QUEENSLAND can thank its buoyant resources sector for its better-than-expected employment performance, according to the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the resources sector had created more than 8400 jobs over the last 12 months – “the equivalent of a new job every hour” – and this was effectively a 0.4 percent cut to Queensland’s unemployment rate.
“Without the contribution of the resources sector, Queensland’s unemployment rate would be 6.7 percent,” Mr Macfarlane said. “Without the contribution of the resources sector, Queensland’s unemployment rate would be the nation’s highest by 0.5 percent at 6.7 percent.
“Our industry needs stable and predictable policy to give it the confidence to invest more, export more and ultimately employ more in the sustainable, competitive and safe development of our coal, minerals, petroleum and gas,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“Without that, our sector’s confidence to invest, export and employ will be severely constrained.”
Mr Macfarlane said if the Palaszczuk Government continued to back the resources sector, the resources sector would continue to back Queenslanders, with more jobs and more opportunities.
“Every hour our industry is creating another job and investing another million dollars. Every week our industry is exporting another billion dollars and we are returning almost $100 million to the Palaszczuk Government in royalties,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“In regions like Mackay, the jobs impact has been significant. The unemployment rate has more than halved to 3.3 percent. Mackay is a critical services centre for the Bowen Basin.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has indicated her government’s long-term support for industry in the Bowen Basin, Mr Macfarlane said, and was reported as saying at a recent local event: “For as long as the world needs steel, it will look to the Bowen Basin as its pre-eminent supplier of metallurgical coal.”
DEFENCE will have new arrangements in place to deliver health services to Australian Defence Force (ADF) members from July 1, 2019.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne MP announced that Bupa Health Services Pty Ltd was awarded the ADF Health Services Contract, which was signed today, for the provision of health services to Defence members.
These arrangements support the delivery of a range of primary and specialist health services at both on-base health facilities and through a comprehensive network of off-base service providers.
“Delivering health services to over 80,000 ADF members and reservists is a complex and important undertaking and after a rigorous procurement process Bupa demonstrated it is able to deliver Defence’s requirements,” Mr Pyne said.
“Under the new contract, ADF members will continue to receive the full scope of health services they currently receive.
“Defence remains committed to maintaining continuity of care in delivering high quality health services for ADF members.
“Defence thanks Medibank Health Solutions for the service it has provided to ADF members under the existing contract.”
Bupa is now the second largest healthcare insurer in Australia, with just under a third of the market, slightly behind Medibank Private. UK-headquartered Bupa entered the Australian market over a decade ago, first buying Melbourne-based insurer HBA, then in 2008 merging with Sydney-based MBF in a $2.4 billion acquisition.
THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has backed a call from AgForce to keep the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges at Longreach and Emerald running.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said strong commodity prices, which are delivering record returns through existing royalty taxes, meant the Palaszczuk Government could invest in a plan to ensure the long-term future of the colleges.
“Agriculture and mining are our state’s two primary industries. Each sector plays an important role in Queensland’s economy and its character,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“We work hand-in-hand with the agriculture sector through shared access to land and shared returns to landholders. Returns from the resources sector help sustain rural and regional communities when times are tough, including during the recent drought.
“Resources royalty taxes are forecast to contribute $4.45 billion to the State’s budget this year. This is the return on resources investment that benefits all Queenslanders, whether it’s through building roads and hospitals, paying the wages of teachers and nurses, or investing in rural education and infrastructure.
“Given strong commodity prices and global demand, we expect that return on resources will be revised up before Christmas. Those extra calculations are currently underway.
“Even stronger returns from resources investment provide the Queensland Government with more options for the future of these agricultural colleges. It could also help fund a transition period to the industry ownership advocated by AgForce. This would mean the colleges could stay open beyond the end of 2019.
“A strong agricultural skills base helps strengthen rural communities, which in turn benefits the entire regional economy including sectors like resources, small business and tourism.
“Investments in agriculture, just like investments in resources, benefit all Queenslanders and help put our state on a strong footing for the future.”