Developers vie for role in $2.6bn waterfront project – The Aus; Caratti family fights King – The West; BHP set to write down $4bn in assets – The Aus; Local iron ore giants widen gap with Vale - The Fin; Inflation builds rate cut case – The Aus
Developers vie for role in $2.6bn waterfront project
Groups from offshore and Australia are lining up to develop a hotel and apartments that are part of the West Australian government’s $2.6 billion Elizabeth Quay project in Perth. The Aus
Caratti family fights King
Property dealer Michael King faces up to three years in jail if he is convicted of swindling the matriarch of arguably WA’s richest and toughest farm investing families. The West
BHP set to write down $4bn in assets
BHP Billiton is likely to write down the value of its Australian aluminium and nickel assets by about billion ($3.8bn) next month, as the strong dollar and weak prices extinguish any hope of a rebound in returns in the short term. The Aus
Local iron ore giants widen gap with Vale
Australia’s three largest iron ore miners are on track to produce a record 547 million tonnes this year, widening the production gap over Brazilian rival Vale. The Fin
Inflation builds rate cut case
Reserve Bank board member Heather Ridout says the Australian economy will need ‘‘active management’’ this year to cope with the slowing mining boom and high dollar, as the case for rate cuts was strengthened by a sharp fall in the rate of inflation. The Aus
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:
Page 1: The death of a 53-year old woman sent home from Northam Hospital with headache tablets will be the fifth case a government review of the hospital examines.
Page 3: Full-time workers in WA are earning almost $150 a week more than those in the next state or territory in the latest evidence of how the mining boom helps people find their fortune.
Page 4: The row over the government using the public service to cost opposition policies intensified yesterday with Labor asking whether the practice was in breach of the Public Sector Management Act.
Page 5: WA will be the first Australian state with a revolutionary cancer treatment that uses highly targeted radiation on tumours once considered untreatable.
Page 6: Police will flood WA’s roads with marked cars, booze buses and speed cameras in a four-day long weekend blitz after the road toll climbed to 19 deaths in the first three weeks of the year.
Page 13: The Perth man stuck in Singapore for swearing on a Tiger Airways flight is “frightened and in hiding”, an associate said yesterday.
Page 14: Mental health organisation beyondblue has called for new legislation to stop insurers refusing some types of cover to people who suffer from depression and anxiety.
Page 16: WA Attorney-General Michael Mischin has echoed concerns that a proposed overhaul of federal anti-discrimination laws could harm freedom of speech.
Page 18: WA’s alcohol and drug agencies want at least an extra $10 million to cope with an overstretched system they say contributes to criminals reoffending.
Page 27: Property dealer Michael King faces up to three years in jail if he is convicted of swindling the matriarch of arguably WA’s richest and toughest farm investing families.
The battle of the Pilbara giants intensified yesterday, with BHP Billiton announcing that like its major competitor Rio Tinto, it had set another production record and its expansion plans were on track.
Election campaign bickering over finances has spilled into the health sector.
Page 28: After paying its debts, struggling African gold miner Noble Mineral Resources will be left with as little as $5.7 million for investment at its Ghana gold mine from the $85 million rescue package underwritten by Resolute Mining.
Page 29: A controversial decision by WA’s Environment Minister to remove pollution restrictions on Chevron’s $29 billion Wheatstone project has been welcomed by the US-based company as a win for sensible regulation.
Iran is emerging as a key to the future of the live export industry, with a number of companies stepping up efforts to re-establish links with what was once a lucrative market for WA farmers.
Perth-based property group FJM Property has paid close to $15 million to buy the Sebel Hotel in Mandurah from French hotel chain Accor Asia Pacific.
The benefits of a recovering iron ore price and returning confidence in the mining sector has trickled down to WA-based contractors, with shares in both Forge Group and RCR Tomlinson jumping after positive announcements.
Page 30: Building products maker Boral has upgraded its underlying first-half profit forecast after ramping up cost cuts and enjoying better trading conditions before Christmas.
We have a female head of state, governor-general, prime minister and lord mayor, but you would be hard-pressed to find a woman in treasury.
Peak farming lobby groups have welcomed the WA Nationals blueprint for the future of the state’s agricultural industry.
Automotive Holdings Group’s biggest shareholder, car retailer AP Eagers, has laid down a challenge for its WA rival with a handsome rise in annual profit.
Page 34: A spurt in volume boosted the Australian sharemarket to a 20-month high yesterday, with bullish sentiment helped by BHP Billiton’s solid production data and benign consumer inflation that quashed any fears that domestic rates could rise in the near future.
Shares in pesticide maker Nufarm have dropped by 9 per cent as hot and dry conditions on the east coast weaken demand for its products.
Page 78: WA’s road transport industry has welcomed Transport Minister Troy Buswell’s refusal to sign up to the establishment of a single national regulator for heavy vehicles.
THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:
Page 1: Prime Minister Julia Gillard will combine operations from Australia’s intelligence agencies into a single cyber security unit within her own department to protect business from industrial spying, crime and attacks on vulnerable infrastructure.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman claims he is the most reformist premier since Jeff Kennett in Victoria in the 1990s but has baulked at the big asset sales which could free up capital to reduce debt.
The $55 billion AustralianSuper fund sought to remove News Corp chief executive Rupert Murdoch as chairman and his son James from the board of the global media company last year.
Australia’s three largest iron ore miners are on track to produce a record 547 million tonnes this year, widening the production gap over Brazilian rival Vale.
Former NSW Labor minister Eddie Obeid and his wife used some of the proceeds of an allegedly corrupt coal deal to acquire a $400,000 Mercedes and put a deposit on a waterfront mansion in Sydney, a corruption inquiry has heard.
Page 3: Leighton Holdings’ John Holland division is seeking to overturn a Fair Work Commission decision that could stop it negotiating agreements with a small number of employees on new projects and applying the agreement to future staff.
A Melbourne company that supplies 23 million energy-efficient lightbulbs to Mexico has found its innovative approach to creating carbon credits thwarted by plunging global prices and United Nations bureaucracy.
Page 4: Satire, commentary and historical generalisations such as accusing the Ottoman Empire of genocide could become illegal under the federal government’s plan to toughen anti-discrimination laws, according to media companies and lawyers.
Page 5: The Labor Party’s national executive has paved the way for Nova Peris to replace sitting Northern Territory senator Trish Crossin amid threats of party resignations.
Page 6: The high dollar is masking growing pressures in the economy by making imports such as computers, drugs and stereo equipment cheaper, the latest inflation data shows.
Page 7: The International Monetary Fund has trimmed its global growth forecasts for 2013 and warned more needs to be done to bolster the world’s biggest economies.
Property spruiker to high profile rugby league star Brad Sherwin has been hospitalised and is on medication following the $27 million collapse of his investment company Wickham Securities.
Telstra has confirmed it will join Optus and Vodafone in registering for upcoming digital spectrum auctions, which the government hopes will raise nearly $3 billion.
It’s cheaper to buy a home than rent in almost every Australian capital city. Despite fewer government incentives for first-home buyers, a study shows they’re better off buying their own property than boosting a landlord’s coffers.
Page 8: Jockeys who bet on Victorian races in which they are riding face much stiffer penalties as part of a major shakeup of the multi-billion dollar industry’s integrity system.
Page 9: West Australian Labor leader Mark McGowan has unveiled more than $150 million in promises for the Pilbara region as he tries to hold off a surge from the Nationals before the March 9 state election.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is preparing for a possible protest by environmentalists outside its Sydney headquarters today, timed to coincide with the regulator’s examination of anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan.
Green groups released an estimate of more than $10 billion of federal fossil fuel subsidies and called for their abolition.
Page 10: Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to back down from streamlining the approvals process for resource projects will damage Queensland’s economic recovery, state Treasurer Tim Nicholls says.
Page 13: BHP Billiton may have made a solid start to meeting its volume growth targets after reporting strong December-quarter production figures, but there are fears its first-half results could be marred by write-downs in some of its businesses.
Rio Tinto has rejected an appeal by Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills to wait another eight months before deciding whether to suspend production at its Gove alumina refinery, with the potential loss of hundreds of local jobs.
Page 15: Private-equity backed Healthscope has axed 70 staff and closed 44 of its pathology collection centres in the past month as part of a restructuring in NSW/ACT expected to benefit larger listed players Sonic Healthcare and Primary Health Care.
Nufarm will ramp up development of key crop protection products to compete directly with German chemical giant BASF, which has terminated a decade-long distribution deal that will strip the Melbourne-based company of significant sales revenue.
New Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh has emphasised the need to create greater value for shareholders following last week’s billion of impairments that led to the departure of his predecessor
Page 16: Investors have been warned Boral’s major profit upgrade for the first half of 2012-13 is not a sign underlying demand for new housing and commercial construction is rising.
Fashion e-tailer The Iconic plans to take advantage of the consolidation in online retailing and lay the foundations for further growth after securing a $25 million capital injection from United States investors.
Goldminer St Barbara has earned a tick from investors after delivering a quarterly report showing a recovery at its flagship operation and the prospect of better performance from the assets acquired through the $556 million takeover of Allied Gold.
Page 17: The Future Fund is confident in its legal position regarding the $2 billion takeover of the airport assets of Australian Infrastructure Fund, amid claims from other investors in the assets that the sovereign pension fund may have breached shareholder agreements.
Former Treasury secretary Ken Henry has dismissed criticism about potential conflicts of interest as he prepares to join the Australian Securities Exchange as a director.
Federal treasury boffins met small broking groups this week to gauge views on a proposed licencing regime for operators of dark pools, as some question whether off-market trading venues impinge on transparency.
Page 20: Investors have further discounted the prospect of Chinese private equity fund Cathay Fortune completing an $830 million takeover of copper miner Discovery Metals after the target released additional information about its flagship asset.
Page 1: Reserve Bank board member Heather Ridout says the Australian economy will need ‘‘active management’’ this year to cope with the slowing mining boom and high dollar, as the case for rate cuts was strengthened by a sharp fall in the rate of inflation.
Labor faces a week-long brawl over Julia Gillard’s ‘‘captain’s pick’’ of Nova Peris as a Senate candidate, amid a torrent of outrage from the Northern Territory over the dumping of incumbent Trish Crossin and anger in key elements of the party’s Left faction.
Australia’s national security priorities in the coming decade will be dominated by the threat of traditional great power conflict, the rise of China and the massive increase in malicious cyber espionage and attack.
Page 2: The Australian Electoral Commission has warned the federal government that it is running out of time to organise a referendum this year to recognise local government in the Constitution.
The European carbon market, which Australia has agreed to join, has been plunged into crisis with the price falling below j5 ($6.30) a tonne for the first time.
Page 3: The five sons and four daughters of former NSW Labor MP Eddie Obeid were given tax-free loans from family trusts to cover bills for school fees, medical expenses and even petrol, a corruption hearing in Sydney was told yesterday.
More than 80 Indonesian people-smuggling crew, jailed before sentencing laws were relaxed, have applied to be released from Australia’s prisons, but the federal government has knocked back half of them.
The publisher of The Australian Financial Review is proposing to outsource sub-editing to New Zealand, resulting in 13 full-time job losses.
Page 4: Chief Minister Terry Mills has called on Rio Tinto to negotiate in good faith on the future of the largest private enterprise in the Northern Territory.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has backed a High Court challenge by Aboriginal groups to overturn a South Australian Supreme Court ruling that all native title fishing rights in the state have been extinguished.
Page 5: A group of Catholics pressing for reform within the church has told an abuse inquiry the church is a ‘‘private and conflicted organisation’’ with a 17th century system of governance.
Julia Gillard has attacked critics of Labor’s draft antidiscrimination laws while her colleagues reiterated the bill was not a fait accompli and the government never intended to significantly change the legislation.
Lawyers Maurice Blackburn have conceded they used flawed government data to produce and publicly release flood maps, but insist the evidence behind their planned mammoth class action is solid.
Page 6: Australia will consider restoring defence relations with Myanmar to help promote democratic reform in that country.
Victorian firefighters are poised for another day of high bushfire risk across the state, with the focus on the Gippsland fire, which could break through containment lines later today.
Page 17: BHP Billiton is likely to write down the value of its Australian aluminium and nickel assets by about billion ($3.8bn) next month, as the strong dollar and weak prices extinguish any hope of a rebound in returns in the short term.
The chairman of Penrice Soda Holdings, the first company to face a board spill under the controversial ‘‘ two strikes’’ rule on executive pay, is confident key investors will support a restructuring announced last week that should bolster confidence in the group’s strategy before tomorrow’s crucial vote in Adelaide.
The founder and chief executive of failed mortgage finance lender Wickham Securities, Brad Sherwin, was in hospital and his wife was too scared to return to her home because she feared for her safety, a court was told yesterday.
New Rio Tinto chief Sam Walsh says staff at the mining giant need to start treating the company’s money as if it is their own in the wake of billion ($33bn) of writedowns in the past five years.
Telstra has high hopes for its newly created software company, declaring that the new unit will be a major revenue driver for the telco giant within three years as its fixed-line telephone business continues its terminal decline.
Page 18: Australia’s iron ore exports were halted yesterday as a category 1 cyclone headed for the Pilbara coast between Port Hedland and Karratha, bringing 100km/h winds that forced the closure of the world’s two biggest bulk export ports.
The style set is readying for a high-fashion showdown after Bauer Media Group yesterday confirmed that the long-awaited Australian version of Elle will launch in September.
China has mounted a huge investment drive to explore its vast untapped reserves of shale gas in what it hopes could become a repeat of the energy revolution taking place in North America.
Page 19: Nufarm has announced the loss of a distribution deal worth almost 10 per cent of its Australian and New Zealand revenues, compounding concerns over deteriorating trading conditions in the local agricultural market.
Global chemicals giant BASF has flagged a significant longterm investment in Australia’s agricultural sector as it moves to capitalise on the nation’s anticipated role as a food supplier to the fast-growing Asian region.
A stronger than expected performance in the December quarter, combined with the early gains of a cost-cutting program initiated earlier this month, led Boral to upgrade its interim underlying net profit by more than 30 per cent yesterday.
Australian company bosses are planning on cutting costs and restructuring their businesses far more than their overseas peers and remain relatively confident about China’s growth prospects, a new survey shows.
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority deputy chairman Ross Jones has warned superannuation fund trustees to make sure they act in the interests of their members and are not swayed by any pressure from unions or employers.
Page 25: Foreign hotel investors are circling Lend Lease’s twin-tower hotel complex at the property giant’s $1.5 billion Darling Harbour redevelopment in Sydney, ahead of the project even obtaining planning approval.
The $280 million high-risk mortgage fund Angas Securities has reported that one-third of its loans are in arrears — and half of those by more than a year — as it goes to ordinary investors seeking more funds.
High-profile boutique hotelier Vincent Rae is still awaiting payment on the sale of his celebrity-studded resort Rae’s on Watego’s, but is refusing to let that take the shine off his impending nuptials to Chanel muse Anna Mouglalis.
Page 26: Groups from offshore and Australia are lining up to develop a hotel and apartments that are part of the West Australian government’s $2.6 billion Elizabeth Quay project in Perth.
Page 27: Property fund manager Tony Pitt has defended the performance of his $310 million 360 Capital Industrial Fund, saying he expects the highly geared stock’s share price to perform better in the new year.
The battle for Becton continues with three shareholders seeking a board position and the lender to the company’s largest project, Westpac, baulking at the sale of the company’s senior debt to Goldman Sachs last month.
The Industry Superannuation Property Trust is believed to have beaten Charter Hall in the competition to secure a $600 million shopping centre portfolio from supermarket giant Coles, with a deal close to being finalised, according to sources.
The Sydney Morning Herald:
Page 1: The family of Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid allegedly has a $3.4 million investment in a water company which has a 25-year agreement with the NSW government, Fairfax reports.
Page 2: A ban on religious organisations from discriminating against aged care residents based on their sexual identity will not protect the elderly unless the proposed bill is extended, a critic says.
Page 3: Sydney residents are breathing cleaner air and recycling more than they were a decade ago, the 2012 State of the Environment report says.
World: Benjamin Netanyahu says he will continue as Israel's Prime Minister despite a heavy drop in the polls.
Business: BHP Billiton has been tipped to slash some Australian operations despite new statistics showing solid performances.
Sport: Sloane Stephens wins against Serena Williams during the Australian Open on Wednesday.
The Daily Telegraph:
Page 1: The web of trust funds that hold the money financing Eddie Obeid's family has been revealed.
Page 2: The sale of NSW road maintenance services is set to go ahead with maintenance and construction staff briefed on moves to outsource their work to private contractors.
Page 3: Two Australian men have been detained in Phuket after a pair of Germans were injured in a double shooting.
World: The Taliban have called Prince Harry a coward after he admitted to killing insurgents.
Business: The Reserve Bank has room to cut interest rates further, after official figures showed consumer price pressures easing.
Sport: Sloane Stephens wins against Serena Williams during the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Page 1: South Australia is sitting on oil potentially worth more than $20 trillion, independent reports claim - enough to turn Australia into a self-sufficient fuel producer.
Page 3: Australia must build more roads, railways, bridges and ports to secure a new era of prosperity once the mining boom fades, two Reserve Bank board members say.
World: Britain has criticised the death sentence imposed on a British woman in Indonesia for smuggling 4.8kg of cocaine into Bali.
Finance: Google reports its profit climbed and annual revenue rose to a record level last year as it evolved to stay in tune with people using smart phones and tablet computers.
Sport: World champion Philippe Gilbert and the Tour Down Under's defending champion Simon Gerrans have conceded that their title hopes are over after falling victim to Adelaide's feared Corkscrew Road yesterday.