Air New Zealand Announces Fleet Investment – 13 New Airbus A320neo and Another Domestic A320

Air New Zealand has today announced further fleet investment with the purchase of 13 new Airbus A320neo (new engine option) aircraft to refresh its international narrow body fleet and an additional A320 to join its domestic operation.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Luxon, signed the purchase agreement with Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, John Leahy at the International Air Transport Association’s Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar, today.

The A320neo aircraft will replace Air New Zealand’s current fleet of 13 A320s which operate the majority of the airline’s Tasman and Pacific Island services. Equipped with new generation engines and fuel efficient Sharklet wing tip devices they’re expected to deliver fuel savings of up to 15 percent.

The purchase agreement is for a combination of A321neo and A320neo aircraft. The exact mix will be confirmed over time but will be a minimum of three A321neo aircraft.

The A321neo aircraft will have 38 more seats than the A320s the airline currently operates across the Tasman and to the Pacific, allowing for future growth on these routes. The first A321neo is due in late 2017 with the remainder of the aircraft delivered at intervals through until 2019. The additional A320 for the domestic fleet will be delivered in early 2015.

Mr Luxon said, “Today’s announcement is incredibly exciting for Air New Zealand as we continue our unprecedented investment in next generation aircraft and tool the business up for growth.

“These aircraft will help to ensure we continue to operate one of the world’s youngest jet fleets. This new fleet will further enhance the experience for our customers and will drive fuel efficiency enabling us to minimise our carbon footprint by saving around 3,600 tonnes of CO2 per aircraft per year.”

Mr Luxon said the purchase supports the airline’s fleet simplification strategy which is a key part of Air New Zealand‘s Go Beyond business strategy.

“With the announcement of this purchase we can confirm our intention to have an Airbus narrow body fleet. Operating one narrow body aircraft type will bring important efficiencies in training, maintenance and operating costs.”

Mr Leahy welcomed Air New Zealand’s support for the A320neo family of aircraft noting that it’s the world’s best-selling single aisle aircraft. Airbus already has some 2,700 orders for A320neo models from 50 customers around the globe.

The purchase agreement represents a discount to today’s list price of NZ$1.6 billion. Shareholder approval is not required as the value of the transaction is below the relevant thresholds.

Claude Baxter Resigns as CEO of Adelaide Central Market

Adelaide City Council has accepted the resignation of the Adelaide Central Market Authority (ACMA) CEO Claude Baxter.

Mr Baxter was engaged a year ago as CEO of ACMA in the crucial early stages of the Authority’s development.

His integrity, experience in retail, marketing, community engagement and public administration was integral to devising the initial strategic direction of the Central Market as it embarked on a new era of retail leadership.

Consistent with this expertise, Mr Baxter steered the Authority team in the day to day operations that come with leading this Adelaide institution, as well as helping open up new possibilities for future development.

Peter Smith, Adelaide City Council CEO said that Claude Baxter’s engagement with many aspects of Council’s strategy, along with the business and residential communities in the precinct, delivered improved cooperation, with active involvement from Chinatown, other sections of government and youth sectors.

“Using creative approaches to design, fit out and marketing initiatives, Mr Baxter encouraged wider participation and a sense of ownership and inclusion from a range of stakeholders from across the local community,” said Peter.

Council is underway implementing improvements in the governance arrangements for ACMA and once a new Board is appointed, they will be charged with recruiting a replacement for Mr Baxter.

Adelaide City Council and Adelaide Central Market Authority acknowledge Mr Baxter’s role in the early stages of the development of the Authority.

Commonwealth Bank Announces Appointment of New Directors

Mr David Turner, Chairman of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, today announced the appointment of Mr Shirish Apte and Sir David Higgins as independent Non-Executive Directors of the Bank. Mr Apte’s appointment is effective as of 10 June 2014, while Sir David will join the Board on 1 September 2014.

The appointments continue the Bank’s move towards greater diversity in experience and background, with both new directors having carried out senior international business roles and both being currently based outside of Australia.

Mr Apte was Co-Chairman of Citi Asia Pacific Banking from 1 January 2012 until 31 January 2014, when he retired from Citi. (Mr Apte remains a director of Citibank Japan and a member of the Supervisory Board of Citibank Handlowy, Poland.) From 2009 until 2011, Mr Apte was Chief Executive Officer of Citi Asia Pacific, with responsibility for South Asia, including Australia, New Zealand, India and ASEAN countries. He was a member of Citigroup’s Executive and Operating Committees.

Mr Apte has more than 32 years experience with Citi, including as CEO of Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEEMEA) and, before that, as Country Manager and Deputy President of Citibank Handlowy, Poland. Mr Apte moved to London in 1993 as a senior Risk Manager for CEEMEA before becoming Corporate Finance and Investment Bank Head for CEEMEA, including India.

Mr Apte is a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He also has an MBA from the London Business School.

Sir David Higgins is currently the Chairman of High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd, the company responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new high speed rail network. Prior to that, he was Chief Executive of Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd in London which is involved in the maintenance and development of railway infrastructure throughout the UK.

From 2006 until 2011, he was Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority where he oversaw the creation of the London 2012 Olympic Games venues, the Olympic Village and transport projects. Prior to December 2005, he was Chief Executive of English Partnerships, the UK Government’s national housing and regeneration agency for three years. In 1985, he joined Lend Lease and in 1995, he was appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Lend Lease.

Sir David holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) degree and a diploma from the Securities Institute of Australia. He was knighted in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to regeneration.

Mr Turner said: “I am delighted with the appointments of Shirish and Sir David, who are highly respected business figures both in the Asia-Pacific region and globally. Shirish will bring international banking knowledge and experience that will greatly benefit the Commonwealth Bank. Sir David brings a vast array of high-level business, infrastructure and major project experience. Both men will be invaluable additions to the Commonwealth Bank Board and I very much look forward to working with them.”

Origin Energy to Acquire Natural Gas Resources in Australia’s Highly Prospective Browse Basin

Origin Energy Limited (Origin) today announced it has entered into a conditional Sale and Purchase Agreement with Karoon Gas (Karoon) to acquire its entire 40 per cent interest in two exploration permits (WA-315-P and WA-398-P) in Western Australia’s Browse Basin (Poseidon permits). These permits contain large and prospective offshore gas fields, such as the Poseidon discovery.

ConocoPhillips, the project operator, and PetroChina hold 40 per cent and 20 per cent interests in the permits respectively and also retain pre-emption rights for a limited period relating to the sale of Karoon’s 40 per cent interest in the Poseidon permits.

Following satisfaction of all conditions precedent and appropriate regulatory approvals, Origin will pay US$600 million cash consideration with additional payments of US$75 million payable upon a project Final Investment Decision (FID) and US$75 million payable on first production. A further payment of up to US$50 million will be payable on first production if 2P reserves at the time of FID reach certain thresholds.

Origin will participate in the ongoing exploration and appraisal program – including the Pharos well which is currently being drilled by the joint venture – on a proportional basis to augment Poseidon’s existing resource position. Options to monetise the Poseidon field’s resources may include transporting natural gas to LNG production facilities in Darwin or through a standalone floating LNG facility.

Origin will initially fund the acquisition from existing committed undrawn debt facilities which totalled $5.6 billion as at the end of April 2014. Given these facilities were put in place to fund Origin’s share of Australian Pacific LNG and maintain an appropriate liquidity buffer, the drawdown associated with this acquisition will be refinanced through an equity raising of around $1 billion. This will occur through a pro-rata equity offer at an appropriate time following completion of the acquisition and, in any event, sometime after the release of Origin’s full year financial results on 21 August 2014.

Origin Managing Director, Grant King said, “Origin’s acquisition of a 40 per cent interest in the Greater Poseidon area will allow the company to establish a strategic position in one of Australia’s largest recent offshore gas discoveries at a competitive entry price when compared to recent transactions in the Browse/Bonaparte region.

“Poseidon is located in one of Australia’s most significant hydrocarbon regions and various options exist to monetise the gas through LNG export opportunities linked to growing demand in the Asian region.

“We welcome the opportunity to enter the joint venture alongside two significant global oil and gas companies, ConocoPhillips and PetroChina, with whom we share a common focus to maximise the value of Australia’s significant gas resources.

“The acquisition of these permits complements recent farm-ins in South Australia’s Cooper Basin and the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin, thereby increasing Origin’s exposure to growing demand for natural gas both in Australia and overseas.

“We are mindful that the Australia Pacific LNG project begins production in mid 2015 and over the next two years there will be a significant increase in Origin’s long-term cash flow and earnings. It is important that we act now to invest in Origin’s continued development and growth through the latter part of this decade. We believe that acquiring these resources, when compared with greenfield exploration, substantially reduces the risk of securing opportunities to drive the long-term growth of Origin,” Mr King said.

Leighton Holdings Appoints New Managing Directors

Leighton Holdings today announced the appointment of Managing Directors to its Construction, Mining, PPP, and Engineering businesses.

Construction will be led by David Jurd, who is currently the Executive General Manager of Leighton Contractors’ Infrastructure Division.

Mining will be led by Bruce Munro, who is currently Managing Director of Thiess.

PPPs will be led by Angel Muriel, who is currently Leighton Holdings’ Chief Development Officer.

Engineering will be led by Craig Laslett, who is currently Managing Director of Leighton Contractors.

Ian Edwards will continue to lead Leighton Asia, India and Offshore; Glenn Palin will continue to lead John Holland; and Mark Gray will continue to lead Leighton Properties.

Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marcelino Fernández Verdes said: “I am pleased to announce these new appointments and I have great confidence in the leadership, insight and expertise each member of the team will bring to his role.”

Leighton also announced the branding of the construction and mining businesses. The construction business will be branded Leighton Contractors, and mining will be branded Thiess.

Mr Fernández Verdes said: “Keeping these valuable brands will enable us to build on the strong positioning of each of these businesses in the market, as we work towards making Leighton Contractors a global leader in construction and Thiess the global leader in mining.”

Melbourne Paints The Town Red For AIDS 2014

Stars of sport, stage and screen will join retailers and community organisations to entertain and inform with a cultural program of more than 160 events for the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) – the largest health conference ever hosted in Australia.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle was today joined by AIDS 2014 Co-Chair Professor Sharon Lewin and Tom Harley, President, Victorian Arts Centre Trust in launching the program today.

Held between 20 and 25 July, AIDS 2014 will bring 14,000 participants from 200 countries to Melbourne, with 1000 journalists, scientists and leaders from around the world in attendance.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said that he was proud Melbourne would host the largest cultural program ever staged for an AIDS conference.

“We are the cultural and sporting capital of Australia and Melbourne is set to make a powerful statement, a statement that unites our city,” the Lord Mayor said.

“In a spectacular show of support, 45 of the city’s most prominent buildings will be flood lit red at night, including Arts Centre Melbourne, Parliament House, Melbourne Town Hall and the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel.

“Our city is well known for being one of the most open, tolerant and welcoming places in the world. We want to show our visitors that wherever they go in Melbourne, we are painting the town red in their honour.”

More than 90 different cultural, retail, business, arts and sporting organisations are participating partners in the cultural program that will inform, entertain and inspire both visitors and locals.

AIDS 2014 Co-Chair, Professor Lewin said participants would be guaranteed a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity in Melbourne.

“As a Melburnian, I am thrilled with the way the City has embraced AIDS 2014. The range of activities in the Cultural Program is truly amazing and a testament to how welcoming and inclusive Melbourne is.

“I encourage the general public to enjoy AIDS 2014, to visit the Global Village, to attend an event within the cultural program, and to work with us to end HIV.”

Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club is one of the iconic Melbourne sporting teams supporting the event. At their home game against Canberra Raiders on Saturday 19 July at AAMI Park the players will wear red socks, the numbers on the field will be in red, while AAMI Park will turn red for the week of the conference.

Melbourne Storm ambassador and former captain Robbie Kearns said, “Melbourne Storm is thrilled to support AIDS 2014.”

“As a Melbourne brand we are privileged to be supporting such an important health conference that will inform and educate locals and guests.”

“We are right behind the City of Melbourne in painting the town red.”

Tom Harley, President, Victorian Arts Centre Trust said that Melbourne’s famous cultural precinct is proudly supporting this important event.

“Culture through its many arts forms plays an important role in helping to deliver valuable messages and engendering community engagement and I’m delighted that Arts Centre Melbourne, along with others in the precinct and many other organisations across the city, are uniting to show support for the conference through the cultural program,” said Tom Harley, President, Victorian Arts Centre Trust.

Australian Cultural Program AIDS 2014 is available from

For more information about the cultural program contact City of Melbourne Media Adviser Katie Hall on 0417095111

About AIDS 2014

The 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV. The AIDS 2014 programme will present new scientific knowledge and offer many opportunities for structured dialogue on the major issues facing the global response to HIV. A variety of session types – from abstract-driven presentations to symposia, bridging and plenary sessions – will meet the needs of various participants. Other related activities, including the Global Village, satellite meetings, exhibitions and affiliated independent events, will contribute to an exceptional opportunity for professional development and networking.

Register now to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014):

The AIDS 2014 Melbourne Declaration has been launched. The declaration, affirms that non-discrimination is fundamental to an evidence-based, rights based, response to HIV and effective public health programs and it is a call for the immediate eradication of discriminatory, criminalizing and stigmatizing practices. We hope you can sign and promote the petition at:

Facebook: International AIDS Conference
Twitter: @aids_conference #aids2014

For information about AIDS 2014 (the Conference) contact:
Lucy Stackpool-Moore (Melbourne, Australia)
AIDS 2014 Communications Coordinator
Mobile: +61 (0) 414 448 253

University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Re-Appointed After ‘Exemplary’ First Term

The University of Tasmania today announced the re-appointment of Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen to the end of 2018.

University Chancellor the Hon. Michael Field AC said the re-appointment was important to the institution at a challenging time for Higher Education.

“Since arriving in 2011, Professor Rathjen has taken a fine vision for our University, crystallised it and been instrumental in driving it into reality,” Chancellor Field said.

“Now, with waves of change washing through our sector, it is to our great advantage to have an academic leader of international standing; someone with the strategic vision to see through the myriad issues domestically, nationally and globally.”

“This is a very clear commitment by Professor Rathjen to our State and to a globally relevant institution which already bears his mark.”

Chancellor Field said Professor Rathjen’s first term with the University had been exemplary.

During that time a number of milestones had been passed and ambitious goals set, including:

• An annual budget passing $500 million and nearing $600 million.
• Raising the expectation and performance of the University for globally impactful research, with approximately $100 million in research income being attracted to the State last year and the University being ranked the top 10 of
universities nationally and in the top two per cent of universities worldwide.
• Building a capital works program of $564 million which will result in a strong University presence, including student accommodation, in city centres across the State.
• Development of an international strategy which will double income from overseas students to $400 million in the next five years.
• A focus on partnerships to realise the University’s mission, including establishment of Memoranda of Understanding with Tourism Tasmania and TasTAFE, and the establishment of the Asia Institute with the State Government.
• The signing of the University to the Magna Charta Universitatum, a charter which articulates a series of shared global values to which signatories aspire.
• Development of a reinvestment program to attract the very best scholars to Tasmania in themes of excellence for the University.

“We were very fortunate to attract an individual of Professor Rathjen’s standing at what has proved to be a defining time for the University of Tasmania,” Chancellor Field said.

“So the University Council is delighted that, having made such considerable gains, he has committed to build upon them into the future.”

Professor Rathjen said he was immensely pleased with the progress of the past three years.

“As we head toward the University’s 125th year, we have a history to be proud of,” Professor Rathjen said.

“In these next few years it will be critical to position ourselves in such a way that we can build upon our current momentum.”

Professor Rathjen said despite challenges facing the sector, he believed the future of the University would be delivered upon the pillars of its current strategic intent:

• Globally impactful research relevant to Tasmania’s unique island community.
• Excellence in teaching and the student experience, preparing graduates of who can compete in a global workforce.
• A fundamental commitment to the intellectual, social, cultural and economic transformation of Tasmania.

Coffs Harbour Jetty4Shores Stage 1 Work Starts

Construction of Stage 1 of the Jetty4Shores Plan is underway.

“This is the culmination of so many years of talking and wanting and waiting, it’s actually hard to believe it’s now reality,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor, Councillor Denise Knight.

“This is a huge milestone for the city, the community and the harbour itself. It’s the start of a whole new era – and what’s more, it’s three months ahead of schedule.”

Stage 1 includes the Jetty4Shores Walkway, incorporating a four-metre wide walkway, new lighting and landscaping, as well as decorative elements including artworks, seating, signage and a new carpark. The first step will be the construction of the new carpark next to Jordan Esplanade.

The full Stage 1 project has been costed at $1.44m. Council has applied for a $2.2m reduced rate loan under the Australian Government’s Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme (LIRS) to pay for the Stage 1 design and construction and the design and engineering of Stages 2, 3 and 4.

The carpark construction is expected to take seven weeks to complete. During this time, the construction area will be fenced off, but access will be maintained along Jordan Esplanade to the historic Jetty carpark and TS Vendetta. Traffic control measures will be in place.

Council is still in negotiation with Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) for a licence over the rail land to allow for construction of the four-metre wide walkway. Once contract documents and detailed designs are completed, Council will be able to start building this part of the Stage 1 project. This is likely to take place from September 2014, but will be dependent on the licence agreement with ARTC.

Demolition of the carpark at the end of the historic Jetty is expected to happen after the Christmas holiday period in February 2015, to ensure the Jetty remains fully accessible to the public during the peak tourist season.

Penrith Council Welcomes Infrastructure Announcements

Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler OAM has welcomed the infrastructure announcements from the State Government as it handed down its latest budget saying it is quite timely given the ongoing discussions Penrith City Council have been advocating.

“I’ve been in Canberra speaking to federal Ministers and advocating for our regions needs and we now have the State Government addressing the needs of Western Sydney residents and businesses. I am excited about our growth and future,” Councillor Fowler said.

“I believe we are on the threshold of seeing a New West, one that is supported and recognised as a crucial component in the growth of New South Wales, if not Australia.

“The announcement to investigate options for the M9 Outer Sydney Orbital motorway, $109 million for road upgrades and funding to western Sydney Councils to deliver infrastructure to support 3000 new homes in growth areas will deliver some of the largest investment in infrastructure the area has experienced.”

Penrith City Council has long been an advocate for further investment in infrastructure (both rail and road) linking the growing area to those in the northwest and southwest. The Western Sydney Employment Lands have the capacity to create jobs of the future that will service the growing community which is something that has been identified through the Penrith Progression project.

Penrith Progression is a collaborative process of active community and stakeholder participation to bring to life visions and plans to revitalise Penrith as a regional city. Participants in Penrith Progression are working with a team of specialists in developing an economic masterplan, place-shaping framework and an action plan all of which will be boosted through the investment and infrastructure in Sydney’s west.

“We are looking forward, with great anticipation, to seeing the creation of the western Sydney we have planned and advocated for many years,” Cr Fowler said.

“One that has good roads, good jobs and support for the people who choose to live in one of the fastest growing regions in Australia.”

South Australia State Budget – No Bad News For Business

The State’s leading business membership organisation, Business SA, said that the good news for business from the State Budget is that there are no increased or new direct taxes.

Business SA CEO, Nigel McBride, said that it was pleasing that the Treasurer had listened to business and not imposed any significant new imposts on business.

Also the previous tax concessions, such as the temporary payroll tax exemption for small business and the stamp duty concessions on apartments in the city have also been maintained.

Mr McBride said, “It is pleasing that there no new significant imposts on business as the last thing that business needs is an increase in the cost of doing business.”

“Also the Government has honoured its commitments in last year’s Budget by maintaining the payroll concessions for small business, the stamp duty concessions on off-the-plan apartments and the first home owners grant.”

“An additional concession is a housing grant for people aged over 60 years of age who want to purchase a new home to live in.”

“These concessions should assist the housing industry in particular.”

“Other positives are the commitment to infrastructure spending on projects such as the north-south corridor.”

“The promised savings from the reforms to WorkCover are $180 million, which will be a big boost for business,” he said.

“However, there is an increase in the emergency services levy which will have an impact on some businesses.”

“We also need to ensure that the rationalisation of the public sector and the removal of permanent tenure do happen.”

“In any budget, the devil is in the detail and we will be analysing the budget over the coming days,” Mr McBride said.

Infrastructure Australia Gets the Free Rein It Needs

Amendments to the Australian Government’s Infrastructure Australia Amendment Bill 2013 (the Bill) have today been introduced in the Senate.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the government’s revisions are in response to stakeholder feedback.

“The government has moved to clear up ambiguities in the Bill, which led to a misunderstanding of the government’s reforms to make Infrastructure Australia more independent,” Mr Truss said.

“By deleting three clauses from the Bill, we will provide even greater assurance around the responsibilities and independence of Infrastructure Australia.

“Infrastructure Australia needs to move away from assessing lists based on already announced government priorities and focus strategically on Australia’s future infrastructure needs to inform decisions, rather than play catch-up.

“These revisions show that the Australian Government is focused on enabling Infrastructure Australia to play its part in building the infrastructure we need for the future.

“We propose to delete Section 5A(2), the intent of which was to exclude Defence projects and projects seeking Commonwealth funding of under $100 million from evaluation. By deleting this reference, the misunderstanding that the Minister could prevent IA from assessing classes of proposals is eliminated.

“We will move to delete Section 5D, which was intended as a positive power to direct IA to publish its findings, while striking a balance with commercial-in-confidence matters. By deleting this provision, it is clear that it is the responsibility of IA to determine what it will and will not publish in accordance with general law principles, including in relation to breach of confidence, the Privacy Act, other common law principles and the FOI Act.

“We also propose to delete Item 9, subsections 6(3) and 6(4), which were designed to ensure that IA undertook its functions in a timely manner and provided advice on key policy issues relating to Government priorities. The effect of this deletion means that the legislation will revert to what is currently in the Act, whereby, the Minister will be able to provide directions of a general nature only.

“Importantly, the changes we propose do not affect our commitment to give Infrastructure Australia a broader range of responsibilities and charge it with developing a rolling 15-year infrastructure plan for Australia.

“The abolition of the Infrastructure Coordinator role, to be replaced with a Chief Executive Officer answerable to an independent Infrastructure Australia Board, will strengthen Infrastructure Australia’s status as a truly independent statutory authority.

“A more robust and transparent Infrastructure Australia is a key part of our plan to build a strong and prosperous economy.”

The revised Bill was introduced in the Senate today and is expected to be debated today.

Property Owners Hit in SA Budget

South Australian property owners were slugged in the 2014/15 State Budget by a sharp increase in the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) paid on all property and confirmation that the Government intends to introduce a $750 car park tax in July 2014.

“It is disappointing that property owners once again bear the brunt of tough Budget measures,” Property Council Acting Executive Director Lino Iacomella said.

“The increase in the ESL will affect all property owners and it adds to the growing cost of owning property.

“The car park tax will hurt retailers in the city centre and diminish investor appeal for CBD property. Adelaide needs incentives to help grow the state economy not another tax that will add to the cost of doing business in the city.

“On the positive side it is reassuring that $10 billion of committed infrastructure work from earlier Budgets will continue.

“It is also pleasing that the Government is responding to the housing needs of seniors. The Budget includes an $8,500 grant to help people over 60 years of age downsize into a more appropriate home. This is good public policy and it will help to free up larger existing homes for growing families.

“Importantly, there were no increases to land tax and stamp duty rates however the Budget failed to include much needed reforms to the state’s property taxes, which are some of the highest in Australia.

“The property sector cannot be expected to continue to do the heavy lifting of fixing the annual State Budget,” Lino Iacomella said.