"IT IS pleasing to see that sanity has finally prevailed in the decision-making process on the Adani mine,” Australian Industry Group Queensland head Shane Rodgers said today.

“Ultimately there is nothing particularly special about the Adani proposal. It is an application to establish a mine in a state with a long history of mining and a heavy reliance on mining royalties to balance its books and support living standards. Adani deserved to be treated like any other company in these circumstances," he said.

"Aside from the merits of the project itself, this issue was being watched carefully by business and investors in Australia and overseas as a case study on the transparency and consistency of decision-making in Queensland. Investors in the state need to be certain that their investment is welcome here and there is a level playing field for everyone.

“Over time the energy mix will change, as will mining economics. In the meantime we need to make rational, timely decisions that support the investment climate in the state.

"We cannot let the extremes of philosophical discussion derail a sensible approach to transitioning industry in a way that supports the livelihoods of families and addresses important environment and climate change issues,” Mr Rodgers said. 

About Ai Group

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) is a peak employer organisation in Australia which represents the interests of thousands of businesses in an expanding range of industry sectors including: manufacturing; engineering; construction; food & beverage processing; transport & logistics; information technology; telecommunications; labour hire; and defence. Ai Group's influence crosses all areas of workplace development and sustainability.

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QUEENSLAND now has the highest tax rates in Australia for resources projects, undermining the state's hard-won reputation as a global commodity leader and risking the 315,000 jobs in the sector, Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane said today.

"The surprise 25 percent hike on gas royalty rates in the state budget, coupled with Queensland’s sliding scale for coal royalties, means the Palaszczuk Government oversees the highest rate tax grab on the resources sector in Australia,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Hiking up gas royalty rates to a flat 12.5 percent will make Queensland the highest taxing state on the East Coast. It will even put the state out of kilter with gas-rich Western Australia, which has a tax range that starts at 10 percent and only increases to 12.5 per cent for secondary licences. Plus we now have the threat of a royalty review process hanging over Queensland’s second most valuable export industry.

“At current market prices, Queensland already has the highest rates of coal royalty taxes of any state in Australia, well above the other significant coal-producing state of NSW.  A tonne of high-quality Queensland coal pays 43 percent more in royalties than in NSW.  What signal does that send to investors?

“Queenslanders deserve a fair share from the development of our state’s resources.  At the end of the day those resources belong to all Queenslanders. But on existing tax rates resources projects already pay enormous dividends to the Palaszczuk Government.

“This financial year the Queensland Government is reaping $5.2 billion in resources royalty taxes. That includes $450 million in petroleum royalties. In the space of one year petroleum royalties have more than doubled from $187 million in 2017-18.

“Next financial year the resources sector will pay $5.45 billion to the Palaszczuk Government in royalty taxes.  The onus is on the Government to make sure that enormous tax revenue is spent fairly and wisely across the state – not resort to bigger tax grabs to fill budget black holes.

“By putting up royalty taxes with no warning and no consultation, Treasurer Jackie Trad is selling out the people of regional Queensland – because they are the ones who would be hardest hit by a loss of investment in resources.

“The Treasurer’s comments today that because royalty rates for gas have been frozen for 10 years means now is the time for industry to give back more shows a misunderstanding of the way resources projects work to the long-term benefit of all Queenslanders.

“Multi-billion dollar investments are made in resources projects over decades relying on clear rules for investment in order to create regional jobs and support for regional communities for the long haul.

“A tax hike out of the blue with no consultation just doesn’t pass muster.

“The Government cannot expect to be taken seriously as a state that welcomes international resources investment when it has shown it’s prepared to change the rules overnight with no warning and no consultation.”

BACKGROUND DETAILS

According to the QRC, figures from the ACCC show there has been a significant reduction in netback prices for LNG exporters, or the price an exporter can expect to receive for their gas. Since October 2018 the gas price has more than halved. In October 2018 the price was A$13.21 per gigajoule, while in June 2019 the price was $6.38 a gigajoule. Any extra tax impost will make Australian gas more expensive on the global market and therefore less competitive, Mr Macfarlane said.

Coal weekly spot prices last week were: Thermal coal US$71.50 (or A$102.14 with the dollar at 70 cents); coking coal US$198.63 (or A$283.76).

www.qrc.org.au

 


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THE Palaszczuk Government's shock decision in the State Budget to increase the rate of royalty taxes on gas by 25 percent threatens regional Queensland jobs, investment and exports, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has warned.

With resources royalties this year forecast to hit unprecedented highs of $5.45 billion, including $4.34 billion from coal, QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the Palaszczuk Government had betrayed the trust of the 315,000 Queenslanders who work in the resources sector, especially in regional Queensland.

“Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Treasurer Jackie Trad have broken a promise and broken their word to regional Queenslanders,” Mr Macfarlane said.

 “Regional Queenslanders will be at a loss to understand how they can trust a Government that says one thing one week, and something completely different the next. In Townsville two weeks ago the Premier said: ‘there will be no royalty increase in this year’s budget’.

 “Today we discover that’s not the case," Mr Macfarlance said.

“After weeks of refusing to rule out hiking coal royalty rates, the Palaszczuk Government has blindsided the resources sector with an increase in royalty taxes from 10 percent to 12.5 percent on petroleum including liquefied natural gas (LNG) extracted in western Queensland and exported from Gladstone.

 “This will make Queensland gas less competitive and will risk jobs and future investment and the creation of new jobs. It will also make lower emission energy generated from gas more expensive and increase the cost of gas to manufacturers such as Incitec Pivot in Brisbane," he said.

“To make matters worse, Queensland is the only state on the East Coast that is developing its gas resources.  This tax hike risks the gas supply for all Australians, not only Queenslanders, given Queensland gas suppliers have been doing all the heavy lifting for the gas market.

“Billions were poured in Queensland’s world-leading gas industry based on export models, while at the same time supplying the gas that domestic manufacturers need to sustain their industries and protect jobs. Today’s royalty tax increase casts a dark cloud over future growth in the Queensland gas industry. 

“In Parliament today the Premier, the Treasurer and other Ministers repeatedly said they backed Queensland jobs.  But this tax hike on the gas industry means they are risking jobs.

"As Trade Minister, the Premier has recently lauded the role of LNG in driving Queensland exports to record levels.  To apply an extra tax to gas undermines Queensland's trading performance, future investment, and current and future jobs in regional Queensland.”

Mr Macfarlance said tast month, the Premier had said: "Our commodities, from LNG to beef, are delivering valuable export dollars to Queensland and supporting thousands of jobs".

“The best policy comes only through consultation.  Unfortunately the Palaszczuk Government has failed that test,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The Premier recently said she was fed up with the way her Government was handling resources approvals. Well Queenslanders are fed up with the mixed messages from the Palaszczuk Government.

“Either you back resources jobs, or you don’t.  And right now the only evidence is that the Palaszczuk Government doesn’t back long-term jobs in the resource sector.

“The LNP has committed to a royalty freeze through until the end of the next term of Parliament if it wins the election.  This would provide royalty tax stability through until October 2024. The QRC has urged the Palaszczuk Government to match that commitment and we will continue to do so.

“There is no case for increasing the rates of royalty taxes paid by resources companies.  At current market prices, Queensland already has the highest rates of coal royalty taxes of any state in Australia.

"This means that when prices are high all Queenslanders benefit from greater returns.

“By changing the royalty rate structure Queensland risks losing its competitiveness in global commodity markets. In effect, the Palaszczuk Government is threatening the goose that lays the golden egg.  And as today’s budget illustrates, Queensland cannot afford to do that.”

www.qrc.org.au

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THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed changes to the Small Business Development Corporation Act 1983 tabled by Small Business Minister Paul Papalia in the Western Australian Parliament on June 11.

The amendments will boost the powers of WA’s Small Business Commissioner David Eaton to receive and investigate complaints of mistreatment of subcontractors and small businesses on construction projects.

The reforms will also underpin the establishment of a specialised investigations and inquiry unit within the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) aimed at improving corporate and government behaviour and removing unfair practices.

“This legislation is a step in the right direction,” Ms Carnell said. ”Both Minister Papalia, and Commissioner Eaton have been advocating in this space for a number of years.

The Bill will expand the Commissioner’s current investigative and reporting functions enabling him to consider the actions of the private, local and state government sectors that affect the commercial activity of small business.

Ms Carnell also welcomed plans for WA to become the first state to establish statutory trusts to protect payments to subcontractors.

“These are two pieces of legislation that will increase protections for subcontractors and small businesses,” Ms Carnell said.

WA Attorney-General John Quigley is preparing a cabinet submission on statutory trusts to be presented later this year, in preparation for tabling in Parliament early next year.

www.asbfeo.gov.au

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THE Queensland State Budget released today is a mixed bag for business, Australian Industry Group Queensland head, Shane Rodgers, said on the budget's release on June 11.

"While there is some well targeted investment in industry support programs, the budget introduces a higher payroll tax for thousands of state businesses as well as land tax increases that will likely be passed on to companies leasing property," Mr Rodgers said.

"Payroll tax changes are a two-edged sword. The lifting of the threshold point for payroll tax and continuation of targeted concessions is offset by increases to businesses with wage bills above $6.5 million.

"We welcome the continued commitment to the Advance Queensland program as well as the investment in skills development. In particular, we welcome the 'micro-credentialing' pilot and the commitment to higher-level apprenticeship programs.

"However, industry is looking for budgets that provide clear incremental steps towards a reliable, 30-year plan for the State.

"Instead we have something of a Bohemian Rhapsody budget – 'easy come, easy go' with higher mining royalties and a 'little high, a little low' on debt and infrastructure spending respectively. It is a collection of ideas in search of a bigger narrative.

"We welcome the renewed commitment to some big infrastructure projects, but the trend spending on infrastructure is still too low in a growing state," Mr Rodgers said,

"The need to deliver the State's infrastructure in a fiscally responsible manner means that much more must be done to identify funding sources to drive a pipeline of future productivity lifting infrastructure projects.

"This includes the further development of structured public-private partnership policies that can lower the risks faced by private investors and attract more private sector investments while reducing upfront costs to the public.

"While a reasonable level of debt for long-term infrastructure can be justified, this is starting to sneak towards the red zone with no pay down of debt in the foreseeable future. This is risky when there is future uncertainty around state income streams," Mr Rodgers said.

"The State relies heavily on royalties from mining and will need to work hard to preserve faith in Queensland as a reliable investment environment for all areas of industry. There will also need to be a disciplined approach to public sector spending for the business sector to have confidence in the State's fiscal stability.

"Queensland needs to start looking at the four-year budget forward estimates cycle as a clear interim step towards a 30-year transformative plan for the State rather than a collection of short-term initiatives. When this happens the climate for business and jobs growth will be much stronger," Mr Rodgers said.

www.aigroup.com.au

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