Financial News from ABC

  • Gina Rinehart says other countries will supply iron ore if Australia cuts back ABC - 3 hours ago
    Gina Rinehart says other countries will supply iron ore if Australia cuts back

    Gina Rinehart has rejected a suggestion from the chairman of Fortescue Metals Andrew Forrest that big mining companies should collude to cap iron ore production. Speaking in Singapore last night, Mrs Rinehart said it was impossible to control the falling iron ore price and customers would go elsewhere if Australia did not supply it at the best price. Mrs Rinehart's slapdown caps a bad week for Mr Forrest, who is being investigated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which has warned even the suggestion might risk civil and criminal sanctions on cartels.

  • ACTU calls for $27 rise in weekly minimum wage, more super for low-paid workers ABC - 12 hours ago
    ACTU calls for $27 rise in weekly minimum wage, more super for low-paid workers

    Unions and business groups have begun this year's fight over wages for the nation's lowest paid workers. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) will lodge its submission with the Fair Work Commission as part of the regulator's annual wage review. More than 1.8 million people are on the minimum wage. If granted by the commission as part of its wage review, it would mean a pay rise for the country's lowest-paid workers from $16.87 to $17.58 an hour.

  • Black smoke sparks environmental investigation at McArthur River Mine ABC - 17 hours ago
    Black smoke sparks environmental investigation at McArthur River Mine

    Photos of black smoke billowing from the McArthur River Mine in the Northern Territory's Gulf region have sparked an investigation by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). The pictures were snapped by a person driving past the mine in mid-March, and an official complaint was lodged with the EPA. They show a thick plume of black smoke spiralling into the air from the edge of a tailings dam. Local aboriginal man Jack Green said the mine had a poor track record on air pollution.

  • Local market closes lower following big falls on Wall Street and the Asian region ABC - 18 hours ago

    The local share market has closed sharply lower following big falls on Wall Street and matching falls on markets around the Asian region. Bank Of Queensland shares closed down 3.3 per cent after an underwhelming profit result. BHP Billiton retreated 1.1 per cent and Rio Tinto lost 0.6 per cent, while Fortescue bucked the trend and rose 3.9 per cent along with rival iron ore miner Atlas, which rose 3.5 per cent. Meanwhile, the iron ore cartel saga continued with Rio Tinto's chief Sam Walsh slamming rival Andrew Forrest's idea for a production cap to prop up prices.

  • Andrew Forrest knew he was on the record when speaking at Shanghai dinner ABC - 19 hours ago

    It has been reported that Andrew Forrest says he believed he was speaking off the record when he made his controversial proposal to a dinner in Shanghai, laying out a strategy of resource company production collusion in order to force China to pay more for Australian iron ore. In the days leading up to the dinner in honour of the Fortescue Metals chairman, I spoke to Mr Forrest's public relations people about our attendance. There was no mention of what's known as Chatham House rules, whereby comments made to a gathering are not to be published. I had asked whether, in addition to our coverage of the speech, we could have an interview with Mr Forrest.

  • Trans-Pacific Partnership leaked chapter raises health, environment concerns ABC - 20 hours ago

    Fair trade and consumer groups say a leaked draft chapter of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership shows that the Australian Government may be willing to trade off health and environmental protections. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is under negotiation between 12 countries and Wikileaks has released what it says is the draft chapter on investments as it stood in January.

  • Shearwater Resort's cash-flow crisis sparks timeshare sell-off ABC - 20 hours ago
    Shearwater Resort's cash-flow crisis sparks timeshare sell-off

    Shareholders in the Shearwater Resort in north-west Tasmania are at loggerheads with the board of management over its dire finances. Timeshare owner Leandra Weeda said the news went from bad to worse as shareholders were asked to pay an extra $950 on top of their annual fees. Four of the seven board members resigned this week at the request of shareholders. While shareholders prepare to vote on the board's request this weekend, some were desperate to get out, according to timeshare owner Shayne Allison.

  • Andrew Forrest criticised by Rio Tinto boss Sam Walsh over 'harebrained scheme' to cap iron ore prod … ABC - 21 hours ago

    Rio Tinto's chief executive Sam Walsh has delivered a stinging rebuke to the suggestion by Fortescue Metals' chairman Andrew Forrest that Australia's iron ore miners should introduce a production cap in an effort to push up prices. Mr Walsh told a Minerals Council lunch in Melbourne that it was a "harebrained scheme". "I have no idea what was going through Andrew's mind at the time he raised the issue," Mr Walsh told the conference.

  • One Direction: The rise of the inescapable pop boy band ABC - 23 hours ago

    Since first forming on British talent show The X Factor in 2010, it's been impossible to escape the meteoric rise of English-Irish pop boy band One Direction. The remaining members of the band â Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Niall Horan â sent Malik love. Shortly after forming on The X Factor and finishing in third place, the band were signed to Syco Music, founded by British music mogul and talent show supremo Simon Cowell. The hit reached number one on the UK Singles Chart after becoming the most pre-ordered Sony Music Entertainment single in history.

  • Fair Work investigation uncovers $94,000 owing in back pay to NT workers ABC - Thu, Mar 26, 2015 11:12 AM AEDT

    A number of NT businesses have been caught out not paying employees correctly, with one business not giving trainees night shift penalty entitlements for three years. An investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman found the employer, who had mistakenly believed that only qualified workers and not trainees were entitled to night-shift penalty rates, had to repay $38,000 to 16 trainees for the three-year period.

  • Myer sued by shareholder over surprise profit slump ABC - Thu, Mar 26, 2015 10:26 AM AEDT
    Myer sued by shareholder over surprise profit slump

    Myer has been issued with a writ from a shareholder alleging loss over the firm's failure to warn of a surprisingly big slide in profitability. The writ alleges that Myer failed to warn shareholders about a massive profit downgrade revealed last week which sent the share price sharply lower. During an analyst call the then-chief executive, Bernie Brookes, stated that the company not only "anticipated sales growth, but anticipated profit growth this year". "You made a comment, Bernie, that you're guiding for a net profit increase 2015 on 2014 ...

  • South Australian penalty rates deal slammed by independent grocers' body ABC - Thu, Mar 26, 2015 8:12 AM AEDT
    South Australian penalty rates deal slammed by independent grocers' body

    The peak body for independent supermarkets and liquor stores has slammed a deal aimed at cutting penalty rates in South Australia. Under the deal negotiated between the retail workers' union and South Australia's peak business group, the base rate would increase and Saturday penalty rates would be abolished and Sunday rates would be halved. Master Grocers Australia and Liquor Retailers Australia chief executive Jos de Bruin, whose organisation represents 2,500 businesses employing 15,000 staff, said the move was a negative step.

  • ACTU to ask workplace regulator to increase compulsory super for workers on minimum wage ABC - Wed, Mar 25, 2015 10:52 PM AEDT
    ACTU to ask workplace regulator to increase compulsory super for workers on minimum wage

    Australia's peak union body will ask the workplace regulator to increase compulsory superannuation for workers on the minimum wage. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is pressing the case for a rise in super and the minimum wage in its submission to the Fair Work Commission's annual wage review. It says nearly 2 million low-paid workers are $167 a year worse off because the Federal Government delayed plans for employer contributions to rise from 9.5 per cent to 10 per cent in July this year.

  • Foreign investment: Chinese investors seeking greener pastures eye Australia's real estate market ABC - Wed, Mar 25, 2015 9:31 PM AEDT
    Foreign investment: Chinese investors seeking greener pastures eye Australia's real estate market

    Hanya Federal had a prominent location for its booth at an overseas property exhibition in Beijing â right in front of the entrance of the exhibition hall. The company's chief operating officer, David Wang, was expecting 7,000 to 8,000 people to come to the exhibition over a three-day period. "Many people open their eyes in amazement after listening to our presentation about the Australian real estate market," Mr Wang said. China's real estate sector â which accounts for between 16 to 25 per cent of the country's GDP â has produced some of the country's richest men, but is still cooling along with the rest of the economy.

  • Chief Minister considers more public transport providers amid growing frustration with ACTION ABC - Wed, Mar 25, 2015 8:13 PM AEDT
    Chief Minister considers more public transport providers amid growing frustration with ACTION

    The ACT Chief Minister had flagged a shake-up of public transport in Canberra amid growing frustration with ACTION bus drivers. Under the current enterprise agreement ACTION bus drivers cannot be forced to work on weekends and on designated holidays. The issue came to a head when the ACT Government had to slash bus services on the service holiday on April 27 because it could not find enough drivers to work the day. Buses will run on a Saturday timetable and there will not be a dedicated school bus service.

  • Fortescue Metals defends chairman Andrew Forrest's 'cap iron ore' comments ABC - Wed, Mar 25, 2015 7:29 PM AEDT

    Fortescue Metals has defended allegations that its chairman Andrew Forrest broke the law by calling on fellow iron ore producers to cut production and boost prices. The Australian Competition and Consumer ...

  • Federal ministers fear Government is putting the brakes on new food labelling scheme ABC - Wed, Mar 25, 2015 7:10 PM AEDT

    Frustrated federal ministers fear their own Government is putting "the brakes" on plans for tough new food labels, which will not be signed off by Cabinet until later in the year. The labels would make it easier for shoppers to work out how much of their food was grown or packaged in Australia. "Well, the primary reason is we want to consumer test the ideas that we have," Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said. The powerful food industry is too, and has been campaigning publicly and privately against the cost of a new labelling scheme.

  • Share market records sluggish day, but banks report gains ABC - Wed, Mar 25, 2015 6:35 PM AEDT

    On the local market the major banks supported gains, with Commonwealth, Westpac and ANZ all rising 0.8 per cent while NAB rose 0.9 per cent. Fortescue's boss, Andrew Forrest, was grabbing the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

  • RBA says too early to judge APRA's home loan restrictions ABC - Wed, Mar 25, 2015 12:10 PM AEDT

    The Reserve Bank says it is too early to tell whether tighter surveillance of banks is slowing down rampant sections of the housing market. In December 2014, the banking regulator APRA and corporate regulator ASIC announced that they would increase their surveillance of home lending, especially to investors, in response to a surge in activity especially in Sydney and Melbourne. APRA said it wanted to see banks grow their investment loan portfolios at less than 10 per cent per annum â the Reserve Bank observed today in its latest half-yearly Financial Stability Review that the most recent data show 10.5 per cent annualised growth over the last six months. The Reserve Bank clearly sees the main risk to household finances remaining firmly in the housing sector, due particularly to investor activity.

  • Joe Hockey dismisses iron ore capping comments by Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest ABC - Wed, Mar 25, 2015 10:29 AM AEDT
    Joe Hockey dismisses iron ore capping comments by Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest

    Treasurer Joe Hockey has dismissed a call from mining magnate Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest to cap iron ore production, saying the Government does not support "cartels". The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also launched an investigation into Mr Forrest's comments, made overnight at a dinner in Shanghai. The Treasurer is not buying into the idea as a solution to falling iron ore prices and subsequent drops in Government revenue. "We're not very supportive of cartels at all," Mr Hockey said.

  • Energy industry aims to ease burden on South Australian customers with late bill payments ABC - Wed, Mar 25, 2015 9:56 AM AEDT
    Energy industry aims to ease burden on South Australian customers with late bill payments

    Energy industry guidelines have been drawn up aimed at encouraging intervention and leniency to ease the financial pressure on South Australians who are struggling to pay their power bills. The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) worked with the Energy Retailers Association to develop what are being called better practice guidelines. SACOSS executive director Ross Womersley said it was encouraging to see the energy industry working on better arrangements for customers. The Energy Retailers Association said it would urge its members to use the guidelines.

  • Mining magnate Andrew Forrest calls for an iron ore production cap to force China to pay more ABC - Wed, Mar 25, 2015 8:28 AM AEDT
    Mining magnate Andrew Forrest calls for an iron ore production cap to force China to pay more

    One of Australia's principal mining magnates has called for a production cap to force up the price China has to pay for iron ore. Fortescue Metals (FMG) chairman Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest told ...

  • Physics, chemistry and mathematics add billions to the economy, report finds ABC - Wed, Mar 25, 2015 1:05 AM AEDT

    A new report investigating the economic contribution of science has found that physics, chemistry and maths directly add $145 billion to the Australian economy every year. The report, commissioned by the Office of the Chief Scientist and the Australian Academy of Science, was produced by the Centre for International Economics. It said when flow-on impacts were included, the value of advanced physical and mathematical sciences sector increased significantly. It will be officially launched by Australia's chief scientist Ian Chubb today.

  • US Federal Reserve board member John Williams calls for rates rise by end of 2015 ABC - Tue, Mar 24, 2015 6:30 PM AEDT

    US Federal Reserve board member Dr John Williams says an interest rate rise should happen in the US by the end of this year. Mr Williams told an Australian Business Economists function via video link that conditions in the US were looking better. Fed chair Janet Yellen last week indicated that a rate increase could happen this year but that she was in no rush, which saw some major US banks changing forecasts to predict a rate rise would not happen until next year. In a decidedly upbeat assessment of the US economy, Dr Williams said he expected to see wages and prices rising and inflation moving back toward its 2 per cent target within two years.

  • Sharing economy apps like Uber, Airbnb must be better regulated: Labor MP Andrew Leigh ABC - Tue, Mar 24, 2015 6:05 PM AEDT
    Sharing economy apps like Uber, Airbnb must be better regulated: Labor MP Andrew Leigh

    Driven by apps like Uber and Airbnb, the "sharing economy" exists in regulatory grey area and sometimes in outright contravention of the law, according to a discussion paper launched by the Federal Labor Party. Speaking about the paper today, Labor MP Andrew Leigh told the National Press Club he believed there was "huge potential" in the peer-to-peer market in Australia. Labor's discussion paper highlighted the fact that in Australia, the two major players in the share economy were accommodation service Airbnb and transport service Uber.

  • TPG defends iiNet offer after attacks by founder Michael Malone ABC - Tue, Mar 24, 2015 4:14 PM AEDT
    TPG defends iiNet offer after attacks by founder Michael Malone

    Internet provider TPG indicates it is unlikely to improve its $1.4 billion offer to take over rival iiNet, despite unrest among some key shareholders. The founder of iiNet, Michael Malone, is among those who are calling for the bid to be rejected and for the board members recommending it to be replaced. Mr Malone founded iiNet in his mother's garage in Perth back in the early 1990s when a lot of people thought the Internet was just a fad. Mr Malone yesterday said on an iiNet investor conference call that the offer of $8.60 a share from TPG is not good enough, despite saying it sounded like a sensible and good deal last week.

  • Netflix: Free-to-air, Foxtel under threat as US video streaming service launches in Australia ABC - Tue, Mar 24, 2015 12:14 PM AEDT
    Netflix: Free-to-air, Foxtel under threat as US video streaming service launches in Australia

    Australia's free-to-air and pay television operators are under assault again, this time with the entry of United States video streaming service Netflix into the local market. Netflix operates in more than 50 countries and has 57 million members around the world. Its entry into the Australian market is seen as a threat to not only Foxtel's pay television service, but also two new local streaming services â Stan, a joint venture between Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment, and Presto, run by Foxtel and the Seven Network. Netflix switched on its Australian service overnight, offering more than 1,000 television and film titles for as little as $9 per month.

  • Atari founder Nolan Bushnell holds no regrets about turning down a third of Apple for $50k ABC - Tue, Mar 24, 2015 11:31 AM AEDT
    Atari founder Nolan Bushnell holds no regrets about turning down a third of Apple for $50k

    When Nolan Bushnell turned down his employee's offer for a large stake in his new technology company he did not realise he just passed up the opportunity to become "uber, uber, uber rich".

  • ACT household income 'went backwards', worst drop in the country: study ABC - Tue, Mar 24, 2015 10:55 AM AEDT

    The ACT recorded a fall of about $2,517 to household incomes last year, the sharpest drop among all states and territories, a study shows. The SAS - National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) Household Budget Report said income in ACT households went backwards in the year to December. NATSEM principal research fellow Ben Phillips said the standard of living had come down in Canberra, but overall it was still at a high level. The researchers reviewed the cost of living, incomes and the related standard of living across a range of different household types.

  • Qantas - China Eastern alliance rejected by ACCC ABC - Tue, Mar 24, 2015 9:53 AM AEDT

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission plans to reject a proposed coordination agreement between Qantas and China Eastern on flights to China. Under the plan, Qantas and China Eastern would coordinate their operations to Shanghai, which the airlines argue would improve connectivity and convenience for customers transferring to China Eastern domestic flights. Part of the benefit would be through Qantas co-locating at China Eastern's terminal in Shanghai.

  • Some weekend penalty rates scrapped under South Australian retail enterprise agreement ABC - Tue, Mar 24, 2015 7:21 AM AEDT
    Some weekend penalty rates scrapped under South Australian retail enterprise agreement

    Some weekend penalty rates will be abolished by South Australia's retail sector under a landmark deal that a union described as a win for workers and employers. The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA) struck the template enterprise agreement with Business SA after nine months of negotiation. "The SDA has always been willing to negotiate with fair-minded employers provided it doesn't leave workers worse off, and this template agreement demonstrates how this can be done successfully for small retailers," SDA official Peter Malinauskas said. Saturday penalty rates are to be abolished and Sunday penalties reduced under the deal.

  • Renewable Energy Target: Ian Macfarlane sets sights on crossbench as RET talks with Labor stall ABC - Tue, Mar 24, 2015 6:18 AM AEDT

    There is still no sign of a breakthrough as the deadline looms for a deal on Australia's Renewable Energy Target (RET). The Federal Government is trying to seal a deal on the RET by the end of March to spare emissions-intensive industries from hefty fines. After more failed negotiations, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane shifted his focus to reaching a deal with the Senate crossbench. The Coalition wants to scale back the target for renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 32,000 by 2020.

  • Share market closes short of 6,000-point barrier after last week's highs ABC - Mon, Mar 23, 2015 6:52 PM AEDT

    The share market has closed slightly lower after a lacklustre session, failing to break through the key 6,000-point barrier. Stocks eased back from the fresh seven-year highs reached last week as investors ...

  • New coal mines have Buckley's chance as China cuts consumption: analyst ABC - Mon, Mar 23, 2015 5:32 PM AEDT
    New coal mines have Buckley's chance as China cuts consumption: analyst

    A prominent energy analyst says a slump in sales for China's biggest coal company should raise alarm bells for Australian producers. Energy analyst Tim Buckley from anti-coal think tank The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said the cuts to Shenhua's sales reflect China's attempt to reduce its energy intensity and coal dependence in order to reduce pollution. "China's strategy has been to slow the rate of economic growth, transition to lower energy intensive industries, deliver energy efficiency gains and then, as well, diversify rapidly into alternative sources of electricity generation such as hydro, wind, nuclear gas and solar, and then coal, by definition, becomes the rump of electricity supply," he told ABC News Online.

  • Fact check: Did NSW Labor fail to deliver 'a single railway line'? ABC - Mon, Mar 23, 2015 4:42 PM AEDT

    The New South Wales Coalition Government has attacked Labor's record on railway infrastructure. According to Premier Mike Baird, during Labor's time in office from 1995 to 2011, a dozen new railway lines were announced, but none delivered. They did not deliver a single railway line, and that's what we saw time in and time out under Labor," Mr Baird said on March 1, 2015. Fact Check asked the NSW Premier's office for the basis of Mr Baird's claim.