24 billion hardware sector, but its bid for Danks Holdings would give it a running start against established rivals, analysts said yesterday.

Woodside Petroleum appears increasingly unlikely to bow to calls from its Browse joint venture partners to build a gas plant at the Burrup Peninsula after revealing it had offered instead to buy their gas before it reached land.

Incoming Suncorp Metway chief Patrick Snowball will be given a clean sheet to reshape the troubled financial services group after a second successive year of falling profits since its $7.9 billion company-transforming takeover of Promina.

Galaxy Resources has turned its attention to securing offtake agreements over its flagship lithium project after unveiling a $200 million funding deal that sent its shares up 8 per cent yesterday.

Mirvac Group has joined its property peers in the red, yesterday reporting a $1.08 billion loss on the back of hefty write-downs across its portfolio.

Lycopodium shares shot up 27 per cent yesterday, despite a gloomy forecast from the WA engineering company, after it defied a previous profit warning with a better-than-expected result.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The federal government has rejected business demands that it scale back national consumer laws, and will instead accelerate the consolidation of federal and state legislation to boost economic output by an estimated $4.5 billion.

Woolworths is seeking to cement its dominance as Australia's leading retailer through an ambitious joint venture with US-based Lowe's Companies aimed at snatching a share of the $24 billion hardware market from industry leader Bunnings.

The Obama administration will nominate Ben Bernanke for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman, easing market fears that a change in the central bank's leadership might complicate efforts to boost the recessed US economy and fix financial markets.

Power generators are starting to cut back on long-term maintenance spending and are refraining from entering contracts for future electricity supplies, as the energy sector braces for new financial shocks flowing from the federal climate change policies.

Page 3: The banning of commissions, volume-based bonuses and fees based on funds under management paid to financial planners would lead to a consolidation of the industry, to the detriment of investors with lower levels of savings, Treasury has warned.

Page 4: A clamp of finance for apartment developments could constrain the expected rebound in housing construction and dampen the speed of the economic recovery.

Page 5: Woodside Petroleum chief executive Don Voelte has increased the stakes in the bitter fight with his partners in the $30 billion Browse gas development, suggesting that some of the companies will drop out of the project so it can be developed quickly with state and federal government wishes.

Page 6: Federal laws to cap executive termination payouts would not increase base salaries, Treasury executives told a parliamentary committee yesterday.

Page 8: Retailers have stepped up attacks on the Rudd government's plans to overhaul awards, warning Labor has ignored their complaints about rising costs and has delayed action to save jobs.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Malcolm Turnbull faces an electoral battle with the Greens and a raft of independents at the height of a divisive debate over the emissions trading scheme, in a by-election forced by the early resignation of his predecessor, Brendan Nelson.

Thousands of small businesses will be forced to pay wages of up to $25 a week higher than the federal minimum wage as a result of state tribunals ignoring a federal pay freeze and awarding rises that employers warn could cost jobs.

Page 2: First Woolworths and Coles fought in the supermarket aisles. Then the battle moved into the bottle shop, before spilling on to the service station forecourt. Now they'll be facing off with hammers and power tools.

Page 3: James Packer has ended what is believed to be a history of at least 40 years' ownership of his family's 54 Park Street base in Sydney's CBD, with the $50 million sale of the building by Consolidated Media Holdings.

The Queen and Britain's Prime Minister have lined up to bestow congratulations upon Andrew Strauss and his merry men amid the usual excesses associated with an Ashes victory, but most of England was busy watching a religious program instead of the cricket on the final day.

Page 4: Fewer than 6000 of the 95,000 jobseekers referred to the Rudd government's much-vaunted $2 billion training program over the past 16 months have found a job.

Brendan Nelson's decision to leave parliament and force a by-election couldn't have come at a worse time for Malcolm Turnbull.

Malcolm Turnbull has accused the Nationals of letting down businesses by condemning his negotiations with Labor over possible amendments to its planned carbon emissions trading scheme.

The objectives of the new Tasmanian National Broadband Network Company include delivering "affordable" broadband services and setting prices, prompting claims services may be subsidised.

Page 5: Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard has caved in to pressure and delayed changes to the youth allowance that would have caught out students now working a gap year, but about 61,000 of those on support and working part-time will pay for the concession.

The Rudd government last night faced a barrage of questions on community health, vocational training and changes to youth allowance from the stakeholders most affected by those issues: ordinary people.

Australia is set to revamp its international image with a $20 million brand campaign to promote the nation's products, services and tourist destinations.

Page 6: Gaoled former Queensland government minister Gordon Nuttall is facing 10 new charges of corruption and perjury after allegedly taking more than $150,000 in bribes from a Brisbane businessman awarded two taxpayer-funded contracts.

Page 7: Queensland Labor backbencher Jo-Ann Miller is suing for defamation a former staffer who accused her of bullying, intimidation and misusing government entitlements.

Business: Woolworths is making a bold play to shake Wesfarmers' dominance of the nation's $36 billion hardware sector by forming a partnership with the second-biggest home improvement retailer in the US.

Foster's Group has warned it will take up to two years to deliver a lasting improvement in performance, after announcing yesterday a near-fourfold jump in bottom-line annual profit from $111.7 million to $438.3m.

Suncorp has frozen director fees and is cutting executive bonus pools after shareholders were yesterday presented with a 40 per cent dive in annual profit and a cut in the dividend by more than half.

Oil Search is close to finalising a potential $1 billion-plus sale of a 3.5 per cent stake in the Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas project.

Charter Hall, the property funds manager and developer backed by billionaire shopping centre owner John Gandel, has reported an $82.2 million loss for the year ended June 30 and has flagged a fall in earnings in the months ahead.

Leading Australian property group Mirvac has reported a net loss after tax of $1.08 billion for 2008-09 but forecasts a lift in earnings in the current financial year as the residential market improves.

Last week's board shake-up at troubled property group Trinity appears to have done little to assuage concerns of key institutional investors, with the independent advisory board yesterday announcing it had cut ties with the group as it gears up for a public tender to remove Trinity as manager of $800 million of unlisted property trusts.

Flight Centre expects earnings to grow this financial year, after posting a 72 per cent slide in annual profit, as market conditions for the travel sector stabilise.

President Barack Obama yesterday announced the nomination of Ben Bernanke to a second term as Federal Reserve chairman, opting for continuity in US economic policy despite criticism in Congress of the low-key central banker's frantic efforts to rescue the financial system.

Just a few months after receiving a liver transplant, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is once again managing even the smallest details of his company's products, this time focused on a new tablet device.

General Motors is considering whether to retain its Opel and Vauxhall operations in Europe, a strategic reversal that raises questions about the struggling carmaker's direction and complicates relations with the German and Russian governments.

Securities regulators are examining weekly meetings at Goldman Sachs in which research analysts give tips to traders and to big clients, as the Wall Street giant considers disclosing these ''trading huddles'' to its clients.

The Australian sharemarket yesterday closed in the red on thin trading volumes, in sharp contrast to Monday's bull run, after the release of largely disappointing earnings results and a mixed lead from Wall Street.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options