15/09/2009 - 06:55

Today's Business Headlines

15/09/2009 - 06:55

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Construction to slow after funding slide; Gorgon giant set to power nation into new age; Executives face tougher pay scrutiny; Business raises carbon claim; Hot dollar cools rate expectations

Construction to slow after funding slide
Business borrowing is slowing despite growing optimism that the nation has dodged a deep recession, highlighting warnings that private infrastructure work could shrink by a quarter in the next two years. The Fin

Gorgon giant set to power nation into new age
Australia's transition to an energy superpower has begun, with the $43 billion Gorgon LNG project receiving final approval in a move that will trigger thousands of new jobs across the nation. The Australian

Executives face tougher pay scrutiny
The Productivity Commission's review of executive pay will consider transferring more power to shareholders to rein in excessive bonuses and share payments by strengthening the non-binding vote on company remuneration reports. The Fin

Business raises carbon claim
Big business is demanding extra compensation under the Rudd government's carbon pollution reduction scheme, but has rejected Malcolm Turnbull's "hybrid" alternative, in a final effort to bridge the gap between the parties and get an amended scheme through parliament this year. The Australian

Hot dollar cools rate expectations
The prospect of a short term interest rate rise is beginning to weaken as the financial markets now expect the Reserve Bank to hold fire while the Australian dollar remains at one-year highs and hampers the economic recovery. The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: WA's swift recovery from the global financial crisis has been all but assured after three of the world's biggest oil companies agreed yesterday to invest $43 billion developing the Gorgon gas project in the State's North-West.

Page 4: Malcolm Turnbull had a glimpse yesterday of Labor's likely scare campaign should he dare resurrect individual contracts as part of the Liberal Party's industrial relations policy armoury.

Page 5: WA wheat farmers face crippling losses on their bumper crops with the strong Australian dollar and worldwide oversupply pushing down prices to a two-year low.

Page 6: The new head of WA's major trade union group claimed yesterday that the State could fail to reap major benefits from the $43 billion Gorgon gas project.

Page 10: Crab fishermen in the Peel-Harvey Estuary are angry at the proposal to extend this spring's crabbing ban by six weeks.

Page 17: A Federal Government investigation into BHP Billiton's sudden sacking of 1800 workers at its Ravensthorpe nickel mine has found the company did nothing wrong.

Business: Dozens of WA listed companies are poised to ride the investment wave powered by the Gorgon liquefied natural gas project, creating myriad opportunities for stockmarket investors seeking to tap into the boom.

It was the issue no one daren mention in a room puffed to bursting point by the jubilation accompanying the launch of the recession-busting $43 billion Gorgon LNG project.

More than $4 billion in Chinese investment is still awaiting Foreign Investment Review Board approval after two more Australian miners were told their deals faced delays.

Efforts by Australia's corporate watchdog to claw back millions of dollars lost in the collapse of the Westpoint property empire appear to be gaining momentum, with one of Australia's biggest finanical advice firms agreeing to a compensation payout.

Harvey Collins will today be named as the new chairman of BankWest as part of a reshuffle of his directorships which will see him quit the helm of HBF after seven years and also step down from the board of superannuation provider GESB.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The Productivity Commission's review of executive pay will consider transferring more power to shareholders to rein in excessive bonuses and share payments by strengthening the non-binding vote on company remuneration reports.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has embarked on a round of personal global diplomacy aimed at ensuring Australia keeps its place at the negotiating table by locking in the Group of 20 leading economies as the pre-eminent forum to discuss the post-financial crisis order.

It was known as the old "3-6-3" rule of banking; borrow at 3 per cent, lend at 6 per cent - and be on the golf course by 3pm.

Page 3: Business borrowing is slowing despite growing optimism that the nation has dodged a deep recession, highlighting warnings that private infrastructure work could shrink by a quarter in the next two years.

Economist Ross Garnaut has urged parliament to back the federal government's emissions trading legislation despite his concern the scheme could fuel trade protectionism by providing too many hand-outs for heavy industry.

Page 4: Energy giant Chevron is planning a major expansion of the $43 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) project by adding two more processing trains in the coming years after the decision yesterday to formally approve Australia's biggest single investment.

Gorgon is the first of four liquefied natural gas projects expected to be approved in Australia and Papua New Guinea in the next 12 months.

Amid the hoopla surrounding the approval of Gorgon yesterday, Australia's original liquified natural gas pioneer was watching on quietly.

It was 6am when senior executives from Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell met in Perth to commit to spending $43 billion on the Gorgon gas project.

Page 6: Treasurer Wayne Swan hit back yesterday at a coalition campaign to blame the government for a looming rise in official interest rates, intensifying a key political contest ahead of the next election.

The Rudd government has defended its push to include flexibility clauses in awards and enterprise agreements, which are at the centre of an indefinite lockout at the main manufacturing plant for Campbell's Soups.

Page 7: Three and a half years after the collapse of property finance company Westpoint Group, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has reached a compensation deal with a key advisory firm, in the first of a series of payouts expected to be announced following mediation.

Page 13: Australia's intelligence agencies need more staff and better technology to tackle increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks aimed at stealing the country's political, military and commercial secrets, and defrauding business, a parliamentary watchdog has found.

The federal government is stepping up preparation for a new fast-track approval system for companies with a good track record of employing skilled migrants - to give some firms quicker access to foreign workers.

Page 17: Cashed-up miner OZ Minerals will direct the first investment from the proceeds of its $US1.6 billion ($1.8 billion) sale program towards maintaining its 49.9 per cent holding in uranium player Toro Energy, leaving investors to ponder the ultimate fate of the war chest.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Australia's transition to an energy superpower has begun, with the $43 billion Gorgon LNG project receiving final approval in a move that will trigger thousands of new jobs across the nation.

Big business is demanding extra compensation under the Rudd government's carbon pollution reduction scheme, but has rejected Malcolm Turnbull's "hybrid" alternative, in a final effort to bridge the gap between the parties and get an amended scheme through parliament this year.

The Rudd government is seeking to save more than $300 million by merging the nation's civil and military traffic control systems.

Page 2: The growing difficulty of breaking into the housing market has revealed itself in new figures, with minimal growth since 1996 in the proportion of people who own their own home as average prices have tripled.

Page 3: The three major telephone companies have agreed to end misleading advertising practices after a prolonged campaign by the communication watchdog.

Page 4: Industrial disputes at two major companies leading to the lockout of 250 employees shape as a test of Labor's new workplace laws.

Wayne Swan has sought to weave Labor philosophy into hard economic theory, bluntly declaring it is impossible to lift production without collective bargaining in workplaces.

Julia Gillard has warned of a return to injustice and ripoffs in the workplace if a Coalition government were elected, accusing Malcolm Turnbull of wanting to revive John Howard's Work Choices laws.

Economists say Kevin Rudd has traded off long-term value for money for short-term economic gain with his stimulus package, amid revelations his government has spent about $160,000 for each job saved.

Australia is working with emerging economies to cement the G20 leaders' summit as the premier and most effective body to make global decisions and ensure its continuing membership.

Page 6: The West Australian Corruption and Crime Commission has cleared former Labor resources minister John Bowler on a charge of misconduct, in a report released yesterday.

Page 7: Australia's blossoming love affair with surfing the internet in airport lounges and coffee shops continues apace - so quickly, in fact, that the Coalition says it throws into doubt the main thrust of the Rudd government's $43 billion broadband revolution.

Business: After more than a decade of struggling to get the $43 billion Gorgon LNG project at Barrow Island across the line, its partners now say they will move quickly to expand the scope of the giant project.

Discussions with the Chinese about iron ore pricing for 2010 are scheduled to begin next month even though no benchmark prices have been set for this year.

The prospect of a short term interest rate rise is beginning to weaken as the financial markets now expect the Reserve Bank to hold fire while the Australian dollar remains at one-year highs and hampers the economic recovery.

Engineering construction is expected to fall by 15 per cent over the next two years despite the government's economic stimulus and the likely start of contract work related to the massive $34 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia, economic forecaster BIS Shrapnel has warned.

Australian retail banks have been the most aggressive across the Asian region to slash their workforces so far this year, despite maintaining profitability and surviving the financial crisis in the best shape in the world.

Foster's chief executive Ian Johnston received a 22-fold increase in his pay packet over the past financial year after being elevated from the board table to the top job.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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