North Australia Digest – 27/9/12

Here is a digest of today’s major stories that impact North Australia:
The Australian
In response to falling profitability in coking coal, Anglo American plans to reduce its output in coming months. Chief executive of Anglo’s coking coal business, Seamus French, said “it’s times like these that really are the right (opportunity) to re-evaluate things.”
The Age
The price of iron ore could remain at current low levels for up to six months, according to commodity research from ANZ. The research predicted that gold would increase to its record nominal high of $US1900.
The Australian Financial Review
The West Australian Liberal Government may have to follow the lead of conservative governments in the south and make major public service cuts if it is to make a surplus. WA government revenues have been badly hit by falling commodity prices and the high Australian dollar
QLD Premier Campbell Newman has played down calls for an economic zone in North Queensland. The move, proposed by four North Queensland shires yesterday, mirrors a push by ANDEV Chair Mrs Rinehart to create a Special Economic Zone with low tax and red tape exemptions across North Australia.
A radical plan, originating in Treasury, proposes the abolition of states in favour of a two-tier government with a bigger federal parliament and 24 city and regional councils. The plan is designed to increase productivity,  and has gained support from Deloitte Access Economics director Chris Richardson. Mr Richardson said that federation was essentially broken and reform had slowed to the pace of the lowest common denominator.
ANZ head of global market research, Richard Yetsenga, says foreign direct investment in the mining sector is the biggest reason the Australian dollar remains high.
Government should give tax breaks to mining companies to prevent an end to the mining boom, according to Australian Securities Exchanged chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper. “We look at the [mining] investment pipeline of a couple of hundred million dollars. That all sounds great, but for traditional mining companies in iron ore and gold and so forth, life is not so easy and we are not competitive enough as a country” Mr Funke Kupper said.
The West Australian
Fortescue Metals founder Andrew Forrest has likened extreme environmentalists to spoilt children in a speech to Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA yesterday. “I think extremism and over- regulation are very real issues,” he said. “When you spend your life going for everything you need down to Coles, and after a generation or two you are separated from where all that came from, you are separated from the reality that the food in your belly and the roof above your head all came from primary industry, you tend to take things for granted a lot like spoilt children will take things for granted.”

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