News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s wrap: BHP move ignites new carbon tax stoush; mining boom increases women’s pay disparity; GE urges an open door to Chinese investment; and blackouts a trade-off for cheap power.

Lou Caruana

BHP move ignites new carbon tax stoush

The Coalition says BHP Billiton's axing of its Olympic Dam mine expansion is evidence of the damage wrought by the Gillard government's carbon and mining taxes, according to The Australian.

But Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said the blow to the $US30 billion copper and uranium project was “completely unrelated” to the taxes.

“This is a commercial decision, purely a commercial decision. It is no way related to any regulatory process in Australia,” Ferguson said.

Mining boom increases women’s pay disparity

Mining is the fifth-most unequal industry in Australia in terms of average pay by gender, despite efforts to dispel the image of a male-dominated workforce, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The resources-rich states of Western Australia and Queensland are also the most unequal.

Men earn on average 28% more than women in the mining industry, the AFR analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.

GE urges an open door to Chinese investment

General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt has backed calls for countries to allow more foreign direct investment from China, and given the Australian economy a glowing reference as a "green-light country" for the global industrial and financial conglomerate.

But in a discussion with local business leaders in Sydney yesterday, Immelt also said Australia should aim to dramatically increase the local content of resource developments, saying it was the lowest in the major resource economies of the world.

Blackouts a trade-off for cheap power

Australians should consider accepting the risk of more blackouts in return for lower electricity prices, says the chairman of the electricity regulator, who believes present reliability standards were made for a time of stable prices that has passed, according to the AFR.

Australian Energy Regulator chairman Andrew Reeves said the requirements on keeping electricity flowing were made before consumption patterns had changed and infrastructure replacement had sent prices rocketing.