20/02/2012 - 06:47

Today's Business Headlines

20/02/2012 - 06:47

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Tackle Rudd now, Gillard urged – The Aus; Qantas, BHP and Rio warn of Fair Work cost blowouts – The Aus; BCA calls for fiscal buffer – The Fin; Robotic trains will cost 500 jobs – The Aus; Waterfront project plan gets another makeover – The West

Today's Business Headlines

Tackle Rudd now, Gillard urged

Julia Gillard is being urged to take on Kevin Rudd in a ballot as early as next week to prevent Labor’s leadership wrangling smashing the party’s chances in the March 24 Queensland election. The Aus

Qantas, BHP and Rio warn of Fair Work cost blowouts

BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Qantas have called for significant changes to the federal workplace laws, with BHP warning unions could use the laws to hold projects to ransom, cause delays and blowouts and pursue exorbitant claims. The Aus

BCA calls for fiscal buffer

Big business wants the Labor government to lock itself into budget rules that would require steady surpluses to build up a “recharge reserve” that could be used as a buffer against global financial shocks or serious economic downturns. The Fin

Robotic trains will cost 500 jobs

Rio Tinto will cut most of its 500 Pilbara train driver jobs in the next three years as it revives a $US518 million ($483m) plan to run its private West Australian iron ore railway with driverless trains. The Aus

Waterfront project plan gets another makeover

The proposed river inlet within the Perth waterfront project has been scaled back to make way for a two-tiered public promenade around the water's edge, according to revised design plans. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd will face off in a leadership battle as early as next week after supporters from both camps conceded as a showdown was now unavoidable.

Page 3: Aboriginal elders pledged yesterday to stay at a protest site on Heirisson Island despite moves by police and the City of Perth to dismantle their camp.

The proposed river inlet within the Perth waterfront project has been scaled back to make way for a two-tiered public promenade around the water's edge, according to revised design plans.

Page 4: Julia Gillard's supporters say those agitating for the return of Kevin Rudd are deliberately inflating the Foreign Affairs Minister's party support to poison and unsettle Labor MPs.

Page 6: A state-owned electricity company has signed a lucrative business deal with the National Broadband Network – despite the Liberal Party's opposition to the multi-billion-dollar communications project.

The war against the big banks is intensifying with unions and the consumer watchdog launching separate campaigns to urge the public to switch lenders.

Page 7: The Federal Government's insurance arm is refusing to pay compensation to dozens of victims of Perth Hills bushfires, forcing them into costly court battles to chase compensation.

Page 13: Property agents have warned people fighting to secure a roof over their heads in Perth's booming rental market to be well-armed with both cash and credentials.

Business: Mining giant Rio Tinto is working on a world first – investing $US518 million ($483 million) in a system of driverless trains in the Pilbara.

Retailers are taking their battle for online market share to the streets, converting urban walls into virtual shops.

There are further signs the national economy is improving despite the job losses in some high-profile sectors with shoppers starting to spread their cash about.

Arafura Resources appears increasingly likely to bring in one or more strategic partners into its Nolans Bore rare earths project in the Northern Territory after last week's surprise decision to lose half its board, including chief executive Steve Ward.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Kevin Rudd has quietly met with key business leaders, rebuilding bridges and promising a new policy dialogue in a move that confirms the Foreign Minister has been working behind the scenes for a leadership change.

The union movement has hit back at widespread criticism of Labor's industrial relations laws from employer groups, chief executives and directors, arguing that employees need more protection and should be able to negotiate job guarantees into workplace agreements.

Page 6: The Fair Work Act is causing “huge cost blowouts and great damage” to the resources industry by giving construction unions far greater leverage over major projects, according to BHP Billiton.

Page 7: Big business wants the Labor government to lock itself into budget rules that would require steady surpluses to build up a “recharge reserve” that could be used as a buffer against global financial shocks or serious economic downturns.

Page 10: West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has renewed calls for a floor of 75c in the dollar below which a state's share of the goods and services tax cannot fall.

Output of greenhouse gases fell slightly last year, driven by a reduction in emissions from the electricity industry, which generated more power from gas, wind, hydro and household solar panels.

Page 14: Anglo American has become the first major miner to quantify the effect of the government's carbon tax, warning the value of its Australian coal business will be slashed by 30 per cent.

Page 17: Rio Tinto will invest $US518 million ($483 million) in driverless trains as part of a broader move to automation designed to make its West Australian iron ore operations more efficient.

Spotless chief executive Jo Farnik has admitted the historical lack of investment in technology across the group's Trans-Tasman facility services business has cost the company as it mulls a private equity takeover offer.

Page 18: Australian investors are bracing for more write-downs from companies after the soaring Australian dollar, weak consumer sentiment, low prices and crippling regulations forced more than $11 billion in charges over the past month.

Coles has reshuffled management in its liquor operations in a bid to boost sales and earnings, which have lagged Woolworths and dragged profit growth in its supermarkets.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Julia Gillard is being urged to take on Kevin Rudd in a ballot as early as next week to prevent Labor’s leadership wrangling smashing the party’s chances in the March 24 Queensland election.

BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Qantas have called for significant changes to the federal workplace laws, with BHP warning unions could use the laws to hold projects to ransom, cause delays and blowouts and pursue exorbitant claims.

Page 2: Rio Tinto will cut most of its 500 Pilbara train driver jobs in the next three years as it revives a $US518 million ($483m) plan to run its private West Australian iron ore railway with driverless trains.

Page 4: Julia Gillard has insisted her staff had no access to the video on Youtube showing an angry Kevin Rudd swearing, but supporters of the Foreign Minister say the material was left behind on a computer in the prime minister’s office when he was deposed.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has signalled he will support Kevin Rudd as prime minister, revealing the Labor leadership was canvassed in a secret meeting with the foreign minister in November.

Page 5: Former Victorian premier Steve Bracks has warned that dumping Julia Gillard would lead to a swift Tony Abbott victory and a massive Coalition majority, with possible control of the Senate.

Page 8: Protesters from Perth’s Noongar tent embassy shouted ‘‘shame’’ at police and told them they were working for the devil as officers forced them to remove their cars and tents from Heirisson Island yesterday.

Business: New Challenger chief executive Brian Benari has hinted the company may beat its forecast of 25 per cent growth in retail annuity sales this year as retirees shy away from equity investments in favour of guaranteed income streams.

The federal government is being urged to establish an emergency stimulus fund worth up to $40 billion to safeguard the nation from future economic crises and protect the budget from being driven deep into deficit again.

The Financial Services Council has warned that competition among superannuation funds will shrink unless provisions in the Fair Work Act that mandate small businesses use ‘‘default’’ super funds are reformed.

Online sales at Telstra are soaring as the telco’s push to increase transactions through the web races ahead of schedule.

Fed up with losing the business tourism dollar to competitor countries such as Singapore, Tourism Australia is stepping up its marketing campaigns to attract big-spending executives who are not averse to bedding down in five-star hotels and forking out in top restaurants.

The performance gap between local and US equity markets is widening as Australian investors shun a results season that so far has disappointed, despite subdued expectations.

Travellers can expect more niche players to disappear from the low-cost airline market as they either fail or are absorbed by bigger carriers, Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan has predicted.

Listed law firm Slater & Gordon has called a halt to its decade-long acquisitive spree that culminated in last month’s $80 million purchase of British firm Russell Jones & Walker.

 

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD:

Page 1: Julia Gillard under growing pressure to call leadership ballot.

Public schools should get three quarters of $5 billion, it is expected to be recommended in the Gonski report - but that may affect schools' ability to fundraise.

Page 2: Gonski report will recommend a needs-based funds model for school funding. Insurance companies will send text messages to warn clients of hail storms in hope of saving millions of dollars in claims.

Page 3: Bureaucrats associated with the Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre relocation have pushed o reclassify the project from a major project to a series of minor works to convince the Treasury to fund it.

Animals in Australian factory farms are held in worse conditions than European animals, but a new campaign is trying to increase standards.

Former senior manager of The Star casino will reveal the extent of former CEO's behaviour in an interview with Seven News on Monday night.

World: Syrian protesters shot at by military at funeral. Palestinian prisoner hunger strike has lasted for 64 days.

Finance: Costco commits a further $140 million to ramp up presence in Australia.

Sport: Black Caviar pulls up well at Futurity Stakes at Caulfield.

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH:

Page 1: Labor Party insiders say they want a leadership vote to be called immediately.

Page 2: Rudd backers claim almost half the cabinet has switched to support Kevin Rudd.

Leaked Rudd YouTube video was stored on a computer on Julia Gillard's desk, as his staff did not have time to wipe the drive before they left.

Page 3: Andrew Wilkie flags support for Rudd. Emails from O'Farrells communications chief Peter Grimshaw telling his partner how to deal with the sexual harassment claim that led to the sacking of The Star's CEO, will be used in an inquiry into the casino's operations.

World: Syrian military kill one, injure many after opening fire on crowds at a funeral for demonstrators killed in the latest violence in the country.

Business: CBA CEO says new loans have only just returned to profitability.

Sport: Independent analyst says Black Caviar actually ran 0.09sec faster than the official time in the Lightning Stakes, making the time a record.

THE AGE:

Page 1: Gonski report says the majority share of proposed $5 billion funding for schools should go to state schools.

Leadership challenge on with open warfare between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.

Call for more judges as system struggles to deal with growing number of complex and delicate cases.

Page 2: Pressure mounts to authenticate three suspect Brett Whiteley paintings - two of which have been sold for millions.

Tasmania accuses Victorian government of breaching the constitution with plans to bring in a $75 million annual port tax.

CSIRO to survey the rubbish that litters the coastline to see how it impacts sea life.

Page 3: Unions want to make it easier to claim for unfair dismissal.

Record wheat harvest means golden days are here again.

Business Council says pension should be indexed to life expectancy.

World: Syrian troops fire on funeral procession in Damascus.

Business: Costco earmarks $140 million to open up three more stores in Australia.

Sport: Chris Judd says Carlton is a legitimate top four chance in 2012.

THE HERALD SUN:

Page 1: Julia Gillard supporters say she should sack Kevin Rudd now.

Page 2: Traces of cocaine have been found in the hair of the captain of the doomed Costa Concordia. Schools told to lift their game after report shows the basic Three Rs have dropped.

Page 3: Paralympic basketballer Dylan Scott goes crowdsurfing in a wheelchair. Doctors should tell their patients to exercise as they hand them prescriptions.

World: Man pulled from a snowed-in car in the Swedish wilderness where he is believed to have been stranded without food for at least two months.

Business: Effect of the strong Australian dollar will be seen this week as companies with significant offshore operations unveil their results.

Sport: Ricky Ponting may have played his last one-day game after another failure with the bat.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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