05/04/2012 - 06:50

Today's Business Headlines

05/04/2012 - 06:50

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

PM in sights as Swan stonewalls – The Aus; GST plan to reap $2.4bn windfall – The West; Forrest: Huawei badly handled – The Fin; Make MRRT 40pc or finish as white trash: Hayden – The Fin; Woodside prepares for Shell selldown – The Aus

Today's Business Headlines

PM in sights as Swan stonewalls

Julia Gillard is facing a challenge next week on the nation’s flagging productivity as Coalition premiers seek action on high labour costs in the $120 billion construction industry. The Aus

GST plan to reap $2.4bn windfall

WA's budget coffers would be flush with an extra $2.4 billion a year under an audacious plan by the nation's biggest states to overhaul the GST carve-up. The West

Forrest: Huawei badly handled

Mining entrepreneur Andrew Forrest has stepped into the Huawei row, declaring the federal government should have used diplomatic channels to make its views known to China about espionage at a time when Australia is facing growing competition for its market access to China. The Fin

Make MRRT 40pc or finish as white trash: Hayden

Former Labor leader and governor-general Bill Hayden said the mining tax should be lifted to 40 per cent and without a levy we would be the “white trash of the South Pacific”. The Fin

Woodside prepares for Shell selldown

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has reinforced its willingness to sell its $6.5 billion shareholding in Woodside Petroleum after further reducing its stake by declining to take up new equity in the Perth company’s past three dividend reinvestment plans. The Aus

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: WA has a severe shortage of medical specialists that could easily get much worse, a leaked report says.

Page 4: Government-funded health hotlines set up to take pressure off hospitals are a dismal failure and waste of money, according to a Perth emergency care doctor.

Page 6: WA's budget coffers would be flush with an extra $2.4 billion a year under an audacious plan by the nation's biggest states to overhaul the GST carve-up.

Page 7: Power prices would rise at least $350 a year if the state government forced householders to pay for the full cost of producing electricity, WA's top economic adviser has found.

Page 9: Petrol prices are set to rise today for the eighth consecutive week – and just in time for the Easter long weekend.

Page 11: Indonesia's Trade Ministry has finally approved 125,000 permits for the import of cattle from Australia, clearing the way for shipments to resume within days.

Page 18: Fremantle Independent MP Adele Carles has demanded the Barnett government accept three key changes to its prostitution law reform in exchange for her support.

Business: The Business Council of Australia has called for debate on the future of Australia's struggling heavy industry, but says the sector is so strategically important that it does not discount government subsidies and assistance to help it survive.

CBH Group directors have thrown their weight behind incumbent chairman Neil Wandel and elected a new deputy in a move sources say will stabilise the board of WA's biggest grain handler.

Investors have wiped 12 per cent off the value of Transfield Services after the contractor lopped $25 million off its profit forecast.

Royal Dutch Shell's stake in Woodside Petroleum has shrunk after the Anglo Dutch giant decided to pocket $97 million in cash rather than participate in the dividend reinvestment plan.

Concerns about Paladin Energy's debt levels and a lacklustre uranium price have prompted analysts to downgrade the stock, which dropped 3 per cent yesterday.

Central Petroleum's under fire board has secured much-needed support ahead of a confrontation with dissident investors after yesterday confirming it had completed an $11 million equity raising.

Cedar Woods Properties has raised $25 million in its first share placement in six years to fund residential developments in WA and the 275ha Williams Landing master-planned community near Melbourne.

Pankaj Oswal has suffered a setback in his running battle with the receivers for his former companies, losing an early skirmish with PPB Advisory in the Federal Court yesterday.

Atlantic has suggested it could trim forecast operating costs at its Windimurra vanadium project after announcing a resource upgrade.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 3: Business Council of Australia president Tony Sheperd has warned the federal government against pursuing a budget surplus at the cost of lowering productivity.

Page 4: Heavy polluters are set to call for the scrapping of the Gillard government's renewable energy target when it is reviewed later this year, claiming it is economically inefficient and environmentally ineffective.

Page 6: Former Labor leader and governor-general Bill Hayden said the mining tax should be lifted to 40 per cent and without a levy we would be the “white trash of the South Pacific”.

The federal government has refused to guarantee funding for core services, including money earmarked for schools and hospitals, amid fears among the states it might cut the programs to achieve its promised surplus.

A key part of the federal government's decision to keep the Australia Network with the ABC, instead of awarding it to Sky News, was the aim of pursuing “soft diplomacy” or influence in the region, especially in China.

Page 10: Mining entrepreneur Andrew Forrest has stepped into the Huawei row, declaring the federal government should have used diplomatic channels to make its views known to China about espionage at a time when Australia is facing growing competition for its market access to China.

Page 16: Telstra shareholders are talking down the prospect of a big share buyback as the corporation prepares to clarify its long-awaited capital management strategy.

Page 23: Russia's Magnitorosk Iron and Steel has been blocked by courts in its own nation from completing a $558 million takeover of Pilbara-focused iron ore explorer Flinders Mines.

Page 64: Two hotel properties in the accommodation-starved Pilbara town of Karratha have changed hands for a bullish total price of $36 million.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The rollout of Labor’s $36 billion National Broadband Network in Brisbane is largely focused on Labor-held seats, with Coalition electorates in the area all but ignored by the Gillard government’s telecommunications flagship.

Threatened tax changes in next month’s budget will stymie productivity-boosting investment and could dent Labor’s plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions, business leaders warn.

Fair Work Australia’s three-year investigation into alleged criminal conduct by Labor MP Craig Thomson collapsed yesterday when the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Chris Craigie SC, said FWA’S report was useless for the purpose of levelling possible charges.

Page 2: Julia Gillard is facing a challenge next week on the nation’s flagging productivity as Coalition premiers seek action on high labour costs in the $120 billion construction industry.

The first consecutive monthly trade deficits for more than two years have raised fears that the best of the resources boom is over and cast a shadow over the outlook for economic growth.

Julia Gillard has flagged further pain for federal bureaucrats as she strives for a 2012-13 budget surplus, with the government under siege for forcing public sector job cuts under its increase in the efficiency dividend.

Page 4: Julia Gillard is standing by her embattled backbencher Craig Thomson, despite the ACTU moving to sever ties with the scandal-plagued Health Services Union in a bid to insulate Labor’s industrial wing from corruption allegations.

Page 5: Caught by the two-speed economy, the Gillard government faces the stark choice of increasing defence spending or abandoning some of its ambitious plans to strengthen the military presence across the resource-rich north west and Top End.

Page 6: One of the world’s first mandatory greenhouse emissions trading schemes, which has been operating in NSW since 2003 and has taken 141 million tonnes of carbon pollution out of the atmosphere, will be an early victim of Julia Gillard’s carbon tax.

Page 8: The print media chief regulator will double its yearly budget and introduce a tough new rule requiring members to provide four years’ notice if they wish to quit.

Some of the nation’s biggest telcos have called on the competition watchdog to reject the NBN Co’s long-term pricing plan.

Business: A senior executive of ANZ Bank has attacked the global regulatory response to the financial crisis, saying that it is inconsistent, lacks co-ordination, and that regulators should instead concentrate on the ‘‘right thing to do’’.

Analysts have raised concerns over grocery wholesaler Metcash’s exposure to low-margin independent retailers after the company said it could no longer afford to support traditional corner shops in regional areas.

Rio Tinto has had more than $C460 million ($448m) wiped off the value of its investment in Canadian subsidiary Ivanhoe Mines after a company report showed a potential $US1.3 billion ($1.25bn) blowout in the capital cost of the Oyu Tolgoi mine and a one-third rise in expected operating costs.

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has reinforced its willingness to sell its $6.5 billion shareholding in Woodside Petroleum after further reducing its stake by declining to take up new equity in the Perth company’s past three dividend reinvestment plans.

The corporate watchdog has claimed another scalp at a financial planning network owned by the Commonwealth Bank as it continues its investigation into a number of its employees.

 

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD:

Page 1: The likelihood of criminal charges against Craig Thomson following the Fair Work Australia investigation has lessened but other officials with his old union are under pressure with the impending release of an internal audit that insiders say will be explosive.

Page 2: It may be popular now, but Labor's $36 billion national broadband network is shaping up to be a financial disaster that will set Labor's image back decades, rebranding it the party of waste and extravagance.

Page 3: A senior Star casino manager said he was ''trying to make a joke'' when he told two other managers he had tasted and identified as cocaine a line of white powder, found in a high roller's bathroom, which was later described as "concrete dust".

World: Minutes after Rick Santorum lost Republican primaries in Maryland and the District of Columbia he climbed onto a stage to tell cheering supporters: "We have only reached the point where it is half-time." He vowed to fight on.

Business: Move over Kylie Minogue and Greg Norman, bankers deserve the pay of stars too.

Sport: Souths chief executive Shane Richardson is advocating a stadium policy which would mean the abandonment of Sydney's much-loved suburban grounds.

 

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH:

Page 1: Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby last night said she was "too scared to get my hopes up" after Indonesia's Justice and Human Rights Ministry recommended her jail sentence be slashed by 10 years - meaning she could be back in Australia within weeks.

Page 2: The investigation into allegations embattled federal Labor MP Craig Thomson misused Health Services Union funds was derailed last night.

Page 3: Desperate retailers are resorting to Boxing Day-style tactics - offering huge short-term discounts - to lure shoppers over Easter.

World: Vets and animal welfare officers have been forced to euthanise dozens of pit bulls rescued from a dogfighting farm in the Philippines.

Business: Australia is a nation that lacks political leaders with real vision, one of the country's most senior businessmen has said.

Sport: South Sydney chief executive Shane Richardson has called for all Sydney clubs to abandon their traditional home grounds for the city's two major stadiums.

 

THE AGE:

Page 1: The Craig Thomson affair has taken a twist, with a three-year investigation by Fair Work Australia into alleged misconduct at the Health Services Union declared useless. Victoria's building industry watchdog faces a $3 million deficit blamed in part on exorbitant spending. Aussie cycling quartet poised to steal the crown from the UK who beat allcomers at Beijing in 2008.

Page 2: Defence force chief General David Hurley has appointed a full commission of inquiry to examine the crash of an Australian helicopter in Afghanistan that killed a soldier.

Page 3: More than 1500 federal public servants are set to lose their jobs as the Gillard government prepares to release a tough budget.

Kevin Rudd might have quit as foreign minister, but he is still the top search engine point of contact for Australia in the world.

World: After losses in Maryland and the District of Columbia in the Republican primaries, Rick Santorum vows to fight on.

Business: Coal and iron ore are losing their place as drivers of Australia's economic growth.

Sport: Relations between the AFL and Melbourne become testy when shattered league official Jason Mifsud reportedly put back a meeting with Demon Aaron Davey to thrash out their differences.

 

THE CANBERRA TIMES:

Page 1: Federal departments are likely to cut about 1500 jobs in coming months to cope with spending cuts, with more losses expected after the budget on May 8.

Documents released under Freedom of Information show the ACT Greens sought advice from the Human Rights Commission on questions to ask during parliamentary hearings - although the commissioners rejected the approaches.

Page 2: The Institute of Public Administration Australia has damned 10 high-profile federal policies as failures, including the national broadband network and the school building scheme.

Page 3: Canberra Centenary creative director Robyn Archer mounted a passionate defence of the capital city in a speech on Wednesday.

World: Mitt Romney has strengthened his position as the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination after winning all three states which held primaries this week.

Sport: Capital Football has called the latest snubbing of Canberra as a home for an A-League team as "a slap in the face".

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options