News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s wrap: BHP wants to be free of unions; fund manager welcomes BHP's capex pullback; WA future fund tipped to grow to $A4.7B; and warning on Indonesia's rising economic nationalism.
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BMA's Bowen Basin growth projects

Lou Caruana

BHP wants to be free of unions

BHP Billiton has one key goal in demanding reform of industrial relations law: it wants its managers to be free to manage the business as they see fit, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The issue is not primarily about wages, or productivity, but power. BHP wants to get the unions out of its decision making.

Fund manager welcomes BHP's capex pullback

BHP Billiton's move to wind back plans to spend $US80 billion ($A80 billion) over five years on growth projects has been applauded by the head of Perennial Investment Partners' growth funds, Lee Mickelburough, The Australian reports.

Mickelburough was one of the few local investment managers to publicly criticise BHP's big-bang growth plan after it was revealed by the company in February last year.

Warning on Indonesia's rising economic nationalism

Canberra's top diplomat in Jakarta has warned of the risks of a rising tide of economic nationalism in Indonesia, especially for Australian resources investors in the country, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Australia's ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, told the audience at an Asialink Institute event that changes to Indonesian foreign ownership laws would affect some mining operators in Australia's largest neighbour.

''Over the past six months in particular, the business climate has seemed to be getting tougher for some Australian exporters and some categories of foreign investors in Indonesia,'' Moriarty said. ''There has been a discernible increase in regulatory changes and economic nationalism.''

Jakarta enacted new law in March that requires foreign companies to gradually divest their stake in Indonesian projects - down to a maximum of 49% - with the majority owned by Indonesian companies or the government.

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