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Article – Sharon Warburton to lead board tasked with growing the north

by 20 June 2016

10 May 2016
Sid Maher
The Australian

West Australian company director Sharon Warburton has been named as chairwoman of the $5 billion Northern Australia ­Infrastructure Facility, which will begin operations from July.

Ms Warburton is a director of Fortescue Metals Group, Wellard Limited, Western Power and a member of the Takeovers Panel and will head the six-person board charged with assessing ­applications for the $5bn fund.

The board was announced after legislation to set it up was passed in parliament last week.

The government has also announced it will expand the area covered by the facility to include Exmouth and Carnarvon and the local government shires of Meekatharra and Wiluna, in WA.

Other members of the board include Barry Coulter, a former Northern Territory deputy chief minister, lawyer and investment banker Justin Mannolini, chairman of the board of governors at the WA Museum Foundation, Khory McCormick, a lawyer and the vice-president of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, and Sally Pitkin, who is a director of Billabong, Super Retail Group and Star Entertainment Group.

Bill Shannon, the former mayor of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council in far north Queensland, and Karla Way-McPhail, chief executive of a number of northern Australian mining and training firms, are also members of the board.

Minister for Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg said: “This ­facility will provide ­financing to build the transport, energy, water and communications infrastructure needed in our north. This will create jobs, enhance investment and unlock the full potential of this vibrant region to grow the northern Australian economy.’’

Ms Warburton will work with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation to identify a pipeline of potential projects.

Sharon Warburton will work with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation to identify a pipeline of potential projects.

Courtesy of The Australian

NORTHERN AUSTRALIA INFRASTRUCTURE FACILITY PASSES THE PARLIAMENT

by 20 June 2016

4 May 2016

Legislation to establish the Government’s $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has passed the Parliament enabling it to commence from July.

This important initiative is a cornerstone of the Northern Australia White Paper, which sets out the Government’s development plan to unlock economic and population growth opportunities across the north.

As recently announced, the facility will be headquartered in Cairns, Queensland.

Contributing over 11 per cent of Australia’s GDP and with 40 per cent of Australia’s land mass, northern Australia still only has five per cent of our population, highlighting its enormous economic growth potential.

“From July, this facility will provide financing to build the transport, energy, water and communications infrastructure needed in our north. This will create jobs, enhance investment, and unlock the full potential of this vibrant region to grow the northern Australian economy,” Minister Frydenberg said.

The Government has also extended the coverage of the $5 billion NAIF. Following detailed consideration, and strong representations from the Member for Durack, Melissa Price, the facility will now include the wider areas of Exmouth and Carnarvon and the local government shires of Meekatharra and Wiluna, in Western Australia.

“The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility continues the legacy of other great nation building initiatives that Australian governments had taken in the past, like the Snowy Mountains scheme and interstate railways. The Commonwealth Government, in partnership with state and territory governments and the private sector, has over our history done a lot to develop specific areas of our country and left a great legacy for future generations. The NAIF builds on this tradition. It will play an important part in providing basic infrastructure across northern Australia for new investment, creating more jobs,” Minister Canavan said.

The Government has also announced the independent board that will make the investment decisions for this facility and finalised the Investment Mandate by which investment decisions will be governed.

“We have chosen an outstanding board with extensive experience and expertise across a range of sectors and skills. They are also knowledgeable and passionate about the opportunities and challenges we face in developing Australia’s north and now, with the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, they have an important opportunity to turn the Government’s vision into a reality,” Minister Frydenberg said.

Ms Sharon Warburton (WA) has been appointed Chair designate of the board and from July, she will be joined by:

  • Mr Barry Coulter (NT)
  • Mr Justin Mannolini (WA)
  • Mr Khory McCormick (QLD)
  • Dr Sally Pitkin (QLD)
  • Mr Bill Shannon (QLD)
  • Ms Karla Way-McPhail (QLD)

These board members bring a strong understanding of northern Australia along with extensive experience in their respective fields, including in infrastructure, government, finance, and the law.

Ms Warburton will immediately begin working with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation to identify a pipeline of potential projects to ensure decisions on project finance can be made following the establishment of the facility.

The board’s investment decisions will be governed by an Investment Mandate.

Following the release of a draft mandate for public comment in March 2016, consultation took place with more than 75 stakeholders, including financiers, project proponents, construction and infrastructure sector experts, Indigenous organisations, and the Queensland, Western Australian and Northern Territory Governments.

The Investment Mandate will include the following criteria:

Mandatory Criteria

1. The proposed project involves construction or enhancement of economic infrastructure.

2. The proposed project will be of public benefit.

3. The proposed project is unlikely to proceed, or will only proceed at a much later date, or with a limited scope, without financial assistance.

4. The proposed project is located in, or will have a significant benefit for northern Australia.

5. The Facility’s loan monies are not the majority source of debt funding.

6. The loan will be able to be repaid, or refinanced.

7. The project includes an Indigenous engagement strategy.

Non-mandatory Criteria

1. The proposed project is seeking financing from the Facility for an amount of $50 million or more.

2. The project has been identified through a previous Commonwealth, State or Territory assessment process, pipeline, or priority list.

Further information about the NAIF, including the Investment Mandate, can be seen at: www.industry.gov.au/naif

NORTHERN AUSTRALIA INFRASTRUCTURE FACILITY EXTENDED

by 20 June 2016

4 May 2016

The Government has extended the coverage of the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

Following detailed consideration, the facility will now include the wider areas of Exmouth and Carnarvon and the local government shires of Meekatharra and Wiluna, in Western Australia.

“Melissa Price has been integral to the extension of this facility by making strong representations on behalf of her constituents. This facility will help fund key economic infrastructure that will create jobs, enhance investment and grow the northern Australian economy. Western Australia represents a significant part of our north and will directly benefit from seeing this important facility established,” Minister Frydenberg said.

It is important to note that projects do not need to be entirely within the defined boundaries if they produce significant benefits to northern Australia, such as enhancing north-south connectivity.

Further, as noted in the Investment Mandate, the facility’s independent board, in making an investment decision, must consider a preference for a diversified portfolio with respect to geographical spread across the states and the Northern Territory.

“While the Tropic of Capricorn is often cited as the boundary between north and south, there are population centres and regions that are naturally considered part of northern Australia, like Gladstone in Queensland and Exmouth, Carnarvon, Shark Bay and the Gascoyne in Western Australia. These locations are all now specifically included in the NAIF legislation passed by the Parliament,” Minister Canavan said.

“I will continue to ensure the people in the north are represented strongly and loudly in Federal Parliament. There have been a number of new initiatives for the North West since this Government was elected, and I look forward to delivering more projects to the region for many years to come,” Ms Price said.

This facility is integral to the Government’s plan for the north and is a cornerstone of the Northern Australia White Paper. The NAIF will support the growth and establishment of infrastructure projects across the north, helping this vibrant region to reach its full potential.

Further information can be seen at: www.industry.gov.au/industry/Northern-Australia-Infrastructure-Facility

Article – Dissent over WA exclusion

by 13 June 2016

29 April 2016
Phoebe Wearne
The West Australian

The heads of all Gascoyne councils and the development commission have written to Federal MPs to protest against the region’s exclusion from a Federal definition of northern Australia that favours Queensland and the Northern Territory.

While the gas-rich city of Gladstone in the Sunshine State has been included in the Turnbull Government’s definition of northern Australia, key WA towns have been snubbed.

The decision puts Carnarvon, Coral Bay, Denham and surrounding areas at a multimillion-dollar disadvantage because inclusion in the definition is a condition for being considered for a $5 billion loan scheme for infrastructure that was rushed through the House of Representatives last week.

For an unexplained reason, a small piece of WA above the Tropic of Capricorn has been excised from the legislative definition of northern Australia.

Yet the boundary has been extended below the Tropic of Capricorn to include all the NT and Gladstone in Queensland.

The letter, signed by the chairmen of the Gascoyne and Pilbara development commissions and shire presidents of Upper Gascoyne, Carnarvon, Exmouth and Shark Bay, calls for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill, now before the Senate, be amended to “respect and acknowledge WA’s north-west” by including the Gascoyne.

“The Tropic of Capricorn boundary creates unnecessary problems and complications in WA and seriously disadvantages the Gascoyne region,” the letter says.

Federal Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan, who is deputy chairwoman of the joint select committee on northern Australia, has proposed an amendment to the Bill to include all areas above the Tropic of Capricorn and Carnarvon and yesterday wrote to Premier Colin Barnett asking him to join the campaign.

“Given the financial advantage that is attached to being included as part of northern Australia, this is an outrageous economic gerrymander,” Ms MacTiernan said.

Carnarvon fruit and vegetable grower Michael Nixon said the new definition had the potential to set Carnarvon up for long-term failure.

Northern Australia Minister Josh Frydenberg said the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility was great news for WA, with a “significant part of the State” in the running for concessional loans for infrastructure.

He said it was disappointing Ms MacTiernan had not previously raised the matters with him.

Courtesy of the West Australian

TRANSCRIPT – INTERVIEW WITH ADAM GILES, NT CHIEF MINISTER

by 13 June 2016

18 April 2016
Daryl Manzie
Territory FM

DARYL MANZIE:                    Time to say good morning to Chief Minister Adam Giles. Good morning, Chief Minister.

ADAM GILES:                        Good morning Daryl, how are you?

DARYL MANZIE:                    Pretty good. Now you’ve had a pretty busy time in planes, out of planes, running round, back in planes, back to the Territory and all around the place. And this morning you’re, you’ve been at a forum where it’s designed to deal with investment opportunities in the Territories. So, boy it’s been a busy few days for you.

ADAM GILES:                        Well, now it’s been a busy few weeks as we’ve gone from COAG in Canberra, home to the Territory, then to a gas conference in Perth, to an investment forum in China and back to the Territory. But this morning we had an opportunity of talking with a range of different investors who are looking at bringing money – Territory money, Australian money, money from overseas into some major projects in the Territory which is, from my point of view, really important because that’s what drives our economy, that’s what builds jobs. And we know that for a long period of time we’ve only really had one major project or one industry operating at one particular point in time, whether that’s a gas project or whether that’s a cattle project. We’re working pretty hard to diversify our economy so that we can get investment in a range of different areas and the forum that we’ve had this morning has seen some fairly large wealthy companies and corporations from all around the place come to the Territory and seek to identify what some of the investment opportunities are, a lot looking at farming, some looking at mining, some looking at tourism to see where they can put there money and from my point of view, help grow jobs for Territorians.

DARYL MANZIE:                    Well it’s all about investment money. I mean, obviously governments don’t have the money – both the Territory Government and Federal Government – for the size of some of the projects that are potentially available for development here in the Territory so you need that private investment and I think-

ADAM GILES:                        [Speaks over] Well my job is to be a facilitator, to make sure the government builds infrastructure such as roads and rail and bridges and ports and to get the logistics system right and then you attract the investment to the Territory. Whether it’s Territory investment or investment from outside the Territory. So the private sector drives the  business and drives the job growth and that’s what we haven’t seen in the Territory for a long time and that’s starting to happen now. And we’re seeing some major projects wanting to get up and running and that’s a good thing. So we’ve got companies such as Mitsubishi Worldwide who are in the Territory looking at how they can invest in farming and agriculture, companies such as Mitsui who are working on the Tiwi Islands. And a range of other investment – investors who are looking at bring money to the Territory and that’s a good thing. So we’re seeing industry such as tourism rebounding, we’re seeing the current cyclical downturn in most parts of the mining industry – not all parts, but we’re seeing investors looking to get into that on the bottom end of the market, that’s a good thing. We’ve got investments in horticulture, in agriculture, in the gas sector, so they’re all good things and they’ll continue to drive growth in jobs. But the best thing about it is, it’s not just one industry cause if we put all our eggs in one basket and there’s a downturn Territorians lose their jobs and we don’t want that happening. So diversifying and seeking out that investment is what’s going to keep us going into the future.

DARYL MANZIE:                    Well I think it’s also interesting that you’ve got Gina Rinehart, I guess Australia’s richest – one of the world’s richest women – and she really sees the potential of North Australia, she’s very well, I guess, across all the issues there. She’s Australia’s biggest individual tax payer as well and also her companies spend a lot of money on tax for the rest of Australia. Good to see her involved in looking at these sorts of investments and talking to people about them.

ADAM GILES:                        Well I first met Gina through an organisation called ANDEV, Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision, looking at that North Australia approach and how to get more people and more investment and more jobs into Northern Australia. And I’ve known Gina since then and she’s now come on board – some time ago – as an ambassador for the Northern Territory. So I’ve invited Gina to come to the Territory to help launch this investment forum today and at her own expense she’s come up here and helped us out with that and given a speech this morning and spoken about investing in the Northern Territory. It’s great to have ambassadors like that who are telling other big investors to invest in the Northern Territory. And I don’t think, I often don’t think that people really understand what some of these big investors do for Australia. For example, Gina, we’ve heard big development in Western Australia, puts her own money on the line, takes her own risk and at the height of that construction employed up to fifty thousand Australians in that job. To me, that’s an amazing feat and we need more Australians to do that. To take the risk, to take the plunge and employ Australians because we all want jobs and if people aren’t prepared to take the risk the jobs want come. So we should be applauding people to have a crack, not everybody’s successful but if you’re having a go you should be applauded and respected and if you’re employing Australians you should be congratulated.

DARYL MANZIE:                    Indeed, indeed.

Courtesy of Territory FM

Henry Ford on Government

by 13 June 2016

Article – Mining exploration gets $100m budget injection

by 31 May 2016

4 May 2016
Oliver Probert
Bulk Handling Review

$100m in additional funding announced in the budget will help map mineral, energy and groundwater potential in northern Australia and South Australia,  resources minister Josh Frydenberg has said.

The federal budget, handed down on Tuesday night, included $100m of new funding for Geoscience Australia.

“The $100m Exploring for the Future programme will produce pre-competitive geoscience data, to be released on an annual basis over the next four years,” Frydenberg said.

“Geoscience Australia estimates that around 80% of Australia remains under-explored.”

Areas in the Northern Territory, Queensland, WA and South Australia will be the focus of the initiative.

“This will improve Australia’s long term exploration prospects and help address declining new onshore exploration,” the minister said.

“At a challenging time for the resources sector, this important initiative will help ensure that Australia’s strength in innovation is furthered, and that we maintain our competitive edge in this world-leading sector.”

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Brendan Pearson said the initiative would help trigger the next wave of minerals exploration.

“Australia’s world-class federal and state geological survey agencies have a record of delivering a strong return on investment in pre-competitive scientific data,” Pearson said, citing some estimates which suggest pre-competitive exploration has a multiplier for national income of more than 20 times.

“Australia ranks second in the world at converting exploration into minerals discoveries,” he continued.

“Australia accounts for about 9% of global exploration investment but accounts for 18% of minerals discovery.”

Pearson said the investment would propel a step-change in knowledge and technology, allowing exploration companies to operate in areas historically difficult to explore.

Aside from the exploration funding, Pearson welcomed the budget as a whole.

“The 2016 federal budget is a strong pro-growth budget,” he opined.

“It balances a careful approach to spending, the maintenance of a strict approach to tax integrity and lays out a medium term plan to promote investment and growth.

“The move to a lower company tax cut will, over time, improve the competitiveness of our tax system and promote investment and well-paid jobs, including in the resources sector.”

Exploration in the NT. Photo: Ranger PR

Courtesy of Bulk Handling Review

Article – WA towns in loan scheme

by 31 May 2016

3 May 2016
Phoebe Wearne

The West Australian

The Federal Government has capitulated to a campaign to include key WA towns in its definition of northern Australia.

Gascoyne councils and the Gascoyne Development Commission wrote to Federal MPs to protest against their region’s exclusion from the definition, which favoured the Northern Territory and Queensland.

The gas-rich city of Gladstone in Queensland and the entire NT were included, despite being below the Tropic of Capricorn, while the WA towns of Carnarvon, Coral Bay, Denham and surrounding areas were not. Being included in the legislative definition is a precondition for being considered for a $5 billion loan scheme for infrastructure.

The Government’s amendment to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill includes all areas above the Tropic of Capricorn in WA, as well as Carnarvon, Meekatharra and Wiluna.

Courtesy of the West Australian

Article – Australia’s Northern Territory ideal for mining opportunities

by 31 May 2016

22 April 2016
Emirates News Agency

Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart said, the untapped and undiscovered lands of northern Australia is one of the world’s “last great development opportunities.”

Rinehart said the Northern Territory has massive potential as it is majorly untapped, while its proximity “on the doorstep” of Asia specifies potential investment from prime Asian firms.

“This area is not only very friendly, but unique, and does indeed represent one of the world’s last great development opportunities of scale and it does this all within one of the world’s most highly developed countries on the very doorsteps of flourishing Asia,” said, Rinehart.

Rinehart urged for endowment in the province, saying that now is the time for local and foreign companies to make the switch from depending on the mining boom to endowing in the territory’s hugely local resources.

“The Territory has more than 200 trillion cubic feet of gas,” Rinehart said. “Potentially enough gas to power Australia for more than 200 years.”

Interim the Northern Territory’s deputy Chief Minister Peter Styles said pursuing to develop healthy tradebonds to Asian countries like China and Japan are keys in seeking growth in the development sector.

Styles said, “For the next century we believe that the Northern Australia, with its untapped 17 million hectares of arable soil, 40 percent of the Australian land mass, around 60 percent of Australia’s rainfall and of course 90 percent of Australia’s gas reserves, will drive Australia’s prosperity.”

Courtesy of Emirates News Agency

Article – A sea of pink at Roy Hill

by 24 May 2016

3 May 2016
Sharon Masige
Australian Mining

As Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill mine comes online and begins shipping iron ore, it is also making waves in terms of its social and corporate responsibility, as it paints its haul trucks pink to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Below is a collection of some of the best images from the unveiling of these new pink trucks.

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RoyHill14

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RoyHill1

RoyHill11

Royhill10

RoyHill19

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RoyHill15

RoyHill6

RoyHill5

Courtesy of Australian Mining