Business groups welcome new appointments to Fair Work Tribunal: Midday roundup

Business groups have welcomed the appointment of Iain Ross as the new president of Fair Work Australia, with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry describing him as a “highly credentialed and experienced.”

Ai Group chief executive Heather Ridout says “the new president will be able to exert a great deal of influence over the shape of Australia’s workplace relations system.

“Justice Ross’s experience on the Supreme Court of Victoria and formerly as Vice President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission will stand him in good stead in his new role.

“I also congratulate Anna Booth and Greg Smith on their appointments as Deputy President, David Gregory, Geoff Bull and Bernie Riordan on their appointments as Commissioners, and Bernadette O’Neill as FWA General Manager,” Ridout said.

ACCI says the new appointees will “be more than able to exercise their new independent roles, notwithstanding their varied backgrounds.”

“ACCI also welcomes Anna Booth and Bernie Riordan to the tribunal. Anna, in particular, has worked effectively with business organisations in urging new approaches to workplace relations,” it said.

Collins Foods reaffirms full-year guidance

Collins Foods has reaffirmed its guidance, but has warned trading conditions remain difficult even with spending having increased over the summer.

Collins, which runs both the KFC and Sizzler outlets, has issued a trading update saying it expects profit after tax for the 2012 financial year “would not vary materially from the bottom of the guidance range of $18 to $20 million”.

“Overall, trading conditions remained challenging and while there was a seasonal uplift in the early part of the summer school holiday period, this weakened as the season progressed,” the company said.

Third quarter same-store sales were down 2.4% for KFC and 1.7% for Sizzler on the previous corresponding period, the company announced.

For the second half of the year, Collins expects same-store sales to be down 4% for the KFC brand.

Caltex Australia posts massive annual loss of $714 million

Caltex Australia has announced an annual loss of $714 million for the 12 months ending December 31, down 325% from the previous corresponding period.

The company suffered a $1.12 billion impairment charge, which came from the writedown in value of refineries in Kurnell in Sydney and Lytton in Brisbane.

Although Caltex said the marketing outlook was positive, trading conditions are still poor.

“The conditions that are assisting to drive volume growth in Caltex’s marketing business are contributing to the strong Australian dollar that continues to pressure refining’s earnings,” the company said.

The company started a review of its refineries last August following poor results.

“The refinery review is in progress and continues to evaluate all options from investment to closure or some combination of these,” Caltex said.

“As previously advised the decision is approximately six months away as the myriad of complexities continue to be investigated.”

Shares lower after fears grow over Europe

The Australian sharemarket has opened lower this morning, as fears continue to grow over the financial situation in Europe surrounding the G20 meeting.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 12.1 points or 0.3% to 4294.7 at 11.00 AEST, while the Australian dollar was down to $US1.06c.

FOFA delays could cost $150 million: Expert

Delaying sweeping changes to the financial planning industry could cost clients $150 million, an expert has told Fairfax Media.

Amid speculation that Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten will acquiesce to an industry campaign for more time, Rainmaker Information director of research Alex Dunnin has estimated a one-year delay could deliver $150 million to financial planners.

The wide-ranging Future of Financial Advice reforms include banning commissions for advisers, although this will apply for only new advice.

It has already been watered down, from original proposals for financial planners to ask clients to opt-in for service every year, to every second year.

Murdoch unveils new Sunday paper in UK

Fresh from his decision to close down the disgraced News of the World paper, News Corp has unveiled a new Sunday paper in the UK.

The paper, The Sun on Sunday, follows the closure of the NOTW after widespread allegations of phone-hacking at the tabloid.

It is priced at 50 pence.

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