Sky News: US investment and improved technology key to the success of business in Australia

by 24 April 2020

































Hancock Prospecting Executive Chairman Gina Rinehart says she would like to see Australia “welcome US investment” to improve the “sustainability, safety, productivity and competitiveness” of Australian businesses. Ms Rinehart said she initially needed “to borrow more than US seven billion (dollars)” to fund her $10 million dollar iron ore mining operation at Roy Hill. The project went on to become a financial success and broke records as the “largest largely green field debt funding from mainland resource projects anywhere in the world,” she said. According to Ms Rinehart, “the USA is a world leader in technology, automation and robotics which along with cutting red tape and taxes, is critical to improving productivity and competitiveness in Australian businesses”. Efficient train operations and battery technology had helped to reduce power costs for her company, she said. Ms Rinehart is now in the process of contributing towards the development of an interim solution targeting “improved protocols to help patients suffering with COVID-19”.


The Alliance - View here




Coronavirus crisis: WA mining magnate Gina Rinehart calls for greater Australian self-sufficiency after COVID-19

by 23 April 2020

Article by Daniel Newell courtesy of The West Australian

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed weaknesses in Australia’s supply chains and emphasised the need for the country to become more self-sufficient, says WA mining magnate Gina Rinehart.

Ms Rinehart said as well as producing our own hospital equipment and medical supplies, Australia also needed to become less reliant on overseas manufacturers to meet Australia’s vital defence needs.

“We cannot rely on parts from overseas. We should have the capability to make what we need on our own shores,” Ms Rinehart told Sky News in an interview to be aired tonight.

But she said the high cost of doing business in Australia remained the biggest obstacle to achieving greater self-sufficiency.

“We must cut the biggest part of those costs, taxes and tape, to encourage investment,” she said.

“History has shown that propping up industries with government handouts isn’t the best solution.”

The Federal Government has already handed out more than $210 billion in assistance packages to workers and businesses to keep staff employed during the pandemic and spare mass closures across almost every sector of the economy.

The Reserve Bank of Australia believes the economy will begin to bounce back from September if the country continues to ease restrictions and keep a lid on the coronavirus.

But it warned Australia needed to brace itself for an unemployment rate above 6 per cent over the next couple of years after reaching an expected peak of about 10 per cent in June.

National output was likely to fall by about 10 per cent over the first half of 2020, with most of this decline taking place in the June quarter.

Total hours worked in Australia are likely to fall by about 20 per cent over the first half of this year.
Ms Rinehart — who owns vast mining and pastoral operations in WA and across Australia — again called on the Government to launch major tax reform and cut red tape to help the economy recover after COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.

“With COVID-19 putting Australia into recession, with skyrocketing debts and interest, after already suffering four years of severe drought and extensive bushfires, we should no longer be talking about cutting tax and government tape,” she said.

“We need to let our economy recover and significantly cut tax and tape now.”

Rinehart calls for tax reform, less red tape

by 23 April 2020

Article by Ticky Fullerton courtesy of the Australian


Major tax reform and cutting red tape is imperative if Australia is to attract the investment to help it recover from COVID-19.


That’s the message from mining magnate Gina Rinehart in an exclusive interview to be aired tonight on Sky News’s The Alliance.


It follows the unusually prescriptive comments from RBA governor Philip Lowe on Wednesday that the government should have a strong focus on making Australia “a great place for businesses to expand, invest, innovate or hire people”. Lowe cited a need for reform in tax, innovation and in industrial relations.


Rinehart has been calling for reform for many years, but says with the coronavirus crisis it is time for governments to walk the talk if Australia is to attract the investment needed to drive productivity.


“With COVID-19 putting Australia into recession, with skyrocketing debts and interest, after already suffering four years of severe drought and extensive bushfires, we should no longer be talking about cutting tax and government tape. We need to let our economy recover and significantly cut tax and tape now.”


Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting is the majority owner of Australia’s single largest iron ore mine Roy Hill, a $10bn project with a heavy haul railway running over 340km and purpose-built port facilities. With the iron ore price remarkably resilient throughout the crisis, Roy Hill has been fully open for business. From the start, the success of the project was underpinned by US investment. “We needed to borrow more than $US7bn,which was quite a task, given this became the largest largely greenfield debt funding for a mainland resource project in the world’s history,” Rinehart says.


“We are proud to say we are ahead of time paying back the 19 major banks and five export credit agencies and have given General Electric’s magnificent train locomotives a very warm welcome in the Pilbara!”


As of January 30, 2019, 3874 loaded ore trains have delivered over 123 million tonnes to port.


Rinehart is clearly an admirer of the reform agenda in the US under Donald Trump that has -attracted Australian business dollars, including the $2bn investment from packaging pioneer Anthony Pratt.


Both Aussie rich listers attended the US President’s State Dinner, along with Scott Morrison.


“The US is the biggest investor in Australia,” says Rinehart, “and I hope they will want to continue to invest in Australia, because investment is essential for our companies to expand, enable jobs and for Australian living standards to rise.


“I know President Trump thanked my friend, Anthony, for investing in the US. Of course, for people and companies to want to invest in Australia, it is very important we make our country attractive to investment. And I don’t think we are doing this enough. We should get a better understanding of what is happening under President Trump.”


“US is a world leader in technology, automation and robotics, which along with cutting red tape and taxes is critical to improving productivity and competitiveness in Australian businesses. This is what we are already doing in agriculture and at Roy Hill with drones, automation of drills and robotics.”


Rinehart also believes that the pandemic has exposed vulnerability in Australia’s supply chains, from health to defence.


“We have recently had to learn via COVID-19 that although with our high costs Australia is in general not a manufacturing country, we need to become more self-sufficient in medications, hospital equipment and other hospital needs, and to be able to keep our communication and electricity generation functioning, without being dependent on bits and pieces from overseas. For some time, I have been concerned that this is also true for our defence needs — we cannot rely on parts from overseas. We should have the capability to make what we need on our own shores.”


However, she argues that to be able to do all this, Australia needs to address the reality that the nation’s costs are too high.


Hancock Prospecting, a sponsor of The Alliance, states that Roy Hill was subject to more than 4000 government approvals, permits and licences prior to construction. The mining and cattle queen wants to see more American know-how and efficiency flow Australia’s way.


“We must cut the biggest part of those costs, taxes and tape, to encourage investment. History has shown that propping up industries with government handouts isn’t the best solution.”


Rinehart is now personally weighing in to fight the pandemic. She is funding a new study that has just been given TGA approval to see a better hospital protocol for treating patients with COVID-19. “Our trial will involve both inpatients and outpatients, and randomised options for treatments, from hydroxychloroquine, zinc, azithromycin and intravenous vitamin C, to other options with less of these medications.”


The Alliance airs Thursday at 8pm on Sky News

Resilient iron ore sector a shining light in troubled times

by 22 April 2020

Editorial courtesy of The West Australian

The resources sector has long been the State and the nation’s economic powerhouse.

And in this time of crisis, with unemployment lines lengthening and governments spending buckets of money at a great rate in a bid to save jobs and limit the economic damage from COVID-19 shutdowns, it is more apparent than ever how much we need the sector.

The revenue which flows into WA as a result of the work done in our north west benefits not just the big companies.

It is spread to their contractors, associated businesses and the towns which form the sector’s hubs.

It provides thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly, for WA families. And it pumps royalties into government coffers, which are then used to fund essential services, schools, healthcare, law and order and the like.

So there is heartening news in The West Australian today, with the revelation that BHP’s iron ore division posted record production in the nine months to March.

The mining giant yesterday reported iron ore production from its Pilbara operations was up 4 per cent to 205Mt over the period.

BHP also kept its full-year iron ore production guidance intact at 273Mt-286Mt, suggesting no major impact on output is expected in the June quarter.

Naturally, there is some uncertainty about the COVID-19 impact and whether major customer China experiences a second wave of coronavirus infections.

BHP said Chinese domestic industrial activity had been improving in recent weeks as it recovered from its coronavirus lockdowns, spurred on by supportive credit and fiscal policy.

“The majority of heavy industrial activity had restarted as of the end of March, albeit with considerable variation across provinces and sectors,” the company said.

“The major risk to maintaining that positive trajectory is the possibility of a second wave of infections emerging.” But BHP suggested steel production in China could rise beyond last year’s record of just shy of one billion tonnes if the Middle Kingdom avoided a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

BHP also reported yesterday a small number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across its global workforce of 72,000, all of whom had either recovered or were recovering well.

WestBusiness understands none of the cases are in its WA operations.

The company has introduced a range of measures to identify infected workers and protect its sites.

It’s all further evidence of how lucky WA is to have the resilience of the iron ore sector.

Lest we forget

by 18 April 2020

Billionaire Gina Rinehart gives Royal Flying Doctor Service $6 million for coronavirus fight

by 11 April 2020

Article by Paul Starick courtesy of the Daily Telegraph

Lifesaving ventilators will be installed in all Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft across central and eastern Australia, thanks to a $6 million donation from billionaire Gina Rinehart.

Billionaire Gina Rinehart is funding the installation of ventilators, intravenous pumps, more cardiac monitors and other lifesaving equipment on all Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft and bases across central and eastern Australia, with a $6 million donation to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Mrs Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman, also will fund portable automated external defibrillators and telehealth technology in isolated communities, helping the RFDS better manage chronic disease in the Outback.

The mining and pastoral magnate’s donation, personally and from the Rinehart Medical Foundation, will equally benefit Flying Doctor operations in South Australia/Northern Territory, New South Wales/ACT and Queensland.

The donation, which comes as the RFDS is building surge capacity to battle COVID-19, is reminiscent of late billionaire Kerry Packer’s $2.5 million funding of defibrillators in all NSW ambulances after his 1990 heart attack.

The RFDS has 55 aircraft, 16 aeromedical bases and five remote primary health care facilities across the three states and two territories, some of which already have ventilators and defibrillators, but Mrs Rinehart’s donation will ensure every location and aircraft has a full complement of critical care equipment.

Renowned Adelaide-headquartered pastoral firm S Kidman & Co, of which Mrs Rinehart is principal owner and chairman, is already the inaugural Jet Partner of RFDS Central Operations (SA & NT), helping bring the first RFDS jet to that area, and both the company and Mrs Rinehart are longstanding advocates and benefactors.

The RFDS has already transported 110 suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients by air and road across the country since the pandemic reached Australia.

Its first aeromedical response was the airlift of patients infected with the virus from Darwin to Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne in late February.

This is in addition to the Flying Doctor’s national daily workload of more than 100 aeromedical missions.

RFDS Central Operations chief executive Tony Vaughan said the Rinehart Medical Foundation’s generous and immediate financial support would have an extensive impact.

“The RFDS has an excellent baseline level of critical care equipment across its network to respond to rural and remote Australians, but we require more in order to have surge capacity to meet anything that comes our way,” said Mr Vaughan, who also is leading the Flying Doctor’s national COVID-19 working group.

“This includes ventilators, more cardiac monitors, IV infusion pumps and more point-of-care testing to enable aeromedical teams to serve every patient, on every aircraft or at any one of our locations across our vast RFDS network.

“Equally, at a time when those living in remote areas are feeling more isolated than ever due to COVID-19, we have the capacity to invest in state-of-the-art telehealth and in-situ point-of-care testing to partner with our high-risk patients to manage chronic disease and their mental health and wellbeing between our regular health clinics. Mrs Rinehart’s donation will bring great relief to many across Outback Australia.”

Happy International Women’s Day

by 8 March 2020

Who said lefties have all the fun?

by 6 March 2020

Article by Miranda Devine, courtesy of the Daily Telegraph

Photographs by Jose Luis Magana

President Donald Trump kisses the American flag after speaking at Conservative Political Action Conference.

It was a festival of deplorables at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. And the Aussies in attendance took copious notes on how to bring the populist revolution back home, writes Miranda Devine.

When Aussie deplorables hit CPAC, America’s biggest conservative confab, last week, they came away with lessons from the Trump revolution which should put the wind up lefties and wet Liberals back home.

The key lesson from the US President and an emboldened new generation of firebrand Republicans is that being a happy warrior with brass cojones wins more battles than being a fence-sitting appeaser ashamed of your beliefs.

For Brisbane geologist Bryson Head, who grew up on a farm in Chinchilla, and works in coal exploration, the highlight of the four-day conference outside Washington, DC, was “being in a room with 13,000 people who would do what it takes to defend my right to free thought, speech and liberty.”
This year’s theme “America Versus Socialism,” hit home.

“As an Australian, it’s good to see so many other people around the world face similar challenges in promoting free speech and fighting socialism.”

Head, who has worked as a fruit picker, machinery operator, and shed hand, was part of a small group of Australians led by Andrew Cooper, founder of the Australian CPAC, which launched last year in Sydney, much to the horror of Labor Senators Kristina Keneally and Penny Wong, who branded it a ”hatefest” and tried to get a speaker banned.

Aboriginal leader Warren Mundine and wife Elizabeth Henderson, Queensland tech entrepreneur and Shark Tank star Steve Baxter and think tanker Daniel Wild, from Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs, were in Cooper’s entourage.

They were feted with invitations to Trump Hotel with Don Trump Jnr and a Ronald Reagan gala dinner, selfies with vice president Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, MAGA hats and Trumpy bears to buy.

When Cooper took the stage on Saturday, he had a captive audience of about 6000 people who were there waiting six hours for Trump to speak.

Suddenly, on a giant screen behind the stage, footage rolled of Kristina Keneally railing against CPAC in parliament last year.

“It was rather shocking to see the legislature in Australia wanted to ban some of us from coming”, said CPAC leader, American Conservative Union (ACU) chairman Matt Schlapp, who thinks America’s constitutional protection of free speech isn’t “quite as acceptable” in Australia.

“The left attacked us on the floor of parliament, the bureaucrats threatened me with jail,” said Cooper, “because they’re scared of CPAC”.

But “Keneally was the greatest marketer of CPAC ever.”

President Donald Trump kisses the American flag after speaking at Conservative Political Action Conference. Picture: AP Photo/Jose Luis MaganaPresident Donald Trump kisses the American flag after speaking at Conservative Political Action Conference. Picture: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Cooper told the audience the “Quiet Australians” who voted for the Morrison government are mirrored in America’s “shy Trump voters”.

“This is a platform on which those quiet voters can be turned into noisy voters”.

Lyndal Maloney, a Brisbane businesswoman who describes herself as “just a mum of four from the ‘burbs”, said she was moved to help Cooper launch CPAC last year because, “I felt I had to do something about the political correctness and freedom of speech issues that were a huge concern in Australia.”

Similarly, Baxter says, “If CPAC showed me anything it is that you have to … fight them until hell freezes over and then fight them on the ice”.

CPAC, held in a gigantic resort just outside Washington, has been running since 1974, when Ronald Reagan gave the first keynote address. Where once the audience booed Trump, these days the President is the star attraction and it’s never-Trumpers like Mitt Romney who are booed by “Trumplicans”.

It is a carnival of hucksters, ”Deplorable Lives matter” T-shirts, “Socialism Sucks” buttons, Trumpy populist nationalist, evangelical Christians, conservative celebrities such as Ivanka and Jared, NRA gun nuts, preppy libertarians, Fox News contributors, Gen Z students, closet never-Trumpers, and even a giant drag Queen named “Lady Maga”.

Who said lefties have all the fun?

Young conservatives spent their time flirting, imbibing cocktails with names such as “‘Epstein Didn’t Tequila Himself’ and even proposing marriage on the conference floor.

Among the favourite events for the visiting Aussies was

– Trump’s speech boasting of “defeating the radical socialist Democrats, the fake news media, the crooked politicians and the hate-filled left-wing mob,” when he bobbed down behind the podium to mimic “Mini-Mike” Bloomberg.

– “Blexit” founder Candace Owens who slammed Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders as “the best racist on the left … To every single one of you race hustlers who have extorted Black pain … who have blindfolded the Black youth against seeing the opportunities that lay beneath their feet … I say this to you: There will be a Blexit, a Black exit.”

– The “Anti-Greta Thunberg”, Naomi Seibt, an impressive 19-year-old German “climate realist”.

– “FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers,” a play whose dialogue consists entirely of text messages between disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok and his FBI lawyer lover Lisa Page, who denigrated Trump and his “smelly Walmart” voters while spying on his campaign. Trump, who has acted out the text messages in his rallies, is such a fan he asked the Irish filmmakers, Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer and actors Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson into the Oval office for a 45-minute meeting before the play debuted.

“He said he’d be my understudy,” said Cain, who played Strzok as a sleazy trickster.

Cooper knows a bit about dirty tricks, after he and other prominent speakers, such as Tony Abbott, at last year’s Australian CPAC were required to register as “agents of foreign influence” by the Attorney­-General’s Department, on the suggestion of Labor’s Mark Dreyfus.

The sordid episode shows how frightened the left is of CPAC’s happy warriors.

PGA Media Release | Cyclone Rains Long Term Benefits Denied Under McGowan Govt

by 3 March 2020

Cyclone Rains Long Term Benefits Denied Under McGowan Govt – Issued 3 March 2020 – Click for original PDF

The drenching rains brought by ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther have highlighted the lack of water catchment infrastructure throughout the Kimberley according to the Pastoralists & Graziers Association of WA.

“With the Kimberley recording some of the highest rainfall totals in the past two years, it is an absolute disgrace that pastoralists in the Fitzroy River catchment area are being denied the opportunity to capture and store this welcome rain under the McGowan government’s No Dams policy,” PGA President Tony Seabrook said.

“For the past two years, Kimberley pastoralists have been struggling with water due to the poor wet seasons, with 2019 being one of the driest seasons on record,” he said.

“And while the recent drenching that came from Esther crossing the Kimberley is welcome relief for pastoralists, it is unfortunately short lived, as there is no ability to capture the rising flood waters in the Fitzroy catchment area, which means hundreds of gigalitres of much needed fresh water will flow uncaptured into the ocean.

“This is a wasted opportunity not only for pastoralists but for all residents in WA’s north as well.

“Unlike other States, WA doesn’t have a water supply problem, it has a water access problem.

“Yet policies including ensuring no dams on the Fitzroy River only serve to hinder the growth and development of our northern cattle and agricultural industries.”

Kind regards

Tony Seabrook
PGA President


by 8 February 2020

Article by Jenne Brammer courtesy of the Weekend West.

Dry climate, China’s health, activists, red tape cloud future

WA agriculture pumps almost $9 billion into the economy each year and is the State’s biggest industry after minerals and energy. But challenges ranging from a drying climate to activists and red tape are limiting its potential.

Contributing most are the 3500 WA grain farmers who produce about $5 billion-$6 billion worth of wheat, barley, oats and other grains each year, entrenching WA as the nation’s biggest grain-producing region.

WA is also a major producer of Australia’s meat and livestock, dairy, wool, horticulture and honey products.

The State’s primary industries (encompassing agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture) form the lifeblood of rural communities, and according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, employ about 33,500 people.

In addition, the food and beverage manufacturing in WA employs a further 16,000 people, up from 13,600 people in 2011, as the prospects for value-adding come to the fore.

Of WA production, about 80 per cent is exported, in particular wheat, barley and canola, but wool, lobster and beef and sheep meat also feature prominently.

WAFarmers chief executive Trevor Whittington said local farmers were highly successful, innovative and progressive, punching well above their weight on the national stage.

But he said most forms of agriculture, including grain production – which accounts for about 80 per cent of the value of WA’s agriculture – had not reached full potential.

“We had a record 18 milliontonne crop in the 2018-19 harvest, that could easily grow to 20 million tonnes, if we get the rain and farmers use all the productivity tools available to them,” Mr Whittington said.

There are challenges, not least the drying climate. April to October rainfall has decreased in the South West, with May to July rainfall showing the biggest declines – about 20 per cent since 1970.

Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said despite the drying climate, WA farmers had quadrupled their annual harvest over the past 30 years, which was a testament to a hardworking, innovative industry, and research and development efforts by the agriculture agency.

She said an immediate focus for the industry should be on increasing resilience in the system, for example investigating alternative ways to access water, such as desalination plants, diversifying production, and maintaining the emphasis on research and development.

Mr Whittington said farmers also faced restrictions and threats to access key technologies such as agricultural chemicals, genetically modified crops and ground water which were essential to increasing the State’s ability to grow more food.

And Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Tony Seabrook said WA agriculture was increasingly coming under attack by activists.

“The beef industry is under attack for methane emissions, the pastoral industry for damaging the rangelands, and vegan activists are targeting a wide range of production systems,” Mr Seabrook said.

There is also pressure to end the $250 million-a-year live export trade.

Mr Seabrook said red tape and regulation were stifling agricultural growth, particularly in the pastoral regions where there was huge appetite and potential for sustainable development, but this lacked support from the State Government.

He cites the example of cattle magnate Gina Rinehart’s $285 million proposal, involving the use of surface water from the Fitzroy to irrigate some 21,000ha for cattle fodder, enabling production to ramp up on Hancock Pastoral’s Kimberley pastoral stations, creating hundreds of jobs in the process.

“Despite this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvigorate the local area using water that runs into the sea, the State Government is more focused on the totally absurd concept of developing another national park in the Fitzroy Valley, and banning all forms of water retention from the river,” Mr Seabrook said.

He said high wages and stamp duty and payroll taxes in Australia also stifled productivity, particularly in value-adding.

Challenges with an overreliance on China, by far WA’s biggest customer, which bought agricultural products worth $2.35 billion from the State in 2018-19, had come to the fore in recent weeks.

“As we are experiencing with the impact of the coronavirus, when an economy of China’s size on which we are so dependent across many sectors (tourism, education, minerals, agriculture) experiences such an external shock, the flow-on effects for WA are magnified,” Grain Industry Association of WA chief executive Larissa Taylor said.

“Meanwhile, the impact of the Eastern States drought which had pushed up domestic grain prices, pressuring WA’s competitive position in its traditional grain markets, such as the Indonesian food wheat market which has previously been worth over $1 billion.” AusVeg spokesman Tyson Cattle said there was huge potential for growth in the horticulture industry, but lack of access to a competent and reliable labour source meant few producers had the confidence to invest.