THE Queensland Resources Council wants the upcoming Federal Government’s Budget and the Opposition’s Budget Reply to commit to reinvesting back into Queensland the extra $1 billion in company tax that will flow into Canberra due to higher metallurgical coal prices. 

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said based on Federal Treasury’s calculations, the higher than projected metallurgical coal price would provide an extra $1.2 billion for the balance of this financial year and next financial year (2019-20).

Mr Macfarlane said he urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to ensure they committed the extra $1 billion to a Maroon Fund.

“Queensland produces the lion’s share of Australia’s metallurgical coal. Queenslanders deserve this billion-dollar unbudgeted windfall reinvested back into their State, where the coal was produced and exported from,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“For every Queenslander, that extra $1 billion counts. Indeed, that extra revenue is the equivalent of $200 for every man, woman and child living in Queensland.”

Prior to Christmas last year, Mr Macfarlane said Federal Treasury projected: “If the metallurgical coal price remained elevated for two quarters longer than currently assumed, before falling immediately to US$120 per tonne FOB, nominal GDP could be around $2.5 billion higher than forecast in 2018-19 and $3.5 billion higher in 2019-20. This would have a flow on impact to company tax receipts estimated at around $0.2 billion in 2018-19 and $1.0 billion in 2019-20.”*

The average metallurgical coal price this year has been US$204 per tonne.

“I am urging community groups, charities, local councils and other industries to nominate their project and cause for the Maroon Fund,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The continuing drought and recent flooding rains have demonstrated the steely resolve of Queenslanders, but it has created a lot of need.  That should be a priority for the Maroon Fund.

“So should important services such as health and education to support the work in our hospitals and in our classrooms.”

Mr Macfarlane said QRC would forward all Maroon Fund funding requests received by Budget Day on April 2 to both Mr Morrison and Mr Shorten.

“QRC will have no role in their selection, but we will ensure both leaders have these funding requests.  I’m sure Queenslanders will be interested before the upcoming Federal election to know where the $1 billion goes,” he said.

“Perhaps the Palaszczuk Government will fill out a form," Mr Macfarlane said. "This $1B would be on top of the more than $5 billion the Qld Government collects from royalty taxes from the resources sector this financial year.”

The Maroon Fund initiative form can be downloaded at https://www.qrc.org.au/nominations/maroon-fund/ 

Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector was already doing its bit to keep Queensland strong – making a contribution of more than $62 billion to the State’s economy or one in five dollars, supporting more than 316,000 full-time equivalent jobs or one in eight jobs in the Queensland workforce, generating more than 80 percent of the State’s record $80 billion annual export sales and working with 1260 community organisations.

www.qrc.org.au

*See page 33 of Link to the 2018-19  Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook https://budget.gov.au/2018-19/myefo/myefo_2018-19.pdf

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THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell today welcomed the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) announcement that it will form a Small Business Team.

“From April 1, 2019, small businesses who are in dispute with their telephone, mobile or internet services provider will have a specific team to contact,” Ms Carnell said.

“Connectivity is key to a business’ success. With 95 percent of small businesses online, a disruption or complete lack of connection can affect their sales, marketing, ordering and invoicing processes.

“It’s not acceptable for small businesses to lose customers due to problems with phone or internet connections, which is why this new small business team within TIO is needed.

“For example, we recently helped a Canberra-based chemist whose phone line had been disconnected for 59 days. The telecommunications provider had cut the lines while redirecting to the NBN. The chemist then had their fax line disconnected which caused, among other issues, critical concerns regarding doctors being unable to fax prescriptions for palliative care medication.

“Once my Assistance team stepped in, the telecommunications provider reconnected both the phone and fax lines.

“We will continue to support measures that assist small businesses to maintain and grow their digital connectivity,” Ms Carnell said.

www.asbfeo.gov.au

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THE Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has announced the formation of a Small Business Team, commencing April 1, 2019.

In 2017/18, complaints from small businesses increased 8.7 percent to 20,433. This increase was largely driven by issues including no action or delayed action by their service provider to resolve their phone or internet issue, followed by complaints about disputed charges for a service or equipment.

In announcing the Small Business Team, Ombudsman Judi Jones said, “Small businesses are relying more than ever before on phone and internet services to be accessible, be informed, and to do business. It is critical they are able to rely on the phone and internet services they sign up for, and to have access to a free, independent, and effective complaint resolution service when their complaint is unresolved.”

Assistant Ombudsman of Dispute Resolution Jillian Brewer is looking forward to the delivery of this specialised service.

"Resolving small business complaints can involve complex phone, internet and equipment setups, and an understanding of how these issues impact business loss," Ms Brewer said. "The Small Business Team will deliver a dispute resolution service that is responsive to the high impact phone and internet problems can have on the day to day operations of small businesses.”

About the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman provides a free and independent dispute service for small business and residential consumers who have an unresolved complaint about their telephone or internet service in Australia. Residential consumers and small businesses should contact www.tio.com.au or 1800 062 058.

The Telecommunications Industry Sector

The Telecommunications industry regulators are the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA),http://www.acma.gov.au  and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) https://www.accc.gov.au.

Government and the regulators set policy and regulations for the telecommunications sector. Communications Alliance is the peak body for Australian communications industry http://www.commsalliance.com.au

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THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has condemned the proposal put forward by the Andrews Labor Government to enshrine public holiday penalty rates for Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and Grand Final Friday into law.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA said this suggestion put forward by the Labor Government will have a direct effect on retailers who are already struggling in the current retail climate.

“While the Andrews Government are focused on the interests of the employees, they are failing to acknowledge the hardworking retailers who are trying to stay afloat in the unpredictable retail environment,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Retailers are feeling the pinch of rising rental costs and poor consumer sentiment and this proposal put forward by Mr Andrews will only heighten the strain already placed on retailers who are operating within such an overwrought market.”

According to recent trade figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), retail is trading at 3.02 percent nationally, with January trade figures for Victoria in particular trading at 4.23 percent well-below the outstanding 6.39 percent year-on-year high recorded in October. The ARA believes that if public holiday penalty rates are embedded into law, it will have a devastating impact on not only retailers but staff as well.

“The Labor Government’s proposition shows complete insouciance for retailers, especially those operating within shopping centre precincts who may be slapped with hefty fines for not opening their doors on public holidays,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“In addition to this, retailers will be forced to reconsider their rostering procedures to compensate for the increased wages for public holiday rates, which will have a direct impact on retail staff who want to work. If retailers are unable to open on these days, they will lose valuable business as consumers will turn to online instead.”

Australia has seen the closure of many retail stores over the last few months and the ARA believes the Andrews Labor Government’s announcement will only add to this sepulchral inclination.

“As a result of financial difficulties, Australia has already bared witness to the closure of many beloved retail stores and we do not wish to see this trend disseminate across the retail sector,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“The ARA disagrees with the Andrews Labor Government’s stance and will continue to advocate on this behalf of its members to protect the integrity and sustainability of the $320 billion-dollar retail sector.”

 

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $320 billion-dollar sector, which employs more than 1.3 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 7,800 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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QUEENSDLAND'S RESOURCE sector is making further inroads into bringing down the state’s unemployment rate by investing in new projects and expanding existing activities, said the Queensland Resources Council (QRC). 

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said ahead of today's ABS jobs data the resource sector was already doing the heavy lifting with more than 1,300 jobs available in mining, resources and energy on the employment website Seek.

“These are long-term jobs and can provide education and training to advance employees into the next stage of their careers,” Mr Macfarlane said. 

“Our sector continues to drive economic opportunities in all corners of the state with more than $14 billion in new or commissioned projects this year alone.

“The mining industry has by far the highest average weekly full-time adult earnings of any industry at $2659 – or over $138,000 per annum. Over 75 percent of these current vacancies pay $100,000 or more which is income that flows through to the butcher, bakery and hairdresser. 

“In the Mackay region there are more than 500 vacancies, 84 in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast, 65 in Townsville, 80 in Mount Isa, 38 across the Darling Downs and in the nation’s biggest mining town Brisbane there are 372 jobs. 

“Premier Palaszczuk highlighted the importance of the resource sector’s contribution to employment at the QRC’s Annual lunch last November and the resources sector shares the Government’s ambition. 

A report by CSIRO found people wanted industry and government to work together with communities and wider society to promote effective, constructive, and mutually beneficial relationships.”

The Queensland resources sector supports more than 316,000 full-time jobs and contributed $62.955 billion to the State’s economy in 2017/18. The sector also contributed more than 80 percent of the State’s exports with overseas sales of Queensland coal, metal and petroleum increasing to more than $60 billion, propelling Queensland exports to a record $81 billion in 2018. 

www.qrc.org.au

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