Today's Business Headlines

22/09/2009 - 06:46

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

WA still the most resourceful state; PM plugs Gorgon in US investment sales pitch; WA's work safety stance carries risk; Voters back ETS but not early poll; Skills crunch looms in resources sector

WA still the most resourceful state
Western Australia has reaffirmed its status as the nation's export powerhouse after shrugging off the effects of global economic downturn to record a 19 per cent increase in the value of its resources sector in 2008-09. The Fin

PM plugs Gorgon in US investment sales pitch
WA's gigantic Gorgon liquefied natural gas project is being used by Kevin Rudd as a lure for billions of dollars in foreign cash during a New York economic roadshow that depicts Australia as an investment safe haven. The West

WA's work safety stance carries risk
Western Australia will reject national workplace safety laws this week, despite a warning that the state will lose a significant amount of federal funding if it does not comply with the national reform agenda. The Fin

Voters back ETS but not early poll
Kevin Rudd's threat to call an early election if the Coalition blocks an emissions trading scheme in the Senate is only backed by one in five Australians, while a clear majority believes the government should modify its carbon pollution reduction scheme. The Australian

Skills crunch looms in resources sector
Many Australian companies are facing a problem that firms in most other advanced economies emerging from the downturn might envy -- a lack of workers for all the jobs being created. The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 3: Opposition leader Eric Ripper has banned two of his senior frontbenchers from discussing Labor's uranium mining policy publicly as deep divisions over the issue threaten to split the party.

Page 4: Superannuation nest eggs have had a stunning rebound from a surging stockmarket and confidence that the worst of the global recession is over.

Page 5: A nationwide scam is believed to have preyed on mostly low to middle-income WA mum and dad investors who have lost equity in their homes.

Page 6: WA's gigantic Gorgon liquefied natural gas project is being used by Kevin Rudd as a lure for billions of dollars in foreign cash during a New York economic roadshow that depicts Australia as an investment safe haven.

Page 11: Superfine ewe wool from Kojonup could be destined for a high fashion house in Milan after being crowned supreme fleece at the Perth Royal Show.

Page 13: Virgin Blue plans to take advantage of the global downturn in travel that has seen a record number of aircraft grounded to order up to 50 new Boeing aircraft at bargain prices.

Page 16: The Rudd Government is increasing pressure on the opposition to pass the emissions trading scheme with open hints of a double dissolution election.

Business: Multi-million dollar payments to two high-profile company bosses last financial year have reignited the simmering debate about corporate pay.

An independent expert has labelled a heavily discounted $4 million capital raising, which will increase Tasmanian Caterpillar dealer Dale Elphinstone's stake in struggling locomotive company Coote Industrial to 25 per cent, as "not fair but reasonable".

The head of the Pilbara's next iron ore producer has added his weight to suggestions that consolidation of the junior iron ore sector is inevitable.

Chief executive David Thodey says Telstra is still trying to come to grips with the Rudd government's forced split of its business, including whether the telco will be allowed to retain its 50 per cent stake in Foxtel.

A need for fire prevention maintenance on thousands of Timbercorp bluegum plantations is becoming crucial as the fire season nears, adding urgency to attempts by the failed company's liquidators to sell the assets.

Korean steelmaker POSCO has cemented its position as one of the biggest investors in WA's junior resources sector after acquiring a 13 per cent stake in iron ore and manganese hopeful Jupiter Mines.

The Peter Briggs-controlled Westralian Gas & Power has lost the backing of fertiliser tycoon Pankaj Oswal in its hunt for coal seam gas in the state's South-West.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Federal government agencies are facing increasing pressure to achieve a dramatic increase in annual cost-cutting targets as part of Labor's ambitious plan to slash $1 billion from the commonwealth's information technology budget.

Banks could be forced to buy up billions of dollars of federal and state bonds under new rules designed to ensure that they are in a strong position to weather any financial crisis.

Superannuation funds have recorded their biggest six-monthly return in at least a decade as the outlook for the global economy improved and share prices soared.

Page 3: Unions and shareholders have slammed multimillion-dollar payouts to three chief executives of major sharemarket-listed companies, claiming they demonstrate the need for tougher restraints on executive pay.

Taxi giant Cabcharge has admitted to key allegations raised in the competition regulator's anti-competitive case against it but claims that free giveaways were made without the knowledge or authority of the board.

The Australian Industry Group has warned employers not to give unions a "blank cheque: by signing up to new enterprise agreements that give the new workplace regulator the power to arbitrate a broad range of disputes.

Page 4: Business groups have urged the Rudd government to provide more protection to companies under its emissions trading scheme, after Climate Change Minister Penny Wong conceded a new global agreement should not require developing nations to commit to cuts in their greenhouse pollution.

Page 5: Consumers will suffer from higher interest rates and slower economic growth as a result of the Rudd government's heavy spending, economists have told a heated Senate inquiry.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has strongly attacked calls for a winding back of stimulus measures to boost the global economy, in some of his sharpest comments yet on the subject.

Page 6: The insulation industry, which has surged in response to the federal government's $4 billion household subsidy program, looks set to slump once residential demand slows and a major overseas competitor enters the market.

Page 7: Western Australia will reject national workplace safety laws this week, despite a warning that the state will lose a significant amount of federal funding if it does not comply with the national reform agenda.

Page 9: The goods and services tax laws will be simplified for property developers, as the federal government seeks to cut red tape and end years of uncertainty for the industry.

Page 10: Western Australia has reaffirmed its status as the nation's export powerhouse after shrugging off the effects of global economic downturn to record a 19 per cent increase in the value of its resources sector in 2008-09

Page 11: Citigroup is locked in a fight with the Australian Taxation Office over $24 million the bank tried to write off its tax bill.

Page 16: The independent directors of Babcock & Brown Infrastructure will seek more time to seek a recapitalisation proposal led by investment bank RBS but are expected to flag to unit holders that they hold serious reservations about the proposal.

Shareholders of Macquarie Airports have delivered a tepid response to a rival offer led by Mike Fitzpatrick to west the management rights of the specialist fund from Macquarie Group, saying it carries too much risk.

Page 17: Former Qantas Airways chief executive Geoff Dixon left the airline with a $10.7 million send-off when he resigned in March, despite being in the cockpit for less than half of the financial year.

Outgoing Boral chief executive Rod Pearse's final salary package will total $11.5 million, boosted by the non-compete fee he will receive on stepping down from the building materials group at the end of December.

Page 18: Rio Tinto Alcan chief executive Jacynthe Cote says she remains cautious on the short-term outlook for the aluminium price but is confident about the future of the business, which is continuing its aggressive cost-cutting strategy.

Page 19: Timber group Gunns has joined the battle to buy land, tree and forestry operations of Timbercorp, as the collapsed company's liquidator seeks to strike a sale by the end of the month.

Austal managing director Bob Browning was "completely surprised" by the US Navy's move last week to create a sudden-death battle between the Perth-based shipbuilder and US giant Lockheed Martin for the construction of its fleet of littoral combat ships (LCS).

Page 49: The landscape of Australia's hotel industry is set to be altered as a host of small investors prepare to snap up more than $500 million worth of freehold pubs from portfolios assembled during the industry boom.

Perth's tallest office tower, Central Park, is home to some of the world's biggest polluters, but nevertheless it has gone green.

Page 52: Construction starts in commercial building and infrastructure will shrink by almost 11 per cent this financial year despite the federal government stimulus program.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Kevin Rudd's threat to call an early election if the Coalition blocks an emissions trading scheme in the Senate is only backed by one in five Australians, while a clear majority believes the government should modify its carbon pollution reduction scheme.

Qantas paid former chief executive Geoff Dixon more than $3 million to offset Howard government changes to superannuation laws as part of a hefty final compensation package in 2008-09 worth almost $11m.

Page 2: The Australian and Japanese governments are discussing a new defence agreement that would deepen the co-operation of their military forces in peacekeeping and international humanitarian operations.

The Rudd government's economic stimulus package was destroying jobs in domestic manufacturing by driving up interest rates and the exchange rate, the Senate economics committee was told yesterday.

Page 4: The minerals industry has demanded Kevin Rudd overhaul his proposed emissions trading system or risk smashing Australian jobs and the nation's industrial competitiveness.

Page 5: A radical overhaul is needed in the way superannuation is taxed, to deliver a fairer outcome for low-income earners and ensure workers are better able to fund their retirement, industry fund managers say.

Western Australia is refusing to sign up to Julia Gillard's workplace safety laws, claiming they are open to manipulation through backroom deals between unions and Labor MPs.

Job agencies have joined unions, business groups and academics in criticising the Rudd government's $2.1 billion training program, calling for changes to inject more flexibility to meet the needs of the long-term unemployed.

Business: Macquarie Group moved last night to ensure that major shareholders of Macquarie Airports (MAp) continued to back the fund's bid to internalise management and deliver the investment bank $345 million, as a rival bidder stepped up a campaign to torpedo the deal.

Goldminer Newcrest says its O'Callaghans deposit in Western Australia, which has more than $US4 billion ($4.6bn) worth of mineral resources, could become the world's biggest tungsten mine by 2013 -- twice the size of its nearest competitor.

Tasmanian timber company Gunns has joined the bidding for the forestry assets of the failed Timbercorp group.

Many Australian companies are facing a problem that firms in most other advanced economies emerging from the downturn might envy -- a lack of workers for all the jobs being created.

Rio Tinto says a potential return of idled Chinese aluminium production and a big overhang in stockpiles could prevent an expected increase in demand translating to better prices for its embattled Alcan division.

Western Australia has claimed bragging rights as the nation's economic saviour after a ''remarkable'' rise in the value of its resources exports defied the global downturn.

Iron ore miner Murchison Metals has posted a sharp fall in annual profit despite higher production.

Boral chief executive and managing director Rod Pearse will leave the company with a $4.04 million end-of-service payout, accounting for just under half his annual remuneration.

Ports and rail operator Asciano Group still expects this financial year to be tough but says it is well placed to increase earnings, especially in 2010-11.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options