Today's Business Headlines

23/09/2009 - 07:02

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Confidence on the rise; Export earnings to fall despite China surge; ALP ranks split on uranium ban; State's population grows by 220 a day; Wong opens way for real ETS talks with opposition

Today's Business Headlines

Confidence on the rise
Business confidence in Western Australia has bounced back to levels not seen since the peak of the commodities boom, in a sign the worst of the economic slowdown is behind the resource rich state. The Fin

Export earnings to fall despite China surge
Australia will export more iron ore and coal this financial year as China's massive stimulus package fuels demand, but lower prices and a strengthening dollar mean the value of mining and farm exports will drop 20 per cent. The Fin

ALP ranks split on uranium ban
Mines Minister Norman Moore claimed yesterday that a uranium mine could be operating in WA in three or four years as Labor MPS split on the party's blanket ban on developing uranium mines in the state. The West

State's population grows by 220 a day
WA is growing at its fastest rate in four decades, with the State's population increasing by 220 people a day during the first three months of the year. The West

Wong opens way for real ETS talks with opposition
The Rudd government has opened the way fro real negotiation and amendments on its historic carbon emissions trading scheme, but has set a 28-day deadline for Malcolm Turnbull to convince his rebellious partyroom to approve any amendments in "good faith". The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: WA is growing at its fastest rate in four decades, with the State's population increasing by 220 people a day during the first three months of the year

Wellington Dam started overflowing yesterday as Perth's dams broke through the 50 per cent of total capacity mark for the first time in 12 years.

Page 3: Cloudstreet is coming home, thanks to a state government funding deal for a television adaptation of the epic Tim Winton novel to be filmed locally next year.

Page 4: Business confidence in WA is back at resources boom levels, a survey reveals, in a sign the corporate sector is preparing to put on extra staff and beef up expansion plans.

Page 6: The leaders of the US, India and China were expected to make big concessions on greenhouse gas emissions last night in a renewed effort to clinch a treaty in Copenhagen in December.

Page 7: Kevin Rudd has used the backdrop of United Nations climate change talks to deliver Malcolm Turnbull an extraordinary political ultimatum - start negotiating on the emissions trading scheme in four weeks or face a double-dissolution election.

Page 10: Mines Minister Norman Moore claimed yesterday that a uranium mine could be operating in WA in three or four years as Labor MP's split on the party's blanket ban on developing uranium mines in the state.

Page 12: Owners of million-dollar family homes should be taxed to help young couples break into the property market, a leading welfare group says.

Page 24: Local shires will have to foot the bill to test and eradicate genetically modified canola seed that spills onto roadside verges when it is carried by truck this harvest.

Page 28: The LPG industry has warned that the scrapping of a conversion subsidy from the State Government and a reduction in the Federal Government rebate will result in a widespread contraction of the industry during the next five years.

Page 34: The vision of transforming northern Australia into a new food bowl has become clouded after top scientists dampened expectations that water would be easily available in the massive region.

Business: Apex Minerals' hard-hit shareholders are being asked to make a $100 million bet the company can overcome operational problems at its Wiluna gold mine and avoid the fate of a growing list of miners brought undone by ageing projects.

Paul Keating, former prime minister and architect of the nation's four pillars policy, has criticised the Rudd government for delivering too much power to the major banks.

As many as 15 brokerages were placed on an alert watch list by the nations equities and futures clearing hose at the height of market volatility over the past year, amid concerns that a squeeze in liquidity would hurt the smooth running of the Australian sharemarket.

Rio Tinto's garage sale of assets to reduce its debt load has pulled in another $US349 million ($404 million) from the sale of part of its aluminium engineered products division to Swiss-listed Schweiter Technologies.

Solomon Lew's Premier Investments, the holding company for retailer Just Group and a stable of fashion brands such as Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Portmans and Dotti has up to $1 billion to spend on acquisitions and is examining several opportunities as the sector shows signs of a pick-up.

The global slowdown is still hurting Perth's CBD property sector, with a recovery not forecast until 2012, as office supply increases and demand wanes, Colliers International has found.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The federal government has cleared the way for changes to its emissions trading scheme by offering Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull a chance to negotiate amendments, but only if he can unify the coalition on the issue by next month.

One year on, Barnett rides WA gas boom.

Fairfax Media chairman Ron Walker is now poised to step down in an attempt to end a biter public fight with major shareholder John Brehmer Fairfax's Marinya Media.

The record-breaking run of capital raisings over the past year could entail an unexpected downside for shareholders in companies that include Wesfarmers and Rio Tinto, as the Australian Taxation Office hardens its stance on a popular raising method.

Page 3: Australia will export more iron ore and coal this financial year as China's massive stimulus package fuels demand, but lower prices and a strengthening dollar mean the value of mining and farm exports will drop 20 per cent.

Page 4: The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union says it has detected a "seachange" towards more constructive relationships in the building industry, as it grapples with a slump in big projects and the prospect of job losses.

Family homes worth more than $1.1 million would be hit with capital gains tax as art of a plan put to the Henry review of tax that would redistribute $45 billion in housing tax breaks in favour of the less well off.

Page 7: Governments must avoid withdrawing their bank guarantees too soon and act only in concert with other nations to dismantle the safeguards, the International Monetary Fund has declared in a warning that supports the Rudd government's position.

Page 9: Business confidence in Western Australia has bounced back to levels not seen since the peak of the commodities boom, in a sign the worst of the economic slowdown is behind the resource rich state.

Page 10: Strong overseas migration and a higher birth rate have pushed Australia's population to almost 22 million, as the country's record growth rate defied the gloomy news from overseas.

Page 11: The Labor Party could force mining companies including BHP Billiton to close down uranium projects in Western Australia if it wins the next election, but there is a growing push within the party to adopt a policy that recognises any approvals issued by the state government.

Page 12: The alcohol industry is at loggerheads over how beer, wine and spirits should be taxed, there months before the government's wider-ranging tax review is due to report.

Page 16: The International Monetary Fund has warned of a sluggish global financial recovery in a downbeat assessment of challenges facing the world economy.

Page 18: The US economy is showing further signs of a more robust than expected recovery, with a key forward-looking measure of activity reflecting strong gains on Monday.

Page 24: China's demand for commodities might soon ease but prices for products such as copper and coal may continue to rise as the Chinese government and speculators retain excess inventories and the rest of the world emerges from its de-stocking cycle, according to Macquarie Equities.

Page 47: A year to the day after completing the $800 million takeover of Just Group, Solomon Lew's Premier Investments is cashed up and ready to spend as much as $1 billion on its next acquisition - despite rewarding investors with a second special dividend.

The Mike Fitzpatrick-led rival management proposal for Macquarie Airports is expected to pres for further disclosure over the debt financing arrangements of the fund as it considers its next move.

Page 49: Apex Minerals is sliding down the slippery slope that has claimed a long list of Australian miners trying to revive old gold projects in a sector with a growing reputation for destroying capital.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: China early today vowed to reduce greenhouse gases by a "notable margin" by 2020, which when coupled with expected aggressive emissions cuts from India, could unlock global talks on climate change.

The Rudd government has opened the way fro real negotiation and amendments on its historic carbon emissions trading scheme, but has set a 28-day deadline for Malcolm Turnbull to convince his rebellious partyroom to approve any amendments in "good faith".

A group of Telstra's biggest institutional shareholders has called on the board to explain the "draconian nature:" of the government's proposed Telstra legislation and publicly reminded directors of their fiduciary responsibility to investors.

The Rudd government's award overhaul will impose significant pay cuts on apprentice electricians, undermining Labor's green jobs agenda and exacerbating the skills shortage in the resources sector.

Page 4: The Rudd government is likely to boost compensation to coal-fired generators under its emissions trading regime to avoid energy market disruptions, after receiving high level advice that its proposed $3.5 billion compensation fund may not be sufficient.

Page 5: Airlines have been accused of gouging many of their customers by charging them multiple times for the same credit card transaction and hitting them with fees that can far outstrip the actual cost to the carrier.

A fresh push will be made today to remove capital gains tax exemptions for the most expensive residential properties, with new analysis to be released showing the concession is skewed towards the wealthiest in the community.

Page 7: The Rudd government's award overhaul will impose significant pay cuts on apprentice electricians, undermining Labor's green jobs agenda and exacerbating the skills shortage in the resources sector.

Page 8: Business confidence in Western Australia is back to levels not seen since the height of the resources boom, with one in two employers expecting an imminent economic turnaround.

Australia's farmers and miners will see their export earnings fall by a fifth this financial years as a higher local currency and lower coal and iron ore prices offset a stronger global economy.

Business: A group of Telstra's biggest institutional shareholders has called on the board to explain the "draconian nature:" of the government's proposed Telstra legislation and publicly reminded directors of their fiduciary responsibility to investors.

Former newspaper editors Steve Harris and Gerard Noonan, together with online publisher Stephen Mayne, have launched campaigns to join Fairfax Media's feuding board, as besieged chairman Ron Walker fights to hang on to his job for another six months.

Merrill Lynch has ordered a dramatic shake-up of its Australian management, dumping chief executive Paul Masi in a bid to rebuild the struggling investment bank into a top-tier player in the domestic financial markets.

Junior Explorer Jupiter Mines is planning to consolidate iron ore assets in Western Australia's Yilgarn region, with major investor Brian Gilbertson enlisting the support of South Korea's leading steelmaker, Posco.

Rio Tinto has continued its run of asset sales to play down debt, offloading the second unit of its Alcan Engineered Products division in two weeks and finally moving closer to $US10 billion of sales targeted for last year.

Wesfarmers chief executive Richard Goyder has warned the Reserve Bank that lifting interest rates too quickly would derail the recovery in the domestic economy.

Unexpectedly strong demand from China in the third quarter has forced Australia's government forecaster to boost production expectations for most mineral commodities.

Despite early signs of an improvement in the global economy, the short-term outlook remains downbeat.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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