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Live.

for Australia Network. Welcome to Business Today

for Australia Network. I'm

on the program - Whitney Fitzsimmons. Coming up

on the program - crisis easing.

IMF head Christine Lagarde says measures to combat Europe's

debt and encourage US debt and encourage US growth

are paying off. Critical

response. Business and industry leaders dis pointed with

India's budget. And sustainability concerns.

Warnings that water is undervalued and the undervalued and the price will rise sharply in the future.

first a Those stories shortly, but

first a quick look at the

markets.

For more on the market

action I'm joined by Juliette

Saly from CommSec. How will regional markets start the week? It's looking very positive for the Australian

share market. We're due to open

in just under half an hour's

time and the futures is suggesting a gain bf three

quarters of 1% today. We did quarters of 1% today. We did

see a little bit of a

lacklustre finish on Friday.

Our market probably too

oversold particularly a lot oversold particularly a lot of weakness coming through from mining stocks. We have the Senate voteing on the mining

tax today, the mineral

resources rent tax. This is

pretty much already factored

have into the market so shouldn't

have too much of an impact. In

weakness. China we could see a bit of

weakness. We've seen a report

showing that China's home prices have post t their prices have post t their worst performance in a year in February. A few public holidays

in Asia this week as well.

Japan has one tomorrow. Let's

move to the US. Theres with a mixed decision on Friday. A

mixed decision on Friday night

but over the course of the week another really good week for

the US markets. All the indices up by more than 2%. With very

the housing sector taking

of centre stage this week A number centre stage this week A

of economic reports on the US

We want to see signs that the housing front coming through.

real estate market is

rebounding. That could keep the

stock market rallying. Also bigger than usual focus on the stock market rallying. Also a

weekly jobless claims this week

because employment in the US is

another key focus as to how the

company is performing. With

very a raft of companies with

earnings have very different

earnings have very different nee sectors. Vefrors were in a

good mood for the fourth

straight session in Europe.

week? We certainly hope so. Will that continue this

There is a Greig sense of optimism that things in optimism that things in Europe

are as dire as we thought they

were a few months ago. Some really successful really successful bond auctions. One in Spain late

last week. There has been a lot

more investor optimism in

European markets. The

European markets. The FTSE euro

first 3 index a key gauge of

how all European markets are

faring, gained 2.5% over the course last week. We course last week. We have construction output for January

and a lot of data out of the

UK, including retail sales and

CPI or inflation numbers. Just CPI or inflation numbers.

briefly on commodities, oil and gold have gone in different directions? Absolutely. The oil price price skyrocketing above 107 dollars a particle price skyrocketing above 107 US

dollars a particle at the

moment. Some key tensions in the Gulf and also coming

through in Iran and we also saw the gold price fall because

there's not so much of a need

for safe haven buying at the for safe haven buying at the

moment. The greenback also

gaining a lot of strength which

has seen the gold price fall

week. Thanks for joining down 3% over the course of last

us. Thank you, Whitney. Now closer look at what's happening us. Thank you, Whitney. Now a

with currencies and

commodities.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde

says measures taken to offset

Europe and the United States weak financial conditions in

are beginning to pay off.

During a two day trip to

Beijing, Ms La la delivered cautiously upbeat assessment of Beijing, Ms La la delivered a

the global economy. The world

economy has stepped back from

the brink. We have cause the brink. We have cause to be

a bit more optimistic. But optimism should not give us a

sense of comfort and certainly

sense should not lull us into a false

action by the European Central sense of security. She said

helped stabilise the Bank and Eurozone members had

helped stabilise the debt

crisis. The IMF head also cited recent positive indicators out

of the US and more signs the situation was improving. While of the US and more signs the

decisions during Europe's debt she praised China's policy

crisis, she urged Beijing continue pursuing internal crisis, she urged Beijing to redancing of the economy. It's

important that China it continue to support group. On continue to support group.

this score China is in the

space to provide enviable position of having the

support for its economy as space to provide modest fiscal

outlined at the recent National

People's Congress. Second, to

continue shifting continue shifting the drivers

of economic growth away from

investment and exports, and towards domestic China would do a great towards domestic consumption,

China would do a great service to its

people. Today she will be in to its economy and its

New Delhi for an IMF booked

conference on the Indian and conference on the Indian and

Government is expected to push Chinese economies. The Federal

its mining tax through the Senate tonight as Parliament resumes in Canberra. The government has agreed to

publish monthly updating on how

much revenue the mining tax

will bring in. The package of

bills includes a 30% tax on

coal and iron ore profits. The opposition maintains the tax

will drive away investment and

damage the mining industry

accusing government of rushing the proposal through the Senate. The Greens are seeking the proposal through the Senate. The

an amendment to the legislation

to remove a government commit to fully credit mining companies

companies for all future state royalties. India's Finance Minister has defended the

government's zero risk budget conceding political pressures

largely ruled out major reforms in Asia's third largest

economy. In handing down the country's budget , he sidestepped sidestepped the controversial sidestepped the controversial

push to open India's economy

even further to foreign investors and business has criticised the government's

failure to take opportunities for

for restructuring and tax

changes. T Indian Finance Minister says the country's

economic growth has been far

from ideal. We have been able to limit

to limit the impact of this on

our economy, this year's

performance has been performance has been

disappointing. He is trying to stay positive saying the GDP will pick up to will pick up to 7.6% in the fiscal year beginning in

April. More specifically in

private investment. The

Finance Minister says it's been

a difficult year. Various players, players, including politicians,

and business houses participate

in the making of the economy.

When everything goes well with

the economy, we all share in

the joy. However, when things

go wrong, it is the Finance

Minister who is called upon to administer the administer the medicine. His

prescription includes an

increase in customs duties on

imports of gold, platinum and on large vehicles but on large vehicles but the

manufacturing sector has been given some help. (Inaudible)

The agricultural sector has also received also received a major boost

with a $1 trillion rupee

increase to the credit limit

for farmers. I propose today for credit in 2012-13. for credit in 2012-13. This

represents an increase for the

current year. There's some current year. There's some relief for taxpayers with a

small innies in the income tax

exemption limit from 180,000 exemption limit from 180,000 to 200,000 rupees. The budget is

being welcomed by government

departments. In the present

global situation, he's tried his best to present a good

budget. On the defence said,

even though we were expecting

more, I'm happy because he has

promised whatever is needed for

the future, he will commit. But opposition

But opposition parties aren't happy. (Inaudible comment) In

one short he has raised 40,000

rupees on common man by

increasing tax and excess

duty. There has duty. There has been no massive

investment to create

employment. Therefore this budget is complete ly

ineffective to turn around the

economy that we see at the moment. Some industry experts

say the budget doesn't support growth. The Finance Minister

seems to have adopted a policy

of fiscal consolidation through

of fiscal consolidation through raising revenue and raising revenue through the taxation mechanism rather than through mechanisms outside the taxation

system. But he has drawn support from many other companies. The Prime Minister says the budget is what the country

country needs. Right now the challenge before the country is to

to accelerate the tempo of

economic growth at the same

time to ensure that we do not slip on our obligations to

moderate the price rise. And I

do

do believe this the Finance

Minister has tackled well. Mr Singh's government has suffered

a string of corruption scandals

and has been under pressure to control public spending and

rein in the ballooning deficit

while at the same time boosting

economic growth. The potato

industry is the latest sector

counting the cost of the counting the cost of the recent

heavy rains. Crockwell in the New South Wales Southern Tablelands provides seed

Tablelands provides seed potatoes to the nation's major producers who in turn supply

big chain supermarkets but with

more than half of Crookwell's

crops destroyed a question mark

hangs over potato supplies. The

crops may look green and lush, but

but for potato farmers gar

reend a Matthew it's what's

underneath that counts. They've already gone black here as you can

can see. Crookwell is normally

a potato growers' dream. Its

cold climate meanings the area is disease free but like much of south-east Australia the

land was drench reduce the

potatoes to a rotting and

worthless mess. This is an enormous financial hit to us n

our crop personally, our preliminary estimations preliminary estimations around 366,000. And the flow-on effect

of that when I multiplied it

of that when I multiplied it out to our grower puts him in

the vicinity of 3.6

million. More than 10% of

Australia's seed potatoes are Australia's seed potatoes are

grown from these paddocks. And

with rain wiping out at least

half the crop, farmers say the

ramifications will be felt by the whole potato industry. The

flowon effect will definitely

happen probably in the coming season when the shortfall of

seed flows through to our

commercial growers. If they

can't source the seed in the quantitys that

quantitys that they require quantitys that they require to fulfil their contracts then

they would be in a fair amount of trouble. The says it's too early to assess the national says it's too the national picture. At this the

stage we're waiting to seat full the national picture. At this full extent of the damage. stage we're waiting full extent of the

We're hopeful it won't be as

bad as expect. But for these farmers the damage farmers the damage is

obvious. Very, very worried. I

think the community is worried obvious. Very, very worried. for us as well. It is an enormous stress there's no way

for us as well. It is an enormous stress there's no way

you can hide that we laugh and

joke about it but the stress is

enormous. Growers will soon find out

find out if they're eligible for enormous. Growers will for government assistance. In the meantime find out if they're the meantime they're praying the sky stays blue. the meantime they're the sky stays blue.

Increasingly, there's

Increasingly, there's a

business leaders and high net support the individuals to support the nation's cultural support individuals to do their bit and endeavours. And one individual who's leading the charge is business leader and business leader and arts

philanthropist Simon Mordant, Australian

Australian commissioner for the Venice Australian commissioner for Venice Bianalle 2013. In a rare television interview I television interview I caught up with him

Venice Bianalle 2013. In a rare television up with Malaysia where he'd been meeting up with him on his return from meeting the artist who's Australia's representative for

the Venice Bianalle next the Venice Bianalle next year.

What's your view on the need

for more private fund forgive

the arts in Australia? I think the arts in Australia? I it's essential that we have

more private funding for the

arts. If you want to live in a vibrant community the vibrant community the creative industries

industries are central

industries are central to that. You can't expect the You can't You can't expect the government

to be the sole source of funding. More community support

to create the community we all want to live this is

essential. What sort are

strategies should be place to deliver that? The The

projects at the Museum of Contemporary Art Contemporary Art opens next

week. Long time coming. That's a partnership between all levels of government. Other

philanthropists came on board then the government then the government saw that

the community wanted it to

the community wanted it to happen. And were willing to

support him. I'm a really

believer that you can't just go for government asking for money

the whole time. You have to

have the community engaged and

passionate about the initiative. That initiative. That requires the community to take leadership. With regard to private funding, say for

example the gift that you recently gave to

recently gave to the STC to

develop a specific project, do

you attach certain outcomes to

that? Do you have real

expectations or do you let the

company just develop the

project as they see fit. We

look at it as complete

philanthropy. It's a gift.

Without any requirements or

obligations. It's different

from sponsorship. If companies sponsor a production then they

obviously expect a obviously expect a return for

the organisation. As a philanthropist we're

philanthropist we're taking

risk that the organisation

can't afford to take to. David

Gonski and myself really felt that the development of that the development of the

secret river was a wonderful project which the project which the company

couldn't afford to do. We want

to create a wonderful show that

we're really proud of and we want to tour

want to tour it around

Australia and hopefully

internationally. But that's up

to the Sydney Theatre Company.

We'll sit there with a lot of excitement, seeing how it

develops. You biff an supporter of the arts for quite

some time. Do you see yourself

as quite a risk faker? I'm a

risk tearer the whole time. But

I feel that if you I feel that if you do well in

the community, you have an obligation to give back. And

I'm a migrant to Australia. I'm a migrant to Australia. And have done very well. And

have done very well. And I would like to see

would like to see my

contemporaries and peers who've

done very well in Australia over the last 20 years make a

difference in the difference in the community.

Australians are very generous.

Whether there's a flood or a

tsunami or bushfires and

Australia's right up there in terms

terms of community support, terms of community support, but

high net worth individuals the

very wealthy people very wealthy people of Australia are

Australia are not doing their

bit. If you look at the

statistics from the Tax Office

those earning over a million

dollars a year, that's a huge

amount of money, 40% are giving

nothing to charity. That's

really disappointing. Of the

balance, the average are giving

us 2% of their salary, whereas internationally it's over

internationally it's over 10%.

In your view, why do you think

Australia doesn't have the strong history of

strong history of private

funding and philanthropy that

say its overseas counterparts do? I In North America, it's

wholly dependent on the private sector. And sector. And philanthropists. Whereas in Australia we have

the hybrid model with both government and private sector support.

support. And the real issue support. And the real issue I think we have to is get wealthy

people to feel a sense of community obligation. I don't

have an issue what the thing have an issue what the thing is that people support. Whether

it's three legged dogs or blind

cricketers. I'm not about

things that I'm passionate

about, but everybody about, but everybody should be passionate about something. You're much better person if

you're passionate and have an interest

interest outside of your job.

And when I raised the money for the Museum of Contemporary Art

I was really disappointed the

number of people I went to

speak to who didn't give

anything to any cause that had

no interest in the community.

That really saddened me, and in leading

leading that campaign, it made

me realise that we need to talk publicly about

publicly about it. And we publicly about it. And we need

to encourage people to connect

with the community, with it's their their church, their hospital, something in the arts, something in the medical field.

It doesn't matter. But we

should all put back. My wife

and I don't believe in

inheritance so inheritance so we'll measure

our success by whether our past cheque bounces. That's when cheque bounces. That's when we

know we've been successful in

our endeavours. That our endeavours. That actually

brings me to my next

brings me to my next point. My understand something that

you're in a mission to liberate

some of your some of your well-off

counterparts of some of their

riches. No doubt that this

private funding is very much private funding is very much a

topic of conversation with your

friends and counterparts,

colleagues, etc. What's been

their response so far to this? We startsed this? We startsed this journey

as very private people. We were

giving but we were giving

privately. When I was asked privately. When I was asked to lead the campaign for the Museum of Contemporary Art, I

realised that you couldn't do that

that unless you made a public

statement. You couldn't ask

people to give money unless

they knew that you had they knew that you had done

something. So we out ourselves.

That was with a fair bit of risk. And we recognised that

that would change the way we

behaved and the way we

interacted. But the real

benefit is that we can now talk

about the encouragement about the encouragement and pleasure that we get and we

would hope other people will get. There are some very

wealthy people in Australia who

need to have some passions and

they need to get - give back to

the community. I think that's

really important. Why do you think so often think so often artistic

pursuits fake a back pursuits fake a back seat on the

the national agenda, say, to those in the sporting arena? I

have a dream that creative champions of Australia, whether they're Australia, whether they're the

writers the artists the actors

the poets will be held in the same regard as our sports

champions. I think it's really important if you're a kid important if you're a kid at

school and you're not a school and you're not a sporty

kid, you feel inadequate.

kid, you feel inadequate. And

it seems to me that's quite a peculiar thing in Australia,

where rour champions are our

sports heroes and we don't give

enough pair play to great

artistic talent and creativity.

And that's not developing a society that we should aspire

to. And I'd love to see it start with the government

leadership. I'd love on Monday

morning when politicians gather

they're not

they're not just talking about

the soccer results and the

footy results, they're talking

about a great theatre

performance or a great art show

they saw at the weekend. That

will filter down into the

community. What's your view community. What's your view on the recent Mitchell report handed down to the Federal Arts

Minister? Do you think that it

has the capacity to bring about

significant change? Harold did

significant change? Harold did an enormous amount of

it does create some debate and

stimulation. Anything that

encourages more giving is

good. Thanks for joining the

program. Thanks very much,

Whitney.

A report into the

water resources has cautioned

that continued inefficient use

could threaten Europe's economy,

economy, productivity and

ecosystems. The European Environment Agency says water

resources are already under

pressure, and it says things

are getting worse, exacerbated

by climate change and by climate change and an increasing population. Speakers

at this year's world water forum warned that it's no

longer possible to longer possible to continue water consumption at 20th

century levels. Today across

the world between 8 and 900

the world between 8 and 900 million people still live

without ready access to water.

And then what they can

And then what they can access may not be suitable to use. Yet

according to those who gathered

over the past week, for this

year's world water forum, the strategic and economic

importance of this vital

natural asset is not being

accounted for. So we're dealing

with something as important as

with something as important as

energy, except in many cases we

still give it free, we waste it

and we haven't yet organised

its governance, and we really

do not take it seriously

enough, but we do this at our peril. The business leaders,

policy makers hand economic

figures attending this year's

forum in Marseille say water

issues should be much higher on

the international political agenda. It's an

agenda. It's an important meeting because we're dealing

with one of the most with one of the most important

elements of world economy. Of

world society. Of world

production. Of the GDP, of agriculture, the food production. A

production. A report released

by the OECD forecasts that

worldwide demand for water will

more than double by 2050. And

that 40% of the global

population will be living in

population will be living in areas faced with water stress.

Defined as difficult to access

and of likely poor quality. But

the emphasis on commod guying

this natural resource has

created a backlash from some

NGOs who've dubbed the world

forum the Davos of forum the Davos of water because they say it's run by multi national Water Corporations. For us the

Corporations. For us the forum

is a commercial fair, where

companies like Viola and Suez

promote themselves. The first

conference in Morocco worked

well, but unfortunately since

then, it's just become an event which they use to sign up commercial contracts. S As small innovative entrepreneurs exhibit their exhibit their wares alongside the mega corporations many

grassroots aid grassroots aid organisations view the process view the process with suspicion, arguing

suspicion, arguing that the

world's water crisis should not be another opportunity to make

profits. They're urging the UN

to take hold of the process

saying the water industry

should not be dictating on such

important issues. It is even

more important. You can live

without gasoline because you

cannot live without water. As

the world's water supply comes under strain from climate

change and the increasing

change and the increasing food,

energy and sanitary needs of a

fast-growing population, a UN

study has called for a radical rethink of water policies. It

says the demand says the demand from agriculture which already sucks

around 70% of the fresh water

used globally is likely to rise

by at least 19% by 2050, as the

world population grows

world population grows to an estimated 9 billion people. 130

of the country's represented at the of the country's represented at

the water forum issued a communique urging the upcoming

UN Rio summit in June to speed

action on securing clean water

and sanitation for the world's

poor. Now a look at what's

making headlines around the region. region. The 'Wall Street Journal' reports on French oil

Journal' reports on French oil

giant Total and closer giant Total and closer ties with China. The Hong Kong standard covers calls by China's Vice-President for

urgent reforms to achieve more balanced growth in China.

That's all for this edition of

Business Today. If you want any

more information on more information on the program, please check out program, please check out our web site or you

on twit twit. Thanks for

joining me. Enjoy your day. Closed Captions by CSI

This morning - a decisive anti-ter

anti-ter ror strike in Bali continuing concerns about the

Indonesian authorities' Indonesian authorities' failure to take suspects alive. Indonesian

New South Wales town of Hay

some time today. The levee

some time today. The levee is holding, the dogs are having a bit of fun,

bit of fun, most residents bit of fun, most residents are

staying put. Face-to-face with

less than a week to go, Anna

Bligh and Campbell Newman set

to meet in a heeders' debate

this afternoon. And - on top of

the world A symphonic performance to celebrate 80 years of the Sydney Harbour

Bridge. You're

You're watching ABC News 24. I'm Joe O'Brien. Taking a quick look at the weather first.