BHP Billiton has been hit with a tax bill of
almost $1 billion in relation to the mining giant’s disastrous Beenup
mineral sands and hot briquetted iron plants in Western Australia, reports The Australian. The company says it will “vigorously defend” itself against
the assessment from the ATO, which claims it is owed $570.5 million in back taxes and a further $365 million in
interest and penalties for a total bill of $935.5 million.

The SMH reports that Tattersall’s will close the retail side of its public offering
today, one week earlier than expected due to overwhelming demand
for the shares. But brokers warned small investors yesterday not to try to snap
up stock after the float, arguing that demand from big institutions
for the lottery and gaming operator’s shares may drive prices to
unrealistic levels.

Peter Costello says Canberra should consider
allowing a foreign airline to control Qantas, opening a debate inside
the federal government over the future direction of aviation policy, reports The Oz. The comments came as Emirates Airlines expressed
interest in a tie-up with Qantas if the foreign investment laws were
changed. But until the government started talking about a possible merger of
Qantas and Singapore Airlines it didn’t appear to be on anyone’s
agenda, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in the Smage. Certainly, Singapore Airlines appears to have been taken
aback by a proposal it says was news to it.

The jailed businessman Rodney Adler will face a disciplinary
hearing over allegations he continued business dealings from
prison, but his sentence will not be extended, reports The Smage. The penalty if the charges are proved could be confinement for
up to seven days and a loss of privileges for up to 56 days.

Melbourne may be closing the gap in its rivalry with Sydney for the title of financial capital, reports the Fin Review. In the year to May, Victoria added 13,900 jobs in finance and insurance compared with 8,000 in NSW, according to ABS figures.

Oil prices briefly rose to $60 a barrel overnight in a rally
that brokers said was difficult to explain, though they cited
underlying supply fears and speculation as the main factors, reports The NY Times. Light,
sweet crude for August delivery settled at $59.42 a barrel after a gain
of $1.33, marking a record close on the New York Mercantile Exchange,
where oil futures have been traded since 1983.

On Wall Street, US stocks ended sharply lower Thursday, as oil’s stab
at $60 raised concern about the drag on the economy by rising energy
prices. The Dow Jones fell to a five-week low – down 166.49 points, or 1.6% at 10,421. MarketWatch has a full report here.