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News

The Australian Logistics Council, Australasian Railway Association, Ports Australia and Shipping Australia have joined together to call for clarification of how the biosecurity levy, announced by the Australian Government in the recent Federal Budget, will operate. 

The proposed Biosecurity Import Levy will charge $10.02 per incoming container and $1 per tonne of non-containerised cargo, generating an estimated revenue of $360 million.

Ports Australia chief executive Mike Gallacher said, “Our concern is that this import levy has been announced with almost no engagement with the supply chain and with no plan on how it will be used in the Biosecurity System.


“The complete lack of detail on this ambiguous proposal lends weight to the impression that it is a broad import levy across all goods coming into the country.

“The revenue measure estimates $360 million over three years. Only $76.6 million of this is will be spent enhancing Australia’s Biosecurity System over the same period."

He said the port sector had stringent biosecurity measures and would always continue to leverage its expert capabilities to meet the Australian Government’s objectives on biosecurity.

Shipping Australia chief executive Rod Nairn a budget that promised tax cuts for all Australians would simultaneously slug Australians almost $290 million to import the goods they used every day, with no clear explanation of the biosecurity benefit. 

 Australian Logistics Council managing director Michael Kilgariff, said, “Measures in the Budget are expected to be accurately costed. There should be no exception for this one.

“Until such details are made clear, a broad charge on every item imported from another country simply cannot be justified. The freight logistics sector should not be used as a ‘cash cow’ to fund unrelated Budget initiatives.

“Not only will everyday consumers be impacted by this measure on containerised goods, but anyone importing non-container goods will pay $1 a tonne.

“That means a construction business importing 50,000 tonnes of concrete will now have to pay an additional $50,000. Imagine the impact such a measure will have on infrastructure costs."

The Australasian Railway Association chief executive, Danny Broad, said, “The proposed levy is a significant issue for ARA members and every day Australians. The levy will ripple right through the supply chain and hit the end consumer. Every product that comes through our ports, onto our rail networks and delivered to the consumers will feel the effects of this levy."

Industry challenges biosecurity levy


Dredging is under way at the Port of Karumba as part of the scheduled operational restart of the Century zinc mine.

The 2018 dredging program involves a $6.8 million by miner New Century Resources and represents the first dredging activities to be undertaken at Karumba since early 2016.

Since the acquisition of the Century zinc mine in March 2017, New Century has been working with Ports North to re-establish dredging operations to allow uninterrupted zinc concentrate transhipment operations.

Dredging to a depth of 3.2m will allow for ongoing transhipment of up to 5000-tonne parcels of zinc concentrate from New Century’s wharf at Karumba to the bulk cargo export vessels located about 20km offshore in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The dredging also provides significant benefits to third party users of the Karumba Port area, allowing expansion of existing cattle export and commercial fishing operations.

“It is a fantastic achievement by the New Century team to facilitate renewed dredging at the Port of Karumba, allowing not only zinc exports to recommence, but also providing the port user community in Karumba with consistent, reliable channel access for years to come,” New Century managing director Patrick Walta said.

Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter said the dredging would allow prawning and live cattle export industries to flourish, injecting $200 million-$300 million per annum into the Queensland economy.

The Century "mine operations therefore play a key role in the continued economic prosperity of northern Queensland and deserve the full support of state and federal governments,” he said.

The dredging program will run for about 60 days and is scheduled for completion in July 2018.

First production from the Century mine restart is scheduled for August 2018.
The 2018 Resource Industry Network Awards night has been hailed a success, with more than 320 people attending the Mackay event to celebrate the people, innovation and the successes of the resource services sector.

“These awards recognise excellence in business and the significant contribution that those businesses make to the regional economy and community," Resource Industry Network Chair Tony Caruso said.

"Our judges this year had the unenviable task of shortlisting each of the categories to just three finalists and have repeatedly stated what a difficult task this was given the quality of all the nominations.”

Winners on the night included DGH Engineering, taking the Leading from the Front Award.

Diacon Australia was rewarded for its initiative, persistence and success in taking a product to the export market with the  Chasing Foreign Markets Award.

North Queensland Bulk Ports won the Safety Foremost Award after the development of its ‘Balance’ program.
The 2018 RIN Awards also saw the introduction of a new category – Striving for Diversity Award – with local company C2H Piping Services taking the honours by demonstrating commitment and progress to achieving equity in the workplace.

MM Electricals’ Matthew Johnson was recognised in the Standing Out from the Crowd Award for demonstrating great resilience, leadership in challenging times, and championing change to ensure the organisation continued to prosper despite market conditions.

Moranbah Discount Tyres & Mechanical won the Connecting in the Community award, while Vayeron claimed the Out of the Box Award for its wireless technology to monitor conveyor rollers.

IMAGE: Safety Foremost Award Winners North Queensland Bulk Ports’ Dr Rochelle Macdonald (right) and Pat Cunningham (centre) accepting the winner’s trophy from award sponsor Hail Creek Mine’s Kent Ballantyne.

Recognition for resource sector leaders
Fotowatio Renewable Ventures’ 130MW Clare Solar Farm near Ayr has started supplying electricity to the grid.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham welcomed the connection as further progress towards Queensland reaching the goal of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“We have 890MW of renewables flowing into the grid already, much of it from Queenslanders who have embraced rooftop solar panels,” he said.

“Queensland’s large-scale renewable energy capacity is set to double over the next 12 months, as our $20 billion pipeline of committed and potential renewable projects starts to deliver.

“Latest figures from the Clean Energy Council show that more than half of all activity in large-scale solar in Australia is occurring in Queensland.”

Powerlink and Pacific Hydro Haughton Solar Farm have also finalised a connection agreement for the first stage of the potential 1200ha solar farm about 60km south of Townsville.

Pacific Hydro has obtained planning approval from the Burdekin Shire Council for up to 500MW of solar generation – the equivalent of powering 170,000 average Australian homes.

“The Haughton Solar Farm will create around 250 construction jobs and implement a number of initiatives to encourage local suppliers and businesses to provide services to the project,” Dr Lynham said.

“Up to 10 permanent operational jobs will also be created and Powerlink’s grid connection works will support another 43 jobs.”

A total of more than $4.2 billion worth of projects are currently either under construction or financially committed, offering a combined employment injection of more than 3500 construction jobs across regional Queensland and more than 2000 MW of power.

More solar generation comes online
Smart technologies will monitor the quality of urban stormwater run-off in the Cairns area under a new project to help protect the reef.

Cairns Regional Council Deputy Mayor Terry James said the city was proud to lead the way in adopting new technologies for environmental benefit, especially since 2018 is the International Year of the Reef.

The Reducing Urban Impact on the Great Barrier Reef project will include installation of up to 30 water-monitoring sensors to deliver real-time data on levels of nutrients, sediments and other contaminants that may be carried out to sea.

This will help plan and improve stormwater infrastructure and water treatment processes to ensure urban water run-off is not harming the reef or marine life.

James Cook University acting vice-chancellor, Professor Chris Cocklin, said researchers from the university’s Internet of Things (IoT) program would bring local knowledge and cutting-edge expertise to the project.

“JCU’s IoT engineers already use smart sensor networks to deliver real-time data from tropical field sites, enabling researchers to monitor marine and natural environments from anywhere in the world,” Professor Cocklin said. “We see great potential for this technology to help make Cairns a truly smart city.”

The Australian Government is committing 50 per cent of the funding for the $1.66 million project, with Cairns Regional Council, James Cook University, Wet Tropics Healthy Waterways, Itron Australasia and FNQ NRM  providing the remainder.

All infrastructure for the project will be in place within the next 12 months.

Stormwater monitoring steps up
Bauxite Hills is celebrating its first export cargo, with a shipment of about 62,000 tonnes of bauxite leaving Cape York today.

The Hong Kong-flagged bulk cargo vessel Spring Oasis is headed for Shandong, China to deliver the bauxite to the Xinfa Group, one of China’s largest integrated aluminium companies.

Metro Mining’s Bauxite Hills operation, located 95km north of Weipa, started mining activity in April.

Metro Mining managing director Simon Finnis said the first shipment was an extremely exciting event.

“This has been another job well done and is a credit to the entire Metro team and our contractors.  The marine transportation fleet performed well, in line with expectations,” Mr Finnis said.

The Bauxite Hills mine has an estimated ore reserve of 92.2Mt and a total resource of 144.8Mt, with an estimated 17-year mine life.

Queensland Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the Bauxite Hills mine was a prime example of the demand for Queensland’s minerals.

“As well as securing a four-year export deal with one of China’s largest aluminium companies, Xinfa, the mine will provide up to 200 jobs,” he said.

“We continue to see that with strong, safe, established trade routes to the northern hemisphere, Queensland is ideally located to meet demand from Asia and other eastern markets.

“We have a world-class ‘minerals for industry’ sector unmatched anywhere in the world, and it’s great to see Metro Mining taking these resources to market.”

Cape York mine ships first bauxite