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30.Jun.17
infoXpress Daily News Update

published daily since 1999

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Financial Services

General Business

Government

Infrastructure

Law & Legal

Markets

Primary Industries

 
    Index: Companies and Topics
 

ANZ Bank

Arrium

Australian Signals Directorate

BHP

Cardinal George Pell

Chant West

CPA Australia

Defence Minister Marise Payne

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham

Federal Government

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison

Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton

Melbourne City Council

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet

S&P/ASX 200 Index

Slater + Gordon

US Pacific Command

Virgin Australia

Wilson Transformer Co

Yancoal Australia

 
 

ANZ Bank - Media Campaign - Bank Levys

The nation’s leading banks are preparing to launch a multi-million-dollar advertising campaign to try to defeat the $370 million South Australian bank levy, whilst at the same time, ANZ Bank has confirmed that it had lightened its load of SA government bonds due to the state’s higher risk profile. It has been confirmed that the big four banks and their lobby group, the Australian Bankers Association, met in Sydney last night to consider a campaign modelled on the mining industry’s assault on the Australian Labor Party government’s super-profits tax in 2010. The advertising campaign is expected to cost between $8 million and $10 million, and will be overwhelmingly focused on South Australia. - AFR 4 Aust Online

Chant West - Superannuation Industry Returns - Forecast

The superannuation fund industry is expected to produce returns of as high as 12.5% this year, completing eight straight years of gains in the industry. Superannuation funds have defied analysts' predictions of declining investment returns, with Chant West forecasting that the average balanced fund will post a double-digit gain for the 12 months to June, the sixth time since 2010 that the rise has been more than 9%. - AFR 3

CPA Australia - Overpayments - Allegations

Two CPA Australia directors have been accused of receiving more pay than allowed under the firm's own rules, after receiving additional income from the accounting body’s loss-making financial advice arm. According to CPA member Andrew North. CPA directors Richard Petty and Michele Dolin were paid $70,000 more than they were entitled, however CPA disagreed with Mr North’s assessment, insisting that it had received legal advice that the director payments were valid and that no overpayments had taken place. - AFR 8

 

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Virgin Australia - Rob Sharp - Departure

It has been confirmed that Rob Sharp, the head of Virgin’s low-cost carrier Tiger Airways Australia, has been appointed to the role on an acting basis after John Thomas, the head of Virgin Australia’s domestic and international business, announced that he is leaving the airline less than a year after he started in the top job. The departure is expected to interfere with chief executive John Borghetti's succession plan, as Mr Thomas had been put forward as a potential successor to Mr Borghetti, who has been running the airline since 2010. - AFR 15

Wilson Transformer Co - Energy Price Increases - Details

Victoria-based Wilson Transformer Co is preparing for an 83% increase in its annual power bill from about $800,000 to almost $1.5 million, including a threefold rise in the electricity component of the charge. Executive chairman Robert Wilson said price for peak power has risen from 4.4 cents a kilowatt-hour to about 15.4 cents, while its off-peak tariff will rise from just over 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour to about 9.65 cents. Mr Wilson said 'it’s been a shock...we can’t change our prices because we are an import-export competing business so it’s just straight off the bottom line.' - AFR 1
  • Hazlewood Closure Effects - It is expected that a series of energy bill increases will sweep across businesses and households from July 1, with some commercial customers to be hit by a tripling in electricity prices after the closure of the Hazelwood coal generator. The news of the price increase coincides with increased concern over the under pressure east coast gas market, after the unexpected shutdown of a major offshore platform in Bass Strait, which has cut gas supply from the east coast by 15%. - AFR 1


 

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    Government
 

Defence Minister Marise Payne - Prime Minster Tony Abbott - Comments

Internal divisions within the federal government are continuing to bubble to the surface, with Defence Minister Marise Payne severely criticising former prime minister Tony Abbott for suggesting that the nation should consider purchasing nuclear-powered submarines. Senator Payne said developing the domestic capacity to service nuclear submarines would take much 'longer than a decade,' and noted that 'the advantages of acquiring nuclear-powered submarines would be lost without the capacity to sustain them in Australia, particularly if we were required to support the submarines in Hawaii or Guam, noting [the] time required to reach and return from these locations for maintenance.' - Age Online

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham - University Funding Policy - Comments

Education Minister Simon Birmingham has announced that the government is prepared to substantially scale down its plan to increase university fees and reduce the HECS repayment threshold, in an effort to pass higher education savings through Parliament, following the passing of the Gonski 2.0 school funding changes last week, which were passed with significant concessions to the Senate crossbench. Senator Birmingham said yesterday that the government will be 'pragmatic' in its efforts to legislate its higher education policies, which have received criticism from across the university sector. - Age Online

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison - GST Revenue - Proposal

It is understood that at least four states and territories may end up being penalised under a plan proposed by Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison to withhold GST revenue if they refuse to develop gas reserves. Mr Morrison endorsed the idea, which is being investigated by the Productivity Commission as part of a review into the distribution of GST revenue. Mr Morrison said 'it’s one thing to ensure that Australians, wherever they live in whatever state and territory, can get the same access to the same quality services...but at the same time, if states and territories aren’t going to realise the opportunities that they have, particularly with their resource base, like Western Australia has here, if they’re not going to do that, then you’ve got to ask yourself, is it a fair enough thing that states like Western Australia which have taken those steps would be penalised?' - AFR 4

Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer - Life Insurance Sector - Code of Practice

The life insurance industry has attempted to reinforce its code of practice just days before it comes into force, with the $44 billion sector agreeing to implement minimum standard definitions for cancer, heart attacks and strokes in its trauma and critical illness policies. Despite the concession, the industry refused to go to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission in order to gain approval for its code, which had been requested by Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer. The industry has also declined to backdate the minimum medical definition standards to current policies, and will be limited to trauma and critical illness schemes and will not apply to benefits included with income protection or total permanent disability claims. - Aust Online

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton - Internal Divisions - Comments

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has assured Liberal voters that both he and fellow conservative Mathias Cormann are key members of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s inner circle, however he conceded that unless the party comes together, it will be headed towards defeat at the next election. Mr Dutton said the party needs to 'move on before this consumes us,' and addressed supporters, noting that 'I want to reach out to those people because as a conservative and as a leader in the government, I want those people and I need those people to support us and to vote for us at the next election.' - AFR 5

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet - Metro Line - Funding

New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has agreed to work with the federal government on a proposed $12.5 billion line from Sydney's CBD to Parramatta, after Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher pledged to provide $8 million to states or the private sector per project, in order to help produce business cases. The federal funding is expected to commence from 2019-20. - AFR 9

 

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Melbourne City Council - West Gate Tunnel - Report

Melbourne City Council has suggested that the proposed West Gate Tunnel toll road will lead to peak-hour traffic conditions for up to 14 hours a day in North Melbourne, and will funnel cars into the city centre whilst also slowing down trams. In a highly critical submission to the Victorian government on the planned $5.5 billion Transurban motorway, the council conceded that whilst it 'recognises the need to provide better access to the city from Melbourne's west, to reduce the negative impacts of truck traffic on residential areas...and to manage congestion on the M1...we do not consider that the [project's] design will meet these objectives.' - Age Online

 

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    Law & Legal
 

Australian Signals Directorate - Expanded Jurisdictional Powers

It has been revealed that an unprecedented legal directive has been issued to Australia’s cyber-intelligence agency, which has given the green light for the use of offensive military cyber-warfare operations to shut down foreign criminal networks, including those responsible for recent global ransomware attacks. The federal government will announce today that it has given legal authority for the Australian Signals Directorate to expand offensive operations, in a move which is understood to be the first time a Western power has acknowledged it was preparing to use military capabilities for offensive measures against non-state cyber criminals. - Aust Online

Cardinal George Pell - Sex Offence Charges - Details

Australia's leading catholic figure, Cardinal George Pell, has vacated his position as the Catholic Church’s global financial chief, following an announcement from Victoria Police which confirmed that Cardinal Pell will attend court in Melbourne on July 26 to face multiple sex-offence charges affecting multiple alleged victims. The charges include alleged offending in the Ballarat suburb of Sebastopol, 120km west of Melbourne, between January 1, 1973, and August 22, 1976. Cardinal Pell, who has vowed to vigorously fight the allegations, is the most senior Catholic in the world to be charged with sex offences. - Aust Online
  • Response - Cardinal Pell said that he is 'looking forward, finally, to having [his] day in court,' insisting that he is 'innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me. News of these charges strengthens my resolve...and court proceedings now offer me an opportunity to clear my name and then return here back to Rome to work.' - AFR 3 Aust Online
  • Defence - Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended the character of his friend Cardinal George Pell, who has been charged with historical sex offences. In a short statement to Fairfax Media yesterday, Mr Abbott offered support for his friend, noting that 'the George Pell I have known is a very fine man indeed,' although he acknowledged that 'obviously, the legal process must now take its course.' - Age Online


Federal Government - Ambassador to Turkey - Australian Terror Suspect Neil Prakesh

Turkey’s ambassador to Australia, Ahmet Gokdenizler, has declared that releasing Australian terror suspect Neil Prakesh is 'out of the question,' and suggested that the Melbourne man will likely be extradited to Australia once he has served his sentence in Turkey. Mr Gokdenizler said he could see no prospect of the Islamic State recruiter and attack planner being freed, insisting that 'he will potentially be sentenced to a certain period of time due to his crimes...after that he’ll probably be extradited to Australia. It’s out of the question he’ll be released.' - Aust Online

Slater + Gordon - Control Shift - Details

It has been confirmed that personal injury law firm Slater + Gordon will come under the control of international hedge funds, after its lenders agreed to a debt-for-equity swap which will essentially wipe out existing shareholders. The proposal is expected to result in managing director of 17 years Andrew Grech, and the entire board, vacating their positions. The announcement comes after a difficult two years for the listed law firm, which was forced into the hands of distressed debt funds after a failed attempt to crack the UK market. New York hedge fund Anchorage Capital is expected to own about half the shares, while a group of debt funds and investment banks that currently own Slater + Gordon debt will also become equity holders under the plan. - AFR 15

US Pacific Command - ISIS - Philippines

The head of the US Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris, has warned that Australia's neighbourhood is facing a 'substantially' increased threat from Islamic State, with the current battle against militants in the southern Philippines a wake-up call to all democratic governments in the region. Admiral Harris said yesterday that 'ISIS is trying to gain a foothold in the Indo-Asia Pacific and I think it behooves all free nations to take a stand and play a part in defeating ISIS,' however he played down the prospect of Australian Defence Force ground troops joining the fight on the ground, noting that will be 'a question for government.' - Age Online

 

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    Markets
 

S&P/ASX 200 Index - Yearly Gains - Details

The benchmark S&P/ ASX200 index has risen 10.8% since July 1, the strongest rise in three years, with shares in the materials sector, as well as the utilities and healthcare, rising strongly. Westfield and Telstra have had a poor year, declining 23.3% and 21.8% respectively. - AFR 25

 

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Arrium - Possible Approval Extension - Details

It is understood that the deadline for completing a deal to sell Arrium could be extended, with the federal government understood to be prepared to delay approval in order to ensure the right decision is made. Administrator KordaMentha had been planning to complete the deal by June 30, which would result in the sale of the company’s Whyalla steelworks and associated mining operations. The preferred bidder for the steelworks is understood to be a consortium headed by private equity firm Newlake Alliance, with sources suggesting that UK steel and commodities trading company Liberty House is also in the running. - AFR 3

BHP - Chairman Jac Nasser - Comments

Departing BHP chairman Jac Nasser has suggested that the nation is at a 'tipping point,' issuing the dire warning at the Competitive Advantage Forum in Sydney yesterday. The former chief of America’s Ford Motor Company said that governments need to have the courage to put politics aside and take decisions to make the nation more competitive, insisting 'I really believe Australia is at a tipping point. The decisions we take as a country over the coming period will determine whether we continue to be a great country, socially and economically, [or] whether we retreat and become one of those countries that had everything going for them but dropped out of the game.' - Aust Online
  • Further Comments - BHP chairman Jac Nasser commented on the current mood of the nation, noting that 'in many Western countries, people have lost their trust and confidence in institutions and the establishment...they believe government and businesses don’t listen to them, that they don’t understand how difficult life has become for them and how concerned they are about the future for their families.' Mr Nasser continued, insisting that 'we see that here, where Australians are also losing their brand loyalty, whether to major political parties or to businesses,' and insisted that businesses and business groups need to listen and respond and change, noting 'we cannot be spectators as this unfolds...we should get in a truck and drive around Australia and actually get the mood of the country working again.' - Aust Online


Yancoal Australia - Coal & Allied - Purchase

Chinese-backed, Australian listed coal miner, Yancoal Australia, has finalised the acquisition of Rio Tinto’s Coal & Allied thermal coal business, with Australian investors supporting the deal in a lightning meeting in Sydney yesterday. The nine-minute meeting saw shareholders support the deal worth $US2.69 billion which will see Rio receive $US2.45 billion in cash in the September quarter, and a further $US200 million in royalty payments before the end of 2018. Shares in Rio rose 3.2% yesterday to $63.29 and are now up 46% over the last 12 months. - AFR 19

 

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