One of ANDEV’s founding members Ron Manners has sent me this article on Special Economic Zones. It is worth a read and there are links in the article to further interesting information. Ron is Managing Director of Mannwest Group. He is also Emeritus Chairman of the Australian Mining Hall of Fame Ltd and a Fellow of both the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. His contributions to industry and Australia have been marked by several awards including being elected as a Mining Legend at the 2005 Excellence in Mining and Exploration Conference in Sydney. In 2010 Ron was appointed to the Board of Overseers for the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Washington, DC.
China continues to drive its economic growth by creating innovative SEZ’s. Eastern European countries like Macedonia have set up SEZ’s and attracted international companies that have brought investment and jobs. Australian politicians refuse to accept this successful economic development policy.
The Australian economy, meaning the private sector has to overcome the dead weight of the big rock of government regulation every minute of every dy. The attached article in the Australian newspaper on Monday clearly documents this burden. This cost has skyrocketed especially in Queensland and Victoria. In Victoria the cost is annually $28.6 B which is 45% of the States total general revenue! The total increase in the cost across all States and Federal Government over the four years to 2018/19 is $20.46 B.
Mrs. Gina Rinehart was tonight awarded the Champion of Entrepreneurship Award at the 2018 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
The Champion of Entrepreneurship award is an award at both regional and national levels and is awarded to a leader with a long-term record of outstanding entrepreneurial achievement.
Being selected to receive this lifetime achievement award is a testament to the outstanding entrepreneurial success of the Champion over many years.
This year and in recognition of sustained, outstanding entrepreneurial achievement, the 2018 Champion of Entrepreneurship is awarded to Mrs. Gina Rinehart. Mrs Rinehart, as Executive Chair of the HPPL group, Roy Hill and Kidman & Co, has significantly invested in Australia over decades in primary industries, creating thousands of jobs, opportunities for many, and billions of dollars of tax revenue. She received the Diggers and Dealers award twice, and more recently this year received the inaugural award for her contribution to West Australia’s development, in addition to other awards. Mrs Rinehart’s dedicated leadership and efforts changed the then troubled Hancock Prospecting Group, to the most successful private company in West Australia’s history, under her executive chairmanship.
Mrs Rinehart has been the leading light in the development of Northern Australia. She set up Australians For Northern Development and Economic Vision to wake up the community and political leaders to the potential that lies untapped in our North. She has directed many of her private investments into Northern Australia. A true pioneer and entrepreneurial Australian.
The Ernst and Young awards were held at a black tie ceremony at the Crown Towers, Perth. Due to international commitments, Mrs. Rinehart was unable to attend, however her goddaughter, Jennifer, proudly accepted the award on her behalf.
Mrs Rinehart sends her sincerest apologies for being unable to attend in person tonight however she is honoured to accept this award in recognition of her long-term achievement and significant contribution to the Australian economy and community.
As you would be aware, Mrs Rinehart is a leading figure in the Australian business community who has a long and proud history of investing in Australia, creating thousands of jobs and providing opportunities for many.
Since becoming Executive Chairman of the financially troubled Hancock Prospecting Group in 1992, Mrs Rinehart has steered the group to become one of Australia’s most successful, diverse and iconic businesses. With major achievements including the development of the mega Roy Hill project, the construction of three major iron ore mines at Hope Downs with joint-venture partner Rio Tinto, with a fourth to be completed this year, and the considerable expansion of Hancock’s agricultural business, now the second largest producer of cattle in Australia and encompassing the world class 2GR Wagyu and Bannister Downs Dairy. Hancock Prospecting, after decades of Mrs Rinehart’s hard work and effort, is now Australia’s largest private taxpayer paying more than $3 billion in taxes since 2011.
A deeply philanthropic woman, Mrs Rinehart’s generous and special charitable endeavours are only possible because of her exceptional entrepreneurial skills and include a number of women’s health and children’s rights organisations like the Path of Hope Foundation and Parkerville Children and Youth Care Foundation, support for defence personnel through the SAS Resources Trust, Breast Cancer research and care facilities including a $5m dollar donation for the major redevelopment of St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney and her now famous pink mining trucks in recognition of the fight against breast cancer. Through her success in business and personal efforts funds were able to be provided for the rebuild of the new Ronald MacDonald House here in Perth and the also overseas to Cambodian Children’s Fund, and these are just to name a few. A champion for equality, women’s rights and education and the fight against violence against women and children, Mrs Rinehart is an inspiration not just for women in the business community to work hard, excel and become an entrepreneur for but all Australians to be inspired by and proud of.
With a passion and vision of creating a better Australia, with reduced red tape, economic stability and recognition of the importance of the agricultural and mining industries in Australia’s future, Mrs Rinehart is an iconic and worthy recipient of this award and I am proud to accept it on her behalf.
Farm Online, Daniel Wild, Research Fellow, Institute of Public Affairs
Red tape is destroying farming communities, yet the best the Turnbull government can do is launch another review.
At end of March, the government announced it would undertake a review into the red tape imposed on farmers by federal environmental regulation.
But this review, like most others, will end up providing a massive pay day for the bureaucrats who run it, only to sit on the shelf and gather dust for decades to come.
What is so troubling is that the government is not taking this issue seriously.
In announcing the review, the government said they would be “weeding out unnecessary red tape for farmers.”
Red tape is more than just a few weeds that need to be pulled out.
Only root and branch reform, involving the total extermination of red tape, and the bureaucratic pests which impose it, will help restore prosperity and opportunity to the agricultural sector.
Here’s how to do it.
Firstly, the Commonwealth government should announce a moratorium on all new rules being imposed on the agricultural sector for the next five years. As it currently stands, many farmers are not even aware of the rules that apply to them. And how could they be? Seemingly every week a new rule is introduced at the local, state, or federal level. Busy and productive landowners simply cannot keep up. They haven’t got all day to sit around reading the official government registrar of new rules when there are fields to be ploughed, cows to be miked, and livestock to be attended to.
Secondly, the Commonwealth government should remove itself from regulating the agricultural sector. That sector is already heavily regulated at state and local levels. Additional interference at the federal level just leads to more duplication and overlap.
Thirdly, the greatest red tape impost occurs at the state level through native vegetation regulation. Such laws require private landowners to maintain or expand the extent of native vegetation on their private property. This effectively results in the sterilisation of productive farmland, which can severely undermine the economic potential of that farmland and throw farmers and their families into chaos.
Moreover, this is greatly insulting to farmers. They know far more than city-based bureaucrats about how to sustainably manage their farmland. After all, many farmers have been on the land for generations. They know what they are doing. If green groups feel so strongly about native vegetation, then they should buy their own land, not force farmers to give up their livelihood.
While native vegetation regulation is a state issue, there is one thing the feds can do. Whenever a state government sterilises privately held land to conserve native vegetation, the Commonwealth government should redirect a portion of the relevant state’s GST share to the affected farmer. This would rapidly change the incentives that state governments face, and ensure farmers are properly compensated for the forced sterilisation of their productive farmland.
But it’s not just our farmers that are suffering under the weight of red tape. Red tape in Australia is at a crisis point. Each year red tape reduces economic output by a staggering $176 billion, which is 11 per cent of GDP. This makes red tape Australia’s largest industry.
Thanks to red tape and high taxes, business investment in Australia is just 12 per cent of GDP, which is lower than what it was during the economically hostile Whitlam years. Wages growth is stagnating. And more than 700,000 Australians are without work.
Now is not the time for another review. Now is the time for action. The Turnbull government must cut red tape to unleash to productive potential of Australia’s farmers.
Daniel Wild is a Research Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs
Allison Adani*, The Sunday Mail (Qld) July 7, 2018 10
CAMPBELL Newman made a fatal error when he sacked 14,000 Queensland public servants.
It really should’ve been at least five times that number.
His bold attempt to save the Queensland taxpayers billions and to sharpen frontline government services by eliminating a quagmire of unnecessary red tape in middle management failed miserably.
But never fear. Many of those clowns are now back at the public circus on hefty contracts (with their previous redundancy safely tucked away in a term deposit).
Alternatively, they’ve happily moved on to brighter horizons and been duly replaced (almost three-fold) by the Palaszczuk Labor Government.
How do I know? Because as a lowly ranked public servant I have to deal with the frustration of that increasingly inefficient, bloated, empowered and entitled middle management every moment of every workday.
Newman’s noble attempts unfortunately created a voting bloc of angry left-leaning union-fuelled sycophants who carry out the bidding of whatever bumbling, stumbling, mumbling minister they dutifully work under.
Now no Queensland politician of any stripe would dare go anywhere near the over 220,000-strong public circus or suggest “savings” or “efficiencies”.
Queensland has unconsciously handed over control to the unions who are the actual string-pullers of state government.
A risk-averse, gutless government has resulted in a nil-risk public service full of yay-saying nodding dogs.
You can catch us every weekday morning marching in perfect stride, three abreast along George or Albert streets in corporate dress and running shoes.
We disappear into our office fortresses as we proudly don our government IDs complete with PC rainbow-coloured lanyards (we are instructed not to wear ID in public lest we be accosted by kidnappers or terrorists).
The glass security doors glide open as we obsequiously submit to another day of self-perpetuating chaos.
At our designer standup desk bubble, we feel safe in the knowledge that our jobs are secure and our superannuation is accruing exponentially.
All of this while Roma burns; (or any other town outside of the southeast corner actually).
A rigorous regime of learnt helplessness trains us to dutifully close our eyes to an increasingly toxic culture where bullying by workplace sociopaths is rewarded by promotion and plaudits by the powerful.
We amuse ourselves with almost daily morning teas in our “pods”, serving up tasteless gluten-free fare so the vegans and coeliacs are catered for above all others (not that they ever actually lower their exacting standards to indulge themselves).
Within an apparently “caring, equitable, inclusive” environment we have an officially sanctioned, incredibly worthy, ultra-PC “cause of the week”.
It is always front of mind courtesy of a propagandist barrage of emails, posters, screensavers and foyer displays (complete with free stuff like pens, notepads and lollies).
Apparently, the biggest blight on the public circus landscape are white, middle-aged males who are treated with increasing disdain.
This endemic attitude is perpetrated by Annastacia’s “petticoat government” (as my dear old Dad would say).
Now at less than 35 per cent of the public circus, men have targets on their foreheads, courtesy of a recruitment process that is obviously skewed against them (unless they exhibit some obvious diversity or a serious disability).
There is lots of talk about “Girl Power” and high-fives around the corridors as fan-girls celebrate the latest feats of valour by Annastacia, Jackie, Grace (x2), Yvette and the lolly pink-lipsticked dragon-slayer and Minister for Everything (or nothing) – Kate Jones.
Of course, those of us girls who refuse to join in on the crowing and cooing are ostracised from the all-important Friday afternoon “woine toime” at the pub where all the real business (i.e. gossip) gets done.
Management in cahoots with HR, design selection criteria that renders it virtually impossible for anyone other than insiders or worded-up mates and relatives to get a look-in on jobs. The process requires a “Da Vinci Code” style of specific language and buzzwords that only allows for mindless box-ticking by cobbled-together selection panels.
The Government points proudly to its “Working for Queensland” survey which apparently shows all of us in the circus delighted with our lot in life.
The problem is that everyone is terrified to speak out truthfully as the mandatory questions in the supposedly anonymous survey easily identify individual respondents.
The “code of conduct” with its very strict rules and regulations is used as a big stick by management, effectively smothering any acting or thinking creatively or offering innovative solutions to Queensland’s increasingly complex problems.
This all helps breed an environment of mistrust, backstabbing and an obsession with holidays, retirement plans or the golden public circus panacea – sick leave.
I’ve taken to collecting “early retirement as a result of sickness” stories with an astonishing list of excuses. (Getting taken away in an ambulance from anywhere near George, William or Albert streets is advised for maximum dramatic effect).
Depression and anxiety are rife, but with little choice and fear of the non-cloistered world outside we stay put, hating our jobs, hating our colleagues and hating our lives.
So what does someone like me do? Hope for a change of government in Queensland? (I wish!) Stay and descend further and further into the malaise? Or just leave?
Well, no. The wages are good, the super is great and besides, I’d miss all those yummy morning teas.
For a country which has benefited immensely from the liberal international order and modern economic development, Australia has done remarkably little to facilitate the development of some of its own territory.
Northern Australia – usually defined as everything above the Tropic of Capricorn – has always been the poor relation of the more densely-populated areas of New South Wales, Victoria, and southern Queensland.
Although it accounts for roughly half of Australia’s landmass, it is home to only 5.5% of the population, and generates only 11.7% of GDP. And while the harsh climate and lack of infrastructure linking it to the rest of the country pose challenges, there are ample economic opportunities to be unlocked by a government with the vision to create effective policy.
The vision set out for the north of Australia has so far failed to get underway; though things looked positive during the mining boom, a strategy for long-term development and success needs to be implemented. The north, with its ports, agriculture and abundant untapped primary resources, has huge potential to grow its population, improve employment, and support emerging markets in Asia.
Change appeared to be on the horizon in 2015, when the Australian government released the inspiring-sounding Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia which outlined that:
“It is not the Commonwealth Government’s role to direct, or be the principal financier of, development. Developing the north is a partnership between investors (local and international investors who provide capital and know-how) and governments (that create the right investment conditions).”
While the document set a promising tone, it has yet to translate into effective policy. One outcome of the White Paper was the establishment of the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility, an initiative which, in theory, operates in partnership with businesses to develop vital infrastructure. In the two years since the initiative was established, it has approved just two loans totalling $23.98 million – a tiny fraction of the $5 billion allocated when it was created.
Rather than trying to develop the north by government edict, it’s time for a different approach, ideally the use of Special Economic Zones. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are specific regions within a nation which have tax, tariff, and other regulatory incentives to promote investment. While SEZs are not a guarantee of success, Northern Australia is a perfect example of a region that could benefit from them.
Establishing SEZs in Northern Australia would allow for the sort of business-led development the government called for back in 2015. A streamlined regulatory process, including reformed labour market regulations, and reduced business and personal income tax rates will encourage businesses and individuals to move north.
The trouble is, the Australian Constitution explicitly prohibits the creation of such zones in the States. And while the constitution can be amended, it very rarely is.
Fortunately, a significant part of the region is the Northern Territory. Unlike states, territories are the domain of the federal parliament, meaning an SEZ is perfectly feasible. SEZs provide a testing ground for changes in tax and regulation, and this could be done in the Northern Territory. If successful, zones could then be created in the rest of the north if the Commonwealth gave states power over regulation and tax rates.
In the 2015 white paper, the government stated that it would not create a Special Economic Zone in the north because it wanted to implement reforms “which are in the national scope” – this has hampered the growth of the north and is completely meaningless.
John McLaren of Charles Darwin University has argued that if the government is serious about developing Northern Australia, it needs to consider tax reform. McLaren argues that without taxation benefits the north will not attract investment and will remain relatively undeveloped.
The need for action is obvious. Since 2015 Australia has fallen in The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, while the Northern Territory is 10th out of Australia’s 13 regions in terms of contribution to GDP growth over the past three decades.
This is especially frustrating as both the Territory and Northern Australia as a whole have huge potential in primary and extractive industries, tourism, and agriculture. Given its geography, there is also ample scope to enhance Australia’s trade with its neighbours.
With 11 of its top 15 trading partners in Asia, that matters for both the Australian economy and emerging economies in the region.
SEZs in Northern Australia would encourage investment from all over the world and enhance Australia’s already exports of agricultural products and primary resources, helping to provide food and infrastructure which Asia needs.
Encouraging the development of the north will also lead to greater connectivity by establishing a major city on the north coast, much closer to the Asian capitals than Sydney or Perth. A feasibility report has been published by Australian Venture Consultants who have argued the case for establishing the north-western town of Broome as a major city in the north. It already has the basic infrastructure needed to establish a hub in the region, and its geography, seaport, and international airport make it an ideal civic centre to further develop as the effective “Capital of the North”.
It is time for politicians to translate their warm words into meaningful action and give the long-neglected north the attention it deserves. Should they do so, the benefits for both Australia and its neighbours would be substantial.
Executive Chairman of the Hancock Prospecting Group, Roy Hill and S. Kidman & Co
American Chamber of Commerce in Australia’s (AmCham) 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner
Friday 25 May 2018, Adelaide
Thank you April for such a lovely and warm introduction.
Good evening Governor Hieu Van Le, Mrs Le, Premier Marshall, Acting US Ambassador James Carouso, our Kidman partner Mr Gui, Minister Canavan, Senator Bernardi, other Members of Parliament, distinguished guests and friends.
It is an honour to be here with you tonight to mark AmCham’s 50th anniversary. I am also happy to be back in Adelaide – an area I always enjoy visiting.
Can we please start with a very big round of applause for AmCham as they mark their 50-year milestone?
This is a memorable weekend in Adelaide as tomorrow night is the sold out celebration of the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s 90th anniversary – a great organisation that does so much for our rural communities.
And, can I also acknowledge new South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and Mr Gui who are both in the audience tonight. It is wonderful to welcome you both here.
Mr Gui, our Kidman & Co business partner, is also the person who brought AFL football to China for the first time last year and just over a week ago, the second AFL match in China was played.
Congratulations to Port Adelaide on your second win in China!
As April mentioned, Hancock Prospecting first became a member of AmCham in 1994 and we are delighted to be part of your organisation.
AmCham is an important voice between the USA and Australia assisting commerce, investment and people-to-people links between our two nations.
Australia and the United States share a historic alliance and July 4th this year marks 100 years of mateship between our countries.
It was back on the 4th of July 1918 during the Battle of Hamel in Northern France that for the first time in US history, elements of the US Army were commanded operationally by non-American officers, including Australia’s Sir John Monash.
Australia is also the only country in the world that has fought side by side with the United States in every battle for the last 100 years.
In turn, the USA has done much to protect our country, including during the Second World War, in our dire hours of need. Thank you America, is a huge understatement, but should long be remembered.
Last year on the USS Intrepid in New York, I was very fortunate to hear President Trump speak about the strong bonds between our countries and briefly outline his vision for America.
As President Trump says, America will forever be “a nation of pioneers and patriots, risk takers and renegades, aviators and astronauts. We crave adventure and achievement, exploration and enlightenment.
The United States, under President Trump’s leadership, is showing everyone they are open for business and investment, and truly on the way to making the USA great again.
In America, President Trump has slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and government red tape is being cut, with the Trump administration slashing 22 regulations for every new one.
All we have to do is to look at what is happening across the Pacific Ocean to see that cutting company taxes and decreasing tape is good for the economy, small business owners, workers, the unemployed, individuals and families.
Isn’t it exciting what is happening now in the USA.
Here are some exciting facts, much more exciting than fake news:
The unemployment rate fell below 4 per cent for the first time in nearly 20 years;
Unemployment claims are at their lowest level in nearly 50 years;
Over 3 million jobs have been created in a year;
Business optimism at an all-time high;
The stock market has repeatedly reached record highs;
Investment is strong and rising;
Wages are rising with the usual weekly paycheck for the median worker rising by its fastest rate in nearly a decade;
Consumer confidence at a near 18-year high, beating predictions;
The unemployment rate for African-Americans and Hispanics has fallen to record lows; and
Female unemployment is at a near two decade low.
President Trump said earlier this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos: “Now is the perfect time to bring your business, your jobs and your investments to the United States this is especially true because we have undertaken the most extensive regulatory reduction ever conceived. Regulation is stealth taxation. The U.S., like many other countries, has unelected bureaucrats, and we have — believe me, we have them all over the place — and they’ve imposed crushing and anti-business and anti-worker regulations on our citizens with no vote, no legislative debate and no real accountability in America. Those days are over… We are freeing our businesses so they can thrive and flourish we are creating an environment that attracts capital, invites investment and rewards production. America is the place to do business, so come to America where you can innovate, create, and build.”
President Trump, when addressing the National Republican Congressional Committee Dinner in March, also said: “We’ve also ended the crushing onslaught of federal and other regulation. That’s a big deal… some people consider what we’ve done on regulation as important and some even more important than the tremendous tax cuts because the regulations were killing our country. Together, we have set a record for cutting the red tape — passing a record number of bills to permanently remove job-killing regulations. All over the country, they’re building now where they had no chance of getting going.”
President Trump is backing up his words with actions. This is the kind of economic leadership we need here in Australia from our politicians and governments.
The US under his leadership, is showing everyone they want investment and all of the associated benefits that go with it of sustainable jobs, higher living standards, higher take home pay after tax and bringing people out of unemployment and self-esteem destroying welfare, to restoring their lives with employment.
Having lived in mainly Texas in America with my American husband during the 1980’s, then in the early 1990’s in Massachusetts, and enjoyed recent visits, it’s exciting to see the excitement of many Americans about their country and its growing opportunities under its current leadership, making America great again.
Small business in particular are feeling very positive about the future and President Trump.
It’s sometimes forgotten that all large businesses – be that Apple, Amazon or American Express – all start off small.
We all should know that one of the fundamental elements of a strong economy is a thriving small business sector, so it is very encouraging to see small business optimism at its highest point in more than 30 years according to the largest small business association in the US.
President Trumps’ reforms have also been good for wages. Small business employees saw their wages grow in April at the strongest rate in more than two years, large companies such as Home Depot and Verizon have given their staff bonuses and raises. Such raises and bonuses being more possible when taxes and the expensive burden of government are being reduced. The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that annual American household income will be boosted.
A double win for hard-working Americans and business!
Well, here is where I’d like to say, ‘and your friends across in Australia are keenly watching the benefits less tax and less red tape bring, and are rapidly following suit, not with words and promises for the future, but action.’
I should then be able to sit down, with expressing huge thanks to President Trump for such leadership.
Very sadly for Australians and our future, no.
So, what has this fourth generation Australian done?
I started Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision (ANDEV) some six plus years ago, with my friend Imants and like-minded Australians.
ANDEV has remarkably similar policies to President Trump, recommending cutting taxes and tape to encourage investment and growth.
We were delighted all three major parties agreed pre elections to introduce such policies federally.
I wrote a book, Northern Australia and Then Some, which preached such policies, and launched this and its second edition, around Australia, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, and others kindly launched elsewhere.
With federal government permission, I started national days for mining and more recently, agriculture and their related industries.
I’ve continued giving speeches around the country, and for years have been a regular feature writer for Australian Resources and Investment, and written a second book, From Red Tape to Red Carpet, borrowing famous words from another great leader I admire, for his slashing of red tape, and endeavours to raise the living standards of his people, Indian Prime Minister Modi.
Goodness, if Prime Minister Modi can slash red tape in his country at federal levels, with some states following through, after British and USSR big government, big bureaucracy influence and notorious Indian government red tape, wouldn’t you think it would be a relatively easy task to do in Australia!?
But no, there’s talk, and in Prime Minister Abbott’s time, tape was cut for charities and childcare, but tape really needs to be cut to help the economy, investment and hence living standards. Yes, those two words should be more often linked, investment and living standards, as raising living standards depends upon investment.
The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has done some good research on red tape, and found, that there was far less red tape in the anti-business Whitlam government times, than there is today, and that this certainly cannot only be blamed on the Labor Party.
Indeed, far from that.
Today, we have more red tape, and as a consequence, together with high taxation which supports big government, there is less investment pro rata, than under the Whitlam government, when investment dried to a trickle.
And yes, I’ve supported the IPA in their important work looking at the red tape problem, and reducing the huge costs of government in this country, and I wish more business leaders would follow suit, given the very real importance of this.
The latest Rich List, which is often described as the hate list, is out and there are many of these estimators these days, but it would be great to see more of those on such lists doing far more to support and try to progress both reducing tape and taxes.
Especially now that Prime Minister Modi and President Trump have led the way, and the very beneficial results of such reductions are clear to see.
Unfortunately, Australians have governments that can use their increasing power to the detriment of those who speak out, be that via increasing tax audits, ASIC, withholding or delaying approvals, which can have huge consequences.
So huge thanks to those brave enough to speak out, to help our country and its future, and let’s all remember, “countries get the government they deserve!”
Let us try to improve on this in Australia!
In case you think it does not matter to me, the consequences of speaking out in the interests of our country, we currently have more than seven billion dollars to repay for the mega Roy Hill project. This project needed more than 4000 approvals, permits and licences, pre-construction, plus more for construction. More are required to increase our capacity to 60 million tonnes per annum, important in this uncertain reduced iron ore price situation, especially with such huge debt obligations.
And after paying top dollar to ensure the iconic Fossil Downs station in WA stays in Australian hands, a station which two huge rivers run through, but without reliable access to that water, only about one third of the station can be used, cattle must have water, yes, we and others in the Kimberley’s need access to such water.
The Fitzroy River for instance, has only very few water licenses, so more than 99 percent of the Fitzroy flows uselessly to the sea. That’s equivalent for an average year, filling the huge Sydney Harbour 14 times.
Why do we really need to have further restrictions on environmental grounds? With even a few more percent of that water able to be accessed, we could grow crops, and reliably allow more water to be available to grow herds, creating more jobs and revenue for the debt-ridden state of WA.
And if you think, Australia already has a huge cattle industry, does it? Look at Brazil, a similar sized country, yet it has approximately ten times the head of cattle we have.
Look at Queensland, a much smaller state than West Australia, you’d expect west Australia would have far more cattle, wouldn’t you. No, Queensland has more than 10 million head of cattle and West Australia, approximately 2 million head.
Cattle need assured water to survive.
Our company still invests in Australia, and has made huge investments in Kidman to bring it up to our Hancock properties levels, which I’ve already spoken about in other forums, including investing in technology such as digitalised UHF communications systems, solar pumps, improved weaner cradles and more, all to help management and safety and cattle.
But like many other companies with Australia’s high government costs and burdens of red tape, our Australian company has been forced to also look overseas for its investment, and future business ventures.
One of these I thought might have some interest to AmCham, with both America’s and Australia’s huge agricultural industries, and consequent need for fertiliser, and that is our move towards Sirius Minerals.
In 2016, Hancock Prospecting committed to making its first major overseas investment in Britain.
Sirius Minerals is developing the world’s largest deposit of polyhalite, a rare mineral containing four (potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium) of the six macro-nutrients used in multi-nutrient plant fertilizers.
Located in North Yorkshire, this project will involve constructing a new mine, building a 37km underground conveyor system, developing a granulation facility and upgrading port facilities. Its initial production capacity is 10 million tonnes per annum, with the potential to reach 20Mtpa through subsequent phases of development.
This project will deliver a new and natural product, which fits with Hancock’s long-term investment in agriculture and will provide a product of value to many Australian farmers. Some of its produce will also be available for international markets.
As I’m in South Australia, may I ask, wasn’t Sir Sidney an outstanding example of an Australian entrepreneur?
Sir Sidney at age 13 with little education, left his home near Adelaide with only a few shillings in his pocket, the clothes on his back, a thin rug rolled up with a rope and his one-eyed horse Cyclopes who he bought himself.
From there, he worked on and bought his first station, just before the turn of the century, and built up the largest pastoral empire in Australia and the world.
My grandfather, James Nicholas, was a friend and business partner with Sir Sidney Kidman and they held some stations together.
James Nicholas brought to then young Sidney Kidman’s attention that he’d heard some men were finding minerals out in country areas, and told his young friend, that meant they’d need supplies, mail, coaches and horses to pull.
My grandfather said he didn’t have enough horses and would need more. They collaborated on establishing and rapidly expanding an extensive passenger, mail and supplies coach business that serviced outback areas, across Australia such as Broken Hill, Wentworth, Booligal, Milparinka, and Innamincka.
As my grandfather said in The Sunday Times in 1925: “My old coaching partner, Sid Kidman, now Sir Sidney… he is a good sort.”
We plan to build on the historic legacy of my great grandfather, my grandfathers and Sir Sidney Kidman by building our Hancock and S. Kidman & Co properties into one of the world’s top agribusiness by driving exports of improved Kidman beef and investing in, and after approvals, implementing practical technology, and industry-leading practices.
At Kidman, we are not taking any profits from the business. Rather, we are investing all of our profits from last year and this year into producing happier and healthier cattle, better conditions for station staff and station management, and technological advancements.
For instance, we are also trailing drones on our properties to monitor factors such as cattle movements, dam levels and fences for example. Drones have been used very successfully in the mining industry and we are adapting the usage of them across to agriculture.
With the recent change in government, South Australia has a timely opportunity to build its agriculture and compete strongly with Australia’s other leading agricultural states.
Unfortunately, one factor holding us and many other agribusinesses back from further investing in our businesses, are expensive, time-delaying, onerous and duplicated government regulations.
In South Australia, two areas of regulation – water and transportation – are hampering agribusiness from growing and operating more productively.
As we should know, access to water is an animal welfare issue yet, unfortunately, governments still make it difficult and costly to obtain water licences and approvals to build and develop new water points.
Additional water points across stations stop cattle having to walk long distances in the heat between existing watering points, and is a means of better utilizing our properties.
For example, even building a dam on your station requires multiple approvals. We’re not talking dams the size of football fields but dams, in some cases, with similar circumference as your tables, need onerous and multiple approvals in order to be built.
At Innamincka Station, our Kidman & Co property in the north-east of South Australia, it took us 10 months, or approximately 300 days to get approval from Adelaide bureaucrats to install a single bore.
Just to install a simple bore, you must achieve multiple layers of approvals from the government that may include cultural, national park, native vegetation and other aspects.
Now, Innamincka is not a new station – it dates back to the 1860s and it has been held by Kidman for more than 100 years. It is also designated as a regional reserve resulting in extra regulation and needing to complete annual pastoral paperwork. So, the government departments already should know a significant amount about Innamincka, they receive regular reports. Yet, we are still required to go through slow, duplicated and costly regulations to do things that are in the animals and the stations interests.
Furthermore, on some key outback routes in South Australia, cattle producers are still only allowed to haul up to two trailers between stations and to meatworks, not the three trailers permitted on outback roads in the Northern Territory, West Australia and Queensland. This restriction results in extra and unnecessary costs per head of cattle.
Only recently have trucks pulling three trailers (each trailer carrying approximately 40 head of cattle) been able to travel along certain roads in South Australia.
Trucks pulling three trailers from Queensland into South Australia can only get as far as Port Augusta, approximately 300km to the north of Adelaide, before having to be broken up because of South Australian regulations.
The breaking up of road trains often involves a layover somewhere where cattle need to be herded off trucks into yards and then re-loaded back onto trucks. This off-loading and re-loading is stressful for cattle, especially in the heat.
In addition, we are not allowed to drive our trucks pulling three trailers anywhere near
the town of Dublin, which is around 70km north of Adelaide, even though it is South Australia’s main livestock selling centre. These trucks have to be broken up.
Hauling three trailers allows for more livestock to be transported in a more efficient manner, reducing the number of trucks on the road and reducing truck journeys by a third.
Finally, South Australia also has further opportunities to attract investment in agriculture if it does not enact damaging policy such as what has sadly happened in Queensland recently.
The introduction of complex and costly vegetation management legislation will hamper Queensland’s ability to produce sustainable food, and grain for our growing population.
This legislation, which unfairly restricts how land can be managed in the most ideal way for the environment, and livestock, will have impacts well beyond the farm.
Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan, who is in the audience tonight, is right when he says “like foresters and fishermen before them, farmers are now being demonised by some environmental activists – no longer portrayed as caring custodians of the land but rather as greedy wreckers of the environment.”
There is a simple principle that this legislation disregards: pastoralists and farmers know their land, and how best to care for it.
Even better than bureaucrats sitting in town offices far away! The farmer’s very livelihoods depend on it!
Much farming and pastoral land is passed down through generation to generation so those on it have a strong incentive to look after it, and it’s that generations of first-hand, practical and sensible land management knowledge that enables the pastoralists and farmers to know how best to treat and use their land.
With drought, floods, fires, isolation, distance from city amenities, and difficulty in attracting and retaining staff, pastoralists and farmers already have enough to deal with. Many are small or family businesses without administrative head offices in capital cities. They do not need further onerous city red tape about when and how they can use and care for their land.
Queensland is Australia’s number one agriculture producing state but with these laws, it leaves a huge opportunity for South Australia.
If Queensland and West Australia continue down their current paths of burdening the agricultural industry, and South Australia heads down a path of red tape repeal, and lowering those taxes and licence fees within its control, South Australia could see investment flow to it, and, an exciting future.
And no need to take my word for it, I’ll leave on screen, what’s happening in the USA, with tape and tax cuts!
Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Agriculture and the Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association have joined forces to explore whether there is appetite to create a group which could work with the State Government to help shape its vision for the Fitzroy River.
An invitation to discuss the potential for forming a steering group has been issued to key stakeholders who would be affected by the State Government’s Fitzroy River election commitments.
The commitments involve creation of the Fitzroy River National Park and the development of a management plan for the Fitzroy catchment, incorporating a water-allocation plan to ensure the long-term health of the river.
As part of its commitments, the Government has also stated the Fitzroy River and its tributaries will not be dammed.
Pastoralists in the area are concerned that, aside from stifling further economic progress, the reclamation of land and preventing livestock from accessing drinking water by fencing off the river could cause productivity losses amounting to tens of millions of dollars.
Although there is no detail yet on planned boundaries for the national park, because of their locations Mrs Rinehart’s Fossil Downs and Liveringa stations, and the Harris family’s Gogo Station, are expected to be among the biggest losers from the Government’s national park plans.
Hancock Agriculture would not comment yesterday.
The catchment management plan, meanwhile, could affect up to 48 pastoral leases.
A letter sent by the KPCA on Tuesday invited pastoralists, Aboriginal traditional owners, environmental groups and some government agencies to attend an initial exploratory meeting on June 22 at Fitzroy Crossing.
Alastair Shields, most recently chief executive of the Northern Territory Department of Tourism and Culture, will act as independent chair of the meeting.
The planned evening meeting follows a community consultation started by the McGowan Government in March, which involved a meeting in the area hosted by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, Water Minister Dave Kelly, and Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt.
Traditional land owners and representatives of Aboriginal groups, pastoralists, environmental organisations, government and industry took part.