A RECORD NUMBER of mining industry representatives will spend four days working on one focus - the well-being of every man and woman in the mining sector at the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference on the Gold Coast.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said more than 900 people will attend the conference starting on Sunday (August 18) which was the largest cohort in the conference’s 31-year history.

“It has been overwhelming to see the response from industry to the conference this year after the tragic death of six mine and quarry workers,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“I’ll be sitting down with Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham and union representatives to ensure the safety of all workers remains the number one priority. Everyone who works in a mine – or any other workplace for that matter – is entitled to leave for work and return home safely to their loved ones.

“Already industry is rolling out comprehensive safety resets across mine sites including two-way conversations with workers and safety professionals to remind them of the dangers faced on a site.”

The conference theme this year is ‘Working to the Future’ with a goal of making sure all delegates learn a new technique or approach to health and safety.  

Delegates will hear from Russell Whit, managing director of Driver Safety Australia, Brant North who survived a mine accident and has represented Australia at the Paralympics, advocate for countering violent extremism Gill Hicks and big wave surfer and Red Bull Athlete Mark Matthews.

Conference chair and CFMEU’s safety representative Greg Dalliston said the annual conference was a key event on the mining calendar.

“The conference brings together unions, industry and the Government and encourages all parties to work together and share ideas about new safety measures and health techniques,” Mr Dalliston said.

Sponsors of the conference, to be held at The Star, include principal sponsor Anglo American, Glencore, Yancoal, Uvex, Peabody and the CFMEU.

For a full list of conference speakers and the program click herehttps://www.qrc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/QMIHSC-2019-program-V-10.pdf

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THE ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) has released an industry report that investigates the impact of retirement income projections on superannuation contributions, investment choices and engagement from members.

“Australian workers rely on information from their superannuation funds to understand whether they are saving enough for retirement,” said lead author George Smyrnis, CEPAR PhD candidate at the University of Sydney.

“Research shows that the overwhelming tendency to focus more on the present than the future, along with difficulties people have making forecasts that require compounding, make it likely that superannuation fund members will have poorly formed expectations of their retirement wealth,” he said.

Conscious of this evidence, superannuation funds, including the Construction and Building Unions Superannuation (Cbus) fund, have begun to show members projected retirement wealth, so-called retirement income estimates (RIE).

The CEPAR research team, comprising George Smyrnis and Professor Susan Thorp from the University of Sydney, and Professor Hazel Bateman, A/Professor Isabella Dobrescu and Professor Benjamin Newell from UNSW Sydney, set out to understand the impact of this change by analysing the data from a trial in 2013, when Cbus sent around 20,000 members an RIE, along with their current balance, for the first time.

George Smyrnis said that the impact of this new message on members’ contributions, engagement, and investment choices was remarkable.

“Our analysis shows the RIE motivated additional savings, raised member investment choices, and raised engagement with the super fund,” he said.

“Overall, the presentation of the RIE encouraged higher rates of salary sacrifice saving, and higher average amounts of salary sacrifice and voluntary contributions, as well as changes in investment options, compared to those who did not receive the RIE.

“The presentation of the RIE also encouraged higher rates of engagement between members and the super fund, particularly for advice, and for admin and processes related interactions. These results are important evidence that superannuation member disengagement can be partly improved by clearer communication,” Mr Smyrnis said.

“The results we found confirm that, for many superannuation members, the retirement income estimate is an important tool for understanding savings adequacy. This motivates super fund members to make adjustments that can substantially change their retirement outcomes.”

The industry report is available online at cepar.edu.au/publications/reports.

Details: George Smyrnis; Hazel Bateman; Isabella Dobrescu; Benjamin Newell; Susan Thorp (2019): The impact of projections on superannuation contributions, investment choices and engagement. CEPAR Industry Report 2019/1.

About CEPAR

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) is a unique collaboration between academia, government and industry, committed to delivering solutions to one of the major economic and social challenges of the 21st century. The research centre is based at the University of New South Wales, with nodes at the Australian National University, Curtin University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.
cepar.edu.au

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A DELEGATION of senior Papua New Guinean ministers, including the country’s Treasurer, Foreign Minister and Minister for Commerce and Industry, will visit Sydney next Monday to attend the 2019 Business Advantage Papua New Guinea Investment Conference.

The powerful delegation will attend the event, at Sydney’s Shangri-La Hotel, to meet with the investment community and outline the new business and investment policies of the country’s new government, led by Prime Minister James Marape, which was installed in late May.

Ministers expected to attend include Commerce Minister Wera Mori (who will formally represent Prime Minister Marape), Minister for Treasury Sam Basil, Foreign Minister Minister Soroi Eoe and Minister of Works Michael Nali.

The ministers will lead a large contingent of over 120 Papua New Guinean business leaders and government officials, to meet with business people and investors from Australia, the United States, New Zealand and the Pacific.

The conference program, which starts Monday morning, will cover all sectors of PNG’s economy, from mining and petroleum, to agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing, finance, services, energy and technology. It will include investment case studies and feature participation from event partners such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, KPMG and the International Finance Corporation.

Papua New Guinea, Australia’s nearest neighbour, became an exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2014 and is on the cusp of green-lighting two major new resources projects, the US10 billion Papua LNG project (in which ASX-listed Oil Search Limited is a partner) and the US$9 billion Wafi-Golpu copper-gold project, led by ASX-listed Newcrest Mining.

In addition, the country is undergoing a massive investment in infrastructure, with a US$2 billion rural electrification project and undersea cable internet being part-funded by Australia. In addition, the conference will hear about opportunities in new road, port and aviation infrastructure. 

The World Bank predicts PNG’s GDP will grow by 5.6 percent this year - twice the rate of Australia’s GDP growth. It is projected to double its population by 2050 to approximately 20 million.

"This is the only Papua New Guinea-focused business event in Australia this year and it represents a unique opportunity to get acquainted with PNG’s new government,’ said Andrew Wilkins of event organiser Business Advantage International.

"We are expecting to welcome plenty of Australian businesses to the event."

The Business Advantage Papua New Guinea Investment Conference will take place on 19 and 20 August at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney.

pnginvestmentconference.com

MIGRANTS make an incredible contribution to Australia.

In fact, there are more than 7 million migrants living in Australia helping to stimulate growth, create more jobs and slow the ageing of the Australian population.

Every town and suburb in Australia has their own migrant success stories.

Many of our smaller cities and regional areas, however, cannot fill the jobs available - with an estimated 60,000 job vacancies in regional Australia today.

A federal parliamentary committee is hitting the road to find out what can be done to increase the number of migrants moving to regional areas to fill these gaps and ease the pressure on our major capital cities.

Joint Standing Committee on Migration chair Julian Leeser MP said the inquiry has been prompted by recent trends indicating declining population growth in some regional areas of Australia.

While approximately 187,000 international migrants settled in regional areas between 2006 and 2011, this accounts for only 20 percent of arrivals in that period, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

"What we know is that some areas of Australia are having success attracting new migrants, while other areas are struggling to both attract and retain migrants and address skill shortages," Mr Leeser said.

"The answers to how to attract new settlers won’t be found in our big cities – so we’re going to travel to areas where migration settlement is and isn’t working, and talk to the people best placed to know why and why not."

Mr Leeser is encouraging people to contribute to the process. Submissions to the inquiry will be accepted until September 20, 2019.

The Committee intends to hold public hearings at various locations, which will be announced in due course on the inquiry website.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

The Joint Standing Committee on Migration shall inquire into and report on the breadth of migrant settlement strategies and migration settings – including for skilled and humanitarian migrants – in regional Australia, with reference to:

  • National and international best practice strategies to encourage people to settle and stay in regional areas;
  • Strategies to develop regional skilled migration;
  • Strategies to develop regional humanitarian migration;
  • Key local, state and federal initiatives for successful regional settlement outcomes;
  • Local volunteers, employers and community organisations and their role in facilitating regional settlement;
  • Relevant migration policy, including administration and state specific migration mechanisms;
  • Related infrastructure matters; and
  • Any other related matter.

The Committee shall give particular consideration to how communities and settlement services can best assist migrants to gain successful employment outcomes in regional Australia, including local work experience opportunities, skills certification and training, knowledge of Australian workforce regulations, accommodation and travel to and from the workplace

THE Queensland Resources Council has welcomed the appointment of a senior government official to a new position of global investment commissioner with the State Government’s Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ).

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the appointment of former Trade and Investment commissioner to Japan Ross Buchanan as global investment commissioner within TIQ was a practical step that could support the government’s desire to attract more international investment in the development of Queensland’s resources and energy reserves, including renewables.

Mr Macfarlane said the industry had been working with the government and TIQ to further strengthen its TIQ Mining, Resources and Energy team and connect the resources industry with the 12 Trade and Investment commissioners representing the state around the world.

“A shared priority for the Queensland Government and industry is to lift the perception of Queensland as an attractive place to invest," Mr Macfarlane said. "Unfortunately, in February this year, the Fraser Institute global survey of mining companies found Queensland’s investment attractiveness fell from 12th to 13th place of 83 jurisdictions around the world.  Queensland’s Sister State of Nevada is number one.

“The appointment of Ross Buchanan gives our industry a global investment commissioner with experience in a key market and source of investment for our industry – Japan – and first-hand experience working with Macarthur Coal and Peabody Energy.”

Mr Macfarlane said with the resources sector employing more than 316,000 Queenslanders, delivering 81 percent of the state’s record $87 billion export earnings over the last 12 months and contributing more than $5 billion in royalties to the State Government, new and continued investment in Queensland resources and energy projects was critical.

Mr Macfarlane said the QRC and its member companies looked forward to working with recently appointed TIQ chief executive officer Paul Martyn and Mr Buchanan to work on:

• developing a collaborative work program to deliver on the Premier’s “working together” commitments to the QRC to improve exports, exploration and expertise and address areas of declining sentiment identified by the Fraser Institute survey;

• releasing an update on the investment resources and energy project pipeline; and

•  providing regular briefings for TIQ and its commissioners based in markets around the world, including a joint meeting with all commissioners during Export Week in October.

www.qrc.org.au

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INVESTMENT in transport infrastructure will help bridge the troubled waters of a declining housing market and softening commercial construction sector but there is zero doubt that more needs to be done to fast-track construction activity and ignite economic growth, according to Master Builders Australia.

“The latest industry forecast predicts that the government’s ramping up of investment in transport infrastructure will drive up the volume of civil construction work from $92.42 billion in 2019 to nearly $104 billion in 2022,” Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn said.

 “This $92.6 billion increase will kick the volume of civil construction work up by 12.5 percent over the next couple of years and this is obviously good news for our industry, the economy and the community.

“We are hopeful that investment in urban infrastructure, including projects encompassed in the Government’s Cities Deals, will help to unlock new housing supply and moderate falls in the residential building sector which is forecast to be down 28 percent from its peak by 2020/21,” Ms Wawn said. 

“So while we commend and support the government’s infrastructure agenda, there is no doubt more needs to be done. As the Reserve Bank Governor has consistently noted, more infrastructure investment not only adds to demand in the economy and boosts productivity but construction activity needs to actually commence before this occurs – nothing happens if projects languish on lists.

“Infrastructure Australia’s 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit points to a committed forward pipeline of $200 billion but also highlights measures that must be considered to accelerate its roll out,” Ms Wawn said. 

“To overcome capacity constraints, fast track construction activity and better realise the benefits to local economies and communities, governments must urgently adopt more sophisticated procurement models that ease the almost overwhelming reliance on a small number of Tier One contractors, unlock the capacity of Tier Two and Tier Three contractors and facilitate local contractors and small businesses working on local projects,” she said. 

“Big is not always better so good on the Prime Minister for backing this measure today,” Ms Wawn said. 

“There must also be a strong focus on investing in the development of more skilled trades people needed to construct the pipeline of infrastructure projects. Master Builders strongly backs the Federal Government’s commitment to reform the vocational education sector including improving its brand so that the erroneous perceptions of young people, parents and careers advisers don’t act as barrier to recruiting the best and brightest into trades where there skills shortages such as building and construction,” she said. 

“A highly skilled workforce will also be needed to meet future demand for social infrastructure such as hospitals, education and aged care facilities. It’s pleasing to see this category is now more of a focus for the nation’s infrastructure planners."

www.masterbuilders.com.au

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THE Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) will hold two public hearings this week for its Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press.

The chair, Andrew Hastie MP, said, "The Committee has received numerous and varied submissions regarding the balance between national security, freedom of information and the media. These hearings will allow for the Committee to engage with the major media outlets, other media stakeholders, human rights and legal advocates, as well as the law enforcement, intelligence and other policy agencies.

"The impact and appropriateness of the use of law enforcement and intelligence powers is a legitimate concern to many. The Committee will carefully consider both concerns and statements of support."

Further information on the inquiry can be obtained from the Committee’s website.          

Public hearing details

Date: 13 August 2019
Time: 8.30am – 5pm
Location: Level 3 Conference Centre, Castlereagh Boutique Hotel, 169 Castlereagh St, Sydney

Date: 14 August 2019
Time: 8.30am – 5pm
Location: Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House, Canberra

Programs for the hearings can be found here.

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THE Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth has commenced an Inquiry into Supporting Australia’s Exports and Attracting Investment.

The Committee chair, George Christensen MP, said, "Trade and investment are major drivers of economic growth and support millions of jobs in Australia. Ensuring Australia has a supportive regulatory environment will enable more businesses to take advantage of export and investment opportunities.

"As part of its inquiry, the Committee will consider the ambition of Australian businesses to grow via export and attract investment, local regulatory barriers, and examples of best practice regulation to support export and investment growth. The Committee is particularly interested in examining new and rapidly growing areas of export," Mr Christensen said.

Submissions from interested individuals, businesses and organisations are invited by Monday, September 23, 2019. The preferred method of receiving submissions is by electronic format lodged online using a My Parliament account.

Further information about the Committee’s inquiry, including the full terms of reference and details on how to lodge a submission are available on the Committee’s webpage.

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THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) supports the strong action the Federal Government is taking on anti-farming activists and is urging the Government to extend the laws to cover mining-related businesses and infrastructure.

The QRC has made a submission to the Senate committee inquiry looking at the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said while everyone supported the right to protest, activists shouldn’t be able to trespass on farms, mines, railways and ports, or block lawful businesses from going about their day-to-day activities.

“There’s no difference between vegan activists storming a farm and anti-coal activists blocking a rail line,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Both show complete disrespect for everyday Queenslanders who are working hard to make a living so they can support their families.

“There should be no tolerance of this type of behaviour from activists who are nothing more than anarchists obsessed with disrupting people’s lives.

“We’re calling on the Federal Government to extend the Bill to cover all legitimate businesses including mining, rail and port infrastructure and to complement the Private Members Bill on illegal activist behaviour which the LNP has brought forward to the Queensland State Parliament.”

The QRC has also supported harsher penalties for activists who break the law and commit illegal trespass, as proposed under the Criminal Code (Trespass Offences) Amendment Bill currently before the Queensland State Parliament.

“QRC supports the right of every Queenslander to protest peacefully.  But there’s nothing peaceful or safe about the tactics activists are using to delay and disrupt lawful projects,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Existing state laws do not provide a significant deterrent to unlawful trespass, because it’s often the case that fines are small and no convictions are recorded.

“This is despite the fact that trespass on rail lines is extremely dangerous and disruptive.

“Protestors have characterised this type of illegal trespass as ‘non-violent, safe, direct action’ but such a description is a fantasy. 

“Ironically, they are relying on the strict safety environment and skilled staff who work on the rail network to prevent protesters being seriously injured or killed.

“There is a grave risk to protestor safety, train driver safety and community safety from this type of reckless action.

“The QRC supports action in both the State and Federal Parliaments to prevent activists from using the democratic right to protest to cross the line into trespass or interfering with lawful business.”

Click here for QRC's submission

www.qrc.org.au

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THE Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has commenced two reviews into the three new national security bills.

The Identity-matching Services Bill 2019 and the Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-matching Services) Bill 2019 (the Identity-matching Bills), and the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Bill 2019 (CTLA Bill) are all reintroduced Bills. Previous Bills lapsed upon this year’s election. At this time the Committee’s reviews of the Bill also lapsed.

The Identity-matching Services Bill 2019 is intended to facilitate the secure, automated and accountable exchange of identity information between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, pursuant to the objectives of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Identity Matching Services (IGA), agreed by COAG in October 2017.

The Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-matching Services) Bill 2019 amends the Australian Passports Act 2005 (Passports Act) to provide a legal basis for ensuring that the Minister is able to make Australian travel document data available for all the purposes of, and by the automated means intrinsic to, the identity-matching services to which the Commonwealth and the States and Territories agreed in the IGA.

The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Bill 2019 contains a range of amendments intended to strengthen Australia’s counter-terrorism legislative framework. The measures in the Bill fall into two broad categories – amendments relating to restrictions on bail and parole under the Crimes Act 1914 , and amendments relating to the continuing detention order (CDO) scheme in Division 105A of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The committee invites written submissions addressing any or all aspects of the Bills.

Prospective submitters have been advised that any submission to the committee’s inquiry must be prepared solely for the inquiry and should not be published prior to being accepted by the Committee. 

Submissions are requested by 6 September 2019 for the Committee’s review of the Identity-matching Bills, and by 23 August 2019 for the Committee’s review of the CTLA Bill.

Further information about making a submission to a committee inquiry can be found at this link.

Further information on the inquiry can be obtained from the committee’s website.

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SUBMISSIONS are now open for the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into the 2019 Federal Election.

The roles of pre-poll voting, political advertising standards, disinformation and third-party actors are expected to be examined by the Committee.

Committee Chair, Senator James McGrath said Australia had seen more people casting their vote before election day than ever before.

"More and more Australians are choosing to vote early. It is imperative we have voting options, but we need to examine what impact this increased uptake in pre-poll voting is having." Senator McGrath said.

Senator McGrath said the rise of social media manipulation and disinformation campaigns were a threat to democracy.

"Increasingly, Australians are consuming and accessing their news online, away from traditional offline sources. We need to ensure our electoral processes take the serious dangers of digital platforms and disinformation into account."

The committee is expected to hear from a wide range of individuals and organisations, including the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

Senator McGrath said, "Elections are everybody’s business, so we are not just reviewing the AEC's performance. This inquiry is an opportunity to look at all actors who participate in our elections, including third-parties. It is an opportunity to see what we can do to improve future elections."

Submissions are open until September 20, 2019. The terms of reference can be found on the committee's website.

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