WA election funds could be withheld – The Fin; Offshore move hard to counter: EPA boss – The West; PM signals cuts to fund ALP 'values' – The Aus; Shell joins rush of US LNG ventures – The Fin; Perth outlaws smoking in pedestrian malls – The West
WA election funds could be withheld
West Australian Liberal leader Colin Barnett threatened to withhold campaign funds for this year's election from the federal Liberal Party if it doesn't support his plan to get a bigger share of the GST. The Fin
Offshore move hard to counter: EPA boss
WA's top environmental defender says he could be powerless to stop a bid to process gas offshore from Woodside's $40 billion Browse project, potentially undermining Premier Colin Barnett's campaign against the plan. The West
PM signals cuts to fund ALP 'values'
Julia Gillard will today promise substantial structural savings in the federal budget to pay for key Labor priorities such as the national disability insurance scheme and the Gonski education reforms in a declaration that will put big business and high-income earners on notice for further cuts to entitlements. The Aus
Shell joins rush of US LNG ventures
Royal Dutch Shell has become the latest energy major to reveal plans to export liquefied natural gas from the US, underlining the growing competitive threat that cheap shale gas poses for LNG suppliers in Australia. The Fin
Perth outlaws smoking in pedestrian malls
The City of Perth has voted to outlaw smoking in pedestrian malls – a move described as the biggest step to protect non-smokers in WA since smoking was banned in alfresco dining areas four years ago. The West
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
Page 1: Colin Barnett yesterday threatened to cut off funding to the federal Liberal Party for the forthcoming election campaign unless Opposition Leader Tony Abbott agrees to GST reform.
Page 3: The City of Perth has voted to outlaw smoking in pedestrian malls – a move described as the biggest step to protect non-smokers in WA since smoking was banned in alfresco dining areas four years ago.
Page 6: Labor promised yesterday to complete a rail line to Perth Airport before the Barnett government plans to start one – and for less than half the cost.
The Barnett government failed to notify WA's peak fishing bodies about plans for a marine park at the Kimberley's Horizontal Falls – prompting claims it ignored them for political purposes.
Both major parties yesterday played down any suggestion that forecasts of slower economic growth in WA would force a rethink of major spending promises after the state election.
Page 7: Perth drivers spend an average three hours a week in traffic jams and it is beginning to affect their family life, stress levels and productivity.
The Liberal Party moved to shore up its credentials in the social service sector with an election pledge yesterday of free public transport for 8,500 carers at a cost of $1.2 million over four years.
Page 11: Noble laureate Barry Marshall says WA risks losing its best scientists because of a lack of investment and wants the state to boost science funding by $40 million a year.
Page 12: Forget arenas, sports stadiums and quay developments – the biggest winners in a state flush with cash from the boom are our public hospitals, which are undergoing the equivalent of a triple heart bypass.
Page 16: Thee woman behind the Elizabeth's second-hand bookshops empire and a 40-year veteran of Perth's retail landscape says the city is in danger of losing its character as high-end international retailers squeeze out the independents.
Page 17: The Gillard government is preparing to unveil a suite of spending cuts in a pre-election Budget that will deliver long-term savings which could end up benefiting Tony Abbott.
Business: WA's top environmental defender says he could be powerless to stop a bid to process gas offshore from Woodside's $40 billion Browse project, potentially undermining Premier Colin Barnett's campaign against the plan.
Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting says it is undeterred by a Victorian government ban on fraccing, after the mining magnate took a major stake in Victorian unconventional oil and gas explorer Lakes Oil yesterday.
The Pastoralists and Graziers Association has blasted the state government for breaking an election commitment to give the industry a new lease of life through amendments to the Land Administration Act.
The turmoil in WA resource circles late last year following a plunge in iron ore prices did not deter miner, with the WA government receiving a 21 per cent jump in mining applications from September 30 to December 31.
One of WA's most successful gas explorers of recent years, US giant Hess Corporation, is joining other energy companies by quitting the refining business to concentrate on exploration and production.
The Mexican wave washing over the Perth restaurant scene is set to intensify this week s Sydney chain Guzman y Gomez opens its first outlet in WA.
South West tourism landmark Caves House will go back on the market next month after a sales pitch in 2010 failed to secure a buyer for the historic hotel.
The Department of Planning has rejected claims that it lacked the expertise to assess developer contribution schemes, saying it gave careful scrutiny to the funding plans that divide infrastructure costs at land subdivisions between developers and local governments.
THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW
Page 1: Many of the homes hit by floods in NSW and Queensland are still not covered by insurance, despite claims by government and the insurers' peak body that the level of cover has significantly improved.
Government MPs would be able to grill their prime minister and ministers with unscripted questions under an overhaul of Parliament planned by the federal Coalition.
Some of Australia's top fund managers are bullish on the outlook for shares, but warn prices are being driven by the weight of money pouring into the market rather than higher corporate profits.
Page 3: West Australian Liberal leader Colin Barnett threatened to withhold campaign funds for this year's election from the federal Liberal Party if it doesn't support his plan to get a bigger share of the GST.
Page 4: Prime Minister Julia Gillard will flag “substantial” structural savings to the federal budget today, putting in the spotlight more cuts to middle-class welfare and superannuation concessions for high income earners.
Page 5: Business confidence has jumped by the most in more than a decade after a surge in positive news from the world's biggest economies.
Greens leader Christine Milne has given her first hint she may support a motion to have the tax commissioner divulge how much the minerals resource rent tax has raised.
The West Australian Labor leader Mark McGowan said Perth would choke on congestion without his $3.8 billion transport plan, which is Labor's central election platform for the March 9 poll.
Page 6: Queensland mining companies will be unable to move coal for more than a week on the two railway lines damaged by heavy rain.
Page 11: The group of former Qantas managers and their financial backers that had threatened to destabilise chief executive Alan Joyce's strategy have quietly sold their stake in the airline.
Page 13: Royal Dutch Shell has become the latest energy major to reveal plans to export liquefied natural gas from the US, underlining the growing competitive threat that cheap shale gas poses for LNG suppliers in Australia.
Mineral Resources chairman Peter Wade believes Gina Rinehart's decision to sell out of his mining services company was purely commercial and insists there is no rift between the two parties over Roy Hill.
Page 1: Julia Gillard will today promise substantial structural savings in the federal budget to pay for key Labor priorities such as the national disability insurance scheme and the Gonski education reforms in a declaration that will put big business and high-income earners on notice for further cuts to entitlements.
Floods of a magnitude ‘‘never seen by a white man’’ powered through the rivers of northern NSW yesterday, washing out towns and isolating 41,000 people.
Page 2: Pacific National has taken the extraordinary step of offering higher pay rises to individual rail workers if they do not take part in legal strike action, prompting their union to threaten Federal Court action for alleged breaches of the Fair Work Act.
West Australian Labor would spend $3.8 billion to build the ‘‘priority’’ sections of a new Perth railway network, including a line to the airport designed to ease congestion and prevent the city from ‘‘choking’’.
Business confidence bounced back from record lows in the lead-up to Christmas, boosting the chance the Reserve Bank will keep interest rates on hold next month.
The Auditor-General has declared it is not possible to determine whether $20 million in grants to small businesses to help fund energy efficiency programs actually went to the most worthy projects.
Business and union leaders have backed a Gillard government vow to put skills and training at the top of a new reform agenda, raising hopes for initiatives in the May budget to expand the workforce.
Page 4: The Gillard government is under mounting pressure from the crossbench to establish a long-term natural disaster recovery fund, rather than seek to implement another one-off flood levy.
Page 5: Labor's star recruit Nova Peris has attacked the Northern Territory intervention in remote indigenous communities as a ‘‘failed policy’’ after Labor’s national executive endorsed her as the party’s Senate candidate.
Page 6: Tony Abbott is thinking big as he continues his mini-campaign, visiting the southeastern Melbourne seat of Bruce, in Labor hands since 1996 and held by a margin of almost 8 per cent.
Business: The corporate watchdog has criticised recurring compliance failures by Macquarie Group’s private wealth unit, one of Australia’s biggest retail financial advice businesses, and forced it to acknowledge serious breaches.
The market value of Australia’s big four banks has ballooned by more than $40 billion in the past six months as investors accelerate the switch from cash to quality, high-yielding shares, a trend expected to underpin the broader stockmarket.
The damage bill from the deluges that have inundated large swathes of Queensland climbed to $116 million yesterday as the Insurance Council of Australia declared new catastrophe zones along the eastern seaboard.
Global mining giant Anglo American said last night that it would book a billion ($3.8bn) impairment charge against the value of a Brazilian iron ore project, in a widely anticipated move following large cost overruns and delays that contributed to the resignation of chief executive Cynthia Carroll.
Qantas and Emirates want to reduce the number of seats they will be required to fly across the Tasman by more than 100,000 a year, and warn requirements proposed by the competition watchdog could threaten the development of new trans-Tasman routes.
Gina Rinehart has poured some of her iron ore riches into efforts by hardy explorer Lakes Oil to unlock the unconventional gas potential of the onshore Gippsland Basin in eastern Victoria.
Building materials companies are likely to reveal more cost cuts when they report their earnings next month, according to analysts, who also predict a lift in profits for the groups in the second half of the financial year.
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Page 1: Sydney socialite Oliver Peter Curtis was charged on Tuesday with conspiracy to commit insider trading, two years after his former best friend John Hartman pleaded guilty to insider trading offences that led to a prison sentence. Prime Minister Julia Gillard will commit her government to big "structural" cuts in spending. Street sees double as school year beckons. Slavish adherents to the eight-hours-a-night sleep rule can relax, with research suggesting we all have our own sleep patterns.
Page 2: The US discount retailer Costco has underscored its escalating competitive threat to Woolworths and Coles by posting its maiden annual profit in Australia.
Page 3: A quarter of all surgical patient deaths involve potential problems with care that could or should have been provided differently, a national audit has found.
World: French and Malian forces were patrolling Mali's desert city of Timbuktu on Tuesday after receiving a hero's welcome from locals.
Business: Macquarie Equities' retail division, Macquarie Private Wealth, has been lambasted by the corporate regulator for "serious compliance deficiencies" in the records it kept about retail investors buying and selling shares.
Sport: Anthony Mundine likes being the underdog and predicts a win over IBF middleweight world champion Daniel Geale will put him a step closer to his dream bout against Floyd Mayweather.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
Page 1: They had prepared for the worst, sandbagging their homes to protect them from rising floodwaters, but residents in Grafton breathed a sigh of relief.
Page 2: Former premier Morris Iemma is the frontrunner for a federal seat after former attorney-general and Kevin Rudd supporter Robert McClelland announced his retirement yesterday.
Page 3: It's game, set and match for lead-foot Bernard Tomic after he was caught speeding on the Gold Coast yesterday morning.
World: Chris Brown is being investigated by police over a brawl with a fellow singer sparked by an argument over a parking space outside a recording studio.
Business: The jobless rate is tipped to hit 700,000 by the end of the year with an additional 50,000 Australians joining the unemployment line.
Sport: Parramatta great Peter Sterling believes the club's search for a champion halfback placed undue pressure on Chris Sandow last season.
THE HERALD SUN
Page 1: Clubs demand AFL cracks down on drugs in the sport.
Page 2: Muslim leaders hit out at hysterical objections whenever plans for mosques go before local councils. Bull market is back and mums and dads back in the money.
Page 3: A fortune amassed by child killer Derek Percy through a navy pension is safe after government lawyers say a bid to strip him of the money was unconstitutional. Bernard Tomic loses his driver's licence after speeding through Gold Coast.
World: French and Malian troops liberate fabled desert city of Timbuktu from Islamists.
Business: Gina Rinehart buys into energy minnow Lakes Oil, which is developing unconventional oil and gas deposits in Gippsland.
Sport: Clubs suspect some players confessed to using illicit drugs when they were alerted to the presence of an AFL tester.
Page 1: Newly elected Melbourne City councillor wants smoking banned in all public spaces, even on footpaths. Government commitment to cut spending puts pressure on concessions and tax breaks enjoyed by wealthier Australians. Victoria's clergy sex abuse inquiry is likely to recommend reforms to hold the Catholic Church to account.
Page 2: National audit finds 25 per cent of surgical patient deaths involved problems with care that could have prevented fatalities.
Page 3: Expectant grandparents getting educated on their roles in helping to rear the new arrival. Former Department of Justice legal officer Rose Falla named as Victoria's first indigenous magistrate. Baillieu budget cuts start to bite at schools with funds to support for low income families to dry up.
World: French and Malian forces recapture Timbuktu and get a heroes' welcome from residents.
Business: Corporate watchdog forces stockbroker Macquarie Equities to bring in an independent investigator to oversee its operations after uncovering serious compliance deficiencies.
Sport: AFL to close loophole that lets players confess to taking illicit drugs to escape three strike policy.
THE CANBERRA TIMES
Page 1: Brown urges ACT voters to stop Katter's Senate run
Page 2: Manuka Oval lights up for a night of cricket
Page 3: Boy injured as 400 crash party for 50
World: Timbuktu welcomes its liberating forces
Business: Bullish sharemarket a surge in sentiment not profit
Sport: Ponting bows out as a winner.