Business News Releases

AWU to push for critical minerals export tax as national secretary announces departure

THE Australian Workers' Union has announced it will move a resolution at the upcoming ALP National Conference that would commit Labor to "a tax on unprocessed exports of critical minerals and establish a production subsidy scheme to foster domestic refining, processing and component manufacturing from critical minerals".

AWU national secretary Daniel Walton will outline the union's new position in a speech to the Sydney Institute on Wednesday night.

Mr Walton has also announced today that after nearly seven years at the helm he has decided to move on from his role as national secretary. Mr Walton will stay on for the next couple of months to help handover and oversee the leadership transition.

"It has been a singular honour to lead the AWU and I'm incredibly proud of what our union has achieved by working together since 2016," Mr Walton said.

"We helped save the steel industry from the brink of collapse. We've celebrated inspiring industrial wins. We've helped improve conditions for vulnerable workers like fruit pickers. And we've had a positive impact influencing the national agenda, especially on energy prices and a fair go for manufacturing.

"Along the way we've modernised our processes and structures and our union is now growing strongly. I'm so pleased the AWU is today in great shape to continue the mission it started in 1886: fighting for a fairer deal for Australian workers."

Mr Walton also announced the AWU would begin a push for a new tax on the export critical minerals – such as lithium, cobalt, and rare earths – which are vital for the manufacture of renewable energy technology. Mr Walton will argue that the current free-for-all approach of raw mineral exports to China is compromising the national interest.

"We need to apply a significant, punitive tax on the export of raw critical minerals from Australia. And we need the revenue raised to be pumped directly back into subsidies for the manufacturing and processing on critical minerals onshore," Mr Walton said.

"Australia has been blessed with the world's most enviable supply of critical minerals, but simply digging these precious material up and loading them on ships is an incredibly limited way to view the opportunity.

"We lack a substantial national capacity to turn our critical minerals, like lithium, into anything useful. We are relying on the idea that we can just export these raw minerals to China and they will send us back the components and goods we need.

"But if Australia wants to make batteries that rival China’s do we think China will be happy to keep selling us the components we need? Do we really want to assume that we can keep digging up critical minerals, shipping them to China for processing, and China will just keep shipping them back to us to manufacture batteries? It’s not a bet I’d feel confident about.

"If we continue to just ‘let the market rule’ it will mean only one thing: Australia’s raw materials will be shipped off to China and China will be the only player in our region with the sovereign capacity to turn them into anything useful.

"The US is using its raw economic heft through the Inflation Reduction Act to force investment in its manufacturing capacity through subsidies. Australia is not in the same position to call the shots like this. But what we do have is a big chunk of the world’s critical minerals within our sovereign soil.

"That’s our leverage and we would be absolute fools not to use it. We know demand from the world for our critical minerals is astronomical. We have the power to create the rules under which they can have them. Treasury doesn’t have access to enough carrots to encourage the change we need here. We need to get out the stick."



  • Created on .

Regional mobile infrastructure inquiry to hear from Indigenous communities, grain growers, miners and more

FINDING collaborative ways to fund improvements to mobile phone infrastructure services across regional and remote Australia will be the focus of the public hearings in Adelaide, Alice Springs and Perth this week.

The House Communications and the Arts Committee will also hear evidence from state and territory governments, Indigenous communities and First Nations media, business chambers, councils, health services, fire and emergency services and community groups on the impacts of unreliable mobile coverage.

The hearings are investigating how to improve the reliability in South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia for its parliamentary inquiry into regional mobile carrier infrastructure.

Committee Chair, Brian Mitchell MP, outlined the majority of mobile infrastructure was not co-located, especially in regional areas. The committee wants to better understand why the rates of co-location for Australia’s major mobile providers dramatically decline as they move from urban to regional and remote areas.

The committee will be seeking views on whether co-investment is the best tool to encourage multiple telecommunications providers in regional areas to invest in and share ‘multi-carrier’ mobile towers to improve the range and reliability of their services.

Public hearing in AdelaideWitnesses: SA Department for Energy and Mining, SA Forest Products Association, Grain Producers SA, Outback Communities Authority, District Council of Mount Remarkable, emergency services and community groupsTime and date: 9:30am to 1pm ACST 15 MayLocation: Balcony Room, House of Assembly, Parliament of South Australia

Public hearing in Alice SpringsWitnesses: First Nations Media Australia, Indigenous Community Television, Central Desert Regional Council, Alice Springs Town Council, and community groupsTime and date: 8:30am to 12:15pm ACST 16 MayLocation: Spinifex Room, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, 82 Barrett Drive

Public hearing in PerthWitnesses: WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, WA Local Government Association, AHA WA, Bunbury business chamber, WA Country Health Service, WA Grains Group and Fortescue Metals GroupTime and date: 9:30am to 1pm AWST 17 MayLocation: CPO, Exchange Tower, 2 The Esplanade

The inquiry’s terms of reference and information about the Committee may be found on the Committee’s webpage.



  • Created on .

Diverse groups to talk migration pathways to nation building

BUILDING on recent public hearings in Melbourne and regional Victoria, the Joint Standing Committee on Migration will hold a series of hearings over the next week with a diverse group of stakeholders.

Beginning with hearings in Canberra on Friday May 12, the committee will then call witnesses for full days of hearings on May 16, 17 and 18 via videoconference.

For more information about this committee, you can visit its website.



  • Created on .

Intelligence Committee supports passage of National Security Bill

THE Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has presented its Advisory Report on the National Security Legislation Amendment (Comprehensive Review and Other Measures No. 2) Bill 2023.

The Bill seeks to implement ten recommendations of the 2020 Comprehensive Review of the Legal Framework of the National Intelligence Community (known as the Richardson Review), and also makes two amendments to the Intelligence Services Act 2001.

The committee recommended that the Bill be passed, subject to the implementation of one committee recommendation, about clarifying the availability to ASIO officers of defences for certain national infrastructure related offences.

The committee received both public and classified evidence related to the proposed amendments to 13 Commonwealth Acts in the Bill, and found that all were reasonable and justified.

The amendments related to Richardson Review recommendations had been developed in line with that review’s findings and give effect to the reforms and efficiencies envisaged by those changes.

Committee Chair Peter Khalil MP said, "The committee supports improvements that allow the National Intelligence Community to undertake its important work without the encumbrances of outdated legislation or without the defences and exemptions necessary to protect their information, critical functions and capabilities.

"The Bill also considers principles delivered by Justice Hope 40 years ago, outlined in the review which highlight the importance of agencies being held accountable, operating in accordance with the law, with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms, whilst remaining politically impartial," Mr Khalil said.

The two amendments to the Intelligence Services Act 2001 were considered by the committee and were supported in the committee’s majority report. These relate to the composition and quorum of the PJCIS; and to the requirements of ministerial directions given to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).

Mr Khalil said, "The amendments to the composition of the PJCIS will allow for flexibility and an increased membership on the committee to engage in its important work.

"The amendments related to the most sensitive work of ASIS will require greater detail in ministerial directions, to ensure that appropriate ministerial oversight and accountability in relation to ASIS’ activities is maintained into the future."

Further information on the inquiry as well as a copy of the report can be obtained from the Committee’s website.



  • Created on .

Speaker brings Parliament to North Queensland schools

THIS WEEK, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Milton Dick MP, is in North Queensland to resume the flagship Parliament in Schools program.

With content tailored to their grade level, students will learn about federation, democracy and the Australian Parliament, as well as hear from the Speaker and their local member on what happens behind the scenes.

Over three days, the Speaker and the Parliamentary Education Office (PEO) will visit:

  • Mossman State Primary School, Mossman – with the Member for Leichardt, Warren Entsch on Tuesday 2 May,
  • Trinity Beach Primary School, Trinity Beach – with the Member for Leichardt, Warren Entsch on Tuesday 2 May,
  • Blackheath and Thornburgh College, Richmond Hill – with the Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter on Wednesday 3 May,
  • Crescent Lagoon State School, West Rockhampton– with the Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry on Thursday 4 May, and
  • The Hall State School, Wandal – with the Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry on Thursday 4 May.

"Canberra is Australia’s centre of democracy – but not all Australian students will have the privilege of visiting," Speaker Milton Dick said.

"One of my biggest priorities is to increase the accessibility of civics education.

"What makes the Parliament in Schools program so successful, is the great teamwork with fellow Members of Parliament, the excellent support by the PEO and participation by such enthusiastic and engaged students.

"It is so important we empower school students with the knowledge, skills and values so that they can go on to be active and informed citizens.’

About the Parliament in Schools program

Launched last year, the Parliament in Schools program is a bi-partisan initiative to make civics education accessible to students regardless of their location. In collaboration with the PEO, the Speaker is visiting schools across Australia to bring parliament to them.

The program is an extension to well-established PEO onsite, digital and outreach education programs available to schools across Australia.

It also complements the existing PEO online and print resources that are curriculum-aligned, for Australian teachers and students.



  • Created on .

Contact Us


PO Box 2144