27/02/2013 - 06:58

Today's Business Headlines

27/02/2013 - 06:58

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Shorten sides with militants – The Aus; MPs in stew over PM's nights in west – The Fin; Atlas brave on rail – The West; Pilbara in lockdown as Rusty roars in – The Aus; Libs bank on handout for Swan Valley bypass – The West

Today's Business Headlines

Shorten sides with militants

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has publicly aligned himself with the militant Maritime Union of Australia, declaring he wished he could inject its ‘‘spirit’’ into some Labor MPs to convince them the election was winnable. The Aus

MPs in stew over PM's nights in west

Some Labor MPs are concerned Prime Minister Julia Gillard's plan to spend next week campaiging in western Sydney will be seen as an act of desperation and conflicts with her pledge of “governing first, electioneering second”. The Fin

Atlas brave on rail

Atlas Iron has set aside plans for a $120 million private haul road linking its planned Mt Webber mine to Port Hedland, a decision managing director Ken Brinsden says is partly based on growing confidence the Perth company can secure a rail deal for its ore. The West

Pilbara in lockdown as Rusty roars in

Iron ore exports worth at least $500 million have been halted as one of the most ferocious cyclones in years bears down on the Pilbara mining centre of Port Hedland, home to the world’s biggest bulk export port. The Aus

Libs bank on handout for Swan Valley bypass

The Liberals have promised to build the 37km bypass road known as the Perth to Darwin Highway if they win the March 9 election – but work will not begin until 2016 and the pledge relies on the federal government stumping up most of the $830 million cost. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN

Page 1: Health officials believe some patients will end up dying because of last week's industrial action by nurses, citing several “critical incidents” that occurred because of delays in treatment.

Page 3: A fixed speed camera on Mitchell Freeway at Innaloo has hit motorists for at least $1.4 million since it was installed in December 2011.

Page 6: The Liberals have promised to build the 37km bypass road known as the Perth to Darwin Highway if they win the March 9 election – but work will not begin until 2016 and the pledge relies on the federal government stumping up most of the $830 million cost.

Page 7: Labor's campaign has stalled in the belt of metropolitan marginal seats it is relying on to form a firewall between it and electoral oblivion, according to recent internal party tracking.

Page 14: The federal government could be shackled to the $150 billion debt racked ip fighting the global financial crisis for an extra decade unless the economy starts accelerating.

WA is at risk of getting scant attention from Australia's political leaders during this year's federal election campaign, with the Gillard government confirming the poll will be a Sydney-centric affair.

Page 18: Private event management companies have expressed interest in potentially taking over the Mandurah Truffle Festival after the local shire cancelled the event this week.

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths are facing a growing backlash against plans to open liquor stores in the heart of Margaret River.

Page 19: WA should secede from the Commonwealth, a conservative scholar has argued, in part because the state could be financially better off from the move.

Page 31: There is more traffic upheaval in Northbridge with the start of work to convert Beaufort Street back into a two-way road.

Business: Atlas Iron has set aside plans for a $120 million private haul road linking its planned Mt Webber mine to Port Hedland, a decision managing director Ken Brinsden says is partly based on growing confidence the Perth company can secure a rail deal for its ore.

The state's business lobby has described as “a slap in the face” a Liberal Party election commitment to lift the payroll tax threshold by $100,000 by 2015-16.

Outgoing BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers has joined his successor Andrew Mackenzie in Perth this week for a “road show” to explain the rationale behind the mining giant's succession planning to its Perth workforce.

Gold mine ramp ups helped heavy equipment supplier WesTrac overcome hiccups in the iron ore and coal sectors to deliver “exceptional” first half results for Kerry Stokes' Seven Group Holdings.

Federal employment Minister Bill Shorten has failed to back union opposition to a floating LNG facility at Woodside's $40 billion Browse project, amid the movement's concern that an offshore facility would cost jobs.

Shareholders have endorsed Macmahon Holdings' switch to a mining-only contractor by backing the sale of most of its construction projects to biggest shareholder Leighton Holdings.

With WA's Supreme Court set to issue its final orders stripping Gina Rinehart of the massive Rhodes Ridge iron ore project today, the mining magnate will have 21 days to decide on whether to extend the long-running dispute over its ownership through an appeal to Australia's High Court.

Farmers are campaigning for new laws and legal powers to stop fraccing on agricultural land.

The financial collapse of a gold miner contributed to a fall in Ausdrill's first-half profit, but the mining services provider still expects to match its last full-year result.

A lawyer representing troubled property developer Luke Saraceni yesterday slammed the corporate watchdog for giving Bankwest appointed receivers the go ahead to question people under “star chamber” rules.

Higher payouts for consumers left out of pocket when residential builders become insolvent are being considered in a review of WA's home indemnity insurance.

Perth-based developer Cedar Woods has reported a first-half net profit of $18.1 million, up 65 per cent on the first half in 2012.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW

Page 1: QBE Insurance Group has paid the price for its aggressive acquisition strategy under former chief executive Frank O'Halloran, slashing its dividend after announcing a weak full year result.

Some Labor MPs are concerned Prime Minister Julia Gillard's plan to spend next week campaiging in western Sydney will be seen as an act of desperation and conflicts with her pledge of “governing first, electioneering second”.

Virgin Australia's chief executive, John Borghetti, threatened to drop the planned buy-out of Tiger Airways if it is forced to operate more low cost flights.

Page 3: Iron ore miners are bracing for the impact of tropical cyclone Rusty, which is forecast to make a direct hit on Port Hedland as a category 4 cyclone on Wednesday afternoon.

Page 4: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it won't tolerate unfair tactics to lure new customers or lock in existing ones when they connect to the national broadband network.

Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart, has been ordered to cover the court fees of the family of her late father's business partner in the latest round of their 12-year legal struggle.

Timber company Gunns may have traded while insolvent, the administrator of the collapsed company says.

Page 6: The Reserve Bank of Australia has extended its efforts to talk down the high dollar, with assistant governor Guy Debelle declaring a readiness to deliver more official interest rate cuts if needed.

Page 9: The number of Australians with private health insurance rose last year despite some industry predictions the introduction of means testing on government rebates would cause significant dropouts.

Page 10: The Liberal Party will oppose Labor's moves to regulate the media but the government wants a debate on media concentration and a reform package including privacy protections is being prepared for cabinet.

An architect of the fight against former prime minister Kevin Rudd's resource super profits tax, Mitch Hooke, will quit as chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia at the end of 2013, pleased the council's campaign did not get personal and defending the economic logic of the replacement tax.

A senate inquiry into the mining tax will go ahead after the Greens agreed to amend the terms of reference to remove any mention of strengthening the tax.

Page 11: West Australian businesses have dismissed the Barnett government's pledge to ease the payroll tax burden on small enterprises as an empty promise.

Labor's chances of losing the West Australian election are rated high but WA Labor is comfortably winning one online race – ALP candidates are tweeting far more than their opponents.

Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has defended appearing at a Maritime Union of Australia conference at which unionists were urged to break the law as part of their industrial campaigns.

Page 12: Unions are risking billions of dollars of investment in resources projects by demonising foreign workers and pressuring the federal government to make it harder to use foreign labour, the mining lobby says.

Page 13: Australia faces a possible inability to meet its international treaty obligation of a three-month crude oil stockpile in case of a world fuel emergency because domestic oil refineries are closing under pressure from cheap imported petrol.

Page 15: Woolworths' home improvement business, Masters, will not make a profit for another couple of years but joint venture partner Lowe's appears keen to stay on board rather than exercise a put option later this year.

Australian companies with businesses in China are parting back their growth expectations in line with slowing demand but remain optimistic about the world's second-biggest economy.

Page 17: Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh will consider slowing the miner's growth projects ore introducing joint venture partners as the company moves to bolster its balance sheet.

Page 18: Flight Centre will expand its presence in corporate travel and invest more in developing niche brands as part of a five-year strategy to build on an already dominant domestic market position.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN

Page 1: Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has publicly aligned himself with the militant Maritime Union of Australia, declaring he wished he could inject its ‘‘spirit’’ into some Labor MPs to convince them the election was winnable.

The Reserve Bank will consider taking up arms in the global ‘‘currency war’’ if the Australian dollar rises much further, suggesting it could flood the foreign exchange markets with newly printed money.

Julia Gillard has switched from ‘‘days of governing’’ to an election campaign blitz to defend Labor heartland seats, amid growing fears in government ranks that Labor is headed for a worse defeat than the rout Paul Keating suffered in 1996.

Page 2: The $5.6 billion flood recovery response by Queensland and Victoria failed to adequately plan for oversight and accountability of the federal funds used to rebuild devastated urban and rural areas after the twin 2010-11 disasters, according to a highly critical audit report.

Page 3: Iron ore exports worth at least $500 million have been halted as one of the most ferocious cyclones in years bears down on the Pilbara mining centre of Port Hedland, home to the world’s biggest bulk export port.

Page 5: Labor risks breaching its own advice on new laws to thwart media investors as it comes under pressure from the Greens to impose two new ownership tests, despite being told last year that one of them should be scrapped.

The Greens and the Coalition have joined forces to establish a Senate inquiry into the revenue failings of Labor’s minerals resource rent tax.

Page 7: The Qantas-Emirates alliance and the multi-billion-dollar trade relationship between Dubai and Australia could be disrupted by the unresolved case of two Australians wrongly jailed in Dubai, former trade minister Mark Vaile has warned the Dubai royal family.

VodafoneAustralia is facing a costly class action that could run into tens of millions of dollars after a law firm yesterday appealed to the one million customers who have fled the telco in recent years because of poor mobile phone reception and service to join the lawsuit.

NBNCo is undertaking its own investigation into concerns raised by a West Australian household with a Liberal MP that asbestos might have been released during works on the rollout of the $37.4 billion network.

Business: FairfaxMedia chairman and Reserve Bank board member Roger Corbett has rejected growing pressure to drive the Australian dollar lower by cutting interest rates, warning such a move could artificially inflate house prices and damage the economy.

QBE is slashing dividends and jobs as well as raising premiums as it looks to cut million ($243m) in costs after several extreme weather events crimped the insurer’s earnings.

Kerry Stokes’ SevenGroup has beaten market expectations with a 39 per cent lift in underlying net profit in its half-year result, driven by a strong performance from its core business, WesTrac.

VirginAustralia boss John Borghetti has warned he will not proceed with a deal to take a 60 per cent stake in TigerAustralia at any cost and says it would be unrealistic for the competition watchdog to mandate future growth at the low-cost carrier.

Rapid expansion in Rio Tinto’s debt levels to billion ($32.1bn) has prompted Standard & Poor’s to revise its credit rating outlook to negative from stable, increasing the pressure on Rio’s new chief executive Sam Walsh to deliver on his promise of massive operating cost cuts, asset sales and reduced capital expenditure commitments ahead of a possible collapse in iron ore prices.

Atlas Iron has continued the trend of iron ore miners reporting a slump in first-half profit on the back of the hit to the iron ore price late last year, but the miner says its phone has been ‘‘running hot’’ with increased interest from Asian customers.

The chairman of MacmahonHoldings has fired a parting shot at SembawangAustralia, the failed suitor for the contractor’s construction business, warning that the Indian group’s recent tactics could make it harder for the company to break into the Australian market.

Whitehaven Coal is reviewing capital expenditure on future projects after swinging to a firsthalf loss, as outgoing head Tony Haggarty hit out at regulators for their lack of understanding of the tough conditions facing local producers.

 

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Page 1: Budget cuts would mean the Murray-Darling Basin Authority would need to cut environment programs for the river. A board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Heather Ridout, says falling rates of female students taking up senior maths is "very worrying". Two men who were due to go on trial over claims they murdered a Rebels bikie have been cleared of charges.

Page 2: The future of environmental flows into the Snowy River is in doubt after the NSW government revealed it planned to replace the independent Snowy Scientific Committee with an industry-funded advisory board.

Page 3: A Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil cuts the risk of a first heart attack, stroke and death by almost 30 per cent in less than five years, a study shows.

World: Italian financial markets have fallen as a stalemate developed between parliamentary factions.

Business: QBE's new chief executive John Neal has launched a cost-cutting drive that will send hundreds of jobs overseas.

Sport: Footage of troubled Bulldogs star Ben Barba has been removed from the new NRL advertisement, but some images of the 2012 player of the year made the final cut.

 

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Page 1: The ex-partner of troubled league star Ben Barba, Ainslie Currie, has denied he ever assaulted her. Locals in Sydney's west want Prime Minister Julia Gillard to stay away, saying her planned week-long stay is too little, too late.

Page 2: A blood test for the early detection of ovarian cancer could be available within five years. 

Page 3: Public servants face dismissal if the Independent Commission Against Corruption finds against them under changes to the laws that govern the commission.

World: A homeless Missouri man who returned an engagement ring to its rightful owner has caught the collective eye of thousands of people around the world, who have pledged to donate $140,000 to the man after learning of his good deed.

Business: Virgin Australia's first-half profit more than halved because of a glut in plane seats.

Sport: Bulldogs star Ben Barba has taken his first step back to league by attending a counselling session with a club-appointed psychiatrist.

THE HERALD SUN

Page 1: More than 215,000 Victorian P-platers to be banned from using hands-free mobiles behind the wheel for their full three-year probationary period.

Page 2: Supreme Court judge berates Victoria Legal Aid during yet another application to delay third major criminal trial.

Page 3: Blood test for early detection of ovarian cancer being developed by Australian researchers could be available within five years.

World: Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith
O'Brien, resigns after allegations of inappropriate behaviour against clergy members.

Business: QBE reveals insurance premiums will rise another 6 per cent this year.

Sport: Collingwood midfielder Dane Swan more driven than ever, coach Nathan Buckley says.

 

THE AGE

Page 1: Victoria tipped to receive a quarter of the additional $6.5 billion a year to be spent on schools under the Gillard government's funding reforms 
- four times what the Baillieu government's alternative plan offers. Australian researchers develop breakthrough technology in depression diagnosis.

Page 2: Qantas denies former PM Malcolm Fraser's claim that it tried to block attempts to save two Australians under house arrest in Dubai due to its ties with Emirates. Lack of shelter at suburban railway stations to blame for Melbourne's rainy day train delays. Victoria's road rules on tailgating will be toughened, but it's unclear how they'll be enforced.

Page 3: Fears potential Victorian budget cuts may hit programs for the Murray-Darling. Melbourne teen's obscure film finds fame as it has the same title as an Oscar-nominated short. Nick Cave finally scores a number one album. Mediterranean diet with extra servings of olive oil or mixed nuts reduces the risk of a first heart attack, stroke and death by almost 30 per cent, study finds.

World: Italy heads for gridlock and financial markets tumble due to stalemate in Parliament between right and left after critical elections.

Business: QBE chief executive John Neal launching a new cost-cutting drive that will see hundreds of jobs sent overseas and a senior management shake-up.

Sport: Plan to promote indigenous football talent will see an all-
Aboriginal side play in the TAC Victorian under-18 competition this
year.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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