THE NEWS WRAP: Coalition to consult Productivity Commission on IR reforms – but no changes until 2016

The Coalition has revealed it plans to consult with the Productivity Commission about reforms to the industrial relations system if it wins the next election, but any reforms will wait until 2016.


The Productivity Commission inquiry will be a “wide ranging” review of the current Fair Work system, undertaken alongside a judicial inquiry into the Australian Workers’ Union, with the Coalition planning to seek a mandate for any recommended reforms at the 2016 election.


The proposed policy comes amid Coalition fears the Labor Party and trade unions will wage a multimillion dollar scare campaign over the reintroduction of WorkChoices in the lead up to the next election.


Lowy family pockets $664 million from Westfield Trust sell-down


The Lowy family has sold $664 million worth of shares in the Westfield Retail Trust, which is the Australian arm of the company’s Westfield Group shopping centre empire.


The family’s private investment vehicle, Lowy Family Group, intends to use the proceeds to “diversify its investments internationally”.


The Lowy family, which includes Westfield Group chairman Frank Lowy and the company’s co-chief executives Steven Lowy and brother Peter, still retain an 8.06% stake in the Westfield Group, which manages properties in Australia, New Zealand, US, Britain, Brazil and Italy.


Nine in regional affiliate talks with Southern Cross Media


Nine Entertainment has entered into regional affiliate talks with Ten Network partner Southern Cross Media, in a move that could potentially reshape the Australian broadcasting landscape.


The deal between Nine Entertainment and its current regional partner WIN Corp expired last year with the two companies operating on a rolling contract.


However, any deal with Southern Cross would still need Nine to strike a deal with WIN, unless it was willing to abandon its affiliate stations in Perth and Adelaide.


Meanwhile, under current media regulations a merger between Nine and Southern Cross would be blocked by media regulations that place a 75% cap on audience reach.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.44% to 14,136.69. The Aussie dollar is down to $US102.35 cents.


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