IN BRIEF

BHP BILLITON STRIKES Mine workers at BHP Billiton's Bowen basin operations in Queensland returned to work yesterday, but the conveyor belts won't be running for long. CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth says workers have voted to resume strike action after the Easter break, and plan to walk off the job again early next week if there is no breakthrough in a proposed enterprise bargaining agreement. Talks have been dragging for 16 months and the union says the dispute has cost the company up to $2 billion.

BHP BILLITON STRIKES Mine workers at BHP Billiton's Bowen basin operations in Queensland returned to work yesterday, but the conveyor belts won't be running for long. CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth says workers have voted to resume strike action after the Easter break, and plan to walk off the job again early next week if there is no breakthrough in a proposed enterprise bargaining agreement. Talks have been dragging for 16 months and the union says the dispute has cost the company up to $2 billion.

CATTLE BOOST Cattle producers in the Northern Territory are relieved that Indonesia has doubled the number of Australian cattle imports for the next three months. Cattle producers in Australia's Top End were shocked in January when Indonesia slashed the number of import permits to 60,000, 40,000 fewer than were issued during the prior corresponding period. But yesterday they learnt the Indonesian government would increase the number of Australian cattle to 120,000 in the second quarter.

SEVEN WEST PULLS OUT Seven West Media, the owner of the Seven Network and West Australian Newspapers, has withdrawn from the Australian Press Council. The council is the principal body that responds to complaints about Australian newspapers, magazines and digital news outlets. Seven West Media editor-in-chief Bob Cronin says the company is setting up an alternative, independent complaint resolution body that will guarantee accountability of all the group's publications.

JB CHAIRMAN QUITS Chairman of electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi Patrick Elliott will leave the company to focus on his role at a private equity firm Next Capital. Mr Elliott has been on the board of JB Hi-Fi for nearly 12 years, during which the company went from being a privately owned enterprise to a publicly listed firm. Fellow board member Greg Richards will replace Mr Elliott as chairman.

WEN CALLS FOR BREAK-UP China's Premier Wen Jiabao has called for the break-up of a banking "monopoly" on lending that has prevented businesses from borrowing the money they need to expand. Wen says the government needs to "break this monopoly" to ease the flow of private capital in the world's second-largest economy. "In regards to financing costs, let me honestly say that our banks are making a profit too easily. Why is this so? It's because a few big banks are in a monopoly position," he said.

WOODSIDE STAKE Shell's stake in Woodside has fallen 1 per cent, from 24.27 per cent to 23.26 per cent, after it decided not to participate in the company's dividend reinvestment plan.

Related Articles