On the cruise ship “budget surplus”

by 13 May 2019

New business fund ignores biggest issue: red tape:Daniel Wild Apr 24, 2019

by 3 May 2019

The Australian Business Growth Fund is a short-sighted proposal which ignores red tape and industrial relations as the major constraints on small business growth in Australia.

The fund, announced by the Prime Minister on Tuesday,  would see the federal government partnering with banks to provide small and medium business owners with equity. The assumption is that access to credit is the key constraint on small business growth. However, this is not supported by the best available evidence.

Forty-eight per cent of respondents to a survey published in 2018 by Westpac said regulation was the highest hurdle to business success in Australia. The next highest response was just 14 per cent. And access to credit was not even measured, although “other” rated 2 per cent.

Similarly, the most recent Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum found that Australia ranked 77th out of 140 nations for the burden of government regulation, where a higher ranking represents a worse outcome.

The report also found that over the last decade Australia dropped from 75th to 105th for “flexibility in wage determination” and from 46th to 110th for “hiring and firing practices”. New Zealand, meanwhile, improved from 29th to 19th and 103rd to 20th, respectively.

If credit is a constraint on growth, it’s a result of government regulation. Perhaps if the government wanted more credit growth they shouldn’t have implemented the Banking Executive Accountability Regime. Or imposed a new tax on banks. Or provided the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority with $150 million in extra funding in this year’s budget to impose yet more red tape.

The product of misguided public policy is a crisis in business investment. New private business investment in Australia is just 11.5 per cent of GDP, which is lower than it was during the Whitlam years.

Small businesses in particular are struggling. There were 38,000 fewer new businesses created in 2018 compared with a decade earlier, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. And recent research by the Institute of Public Affairs estimated there would be 250,000 more businesses in Australia today if business creation continued at pre-Global Financial Crisis levels.

Besides missing the main causes of small business decline, the Australian Business Growth Fund is itself a questionable undertaking. History is replete with examples of taxpayer subsidised, government-backed finance going wrong, from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac abroad, to Tricontinental and the Victorian Economic Development Corporation at home.

But perhaps the biggest error is that the new fund itself is the institutional opposite to the sector it claims to support. Small businesses are entrepreneurial, risk taking and innovative. Governments are lethargic, risk averse, and subject to cronyism. Only a bureaucracy could think that more bureaucracy could revive a sector which is anathema to bureaucracy.

The only beneficiaries of the new fund will be the major banks who will be “partnering” with government. Small business owners, meanwhile, will have been sold another policy pup as the business investment crisis in Australia worsens.

Daniel Wild is director of research at the Institute of Public Affairs

Government told to reduce SME red tape amid $100m growth fund announcement:The government’s plan to introduce a small business growth fund has been met with mixed responses, with calls to reduce red tape repeated.

by 3 May 2019

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that, if re-elected, the government will create an Australian Business Growth Fund to help SMEs with annual turnovers between $2 million and $50 million get access to finance.

The $100 million growth fund is expected to assist 30 to 50 businesses each year.

Separately, Mr Morrison has also pledged to create 250,000 new small businesses over the next five years.

“Small business growth in Australia requires less red tape, not another taxpayer-subsidised, government-run scheme,” said Daniel Wild, director of research at think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

“Red tape and a rigid industrial relations system are the key reasons why new business investment in Australia is just 11.5 per cent, which is lower than it was during the economically hostile Whitlam years.

“The best way to boost small business growth is to cut red tape and reduce government interference.

“Government-backed finance schemes have a history of failure, from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the United States to Tricontinental in Victoria.”

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell welcomed the announcement, noting that it was a recommendation in its recent Affordable Capital for SME Growth Inquiry.

“Our report identified the need to address a critical funding gap for long-term, patient capital to enable our up-and-coming, high-growth potential small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to flourish,” Ms Carnell said.

“We support government investment of $100 million into the Australian Business Growth Fund and a matching commitment by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and HSBC Bank.

“However, we question the absence of commitment by Westpac, ANZ and Australia’s super funds.”

The business growth fund comes after the introduction of a $2 billion government securitisation fund that will provide additional funding to smaller banks and non-bank lenders to on-lend to small businesses on more competitive terms.

Australia’s Richest 250: Anthony Pratt, Gina Rinehart in perfect harmony

by 2 April 2019

It is a sultry Sunday evening in mid-February in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in the historic Art Deco Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor. In an otherwise peaceful and hushed bar area frequented over the years by guests such as Charlie Chaplin, Charles De Gaulle and Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Anthony Pratt is singing Beatles songs to Gina Rinehart.


Pratt, as is his habit at many functions, breaks into the first few lines of Abbey Road’s Oh! Darling – “…believe me when I tell you I’ll never do you harm…” – while Rinehart beams in recognition.


Pratt has sung this one before, she explains as the pair sip rum, liqueur and lime Mai Tai cocktails, including at her birthday celebrations last year. He stops and declares that Rinehart is “the biggest star in Australian business”.


It may not be widely known, but Australia’s two wealthiest people, each a successful corporate figure in their own right, have become close friends, supporting each other’s business and philanthropic achievements. The executive chair of cardboard box maker and recycling giant Visy and Pratt Industries, and the chair of miner and agriculture giant Hancock Prospecting, have a few things in common. Both had fathers with larger-than-life personalities, and they share a strong work ethic and a competitive nature that has them relentlessly driving their respective businesses to greater heights.


Pratt is in Cambodia attending a function to celebrate the achievements of the Cambodian Children’s Fund that Rinehart supports, which has so far helped raise close to 2000 orphaned and disadvantaged girls out of poverty and fund their tertiary education by providing scholarships.


Rinehart, meanwhile, animatedly recalls Pratt’s famous $2 billion pledge, aboard USS Intrepid in New York in May 2017, to expand his cardboard box making and recycling empire, Pratt Industries, into the US Midwest. The mining magnate even captured the moment for her friend in a photo showing President Donald Trump leading a three-minute round of applause. Pratt had it framed and hung on the wall of his Melbourne office.


“I felt extremely proud, and every time he achieves something big I try to have a drink with him, or a coffee with him,” says Rinehart. “Sometimes it is not possible to see him as much as I like, but we have had some great times together. One of the things I value above all else is this journey we are travelling with so many remarkable people, and that is the fortune that so many find. That is a quote, and I added my bit: the fortune to find Anthony.”


‘Both are unabashed fans of US President Donald Trump. Pratt joined the President’s luxury Mar-a-Lago private club at West Palm Beach. Rinehart has also become a member.’


Pratt says he first met Rinehart at the Forbes Global CEO conference in Sydney in 2010, where during a gathering of some of the world’s most powerful business and political figures, he noticed that “Gina was so diligent in her note-taking”. The pair struck up a friendship, and while both are well known in business and finance circles, Pratt says he did not notice how widely recognised Rinehart was until they went to a dinner in honour of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2014.


“There were all these anti-Modi protestors there. But as soon as they saw Gina get out of the car, they ran up to her and starting getting selfies with her. She’s an Aussie star in that regard; she is an icon. You don’t get many people in business that sort of thing happens to.” Pratt says he witnessed the same phenomenon at last year’s Melbourne Cup.


He points admiringly to his friend’s persistence at the helm of her Hancock Prospecting empire, which includes securing a huge $US7.2 billion debt financial deal in 2014 with 19 banks and five Export Credit Agencies for her giant Roy Hill iron ore mine.


Both are unabashed fans of US president Donald Trump. Pratt famously bet $100,000 on Trump to win the US election, and joined the President’s luxury Mar-a-Lago private club at the billionaire’s enclave of West Palm Beach, in part at least to mix with Trump and his friends and supporters.


Rinehart has also become a member. She admires Trump for his strong leadership traits and discusses in detail the President’s recent State of the Union address. “Anthony introduced me to Mar-a-Lago and we have met a lot of wonderful people there,” she says.


“I have found Gina to be a nice person, warm and kind,” Pratt explains. “We are great mates. She is charismatic as well, and I admire that she thinks big in business. She is a great competitor who has grown her business and has paid more tax than just about anyone. She is also a great philanthropist.”


Pratt says his family’s Pratt Foundation, which has operated since the ’70s, gives away about $15 million to charitable causes annually. And while Rinehart cannot match that longevity, she has made rapid inroads with her Cambodian cause and other philanthropic ventures in Australia.


Later in the Siem Reap evening, Rinehart leads a group of about 30 people – including Thai hotel billionaire Bill Heinecke, Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Scott (Rinehart is an admirer and financial backer of Rowing Australia, which Scott chairs) and Hancock executives including Tad Watroba – to a function at the Prasat Kravan temple on the fringes of the ancient Angkor Wat complex. A light show bathes the temple in bright colours as guests dine under the stars on a mild Cambodian evening, taking in traditional dance performances and enjoying several courses of a Khmer-inspired menu.


Pratt sits at the head table with Rinehart, listening to stories from some of the charity’s alumni explaining how they have graduated from university and gone on to find employment after receiving support from their “Aussie mum” and her charity. Many of the stories are quite harrowing, and Rinehart steps in to comfort and embrace some of the speakers mid-speech. Afterwards she tells the audience how moved she is by the young women she calls her “Cambodian daughters”.


At the end of the evening, as she walks Pratt back to the roadside to depart for the airport and his trip back to Australia, the mining billionaire explains that she thinks highly of someone like Pratt for building a successful outpost in the US.


“I admire very much that he is an Australian who has made it big and great overseas. I admire anyone in a private capacity who is able to sustain their intelligence and hard work so they can employ 13,000 people, as Anthony does. That is a lot of responsibility on Anthony’s shoulders all the time.


“He is a great friend – and I rather like his singing voice.”


The author travelled to Cambodia with Visy

Article by John Stensholt, courtesy of the Australian, 30 March 2019

National Mining & Related Industries Day Gala Dinner Highlights

by 23 January 2019

National Mining & Related Industries Day Gala Dinner Highlights

From the Parliament in Australia

by 13 December 2018

Click here

National Agriculture & Related Industries Day Gala Dinner Highlights

by 3 December 2018

National Agriculture & Related Industries Day Gala Dinner Highlights

Petition to cut red tape

by 26 November 2018

Please download, sign and return to


The following attendees at the 2018 National Agriculture and Related Industries Day urge our Federal and State Governments to help restore the competitiveness of our great agriculture sector by seriously reducing so much unnecessary red tape and excessive taxation.
Name Contact Details Signature


National Agriculture and Related Industries Day Speech by Mrs Gina Rinehart

by 26 November 2018

Speech by Mrs Gina Rinehart

Patron and Founder of National Agriculture & Related Industries Day

Executive Chairman of the Hancock Prospecting Group and S. Kidman & Co

National Agriculture & Related Industries Day Gala Dinner

Wednesday 21 November 2017, Sydney


Good evening distinguished guests, and friends.


Warmest welcome to Australia’s second annual National Agriculture and Related Industries Day. It’s wonderful to see you here, thank you for coming from far and wide.

This year again we haven’t had room for all who wanted to join us tonight, if there were two lots of fantastic London Essentials, we should have hired two boats! As we’ve been fully booked for weeks. This is a night to celebrate everyone in our agricultural industry, one of our country’s most important industries, and which has been since Australia’s very beginning.

Thank you to everyone who has made tonight possible.

Thank you to Tony and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of West Australia who have been with me since I first approached the Federal Government for approval to establish and hold a National Agriculture and Related Industries Day. And who also bravely stood up for agricultural interests many times, including for the rights of children in the bush to continue their School of the Air program.

Thank you also to those companies and individuals who sponsored or donated auction items tonight.

These will be showing on screens during the night. We have some fantastic items for our auction to help drought victims, during one of Australia’s worst droughts.

Can we please have a very big round of applause for our wonderful sponsors and generous supporters?

Thank you to all others who joined with me to support our National Agriculture and Related Industries Day, especially those from the very beginning. Let’s have a terrific night. Let’s enjoy the wines and foods our agriculture industry provides and let’s get those tambourines in action again!

On National Agriculture and Related Industries Day, we should think – without our pastoralists, farmers, fishermen, fruit and veggie growers, timber providers, pearlers, poultry suppliers, bee keepers, wine growers and horticulturalists, where would our country be and who would step up to support the 1.6 million Australian’s who rely on agriculture for their employment?

The divide between city and country people is growing with a 2017 Australian survey finding that 83 per cent of people were convinced that “agriculture and farming have no or little relevance to their lives.” 83 percent. The same survey found less than 50 per cent of people had talked to or met a farmer in the past year. Concerning views, when agriculture is not only a major part of our history, our very culture, but a critical part of our future.

The reason I initiated National Agriculture & Related Industries Day last year was to try to bring about a greater understanding of the difficulties and hard-work of those who do work on the land, in the outback, or on our oceans, and the need to get government burdens, cost, tape and taxes down, to help our high cost country continue to be able to be internationally cost competitive, so our critical ability to export isn’t jeopardised.

Cutting the government cost burden, that big slab of expensive unproductive fat – so that those in the country and our small to medium enterprises, many of whom supply our agricultural industry, pay less for ever rising licence fees, and for tax, is what’s most needed, not unreliable loans that need to be paid back with interest. And certainly not advice from city bureaucrats, who’ve never had to manage a station, farm, fishing or pearl boat, or anything else successfully in our agricultural industry.

Nick, may I ask, do you want to get advice from bureaucrats who have never successfully run cattle, fishing or pearling company?

Nick, would you prefer to pay less tax, and have less government advice and less government tape?

Nick, would you prefer to go into debt more, by way of government loans, or would you prefer to pay less tax and less licence fees, so you didn’t need government loans?

Could I ask the audience, do you want to get advice from government on how to run your stations, farms, vineyards, orchards, market gardens, poultry, fishing or pearling companies, or any other agricultural industry? Could you please put up your hands to show those who want government advice?

That’s not many. None is not many!

And, would you prefer to pay less tax, and have less government advice and less government tape?

Well, pretty well everyone.

Let’s get this to our governments!

Tonight’s gala is an extra special one as it is being held also in support of our drought stricken farmers.

May I introduce one of Australia’s best country poets, Murray Hartin.

Murray, please join me. I’ve asked Murray to share with us one of his poems, entitled Rain from Nowhere.

Thank you Murray, what a telling, outstanding poem, please join me in another round of applause.

Our pastoralists and others in our agricultural industry are some of our countries best people. They put up with conditions that many of us would not. Rain and weather are endlessly huge risks. Drought tragedy, few in the city can understand how hard this is. All this and increasing red tape.

Wonderful people I know in West Australia who spent 50 years of their lives building up their stock, homestead, gardens and some of their property to what they could be very proud of, before they sold their property, told me, it’s not the dangerous snakes and spiders, Australia has in the bush about 21 species of the most dangerous spiders and snakes in the world, it’s not the heat around 50 degrees or more around 5 or 6 months of the year, it’s not the dust, flies and mosquitos in vast abundance, it’s not the drought or fires or isolation or lack of basic town conveniences, but government tape that made them give up their life’s work and the lives and home they loved.

Now around 70, they said after starting early in the morning, usually around 5am each day, after dinner at night, until often into the early hours, they’d have to do the increasing government paperwork. They couldn’t afford to have a Perth office or get lawyers to send them huge bills to do it for them, and they were 1,500 miles from the city. Making it extra difficult. They just couldn’t keep up such long hours. Yes I know, we’ve heard the talk about government reducing red tape, yes, we know that would cut costs, but are we actually seeing it?

Please put up your hands if you’re seeing government tape reduction overall, that is truly overall, not some tape lessened, and yet more tape added?

Those on the land have it tough often in isolated locations around the country, often far from essential services such as hospitals, but the government tape still has to be dealt with. Not sure what we get in return, we certainly don’t need offered advice from those in government about how to look after our stations and businesses!

We just need significantly less tape, significantly less compliance and significantly less tax.  And need our governments to understand this message, so please help spread. The bureaucracies are not going to tell them this, we need to.

In the far north, when pastoralists spend days fighting the repeat occurrences of fires, and are exhausted, and ask for firefighting assistance, how many know we are told, “unless the fires are within 6kms of a town, firefighting relief won’t be sent to you”?

Better try to give you all a break from government for a while!

Tonight, I’m delighted to say we are launching “The Things We Love” book with recipes and more from each of our Hancock and Kidman stations, and Hancock 2GR wagyu farms, around Australia, to raise money for those stricken by drought stricken.

The cook is the central part of station life, as the station family gathers around the table together each breakfast and dinner, to talk about the day’s doings and their experiences and more. It’s a place to share amongst their station mates, their worries, happy stories, problems and tragedies, as these mates form the station family, with often their blood family members being thousands of miles away.

Favourite recipes have been added for smokos too, some from the cooks and some from who enjoy these afternoon and morning teas. For those in the cities I’d better add, you don’t have to smoke for smokos, indeed as a non-smoker, I never have.

These recipes aren’t from city chefs which may be difficult to follow, but recipes that you too can use and love.

And some of my favourite parts of the book, are the true stories as written by those who live in our outback and farms, as to why they love to do so.

I’d like to introduce you now to our three winners for their wonderful contributions to “The Things We Love.”  Can you please come to the stage as quickly as possible when I call your name?

Our winners are, Jacinta Renshaw of South Burnett, Stacey Ford of Fossil Downs and Charmaine Grott of Ruby Plains.

Jacinta Renshaw, our manager, Claude’s wife, from our Queensland wagyu farms, not only for her recipe contributions, but for introducing tank art to her part of Queensland, as you will see in the book, as she says, great entertainment or therapy when needed, and only with the cost of chalk.

Stacey Ford, our manager Rick’s wife, from the iconic Fossil Downs in the Kimberley’s, the far north of West Australia. Stacey is a keen photographer, created the front cover, and each of the title pages for the book, plus included some of her favourite fossil recipes.

And, Charmaine Grott of Ruby Plains, for her lovely story, she beautifully expressed gathering around the table.


Annette Parker – Fossil Downs, WA

Kevin Jenkinson – Naryilco, QLD

Chris O’Connor – Willeroo, NT

Jodie Keogh – Innamincka, SA

Peter Telford – Caigan, NSW

Darren and Nadine Lorenz – Durrie, QLD

Chris Morrow – Nerrima, WA

Craig Leggett – Rockybank, QLD

Carley Hodge – Liveringa, WA

Sue Daubney – Bannister, WA

Let’s give another round of applause to the fantastic winning contributors and runners up who have travelled thousands of kilometres to be here with us tonight, for the books launch.

All winners, please stay with me on stage for the launch of this first limited edition of “The Things We Love.”

Now I have another lovely duty, and that’s to announce the winners for their contribution to agriculture. Please join us on stage.

Tony Seabrook, President of the PGA and the PGA, yes, the PGA executives present, please join us too.

These fine people and their organisations, truly support their respective members and agriculture in general, which is far from easy at times, thank goodness for their efforts over a very long time.

Please join us, for our book launch.

Let’s have a round of applause please for these gentlemen and their organisations.

Given the drought, shouldn’t the critical issue of water deserve greater action?

As Alan Jones notes, every day Australia has nearly four billion litres of water just sitting there not used in the Ord River system in West Australia. That’s the size of 1,600 Olympic sized swimming pools sitting there unused.

In the North East area of Queensland, 70,000 gigaliters flows out uselessly into the sea. This equates to 70,000,000 million Olympic sized swimming pools flowing past potentially more productive land out into the ocean.

Australia is also host to what is said to be the largest artesian basin in the world, the Great Artesian Basin. It covers approximately 22% of Australia including some of the most arid and semi-arid parts of our country. It’s so big it can fill Sydney Harbour 130,000 times!

Over in WA, across the average wet season, approximately 7,000 gigalitres of water is wasted as it uselessly flows through the Fitzroy out into the ocean, past many stations.

Just one years flow is about 14 times the amount of water in the huge Sydney Harbour!

As it stands in 2018, the government only allows one water licence to access water from the Fitzroy River for a mere 6 gigalitres.

This leaves approximately 99.9991% of the water to run out uselessly into the ocean.

Isn’t it sad to think we have these huge water resources available, when crops are needed to feed animals suffering in drought, and when good fresh water is much better for the welfare of cattle and other animals, this is just being wasted.

Where is the vision to better use our water to grow and sustain thousands and thousands of jobs and cattle, sheep and other livestock? Where is the vision to help parts of Australia better cope with the tragedy of droughts?

The rest of my speech concerning droughts will be on our websites.

Isn’t it time we used our water assets in a productive way for animal welfare, drought protection and to sustain and improve our economy? When our stock are suffering greatly aren’t we tired of hearing government is doing something? Talking to another department, talking to another state. We all know the government tape we need to go thru to build another dam, if were even permitted, if this is on our own property, why doesn’t government simply get out of the way?

Stagnant, unfenced water, which cattle currently are often left to drink, can be dirty and contaminated containing diseases such as E. coli and giardia, causing painful illnesses for the animals, and sometimes painful deaths.

According to American and Canadian research, cattle could put on between 15 and 28 per cent more weight over a year just by drinking clean water.

The recent CSIRO Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment report has shown that developing the Fitzroy River and catchment area would have positive benefits for agriculture and jobs.

The report found that “livestock enterprises are already proven in the Fitzroy catchment. The use of irrigated forage to overcome the feed gap, especially for lactating cows, could significantly increase beef production by increasing calving percentage, enable earlier weaning and increasing rate of weight gain.”

“Persistent waterholes that are key ecological refugia are located throughout the Fitzroy catchment. The most persistent waterholes occur along the Fitzroy River between Fitzroy Crossing and Camballin and upstream of Diamond Gorge.”

It also noted “there is much more soil suitable for irrigated agriculture in the Fitzroy catchment (area) than there is water to irrigate it.”

The CSIRO report also noted that the tropical climate in Northern Australia is unique because of “the extremely high variability of rainfall between seasons and especially between years.”)

We often hear especially in lead ups to elections, statements and presentations from Canberra and others about how their party loves agriculture, let’s make agriculture this, let’s propel agriculture to that and let’s start this promotion of agriculture program, give out more loans and government “advice,” but too often these PR exercises.

Ignore the giant elephants in the room, poor access to water caused by governments, and big governments themselves hurting, indeed jeopardising, our industry due to the costs of their governments, their tape and compliance, delays in approvals, their non-internationally competitive taxes, and their increasing licence fees, jeopardising our very ability to remain internationally cost competitive.

Whether we like how President Trump is portrayed in the media or not, what we should be seeing, is the results of his tape and tax cutting. Fantastic! In only two years, increased business and consumer confidence, increased employment, increased investment, improved standards of living, where is the party in Australia who’ll deliver that? Instead of what they’ve created, big expensive government, record debt. And can’t even pay our interest unless we borrow more. Isn’t it time that swamp was drained?

Let me give you just one example.

Over in West Australia, a friend of mine, Sarah, who lives and works and runs a small business in the beautiful Swan Valley, outside of Perth, told me recently that they have just had approvals for air conditioned Mercedes coaches to collect people from Barrack Street in Perth then take them through the Swan Valley, stopping at the wineries, cafes, restaurants and many small businesses along the valley, then back to Barrack Street.

She said this will greatly help the valley businesses, as its difficult to get a taxi in the country after a few glasses of wine, which as blind Freddy can see, cuts down business. She then asked, how long did I think it took the coach owner to get government approvals to do this?

Since 2012, 6 years! Imagine all the extra jobs, revenue, opportunities, business growth that could have happened in those 6 years! 6 years losing such revenue, jobs and opportunities. Too rarely do governments actually think of the huge cost of their tape.

She wisely said, the governments speak of helping small business yet their approvals and regulations don’t help, they do the opposite.

Let’s help our governments understand, that she’s right.

And let’s get the benefits of following President Trump’s economic policies, significant tape cuts, significant tax cuts, and less government expense.

Please have a fantastic night! Great to be with you all.

Thank you.

Now, it is my huge pleasure to introduce my friends, the London essentials, who are making their second visit to Australia. And they’ve learned our National Agriculture Day song. If you’d like to join in and sing this with them.

National Mining and Related Industries Day Speech by Mrs Gina Rinehart

by 26 November 2018


Speech by Mrs Gina Rinehart

Patron and Founder of National Mining & Related Industries Day

Executive Chairman of the Hancock Prospecting Group and Roy Hill

National Mining & Related Industries Day

Thursday 22 November 2018, Canberra

 Good evening His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC, Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove, distinguished guests, Members of Parliament, Tad Watroba our Co-Patron of National Mining and Related Industries Day, mining colleagues and friends.

Huge thanks to the Governor General, for permitting our National Mining and Related Industries Day event to be held here at the Governor General’s beautiful Canberra residence, for our first mining day gala in Canberra.

National Mining and Related Industries Day is the day to pose a simple question: “where would our nation be without the mining industry?”

Without the mining industry, who would be paying the billions and billions and more in taxes to support our defence forces, police, emergency services, public infrastructure, our elderly, public hospitals, state kindergartens and more? All these services would be effected.

It’s not just mining companies – it’s the thousands of other related companies and contractors who benefit from the mining industry, such as accounting and law firms, engineering firms, equipment manufacturers, the construction industry, caterers, donga suppliers, airlines, trucking companies, shipping companies, technology companies, mining apparel supply businesses – yes, our steel caps and helmets! And more.

Without the mining industry, what would support their businesses and employees? Without the mining industry these related industries would also be providing less of the billions of revenue to support the services I’ve just mentioned.

We are an industry that is critical to, and at the forefront of underpinning Australia’s prosperity and our living standards.

Without mining, you wouldn’t have electricity or the 35 different minerals available that make up your mobile phone. Imagine that, a world without electricity, or phones, and iPads, or computers.

Our industry has also built large parts of Australia. We have brought investment, opportunities, infrastructure, city conveniences and jobs into some of the most remote, rugged and poor places in our country.

Our industry is vital to today’s civilisation, and, makes an enormous contribution to our country. This is our day to speak up for our industry, and to celebrate it and all of those Australians who work in it.

Each National Mining Day, we award those who’ve done just that. Tonight, I’m delighted to announce that Mr Tony Galligan is this year’s winner of the National Mining and Related Industries Day Award.

During his time as Director of Development with the NSW Government, Mr Galligan was a voice of reason and strongly supported coal exploration, development and export from the Port of Newcastle. He understood that coal is important to jobs, opportunities, revenue, and that thermal coal is essential for our regular power supplies which homes, hospitals, offices and industries all need.

Tony was instrumental in the upgrading of the rail networks from mine to port and construction of the new Newcastle coal terminal. New coal mining operations were successfully established using the advice of Tony Galligan. He has held executive and director positions with Whitehaven Coal and Malabar Coal.

There are some individuals who make outstanding contributions to our industry, and it is critically important they also stand up for our industry. A former national award winner, Mr Steve Finlayson from ALS is here, as is Tad Watroba, who has very successfully worked over decades on some of Australia’s tier one mining projects, in an industry Tad also loves and importantly, speaks up for.

Tony, can I invite you to come to the stage please for your award?

Thank you very much again to the Governor-General and Lady Cosgrave for hosting us tonight for this important national day. Thank you again to our loyal sponsors, and guests, some of whom have travelled a long way, please join us again for next year’s National Mining and Related Industries Day gala dinner, to be held for the first time in Perth.

Thank you and Happy National Mining and Related Industries Day!

I leave you with our National Mining Day song, “Mining Permit Blues,” created by Jim Viets, brought to you this year by the fantastic London Essentials, and more speeches on our Mining Day website.