Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Fri 17 Feb 2012



The Northern Territory news Fri 17 Feb 2012

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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www.ntnews.com.au Friday, February 17, 2012. NT NEWS. 21 P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 1 7 -F E B -2 0 1 2 P A G E : 2 1 C O L O R : C M Y K ntnews.com.aul l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l BUSINESS Brambles tips prickly future SYDNEY: Pallet supplier Brambles has downgraded its earnings expectations despite overcoming a tough trading periodwith a rise in first-half profit. The firm yesterday reported a 9 per cent rise in net profit for the six months to December 31 to $224.92 million, from the previous corresponding period. Sales revenuewas up 34 per cent to $2.23 billion. Chief TomGorman said Brambles continued to expand by adding new customers. Another 800 jobs set to go MELBOURNE: Caltex Australia has flagged shutting its two domestic refineries, putting 800 jobs at risk and possibly marking the end of its presence a fuel refiner after almost 70 years. Caltex Australia yesterday reported it had written down the value of the refineries by $1.5 billion partly because of the effect of the strong Australian dollar on its business. More than 800 people are employed at the refineries in Kurnell in Sydney and Lytton in Brisbane, which provide almost one third of the countrys total refining capacity of around 800,000 barrels a day. The closures would leave Australia with five remaining operating refineries. Caltex Australia chief executive Julian Segal said a review of the two refineries was still six months from being completed. The options are on the table and being considered: from investing to improve the competitiveness of the refineries to shutting down if we can have competitive and reliable supply, Mr Segal told reporters. He said no decision had been made but the status quo could not continue. Breadmaker cuts staff MELBOURNE: Breads and spreadsmaker Goodman Fielder axed 300 jobs in the first half of the financial year and is to cut more as trading conditions remain tough. Goodman Fielders brands includeWhiteWings, Helgas, Meadow Lea and Praise. The company yesterday booked a net profit for the six months to December 31, 2011, of $21.5 million, down 76.9 per cent on the net profit of $93.1 million in the previous corresponding period. AMP suffers 11pc slump SYDNEY: AMP chief executive Craig Dunn is adamant thewealthmanager is on track for growth despite suffering an 11 per cent slump in full-year profit. AMP yesterday reported a fall in net profit to $688 million for the year to December 31, 2011, from $755 million in 2010. The result was hit by the cost of AMPs merger with financial services group AXA Asia Pacific Holdings in March, 2011. Mr Dunn said the integration of the AXA business was goingwell. Jobs rise but forecast bleak SYDNEY: Unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in six months but the outlook for the labour market remains bleak as many companies cut their workforce. The unemployment rate fell to 5.1 per cent in January, from 5.2 per cent the month before, to its lowest since July 2011, official figures show. Total employment in January rose by 46,300 according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released yesterday. ICAP senior economist Adam Carr said average employment growth in recent months was still low. The ABS trend estimates for employment growth, a smoothed out version of the seasonally adjusted figures, showed the jobs growth at 1700 a month. So Im not going to get too excited about todays spike, Mr Carr said. This still indicates a significant amount of caution among employers given the (low) strength in private demand. Qantas Airways chief executive Alan Joyce yesterday announced a further round of jobs cuts at Australias largest carrier Picture: SAM MOOY Qantas rallies on cost-cutting plan By JORDAN CHONG SYDNEY: Investors have given the tick of approval to Qantas Airways plans to reduce costs through staff cuts and deferring aircraft orders, sending the stock up to a near three-month high. While unions and governments around the country expressed concern and outrage at news the airline was shedding 500 jobs amid fears of more to come the market reaction was positive. Qantas stock yesterday closed 9.5c, or 6.1 per cent, up at $1.655, its highest close since November 18, 2011. Net profit for the six months to December 31, 2011, plunged 83 per cent to $42 million as higher fuel prices, widening losses on its struggling international operations and Novembers shutdown hit hard. The carrier said grounding of the fleet as part of an industrial dispute with unions late in 2011 cost $194 million. Meanwhile, fuel costs rose 26 per cent to $2.2 million in its first half. The 500 positions to go would come from catering, cabin crew, pilots, engineering and ground operations, Qantas said. These cuts were on top of the 1000 the airline said would go in August 2011. There was also the prospect of more redundancies as part of Qantass two-month review into its heavy maintenance and catering facilities. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline was committed to maintaining its engineering capability in Australia. But Mr Joyce said keeping three sites Melbourne, Avalon and Brisbane was not viable as newer aircraft coming into the fleet required less heavy maintenance. We will be acting in the best interests of the business, Mr Joyce said. Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said the Government would work with Qantas to ensure job losses were minimised. Australian Services Union Victorian branch secretary Ingrid Stitt said: These workers have contributed to sustained profits, but still theyre being thrown to the dogs by Qantas. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said Mr Joyce was the one who deserved to lose his job because his brinkmanship had cost $194 million and damaged Qantas. Westpac has gloomy outlook Gail Kelly SYDNEY: Westpac has painted a bleak outlook for the economy after posting a weaker-than-expected $1.5 billion quarterly profit. Chief executive Gail Kelly said Europes debt problems continued to raise the cost of the banks funds sourced from overseas, while there had been signs of softness in the domestic economy. Recently launched restructuring plans were progressing despite the tough decis ion to cut job numbers, Ms Kelly said. Westpacs unaudited cash profit in the three months to December 31 was $1.5 billion, down 3 per cent from $1.55 billion in the previous corresponding period. Westpac shares lost 74c, or 3.53 per cent, to $20.22. Funding markets were tough as the escalation of the European political standoff added to the already volatile market, Ms Kelly said. More jobs at Wesfarmers SYDNEY: Wesfarmers has bucked the job-cut trend with plans to employ more people this year at Coles and its other retail chains. After underwhelming the market with a flat first-half profit result, Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder was optimistic about the outlook for the retail business chains of the company. My hope would be that on a net basis well increase employment this year, Mr Goyder said yesterday. Shares in Wesfarmers lost more than 2 per cent in reaction to the groups flat first-half net profit result of $1.176 billion.