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THE NEWS WRAP: Branson’s Virgin Group set to spend $40 million expanding Virgin Active chain

Monday, 18 July 2011 | By Oliver Milman

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is set to spend $40 million expanding its Virgin Active health club chain across Australia.

 

The Australian reports that Virgin has between 20 and 30 sites under construction, adding to the three clubs in Sydney and one in Melbourne that are already up and running.

 

Branson said that Virgin was looking to sell around 25% of Virgin Active to a VC firm, believed to be CVC Capital Partners.

 

Gillard defends carbon tax ads

 

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has defended the Government’s $12 million carbon tax advertising campaign, saying that the ads were required to tackle “misconceptions” about the scheme.

 

The TV ads, which started last night, were attacked by opposition leader Tony Abbott, who said: "Taxpayers should not be ripped off to fund political propaganda."

 

Resources companies “hoarding” skilled workers

 

Australia’s “two-speed” economy is set to worsen with mining and energy companies hiring workers they do not yet need to avoid competing for labour at the end of the year, according to reports.

 

The Australian Financial Review says that WA resources companies are “hoarding” skilled tradesmen and engineers, while skilled workers in Queensland were also being snapped up.

 

Markets

 

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 42.61 points to 12,479.73. The Australian dollar fell to 106.93 US cents