Business News Releases

Qld mining sector welcomes new safety inquiry

THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the opportunity to show all Queenslanders what the resources industry is doing to continuously improve safety in the mining industry, following yesterday's announcement by the State Government of a new Parliamentary Inquiry into mine safety.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the safety of every mine worker was a priority and a core value of every mining operation in Queensland. This has resulted in the state's mine safety record being the envy of every other mining region in the world.

"When it comes to worker safety, our industry operates on the basis we're on an ongoing, continuous cycle of improvement and that any injury or fatality is unacceptable,” Mr Macfarlane said.

"We look forward to sharing with the Queensland community just how seriously our companies take their responsibility to provide a safe operating environment, and where improvements can be made in any area, we will listen and follow the recommendations of the experts."

Mr Macfarlane said almost 1000 people are set to attend the industry's four-day, annual health and safety conference on the Gold Coast later this month, with hundreds more expected to attend online.

"Queensland's safety conference is highly regarded internationally and the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere,” he said.

“It has been overwhelming to see the response from industry to the conference this year, after the Covid-related postponement of the past two years. This again demonstrates just how committed our industry is to our goal of zero harm.

"The conference will feature presentations by the best health and safety experts in the world as well as from leading, independent regulators and government representatives.

“The goal is to share knowledge and insights into critical health and safety issues and innovations in order to continuously improve safety in our industry."

www.qrc.org.au

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Mining companies hate tax but royalties won’t affect investment says union

QUENSLAND’s new coal royalty regime will not affect international mining investment but will make sure current record prices deliver better returns to regional communities, the Mining and Energy Union said this week.

Mining and Energy Union president Tony Maher said it was disappointing to see the Japanese Government weigh in on royalties when Japanese mining companies have been profiting from Queensland resources for decades.

“Coal prices are at staggering highs and no mining company is making investment decisions based on these prices, or on Queensland’s new royalty rates triggered by these prices,” Mr Maher said.

“In fact, some Japanese players in the Queensland coal industry already had their coal assets on the market before the royalty changes.

“Sure, they would like to pocket a bigger share of the current super-profits on the way out, but we’ll back a new hospital for Moranbah over bigger payouts for Japanese shareholders any day," he said.

“Mining companies will make their investment decisions based on the long-term outlook for coal prices and demand. It’s absolutely appropriate for Australian governments to make sure the industry delivers for citizens, especially at a time of record high prices," Mr Maher said.

“Mining communities are calling out for a fair return for their long-term support for the coal industry and overseas governments and the mining lobby should respect this.”

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NSW road workers to strike for the first time in decades

ROAD WORKERS, construction crews and other Transport for NSW workers will walk off the job for the first time in decades on Thursday, as frustrations over the NSW Government's "effective pay cut" boil over.

Workers are outraged their important contributions are being rewarded by the NSW Government with a pay offer that would represent a significant step backward in living standards, according to the Australian Workers Union.

Transport for NSW workers will down tools at 6am Thursday and not resume work again until 6am Friday. The workers, spread across 69 depots throughout the state, will gather outside the front gates of major depots at 9am, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge depot and Civic Park in Newcastle.

The Australian Workers' Union (AWU), which represents the striking workers, has committed to supporting ongoing industrial action until change is achieved.

"These men and women worked tirelessly to keep our state moving during recent bushfires and flood catastrophes," AWU NSW branch organiser Cameron Wright said.

"During the pandemic they put on their work gear and went out into an uncertain world while the rest of us were locked down.

"And now (NSW Premier)Dom Perrottet wants to tell them all to cop a pay cut. It's just not going to fly.

"The Premier likes to talk about his '3 percent' wage increase offer, but in reality it's 2.5, because he's counting the mandated increase in superannuation.

"So with inflation running at over 5 percent, the average road worker is being told to feed their family with significantly less.

"These workers don't take industrial action lightly – in fact they haven’t been on strike in a generation. But you can only be pushed so far and this state government has done that pushing.

"If Dom Perrottet and his government doesn't return to the negotiating table in a more reasonable state of mind there's going to be a lot more days like today."

Unions have given TfNSW management a commitment members will make themselves available to respond to genuine emergency situations to keep the general public safe given recent weather events.

www.awu.net.au

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Builders respond to latest rise in interest rates

RESPONDING to the Reserve Bank of Australia's 0.5 percent rise in interest rates Master Builders Australia’s CEO Denita Wawn said the decision "to further increase interest rates is more evidence of the need for monetary policy to return to more normalised settings to combat inflation".

“However, while acknowledging the need to tackle the dire effects of inflation, we are concerned that a continuing regime of steep rate rises risks turning the economic dial too far in the opposition direction and stalling economic growth needed to for the continuing recovery from COVID,” Ms Wawn said.

“Time should be given to observe the impact of the monetary policy changes in the economy.

“Our industry is disproportionately affected by interest rises and a hard economic landing would put at risk the viability of many building and construction businesses who have managed to come through the pandemic but whose resilience has been eroded by severe supply chain pressures. Many now lack the resilience to withstand more sharp economic shocks,” she said.

“The building and construction industry has shouldered much of the responsibility for underpinning the economic recovery. Suppressing construction activity would counteract the efforts of governments and the expenditure of billions in taxpayer’s funds to shepherd the economy through the pandemic and protect growth,” Ms Wawn said.

“Today’s decision reinforces the need for the Federal Government to ensure that its fiscal policies, indeed all economic levers, must be tested against their ability to drive down inflation and increase productivity."

www.masterbuilders.com.au

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Protecting Australian from asbestos and knowing your obligations

THE Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency has launched a new information campaign informing residential property buyers, sellers, renters and landlords of their responsibilities and rights when it comes to asbestos when buying or renting a home.

If a home was built before 1990, it can contain asbestos both inside and outside. Asbestos is still found in one in three Australian homes.

Asbestos is known to cause cancer. Asbestos is dangerous when damaged, disturbed during renovation or repairs or deteriorating. But by knowing where asbestos can be in a residential property, we can all keep safe.

The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency CEO Justine Ross said it was vital buyers, sellers, renters and landlords are aware of their rights and obligations, when buying, selling or renting a home.

“The campaign will encourage sellers to disclose the presence of asbestos in their properties, to minimise the health risks for buyers. In some states and territories, they may be legally obligated to do this” Ms Ross said.

“Similarly, we want landlords to identify, disclose and manage the presence of asbestos in their properties, to minimise the health risks for renters. Landlords may also be eligible for tax deductions for asbestos testing and removal.”

“The outcome we are hoping to achieve is to educate buyers and renters about how to stay safe around asbestos, by understanding where it might be in a home and how to manage it appropriately.”

A pre-purchase building inspection is not required to include whether asbestos is present in the property. It is recommended that for homes built before 1990 an asbestos professional is engaged to conduct an assessment to identify whether asbestos-containing materials are present, their location and condition. Asbestos professionals can also provide guidance on how to manage asbestos risks.

There is also a simple Asbestos in residential property disclosure tool that includes this diagram and some warnings about when asbestos is dangerous. This tool can be downloaded and printed, so if you’re a seller, agent or landlord you can provide a copy to buyers and renters.

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