News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: public funds used to defend ANZ hoaxer; big mining projects ordered to buy local; and Pacific National faces strike threat.

Lou Caruana

Public funds used to defend ANZ hoaxer

Industry and government hostility towards the New South Wales Environmental Defenders Office has hardened as details have emerged of the publicly funded legal aid agency's links to Whitehaven Coal hoaxer Jonathan Moylan, according to The Australian.

The EDO, which is already facing funding cuts from the O'Farrell government, successfully appealed against a $5000 damage bill imposed on Moylan and three fellow protesters in 2009, after they chained themselves to a railing at the Tomago aluminium smelter north of Newcastle.

A hoax press release Moylan issued on ANZ letterhead last week, alleging the bank was pulling a $1.2 billion loan from Whitehaven, briefly wiped $314 million off the company's market value.

Big mining projects ordered to buy local

In a Gillard government plan due within weeks, resource and infrastructure giants will be told to spend more heavily with local manufacturing companies to aid struggling industries amid fears of a wave of further job lay-offs, according to The Australian.

Big investors will have to prove they support Australian manufacturers in a new directive from Canberra that adds to existing rules aimed at increasing demand for local steel, building products and other materials.

Pacific National faces strike threat

Rail operator Pacific National, which carries two-thirds of NSW’s coal, is bracing for a strike next week after negotiations with employees over a workplace agreement failed, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union will vote on Friday whether to take industrial action after rejecting an offer from Pacific National, owned by ports and rail group Asciano, for a 4% annual increase in wages every year for the next three years.

The union, which has been in negotiations with Pacific National for the past 12 months, is unhappy with the level of wage increase offered as well as roster changes and the railroad group’s drug and alcohol policy.