THE NEWS WRAP: Two media reform bills pass, remainder look more doubtful

The House of Representatives has passed two of the bills that make up the federal government’s media reform package, but the remainder appear unlikely to pass the house.


The bills cover a reduction in commercial television licence fees and local content requirements, although more controversial bills – including the creation of a new media watchdog called the Public Interest Media Advocate – are yet to be introduced.


Prime Minister Julia Gillard has personally taken charge of negotiations with cross-bench MPs over the remainder of the bills.


Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board looks to increase Australian investments


One of the world’s largest pension funds, the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, is looking at expanding its investments in Australia, announcing it is particularly interested in infrastructure related to plans to make Australia the “food bowl of Asia”.


“[The plan] represents a huge opportunity for long-term investors like us, [requiring] large-scale investments in water and port infrastructure, not to mention in advanced agriculture and development,” chief executive Mark Wiseman said.


The fund currently holds around $6 billion in Australian assets, including toll-road operator Intoll, Broadcast Australia and a half-stake in Melbourne’s Northland Shopping Centre.


Politicians in Cyprus reject savings tax


Politicians in Cyprus have overwhelmingly rejected a once-off tax on bank deposits, with 36 against the bill, 19 abstaining, and none voting in favour of it.


The controversial bill would have ratified a deal struck between Cyprus, the IMF, the European Central Bank and other lenders to levy a once-off tax on all bank deposits of 6.75% for amounts up to €100,000 ($A124,000) and 9.9% for deposits above €100,000.


The government of Cyprus is now renegotiating the bailout package with its creditors.




The S&P500 was 0.4% lower at 1545.9 in recent trade. The Aussie dollar is down to US103.71 cents.


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