THE employer and employee representatives for Queensland mine workers have called on former Greens leader Bob Brown to immediately repudiate reported claims from supporters of his anti-jobs tour that liken coal industry jobs to Nazis working in gas chambers during the Holocaust.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane and CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland district president Stephen Smyth said the reported comments were a shocking attack on hard-working Queenslanders and their families.

“These Queenslanders work in skilled jobs to keep both the Queensland and Australian economies strong,” Mr Macfarlane said. 

"Their work supports local jobs, boosts exports, pays royalty taxes for the Queensland Government to reinvest in schools and hospitals, and stimulates company taxes that the Australian Government can spend across the nation including Mr Brown’s home state of Tasmania,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“I cannot think of a more offensive comment for one Australian to call another. Bob Brown needs to repudiate this rubbish -- Brown needs to stick to the facts, and drop the disgusting attacks.”

Mr Smyth said the Bob Brown anti-job convoy had already demonstrated hypocrisy with the vehicles dependent on steel made from metallurgical coal and electric vehicles powered by thermal coal generated through Queensland Government-owned efficient generators.

“On behalf of those men and women working in our coal industry, Bob Brown should apologise for the attack on them by his supporters. Bob Brown is stirring up hysteria and these claims that jobs in Queensland coal mines are like Nazi gas chambers in World War Two are the bottom of the barrel," Mr Smyth said.

"As Mr Brown rallies against jobs in Brisbane, the economic contribution of the resources sector to both the capital region and regional economies is very significant," Mr Macfarlane said.

www.qrc.org.au

www.cfmeuqld.asn.au

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THE Queensland Resources Council has welcomed a bipartisan Parliamentary Committee’s recommendation to reject legislation proposing a ban on the development of coal reserves in the State’s Galilee Basin.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane, who gave evidence to the State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee and made a joint written submission with the CFMEU, said the legislation was written by the Greens to write off future jobs, investment, exports and royalties for all Queenslanders.

“I urge all Members of Parliament to vote against this Bill and reaffirm their commitment to the resources sector and acknowledge the 316,000 Queensland men and women working in it,” he said. 

“This sort of bumper sticker legislation is dangerous. It completely disregarded the facts that all mining projects are subject to a comprehensive environmental approval process, their operations are subject to an environmental authority and they undertake rehabilitation of the site,” Mr Macfarlane said.

The Mineral Resources (Galilee Basin) Amendment Bill 2018 proposed the Parliament: prohibits the grant of a coal mining lease for land in the Galilee Basin; terminates any existing coal mining leases for land in the Galilee Basin; amends any existing coal mining leases which overlap with land in the Galilee Basin to exclude that land; confirms that no compensation is payable to the mining lease holders affected by the Bill; and
requires the Mines Minister to table a report in the Legislative Assembly summarising the actions taken under the provisions of the Bill.

QRC and CFMEU’s joint submission to the Committee warned that the precedent for Parliament to cancel any approval or right will clearly deter future investment, future job creation and future economic development in other industries— not just coal mining.

There are numerous projects planned for Queensland. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science reported in a recent Resources and Energy Quarterly,  that in Queensland, there are: $22.9 billion in projects at the publicly-announced stage; $68.7 billion at the feasibility stage; $7.9 billion at the committed stage, and $2.1 billion at the completed stage.

The committee recommended  the Mineral Resources (Galilee Basin) Amendment Bill 2018 not be passed.

The committee also recommended that the Queensland State Government advocate for a consistent national framework for climate change policy and emission targets, as the current federal policy instability may hinder Queensland’s adoption of future climate change actions and pathways.

Mr Macfarlane said the Committee’s recommendation on consistent national framework for climate change policy and emission targets aligned with QRC’s policy.

www.qrc.org.au

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RENTAL property owners are being warned to ensure their claims are correct this tax time, as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announces it will double the number of audits scrutinising rental deductions.

In the 2017–18 financial year, more than 2.2 million Australians claimed over $47 billon in deductions. Assistant Commissioner Gavin Siebert said that this year, the ATO has made rental deductions a top priority.

“A random sample of returns with rental deductions found that nine out of 10 contained an error. We are concerned about the extent of non-compliance in this area and will be looking very closely at claims this year,” he said.

When it comes to dodgy claims, the ATO’s detection methods are becoming more advanced.

“We use a range of third party information including data from financial institutions, property transactions and rental bonds from all states and territories, and online accommodation booking platforms, in combination with sophisticated analytics to scrutinise every tax return,” Mr Siebert said.

“Where we identify claims of concern, ATO staff will investigate and prompt taxpayers to amend unjustifiable claims. If necessary, we will commence audits,” he said.

“Over-claiming robs the whole community of essential services and will not be tolerated by the Australian community. The Government recently allocated additional funds to the ATO to extend its program of audits and reviews of rental properties.

“We expect to more than double the number of in-depth audits we conduct this year to 4,500, with a specific focus on over-claimed interest, capital works claimed as repairs, incorrect apportionment of expenses for holiday homes let out to others, and omitted income from accommodation sharing,” Mr Siebert said.

“Once our auditors begin, they may search through even more data including utilities, tolls, social media and other online content to determine whether the taxpayer was entitled to claims they’ve made,” he said.

While no penalties will apply for taxpayers who amend their returns due to genuine mistakes, deliberate attempts to over-claim can attract penalties of up to 75 percent of the claim. In 2017–18, the ATO audited over 1,500 taxpayers with rental claims, and applied penalties totalling $1.3 million.

In one case, a taxpayer was penalised over $12,000 for over-claiming deductions for their holiday home when it was not made genuinely available for rent, including being blocked out over seasonal holiday periods. Another taxpayer had to pay back $5,500 because they had not apportioned their rental interest deduction to account for redraws on their investment loan to pay for living expenses.

“This tax time, our message to taxpayers is clear. If you are renting out a room or a property, any money you earn must be declared as income and any deductions you claim may need to be apportioned for private use,” Mr Siebert said.

Key issues the ATO is checking and asking about this tax time:

Is loan interest being claimed correctly?

If you took out a loan to purchase a rental property, you can claim interest (or a portion of the interest) as a deduction. However, if you use some of the loan money for personal use such as paying for living expenses, buying a boat or going on a holiday, you can’t claim the interest on that part of the loan. You can only claim the part of the interest that relates to the rental property.

Do you know the difference between capital works and repairs?

Repairs or maintenance to restore something that’s broken, damaged or deteriorating are deductible immediately. Improvements or renovations are categorised as capital works and are deductible over a number of years.

Initial repairs for damage that existed when the property was purchased, such as replacing broken light fittings or repairing damaged floor boards, can’t be claimed as an immediate deduction but may be claimed over a number of years as a capital works deduction.

Do you have a holiday home?

A holiday home is different to a rental investment property. A holiday home is generally a private asset you use for family holidays, for which you cannot claim expense deductions.

However if you let your property out at ‘mates rates’ (ie below market rates to family and friends) you can claim expenses up to the amount of income you receive. If your property is genuinely available for rent – which means making it available during key holiday periods, keeping it in a condition that people would want to rent it, and not unreasonably refusing tenants – it becomes more like a rental investment property and you can claim deductions for the days it is either rented or is genuinely available.

Have you kept records?

The number one cause of the ATO disallowing a claim is taxpayers being unable to produce receipts or other documents to support a claim. Furnishing fraudulent or doctored records will attract higher penalties and may also result in prosecution.

Dealing with disasters – damaged or destroyed property

For taxpayers whose income-generating investment properties are damaged during a natural disaster, the ATO has a range of support, advice and guidance available.

If your personal assets – such as your home or household goods – are damaged or destroyed in a disaster, there will generally be no tax consequences if you receive an insurance payout.

However, if an income-producing asset, such as an investment property, is damaged or destroyed, you’ll need to work out the correct tax treatment of insurance payouts you receive and your costs in rebuilding, repairing or replacing the assets.

The impacts of a natural disaster may affect the types of expenses you can claim and the income you need to declare for your rental property.
See: ato.gov.au/individuals/dealing-with-disasters/damaged-or-destroyed-property/rental-properties-and-business-premises/

For more information on holiday homes, visit ato.gov.au/holidayhomes

For more information on renting out all or part of your home, visit ato.gov.au/sharingeconomy

For general information on rental properties, including a suite of educational videos, visit ato.gov.au/rental

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LORd MAYOR Clover Moore today announced Sydney will launch a new mentoring scheme to support the next generation of women climate leaders.

Sydney, which will also host the annual Women4Climate Conference in 2020, will become the latest city globally to host the C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Program. The program will pair 20 inspiring emerging women leaders from diverse fields with established women leaders from across the city, business, government and civil society.

“Climate action is the City of Sydney’s top priority. Working together, women leaders from government, business and the community are transforming our cities,” Cr Moore said.

“We’re reducing the impact our urban centres have on the environment, while designing, building and governing places where people want to live. We know women are disproportionately impacted by climate change, and we know women leaders are both determined and effective.

“That’s why we are excited to host the 2020 Women4Climate conference and the mentoring program, to support current and emerging women leaders to become more effective in driving accelerated action on climate change.”

Sydney’s Women4Climate Mentorship Program will support emerging women leaders to become more expert influencers so they can accelerate action on climate change. The program will provide participants with the support they need to become even more effective leaders in their chosen field, including politics, business, public service, NGOs and the media.

The Sydney program will commence in May and run until the Women4Climate Conference in March 2020, where mentors and mentees will present on their projects and development.

“This mentoring program is another example of the City of Sydney’s work empowering women across both our workforce and our city,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We are proud to be the first local government organisation in Australia to monitor and publicly report on gender pay equity. Our latest review in 2018 revealed an overall pay gap of 7.5 percent in favour of women, compared to the national average of 14.6 per cent (in favour of men).

“Last year, we also introduced a new scheme to pay superannuation to employees on parental leave for up to one year, in an effort to bridge the superannuation gap.”

The Women4Climate initiative brings together mayors of the world’s leading cities, CEOs, climate experts and powerful women leaders from around the world to demonstrate and accelerate the power of women who are committed to creating a healthier, greener and more economically prosperous future.

Today, there are active Women4Climate Mentorship Programs in Paris, Tel Aviv-Yafo, London, Quito, Montreal and Vancouver, with upcoming programs in Auckland, Barcelona and New Orleans.

L’Oréal and Elle Magazine are the founding partners of the Women4Climate Initiative, with many of their own top managers participating in the scheme.

https://w4c.org/mentorship

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QUEENSLAND Resources Council (QRC) sees a brighter future than ever for resources as the world moves towards a low-carbon economy. In fact, QRC is calling the 200 electric vehicle (EV) convoy of former Greens leader Bob Brown as proof that resources such as coal, bauxite and iron ore are underpinning the switch to electric vehicles.

“As Queensland moves towards a low emission economy demand for resources will grow," QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

"Renewable energy and batteries used to store electricity need several mined metals and materials including bauxite, copper and nickel. Each of Bob Brown’s electric vehicles have four times more copper than a conventional car," he said.

“At any given time in Queensland close to 80 percent of the state’s electricity is powered by fossil fuels with the majority sourced from coal. It’s this electricity that is used to charge EVs and people’s smart phones.

“Once again, it’s a case of do as we say, not do as we do for anti-mining activists. But you can’t avoid the facts for long. And the facts are this convoy of cars are not only powered by coal but they are built with coal," Mr Macfarlane said.

“If it wasn’t for coal, this anti-jobs campaign would need to cross the Bass Strait in a wooden boat then walk to the Galilee Basin.

“If these activists truly wanted a coal free future they would have no choice but to end the journey immediately. If they continue, then their anti-jobs, anti-regional growth claims will have a very hollow ring to them.”

Mr Macfarlane called the 200 EV convoy of Bob Brown a case of "Bob the Gilder". He said 200 EVs represented:

  • 18 tonnes of copper
  • 75 tonnes of aluminium
  • 94 tonnes of coking coal to make the steel
  • 122 tonnes of steel
  • 300 tonnes of bauxite to make the aluminium
  • 342 tonnes of thermal coal 

"That’s a small mountain of about 950 tonnes of Queensland resources that is being used to protest against Queensland resources," Mr Macfarlance said.

"If you plug an electric car into the Queensland grid at the stroke of noon today, 17.3 percent of the electrons come from renewable sources like solar and hydro, but 12 percent come from gas and 70.7 percent from coal.

"So 82 kilometres in every 100 km driven are powered by fossil fuels. If the convoy drove only on renewable energy from Hobart to Alpha, they’d get about 455 km along the 2,628 km drive before they went flat.

"Adding an electric car on the grid is the equivalent in some cases to adding three houses. Electric cars often need an entire night to recharge at home and they can increase a house’s power consumption by 50 percent or more."

www.qrc.org.au

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PO Box 2144
MANSFIELD QLD 4122