The Smage
reports that concessions demanded by the Queensland National Party – including a trust fund to guarantee regional services –
should have no significant impact on the federal government’s plan
to go ahead with the estimated $32 billion privatisation of
Telstra, according to analysts. And Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo’s
willingness to use alternative technologies in
regional Australia, instead of its copper network, has been welcomed by key Nationals as a possible
breakthrough in improving bush services, reports The Australian.

But the federal government is becoming increasingly concerned about
Trujillo’s aggressive stance against subsidising rural and regional
phone services, reports The Fin Review. The Telstra chief is
considering a $1 billion increase in capital expenditure that could hit
earnings and make it harder for the federal government to maximise the
price for the sale of its $32 billion stake.

Qantas has marked the 10th anniversary of its privatisation with
its most provocative warning to unions yet that it will need to
slash costs further if it continues to employ Australians, reports The Smage. Despite being on track to post a record net full-year profit,
Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said the airline’s three-year
program to cut $1.5 billion in costs was not enough to offset the
continuing rise in oil prices.

The Australian reports the ASX has denied that
regulators have gone “soft” on insider trading and rejected suggestions
that the sentence handed to former Telstra director Steve Vizard sent
the wrong message to corporate Australia. ASX chief executive Tony D’Aloisio said the ASX, as the overseer of
stock trading, was the effective “point man” in the battle to detect
insider trading and that those systems were working.

Also in the AFR, stock market-listed companies are forecast to
deliver earnings growth above 20% in the next several weeks but
chief executives must provide upbeat outlook statements to sustain a
market trading at a record high on expectations of low double-digit
growth this financial year.

Peter Fray

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