THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) believes the Palaszczuk Government’s historic trade mission to China will further strengthen the trading partnership through key resource commodities of coal, LNG and metals to create jobs, stimulate investment and boost regional Queensland.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane has been invited by the Premier to join the mission this week, which will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the signing of a Sister State relationship between Queensland and the Municipality of Shanghai. The trade mission will be led by Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad.
“Over the last 30 years, Queenslanders have benefited greatly from the partnership we have developed with the People’s Republic of China," Mr Macfarlane said.
"The growth in trade has been extraordinary, creating more jobs, attracting more investment and, in the case of resource commodities like coal and LNG, it has generated more royalties for the Queensland Government,” he said.
“Thirty years ago, Queensland exported only $147 million worth of exports to China. As an export market, China ranked 15th. It accounted for less than 2 percent of Queensland’s exports. Today China is clearly Queensland’s most important export market. Queensland's exports to China were worth $28.6 billion or almost a third of Queensland’s total exports.
“That extraordinary growth has been pronounced over the last five years thanks to the contribution of the resources sector. Queensland’s exports have almost tripled from $11.2 billion in 2014-15 to more than $28.6 billion last financial year.”
China is Queensland’s largest coal customer, it purchased 50.8 million tonnes of coal in 2018 or almost a quarter (23%) of all Queensland’s coal exports in 2018.China is also the state's largest LNG customer, it purchased 14.2 million tonnes in 2018 or more than two-thirds (68%) of Queensland’s entire LNG production.
Mr Macfarlane said it was an honour for the QRC to be represented on the trade mission.
“The Premier’s invitation recognised the importance of the resources sector to the Queensland economy, not only as the source of 80 percent of the State’s export earnings but an employer of 316,000 Queenslanders and injecting more than $62 billion into the State’s economy,” he said.
THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has welcomed the Federal Government’s proposal to extend the amnesty to tackle non-payment of workers’ superannuation.
“The government has reintroduced legislation to extend a one-off amnesty that effectively encourages employers to catch-up on paying superannuation entitlements to staff, without being slugged with the harsh penalties that usually apply,” Ms Carnell said.
“We support the Bill as it would provide small business with a window of time to get up to date with outstanding payments to current and past employees.
“Most small businesses do the right thing in this area, with 95 percent already complying.
“The Australian Taxation Office has access to company data through Single Touch Payroll, so it’s easy for them to find out if a small business has late or unpaid superannuation payments," Ms Carnell said.
“So now is the time for small businesses to speak to their trusted advisers and get their affairs in order.
“All Australian workers should be paid the entitlements they’re owed. The amnesty, if passed, would give small businesses a short amount of time to ensure they are compliant.
“If this Bill gets through, small businesses should act quickly to take advantage of the amnesty or face significantly higher penalties if found to be non-compliant.”
A FEDERAL Circuit Court decision delivered today demonstrates why there is an urgent need for the Parliament to pass proposed Ensuring Integrity laws to ensure that building unions and their officials play by the rules, claimed Master Builders Australia.
The decision found that a small business sub-contractor had been deliberately denied work because they did not have a union endorsed pattern Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA). A larger construction company was pressured to deny this opportunity because they were threatened by the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining And Energy Union (CFMMEU) for not engaging its preferred subcontractors who did operate under a union pattern EBA.
The court found that: “The [CFMMEU] contacted me at around 5:00 yesterday. They threatened action on the site if we signed you up."
And that this resulted in the construction company: "…deliberately chose to contravene the Fair Work Act. The evidence clearly establishes that faced with two commercially unpalatable alternatives, they chose the one which led Forest Meiers to knowingly contravene the Fair Work Act, rather than to take a stance against the CFMEU."
And that this conduct: "….has the potential to perpetuate a culture of submission in the building and construction industry where economic duress is able to be applied to subcontractors to force them to become covered by an enterprise agreement that also covers a union."
Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn said, "This case shows why the Parliament needs to urgently pass the Ensuring Integrity laws, so that building unions and their officials can be properly held to account for their ongoing culture of bullying, threats and thuggery.
"This case is yet another in a long line of decisions in which building unions threaten one company so they can control who gets work and who doesn’t,” Ms Wawn said.
"It's a way to signal to subcontractors, who are mainly small and family businesses, that they have one choice: they must do what the union says – or - have their business, livelihoods and those of their workers threatened or jeopardised.
"That a company thinks the prospect of facing Government Regulator investigations, Federal Court proceedings and exposure to significant fines and penalties – is better than facing the wrath of building unions who think they are above the law – says it all,” Ms Wawn said.