THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (www.afr.com)
--A spate of recent deals by the major banks has pushed the supply of corporate bonds to A$60.1 billion, just shy of the record A$63 billion set in 2006. Falling borrowing costs and the government guarantee on bonds issued by the banks have reignited investor appetite for the corporate bond market. Recent deals from Westpac Banking Corp, cement maker Holcim and Barclays Bank have renewed activity in the bond market. Almost half the issuance this year has been government-guaranteed bonds. Page 1.
--The Australian Taxation Office should take control of all tax revenue collections by every level of government, says Assistant Treasurer Nick Sherry. Senator Sherry, who became responsible for the administration of the tax system in June, says the measure would improve the efficiency of Australia's A$350 billion tax system. The Henry review, whose final recommendations are due in December, should also recommend the establishment of an independent board of directors to scrutinise the Tax Office, he said. Page 1.
--The Rudd government is intent on framing a tough budget next May, buoyed by the unexpected strength of the economy which has boosted the government's political confidence. Senior sources in the government have dismissed the possibility of an early 2010 double-dissolution election, saying the Rudd government will use its third budget to lock in its economic conservative credentials and win popular support from voters.
Treasurer Wayne Swan yesterday said the global economy remained too fragile to risk the premature withdrawal of stimulus measures. Page 3.
--Treasury secretary Ken Henry says a reduction in the company tax rate will ensure Australia remains an attractive place for businesses to invest. Dr Henry, who is heading the federal government's tax 'transfer review, says company tax rates are declining internationally and Australia will need to overhaul its system to match its competitors over the longer term. The Rudd government is understood to be open to the idea of cutting the company tax rate, despite delegates at the Australian Labor Party national conference last month voting unanimously to oppose the cuts. Page 5.
THE AUSTRALIAN (www.theaustralian.news.com.au)
--Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce yesterday further entrenched divisions within the Coalition, boasting that many Liberal members agreed with the Nationals blanket rejection of a carbon emissions trading scheme. The Rudd government seized on his comments, claiming they were proof that Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull was losing control of the Coalition. On the weekend, the National Party federal council endorsed a new go-it-alone policy approach of greater independence from the Liberal Party. Page 1.
--A new survey reveals that more than half of the nation's employers believe pattern bargaining will resume under Labor's workplace laws, with almost a third fearing the new bargaining rules will allow unions to hold them to ransom. The Australian Human Resources Institute, which surveyed 1002 managers and professionals about their understanding of the Rudd government's Fair Work Act, found that 98 percent were concerned red tape would be more onerous than under Work Choices, whilst almost half thought the new laws would create less harmony in the workplace.
--Chinese tourism to Australia has fallen by as much as 80 percent over the past three months, putting in doubt a predicted jump of 6.4 percent this year. Travel operators in Beijing say visitors from China are concerned about swine flu and the global recession. Rising anti-Australian sentiment in China, fuelled by the controversy over the arrest of Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu, and capped off by the granting of a visa to Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, has also led to fewer visitors. China is Australia's fastest growing tourism market, worth A$2.2 billion annually. Page 1.
--Liberal senate leader Nick Minchin yesterday revealed the serious split in the Coalition over nuclear power, declaring any discussion 'utterly futile.' As Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce called for a referendum on the issue, Senator Minchin continued to dismiss nuclear power as an option, saying it was too expensive and politically unfeasible. 'Clearly there was no appetite in the community whatsoever for the consideration of nuclear power when it was raised at the last election,' Senator Minchin said yesterday. Page 2.
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (www.smh.com.au)
--The Rudd government will maintain the Howard government's controversial funding model for private schools until 2012, releasing more than A$2 billion in 'overpayments' during the next four years to schools that exceed their entitlements under the Commonwealth funded system. New analysis shows that private schools will receive an estimated 32 percent increase in funding, raising their national windfall to more than A$26.2 billion by 21012. Greens MP John Kaye said the funds were distributed to private schools without 'any account of the growing wealth from rising fees and donations.' Page 1.
--Thousands of gap-year students will today present Education Minister Julia Gillard with a proposal to delay changes to youth allowance which will see them lose up to A$371.40 a fortnight in government support. The students want a six-to-12-month delay on the tighter work rules to allow them to qualify for the full income support. Ms Gillard will today hold a meeting with a number of gap-year students and their local Members of Parliament to discuss the proposal. Page 5.
--Experts say a dangerous oil spill off the far north coast of Western Australia could take at least seven weeks to clean up and cost the drilling rig-owner up to A$20 million. PPTEP Australasia, a Thai company, will bring in special equipment to bring the spill under control. The oil slick, which is between eight and 15 kilometres long, is not expected to reach the mainland. Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson yesterday said the oil spill was not as bad as first thought and was mostly staying close to the rig. Page 5.
THE AGE (www.theage.com.au) The Victorian Government has moved to curb drunken violence on Melbourne streets, extending the license freeze on late-night bars and pubs until 2012. Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson said that no new licenses would be granted for bars, pubs and nightclubs to operate after 1 am in Melbourne and inner-suburban areas of Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra. The move comes after another weekend of violence in Melbourne, in which a police sergeant and a woman were both injured. Page 1.
--The Brumby Government is on the brink of approving a plan to drain extra water from the stressed Thomson River, in a bid to shore up Melbourne's drinking supplies. With dams near record lows and Melbourne heading for its driest year on record, the Government is examining both the Yarra and the Thomson to determine which could have more water extracted for the least environmental cost. Water Minister Tim Holding is expected to clarify shortly whether the water will be taken from the Thomson, though experts expect it will be. Page 1.
-- Plans by an Indonesian developer to build a new nightclub on the site of the Sari Club, where dozens of Australians lost their lives in the 2002 Bali bombings, have angered victims who say patrons will be 'dancing on their mates' graves.' Balinese nightclub owner Kadek Wiranatha wants to transform the site, which has been left desolate for seven years, into a bar and restaurant complex. However, the Bali Peace Park foundation wants a garden and place of remembrance established on the site.
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