THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (www.afr.com)

David Atkin, chief executive of CBUS, the superannuation fund for building and construction workers and Australia's third largest investor in infrastructure projects, yesterday said that there were insufficient ventures in Australia to match their "huge appetite". "There is a bit of frustration that there is not enough greenfield sites coming on stream ... the problem is not that there is not appetite, the problem is there are not enough projects," Mr Atkin added. Page 15.

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Ross McEwan, the outgoing retail head of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, yesterday said he was looking forward to taking up a new challenge in the United Kingdom when he joins Royal Bank of Scotland later this year. The senior executive's departure was expected after he lost out to Ian Narev to take the chief executive role at Commonwealth Bank. "I've always made it quite clear that I admire Ian Narev and the team here ... Ian has been absolutely sensational to me and we have remained very good friends," Mr McEwan said. Page 15.

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Ken Brinsden, managing director of Atlas Iron, yesterday said he was confident that the iron ore producer's export allocation at Port Hedland in Western Australia (WA) would not be reduced, saying that WA Infrastructure Minister Troy Buswell had supported the company. "The minister's come out pretty strongly and supported the North-West Infrastructure's intention to develop multi-user, open access facilities," Mr Brinsden remarked. Page 17.

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Investment bank Credit Suisse is counselling telecommunications giant Telstra on its media strategy which includes the possibility of making a play for Consolidated Media Holdings, the television investment company controlled by billionaire James Packer. Insiders have suggested that it would be close to impossible for any deal to succeed, given that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has declared it will block any move by Telstra to acquire additional exclusive sporting rights. Page 17.

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THE AUSTRALIAN (www.theaustralian.news.com.au)

Federal Treasury has calculated that there will be an additional $120 billion of investment, or 12.5 percent of gross domestic product, to augment the existing pipeline of $450 billion in the Australian economy. "Strong growth in the resources sector is expected to continue to spill over into other sectors, including parts of the construction sector, parts of manufacturing and parts of the services sector," Treasury stated in last night's federal budget presentation. Page 39.

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Observers have said that last night's federal budget will have disappointed businesses after the Federal Government announced it would not be implementing a 1 percent cut to the company tax rate. Labor declared that the opposition of the Australian Greens and the Federal Opposition to the measure made it impossible for the change to pass through Parliament. The government also reduced incentives for big business, including the living away from home allowance and "golden handshake" payments. Page 39.

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David Flanagan, chairman of miner Atlas Iron, yesterday said the Federal Government had broken another promise by failing to deliver a 1 percent reduction in the company tax rate. "That was part of the [minerals resource rent tax] deal and miners are now missing that break that we were meant to get to soften the blow of the mining tax," Mr Flanagan said. Mike Young, managing director of iron ore producer BC Iron, added that the funds from towards the company tax rate should be used to boost infrastructure spending. Page 39.

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Michael Young, owner of the Grigons & Orr café in North Melbourne, Victoria, yesterday praised the Federal Government's decision to boost handouts to low and middle-income families in last night's federal budget. "I think it's important that everyone feels like they can treat themselves every once in a while. I think people's moods will pick up for a few months but it's hard to see these measures having a longer term impact," he said. Mr Young added that the introduction of carry-back and instant asset write-offs "could really help me out". Page 39.

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THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (www.smh.com.au)

Paul Broad, chief executive of Infrastructure New South Wales, has contradicted remarks by the state's Premier Barry O'Farrell and mining magnate Nathan Tinkler by proclaiming Newcastle would not be developed as a container port. "We will not get containers in Newcastle ... there's about 3 million containers come into Sydney a year now and it will be about 7.5 million in 10 years' time," Mr Broad said. State planning guidelines had proposed developing Newcastle, as terminals at Port Botany reaching capacity. Page B1.

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The Federal Government's budget last night contained $77 million in funding to continue the multi-agency Project Wickenby tax probe, which Labor hopes will recover $280 million in unpaid taxes over the next four years. The investigation has already recouped over $600 million from tax cheats since its inception in 2006. Labor has also directed $43 million over four years to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to upgrade the corporate regulator's market surveillance capabilities. Page B1.

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Contractor Leighton Holdings yesterday confirmed it would record a $80 million loss for the three months to March after losing $106 million in the desalination plant venture in Victoria and another $148 million in the Airport Link tollroad in Queensland. Hamish Tyrwhitt, chief executive of Leighton, said the company's portfolio was "performing well" despite the losses, with around $45 billion of contracts on its books and an estimated half-yearly profit in the range of $100 million to $150 million. Page B3.

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Federal Mental Health and Ageing Minister Mark Butler yesterday warned that Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's "pledge in blood" to repeal the carbon tax if elected would be extraordinarily difficult. "Well, we tried roll-back on the [goods and services tax]; it didn't work. This is the mother of all roll-back campaigns," Mr Butler said on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Q&A program earlier this week. Tim Jordan from analysts Deutsche Bank added that the earliest a bill to repeal the tax could come into force would be April 2014. Page B3.

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THE AGE (www.theage.com.au)

According to research from professional services firm Ernst & Young, only 195 transactions in the mining and metals industry occurred in the first quarter of 2012, down from nearly 300 deals in the first three months of both 2010 and 2011. The sector's downturn in acquisitions, floats and mergers was created by volatility in the global economy, with five mining floats recently being abandoned. Page B1.

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday revealed that Australia's trade deficit blew out to $1.59 billion in March, exceeding analysts' predictions of a $1.3 billion deficit. "The trade position deteriorated sharply over the first three months of 2012 ... the balance moved from a surplus for December of $1.2 billion to a deficit of $800 million for January," Justin Smirk, senior economist at Westpac Banking Corporation, said. Page B2.

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Despite warning nearly two months ago that the Federal Government's carbon and mining taxes could weaken foreign corporation's "enthusiasm for investing" in Australia, Indian businessman Naveen Jindal's Jindal Steel and Power yesterday said it had taken a 9.25 percent holding in explorer Apollo Minerals for $1 million. Observers say the deal is an indication that the Indian firm believes Australian miners will be able to convert iron ore deposits into an exportable bulk commodity. Page B5.

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Iluka Resources yesterday stated that uncertainty surrounding the global economy had caused it to reduce this year's production of zircon from 500,000 tonnes to 430,000 tonnes, according to a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange. "The zircon production adjustment will be achieved mainly by mining lower-grade ore at Iluka's Jacinth-Ambrosia operation in South Australia and processing less zircon-rich concentrate at its Narngulu and Hamilton mineral separation plants," the mineral sands explorer said. Page B5.

Reuters