North Australia Digest – 22/11/2012

The Australian
Alcoa Australia managing director Alan Cransberg recently backed calls from others in the industry for the nation to make more of its vast gas reserves, rather than exporting them all as LNG. “If we want to be a country with a diversified economy, then we have to have energy.”
In Alan Cransberg’s recent report on the aluminium industry he observes that the carbon and mining taxes (which the industry fears the latter could be extended to bauxite), red and green tape, productivity issues and the lack of an energy policy that supports energy-intensive industries are all reducing the smelting sector’s ability to survive.
In Citigroup’s recent assessment, it sees China moving away from raw materials-intensive manufacturing to a more mature economy with growth based on household consumption and service industries. Citi predicts investment growth in Australia will drop from an average 13.6 per cent a year since 2001 to around 6.2 per cent from next year.
Australian Financial Review
Major mining companies like BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata will be limited on refunds they can claim for state royalties under a plan for the federal government to impose new restrictions to shore up revenue from the mining tax. The three major companies are expected to contribute 90 per cent of what the mining tax is forecast to raise.
Australia’s competitiveness is slipping, according to a Deloitte report.
The Age
Alocoa Australia is set to expand, with more investments planned. This is despite the persistently high Australian dollar and low aluminium prices that almost forced the closure of Point Henry earlier this year, until a bailout deal with state and federal governments secured its future until 2014, albeit with the loss of 60 jobs.
West Australian
The ABS has produced figures that show WA has benefited dramatically from the boom, and become one of the richest places in the world. In the 2011-12 financial year, WA’s gross State product grew a record 6.7 per cent. The next best part of the country was the Northern Territory at 4.4 per cent. WA’s economic output hit $236 billion, more than the world’s 40th biggest economy, Egypt.
Courier Mail
According to a Deloitte survey of more than 550 chief executives globally, Australia has slipped to the 16th most competitive nation in the world on a manufacturing league table.