North Australia Digest – 22/10/12

The Australian
Deloitte Access Economics director Chris Richardson says that it may have been wise for the government to delay the release of MYEFO in order to assess the first mining tax instalments. Richardson says the slowdown in demand from China and low commodity prices will affect the mining tax, but the treasury is still applying its latest estimates of where commodity prices are going to be to pre-budget estimates of how much the new tax would raise.
On Saturday, head of iron ore miner Mount Gibson Jim Beyer said Australian miners need to return to higher levels of efficiency as the recent run of high commodity prices draw to an end.
The Australian Financial Review
GrainCorp chief executive Alison Watkins calls for less regulation and greater investment from policymakers and industry to ensure Australia can benefit from Asia’s increased demand for agricultural exports. Agricultural export is forecast to double by 2050, yet Watkins says Australia “risks losing its international competitiveness, particularly as costs across the supply chain increase.”
ANZ chief executive Mike Smith says Australian companies must look to further develop investment in India, not just China, as we prioritise an Asian growth strategy.
Over the weekend, the Financial Review reported that Climate Change Minster Greg Combet was careful not to attribute the steep drop in greenhouse emissions to the carbon tax. Instead, Combet claims the flooding of Yallourn’s coal-fired generator accounts for the reduction.
In her column, Jennifer Hewett comments on the timing of the release of MYEFO, saying that the payments to be made by mining companies BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, the only companies making payments, won’t be anything near what the Treasury has budgeted for.
The Age
The Northern Territory is closing in on Western Australia as Australia’s top performing economy thanks to activity from a $33 billion liquefied gas project.
On the weekend The Age reported on cutbacks made across Australia’s iron ore industry as it faces low commodity prices. Mount Gibson Iron, Sinosteel Midwest and Atlas Iron were all affected by the need to increase efficiency as demand slows.
The West Australian
Deloitte Access Economics revealed in a report released today that the Australian economy could struggle in the long-range. Spending cuts from the government, falling commodity prices, and no drop in the Australian dollar mean the “outlook is tough”.