A MAJOR Melbourne distribution company has collapsed on the eve of Christmas, with 120 workers left without a job and unsure whether the company has the ability to pay millions of dollars in unpaid entitlements.

Employees of Fastline Logistics in Derrimut, in Melbourne’s west, were called into a meeting half an hour before their shifts finished yesterday (Thursday December 20), with management informing them that the company had been placed into liquidation and that they should not come to work today. They were also informed that they would not be paid for their work this week.

Fastline’s website, which has now been shut down, previously bragged that the company was one of Australia’s leading third-party distribution services, specialising in distributing products for a range of retail brands and individual stores.

The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) this morning met with Fastline workers, which revealed that millions of dollars is owed to staff for entitlements including annual and long service leave, redundancy, notice periods, wages and superannuation.

CFMEU Textile Clothing Footwear national secretary Jenny Kruschel said the collapse would have a devastating impact on many workers.

“Many of these 120 workers have given years of loyal service to this company, yet they were given less than an hour’s notice that they no longer have a job, won’t be paid for their work this week, and are unlikely to receive the entitlements legally owed to them,” Ms Kruschel said.

“We are also investigating the recent stripping of major assets out of Fastline to another corporate entity, Global Fashion Service, which appears to be a deliberate attempt to leave only a shell behind that does not have the resources to pay the wages and entitlements of workers.

“For many workers, including loyal long-serving staff, this collapse is a devastating financial blow right on the eve of Christmas which will leave them in serious financial distress over the holiday period.

“Given many of the workers are migrants with English as a second language, finding alternate employment will be that much more challenging.”

The union said it had been forced to take action against Fastline earlier this year following revelations that superannuation was not being paid, recovering more than $600,000 for workers.

“Thankfully, our efforts to recover this money before the company collapsed provides one piece of positive news for workers, but it does highlight the fact that management appear to have been dipping into employee entitlements to keep the business afloat,” Ms Kruschel said.

“Now, with the company being liquidated and major assets already stripped out, workers appear unlikely to see most of the unpaid wages, leave, and other entitlement owed to them.”

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THE December edition of the Resources and Energy Quarterly reinforces the importance of stable policy settings to encourage ongoing investment in the resources sector.
 
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the annual update of the project pipeline featured in this edition showed Queenslanders had reason to be optimistic about ongoing benefits from the sector.
 
“Queensland’s resources sector is one of the foundation stones of our state’s economy. It employs more than 316,000 Queenslanders across every city, town and regional community,” Mr Macfarlane said.
 
“It’s important for every Queenslander that we keep the resources sector strong.
 
“We should ensure Queensland has the best possible conditions to attract future investment and translate the state’s potential into more jobs and billions more in royalty taxes.
 
“Earlier this month, the return from resources royalty taxes was revised up to $5.1 billion in the Queensland budget.  The vast majority of those returns come from investments in both metallurgical and thermal coal projects.
 
“Without resources royalty taxes, this year’s Queensland budget would be in the red by about $4.6 billion.
 
“Queensland’s future investment prospects are spread across a range of commodities including our traditional powerhouse of coal, as well as prospects in rare earths and critical minerals. One example is the Queensland-based Sconi Project, which will produce cobalt, nickel and scandium.
 
“Queensland has world leading rehabilitation laws that ensure the resources sector can develop sustainably and in concert with other industries such as agriculture.
 
“We must ensure consistent and practical regulation, including stable royalty rates and the elimination of excessive red tape, to further cement the returns to Queensland from a strong and prosperous resources sector.
 
“Both State and Federal Governments must be crystal clear that there is no tolerance for frivolous or vexatious legal action designed solely to delay or disrupt lawful resources projects.
 
“All Queenslanders will benefit from the continuing strength in the resources sector, which pays for teachers, nurses and police, which builds schools, hospitals and roads, and which spreads economic benefits to city and regional communities.”

www.qrc.org.au

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THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan believe Aussies will extend their spending into the summer months following the Christmas rush, with the ARA and Roy Morgan predicting consumers to spend $18.3 billion nationwide from December 26, 2018 to January 15, 2019. 

With the festive season igniting a shopping frenzy across Australia, the ARA and Roy Morgan forecast that Aussies will continue to prolong their post-Christmas spend into the New Year, contributing to a 3.1 percent year-on-year lift in sales.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, said the respectable growth is attributed to the post-Christmas trade bargains offered both in-store and online, as a vast amount of consumers will be on the lookout for the best deals.

“With Christmas being the peak season for trade, pre-Christmas sales have always been a busy time for retailers. However, post-Christmas sales are the opportune time for retailers to achieve their yearly sales targets prior to the New Year commencing,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“As the ‘Other retailing’ category is set to experience a 2.9 percent increase in growth over the post-Christmas period, the ARA and Roy Morgan foresee a large proportion of consumers heading online to take advantage of the generous discounts retailers have to offer.”

According the ARA and Roy Morgan, the Food and Apparel categories are each set to experience an impressive 3.8 percent growth throughout the post-Christmas trading period, with the ARA suspecting customers will be preparing their households and purchasing outfits to welcome in the New Year.

“With 2018 drawing to a close, Aussies will be stocking their fridges and purchasing new outfits ahead of the upcoming New Year festivities. As we ease into the summer months, we expect consumers will also be purchasing school uniforms as the kids head back to school,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Across the states, the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and South Australia are prospected to post marginal gains, as Aussies will be setting their sights towards getting their hands on a bargain prior to the commencement of the new retail season,” Mr Zimmerman said.

While post-Christmas sales in New South Wales are projected to collect a striking $5.9 billion, Victoria will recognise the strongest proportional growth, with the ARA and Roy Morgan anticipating a 5.5 percent increase from the previous year. Tasmania is also expected to receive significant growth with a 4.4 percent uptick on the previous year.

“Although New South Wales are dominating this year in terms of total spend, Victoria and Tasmania should prove to be fierce contenders in overall growth terms during the post-Christmas sales, which will hopefully translate well-into the New Year,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“While the Australian retail landscape has faced various challenges throughout the 2018 year, we anticipate our pre-Christmas and post-Christmas predictions will be fulfilled and reflected next year through the arrival of ABS trade figures for December and January.

"Each year, the ARA proudly partners with Roy Morgan to deliver the only professionally researched and comprehensive retail figures in the industry, with accurate and proven year-on-year results."

ARA Roy Morgan Post-Christmas Sales Predictions

December 26 2018 - January 15 2018
 

2018 Post-Christmas Sales Growth by Category

Category

2017 Post-Christmas actual results ($mil)

2018 Post-Christmas sales forecast ($mil)

Predicted Growth

FOOD

7222

7498

3.8%

HH GOODS

3078

3146

2.2%

APPAREL

1384

1436

3.8%

DEPARTMENT STORES

1039

1043

0.4%

OTHER

2534

2608

2.9%

HOSPITALITY

2535

2614

3.1%

NATIONAL

17792

18346

3.1%

[ARA / ROY MORGAN]

 

2018 Post-Christmas Sales Growth by State

State

2017 Post-Christmas actual results ($mil)

2018 Post-Christmas sales forecast ($mil)

Predicted Growth

NSW

5735

5913

3.1%

VIC

4568

4820

5.5%

QLD

3541

3609

1.9%

SA

1177

1214

3.1%

WA

1918

1910

-0.4%

TAS

354

369

4.4%

NT

176

178

1.3%

ACT

323

334

3.4%

NATIONAL

17792

18346

3.1%

[ARA / ROY MORGAN]

https://www.retail.org.au/christmas-predictions/

 

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA 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.

About Roy Morgan:

Roy Morgan is Australia’s best known and longest established market research company, with an unparalleled reputation for reliable, accurate, meaningful, revealing market research. Proudly independent, the company now operates globally.

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ENERGY Networks Australia has welcomed support from the COAG Energy Council for a national hydrogen strategy and a streamlined process to deliver a more connected electricity grid.

CEO Andrew Dillon said the COAG Energy Council direction to progress the Group 1 projects in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated System Plan was an important step towards delivering better flows of power across the National Electricity Market (NEM).

“Around the world, the logical response to growing levels of variable renewable generation is to have a more connected electricity system,” Mr Dillon said

“A more connected grid that links states will provide significant benefits to customers – better reliability and increased competition in the wholesale energy market.

“The overall savings to the electricity system from timely transmission investment have been estimated by AEMO to be about $1.2 billion – savings for customers off future power bills.”

Mr Dillon also welcomed the South Australia and New South Wales Memorandum of Understanding to progress a new electricity interconnector between the two states.

“This project will lower electricity prices in both states and improve security of power supply right across the NEM,” he said.

Another important decision of the COAG EC was the agreement to develop a national hydrogen strategy to progress options to decarbonise Australia’s gas networks and the development of a hydrogen export industry.

“Hydrogen is a fuel of the future and Australia is perfectly placed to benefit from its use to help decarbonise our gas sector,” he said.

About Enery Networks Australia

Energy Networks Australia represents Australia’s electricity transmission and distribution networks and gas distribution networks. Members provide energy to virtually every household and business in Australia.

 

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THE RECORD returns from the resources industry to the Queensland Budget show the importance of continued exploration and investment in new projects to keep the budget in the black, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said today.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane today welcomed Treasurer Jackie Trad's budget update, showing record returns from coal royalty taxes.

“Queensland’s black coal is putting the Queensland budget in the black,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Resources investment keeps Queensland’s economy firing on all cylinders and keeps the budget out of the red.

“Without resources royalty taxes, in particular from black coal, the budget surplus of $524 million would be a budget deficit of $4.6 billion.” (*see graph below)

Returns from coal royalty taxes are now at a new record of $4.26 billion, up more than $700 million on the $3.52 billion forecast in the budget. For the period to 2020-21, coal royalty taxes have been revised up by $1.8 billion. Overall, Queenslanders will receive a record $5.12 billion in royalty taxes from the entire resources sector in this financial year.

“This is no short-term sugar hit.  Our resources sector has a long-term future that will deliver benefits for Queenslanders now and for decades into the future," Mr Macfarlane said.

“The world needs our met coal, which builds modern cities, cars, homes and solar panels.

“The world needs our cleaner thermal coal, which burns more efficiently and with a lower ash content than coal from other nations.

“And the world needs our LNG and minerals such as bauxite and zinc.

“This record return from the resources industry equates to the annual salary of more than 71,000 beginning teachers or more than 70,000 first year constables or more than 72,000 registered nurses.

“It can build roads, school and hospitals and invest in regional infrastructure.

“But we can’t take this success for granted.  We must ensure an ongoing pipeline of resources projects, through stable regulation and stable royalty tax rates, and through ongoing exploration and development of new projects and new resource provinces including the North West Minerals Province and the Galilee Basin.

“While we welcome changes to the GST formula that recently went through the Federal Parliament with bipartisan support, the fact remains that Australia’s resources states are doing the heavy lifting.

“Queensland props up our southern neighbours who refuse to develop their resources and who keep their gas locked in the ground. The free ride can’t last forever.

“Queensland is a resources superpower.  We are proud of the role our resources sector plays in creating a stronger, more prosperous Queensland.

“Our sector employs more than 316,000 people, it creates 1 in every $5 for the state and it benefits 14,200 local businesses.

“Other states lock up their resources sectors to their own extreme disadvantage. Queensland will continue to show the way to develop a sustainable resources industry that delivers returns to landholders, to our towns and cities, and works hand-in-hand with other sectors such as agriculture and tourism.”

www.qrc.org.au

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Contact Us

 

PO Box 2144
MANSFIELD QLD 4122