Costello's mining state revolt – The Fin; Swan taps miners for surplus – The Aus; QR firms up Pilbara railway options – The West; WA power users gain reprieve - The Fin; Gold industry suffering from lack of mid-tier firms – The Aus
Costello's mining state revolt
Peter Costello is set to become the new weapon for the resource-rich states of Queensland and Western Australia in the battle with the Gillard government over the GST and the carbon tax. The Fin
Swan taps miners for surplus
Wayne Swan is considering taking an axe to concessions to the mining industry and big business — including accelerated depreciation and research and development tax breaks — as he embarks on a multi-billion-dollar savings drive to underpin Labor’s budget surplus. The Aus
QR firms up Pilbara railway options
QR National has put its foot on a preferred route for a fourth iron ore railway line into Port Hedland in a move that could throw a lifeline to juniors sitting on billions of dollars of otherwise stranded deposits. The West
WA power users gain reprieve
Western Australia's economic regulator has rejected a plan to spend $8.5 billion to upgrade the state's network of electric wires and poles, paving the way for a rare reduction in a big component of electricity costs. The Fin
Gold industry suffering from lack of mid-tier firms
Australia's gold industry has been warned it runs a ‘‘serious risk’’ of being perceived as having a declining importance from a global investor perspective because of the lack of a mid-tier sector. The Aus
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:
Page 3: Department of Sport and Recreation chief Ron Alexander complained that Liberal Party lobbyists had hijacked negotiations over the redevelopment of nib Stadium, Freedom of Information documents have revealed.
Page 6: Significant tracts of Perth and several major regional towns have little idea when they get access to the National Broadband Network despite plans to connect nearly 500,000 homes and businesses to the service in the next three years.
Page 8: Court action against the US operator if the pipeline that exploded at Varanus Island nearly four years ago and caused about $3 billion damage to the national economy has been dropped because of a “fatal flaw” in the state government's case.
Page 12: Emotional Pilbara residents turned out in force yesterday to vent their fears and frustrations at being forced out of their community by soaring housing and living costs.
Page 16: Western Power's bid for a $10.3 billion spending splurge that would have increased household electricity prices by almost $500 has been knocked back by WA's economic watchdog.
Page 17: Farcical scenes erupted inside Perth Magistrates Court yesterday as Heirisson Island protesters interrupted proceedings and a magistrate had to leave the courtroom so security staff could eject hecklers.
A Labor backbencher has demanded union heavyweight Joe Bullock be sacked as the party's vice president amid allegations he disrespected Aboriginal culture by turning his back on a welcome to country ceremony last year.
Page 18: A North Fremantle art gallery owner says his business would be destroyed under state government plans to improve the much-maligned Stirling Highway.
Julia Gillard has killed off suggestions the Federal Budget will means test the childcare rebate.
Business: QR National has put its foot on a preferred route for a fourth iron ore railway line into Port Hedland in a move that could throw a lifeline to juniors sitting on billions of dollars of otherwise stranded deposits.
Visitors to Rottnest Lodge will get a revamped restaurant run by one of Perth's top restaurateurs and lavishly upgraded rooms by the end of the year, new owner John Spence has pledged.
Stampeding investors have dumped Leighton Holdings after the embattled construction group revealed that further blowouts at two of its worst-performing projects would strip $254 million from its profit this year.
Investor concerns about Mineral Resources' directors offloading huge chunks of shares have grown after its biggest shareholder sold more than $41 million in stock.
Wine industry sources say there are signs of life at the top end of the market, as an increasing number of mid-tier players succumb to the perfect storm of a strong dollar, tax hikes in key markets and an influx of cheap product from across the Tasman.
Civmec Construction and Engineering is seeking to bankroll an expansion of the WA engineering firm that services resources industries.
THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:
Page 1: The secretive unit of the Murdoch media empire that promoted a global wave of pay TV piracy that had a budget account to provide “a contingency sum for police informants” to “pay them for assistance given to us in our work”.
Peter Costello is set to become the new weapon for the resource-rich states of Queensland and Western Australia in the battle with the Gillard government over the GST and the carbon tax.
Former prime minister Paul Keating has blasted the Gillard government's car industry handouts and complained that the Labor party has retreated from the liberalisation of the economy that he implemented in the 1980s with then prime minister Bob Hawke.
Page 4: Western Australia's economic regulator has rejected a plan to spend $8.5 billion to upgrade the state's network of electric wires and poles, paving the way for a rare reduction in a big component of electricity costs.
Page 5: Diplomatic and business tensions are rising between China and Australia as Prime Minister Julia Gillard dismisses them as momentary setbacks.
Page 7: The Business Council of Australia is calling for energy market reform, an increased focus on improving productivity, reducing excessive government regulation and keeping a lid on rising project costs.
Page 8: The resources industry looks set to lose tax concessions on exploration and depreciation in the May budget after Treasurer Wayne Swan said yesterday they were part of a structural decline in the revenue base.
Page 9: Economists and business leaders have criticised the federal government's plan to deliver a budget surplus, saying it was based on politics rather than sound economics and could do more harm than good.
Page 12: Australian gas producers have rubbished a call to reserve more of its resources for the manufacturing sector, arguing that protectionism would send the wrong signal to business.
Page 17: Leighton Holdings investors have demanded fresh blood on the construction group's board and questioned new management's credibility after it slashed full-year earnings guidance by more than a third.
Page 19: Investors have urged BHP Billiton to reconsider its spending plans and examine options such as boosting dividends, buying back shares, acquiring existing projects or forming joint ventures on big projects, amid a weakening outlook for commodities.
Page 37: US petroleum giant Apache Energy has escaped prosecution on a technicality over the $2.5 billion explosion at its West Australia Varanus Island facility in 2008, which wiped out third of the state's gas supplies.
Page 46: Builders have foreshadowed job losses in the construction sector in the next six months as their backlog of work dries up.
A West Australian Labor government would introduce deemed approvals for developers when local councils took more than two weeks to grant building licences.
Page 1: Wayne Swan is considering taking an axe to concessions to the mining industry and big business — including accelerated depreciation and research and development tax breaks — as he embarks on a multi-billion-dollar savings drive to underpin Labor’s budget surplus.
Unions that championed the carbon tax are now seeking wage rises to compensate workers for higher living costs — alarming employers who fear the new tax will fuel the cost of production and labour.
The states are threatening to boycott new national reform deals if the federal government fails to commit a fresh round of funding to agreements that Kevin Rudd struck with the states to improve business regulation, education and indigenous health.
Page 4: The government is taking aim at big business to help bankroll its return to budget surplus with billions of dollars at stake in a crackdown on complex transactions.
The global economic outlook is improving, with the OECD reporting that Europe will pull out of recession over the next three months while the US and Japan will record healthy growth.
Page 5: The Gillard government has escalated the political fight over the National Broadband Network by vowing to reach 3.5 million homes within three years, as it comes under fire for changing a key benchmark used to define the project’s success.
Julia Gillard has defended the government’s decision to ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei from supplying equipment to the National Broadband Network, insisting the action will not hurt Australia’s relations with China.
Page 6: The head of Western Australia’s Department of Sport and Recreation has complained of being sidelined by a ‘‘Liberal lobbyist’’ firm that dealt directly with Premier Colin Barnett’s office in negotiations over the $95 million redevelopment of the state’s soccer and rugby arena.
Business: Construction giant Leighton Holdings emerged from a two-day trading halt yesterday to apologise to shareholders and announce further losses of $254 million on Brisbane’s Airport Link and Victorian Desalination Plant, prompting it to slash its full-year profit guidance by 25-38 per cent.
A push into Western Australia’s Pilbara iron ore region by Queensland rail freight operator QR National through the development of a 600km railway costing as much as $3.5 billion has begun to take shape.
Australian grocery manufacturers have come out in support of supermarkets’ in-house brands, saying they have hired hundreds of extra staff to meet surging demand from Coles and Woolworths.
Australia's gold industry has been warned it runs a ‘‘serious risk’’ of being perceived as having a declining importance from a global investor perspective because of the lack of a mid-tier sector.
Minmetals Resources says it will use the assets recently acquired through its takeover of Anvil Mining as the starting point for a wave of acquisitions through southern Africa.
BHP Billiton has defended itself against criticism from leading shareholder Blackrock that its massive expansion plans and $US20 billion ($19.3bn) push into the US shale gas industry were potential threats to near-term shareholder returns.
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD:
Page 1: The federal government moves to protect the integrity of its $4.7 billion welfare-to-work program.
Page 2: Covert stings will monitor federal law enforcement officers to see if they are taking bribes.
Page 3: A Defence review says there is no room at the Garden Island naval base for ships to dock.
World: The three-day hearing into the Obama administration's healthcare reforms is inconclusive.
Business: Investors dump Leighton Holdings.
Sport: Sydney FC goalkeeper Liam Reddy faces being sent home from Wellington for drinking on a flight.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH:
Page 1: Saturation testing is undermining primary school education, experts say.
Page 2: Hardware giant Bunnings to announce 5000 new jobs.
Page 3: NSW racing's future hinges on High Court ruling.
World: Pope Benedict has met with former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Business: Leighton Holdings shares plummet after cutting its full-year profit forecast.
Sport: Nathan Hindmarsh of the Parramatta Eels retires.
Page 1: Victorians dudded by the Gillard government's NBN rollout plan, Baillieu government says. Hundreds of Victorian public service jobs could be outsourced to the private sector as the state government looks to free up cash for infrastructure and services.
Page 2: Rupert Murdoch vows to hit back on piracy claims. Australian epilepsy specialist receives a top international award for women in science at a ceremony in Paris.
Page 3: Federal law enforcement officers to be targeted by covert stings to see if they'll take bribes, sell drugs or leak confidential information.
World: America has ordered dozens of drone attacks on al-Qaeda hotspots in Yemen, killing up to 100 civilians in the process.
Business: Investors dump Leighton Holdings stock after the company reveals more project blowouts will strip $254 million from its profits this year.
Sport: Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge will miss his team's clash with Collingwood with a calf injury as the Hawks try to atone for last year's preliminary final loss to the Magpies.
THE HERALD SUN:
Page 1: Catholics in Victoria will be urged to campaign against gay marriage.
Page 2: Hardware giant Bunnings set to announce at least 5000 new jobs across Australia. Toyota won't say which 350 staff it's cutting from its Altona plant. Tony Abbott accused of demeaning woman by criticising Julia Gillard's wardrobe.
Page 3: Royal Children's Hospital surgeons perform Australia's first intestinal transplant in a child.
Page 5: Billionaire Lindsay Fox to host a three-day 75th birthday festival for 200 friends and family. Man jailed for bashing traffic cop.
World: Global warming will bring an unprecedented onslaught of deadly and costly weather disasters, international panel of climate scientists says.
Business: Developing multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects is the key to revitalising Victoria's economy, Bank of Melbourne chief says.
Sport: Collingwood names Peter Yagmoor, Jackson Paine and Paul Seedsman to make their AFL debuts against Hawthorn. Hawks captain Luke Hodge won't play due to a calf injury.