North Australia Digest – 21/9/12

Australian Financial Review
Jobs will bear the brunt of a faster than expected end to the commodity boom according to economists and business leaders. The calls come in reaction to Ross Garnaut’s prediction that Australian’s would struggle to cope with falling living standards. Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said the nation had abandoned its ambitions to improve productivity and Australia must do more on tax reform, reducing regulation, improving skills and workforce mobility to ensure the nation’s prosperity.
The chief executive of BHP Billiton Petroleum, Mike Yeager, said there should be more compensation for Australian landholders. Speaking at the World Shale Conference in Houston yesterday, Mr Yeager pointed to the generous pay deals for farmers in the US which have underpinned the boom in shale gas exploration. “The US is blessed by the fact that the royalty owners want us to be there. I cannot stress enough how important that is,” he said.
BHP has shelved rail and port infrastructure plans of more than $US5 billion as it reviews its coking coal ambitions in Queensland.
Chinese manufacturers are expected to begin a long, slow recovery in the final quarter of this year. Treasurer Wayne Swan will tell an audience in Sydney today that China has considerable scope to stimulate its economy and that he remains optimistic about Australia’s largest trade partner.
The Australian
Uranium mining is back on the agenda in Queensland, with the Newman government saying it is open to  “a serious public discussion” about the issue. Allowing the mineral’s exploitation could potentially create an industry worth up to $20 billion in the state.
Indonesia is refusing to budge on the banning of more than 11,000 Australian breeding cattle in a new trade dispute between the two countries. The Indonesian quarantine service has rejected breeding certification it previously accepted, brining the $35 million-a-year export business to a standstill.
With increased reliance on LNG and a soaring gas bill, Japan is looking to sever ‘oil-linked prices’ for its LNG imports, a system which has existed since the 1960’s. The move could reduce the profitability of many Australian projects, and is linked to the availability of large shale reserves in the US.
The West Australian
Bureaucratic wrangling is putting the entire WA sheep farming industry on the brink of collapse, according to WA farmers. In response to Pakistan refusing to accept 20,000 WA sheep, despite repeated assurances the animals were disease free, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has refused to allow 200,000 WA sheep and 10,000 cattle to be exported. Farmers say everyday they are not being allowed to send their sheep is costing them thousands of dollars.
The Courier Mail
The Queensland government has moved uranium mining off the backburner, calling for a public debate on the issue.  The industry is seeing it as a change in tack by the Government after decades of uranium deposits being locked away by state and federal government bans.

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