THE HOUSE of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics will hold public hearings in Queensland for its inquiry into the implications of removing refundable franking credits.

The chair of the committee, Tim Wilson MP, said, "The committee is examining how the removal of refundable franking credits would affect investors, in particular older Australians who have planned for their retirement under the existing rules and whose financial security could be compromised."

Mr Wilson said, "The committee has received well over 1000 submissions, including many from retires who are concerned they will be forced on to the aged pension if the ability to claim a refund on their franking credits is removed.

"These hearings will provide an opportunity for Australians impacted by a change to refundable franking credits to address the committee directly with a three minute statement, and we welcome their contributions and participation," Mr Wilson said.

Public hearing details:

Townsville, 2pm to 3.30pm, Tuesday, 29 January 2019, Pandora Room, Hotel Grand Chancellor, 334 Flinders St, Townsville City, Queensland.

Alexandra Headland, 9am to 10.30am, Wednesday, 30 January 2019, The Bluff Function Room, Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club, 167 Alexandra Parade, Alexandra Headland, Queensland.

Paddington, 2.30pm to 4pm, Wednesday, 30 January 2019, Presentation Room, The Lavalla Centre, 58 Fernberg Rd, Paddington, Queensland.

Eight Mile Plains, 9am to 10.30am, Thursday, 31 January 2019, Central Auditorium, Brisbane Technology Park Conference Centre, 1 Clunies Ross Ct, Eight Mile Plains, Queensland.

Upper Coomera, 2pm to 3.30pm, Thursday, 31 January 2019, Upper Coomera Centre, 90 Reserve Rd, Upper Coomera, Queensland.

Further public hearings will be announced as the inquiry progresses. The hearings will be webcast live (audio only).

A number of submissions have been received and are available on the committee’s webpage at: www.aph.gov.au/economics.

A number of submissions are still being processed and will be published over the coming months. Submissions can be made online or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

www.aph.gov.au/economics

ends

CREW MEMBERS of the last Australian vessels operated by BHP and Bluescope are demanding the Federal Government intervene by refusing to issue a temporary license allowing flag of convenience ships crewed by exploited foreign workers to carry iron ore between Port Hedland and Port Kembla.

Almost 80 crew members from the MV Mariloula and MV Lowlands Brilliance were notified this week that the ships would be immediately withdrawn from the coastal shipping route and their jobs axed.

A number of these workers will tomorrow make a public plea to the Morrison Government to use their regulatory powers to save Australian seafaring jobs.

The seafarers will be joined by Maritime Union of Australia Southern NSW relieving branch secretary Mick Cross, along with Member for Cunningham and Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities deputy chair Sharon Bird, Member for Wollongong Paul Scully, and Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson.

The MUA said BHP and Bluescope were legally unable to use exploited foreign seafarers to carry iron ore between Australian ports without a temporary licence. These licences are subject to ministerial discretion, meaning the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, in his role as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, will ultimately determine whether Australian seafarers remain on these iron ore vessels.

The loss of the MV Mariloula and MV Lowlands Brilliance will see the end of 100 years of Australian merchant mariners carrying iron ore for BHP.

www.mua.org.au

ends

 

IN RESPONSE to the Productivity Commission report Superannuation: Assessing Efficiency and Competitiveness, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has referred to its earlier views made in a submission by the IPA Deakin SME Research Centre, which reinforced the 2014 Financial Services Inquiry proposed objective that superannuation is intended ‘to provide income in retirement to substitute or supplement the Age Pension’.

“Acknowledging the purpose of the superannuation system, we need to continue the process of crafting and shaping the potential forms of the Retirement Income Covenant,” IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway said.

“An important part of this work includes clarifying the fiduciary relationship between trustees and the members of a retirement fund.

“Australia has $2.61 trillion in managed superfunds and this underlines the significant role that the fund trustee plays.

“Considering the interim findings of the Hayne Royal Commission, the Productivity Commission superannuation report and other inquiries, the role and accountability of trustees must be reinforced.

“Australia needs a framework which acknowledges significant funds being invested, varying levels of expertise and knowledge of trustees, along with their reliance on external experts, to provide further guidance in the Covenant to clarify the obligations of trustees.

“The IPA strongly supports the high level guidance of a Comprehensive Income Product for Retirement (CIPR) to ensure fund members have efficient and constant income, longevity risk management and some access to capital.

“However, CIPR is not appropriate for all; for example, where illness leads to shorter life expectancy or a lower super balance.

“The IPA also supports Retirement Income Covenant principles that encompass the development and existence of a retirement income strategy and facilitating engagement of fund members with decision making on their own retirement.

“Higher levels of financial literacy would also lead to higher levels of fund member engagement as recommended by the Productivity Commission; a recommendation, we strongly support,” Mr Conway said.

 

publicaccountants.org.au

ends

THE Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has accused large multinational companies BHP and BlueScope Steel of using the January holiday period to quietly sack nearly 80 Australian seafarers and replace them with $2-an-hour exploited foreign labour on the Australian coast.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said the union has been informed that the MV Mariloula and MV Lowlands Brilliance would be dumped immediately – the last remaining Australian ships that have serviced BHP and subsequently Bluescope steelworks in this country for more than 100 years.

“This is a national disgrace,” Mr Crumlin said. “Many, many Australians have known someone who worked on the famous fleet of BHP iron boats, yet the company wants to end more than 100 years of proud trade by sending a couple of sneaky emails in early January.

“One in eight merchant seafarers died defending this country in two world wars and their legacy deserves a lot more than this treacherous, underhanded attempt to dump Australian workers ahead of a federal election.”

Mr Crumlin said the two vessels move iron ore from BHP’s mining operations in Port Hedland to BlueScope’s steelworks in Port Kembla, then run coal to China before returning to Port Hedland and qualify as cabotage trade.

The union has written to the company demanding answers.

“It is with great surprise and regret we received notice from BHP informing the impending removal of the MV Mariloula and MV Lowlands Brilliance from freight services contracted to BlueScope and consequently, their removal from Australian coastal and international trade,” the correspondence said.

“The decision has the potential to devastatingly affect Australian seafarers and will see BlueScope’s supply chain effectively removing Australia labour from the local Australian industry, being replaced by highly exploited foreign crews paid as low as $2 per hour.”

Mr Crumlin said the MUA remains deeply concerned with BlueScope’s lack of consultation and discussion prior to the announcement by BHP, as well as the fact BlueScope is planning to shut down a trade that has run successfully for more than 100 years when alternatives are available.

“The union understands there to be considerable availability of Cape Size Bulk vessels suitable for the BlueScope freight task currently performed by the MV Mariloula and MV Lowlands Brilliance,” the letter said.

“We urge BlueScope to utilise Australian seafaring labour in its local supply chain. Australian seafarers have serviced BHP and subsequently Bluescope steel works in this country for more than 100 years.”

Mr Crumlin said the MUA had historically worked constructively with both BHP and Bluescope to meet cabotage requirement, including pay freezes during periods of economic downturn.

“This contribution to the company by Australian seafarers deserves ongoing certainty of their employment in BlueScope’s shipping supply chain. We note that during the period of wage freeze by workers including seafarers the Company made a $1.6 billion profit,” the letter said.

Mr Crumlin said the move was particularly galling given the current shipping arrangements do not expire between BHP and Bluescope until June this year and that his brief discussions with company management had shed no light on the reasons behind the decision.

The MUA is now requesting a meeting with BlueScope, BHP, maritime unions and the AWU to ascertain the real facts behind BHP’s decision to dump current shipping arrangements and to further discuss what will occur between now and June.

ends

QUEENSLAND'S coal industry has yet again demonstrated its critical importance to the State’s economy delivering record exports over the year to December 2018, according to the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
 
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said new data from Queensland’s ports revealed total coal exports of 223 million tonnes (mt) surpassing the last record by 2 mt set in 2016.
 
“Countries around the world are using our metallurgical coal to make steel needed for building modern cities and our high quality thermal coal is delivering tomorrow’s energy needs through high efficiency, low emission coal-fired power plants,” Mr Macfarlane said.
 
“Green activists continue to claim the world is turning away from coal but the data proves it’s an essential ingredient for the world economy to grow. 
 
“Queensland coal was exported to 30 different countries or territories – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Gibraltar, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam and Wales.                                                                                 
 
“This record can only be achieved through the hard work and world-class standards set by the 215,000 Queenslanders who work in or with the coal industry," Mr Macfarlane said.
 
“According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) Australia’s net exports of coal is forecast to increase by 20 percent by 2040 while the Office of the Chief Economist said Australia’s coal earnings are on target to generate more than $67 billion in 2018–19 making it Australia’s largest commodity export." 
 
In addition, Queensland LNG from the Port of Gladstone recently set a new export record of 20.58 million tonnes (mt) in 2018.

“Every tonne of coal and all resources exported brings in royalty taxes, which help pay for Queenslanders’ roads, schools and hospitals, and pay for the teachers that educate our children, the nurses and doctors who look after our health and the police force that keeps us safe,” Mr Macfarlane said.

QRC’s current economic data shows the coal industry contributed $43.4 billion to the State’s economy in 2017/18 and invested $13.1 billion with local businesses and community organisations. 

Port breakdown 

Port of Brisbane (Queensland Bulk Handling)     7.1
Abbot Point Coal Terminal     29.8
Hay Point Coal Terminal     48.9
Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal     69.5
Port of Gladstone (RG Tanna & WICET)     67.9
TOTAL     223.2mt

www.qrc.org.au

ends

THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the November trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reflect a sluggish preview for the Christmas trading period, with 2.76 percent total growth year-on-year.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, said while these figures were slightly less than the ARA and Roy Morgan predicted, the ARA was still optimistic that the retail sector would reach the estimated $51 billion pre-Christmas sales figure, which should provide some relief to retailers as they welcome the new year.

"Our combined research with Roy Morgan forecasted a 2.9 percent increase in pre-Christmas sales, as we projected shoppers to spend $51 billion from retail stores across the country from November 9 to December 26, 2018,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“According to the November figures released today by the ABS, the Apparel and Footwear category recognised substantial growth with an impressive 5.87 percent year-on-year lift, with consumers purchasing outfits for upcoming festivities and the warmer summer months ahead.”

Department stores also posted a welcome 1.63 percent year-on-year growth, while the Other retailing/online category was saw a weaker-than-anticipated at 4.68 percent year-on-year.

“Sales events in the month of November certainly contributed to a steady lead-in to the festive season, particularly for department stores and online retailing,” Mr Zimmerman said. 

The overall Food category exhibited a conservative 1.25 percent year-on-year growth, while Supermarkets remained strong with 4.50 percent year-on-year growth, and specialised food saw a 3.84 percent increase. 

“As expected, the Specialised Food and Supermarket categories received a slight increase, with many shoppers across the nation preparing their tables for Christmas Day,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“However, some of this increase must be attributed to a reduction in supply of fresh produce due to weather events, especially the ongoing drought, which has driven prices of fruits, vegetables and meat upwards.”

South Australia (0.93%) and Western Australia (0.30%) remained stable, with the Northern Territory (-1.76%) receiving a negative result in November. 

“Although Victoria has led the charge in sales across the country for most of 2018, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), surpassed the nation in November with a stellar 5.52 percent year-on-year growth,” Mr Zimmerman said. 

“Western Australia (WA) has noted an impressive three consecutive months of year-on-year growth, and we are seeing some cautious, yet promising signs of a rebound after experiencing a sluggish two years of retail trade.”

Mr Zimmerman said although today’s figures profess a muted lead-in to Christmas, the ARA are confident that the industry will show its stripes when the December trade figures are released in February. 

“Based on what we have seen and heard from retailers and our members, we believe the overall Christmas trade will indicate secure growth, with many large retailers noticing growth in-store,” Mr Zimmerman said. 

“The ARA will continue to partner with Roy Morgan to deliver the only professionally researched industry Christmas predictions in Australia, and we believe the figures released today represent an accurate preview of sales in the lead-up to the festive season.” 


Monthly Retail Growth (October 2018 – November 2018 seasonally adjusted) 

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.52%), Household goods retailing (1.24%), Food retailing (0.23%), Department stores (0.43%) Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.08%) and Other retailing (-0.11%).

Australian Capital Territory (1.63%), New South Wales (0.76%), Victoria (0.63%), Western Australia (0.56%), Queensland (0.43%), South Australia (-0.02%),Tasmania (-0.24%) and Northern Territory (-0.92%).

Total sales (0.42%).



Year-on-Year Retail Growth (November 2017 – November 2018 seasonally adjusted)

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (5.87%), Food retailing (4.05%), Other retailing (2.71%), Department stores(1.63%), Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.25%) and Household goods retailing (0.11%).

Australian Capital Territory (5.52%), Victoria (4.58%), Queensland (3.67%), Tasmania (3.01%), New South Wales (1.92%), South Australia (0.93%), Western Australia (0.30%) and Northern Territory (-1.76%).

Total sales (2.76%). 


About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As Australia’s leading retail peak industry body, the ARA is a strong pro-active advocate for Australian retail and works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

ends

INDUSTRY Super Australia (ISA) has welcomed overdue attempts to improve superannuation fee disclosure, but warned proposals announced by the financial watchdog will fail to address ongoing issues.

ISA reported that under the current regime, platforms – typically owned by banks and wealth management groups – are not required to disclose all costs relating to underlying investment products.

"As a result, consumers may be misled into believing such products are less expensive than those with direct investments, when in fact they are likely to be more costly," an ISA report said.

"Throughout several years of consultations, ISA has consistently called for super disclosure to centre on a clear and effective measure of net returns. 

"Taking both fees and investment performance into account, this measure would allow consumers to more easily compare the appropriateness of different products, such as superannuation funds, platforms, and other managed investment schemes.

"But proposals released yesterday by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will only serve to further complicate, rather than simplify, the current disclosure regime."

Crucially, ISA said, the ASIC proposals failed to recommend an end to the platforms exemption. 

Efforts to address the relevant consumer comparability concerns are similarly disappointing, said ISA.

"Under the proposals, platform providers would be required to include a ‘prominent statement’ in fees and costs templates, advising that disclosed fees simply relate to “gaining access” to the underlying products, and do not factor in the actual ongoing costs of those products." 

In calling for a broader, much-needed overhaul of disclosure, ISA director of research and campaigns, Nick Coates, questioned the value of this requirement.

“The concept of including a ‘prominent statement’ is, to be blunt, a cop-out,” Mr Coates said.

“It’s essentially just a warning to members that what you see is not what you get when it comes to platform fees.”

“This simply continues to place consumers at risk, rendering it almost impossible to make meaningful comparisons between products.”

With the banking royal commission yet to hand down its final report, ISA also questioned the timing of the consultation.

ISA said ASIC should wait for the royal commission’s findings, which may include recommendations relating to disclosure, before commencing a through revision of the regime.

"It is important that such a review includes consumer testing, to gauge what works best in assisting people to choose the best performing funds with the lowest fees," Mr Coates said.

“It’s clear that a complete rethink is needed when it comes to disclosure, to ensure a net returns measure is placed front and centre,” he said.

“Papering over the cracks isn’t good enough, especially when the proposed fix is so flawed.”

Consultations close on April 2, 2019.

www.industrysuperaustralia.com

ends

 

WITH THE SCHOOL holidays concluding in a few short weeks, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) anticipate the sale of uniforms, school shoes, stationery, technology and backpacks will significantly increase over the coming weeks, as parents prepare their kids for the upcoming school year. 

The ARA predicts many stores and shopping centres across the nation will re-directing their attention from the festive season to back to school supplies, as this is the peak trading period for back to school sales.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, said retailers who specialise in the apparel, footwear and stationery sectors are bound to see a significant increase in trade throughout January. 

“As the arrival of a new school year is about to begin, retailers have been preoccupied with stocking their shelves full of back to school products to ensure each student is equipped with the essentials to thrive throughout the new school year,” Mr Zimmerman said.  

“With many busy parents returning to work, we believe parents will be opting to purchase back to school items from retailers who offer flexibility, convenience and unmissable sales and bargains.” 

As the use of technology begins to spread throughout the education system, sales in portable technology are also expected to see a hike, with most public schools asking parents to purchase either an iPad or Surface Pro for children in year three or year four as a one-off expense. 

“With the use of technology becoming increasingly prevalent across the Government education system, parents will be on the lookout for new technology that will enhance their child’s learning experience and stimulate their imagination and creativity,” Mr Zimmerman said. 

While technology may be a popular learning tool for tech-savvy youngsters, stationery retailers can still expect to see an incline in sales as well, with many parents purchasing writing materials for their children. 

“Retailers who specialise in stationery including newsagents and stationers present the ideal destination for parents who wish to cross-off pens and school books noted on their school lists.”

The ARA forecasted Aussie parents would spend over $840 on back to school supplies for each child. With school shoes accounting for up to $150 of the total cost, Mr Zimmerman said parents should look to purchase from shoe retailers who offer shoes that exude comfort, support and durability. 

“As shoe retailers drive enthusiasm and innovation into the back to school category, we’ve noticed a rise in the purchase of velcro and scuff resistant shoes in the traditional shoe styles,” Mr Zimmerman said.  

“While the private school system prefers a more traditional school shoe, the ARA have recognised a surge in the number of sporting shoe styles purchased by parents, particularly in the Government primary school system, the result of an ongoing eased approach to the black shoe standard policy.”

With the number of back to school essentials growing every year, retailers who provide expert advice on specific products will flourish in sales and notice a considerable increase foot-traffic over this trading period. 

“Parents and retailers recognise that the start of a new school year marks a milestone for each student around the country, therefore both parents and retailers will go above and beyond to ensure each student receives the school supplies required to secure a fantastic school year.”



About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As Australia’s leading retail peak industry body, the ARA is a strong pro-active advocate for Australian retail and works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

ends

THE Queensland resources industry has helped Queensland post a record $80 billion export milestone with an extra $10 billion earnt through the sale of Queensland coal, minerals and petroleum across the globe.
 
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane said according to latest Queensland Treasury report, the state’s resource exports had increased to $65.6 billion – or 81 percent of the state’s total merchandise exports – over the 12 months to 30 November last year.
 
“Over those 12 months, the Queensland resources sector exports earnt our State the equivalent of $125,000 every minute,” Mr Macfarlane said.
 
“The growth in our exports has been strong.  Our export earnings increased by $10 billion with double-digit growth in coal and mineral sales overseas.  A strong resource sector means a strong Queensland.
 
“Since the Palaszczuk Government took office in February 2015, resource sector exports have increased by 114 percent.  The growth of other exports was less than 7 percent over the same period.”
 
Mr Macfarlane said it was critical for Queensland, including the 316,000 Queenslanders who work directly and indirectly in the resources sector, that the Government maintained stable policy and royalty tax rates, continued to encourage exploration through land releases for new discoveries, and worked with the industry on its skills development, investment attraction and export promotion initiatives.
 
“The recent State Budget update showed the resources sector is contributing a record $5 billion in royalty taxes this financial year,” he said.
 
Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector was determined, in 2019, to accept Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's offer to work together with the sector.
 
In her address at the QRC annual lunch in November last year, Premier Palaszczuk committed her government to work with the QRC to promote existing initiatives and explore new opportunities to: 

• expand the availability of land for mineral and energy resource exploration and development; 
• strengthen our export partnerships, create new resource export markets and increase development of advanced manufacturing and renewable energy in Queensland; 
• work together to identify and develop the skills and training needed for our resources industry and towards opportunities for diversity of employment by increasing the number of women and Indigenous Queenslanders in the industry.
 
Specifically, the Premier committed “to continue with timely consultation with the Queensland Resources Council on legislative and policy changes”.

www.qrc.org.au

ends

NEW DATA reaffirms the resource sector’s importance to the Queensland economy with recordliquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the Port of Gladstone totalling 20.58 million tonnes (mt) in 2018, according to the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
 
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the data released by Gladstone Ports showed a new record which eclipsed the previous record set in 2017 (20.23 mt).
 
“Queensland’s LNG sector is forecast to continue its record export growth that is being driven by an energy hungry Asia.  China was again the largest customer buying nearly 14.25 mt followed by South Korea at 3.22 mt while Japan imported 1.6 mt,” Mr Macfarlane said.
 
“The world wants our commodities and over the 12 months Queensland LNG was exported to seven different countries - China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia (0.88 mt), Singapore (0.47 mt), United Arab Emirates (0.06 mt) and the Philippines (0.06 mt). 
 
“China’s demand for our LNG in 2017 was 57 percent of total exports but last year it was 69 percent. According to the Office of the Chief Economist’s latest report, China plans to increase the share of gas in its energy mix from 7 percent to a range of 8–10 percent by 2020. 
 
“The same report found Australia had become the world’s largest single gas exporter, ahead of Qatar, and is on track for annual exports of 77 million tonnes. 
 
“LNG is likely to play a major role in servicing the rising Chinese gas demand with the country’s LNG imports forecast to reach 53 million tonnes or 73 billion cubic metres in 12 months.
 
“Resource exports help pay for Queenslanders’ everyday needs through royalty taxes, for the teachers that educate our children, the nurses and doctors who look after our health and the police force that keeps us safe.”
 
QRC’s current economic data shows the oil and gas industry delivered a $8.2 billion economic contribution in 2017/18 and supported more than 39,000 full time employees across the State and invested $3 billion with businesses locally and community organisations. 

www.qrc.org.au

ends

THE Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has again drawn attention to "the Morrison Government’s stubborn refusal to act on fuel security after years of warnings" with new figures showing Australia now has just 22 days of petrol and 17 days of diesel at its disposal.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said Australia had been non-compliant with the International Energy Agency’s 90-day fuel stockholding obligation since March 2012 and "the Morrison Government has since ignored several key reports".

"For example, a National Energy Security Assessment was announced last April," Mr Crumlin said. "It was sparked by concerns over declining domestic production, diminishing refining capacity and concerns over potential flashpoints in the Middle East, South China Sea and Korean Peninsula.

"However, nothing has been done since then and a report in today’s Australian newspaper said the new figures have again sparked warnings from Coalition MPs and security experts that the nation is dangerously exposed if a major geopolitical upheaval disrupts existing supply routes."

The newspaper reported experts had also criticised a government move to spend more than $20 million buying supplies held offshore to bolster the national reserve, saying the move will do little to boost the resilience of the domestic fuel stockpile.

Mr Crumlin said a number of inquiries and reports in recent years had focused on the important issue of fuel security, including the MUA’s report titled Australia’s Fuel Security – Running on Empty in December last year, written by shipping expert John Francis.

“The Senate has held inquiries into both fuel security and tax avoiding flag-of-convenience shipping, while the Energy White Paper and Defence White Paper also investigated our increasing reliance on foreign fuel,” Mr Crumlin said.

“It’s doubling up on the government's initial policy negligence in allowing Australia to lose its refinery capacity of oil we own and is sourced in our country, and then allow tax avoidance and dodgy shipping governance to replace our domestic shipping capacity. No one has been at the wheel of energy security in Canberra for a very long time. It’s a joke with very few laughs for Australian jobs, economic independence and long term planning.

“In addition, the Running on Empty report found that Australia now relies on the equivalent of almost 60 full-time fuel import tankers to keep us supplied with petrol, diesel and jet fuel, which is now all carried on the international spot market, mainly from Korea, Singapore and Japan. 

“The report found Australia’s reliance on foreign flagged tankers removes any opportunity for the Commonwealth to be able to requisition national flag tankers if necessary to secure minimum import or coastal distribution requirements following major economic or geopolitical disruptions.

“The cost of addressing this risk is comparatively low: even carrying Australia’s entire import volume on a fleet of Australian tankers would cost less than one extra cent per litre.

“The Australian Government needs support as a matter of urgency a number of Australian tankers as part of a national strategic fleet to ensure that some level of supplies can be maintained in the event of a crisis.”

Mr Crumlin said there are now no Australian-crewed tankers supplying fuel to our nation, down from 12 in the year 2000. At the same time, the number of refineries has halved to four. This means Australia now imports more than 90 percent of its fuel and that number is rising.

“Australians would expect our government to have a better plan and this would involve more refining here and Australian-crewed ships to carry it around the coast,” Mr Crumlin said.

“This isn’t only a matter of fuel security but also national security. Unlike Australian seafarers, foreign crews have no background checks yet they are carrying petroleum products, ammonium nitrate and LNG around the Australian coast.”

www.mua.org.au

ends

 

Contact Us

 

PO Box 2144
MANSFIELD QLD 4122