Industry Minister Kim Carr has denied reports Holden is seeking more than $200 million in additional subsidies from the federal government, claiming he doesn’t know where the figure came from. While calling the $200 million figure ‘”speculative”, Carr is also defending ongoing closed-door talks with the auto giant. “If a company comes to me with an issue they get the respect that they deserve and confidentiality,” Carr says. “To execute this next-generation program there are several milestones we must achieve – the two most crucial being reducing our structural costs and improving productivity in our factory, along with the implementation of a clear, consistent and globally competitive industry policy,” Holden says. NAB plants seeds for China food export harvest National Australia Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned China National Agricultural Development Group Corporation (CNADC), with the bank hoping to cash in on Chinese investment in Australian agriculture. “For Australia's agricultural sector, our abundance of productive land and high food quality makes us an ideal strategic partner for China's growing food, beverage and agricultural needs," says Joseph Healy, the head of NAB's business bank and Asian operations. “Most Australian agribusinesses understand the opportunities in the region, but in some instances are not sure how to take the next step. Building relationships, understanding the market and exploring opportunities on the ground are crucial for longstanding and successful partnerships in China.” Telstra set to outsource 170 back office jobs to India Telstra has announced 170 customer service positions will be made redundant, with back-office network applications and services support positions set to be outsourced to India as part of the move. "This is about growth, this is about supporting our clients as they move offshore and supporting our international clients in those markets," Telstra NAS head David Burns says. "We want to be able to support that strategy. We need to be able to scale quickly, we need to be able to meet demand, we need to be able to support our customers as they move into that south-east Asian region and we need to be competitive as we do that." However, the communications divisional president of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, Len Cooper, claims the job cuts undermine Telstra chief executive David Thodey’s commitment to improved customer service. “The jobs they are cutting are in areas where hi-tech people are looking after IP networks, where people do design installation and maintenance of critical networks for big customers," Cooper says. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 1.11% 15460.92. The Aussie dollar is down to US91.79 cents.
The country's banking regulator has said it will start cracking down on banks if it believes lending standards have become too relaxed, as some reports have indicated, but business leaders say SMEs are still strapped for cash.
The National Australia Bank raised its business lending loans rate by 20 basis points yesterday but the other major lenders are reluctant to reveal whether they will also bump up loan rates.
New research reveals more Australians do their banking online rather than visiting a branch, although industry experts say face-to-face service still resonates with small business customers.
The head of business banking at NAB says small businesses have been left behind by the banking system, admitting that banks focus on larger companies.