Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard confronts mounting challenges to her own re-election after her Labor party suffered a landslide poll defeat in Queensland, leaving her with allies governing just two of the nation’s six states.
Luxury resorts along Queensland’s coast, a destination for Great Barrier Reef visitors, are selling at a fraction of peak prices as a rising Australian dollar sends domestic vacationers overseas and hampers a recovery from last year’s hurricanes.
QR National Ltd. ’s initial share sale, Australia’s biggest since 1997, will be priced inside the forecast range because of “robust” demand from international institutional investors, Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser said.
Queensland will delay its mid-year budget review as damage from floods inundating Australia’s third most populous state may eclipse last year’s record A$800 million ($819 million) spending on natural disasters.
Queensland state sold shares of Australian coal-train operator QR National Ltd. at A$2.55 each, raising A$4.63 billion ($4.57 billion) for the state in the nation’s second-biggest ever initial public offering.
BHP Billiton Ltd. , Xstrata Plc and 11 other coal miners in Australia bid A$4.85 billion ($4 billion) for the nation’s biggest coal railroad to head off the state government’s planned initial public offering.
The Queensland government remains in talks with a group, including BHP Billiton Ltd ., which the Australian’s newspaper reported today has raised its bid for the state’s coal freight network to A$5.2 billion ($4.8 billion).